Browsing: Church

A Re-Visit to St Augustine

I did promise another blog sooner than this but have failed in that sorry.We spent almost 3 weeks in Vero Beach at my cousins, Stan and Susan, ahhhhh family there is nothing like it.  I wanted to acknowledge the people who we have met over the past months. We have seen and experienced many wonderful unique events and Eric and I couldn’t have imagined the joy and awe in God’s creative hand. The fish, underwater beauty, flowers, islands, I could go on and on BUT I want to say that  as we are now turned around and heading North I am reflecting on the individuals that we have been impacted by. Some we know their names and some we don’t yet my life is fuller because of them. Everyone from Miss Alice in Elizabeth City to Fr. Ethan in Georgetown Bahamas, each person I saw a passion in them to live beyond their own wants and needs, to give, love and bless others. During this Lenten season I am challenged that this is what living and life is all about, to love, give and see others in a gracious, merciful and sacrificial way.

Now here we are back in St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the US and saw many different countries govern them over a 200 year period. The architecture is spectacular and the history is deep.  When we were here in December we only saw the external buildings and read a tiny bit of the history. In December we knew we would come back and stay for a few days and really take our time and explore the city which we did! This city has been governed by the Spanish, British, Spanish, and finally the Americans. In the early years the French Huguenots also made an appearance and bid for Florida. What all this change of governments did was to create a very diverse community that was a welcoming and safe place to live. There was an underground railroad that led south as well as north, Florida was the destination for slaves who were on the run from plantations just up north.

A huge part of the history here is from a man by the name of Henry Flagler. He seems to be the man who could see the potential of tourism in St Augustine. He built a beautiful hotel which today is Flagler College, plus another hotel, several churches(Grace Methodist, Ancient City Baptist and Memorial Presbyterian Church),a railway, and a hospital! Each building is quite extravagant in design having Mr. Tiffany designing beautiful stained glass and nothing but the best for his buildings. Our heads are on overload with all the information and history that we have taken in these last few days. We visited the Catholic Church and the Presbyterian churches and wow!!!! They were beautiful. After we visited the churches in the morning we did a Winery tour, a Distillery tour and a Micro Brewery in the afternoon! A bit of a fall from grace, maybe??

By the time the 50 & 60’s segregation was quite entrenched in St Augustine and became a pivotal city regarding the civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr marched here, it was the only other city that he marched in other than his participation in the march in Selma Alabama.

This city is full of history, architecture, and fabulous food. If you are heading to Florida and have a little time stop in and enter a city that will entertain you, teach you and just fill you with awe. As you can see we have quite enjoyed the days that we have spent here. Tomorrow morning we will head off and continue up the ICW.

 

 

 

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Back to Elizabeth Harbour

We found a spot at the bottom of the sign

It was a great week of visiting, fishing and sightseeing, but it was now time to go back to Georgetown and Elizabeth harbour to await Andrew and Amy’s arrival at the end of the month.   We moved the boat back out of Joe Sound and anchored out in front of the beach where Pete and Christie’s house is.   It was a bit of a rolly night, but we were up at dawn and headed back across Exuma Sound in very light wind.   We arrived back at around 11:00.  This time we anchored over at Monument beach as that was where our friends Bob and Diane on “Two of a Kind” were.   We visited with them and learn more about the area.   They are leaving at the end of the week to go attend the birth of their next Grand Child.   They keep their boat here in Georgetown year round and come down and use it through the winter.

You can see why we had to move at high.

As there is a front (or two) on the way we consider where we might go to anchor to gain some comfort from the wind and the seas.   Stocking Island provides great protection from the prevailing easterlies but can become rather unruly in a south or west wind.  We learn about a group of anchorages behind Crab Cay known as Red Shanks Anchorages.
There are 4 different spots for a bunch of boats.   It is regarded as a hurricane hole, which affords protection from the seas 360 degrees.   It is generally entered at high tide due to the rather skinny water and the entrance and between the holes inside.   We move the boat down to Hole number 1 and wait there while the wind does clock 360 degrees over the next several days.   Since the wind was not much above 15 or 20 it may have been a bit of overkill but we did meet another interesting couple and had a great time snorkeling as well.

