Tropic of Cancer part 2

We passed a quiet (non-rolly) night in front of Chat N Chill   Our plan was to wait until about noon and then head across to Long Island.   My cousin Peter has a place there in Calabash Bay on Galliot Cay.     He and his family arrived on Dec 27 and will be leaving on the 15th, so our timing was just right, but we don’t want to waste any time.    We go ashore in the morning to watch some of the volleyball tournament that has been organized and walk around the general vacinity.   We participate in the cruisers net on Channel 72 which takes every morning.    There is a whole range of information passed on this 1/2 hour special two way radio show!   We check in and say that we are going to leave and return in about a week.

On the beach we find a pole with over 100 signs pointing to destinations all around the world where boats have sailed to Georgetown.   We do not see one for Saint John, so when we return there tomorrow that will be one of the projects.   Here is what we will put on the sign:    Saint John NB 20M 1390NM     This is to say that Saint John is found at 20 degrees magnetic bearing at a distance of 1390 Nautical Miles.

At about noon we depart Elizabeth Harbour for Long Island.   It takes us about 4 hours to cross the sound and we anchor just up the beach from Peters house.

The road up to the yellow house

They are busy that night but we make arrangements to meet them the next morning.   The anchorage is known to have swell in it and we do not sleep well.   At about 7 in the morning just after sun up we move the boat down to the inlet to Joe Sound.   This is a very narrow pass that goes into a sound behind Galliot Cay.    It has total protection from surge and there are often 4 or 5 boats in there.   We anchor so I can take the dinghy in to survey the cut.    The actual route in is only about 25 feet wide with jagged rocks and a wreck around the entrance.    Clearly you want to do this against a small current, with really good light.    The water is so clear that it is very difficult to judge the depth.    You might think that it is 4 or 5 feet when it is in fact 20.   After I take the dinghy in twice I have found the sandy path that avoids the reef.   Ive also determined the bearing to be about 72 deg M.    There are a couple of markers; one a stake and the other a buoy, but they seem to be marking some deceptively shallow points as a warning where not to head toward.   Once I have found the path it is and easy albeit heart stopping transit.

Pete and Christy see that we have moved down to the entrance of Joe Sound and they join us via Kayak.   After a few minutes we go into the anchorage area and secure the boat with two anchors in line with the current. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbhUMQjaySg Here is a great video that describes how to do this.

Cousins Eric and Peter
The Columbus monument. This was the third place that Christopher Columbus jade land fall and the first place that he could get fresh water. We saw the pump he must have used that day as well !

 

The politically corrected monument

Val and I are treated to amazing hospitality during our days here at “The Yellow house” , including a day trip down the island to see various churches and buildings and land features.   Toward the end we come to Deans Blue Hole.   This is a geological phenomenon that is quite common here in the Bahamas but it happens to be the deepest one in the world.  So much of the Bahama bank is only about 15 feet deep.    The Blue hole is over 600 feet straight down.   It is used for the worlds free diving competition.   If you google Deans Blue Hole you will find lots of information.  We climbed the cliff beside it to get a view from the top.

We dined at a marina on the atlantic side and made multiple stops on the way down and back, looking for a variety of items.   This is a normal shopping day.

One of the class A racing sloops
Snow on the wall church
Another Sloop
Flying Fish Restaurant
Very unique church, built by the priest, who then became an Anglican and built a second church
Deans BLUE hole

The highlight however of the whole stay will have to be how we came to an understanding of law enforcement.

The day before Peter and I went out to the local gas Station to pick up some white wine.   They were meeting with some other guests that night and needed to bring some wine.     Unknown to us it was a newly instituted holiday.   (Majority Rule Day)   Look it up; it is quite a story in itself.   When we arrived at the Gas Station/Liquor store the door was locked and there were about a dozen customers waiting around with the understanding that the owner would be back “Soon”   remember we are on “Island Time”   After about 20 minutes he does show up.  Peter asks him if he has white wine and the owner says he has a good selection.   Peter then goes in behind the counter and comes up with four bottles of Chardonnay, perfect for the occasion.   We each come out and place the bottles carefully in the  back seat.   Just as we close the doors of the truck we hear the unmistakable WOOP Woop of a police siren.    We see that the local constable has blocked us in with his police Jeep.    We think that this is just a friendly greeting as Peter knows just about everyone on the island.    It is not.   A very officious young constable, badge number 313, begins to ask very specific questions.   He asks if we had just purchased something from the establishment.  We acknowledge that we have.   He asks if it was alcoholic beverage.   We say yes.

