Sunday, 4 March 2018

All Good Things Must Come to an End

It’s hard to believe that 2.5 months have gone by since we launched Sea Change in Titusville, Florida. It’s been quite a trip!

The last two days in George Town have been recuperation time, and an opportunity to enjoy the sailing regatta which began two days before our arrival here. We reconnected with friends from The Land and Sea Park – Georgie, Larry and their 22-year-old daughter Alysha on Cabernet – here on Exuma for the first time.

Yesterday, I attended the variety show, which attracts talent from both the sailing and the local community – amazingly good performances (especially the locals!). I tried my hand in a conch-blowing contest – didn’t win but felt good about the effort. The winner blew his conch for 38 seconds – that’s a lot of hot air!!

Today, I took the Cabernet crew on their first hike up Monument Hill, and down to the dramatic crashing waves on the ocean beach below. There we had a picnic lunch, sheltered from the howling wind by huge rock formations. It's always fun to show people around what feels like our other home. Jeff chose to stay aboard and rest.

A visit to “Chat and Chill” on Stocking Island for their weekly pig roast on the beach ended the day today. Tomorrow we begin to close up the boat for another year – so this will likely be my last post for this trip. It’s been quite a ride – I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these posts as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. Until next year …

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Happy Birthday, Captain Jeff

We celebrated my captain’s 71st birthday all day yesterday. It began with a French toast breakfast, and gift and card opening.

Then we weighed anchor and spent 4 lovely hours on the ocean side of the Cays, on mirror-smooth blue water, travelling to Jeff’s favourite anchorage – Rat Cay (no rats involved!). He spliced mooring lines and I waxed the cockpit while we motored along at 6 knots – no wind at all. Very relaxing…

We arrived at about 1:00 pm, had lunch, naps and swims in the clearest turquoise water I’ve ever experienced – we could see bottom 20 feet down!

A dinner of yesterday’s freshly caught lobster, with white wine and home-made chocolate cake by candlelight, in the cockpit, with the full moon sparkling on the water, and a “Happy Birthday” call with our grandchildren ended a perfect day. Jeff said it was one of his best birthdays yet.

2nd installment – Lost at Sea

While yesterday was for relaxing, today was all adventure! It started with a dinghy trip to the town of Barreterre, 1 mile across the water. This town is the last stop on Great Exuma –a tiny village with one convenience store, a fishing dock and a few colourful houses. We actually found a bit of food in the convenience store, and happily dinghied back to the boat – or so we thought! An hour later, we were still circling around looking for our lost boat … turns out we had gone too far South, and the shoreline all looks the same. It didn’t take long to find our way back, but did make us a little nervous for a while!

Next came lunch, and then another dinghy trip to where knew there was a good snorkeling reef, and maybe some lobster to catch. We anchored there, but the waves were huge – crashing over the rocks and tossing our little boat to and fro. Nope – that wasn’t going to work – so we hightailed it back to our safe harbor, and swam around in our snorkel gear for a while, just because we had it on.

Enough adventures for one day – back to Sea Change to watch the sun set and relax over a pasta dinner. We’ll try again in George Town – two stops away. 

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

A Bahamian Dream Day

Ah – this is definitely what it’s all about – and worth the rough ride earlier in the trip to get here!

We left Black Point this morning, and spent a little while turning circles in the calm bay, while my captain “swung” the compass. Lo and behold, that corrected our misbehaving chart plotter that had been reading upside down for most of the trip so far.

Then, a gorgeous 2-hour passage under full sail at 5 knots (mph approx.) with an 11 knot wind, took us to Little Farmer’s Cay. This was the first time in the whole trip that we managed to sail all the way from one point to another, and it was perfect!

This little 3.5 mile Cay is a tiny perfect Bahamian paradise. En route, we flagged down a fishing boat on its way in, and bought two lobster tails and two small tuna, which the fishermen filleted for us on the spot. Then, after lunch and a “Bahama Mama” (rum and juice) on board, we made our way to the town’s main dock, where we were welcomed by friendly greetings from everyone. Only 85 people live here, and they’re all related! I think they’re glad when strangers arrive, for a little variety J.

Right under the dock were such a variety of sea creatures it felt like we were in an aquarium! There were sea turtles, sting rays, a porcupine blowfish, many other varieties of small tropical fish, and we even saw a small shark under our boat as well.

Then we walked around the charming village, with its colourful pallet of little houses, two grocery stores (with no fresh food, unfortunately, as the mail boat hadn’t arrived yet), flowering bougainvillea everywhere and views of the ocean that seemed like they were painted there. The woodworker up the road showed us around his shop, and the women in front of the grocery shared some lobster they were snacking on with us. We had a great talk with the owner of Ocean Cabin – a funky restaurant full of Island memorabilia, and then dinghied back to our boat to watch the sun set and the almost full moon rise.

Freshly caught fish, asparagus and yams for dinner ended an amazing day …

Monday, 26 February 2018

Laundry Day in Black Point

The settlement at Black Point on Great Iguana Cay is a lovely, historic community with some of the friendliest people we’ve encountered in the Bahamas. It boasts two food stores, two restaurants and several popular bars, as well as gorgeous beaches and the best laundry facility in the Bahamas J.

I thought we were early birds when we dinghied our three loads of laundry over there at 8:30 this morning – but discovered that all 12 machines were already in use, and the laundry was filled with cruisers trading stories while they waited their turn.

No problem, though. Lorraine’s restaurant next store served us a great brunch, and we met up with some friends from our sailing club in Toronto, to help pass the waiting time – while Lorraine’s mother made us a fresh gluten-free bread for Jeff!

The day before, I took a walk to a near-by beach and spent a couple of hours watching parasail enthusiasts struggling to get their kites in the air in the now much calmer wind. One of them – a paragon of patience – spent over an hour waiting for the wind to catch his sail. I left before he gave up – so I’m not sure how much longer he persisted, and whether or not he ever actually managed to sail.

Tomorrow we’re off to Little Farmer’s Cay with clean clothes and linen, though not much food in the fridge – hope they have a grocery store there!