April Update

Hello everyone,

Has spring arrived where you are yet? The days should be getting noticeably longer and warmer with maybe even sightings of greenery peeking through the ground. My favourite time of year.

Here things have been pretty much as usual. Our last letter was written as we left George Town. We sailed north to Cave Cay, met friends there and enjoyed a lovely evening with lobster on the grill. In the morning, we went shelling and snorkeling around the area before we hauled anchors. We sailed north and they turned south. Perhaps we will meet again later in the season. Once in the deep water again, we put out both fishing lines and motorsailed to Black Point. Just before sunset, we dropped our hook in the sand there. After putting the motor on the dinghy, we headed ashore to the new laundry. What a lovely and much needed facility here in the Exumas. I do not mind the bucket laundry but it is difficult to do sheets and towels!

Dawn the next day found us pulling anchor again and heading to our old haunt near Staniel Cay, called Oz. Again friends awaited us and we caroused until the late evening, sharing stories and rum drinks. We had a plane to meet, so again we hauled anchor and headed for the deep water of Exuma Sound. Fishing lines again deployed and we waited in vain for the zzing that never came. We entered Norman’s Cay from the sound side and anchored there with only six other vessels around. Good protection from the expected frontal passage that night.

As we were only one day from Nassau now, we had some time to relax. A little beach walking, snorkeling and a visit to McDuff’s Beach Bar for hamburgers seemed in order. McDuff’s has been sold and will be closing down shortly, so it was likely our last hamburger in this piece of paradise. Paradise is changing as there is another resort being started on that end of Norman’s Cay.

We arrived in Nassau and tucked into a little cove we use, across from Nassau Harbour Club. The traffic, noise and wakes from large vessels soon reminded us why we avoid this part of the Bahamas. In the morning, we re-stocked our larder and prepared for a guest. Gary arrived by mid-afternoon, with a full cooler bag! Steaks, hamburger, peameal bacon, cold meats, cheeses and even fresh mushrooms. Man, was our frig full.

In the morning, we sailed off to Royal Island, Eleuthera. It was a fourty mile passage and quite lumpy. Again fishing lines were deployed but no zzing. We entered the shallow banks again at SouthWest Reef and proceeded to Royal Island. Another front was expected soon and we hunkered down for a few days of reading and card games. When the weather improved, we went ashore to explore the ruins there. The last few hurricanes have really advanced the destruction of these buildings.

In the next days, we visited Spanish Wells a couple of times. We anchored outside town and dinghyed in to explore this lovely village. The people take pride in the appearance of their homes and gardens here and it certainly makes it attractive to the eye. The Pinders Grocery Store made arrangements for Gary to fly back to Nassau on Southern Air. We arrived in town the day before his departure and hooked up to one of the moorings.

After Gary departed, we invited our friend Wayne Perry ( Little Woody )his wife, Phyllis and daughter Brigit aboard for dinner. We try to get together with them each year and catch up on each other’s lives. Woody had lost his mother this winter as well, so we were able to support each other.

The next day, we headed to Meeks Patch and anchored all by ourselves off of a lovely sand beach. A snorkel nearby added some fish to the larder as Heather spotted the grouper and Murray speared it. In the morning at dawn, we headed north to Abaco. Again, two fishing lines deployed. This trip was a sixty mile day, with a current against us. The seas were relatively calm and winds light. This time the fishing lines did zzing. Twice or three times. But, no fish into the boat. Murray did have a long fight with a mahi-mahi that spit the hook just behind the boat. Oh well, another day.

Five pm found us dropping our hook for the night, in Abaco. It was a beautiful sunset and a long day. We slept like logs. Another front was expected, so on we sail in the morning. For the frontal passage, we romped northwest toward Treasure Cay. With high winds expected, we look for protection from the winds, good holding and few boats to drag into us. We dropped our hook outside of Treasure Cay and kept a lookout. Mid-afternoon the sky looked ominous. I had been watching out the forward hatch and saw evidence of a tornado or waterspout forming as the water nearby churned upward. Murray started the motor and we hung on as the wind howled through the rigging and the windgenerator distorted from the force of the wind. Everything on the boat shook but our anchor held. Rain washed the salt off our decks and the wind howled most of the night.

Today, all is bright a shiny albeit a trifle chilly with the north wind blowing. By chilly, I mean 20C. In the next day or so, the winds will die again and we will go to Marsh Harbour, do laundry and re-stock the larder. Then we ill work our way further north and start watching for the weather to cross over to the US again. Spring has come and all the birds are heading north again, even us boat-dwelling snowbirds.

That is life aboard, exciting moments and days of boredom or routine. Not much different than life ashore.

Hugs to all, Heather & Murray