About this point he begins to tell us that we are not in any trouble but that the vendor is.      He explains that this vendor has been warned multiple times not to be open on a national holiday.    He may be now facing a fine of $5000 for this infraction and it looks like the constable has him cold!  The officer takes our statements and then HE TAKES THE WINE!  as evidence!   He says that we are welcome to asked the vendor to return the money that was paid, but Peter refuses.    This is a guy that Peter has known for 30 years!    We really think that what was happening was that the constable was hiding around the corner waiting for someone to come out carrying a bottle of something!   He never would admit to that, claims he was just driving by.

On our way home I get a call from the officer asking if he can come by in the morning to take our statement.   I tell him that we are not going to be around tomorrow.     Once we do get home he calls me again to say that he is on his way to talk to us and get a written/signed statement.     This is beginning to remind me of Alice’s’ Restaurant.   He shows up about 15 minutes later after calling one more time to get directions.   (There is only one road on Galliot Cay.   There is only one yellow house, which is known as “The Yellow House”

When Constable Rolles arrives he takes Peters statement and Peter signs it.    We talk about all kinds of other things, like his family name and where he is from, alcohol laws, driving laws; Peter had just got a ticket from this guy the week before for doing 30 in a 20.    The normal rate of speed in a 20 is about 50.   Even the constable would acknowledge that.   And of course we get the history of Majority Rule Day.

I ask him about open liquor in a vehicle or in a public place and there is nothing wrong with that.   You just can’t be “under the influence”    An open bottle of Kalik in a vehicle is a pretty normal thing.    As a matter of fact when you purchase beer in any location the cashier will offer to open one before you go out the door.   Such service!

At this point we figure the matter is closed and the wheels of justice will begin to move and justice will be accomplished in somone’s eyes.

The next morning as we are setting out for our road trip down the island to the Blue Hole and other places, my phone rings again.   I now recognise Constable Rolls Number.   He asks us if we can come into the Police Station.    Chief wants to meet with Peter.     Peter knows this guy but has not seen him for a decade.   We arrive at a little group of buildings that include: The Anglican Rectory, the old police Station, A slightly newer police Station, Her Majestys Prison, the Department of Motor Vehicles and some other government offices.      Peter and I go into the Station house and Val and Christy go to see what the Jail looks like.

Jail where we thought Peter was going to end up
The newer police station

I am told to wait in the waiting area and Peter goes out back, where I hear the clang of a barred door shutting!  He is in there for quite a long time.   I talk with Constable Rolls and his sergeant.   He seems a bit nervous.

Finally I hear the sound of glass bottles and realize that the Chief is giving Peter back his wine.   All is well.  All was just a misunderstanding!   Even the speeding ticket has disappeared.

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Tropic of Cancer

 

Yesterday we did a road trip down long Island.  Along they way we crossed the “Tropic of Cancer”  You can click on the link to see why that is significant!  Let me back up a bit and cover the time from Black Point to where we are now and then say a bit about what is to come.  (I will do this over a couple of posts) You can check out our FB pages to see some pics and some of our experiences along the way.

After we left Black point we went out into the ocean through a cut in the islands.   The reason for this is that the inside gets very shallow and you have to travel significantly further to get to your destination.   I decided it would be good to break it up into a two day journey to Georgetown.  Upon reading the reviews and recommendations I settled on Lee Stocking Island as our stop over.   A short day sail with good protection.   We could wait there for a weather window if needed.