 

As sunday approaches we are up in the air about where we might go to church.   There are two options and both will have their challenges.   The first option is to check out “Beach Church” which is held at Chat N Chil   it is a Volunteer lead interdenominational service run by the boating community.   The other option would be to go to St. Andrews Church in Georgetown.   Our immediate problem is distance and weather.   For either location it would be about an hour of travel time in our dinghy.   Then there is the weather, which is looking thunderstormish.   Remember this it the same weekend that most churches in Maritime Canada had to reschedule or cancel their services.   The system that is affecting them is the same system (much warmer) that we are dealing with.   It stretches all the way from Cuba up to Newfoundland.

The Beach Church begins at 9:30 and we are back and forth as to go or not, when we look at the sky and it looks particularly dark.  We decide to wait and see what it will be like in an hour and then try to make the 11:00 at St. Andrews.    Within a few minutes we hear on the radio that they have canceled Beach Church.    By 10:00 the sky is looking reasonable so we set out up the inside of Crab Cay, under the bridge, around February Point and into Lake Victoria.   We walk up to the Church, getting there at about 10:40

We note that there is a keyboard and drum kit, along with all the other fixtures and decor you would find in any traditional Anglican Church.  After our experience in Bimini, we are anticipating an alive vibrant community of believers with richness and diversity in their worship tradition…. we are not disappointed!   St. Andrews Parish is the hub church for the Exuma Island area.   It has a school and is active in many community ministries.

The service lasts nearly 2 1/2 hours, which we are regarding as quite normal.   Another visiting family from a resort we note:  is sitting behind us and when the notice the drummer walk in, sticks in hand, they move to the other side of the Church.   We eventually notice that they don’t make it to the end of the service.   Must have been a bit much for them I guess.

I would not have believed it unless I had experienced it.   My hope has always been that each of the traditions are firmly routed in the work of the spirit of God and has in it all of the very best intentions.    As with any tradition, they ways that we do things can eventually get mechanized, wooden, devoid of spirit or locked into some kind of legalism.   Within my view of the Anglican Church there are two main traditions and a third that has come of late.   These are, the Anglo-Catholic movement, The Low Church/Evangelical movement and of late the Renewal or Charismatic movement.   Across Canada and in many other places you can find examples of these traditions that are full functioning models of the body of Christ.     You can find them in healthy  condition or in complete disfunction or anywhere in between.  The thing that we have experienced here however is very unique.    It is a blending together of all the traditions, without loosing or compromising anything.

The service began with a number of songs and hymns as a preparation time.   As the people continued to arrive the strength of the singing and sense of deeply engaged worship increased.    At this point neither the opening hymn, nor the opening sentence had happened.    This was 20 minutes into the service.  Once again we experienced the full depth of an Anglo Catholic Service, with Evangelical preaching and charismatic freedom and anointing.

Later in the week I visited with Ethan, the Rector to ask him about this blend, that we had experienced now on two different islands.   It seems that the reason for it was that when the Charismatic renewal happened it was embraced by the Bishops and other significant leaders    It was intentionally integrated into the liturgical tradition of the time, which was quite traditional.     The result is something very precious.

 

After the service we thought we would get something to eat before we took the long ride back to the boat.   We found however that there was not one restaurant open.   It was Sunday.   It is still a day of rest in the Bahamas!    We knew that there was a weekly Pig Roast happening over at Chat N Chill on Stocking Island, so we headed over there in the dinghy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because of the fronts that rolled through this past week we had time to do some Repairs and upgrades.   Amoung them was to oil the teak, install a new bow roller, fix my centerboard crank holder, repair a crack in the salon table fiddle, make a conch horn etc.

On Thursday we move back out of Red Shanks and anchor in front of Georgetown to do laundry, get water and provision.   Friday morning is the first time we have had not had excessive wind in well over a week.

 

 

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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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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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Charleston is behind us now

We were nearly a month in Charleston.   At some point before we arrived I had to figure out a place that I could fly to Toronto to attend board meetings for Wycliffe Bible Translators Canada.   Since I am the chair of that board I wanted to be in a place that I could prepare for a time and then fly out.

To fly out with certainty I would need to know  about a month in advance where that place might be.    Not having done the IWC before, I was really unsure how far we would get.   Taking a very conservative approach I settled on Charleston while we were still in the Chesapeake Bay Area.   Charleston has an international airport with all the major Airlines in attendance.

