Friday, 11 May 2012

Bahamas - Part 1

Hi from Clare, Thursday 10th May 2012

Hurray, we have now purchased internet access for the duration of our stay in the Bahamas. We are now in George Town in Grand Exuma and it only took two trips to the Bahamian Telecom shop before the sim card worked, so that's progress but it is sooo slooow - said to be 4G.

Our last news letter from Mayaguana was sent via Wifi from the local pub. To find Wifi was a real surprise because the island had one food store, no ATM or bank, but a Post Office and not much of anything else. There were very few cars but the town had a rotunda at the crossroad where locals could gather (safely) and see the town limits in each of the 4 directions!
 So we went to the pub for Wifi. "de pub was shut cos de power she is off and nobody got de key for de backup." The following day the pub she was open, it was Election Day, the locals were very friendly "you can stay, you are family, and after the elections we gunna build a marina - so come back soon". We think we will pop in on our way back from New York and see if they have started.

We had a fantastic overnight beam reach sail from Mayaguana to Conception Island. We did 147 miles in 23 hours; the wind dropped out towards the end and we motored the last 20 miles. Even so it was a wonderful night with a flat sea, a full moon and a warm breeze. Conception Island is uninhabited except for the visiting yachts. We were there with Tactical Directions, Innamorata, and Norna.
Our days were spent snorkelling, strolling along the beach and swimming in the shallows. The water at Conception is so clear we can see fish and the occasional shark swim by the boat. The sea water is a spectacular aqua and so vivid that white sea birds flying over the water look blue underneath. Then when they would fly over the sand and they look white; it is a truly magnificent sight.

Conception Beach and Drinks with Kortney, Pete, Clare, Steve, Carol & Andrew

On day two Andrew and I went for a 45 minute walk (to get some exercise) across the island to a deserted beach where there was one shade tree and someone had collected two plastic chairs and other useful bits of plastic flotsam. The total quiet was only interrupted by the occasional whistle of a bird. The sand was as fine as salt and so we went to nature's beauty parlour and rubbed our arms, legs, feet and backs with wet sand and then washed it off in the warm ocean leaving our skin soft and smooth.

 Deserted Beach and "Bruce" the shark from the back of our boat

The Bahamas are very beautiful and it is exciting to consider that we have just begun to explore. The climate at present is perfect. The days are sunny with a temperature in the high twenties and the nights have a lovely warm breeze. We sleep all night with only a sheet covering us.

We had drinks on the beach one night and then the following evening we had a party on 'Tactical Directions' for Pete's (Norna) birthday. We all bought nibbles and salads and Tony cooked the last of the fish Andrew caught and had been safely stored in his freezer. I made a birthday cake with candles and at the appropriate hour Tony turned out the lights and I ascended the stairs from his galley with the cake. The manoeuvre was a bit tricky in a long dress trying to feel my way with one hand and carrying the darn cake aloft in the other, I thought "this could end in tears". Later Andrew said he was holding his breath as he watched the cake bobbing up and down as if transported by spirits as I came up the stairs.

We reluctantly left Conception Island 4.30am yesterday and had a perfect beam reach sail to George Town arriving around lunchtime. (If all sailing was this good, everyone would be out here). We wanted to arrive when the sun was at its highest and the visibility good, as the entrance to George Town is very shallow. We had been given the co ordinates to travel by Rob from "Ventana". We were very glad to have his help as we had conflicting information between the chart plotter and the cruising guide, suggesting that we could run aground. However the shallowest we saw was 3 metres and as we draw 2.1 metres, that's close enough.

Beach at Stocking Island and Kortney on Norna

We anchored off Stocking Island just in front of the Chat n Chill Bar. Once again vivid aqua water and fine white sand which is washed clear of footprints with the evening tide. There are a number of small bays nestled in amongst foliage providing great hurricane holes and a short walk across the headland to a wonderful surf beach just like we have at home.

We had a gathering of eleven yachties last night for drinks on Norna. There were Brits, Ausies, Americans and a German. We had a lively discussion about American politics with everyone stirring the Americans. But they couldn't agree on anything because they were politically divided themselves; it was as funny as a circus. We were the first to leave, the others continued on to the bar and came up this morning a little worse for the wear.

Footprints on the beach & Anchorage inside Stocking Is
This morning Andrew and I got up early and went for a walk across the Island and along the surf beach. Our footprints were the only ones to be seen except for the birds; another wonderful experience

Tomorrow we will hope to leave here to continue our adventures through the Exuma Islands.

Love Candy xx

At 8:17 PM9/05/2012 (utc) our position was 23°31.08'N 075°45.38'W

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