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March 05, 2011

Back to the Bahamas

We are in the Bahamas anchored by Manjack Cay in the Abacos after a very smooth and delightful crossing last Saturday February 25th. It was the best crossing we have ever had with almost calm seas, a gentle breeze and beautiful sunshine. Web left from the Lake Worth (West Palm Beach) channel at about 6 AM so the sun wouldn’t be in our eyes going out the channel. We entered the Bahamas just south of Memory Rock about 2 PM and continued on the Mangrove Cay where we anchored with a handful of other boats for the night. As the sun set, we saw the “green flash” for the 4th or 5th time in our lives so you know it was really clear. This time it lasted a little longer than most and was spectacular! I was watching through the binoculars and got to really see it.
Sunday we continued on and spent the night anchored in the harbor at Alans-Pensacola Cay (the hyphenated name caused by a hurricane years ago that joined the two Cays together!) and then Monday on to Green Turtle Cay where we checked in and paid our $300 for the cruising permit and fishing license fee. It sounds expensive but is good for a year and supports the Bahamian Government which is virtually entirely dependent on tourism revenue like the cruising permit and the VAT for its income. There is no personal income tax in the Bahamas! For us it means we are paying about $4-5 per day for the pleasure of enjoying this beautiful small country so I have no problem putting out the money.
We have stayed in this part of the Abacos anchored at Manjack Cay with about 8-10 other cruisers including our very good and long time friends Ann and Neville Clement on the home built Wharam catamaran “Peace IV”. The “IV” on the end is because the boat is registered in Wales (Nev is Welch) and throughout the British Commonwealth, boat names have to be totally unique so if the name is already taken, you just add a number after it to make it unique. They stopped by Courage yesterday morning for tea and a nice visit and we will have them over for dinner tonight.
My son Rich and a neighbor and good friend Chris Lang are coming to visit March 15th for 6 days and we are looking forward to it. They are flying into Treasure Cay (a few miles West of Marsh Harbor) and we will meet them at the marina there and give them a tour of the hot spots of the Abacos. Rich wants to scuba dive and there are many very good dive operators here and it is just a matter of picking the location and weather.
The wind clocked around from the S-SW to the NE two days ago and has been blowing about 20 since then so it has been a little cooler (70 vs. 80-85) but since we are anchored on the south side of Manjack Cay we are sheltered and OK. The “no plan plan” for today is to go ashore and walk around Manjack to visit and get some exercise. I have resumed wood carving and made a plug for the umbrella hole in our outside table that has a red starfish on it (photo will be on the web site) and have continued to carve my “Courage” ship’s badge. The ship’s badge is a more complicated piece and will take some time to complete but it’s the journey not the destination that counts. I also want to put gold leaf on the knob on the top of the new flag pole at the stern of the boat.
We have not decided if we are going to try to move south to the Exumas later in the spring. It would be nice to go there again but is involves an open water daytime passage and will burn a lot of diesel and once there, you have to come back to move north! I also have to be back in NBJ for the annual meeting of Fresh Creek Technologies April 22nd and that may influence our decision too. As usual, the “no plan” plan will continue to be followed … wherever it leads!

Posted by Dick at 02:48 PM