To whomever sent the congratulatory balloons we received as we crossed the Gulf Stream... thanks! Nice touch, we really appreciated it. One question; how did you manage to place them in just the right spot on the Atlantic Ocean?
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
Bahamas Sunrise Monday, January 12, 2009
Funny coincidence, Jan. 12, 22 years ago, Robert started work with the company he has just retired from!
Bristol Rose's bowsprit is reflected in the turquoise waters of the Little Bahama Bank
On Sunday evening, we sailed into Bahamian waters. We drop the hook off Green Turtle Cay in The Abacos on Monday at 11:00am. The sail across Little Bahama Bank was great with a full moon to guide us. We raise the yellow quarantine flag and Robert must dinghy alone to shore to clear Bristol Rose and crew through customs. All our paperwork, including Daisie's certificate from the Bahamian Government (thanks Betsy and Jim for your knowledge and help!), is in order so we expect Robert to return soon. Daisie does not understand why he's taking her dinghy without her.
After about 26 hours under sail, Daisie waits impatiently for Robert's return.
Once cleared, we waste no time getting our feet on Bahamian soil, and in the water.
Picket Fences, bright pastels, shutters, golf carts on narrow concrete roads. Welcome to The Abacos!
The first thing we did once ashore on Green Turtle Cay was to buy a homemade ice cream. The peach ice cream brought back fond memories of my Grandmother's ice cream, made from evaporated milk. It's hard to believe we are only about 100 nautical miles from the U.S. as the crow flies. From Florida, it feels like a hundred years away. The horizon was full of boats just outside Lake Worth Inlet when we left. There was a blimp, helicopters, racing boats, container ships..... super busy! Here we are in Green Turtle Cay where the lady at the Post Office calls the Customs Officer from her lunch break to come and check us in, roosters roam the streets, kids go to high school by ferry, and the bank is open two days a week.
The tide is in at the Tiki Bar when we go ashore in the morning to check out the beach.
We spend a blissful night at anchor at Manjack Cay, just north of Green Turtle, and dinghy ashore in the morning. A small sign on the beach reads "Pet Chickens are roaming free. Please leash your dog."
Tuesday. We listen to Chris Parker, the cruiser's weather guy, and make the decision to head south to Man O War Cay, the traditional boat building center of the Bahamas, where we hope to find a mooring in the well protected little bay. There's a cold front coming bringing winds from the south today and swinging around to the west tonight and the north tomorrow with gusts of 30 knots. We'll have to leave early if we want to make it through Whale Cay Passage and into Man O War with its shallow entrance before low tide. According to the Abaco Guide Whale Cay Passage is downright dangerous when seas build up. It has a history of wrecks. "You don't need strong winds for a rage to occur here".
The squall brought only light rain with winds of 25 knots and gusts over 25.
The five and a half hours crossing from Manjack to Man O War took us directly under a squall at one point. Bristol Rose handled the seas (a little bumpy) and the 25 knot winds with ease providing a relatively comfortable ride. The most testing part came at the narrow entrance to Man O War (about 20 feet wide) with 6 feet of water and rocks either side. Once inside we found a narrow bay with a minimum of water between boats either anchored or moored. We'll hunker down here for a few days while we wait out the weather and enjoy exploring the area.
We bought some bread from a lady driving a golf cart around the streets of Man O War. She told us that this candy bright building houses the equipment for the children's sailing school.
Not sure how the boat is launched.