A lot has happened since my last reflections in St Mary’s, Georgia. We’ve travelled the coast of Florida to Miami, been home for Christmas,crossed the ‘dreaded’ Gulf stream, experienced a night on the Grand BahamaBanks and spent almost a week in Nassau. We’ve been cold more than we hadexpected and seen a lot more wind than we think is normal down here.
Two things stand out. Weather is everything !! Cruisers look out for cruisers!!
We are currently with two other PSSS boats; Brandaris and Windswept, andanother Canadian couple in ‘Sayyes’. We crossed the Gulf Stream toBimini with Windswept and Sayyes and then across Grand Bahama Bank toNassau where we met up with Brandaris. We have been here a week waitingfor favourable weather to start south down the Exumas chain toGeorgetown, our most southerly destination at latitude 23:30 N. Brandaris and Sayyes were considering leaving Tuesday and when Iindicated we needed another day to be ready Sayyes simply postponed theirplans so as not to leave us behind. We have known David and Wendyperhaps 2 weeks but the bonds of sailing and cruising together are suchthat they are ‘old friends’ and as this action indicates ‘faithfulfriends’ as well. As luck is, the weather remained unsuitable and as ofThursday we are all still here.
Bob Henderson on Windswept is an old Bahamian salt having cruised thischain of Islands many times. At sea, and in Port, he is every bit the‘cruise director’ that Kathy on Sinn Fein was back in New York. Sinn Feinremains stuck in St Mary’s, Georgia waiting for weather to get movingsouth again and we are looking forward to meeting up with them again,hopefully soon. Grace C has decided to stay north in the Abacos and aread of their blog indicates they are having a good time (albeit oftenweather bound as we are) and making many new cruising friends as well. Southern Cross is already in Georgetown and we understand my old businesspartner Don Wilson in ‘Next Exit’ is probably there now as well. Windswept IV, Murray and Heather Rand, the original live aboard cruisersfrom Port Stanley that inspired the rest of us to follow them arecurrently south of Georgetown in the Jumentos Cays, not that far north ofthe Turks and Caicos. That leaves Whippoorwill and Vertigo 1 in Biminiwaiting for their weather window to catch up. They waited for us inMiami, crossed the Gulf to Bimini and started to Nassau with us, only toturn back to Bimini last Thursday when Vertigo had alternator problemsplus a small issue of taking on salt water. That has been fixed. Whippoorwill turned back with Vertigo both for safety and company only tobe rewarded by being clipped by another boat at the dock in Biminiresulting in damage to the O/B engine for their dinghy. That is stillbeing sorted out. I suspect most of us will share a drink or two inGeorgetown before the spring trek north begins.
The Bahamas are not as vibrant as they were a few years ago. Lesstourism has taken its toll and we see a lot of run down and desertedlocations. But the people remain vibrant, and fun mon!! The area isstill a remarkable paradise and we count our blessings to be able topartake of this experience. We will appreciate more than ever our lifeand bounty back in Canada when we return. We are becoming more tolerantof each other as we co-inhabit this 300 square foot floating island wecall our ‘nice butt’ and we will appreciate and be far more tolerant ofdifferent folks everywhere. Niki has the advantage of learning lessons at17 that we are only now learning. She will be far the better person forspending this year outside the ‘safe cubicle’.
The latest edition of GAM, a Toronto publication well known to mostsailors, has an article written by Paul Kirby about a wonderful Canadian‘caravan’, a ship built in Kingston, Ontario that is travelling the worldproviding live entertainment as a theatre barge in a very Canadian way. It’s a pity I must read of their spectacular journey only in a boutiquepublication. Their exploits should be a daily part of the main streammedia. But I must quote very poignant words from Paul as they succinctlyexpress our own personal experience. “It is an honour to be on this course...It is a wealth that cannot belost, crumble nor devalued...it is a treasure that cannot be stowed in achest, bank or stock market...it is simply a voyage.”
Wayne From S/V Nice Butt
In Nassau harbour