We set out the next morning and had an uneventful passage down the Exuma chain and made our entrance through Adderly Cut and found our way around to the anchorage in front of the old Caribbean Marine Research Center.   This is an abandoned station, that has been bought by a developer to make a high end marina someday.   We have noticed that there are loads of places like this where there has been a start and a stop and an abandonment of development.   Things happen on island time… or they just don’t happen at all.    If someone happens to tell you that they will be putting a roof on a new building next week, chances are they have been saying that for 10 years or so.     They might put a roof on it in the future or maybe not at all.

We spent the night and since the weather looked strongish the next morning we thought that we might spend one more day to let it settle some more as we did have to go out the cut into Exuma Sound again.   It was at about 11:00am that we discovered we had no more fresh water.   Not a problem I thought as I turned the valve for our 40 gallon reserve tank…… not a drop!    Still not sure what happened but I suspect that I did not have the valve fully off and over the last couple of months the contents of it drained into our other two tanks!  I used to regularly check it and top it off when I filled the other tanks, but it was never down, till today!

I knew that we were going to soon need water and also to top off on fuel and would like to do that before Georgetown, since there is no dock in GT that you can do those two jobs.    In GT you need to take the dinghy into the town dock with jugs and lug back water and fuel.    One would think that with 300-500 boats sitting in the harbour for months at a time, someone would have put in a proper fuel dock!

Our only option was a rather high end Marina about 13 miles away called the Marina at Emerald Bay.  It is a Sandals Resort.   The entrance is tricky, especially in East winds over 20.   It was blowing a solid 15.    I called them to ask about their entrance and they assured me it was passable.   You do have to radio ahead to make sure that the channel is clear of traffic as you approach because you can’t necessarily see vessels that are about to leave.

The most exciting part of the day was about to happen.    There is a phenomenon that some of you will be familiar with called “Wind against Current”   When this happens the waves get steeper, break and get higher too.    As we left Adderly Cut this was what we encountered.    Two knots of current flowing out vs. 15 knots of wind coming in.   The sailing instructions said to veer off the main channel as soon as you had cleared the submerged reefs at the entrance of the cut….. but not too soon.    Waves were breaking at about 8-10 feet and we were taking some water over the bow.   This is usually fine, since the boat is well designed to shed water and continue on.

When it is hot we open our hatches…….

Usually we close them before we head out….

After the first wave Val went below to secure the hatches but was unable to move toward the forward hatch due the the motion of the boat and a couple more waves soaked our sheets and mattress!

By the time we got things battened down we were out of the channel and on our way to the Marina.

At one point I saw three flying saucers… not UFOs but actual corelle saucers flying from the port side of the galley across to the navigation station.   Thankyou Dow Corning and NASA engineers for coming up with a material that can stand high impact and not break!

The entrance to the marina was as advertised.   We got in, took fuel and water and got out in less than an hour.   One of the good things was that because the water was metered and our tanks were completely emptied we got a measurement on our capacity for water.   We now know that the two side tanks are 25 gallons  and the forward one is 40.    I had always thought it was more than that and wondered if because of the position of the tanks they were never emptied.    Now I know.    12 gallons of fuel and 90 gallons of water cost $103.    Now to Georgetown.

The timing was tight.    I did not want to be doing the tricky dogleg route into Elizabeth harbour in less than ideal light, even along the deep water route.     We still had 15 knots on the beam so we would be able to make it before sun set.

Georgetown and Elizabeth Harbour, for most people that go there, is the “end of the rainbow” ;  It is the pot of gold and the final destination.    Each year yachting snowbirds sail toward Georgetown, drop the hook and don’t go any further for 2-3 months.   There is a very organized community there that can fulfil every interest.

We entered the harbour and found a spot right in front of Chat N Chil and dropped the hook.   Within the next few minutes we heard a chorus of Conch shells being blown to signal the setting of the Sun!    We have arrived!

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Chugging Along

Happy New Year to you all! 🎉 It’s hard to believe that we have said goodbye to another year each of us getting older and maybe a little wiser. Over the holidays we were able to either talk of video chat with all our kids and with RuthAnne. For me it was extremely hard not to be celebrating with them and told Eric (‘that won’t happen again’). In the same breath I so appreciated celebrating with the congregation in Bimini. It was a blessing, a joy and a sense of rejoicing with people from a different culture and a bit of a different experience tradition express their love and joy in Jesus. What a gift.

