February 2005

The Green Flash

Hello everyone,

Greetings from Exuma Sound, where we are on our way to George Town, Great Exuma. Our first guests left yesterday in Staniel Cay. As there was a front expected, we up-anchored quickly and sailed on south, reaching Cave Cay before sunset. Then, hauled anchor again early this morning to make George Town before the bad weather hits. It should blow hard for a couple of days and then calm down some so that we can get ready for Jeremy, Cynthia and Matthew, who join us in George Town on March 3rd.

While our guests, Linley McLean & Andrew Jones, were aboard we sailed north to Compass Cay, snorkeled some reefs, saw sharks, sailed back south to Black Point, saw iguanas and enjoyed some quiet times aboard as well as a dinner out. But, they were also privileged to see the elusive “green flash” one evening. When the sun sets into a clear, unobstructed ocean view sometimes, as the very last bit of the sun sinks into the sea, you may see an instantaneous flash of green. The scientific types will tell you that it is simply the light splitting into its components and green is the last colour to be seen. Others will say that it is seen in direct relationship to the number of “sundowners” consumed. It doesn’t happen every night. In fact, we have not seen very many in our years of sailing. We saw one during our first season and no more until this year. From Big Major Spot anchorage, near Staniel Cay, we have an unobstructed view of the horizon to the west. In that position, we have now seen three green flashes this winter! Another reason that we love that anchorage.

We are trailing two lines, as is usual every time we move the boat especially in the deep water of the Sound. And, while I was writing, I heard the zzzzing of the line. A fish on! I rushed above deck, moved all of the cockpit cushions out of the way, and then the second line went zzzzing. I went to tend it and my fish spit the hook before being hauled in. Just to keep things tidy, I pulled in my line all the way. Murray’s fish was giving him a bit of a fight but he landed it successfully. It was a six pound skipjack tuna! Yummmm. We caught one of those earlier this winter, on the way to Nassau and they are very meaty fish and extremely tasty. That will go in the freezer to be shared with our next visitors. Now, both lines are back in and we are hoping for a mahi-mahi or two. Still have fifteen miles to go so there is plenty of time yet.

Around us we can see the sails of twenty other vessels, all headed towards George Town. It is getting close to Regatta time there and the number of boats in the harbour will swell. Right now there are 315 boats reportedly. The anchorage is two miles long though, so it seldom feels crowded. Except at the dinghy dock, on the day that fresh vegetables arrive! Then hundreds of crews in hundreds of dinghies race to town to replenish their larders. During Regatta, there will be many events to entertain us and our guests: dances on the beach; concerts; dinghy races; sailboat racing and fun events like conch horn blowing etc.

So, that is life aboard, more exciting in the big city.

We hope that you are keeping warm up there. Spring is not too far away now and we will be turning the bow northward once again. Hugs to all,

Heather & Murray

PS Have arrived in George Town and it is crowded!

Valentine’s Day in Black Point

Hello everyone,

We spent the last two weeks in Staniel Cay area, hiding off and on from the frequent frontal systems. There were beach cocktail parties, visits to friends on other boats and snorkeling trips to put in our time. In fact the time flew by so fast, I was surprised that two weeks had passed since I had written to you all.

A Super Bowl party was held at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club on Super Bowl Sunday. We are not football fans but the dinner sounded like a good deal. So, off we went by dinghy. The club offered a shuttle but it would not return us to the boat until the end of the game. Much after our bedtime! We enjoyed the food, the meeting of old and new friends but departed after the half time show. Man, was it dark out there! No moon, just the few stars that peaked through the cloud cover. We crept along, using a large flashlight at intervals to light up the shoreline. Murray has a wonderful sense of direction and piloted us around three points, and into the anchorage. We were sound asleep in our berth before the shuttle returned the last of the cheering fans.

Another cold front had us hiding again. We shared DVD’s with friends and baked bread etc to keep the cabin warm and to put in time aboard. The book pile is being decimated by all of these fronts.

Finally, good weather again. Just in time for the Staniel Cay fund raiser for the library and oldest house. They had a barbeque ashore with hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, chicken wings, beers and desserts. There was a book sale, flea market, bingo and face painting for the children. As a lot of the cruisers had been stuck aboard with the front, the turnout was phenomenal. We spent most of the time gabbing to friends.

The next day, we sailed ( actually, with the engine off! ) to Black Point to do laundry in the new facility there. I was informed that it was closed on Sunday, so we headed on to the next bay down, Plain Bay. There we did some great shelling on the Sound side. The highlight of the day was an invitation to cocktails at the Sandcastle ashore. It is a castle, built by a couple from California. It has four turrets and is run by solar and wind power. It was a wonderful experience to meet Doug & Jean and to see their amazing home.

In the morning, we returned to Black Point and did do laundry. Everyone in town was dressed in red for Valentine’s Day. Several restaurants were offering special dinners but we opted for a lunch, after the laundry was completed. Murray had a conch burger and I enjoyed some grouper fingers. Back aboard, we put away all of the clean things and dozed in the sun. Man, we are getting very brown.

So, now we are studying the charts and the weather trying to decide where to head today. The sun is shining but the water is still very chilly. Snorkeling is not on the top of our list. Maybe tomorrow. Visitors arrive Sunday into Staniel Cay and there is another cold front expected on Thursday. We have two days to travel around before we have to hide out again. Oh well, this one doesn’t sound as of it will last too long or blow really hard. And, I traded for a few new books and really need to bake some bread. Maybe a front is a good thing, as I will get my chores done.

That is life aboard. Hugs to all, Murray & Heather

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