Monday, April 30, 2007

Plenty of room

Fortunately, we had room enough since Cecca and Becca adapted to life on a moving house that changes neighborhoods several times a day and can be quite boisterous at night. They also fit well in the 33 foot boat, four people sharing life in an area smaller than their bathroom at home.

Beach swing

After several days cruising the islands, we returned to George Town and the land of civilization. Cecca and Becca found that in addition to swimming, hiking, iron shore scrambling, and beach combing there were some quiet pleasures.

Together on the beach

It was wonderful to have all these lovely places to ourselves, but difficult to get a group photo. Fortunately, we have an engineer aboard.

No No No

Returning to George Town we passed signs of human habitation. Obviously, the owners of this island take their rights of occupation as seriously as their their belief in the total depravity of the general public. Simple language, repetition and the threat of three bad dogs should keep even sail boat bums away.

Jungle Exploration

Ever the intrepid explorers, Cecca and Becca waded up jungle streams to search for the source of the Nile.

Lizard Sports

Although we did not find any people, there were other inhabitants to share the sand. Sometimes they were willing to participate in games and informal competitions. Although we could not get enough players for regulation volleyball, this iguana on Leaf Cay played catch me with Cecca and Becca, but only once.

Quiet beaches

As we traveled through the islands, Cecca and Becca found themselves the sole owners of uninhabited islands and empty anchorages.

Meet the neighbors

On our first morning at Lee Stocking Island we met Patti and Scott who camped on a nearby beach during the night. For 10 days they have been kayaking through the islands. Now on their last day they were heading for hot showers, real bathrooms, and a restaurant. Their last dinner of a macaroni and cheese mix with a summer sausage appeared to be a factor in their enthusiasm for the spoils of civilization. We were able to lure them aboard for lunch and had a wonderful time together. They were are only human contact and a high light of the trip.

Fun on boats

They quickly began to appreciate the joys of sailing and found themselves indulging in the many exciting activities of boat life.
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Cecca Becca adventure begins

Francesca and Becca flew into George Town Saturday night and in the dark took a dingy ride out to the boat. Early Sunday morning they were heading out of the harbor and into the deep blue ocean for islands to the north. Although the wind was blowing and the boat was heeling with a reefed main, they were very comfortable sailors.
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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Long way from home

Cecca and Becca have left Grand Rapids and are somewhere in a warm place with gentle blue waves, fish, toe dancing crabs, and coconut ice cream. More news on their travels soon.
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Saturday, April 21, 2007


The day has finally come, Cecca and Becca arrive tonight and we are nearing ready. The wash is done and drying, the boat is clean, stuff has been shoved into places where we will never find it, and the water tanks are getting topped off.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A brief quiz

Most beach trash is easily identified: shoes, buckets, bottles, light bulbs, sea beans....., but this was a real puzzle. Here is your challenge, "What is this?" It is aluminum, 8 feet tall, 12 feet wide, and 16 feet long. One hint: it is not a Klingon war ship.


Settling down

It is easy to be tourists, seeing only the quaint abandoned buildings and not really getting to know the people who live there. Fortunately, we were able to visit Thompson's Bay twice and experience more than just the usual sights. One of the keys was St. Joseph's, the small Anglican church up the hill from our anchorage. We visited two Sundays, once on St. Joseph's day and then Easter. The services were wonderful and perhaps some might say long, 2 and a half and 1 and a half hours respectively. The congregation participated enthusiastically in the service and the singing seemed like a marriage of Sacred Harp and Tahitian Choir. They sang many hymns with all the verses. People with phobias about the passing of the peace greeting should avoid this church where everyone stands, mills about, and hugs their way through the congregation, even wayward sailors. On our second visit, Vinnie ended up doing a reading while a runaway child knocked things over behind the alter, but he continued in good voice as the child was corralled by a formidable woman from the congregation. Now when we shop the grocery store ladies compliment him on his reading.

Dean's Blue Hole

In the shallow water under white gray cliffs was a deep dark blue pool. We had our snorkeling gear and in it we found a variety of fish and endless water below. It was spectacular. Fionna and Dave had given us a ride on their way to some errands and so our adventure continued. For the trip home we tried out the Long Island Public Transportation system, hitch hiking. As they say on TV, WARNING:CHILDREN SHOULD NOT TRY THIS DANGEROUS STUNT AT HOME. It is only a safe and reliable practice on Long Island. We were quickly picked up and in two rides we went from the beach to the path for our anchorage, taking the sun and wind in the back of pickup trucks.

Touring the island

Fionna and Dave were living on their catamaran in the anchorage and offered us a tour of some of the local wonders. The star attraction was the world's deepest blue hole, which is 663 feet deep. They drove us to the ocean shore and a beautiful beach about 17 miles south.

Regatta party

The regatta also brings bands playing rake and scrape and great food. Vinnie bought a traditional Bahamian meal from these ladies: grilled chicken, crab rice, macaroni and cheese, (always), and potato salad. He missed out on one favorite, the pigeon peas and rice.

Hiking out

With the boat's huge sail full of wind, crew members are out on a long board to keep the boat from heeling over.

Rounding the mark

Bahamian races begin with the boats at anchor and sails down, but they are very quickly off and soaring on the wind. Here the boats are rounding their first mark.

The crew

One reason for Long Islands fame is the skill of their racing teams. This crew member should be a pro by the age of 7.

A Long Island Tradition

Long Island is famous for building and racing traditional Bahamian boats. Just after Easter we went to the Thompson Bay regatta to watch three locally built boats race in the bay.


There are wild goats on many of the islands in the southern Bahamas. They are always horrified to see us and scatter into the bush. This is not unfounded paranoia, the goats are hunted on both the inhabited and uninhabited islands.

Alone at the beach

We spent the next week working our way south, island to island. Some had ruins from the Loyalist settlers and their slaves, but we also found caves, old wells, and a blue hole. There were beautiful cliffs and beaches. On one iron shore we found duffel bags and backpacks of clothing, then further down the wreck of a Haitian sailboat. Its rough planking was filled with rags which gave the boat a brightly colored fringe. The mast and boom were crudely trimmed tree trunks. The boat, packed with illegal immigrants, went down three months ago. All were rescued and then deported. We were boarded by the Royal Bahamian Defense Force several days later. Since we did not appear to be smugglers or poachers they talked about the islands and told us this story of the boat wreak.


It was easy to find our way out.

Looking up

The ceiling was elaborately carved and patterned.


Holes in the ceiling and back wall provided enough light to illuminate the entire large room. We put out our small anchor, turned off the motor, and floated with the current. Lying on the pontoons, we could look up while the boat slowly took us on its own tour. Our only company was the lonely bat.

The Cave

Our next stop was Flamingo Cay, home of the amazing cave. We anchored in a small bay near the cliff and took the dingy to the entrance.

The Jumentoes

After leaving George Town, we headed down Long Island, a perfect trip in strong East winds. When the winds quieted to a medium roar we sailed to the Jumentoes, a chain of small, uninhabited islands lying to the south west. Each island had its own flavor and attraction. Most of the time we had the island and anchorage to ourselves. Our first stop, Water Cay was home to an enthusiastic band of small, black tipped sharks who lived under our boat. Accustom to the buffet meals provided by local watermen who clean their catch in the bay, they had high expectations for our generosity. But they were disappointed. Although they raced over to ravage our banana peels, after a brief assault the peels were left alone to float off peacefully.