Thursday, 19 March 2015

Heading back to George Town

Our last day at Rat Cay two days ago marked the end of our real vacation – now we’re making our way back to George Town to clean and close up the boat for the season.

And what a lovely way to end – the weather is still calm and beautiful, so we dinghied around the Bay all the way to the nearest village – Barreterre – which is the last one on Great Exuma Island. Enroute, we saw multitudes of gorgeous bright orange starfish lounging on the bottom of the shallow turquoise water (some, 12 inches in diameter!).

We made our way to a little white beach, surrounded with coral heads, and after firmly tying our dinghy up J - we walked, read, beach-combed and found a beautiful, intact sand dollar and some hermit crabs.

Yesterday, we motored 2 hours to the famous Sandal’s Resort Marina at Emerald Bay for a touch of civilization before we start working on the boat (they had a 50 cent-a-foot special on their unserviced dock - about $20.00 a night). It’s amazing what a pleasure hot showers and free laundry facilities can be! We did our e-mail in their beautiful sailors’ lounge, munching on quacamole and corn chips, and then dashed into our boat for the evening to escape the no-see-ums that hadn’t bothered us since before it became windy here (3 weeks ago).

So this will likely be my last blog for this trip, as the rest of the time we’ll be working to pack up.  It has been a restful if not as adventurous a trip as we had anticipated. Hopefully there will be future years to continue exploring the places we missed this time. For now, we return to Toronto rested and renewed, and very anxious to see all of our friends and family. See you soon!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Kicking Back in Rat Cay

Ah, what a beautiful day! The wind was calm, the water so clear you could see down 10 feet to every blade of seaweed at the bottom. The sun shone as we puttered around the boat.

We both worked on our computers in the morning, and I made asparagus soup for lunch with my nifty little blender that runs off the inverter.

Then we hung out in the cockpit – I painted, Jeff read, and we both had a skinny dip off the back of the boat. We enjoyed a lobster tail stir-fry for dinner and had a wonderful skype call with our grandchildren and Mike and Mika. An amazing sunset finished off a perfect day in the Bahamas, as we watched two kayakers set up camp for the night on a near-by beach … it doesn’t get any better than this!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

A Cruiser’s Dream Sail

Today the wind finally calmed down, and the seas, too, as a result. So we weighed anchor this morning and are currently on a cruiser’s dream sail – 4.5 hours downwind at about 4.0 knots (read mph), with an average of 9 knots of wind, on the spinnaker – there’s nothing so relaxing!

We’ve just anchored off Rat Cay – right opposite the little beach where we once had a dinghy escape – narrowly losing the “family car”. We won’t do that again J.

Now for a swim before dinner off the back of the boat in the crystalline turquoise water. I just hope the snow’s gone in Toronto when we get back in 10 days – it’ll be hard to adjust! (I know, no sympathy forthcoming …)

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Culture Vulturing

An evening and a day well-spent on land, as we bounce around in Elizabeth Harbour. It’s the Cultural Heritage Festival here in George Town this weekend – with constant celebrations. Last night included a “Junkanoo” (musical parade), a great band and delicious Bahamian fare of all kinds.

Today we took a trip with other cruisers to see Great Exuma by bus, and had a fabulous lunch with entertainment at Exuma Point restaurant, part-way. A highlight was a walk to a beach cave which had been inhabited by a hermit from the US for 25 years, before he became ill and had to go back to the States. There are some pics below of his cave home, with cooking pots, etc. still in place.

Tomorrow the wind is settling a bit – so we’re planning to sail up the island and then back to Sandal’s Emerald Bay Marina where we might spend a couple of nights. More anon …

Friday, 13 March 2015

Wind, Wind and More Wind!

Picture this – people coming across protected Elizabeth Harbour in wet suits and foul weather gear! It gives you an indication of just how windy and rough it’s been here now for weeks. Today the wind is gusting to 30 knots (60-70 kilometers), and no sign of letting up.

So-o-o the result for us is we aren’t sailing anywhere far. Yesterday we sailed in slightly less wind and very rolly 3-foot high waves from Red Shanks around Stocking Island and back to Elizabeth Harbour. It looks like we’ll be staying in this area for the rest of the trip, unless the weather changes dramatically. We didn’t see another boat on the water in the Exuma Sound (Atlantic Ocean side).

The cruising community of over 400 boats is responding to this enforced “stay-at-home” situation by making it fun right here – there are tons of activities being organized – kind of an adult Summer camp. Tonight there’s a trip by water taxi into George Town to attend the Music Heritage Festival, and tomorrow an excursion to a lovely restaurant for lunch and a tour of Great Exuma. This will be a chance to meet our cruising community, which I’ve been wanting to do. So it may not be much of a sailing trip, but it’s certainly a vacation, and still great to be away from Winter!