We were 10 days in Bimini because of the back to back storms, again I am sure we’ve dragged wind and snotty weather with us, for those of you who are battling the snow and cold our burdens are nothing to what you have been contending with. I’ll help shovel next winter!

So we have sailed down to the southern part of the Bahamas and it is feeling more tropical 🌴 everyday. Eric has described the different islands that we have visited so far and we are amazed at how uninhabited the Bahamas are. The population for this country is around 400,000, so lots of empty islands with white sandy beaches.

Today we arrived in Black Point and by the information we have it is known as a great place to stop, to do your laundry, get a few groceries, get your hair cut if you would like. Da Mail boat came in today so we will go back tomorrow and get some fresh Veggies and maybe some fruit. A can of beans was $3.00 at one store, yikes! So we were wandering around the store and then I found out that tomorrow there would be fresh stuff so I asked when tomorrow morning would she be open and she said “in the morning”, there you go we are officially on island time. 😂.

Depending on weather we expect to be in Georgetown at the first of next week, how’s that for island time! Really we pray all is well with you and look forward to seeing you in a few more months. Blessings.

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Two Days for West Cove

Sunset in West Bay
This is Aviva. It was anchored beside us when we were in New York. I talked with one of the guests who was heading out for some kind of business meeting. He said that they were heading to the Bahamas as well. He mentioned that they usually don’t go into Nassau but rather a super yacht in Albany. Aviva is anchored just outside Albany now. It is actually so big that they have to take one of their Dinghys in to visit the Marina!

We have crossed the Bank and the Tongue and arrived at New Providence Island.    We had no desire to go into the overly touristy and expensive Nassau, so we opted for a night stop at a protective cove on the west end of the Island.   The plan was to sleep and then head for the Exumas.   Plans change and there does not seem to be a weather prediction service that is reliable.    We set out at dawn with moderate Easterlies as predicted.      I noticed that the engine Temperature was running too high.   Since we were only in about 12 feet of water we anchored to investigate.    The clouds closed in, the wind began to blow and it also rained.    I dove over the side to check the intake -ok.   Then I pulled the strainer-ok.  I opened the water pump to check the impellor-ok.  Put everything back together and it seemed to be ok.    It could be that something had fowled the intake and then washed away.    Temp was back down to normal.    The problem was we had lost a lot of time and now the wind had piped up.   There was no way we could make Highbourn Cay before dark, so we returned to West Bay.

I began to read up about local attractions as I had not planned a visit to explore. Take a look at what I found in the link below.

 

Check it out…Flipper and Jaws!

 

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Bimini Christmas Experience Part 2

During the service Christmas Eve, an older man got up to read the Old Testament Lesson.   You would recognize it; from Isaiah 9 “for unto us a child is born”   It was read with a deep conviction and drama; so much so that you would think that the author himself was rehearsing it.   As we passed the peace later in the service I spoke to the man and told him what a blessing it was for us to hear him read.   I said that we had sailed down from Canada.  He said; That is good.   I build boats.  I told him that I was an amature boat builder as well.   After the service Ansil invited me to come to his Boat Shop.   I protested and said; but tomorrow is Christmas day.    He assured me that he would be there from around 9 to 4.   That is his routine, Christmas or not.

I spoke to him again at the fellowship time, just to make sure and then said that I would be over in the morning.

Ansil Saunders Boat Shop

He had given me the instructions that his boat shop was north of the power plant, down by the basket ball court, right out on the water.   I found it easily.   Ansil comes from 5 generations of Boat Builders and is the last boat builder on Bimini.  He has not been able to find an apprentice.   He says that they might acquire the skills, but they don’t have the heart and passion for it and quit after a short while saying it it two hard.

