Friday, January 04, 2008

Happy New Year From The Bahamas

We left the USA on December 20th and headed east for the Bahamas. The trip took 10 hours. Our first stop was a small private island called Cat Cay. They were not real friendly there and the local dockmaster wanted us to pay him $100 to check into customs and immigration.

We declined the offer and anchored 100 feet from the beach next to the marina. We hooked up to their WiFi, sent a few emails and turned in for the night. We headed out the next morning at 4 am and had a great sail to Chub Cay. We arrived at 3pm, checked into customs and raised our Bahamian Courtesy Flag. We have arrived!

Two long days of sailing left some of the crew a bit tired.
From Chub Cay we island hopped to New Providence (Nassau) and then south east to Norman's Cay. Norman's was famous in the 70's for running cocaine from Columbia to the US. It is now a quaint little island with lots of no-see-ums. Dana and I got about 300 bites between the two of us. Steve is immune to the little buggers. We did not linger long and continued south.

Our goal was to reach the Exuma Land and Sea Park by Christmas. We got there on 12/24.

We had heard many wonderful tales of this Bahamian National Park. It is spectacular and is easily one of the most beautiful places we have seen in our travels. Lucky for us, Santa knew exactly where we were. He left us a few gifts under our Christmas tree.

The only thing missing was Meghan. We called her later in the day on Skype and since both our computers have video cameras, we got to see her smiling face. The day was now perfect.

The Exuma Park is a large horseshoe shaped anchorage with deep water around the perimeter . At low tide, multiple sand bars are exposed in the center of the anchorage. Fine Line is in the middle and Independence (another St. Francis Catamaran) is on the left. Independence is owned by a family of four:mom, dad, Sam age 2 and Ben age 5. They plan to circumnavigate ......with two small children.
There are great hiking trails on the island and friendly critters.
The fauna on most of the cays is low growing shrubs and mangroves. Yes, there are bugs here and a few snakes. Fortunately we did not meet any of the latter.
There are plenty of beautiful deserted beaches. The water is about 85 degrees. Perfect for swimming. This beach faces east, towards the Exuma Sound (part of the Atlantic).
A short hike away is another beach on the Exuma Banks (very protected).
The Exuma Park Ranger and his wife put out a wonderful Christmas meal for all the boaters. They smoked a turkey and a ham. They cooked squash and sweet potatoes. The boaters brought side dishes and dessert. It was a feast.
After dinner it was easy to relax. No dishes.

We left paradise on the 27th and headed further south. Our goal was Georgetown by New Year's Eve. We stopped on the way at Staniel Cay and snorkled some great caves. Next we stopped at Black Pointe to do some laundry. There are very few places to wash clothes and Black Pointe has one of the finest laundry facilities around. It is a very traditional Bahamian town and the people are very friendly.

We arrived in Georgetown at 10am on 12/31. Our VHF radio was not receiving well so once we were settled Steve got hauled up the mast for some troubleshooting. This is a view of Fine Line from 60 feet up.

This little turtle likes to hang out by our boat. The water is really that pretty. No filters used.
Georgetown is a happening place. There are currently about 110 boats anchored here. By April there will be about 400. The Chat "N" Chill is a popular beach bar on Volleyball Beach.
You can relax and watch volleyball games, look at boats or read a book.
There are many beaches to visit and trails to hike. Think we'll stay awhile
Dana headed back to San Diego on 1/3. She was sad to leave but looked forward to Starbucks, her car and her cell phone. We will miss her.
Happy New Year

Fine Line Crew

Steve and Anne