Saturday, March 31, 2012

Crossing Wakes

Motivator, picture compliments of Izzy St. Clair on Izzy R
Making crossing and exploring new places is just part of the cruising lifestyle.

Once you get to a new place, whether you have to drop the dinghy and cruise in from an anchorage, or simply go into a marina, you soon meet other cruisers.

Soon you are eating, drinking, and swapping stories.  This luncheon had representatives from Canada, France, Belgium, France and the U.S.
The Izzy R our “buddy boat” south
Some of the friends you meet you end up traveling with, or crossing wakes numerous times, while others you will probably never meet up with again.

In a small marina in Providenciales, Caicos we were in the company of two other DeFevers.  A 50’ and two 49’ DeFevers were lined up at the dock.
Jeff & Izzy on Izzy R, Andy & Sharon on Finally Fun and Pollie and Mo

This warranted a group photo for the DeFever Cruisers newsletter.  Finally Fun was returning from the down island voyage that the Izzy R and Motivator are just beginning.  Yes, we really picked their brains and looked at their logs.

But, at the end of the day, your best cruising buddy is on the boat with you.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Leaving George Town

After a couple of weeks in George Town it was time to leave.
The Great Dinghy Flotilla to Sand Point

We had a great time and enjoyed the camaraderie of fellow cruisers, but the Cruiser Regatta was over and the cruisers were scattering.

We are “buddy boating” with the Izzy R, a 49’ DeFever CPMY like ours, as we head south.
Our first leg was to be George Town to Rum Cay, but we found the wind and seas to be rougher than predicted, so we pulled in on Long Island, just south of Cape Santa Maria.

Allegedly, Columbus’ flagship the Santa Maria hit one of the reefs in the area.  I decided that they must have been trying to escape the surge in the anchorage when they hit the reef. 
Note the sky in the above photo.  It became apparent that our “weather window” had vanished and we were in for several days of big seas and high winds.

Some of the sailboats may like those conditions, but not us.

So, we did what most good cruisers do, we joined a party.  The George Town to Long Island Rally (20-25 boats) had pulled in to Thompson Bay on Long Island so we joined them.  They had an awards banquet and dance at the Long Island Breeze that was a hoot.
Our first Seniors Bus Tour
The next day we joined about 30 other cruisers for a bus tour of Long Island.  The most notable thing about Long Island is that it is long, about 76 miles by 4 miles.  Density is not a problem on Long Island as the population of 3,500 is spread between about 40 settlements.

Our first stop was a 16th Century church built by the Spanish and later used by the English when they took control.  Unfortunately preservation in the Bahamas usually takes a backseat to more pressing concerns.
Next was a nicely done museum that attempted to capture the history of Long Island from pre-Columbian times to present.

Another stop was the SS. Peter and Paul Church of Clarence Town built by Father Jerome of the Cat Island Hermitage fame.
The bell towers seemed to be a hit.
Reportedly, the view was great.
And look, I went in a church and didn’t burst into flames.

Our next stop was Dean’s Blue Hole.  It is the world’s deepest known blue hole with seawater.  It plunges 663 feet.  It is used by many international free divers.
The tour was completed by a great lunch prepared by the bus driver’s wife.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Best Laid Plans…

Our son Haeden was scheduled to join us at the end of February for 9 days, so we checked into the Marina at Emerald Bay to wait his arrival.  Next door to a Sandals Resort, Emerald Bay is one of the nicer marinas in the Bahamas.  They even provided us with a carpet at our boarding ladder.

We met Haeden’s flight at Exuma International Airport (GGT).
No jet ways or luggage handling at GGT, jus a long walk across the tarmac.
As soon as Haeden cleared customs and emigration, it was off to Big D’s Conch House for a taste of the islands.
And, a chance for sticking his feet in the Bahamian water.

I think his mother was happy to see him.
Back at the Marina at Emerald Bay, we enjoyed the amenities and got in a game of pool at the club house.

The next day, we ran into George Town to do some shopping while we still had the rental car.
While there, Haeden checked out the opportunities to use his computer science degree in the Bahamas.
Later that afternoon, we got in some snorkeling at Sandals Beach.
We got in a couple of more days of bike riding and snorkeling, before it was time to motor on down to Elizabeth Harbour and George Town.

The golf balls Haeden found at Sandals Beach were donated to the Beach Golf Tournament at the George Town Cruisers Regatta.
It is called the George Town Cruisers Regatta, but most of the activities are actually across Elizabeth Harbour on Stocking Island and centered around the infamous Chat ‘N’ Chill and Volley Ball Beach.
We made it in time for the Sunday afternoon pig roast.
Haeden seemed to enjoy the sights.
And, learning about the local sea life.
Then our plans for Haeden’s visit unraveled.  A front moved through the Bahamas bringing us 4 days of very strong winds and rough sea conditions even tucked behind an island for shelter.  Haeden, however seemed to be able to entertain himself, and even gave our computers some much needed IT support.
One day we did brave the elements and took the dinghy into George Town for service on the engine.
While there, we got in a meal at the Driftwood Café.
After some grocery shopping, it was time to suit up for the ride back to the boat.
On the morning of his return flight, we took him to George Town so he could catch a taxi to the airport.  While I was picking up some must have items from the local hardware store, Haeden was making friends with the owner.
She must have liked him because she gave him a gift.

Then it was time for him to leave.
Until next time…