Boat building for Ansil has really just been a part time thing for him.   His real passion is Bone Fish.  You have to hunt them and stalk them like deer he says.   You must see them first and cast the bait just in front of them or else you will spook them and they run.   He built a boat for himself so that he could become the best bone fish guide in the area, and indeed he has been dubbed “Bone Fish Legend”

Indeed he did become that and lead a client to catch the biggest bone fish ever.   Still unsurpassed.   This in my mind, though a great story was not what impressed me the most.  It is well known that Martin Luther King used to come to Bimini to write his speeches.    Ansil was asked to take Dr. King to as secluded place so that he could write (as it turned out, his last speech)   I will not try to describe this myself but refer you on to some videos that I have also posted on FB    The one by the fishing show I think gives one of the best accounts of this relationship and encounter.

With regard to his boat building he designed and built the perfect boat for bone fishing and had build and sold a good many of these at florida boat shows.   He has one order to go and also he needs to repair his own.  It came to an untimely end as he was navigating a canal at speed and hit a rock or concrete block that had been dumped in the waterway.    It holed the boat and sunk her.   She rolled over under the weight of the engine and tore her transoom off.   The boat sits in his shop now awaiting some materials.    He has a sale for her, but must repair her and likely replace her engine.   I will post below some other interviews with Ansil.   He told me many other things about the history of Bimini.  About Hemingway, Shark research, Conch, the Sport Fishing industry and family.     And as it turns out Ashley (the Dolphin house) is his brother!   He has another brother Tommy who makes jewelry.   Three brothers whose ancestors arrived centuries before from Scotland and married Bahamian women.

 

 

 

For more about Ansil Saunders look in youtube

 

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Bimini Christmas Experience Part 1

Most blogs that I have read about doing what we are doing talk about crossing from Miami, arriving at Bimini, spending the night or maybe one day and then pressing on across the bank to Nassau and Eluthera  and the Exumas.   We have been totally blessed by spending a week or a bit more here.   We left Miami just before a strong wind from the SW was due to blow.   The predictions showed it to be up to 50 Knots.    Certainly a good protected harbor would be required.   In talking with a resident of Cat Cay days later, he remarked that it was the strongest wind outside of a full hurricane that he had experienced in more than 10 years.   We were very glad to have crossed and tucked into Bimini Sands marina.    Bimini Sands Resort/Marina is on the South Island.   Very quiet, mostly residential.   The north Island has all the party life, stores, infrastructure etc.   We like the South Island for its peace and solitude.

So, because of the wind storm , which lasted three days and then Christmas, we found ourselves committed to at least a week.   There could be worse places to be stuck.   On the first day after we arrived we headed over to the North Island and Alice Town to buy a SIM card for the Phone.   We decided also to do a bit of a walking tour and visit the museum.  Val has written about that already.   We saw a hot-dog vendor and decided to get something to eat.   The young lady who ran this was quick to invite us to Church on Sunday and it turned out to be the Anglican Parish for Bimini.   We knew that we would be staying on through Christmas as well, so it was decided.    She described the Christmas Eve service, starting at 11:00 with a preceding Carol Sing and followed by a breakfast/midnight fellowship.   I have reported in our FB posts about our Sunday Experience please check them out.   Take a look at Val’s post also about Ashley Saunders, and the Dolphin House, it is all part of the bigger story!

Rev. Colin Saunders (Saunders is a very common name) was born on the island, moved to other islands as his father moved with Customs and Emigration to further his career.    He studied theology at Huron College in London Ontario and after ordination was working in the Capitol region of Nassau doing a Church plant.   One day about three years ago he was invited back to his boyhood home of Bimini to attend the Ordination Service of the new Baptist Pastor.   Upon hearing that he would be in town and that his old home church was with out a pastor that Sunday he was called upon to fill in.    His heart was stirred as he took the service and discerned that all things were not quite as he had remembered.  When he returned to Nassau he spoke to his bishop and mentioned if there was ever a vacancy at his old home church, he would like to be considered.   He was appointed Rector within the year.   Despite the looming knowledge that a prophet was not always welcome in his home town, he began his ministry.