Upon arrival as you have already read we did some tourist things and then Val headed to Sask to visit.   I spent some time prepping for the Board meeting and doing boat projects.  You have already read about Vals time, so here is something about mine.

 

Wycliffe Bible Translators is part of a family of about 100 organizations around the world that translate the Bible into the “heart language of people”.  We work usually with the established local church or other missions organizations.

Translating the scriptures used to take most of the life time of a single missionary.  Years ago when missionaries were sent to remote places some were known to pack their belongings into a casket, since that was how they might very possibly return.  Today a New Testament translation can be done in 6-10 years and is usually done mostly from national who have been taught how to do good translation work.  Beyond translation work is also litercy and scripture use work.   Often there are other ministries that spring up like church planting, education, poverty reduction, medical work, etc.

Now I know that some of you reading this blog will object strongly with the concept of bringing a western “religion” to other people groups.   That is the philosophy of much of the liberal west today.   Even being a christian is becoming increasingly unpopular , suspect and politically incorrect.

I meet more and more so called liberal thinking people who are intolerant of the faith that I profess.   That is rather ironic because a true liberal would provide space for many viewpoints.  I would like to offer a rather surprising article for skeptics to read.  Even if you are not a skeptic commend this to you.   I remain a believer in the Son of God and the Salvation that He so freely offers.  I have always believed that it has the power to transform lives and communities.

Through our studies as board directors of Wycliffe translators,  our President stumbled upon an article that draws an amazing parallel between those politically incorrect (now) conversionary missionaries and the rise of Liberal Democracy.     I promise you that this is an interesting read from a very practical point of view.   Another good reason to consider the claims of Christ.

Woodberry on Missions (1)

Click the link above to read the article.

One of the other significant thing that we did recently at Wycliffe was to sell our building in Toronto and move in with 5 other like minded mission agency’s to be better stewarts of our funds.   The additional benefit is the building of relationships with folks engaged in the same mission.

What to see a “Stack of Bibles”?

One of our former Board Members who is now a VP of Wycliffe Canada together with another staff member made this very impressive display of scriptures that have been translated in to languages that can be understood by people in their own mother tongue.   #endbiblepoverty

This is no where near all of them.  Lots more in the basement.

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Christ the King

This morning was a very special morning in the Life of our Church, St. James the Less in the Parish of Renforth.   It was the occasion of the ordination to the diaconate for Jonathan Hallewell.    Jonathan had been worshipping here for over a year and as the year went on and I announced my retirement it became increasingly clear to me and him and a bunch of others that he may be called to leadership in ministry at St. James the Less.
For me personally this was a great peace, because one of my greatest concerns was, who was going to follow.   God is the god of all provision and he has done this and not ourselves.
To be able to watch this event actually take place was one of the miracles of modern technology.     I was on my way to a local new church plant here in North Charleston SC from the marina and Val was at Kait’s house in Saskatchewan.    We both surfed in on Facebook live and were able to experience the service.
Earlier I had suggested to Jonathan that it would be a great blessing to us to be able to watch on Video, so he taped an old iPhone to the “wings of the eagle” … something prophetic about that no doubt!
Here are some of my impressions.

It looked like he did this about an hour before the service began, so I got to hear all of the “pre-service things, like John and Cynthia practicing, Linda getting the organ in shape and bits of conversation here and there….   Yes the whole world could have been listening!   Particularly moving was seeing and hearing David and Jonathan rehearsing the vows and generally preparing for what was to take place.
Next was Susan’s introduction.   It gave me great hope that the parish still has the call and character of Christ and is full of the spirit.   Susan you were true to form and so sensitive to the people and to the Holy Spirit as you introduced the service and prayed.    I am very proud of you.
Of course next we were hearing John and Cynthia lead worship.   The song selection and leading was as usual done with excellence and sensitivity, leaving lots of room for the spirit to speak and leave an impression on hearts.    Thankyou
Throughout the service we were seeing many friends and visitors participating.   There were clergy, friends and church members taking part, each one touching our hearts as we saw them pass the wings of the eagle.
Listening to the message by Bishop (moves diagonally on the chessboard) Edwards, was a treat.   It was an act of great love for David to come and do this so close to the time of Janets passing.  His call to us all was deep and practical and very real.
My last highlight was watching people come to the rail to receive communion.   Very emotional. This was the deepest moment for me.   The eagles wings witnessed most of the congregation come forward, kneel and then receive the bread and wine.   As the one who did this for over 20 years it stirred deep memories and emotions.
In a few minutes I board a plane and fly to Toronto to Chair meetings with Wycliffe Canada and then on Thursday Val and I both return to Tevah and head south.
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We can slow down now

