Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Don’t Rock the Boat….Don’t Tip the Boat Overrr!

After enjoying our four day stay in Nassau, it was time to leave for the next port along our route towards – eventually – Trinidad. Nassau was fun and we did a lot there. We walked and walked and took the bus when we were tired of walking. The bus was really neat – a little jitney and they play reggae and island type music and bumped along in the hot day with just the windows open. All the people we met were so nice. The Bahamians are very friendly and polite, and were always glad to talk to us or give us directions. There was quite a bit of traffic in Nassau – more than I expected. I had to remind myself that many people were working and living their daily lives.

We hauled anchor at 7am, from the West end of the harbor, where we had been for our stay – right near the mail boat and working docks at Potter’s Cay and downtown. There was a market on Potter’s Cay with fresh fruits and vegetables and little stands for food and Kalik’s beer. There was also the free dinghy dock at the Green Parrot – which we came to love. It was clean with good food – but low key for Nassau. Nassau has a lot of glitz for all the mega yacht types that come there I guess.

We headed for Allen’s Key- My suggestion – since that is my family name – I thought it a sign…. There are over 700 islands in the Bahamas and way too many to see in one go – so we rolled the dice and read some chart books and made some picks. Whatever – they’re all beautiful. Some are privately owned and you are not allowed to anchor off those – or some you have to call for permission to visit.

I didn’t imagine Allen’s Cay to be crowded – but it was…..Many sail boaters – often travelling in groups together – and a few sail cats and one other lone trawler – a Monk 36ft. We arrived just in time for a beautiful afternoon – sunny and warm and the waters crystal clear turquoise. We anchored and set the alarm. Then we enjoyed an afternoon on the aft deck drinking wine and playing rounds of backgammon. – from- of all places – West Virginia! It was Heaven! But- true to this changeable adventure, that evening the winds picked up and the weather changed. The weather fax said a cold front was coming in from the North and for two days we had cold and grey and rocky/rolling anchorage – but still that crystal turquoise water.

I have to tell you that rocking and rough water at an anchorage when wind or weather is bad – is TERRIBLE! When it gets dark and all is supposed to be quiet – we hear howling and blowing all around. We hear our Bimini top flapping at 30 MPH and we watch our wind vane cruise as fast as 45 MPH during the night! Our doors and cabinets are all hooked securely – but that doesn’t stop them from rattling and knocking all through the night! As I lay in my bed – trying my best to ignore all the dangerous sounding noises surrounding me – I feel like a baby again being rocked and rocked in my “cradle”. But the rocking cradle soon begins to feel like I’m on some giant roller coaster ride and it feels even more hairy with all the squeaking and whining our stabilizers are making from the intense rocking of our keel. They sing out all night - EEEE! Aaa! EEEAAAA…..EEEE….eeeaaaa…eeeee…EEEEEAAAA……They sound just like a pent up new puppy- crying out in the night. It was a hard day’s night – and although I knew the boat couldn’t and wouldn’t tip over – it sure felt like it was going to!

We didn’t drop the dinghy – but stayed on the boat and waited it out. The second day a dinghy arrived to our boat and Sharon from s/v Lucky invited us to an afternoon at the beach to burn our garbage and enjoy a drink together with the other cruisers.  We explained that my shoulder was bad and we hadn’t wanted to take the dinghy down in the bad weather – and Sharon kindly offered to give us a ride at 3pm. So we gathered our trash and our beers and off we went - our first real social encounter with other cruisers!    

The men had arrived early to get the bonfire going. All together there were about 20 people there – all very nice and from varied parts of the world. We both enjoyed the afternoon and came back to the boat for an early dinner and …..My new addiction….”Downton Abby” (on DVD – Thank you Jennifer!!!) Wow! I am so glad I saved that for now, as we can’t get any internet here. I want to just plow on through and watch the whole two seasons in one go! It is fabulous – but I am using all my willpower to savor it slowly.

The night was horrible – so rolly that I just couldn’t sleep –there was a lot of watching of the anchor alarm/ GPS and our line of sight with the other boats. But the morning brought a beautiful day with the front moving past and we got to enjoy the area – although it was still cold. Allen’s Cay is one of the few with indigenous Iguanas and they were running all over the beach – HUGE ones – up to 45lbs. One of the women from M/V Hullabaloo – Pat – said they had taken a cruise ship to the Galapagos and they weren’t much bigger than these on Allen’s!

At daybreak on Monday morning we pulled anchor and headed for Warderick Wells – an island in the Exuma Land and Sea Park…..What will that island be like? How difficult is it to navigate the entrance?

We will see…….  

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