We began Christmas eve by taking the boat down the coast about 5 miles with the hope to dive on a wreck.  When we got there we found that the conditions were not favorable and we would have to look at this another time.   We found a quiet spot in about 15 feet just of the marina on our return to anchor the boat and jumped in to do my first “snorkel inspection” of the anchor in the crystal clear water of the Bahamian Bank.   What was really interesting was that you really did not even have to get into the water to see what the anchor was doing.   I could watch it decent to the bottom, tip over and dig in, all from the deck of the boat.  Even when I had let out 3:1 rode, I could still see the anchor burying itself.    I swam on it anyway and then turned and looked at the boat floating, as if in air, and could see well beyond it as well!

 

When we got back to the harbor I  thought it would be good to see about Coconuts.    I had asked the marina manager if it was ok to take one.   He wondered why I might want to do so and said go ahead.   I found a tree with some large ones that seemed ready and right there in the brush near by was a 15 foot piece of aluminum structural component that was just perfect for knocking those nuts out of the tree.  Two swipes and two were on the ground.  I found a YouTube later on that showed a guy shucking a coconut in 6 seconds.   He did about 1000 a day.    My first attempt was about an hour!  Knowing what I know now about these beasts, I think I can best that time for the next one.  Shucking is only the first part.   Now you have to get the water out, crack it and get the meat out, but most of us have done that before.

We made a few phone/video calls to family while we waited for night fall.  This has been one of the most difficult things: to be physically away from family during the holiday.    It is nice to have the technology to talk and text and post to one another, but nothing can replace the times of visiting from house to house and hosting grand feasts.    I don’t recommend being away for Christmas, it is a lonely experience.

This is the ferry dock on South Bimini looking to the North Island. You can see it approaching.

It might take up to an hour to get to church so we set out at about 9:40 pm, heading for at 10:45 pm Carol sing and an 11:00 pm service.    We were early as the ferry was just arriving as we got to the dock.

Alice Town is like any other place with the good the bad the beautiful and the ugly.   We have walked through the town several times now and are very aware of the more sketchy parts and the spirit that seems to go along with them.  There is one particular Tiki bar in the middle of town that plays loud music seemingly 24 hours a day, whether there are customers there or not.    Sunday morning it was blaring out music at about 8:30 in the morning!

That part of town has a certain darkness to it.   Lots of little bars that are dark on the inside along side mini casinos, with no windows.   We were also seeing people young an old driving around in golf carts with open beer.   One telling sign was the fact that when you are in the liquor store there is a bottle opener beside the cash!    In speaking with Pastor Colin later on he said that there are laws but they are largely ignored because of the rich tourists and not wanting to offend them.   What has happened is that the locals now take it as a given and walk around with open drink all the time.    It was perfectly normal to see a young man or young woman at 9:00am on Sunday morning walking or driving down the main road with a half consumed beer.

As I had mentioned in my FB post about sunday church, it was not that well attended, but what it lacked in numbers was more than offset by the quality and engagement in worship.    We arrived plenty early (I think we were the first ones)   We watched as people began to arrive.   Those leading the service, Choir members, Lay-readers, Servers etc.    I think that there were only about a dozen of us in the pews when the Choir leader stood and announced that it was time to begin singing carols.    I though to my self: this is going to be a disaster, there are not enough people here.    To my surprise as he lifted up his voice, the congregation responded and filled in every harmony with the richness of any trained choir that I have ever heard…. and the choir largely had not arrived!    Carol after carol was sung and more people arrived.    The rest of the Choir, the organist and more of the congregation.   By then end we were enveloped in a full sound of glory in the highest.   The service was now ready to begin.

As I described in an earlier post the style of service is very formal and Anglo-Catholic.  Complete with everything you can imagine from this tradition.  Incense, Sanctus Bells, as many as a dozen people assisting in some capacity with the service, candles, full liturgy.   What set it apart in my mind was that there was an welcoming openness for the informal as well, and the moving and filling  of the holy Spirit.  This service would normally have taken about an hour in Canada, was just over two hours here in the Bahamas.    Every symbol, action and word was open and available for the fullness of the glory of God to inhabit it.

