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January 31, 2004

We continue to explore the Abacos

We had a nice visit with our long time friend and high school classmate Dave Pritchard and his wife Andy. It is interesting to get reacquainted after 40+ years! Dave has had a very successful career with undergrad at Cal Tech, PhD from Harvard and a Professor (endowed chair) at MIT. All in atomic physics! He has mentored four Nobel Prize winners during his career and is now involved in a start up Internet based educational company that produces practice problems with testing evaluation for students – for now in physics and chemistry. It sounds very exciting and on the verge of taking off. Andy is also involved in the company.
We found some great places to swim and snorkel and the weather cooperated nicely. Dave and Andy are both accomplished sailors who race their boat on Narragansett Bay and Dave was tweaking Omega to squeeze out the last fraction of speed when we were sailing.
We revisited the Hope Town Lighthouse and were there at sunset when the light hose keeper lit the kerosene lamp. He has to wind the mechanism that turns the light every 2 hours by hand. The whole turning light structure “floats” in a pool of mercury to reduce the weight (and thus the friction) on the bearings. You can turn the light which must weigh at least several tons with one finger! This is the last operation manual lighthouse in the Bahamas and is supported by a non-profit organization based on donations. There are photos of the sunset from the top of the lighthouse in the recent Photo Album.
Since Dave and Andy left, we have been south to Cherokee Sound that was a boat-building center in the days of wooden boats but now is just a very nice quiet town with friendly people. We also stopped in Little Harbor to see the studio and foundry of Randolph Johnston who moved there in the ‘50’s from Deerfield Mass (near Pittsfield in the Berkshires) and started doing cast bronze sculptures –mostly with a theme of sea related subjects. His son Pete runs the local “Pub” which is also an interesting gathering place for cruisers and others.
We then moved north to Sandy Cay that is part of the Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park and hope to snorkel here today if conditions are right – good sunlight and little current. We have had a slow gentle rain all night and it doesn’t look like it will clear up too soon but the fresh water washes the salt off the boat so there is some good that comes from it.

Posted by Dick at 04:54 PM

January 21, 2004

Our trip "home"

We are on or way back to Marsh Harbor and Omega after a week in New Jersey. It was a good trip and it was fun to visit with family and friends but Sue and I both are anxious to be back on the boat enjoying our cruising lifestyle. Cold weather aside; we really like the boat and all the related activities. We are returning with heaver suitcases due to Christmas presents and boat parts picked up on the trip. Included is the annual jar of fantastic home made pickles from friend Carol Carty. I look forward to these every year!
I feel like I have pigged out with too much rich restaurant food after getting use to our diet on Omega. During my visit to the doctor’s office I was weighed and confirmed that I have lost weight – 16 pounds in fact. Some of you who have seen me recently have commented on my new slim look and asked if I was OK. The answer is definitely yes! The cruising life is a very healthy one and sailing is a form of constant low-level isometric exercise due to the boat rocking motion. It tightens stomach and other mussels and keeps you fit. All of Sue’s doctor’s visits went well too and she seems to have a clean bill of health also. We are both thankful for good health and the ability to live the dream.
During this trip I was able to up load the rest of the Christmas and New Years photos so if you have not visited the Photo Albums recently, you may want to look at these. Chris is also going to make updates to the web site that will be obvious when you see them.
Our high school classmate Dave Pritchard and his wife are joining us Jan 22nd for 4 days and my sister Milbrey is coming Feb 3rd for a week so we get to enjoy company on board for the next several weeks.
By mid February, we will be heading south towards Eluethra and then the Exhumas. These areas of the Bahamas are more remote and less developed than the Abacos and we are looking forward to revisiting some of the places we went last year.
Footnote for Wednesday Jan 20th. We arrived aboard to find Omega in fine shape and the freezer very cold. We washed her down and filled the water tanks and have moved out of the marina and are anchored in Marsh Harbor awaiting the arrival of the Pritchards.

Posted by Dick at 10:15 AM

January 06, 2004

We Start the New Year

Chris and Louisa invited us to join them at their resort hotel for an afternoon at the fresh water pool and for the New Years Eve dinner. We elected not to stay up for the entrance of the New Year and let the “young ones” do the celebrating.
Chris, Louisa and I signed up for another Scuba dive trip on Friday. This time with Dive Abaco who operate out of the marina next to their resort. It was the best dive yet to sites with beautiful coral and lots of fish. We went into caves, “gardens” and along a mini wall where the reef drops off into deeper water. The dive operators were particularly good and provided some extras like fresh orange slices and cookies between dives. They charge a little more but it was well worth it for the extra enjoyment.
Friday night we went to a local seafood restaurant for an end of vacation celebration with Louisa and Chris. The service and food were very good and it was a great way to end their visit with us. We were sad to see them leave.
Since then we returned to Marsh Harbor to fill water tanks, do some minor provisioning and rearrange stuff on Omega back to the two on board storage setup – i.e. we fill the V berth with junk!
We are now back at Green Turtle Cay and stopped at Bakers Bay on the way here to snorkel the reef on the Atlantic side of the Cay. These are the same general locations where we went Scuba diving and the reefs are close to the surface and fun to snorkel. We both wore our wet suits since the water can get a little chilly and we were very comfortable. We also went ashore at the abandoned Disney site on Guana Cay and I picked up another fresh coconut. Thanks to the meat cleaver given me by Liz, then are easy to open and the fresh coconut milk and meat are a real treat.
The weather continues to be wonderful with gentle SE wind and lots of sunshine. We will spend the next week poking around the Sea of Abaco to explore new anchorages before we hop the plane back to the US o January 11th.

Posted by Dick at 08:55 AM