Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas!

Highbourne Cay, Exumas
24 42.6N 76 49.6W

Happy Christmas to our avid blog followers (anyone reading this on Christmas day is avid) we are eating lobster we caught on the reef, drinking cask wine and missing all our friends and rellies, always a strange time of year for us as we celebrate in exotic locations but far from our loved ones.

Have a wonderful Christmas and we hope to see lots of you all next year

Friday, December 14, 2007

Cruise Ships, Gucci & Junkanoo

Nassau, Bahamas
25 04.90'N 077 19.80'W

Sadly we had to leave the Berry Islands as the wind went E/SE for a while and because of our draft we couldn't find anywhere protected to anchor, so we waved goodbye to the tranquil calm of an unpopulated island and sailed down to Nassau. Twenty miles off we picked up our first sight of the Atlantis Resort, 2 huge hotels on Paradise Island which forms the northern part of the harbour at Nassau, as we got closer we began to see a never ending stream of cruise ships shuttling in and out of the entrance and realised that sadly we were back in "civilisation" again.

After our customary problem of not having enough water to anchor in we found a spot not in the shipping channel, not too close to shore and with a patch of sand to bury the anchor so we could sleep soundly during the forecast strong winds - only took 2 hours!

Nassau itself is interesting, the few blocks of downtown have old colonial buildings, all brightly painted in pastel shades, the huge cruise ship terminal and for the passengers endless shops selling Gucci, Prada, Breitling etc etc as well as a Burger King for the home sick yanks who have been eating ship food for 36 hours. Luckily it seems most of the passengers can't walk more than 100m, so once clear of the terminal the town is a lot more interesting, with colonial forts, hills to climb with views and the compulsory tour of the Atlantis Resort. It's a huge hotel, very well done actually with a stunning aquarium that fills the whole of one wall of the reception area, filled with sharks, tuna, manta rays and every other sort of marine life you could want - even better than the main pool at Sydney Aquarium but funded by gambling so free to see!

Last night we went to the Junior Junkanoo festival. Junkanoo is the Bahamian equivalent of Carnival, a night f dancing, singing and drums and a huge parade through the main streets. We will miss the main event so we went to the High School version. Amazing, it went on all night, when we left at midnight they had just got to the 11 year olds! Very courful, ll the kids parents in teh stands cheering them on and great dancing and music.

We have also waited out some strong winds and the very distant threat that Tropical Storm Olga would come north (doesn't it know hurricane season is over!) and explored the forts, did some odd jobs and shopping and met a great bunch of cruisers all doing the same thing. We hope to leave on Monday for the trip across the Bahama Bank to the Exumas - supposedly a paradise of sand, sea and coral.
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Friday, December 7, 2007

Paradise Found!

Devil Hoffman Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas
25 36.74'N 077 43.97'W

We have found a real taste of paradise here, we are anchored up surrounded by 3 Cays with protection from winds of almost every direction, we have a choice of 3 beaches to explore and some great snorkeling on the fringing reef. Only complaints to date are the weather isn't quite perfect and there aren't very many lobster to catch!

So far we have snorkeled, windsurfed and yesterday speared our first lobster - apparently further south there are plenty to find so we may manage more than just the entree next time. It makes a nice change from all the travelling and preparation and the next 6 months looks pretty exciting as we work our way south into the Caribbean.

We reached a new level of insanity yesterday when we took Charlie for a walk on the beach, he hadn't been ashore for 6 months and we felt sorry for him so as there is a small island he can't escape from we took him ashore. He seemed to enjoy it, climbing the sand cliffs and chasing through the grass, but at the same time he was happiest when he found a cave to sleep in - we needed the spear gun to get him out!

We have some ordinary weather heading this way blowing from the only direction that the anchorage offers no protection so we may move on to Nassau tomorrow, and the bright lights of the big smoke!
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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What A Difference A Week Makes!

Great Bahama Bank
25 47.47'N 078 17.63'W

We are currently sailing from Bimini across the banks to the Berry Islands, so another night sail, but this time in shorts and t-shirts, quite a change from a week or two ago when the thought of a night in the cockpit filled us with dread. It's warm, the stars are spectacular and it's almost enjoyable to be up at this time of night!

Sailing the Bank is a new experience, most of today we have been sailing in water only 5 metres deep, but so clear you can see every feature of the bottom, with a keel of nearly 2.5m under us it's a bit nerve wracking as there is very little "spare" water. Sadly even 5m is deep for the Bahamas it seems, so we are just going to have to get used to it!
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