We began with the blessing of the cradle, complete with procession, incense and singing.  Then it was on to the opening carol and so on.   Everything in the liturgy was sung with depth, and conviction.  My though as we were singing the great Carols of the Nativity was this:   This is how I have always imagined these songs to be sung.   The only thing that came close in my experience, were the times that the clergy of my diocese got together for conference or retreat and we would sing well known hymns together.   This was always good.   Everyone singing songs they know well.    But alas this experience has been eclipsed by the humble ordinary people of a small island in the Bahamas.

After the service we went over to the hall for “All kinds of Fellowship”    I checked with Colin the Rector to see if there were others there from South Bimini so that we could be guaranteed a way back to Tevah.   I suspected that the Ferry would stop running around midnight.    In fact by the time I asked, the Ferry had already been put away for the night.    We were glad to find a couple that could transport us back to the ferry landing.   They had a small boat.

The fellowship went on past 02:00 am complete with Johnny cake, hominy, fish and chicken boiled  in gravy, coffee, tea, wine, rum, beer, eggnog.   Thanks to the kindness of a couple we were introduced to we got back to the boat just before 3:00 am

Christmas in the Bahamas!

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Bimini Bahamas! 🇧🇸

This entry may be a little longer than usual so a cup of cheer may be in order. Our crossing was quite uneventful considering all that could have gone wrong. We got up at 4 am (ridiculous, I know 😬) and we weren’t heading into the night by 4:30am. What we saw was lots of water, obviously, and lots of flying fish. At first I thought they were some type of flying bugs, they are tiny, white and they don’t just jump out of the water but can keep going for quite a long way before they head back into the ocean. We arrived into the harbour of Bimini Sands Marina and Resort around 12:30. As you are coming into the banks of Bimini the water turns that beautiful aqua colour that you see in travel magazines and it is breathtaking. So we tied up and have rented a slip for a week at a whopping cost of  $100 for the week. Looking at the weather we could see a nasty storm coming for the next two days. (I told a friend in Florida that I’m sure we tied a cold front to the stern of the boat and brought it every km of the way with us). We seem to arrive and it is a nice enough day to take off your coat and enjoy the ☀️ then the coat has to go back on the next day.

We are on the South Bimini Island so have to take a ferry over to the North Bimini Island, both islands are tiny they are the  smallest within the 700 islands of the Bahamas archipelagos. This island is very quiet compared to the Northern island. On the resort it has the laundry, (sketchy) wifi, showers, 2 pools and of course the beach. So the first day we were here we went to both pools with no one else in them. I think that will change the day after Christmas. They say this is the quiet week with everything ramping up for the next 3-4 months, so we will enjoy the calm before the storm.

Speaking of storm we were hit with a whale of a storm with winds up to 100 km/hr. We felt we were helping our son in law Justin to break in a horse! Eric adjusted the ropes several times (5 of them) trying to snug up the boat but just the way the wind, waves and how the tiny little harbour is we had more than 24 hours of high winds. It is still rocking and rolling a bit here but certainly has calmed down a lot. I told you Susan C we bring the cold and winds with us. 😁

So our adventures: as we go out and about we have gotten another phone card Bahamian. When we sent out the text to our kids, Kait said that’s phone number 4! Yup.🙄 But with the technology we are able to keep in touch. Thank you Lord.

Bimini’s claim to fame is Ernest Hemingway loved living here for a few years and wrote a few books while he was here as well he loved the fishing. The other person who loved to come here was Martin Luther King Jr. It was a place of rest as well as a place where it is said he wrote his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace prize that he received in 1967, I think