Val and I have just booked our tickets for a mid November break.   I have meetings with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Toronto the week of the 26th and she is going to visit Kait and the kids in Sask.    I have found a place to keep the boat in Charleston for the week that I am away and the rest of the time I will Anchor in a couple of places and do boat projects.

Haven’t really got this “selfie” thing down yet!

Yesterday we arrived in Myrtle Beach and got a marina slip.   There was a bit of a mix up first thing as the marina that I had originally booked, had never heard of the booking service that I used.   We were trying to make an 11:00 service at a nearby church that sounded really great.   Check out Barefoot Church in North Myrtle Beach SC.

We are within striking distance of Charleston and still have about 10 days before we need to be there for Val’s flight.   There are a good number of anchorages along the Wackama river that we will make use of and only go 10-15 miles each day.

Yesterday we enjoye walking on the Beach.  I was talking to a local guy today that said there are 60 miles of beach!    The sand was like white powder and it squeezed under Val’s bare feet!

Two days ago I had to change the Alternator back to the old one.   Remember Cruising is really just boat repairs in exotic locations! The new one that I had bought this summer and installed in Maryland, failed.   I spent some time with the guys at Autotec on Duke street on the phone to arange to ship it back to them when I get to Toronto.   When I get to Charleston I will look for a replacement.

 

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Palm trees and Pelicans…finally!

For the first time we are feeling that we can slow down and enjoy the “South”.  Yesterday was reasonably warm and today it looks like it will be warmer still.    Seeing Palm trees and Pelicans is now a regular thing, so we must be headed in the right direction.

After we left Beaufort and the Homer Smith Marina and Fish processing plant, we continued South on the ICW to “Mile Hammock” Anchorage.   This is owned by the US Military and is a favorite for people traveling between Beaufort and Wrightsville.   Just about exactly half way.   I think by sunset there were 19 boats anchored.    We were lulled to sleep by the sound of light Artilery fire and other military operational sounds.    This part of the ICW is also used for live fire exercises and is sometimes closed for obvious reasons.   We saw several of the “Targets” scattered along the shore as we went along.

We also passed by a Navy base where they were practicing vertical take off and landing with their Jets.    Reminded me of Arnold Schwarzenegger  “Your fired!”   Those Jets.    Very loud.

As there were several bridges that operated on a scheduled we have learned the art of keeping in a neat row without moving but very carefully using FWD and REV and a tiny bit of rudder to maintain our position in line abidst the wind and current.    A couple of small z drives attached to a geo stationary controller would work well here!

 

Sunset at Mile Hammock Anchorage
One of our pet peeves has become hedges that remain unclipped. This is one great example. We have found that whenever we walk we usually end up going single file for part of the way. I guess walking is just not as popular as it once was.
We saw this sign in Belhaven. Thought is was quite a mix of businesses. This was only half of it. There were more things written on the back. When we went inside along with the Christian Book Store, which only sold Bibles, was a pool table, some arcade machines, Candy, Snacks, The services of a Noterary and Bondsman, Avon and a number of other various, completely unrelated services and good! Got to hand it to the proprietor, he was making the most of every opportunity!
We past hundreds, maybe thousands of docks and houses in the last couple of days. At least 1/4 of the docks and houses showed some sign of damage from Hurricane Florence. There was about 20 feet of water above the norm, but we noticed that most of the homes were already built up about another story, either on posts or a full basement beginning at ground level. The docks often had a roof or a widows walk atop them but many were twisted and collapsing.
Notice the blue tarp on the roof of this house. This was a regular site. You really could not look at a group of houses without seeing several like this.
Here we are anchored behind two other recently retired Cannuks. Wrightsville Beach, which is the recreational area of Willimgton NC. It is a very popular free anchorage. We even had a visit from the Town Police this morning asking how long we were planning to stay. I suspect they have had issues with long term liveaboards in the past. They took a picture of our boat and every other boat in the anchorage and went off on their patrol.
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4 days and 3 nights was enough

So after a 3 hour sail in windy choppy swelly water we have arrived in one of the prestigious sailing ports on this coast.    We passed 2 12 meter yachts as we entered the inner Harbor, and as we walked up the hill to the grocerie store we saw the Church where JFK was married.     They were selling tickets on re-enactment displays and live music to relive the Camelot era event.  Hopefully tomorrow the Small Craft Advisory will be down and we can make the run to Mystic.

