December 2004

Back Across Again

Hello everyone,

As we said the other day, we did safely make it across the Gulf Stream once again from West Palm to Lucaya. The weather gurus, both Southbound II – Herb from Burlington, and Bel Ami – Chris Parker, another cruiser, were saying ” spend Christmas in Florida”. But the weather in West Palm was quite different from their expectations. Some vessels ventured out and reported back to us. Waves were not too bad and winds were low. Out we went. We led two other vessels, new cruisers, across the stream. The full moon helped us to see.

We crashed into left-over waves all night long as we motor-sailed across. We left at 7:30 pm and arrived at the marina in Lucaya by 10:30 am. Every hour or so all night, we would make radio contact with the other two vessels, making sure that all was well aboard.

Once we checked into the Bahamas by filling out many forms and paying $300 per vessel, we headed into the village to obtain our winter’s supply of rum. That needed to be done right away, as the stores would be closed for several days for Christmas, Boxing Day etc.

Finally, after a gourmet dinner of weiners and beans, we crawled into our bunk for the first sleep in a while.

Christmas Day, there was a turkey and ham dinner served by the pool. Instead of mashed potatoes and gravy, we had traditional peas and rice. And the stuffing had a distinctly fishy taste. But, it was all delicious and we shared the day with friends.

Then, the wind started to howl for the next few days. We had hoped to head further south but not into that wind. When it let up slightly, we got out of the marina and anchored in the canals nearby.

Now, we do boat jobs, play dominoes with friends and explore the village and await a good weather report. It may be New Year’s Eve in Lucaya.

But, we are in the Bahamas and wearing shorts. Albeit, with sweat shirts.

Hugs to all and have a Happy New Year.

Murray & Heather

Week Before Christmas

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the boat,

The lockers were stuffed, it’s a wonder she’d float.

The stockings were hung at the base of the mast.

A tiny tree nearby, it’s lights flashing fast.

Mur in his tee shirt and me in my slinky,

Had just cuddled in for some hanky-panky,

When out on the deck there arose such a clatter,

We sprang from our bunk to see what’s the matter.

We threw open the hatches and grabbed up some clothes,

Some glasses, some shoes and onto the deck we rose.

A little old man so drunk and so slow,

We knew in a moment that it must be Old Joe.

His dinghy was leaking and covered in sand,

A beer was peaking from out of his hand.

“Howdy neigbour” he said ” My name is Joe”

“It’s cold tonight and the winds gonna blow”.

Invited aboard, he climbed pretty quick

Up the ladder, over the rail and spilt beer not a lick.

He was jolly old man with wrinkles galore,

“I’m anchored nearby, closer to shore”

“Christmas lights I saw and thought I’d visit”

Christmas is coming tonight I think – is it?”

Some turkey, a sandwich, a coffee so hot,

A bit of rum, a touch, just a tot?

We listened to stories, tales of before.

His wife had died in the winter ’94.

Alone he had cruised all up and around

The coast of America ’till his boat she broke down.

Now anchored here for the rest of his time,

He misses his wife, the cruising, sunshine.

The dawn is peeking from over the sea,

Happy Christmas, Joe, from Murray and me.

And look, Santa came by and left these here,

A tee shirt, a book , some soap, even beer!

A tear in his eye, old Joe has departed,

His outboard running like somebody farted.

“Merry Christmas to all” he called o’er the noise.

“Merry Christmas to all of the girls and the boys!”

We sure hope that you enjoy my little poem. We sit here in Lake Worth waiting for a window and hope to cross to the Bahamas soon. Before Christmas maybe. If not, we will spend the day with friends anchored nearby and phone home to talk to family. Enjoy your holidays. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

Hugs, Murray & Heather

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