April 25 2009
I last wrote on February 5 in Nassau. From Nassau we made our way downthe Exuma chain to Georgetown on Great Exuma Island, southeast to LongIsland, back to Georgetown and retraced our steps up the Exuma Chain. Last week we crossed the banks back to New Providence, but rather thanentering Nassau harbour we chose to anchor off Rose Island, just minutesfrom downtown Nassau, yet a tranquil beach (except when the cruise shipsoff loaded passengers to the beach in their bum boats) with reefs tosnorkel right off the stern of the boat. We have been with SouthernCross, Windswept and Sinn Fein. Windswept and Sinn Fein are enteringNassau harbour and heading back to Bimini and then Miami. We have crossedthe North East Providence Channel to Spanish Wells, just north ofEleuthera and are waiting out yet another cold front before we move northto Great Abaco. We have just extended our visas enabling us to remain inthe Bahamas till May 24 2009.
Let me elaborate on the ‘cold fronts’ we have experienced down here. Acold front does bring cooler but also more stable air. That means aslight dip in temperature from the mid 80’s to mid 70’s if you are on theboat. On land it’s still typically much warmer. I haven’t worn longpants since Miami and only seldom do you add a sweater over a shortsleeved T shirt. The ‘cold front’ problem is the high winds that comefrom the North to East quadrant (00 – 90 degrees). Depending where youare it’s difficult to impossible to move a boat to a new destination inthese conditions. Consequently we spent a lot more time in Georgetownbecause we couldn’t get out. Right now in Spanish Wells the weatherforecast suggests it will be next weekend before we can head north to theAbacos. We plan to spend perhaps two weeks in the Abacos and then crossback to Florida mid May.
Over Easter David and Karen Kentner flew in to join us at Staniel Cay. Wehad a great time snorkelling the Thunderball Cave (as in 007 movies) aswell as great reefs in Cambridge Cay which is part of the Exuma Cays Landand Sea Park, My favourite was the reef and two caves at Rocky Dundas. Their visit was a great boost for us and a chance to share our Bahamasexperience with family.
Several nights ago in Spanish Wells we enjoyed ‘the hour of the swallow’(actually it was a pleasant two hours) at the home of Tom and JeanGoldson, with our hosts and locals Jock and Hawk and their wives and ofcourse Dennis and Karen from Southern Cross. The get together was theresult of a chance meeting between Southern Cross and Tom and Jean. Assoon as Port Stanley was mentioned they wanted to know if we knew Marv andMary Nethercott. Of course we do. Well they cruised with them over 10years ago on their first cruise south. Since them they bought a differentboat, sold their home in Rhode Island and bought property in SpanishWells. Although its been a long while since they cruised together theyremember Marv and Mary with great fondness. Being from Port Stanley andknowing those that have cruised before us (Nethercotts, Rands, Don Wilson,Lesaks) has become a badge of honour to be worn proudly. It has been thepassport to many memorable encounters with long term cruisers.
We have been cruising now some eight months and I sense my crew is readyfor a vacation from the vacation. They are ready to step back into theold familiar life. “The sea faring rat”, a character from one of myfavourite books “Wind in the Willows” talks about going to sea, steppingout of the old life and into the new as a simple transitory action that ina moment of time changes you forever. Not so for my crew. The odyssey iswinding down. When we hit the Florida coast it will be a hurried treknorth and this passage will become but a warm memory.
Luckily for me it will be a part of me forever. ‘Though it has been farmore enjoyable for me I couldn’t have experienced this on my own. I willalways be grateful to Maxine and Niki for living my dream and making it areality.
S/V Nice Butt