Two of the 12 meters that are normally here
One of the best loved America’s Cup 12 Meters, Intrepid

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Family Territory

Here is a picture album from the last couple of days.  From the time we entered the Cape Cod Canal until we holed up here in a snug little Harbor in Rhode Island called Sakonnet.

A great view of the facilities at Sandwich on the Cape Cod Canal
The brand new office. Last year was the 100 anniversary of the canal, which was built by the US Army Engineers.
Take care of your Sandwich’s lest they get written up.
Walking back from church we came accross the HQ
There are also firemen in case your toaster gets out of control
Approaching the famous and picturesque train bridge. Kind of like the tower bridge in London
Out into Buzzards bay
View into Phinney Harbor as we pass
View at the moment. In Buzzards Bay heading for Phinney Rock which marks the entrance to the Harbor where I bought this boat in 2011
This marks Phinney Rock. Rocks like this usually get named after the person who first found (hit) them
John and Marjorie Lok, the fine folks in South Dartmouth Harbour that we bought Tevah from in 2011. We met up with them at the New Bedford Yacht club and then welcomed them onboard for a glass of wine and sharing of memories.
The last couple of days since we crossed cape Cod every breakwater has people fishing. There are also sport fishing boats around us all the time. The big boats are after Bluefin Tuna while the folks on shore and in smaller boats are after strippers
We are currently anchored beside this beautiful and new Hinkley
Sakonnet Harbor, where we tucked in to get out of the near gale force winds. We may be here for a day or two.

 

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Church the good & the bad.

On Saturday we walked into Tenants Harbour to look around the little village and to find the Church. We walked in one direction and finally met someone we could ask where exactly the Church was and they seemed a bit vague and unsure but turned us around and off we went. Again we walked a bit and asked another person if we were moving closer to our destination and again they weren’t sure but encouraged us to continue on. About 6 buildings on there was the Church! I found it confusing that people weren’t sure where it was, since the community is no bigger than Norton and the church was on Main Street. Odd…..
So we got up on Sunday morning and walked to Church, I have let Eric decide when we should leave the boat to be on time but he chronically gets us there at least ½ hour before the service begins….. can we say Reverend?? Oh well it gives us a chance to meet the local community and chat a bit. We were engaged in a conversation with a gentleman when this elderly lady walked in and interrupted the conversation to talk with me. When she found out I was Canadian she swiftly went into a rant of how we were no longer allies and glad Trump was throwing tariffs our way. She felt we deserved it because how we unfairly trade and steal from the US. Oh can you guess she LOVES Trump and thinks he is outsmarting everyone! She also had a few choice words regarding Obama. Arghhhhh! I did correct her in that the last I knew we were still Allies with the US and when she had spoke of Obama in less than complimentary words I commented that she was not speaking very Christ-like and then excused myself. I think I will give her the Crusty Award of the week. Oh my, it is so hard for me to keep my mouth shut! I had a chance to exercise grace and self control,(and for me I did a bit 😬) which is not a natural place for me or any us for that matter and I did try to be as gracious and not engage in a heated political conversation before Church started.
Church communities are a pot of individuals in different stages of personal development just like the day to day world but we have different expectations. We expect a little less hate and a lot more love but that isn’t the reality is it. We can choose to be angry, bitter, and ‘crusty’ even when we believe that Jesus is who he says he is. We hold onto hurts and refuse to let go of the past pain because so and so doesn’t deserve our forgiveness and grace. So I guess on this trip there will be lots of opportunities for me to work on being gracious and joyful. I must say, the rest of our visit at Tenants Baptist Church was wonderful with a great sermon and an invite to stay for their annual church picnic. Really it was a great visit with fellow believers along our journey. The sweet pastor is a full time ‘lobsta’ fisherman and a Vietnam Vet who loves the Word of God and the people in his community.

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