26 December, 2013

Merry Christmas To All

Location: Manjack Cay, Abacos, Bahamas
Position: N 26 49.318 W 077 22.079

We crossed over to the Bahamas from Ft. Pierce, FL on Sunday December 15th. It was a less than ideal weather window but our boat jobs were done and it looked like the best opportunity for at least the next week. So off we went, hauling anchor 3:30 am, slack tide at the inlet. The winds were a bit' on the nose' so we pounded our way across the Gulf Stream taking lots of water over the bow. Mark spent a lot of time down below feeling ill and Julie hunkered down under the dodger and tried to stay dry. 

We got onto the Little Bahama Banks before sunset. Then the winds died down, and we were treated to an amazing light show, thunder and lightening, beautiful but a bit disconcerting as we were the only tall 'tree' in a 20 mile radius! Nothing close enough to be worrisome, but a bit nerve wracking when we discovered our radar (we often use to track storm paths) had quit working. Around midnight the storms left us and the wind filled in from the North. After that we had a wonderful sail the rest of the way, arriving at Green Turtle Cay around 9am.

We've spent the last week walking, resting and generally enjoying ourselves. Hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones. Cruising is great for meeting people. This was what we really missed on our camping trip this summer. We just didn't meet as many people camping. When we're anchored, we'll dinghy by a boat and if people are sitting in their cockpit, we'll stop and strike up a conversation. One thing leads to another and the next thing you know we're having happy hour, going for a walk, playing music, and we're all the best of friends. Not with everyone we meet, but I guess we do all have this bond of being a bit intrepid, being out here, and relying on each other in hard times for a specific tool, advice, borrowing an item for a recipe, etc. After all, it's not like we can just look up stuff up on the internet or pop over to the corner grocery.

Manjack Cay is one of our favorite stops in the Abacos. An American couple, Bill & Leslie, own quite a big chunk of the island. Over 22 years they have built a lovely home, established extensive trails and gardens, and they welcome cruisers to come ashore and share the results of their efforts. We've made it a point to anchor here for at least a few days each time we've come through the area, and, along with other cruisers, gone ashore for walks during the day and happy hours on the beach in the evenings.

We were pleased when Bill & Leslie invited us to share Christmas dinner with them and about 30 other people at their home. We had a delicious meal on their big wraparound porch. Everyone had a wonderful time and we met many new friends. Of course, we were all missing our families, but the camaraderie here was the next best thing. 

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, a Cheery Boxing Day and a happy and fulfilling New Year