Thursday, April 3rd
Thompson's Bay, Long Island
Tuesday and Wednesday were both squally and windy. It was stay aboard and do chores/read kind of weather. Today we finally had some breaks in the sky and the wind eased a bit so we fled to shore at our first opportunity. We were not the only cruisers with this idea. At the "Pole 108" beach we encountered folks from three other boats, including Pendragon from Salem, MA. Needless to say the standard beach treasures one finds while beachcombing had been pretty well wiped out. The captain of Rachel worked with what was available however and put together a lovely diorama involving a "flock" of toothbrushes all watching a decrepit computer screen as if they were at the movies (see April photos.) Ah, the things that amuse us after several days trapped aboard. After a quick beer at the Thompson Bay Inn with Rachel and Diva we made our way home. We headed over to Kittywake in the evening for sundowners and spectacular appetizers. If they are reading this, we owe them a pizza next time we meet.
Friday, April 4th
Thompson's Bay, Long Island
Today was "car tour" day. Ken on Cassaway organized a rental van and Cassaway, Kittywake and we headed off on an Island tour. After Stanley, the van's owner, gave us his cautionary talk (watch the potholes left from the Fall's flooding, don't scratch the sides of the van with Island shrubbery) we headed south. Our first stop was the blue hole at Turtle Cove. It is actually called Dean's Blue Hole and it is the deepest blue hole in the world, coming in at 660'. We had been told there was some sort of diving competition being held there so we thought we'd have a look. It turns out that it wasn't just any old diving competition but Vertical Blue 2008, an international invitational freediving competition. There were divers trying to set world records in three disciplines; 1)Unassisted (no fins, just hands and feet) 2)With fins (or one mermaid-like fin) and, 3) Free immersion, pulling oneself downward on a rope. It was a really interesting experience partly because it was so laid back. There were probably a dozen cruisers there to check out the happenings but there was nobody else. No press, no hangers on. At least we didn't see any extras. We stood around chatting with the divers and asking questions about what was involved. They had come from all over the world for the eleven day event and they appeared to be having a wonderful time. It was an amazingly friendly event. Freediving isn't much to speak of from a spectator's perspective but it was a very educational morning. See www.verticalblue.net
From the blue hole we continued on to Clarence Town. You may remember that we had intended to spend some time in Clarence Town when we anchored here at Easter but it was not to be, so here we are exploring by car. Clarence Town's most notable sight(s) are it's two churches built by Father Jerome (of the Cat Island Hermitage fame.) He built the first when he was an Anglican. When he converted to Catholicism he came back to build a slightly larger Catholic church. I'm not sure if that was a particularly Christian thing to do but who am I to comment. After touring the Flying Fish Marina we headed to lunch at Rowdy Boys Restaurant. Roger and I had our favorite, cracked conch and two Kaliks. After lunch we made an excursion to an anchorage called Little Harbor. None of us had ever anchored there so we were curious to see it. There was no one at anchor but there were several wrecks.
The rest of the day involved going to places listed on the chart but which were not open. Stops were also made for liquor and groceries before we headed back to Stanley's at the appointed hour. Stanley's wife, Sybil, loaded us up with fresh tomatoes, peppers and papayas from her garden. A cruisers dream. We made our way back to the boat with a somewhat better knowledge of the Long Island landscape.
Saturday, April 5th
Hog Cay, Long Island
We left Long Island at about 9:30, headed north towards Hog Cay. We intended to spend the night at Hog then continue on Sunday up to Conception. Unfortunately we had a small but noisy equipment failure involving our preventer so instead it was back to George Town for us on Sunday. Despite this glitch we had a fine day. The swimming at Hog Cay was great as usual. Naps were had, followed by a dinner of pizza in the cockpit. Not too hard to take.
Sunday, April 6th
George Town, Great Exuma
We've arrived back in George Town, perhaps a few days earlier than we intended, but with guests coming next week and stuff to fix we'll be fairly occupied. We haven't done our laundry in over a month so I know where I'll be spending some of my time. Roger will be on the phone to Forespar to order a replacement for our broken boom bit. There's also the small matter of the fuel lift pump... Ah, no rest for the weary. Stay tuned for "The Busheks go to the Bahamas."
Wednesday, April 30th
George Town, Great Exuma
Yesterday we sent our guests, Jim & Lorraine, to the airport after two weeks of fun and frivolity. It was the quintessential Bahamian cruise. Great wind, sun, fishing and touring as well as equipment failure, pre-frontal troughs and clothing dropped in the water. We had it all. Sadly, we managed to miss the Family Island Regatta in its entirety. Alas, this cruise line makes no promises when it comes to the itinerary. The troops went home happy nonetheless, leaving us with a working refrigerator, the recipe for pineapple sauce and the remains, albeit scant, of a bottle of coconut rum. J & L, see you in Utah, Winter 2009!
Now we find ourselves getting ready to head north. NORTH, that is. We're spending our days provisioning and taking on fuel and water and looking for the right weather window to head offshore. Right now it looks like a Sunday or Monday departure. Passage planning is a study in flexibility. What starts out looking like a four day window can change in an afternoon with an altered forecast. At this point we're hoping for a shot from the the northern Exumas to Beaufort, N.C. but we have several bailout plans if the weather doesn't cooperate. In any case these are our last few days in the Bahamas which makes us very sad.