The character of the day is a guy called Ashley aka Dolphin Man owner of Dolphin House. Today we took a second trip to the North island and were told we had to go see the Dolphin House as a touristy trip. So we did. The island is about as wide as a football field with the geography which has a bit of a little hill down the centre and the Dolphin House is at the top of the hill. As we arrive Ashley is outside and looks like a Jamaican man with The dreads and all. As soon as he started talking I wanted to head down the hill but you know Eric he won’t walk away, so we had to go on this tour. Ashley told us how the dolphins had changed his life and he was spending the rest of his life telling people about them. SO I thought we were going to learn about the life, eco system, needs etc of the dolphin. I was thinking a biology/oceanic lesson but nope it was an artistic lauding of dolphins tiled all over the walls inside and out, (over 50 drawings/ceramic tiles) thus Dolphin House! Most of the house is made out of things that he has been able to find on the beaches or anywhere else he can scrounge, including conch shells, coral rock limestone, ceramic tiles and other building materials. He has built a house that will stand against any hurricane of which it has weathered 7 if I am correct. We had the tour and had a unbelievable view of both sides of the island standing in one spot.  So I walked away pondering a couple of things, hearing about the Dolphin House I had one expectation but experienced something totally different of which I really appreciated. The other is I have such a small window of giving people a chance and yet I am the one who misses the unexpected, the out of the ordinary and maybe I need to work at hearing the full story.

We have found a church that we will go to tomorrow and to the Christmas Eve service.  We will write to you again soon.

Merry Christmas to you all!

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Ready Set Go!!!!

We are now in Miami getting ready to make the sail to Bimini, Bahamas. It’s hard to believe after 3&½ months we are this close. We were ready to sit in Miami for ‘the perfect weather window ‘ which can take days or weeks but nope not us! We got into Miami sailing past 6 cruise boats and lots of other activity at lunch time. We went ashore and got a very large grocery order, came back and then headed off to the jump off point to the Bahamas, called No Name Harbour.

Looking back over our US leg of the sail we have met great people and learned so much about local areas, towns and US history. It has been great. I am still a landlubber and not a sailor. I am pretty sure this is a one of adventure. I miss my family, children, in-laws and friends. I love to drive, I love to take my dog for hikes, I love worshipping with my church community and playing in the band, I love celebrating Christmas and all its traditions with my family and friends. This is a once in a lifetime experience and I do appreciate the opportunity.

I guess we’ll see if the Bahamas can turn this attitude around. Otherwise I pray you are enjoying this blog and my honest take on the days. We are not sure when we will be able to post a new report but hopefully soon. Thinking of you all as we get closer to Christmas.

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A Highlight in Vero Beach

On Monday afternoon we arrived in Vero Beach where we had arranged to connect with a cousin of mine who I hadn’t seen in decades. Stan is my first cousin on my Dad’s side of the family. On that side of the family, touchy feely, family gatherings were not part of their DNA Stan is 6 years younger than me and with all that said I never really had ever had a long conversation with him and did not really know him nor his wife Susan.

Http://TrackMyTour.com/GKD6B

We arrived I would say, looking and smelling like pirates (so I wasn’t holding out that a good first impression was not to be had). We had laundry and shopping needs and I was feeling I was going to be pushing them in their invitation to visit.
Well I was so wrong, Susan and Stan are gifted in hospitality! They could not have made us feel more welcomed and at home. They made sure we were looked after beyond our wildest expectations. They toured us around the area, drove us all over Vero Beach to get our groceries, propane, oil for the boat plus other errands and meeting our every need or want including taking us out to lunch down by the beach for a mahi mahi sandwich which was absolutely delicious, what a treat!❤️
This morning they joined us sailing down the ICW from Vero Beach to Fort Pierce which was a couple hours of sailing. I think it was our turn to give them a bit of a treat. They experienced true sailing with a little rain and a little sun, the dolphins and manatees making an appearance for our joy and entertainment.
I know that social media can be truly scary with bullying, creeping and all other negative things but I want to recognize that because of Facebook Stan and I were able to connect and arrange this sweet 3 days of sharing stories and enjoying one another, I think I would have sailed on by if we had not interacted first on Facebook so I am grateful. Eric and I both feel that we have increased our family and established new friendships that is just beginning.
Stan and Susan we cannot thank you enough for your huge heart and fantastic sense of humour, we love you and can’t wait until we return.

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Com update

We are stopped for a few days at Vero Beach to do provisioning.    Val has a 1st Cousin there.     Here is a phone number update.    Val’s number is changed to an international one as we do the crossing.    We will be getting a Bahamas number when we check in.

http://tevah.renforth.net/?page_id=13

Tomorow we will begin the last part of the US travel toward Miami

 

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