Monday, May 11, 2009

Heading North

UGH!!! The other day we had to turn Gypsies around and point her bow north to make sure we have time to get back into Georgia before July 1st (for hurricane season we either need to be south to Trinidad or north of Florida) - huge bummer!!! It was tough to turn Gypsies around especially since our plans had been to keep heading south, cruisers, we know plans change and we now have more time to explore the Exumas. We spent one more day in Georgetown though and went back to the bomb shelter (I mean internet cafe - check out the pictures and decide for yourself!) to catch up on email, blogs etc.
The WiFi/Bomb Shelter
Doug and Bob blogging away

Whenever you have the chance to get wifi down here, you take advantage of it no matter the surroundings because you never know when you'll get it next - I brightened up the place by making a cross street package store run and importing some cold Kaliks into the scenery - did it matter that it was only 10:00 am??? NO!! Our wifi/bomb shelter was about 120 degrees so the Kaliks tasted really great and made it a little more bearable!!

Doug and I spent the afternoon over on the beach with our feet in the sand at the Chat and Chill - the only really funky bar we found in the Georgetown area. Now granted, we didn't spend a ton of time there exploring, but I have a really hard time imagining spending the whole winter there as some cruisers do...but then again we've never been into organized activities (on the net each morning there is a list of what's going on that day ranging from aerobics on the beach to texas hold'em poker to macrame art (OK I made the last one up, but during the season, I wouldn't put it past them....) Heck there is even a President of the cruising committee....I thought we left the States to leave all that organization behind??? As if we needed more incentive to hit the trail, we heard that there had been a pretty serious bull shark attack at the south end of the harbor the afternoon before...can you say skip the swimming and we're out of here!!! So after one more great dinner on September Song that evening and a beautiful sunset, the next morning we pulled anchor to go fishing out in the Sound!!

The wind and the waves were a little rockier than we had expected but that didn't stop the mahi slayers! Soon enough Bob called "fish on" and boy was there - for the next 45 minutes he proceeded to fight in a huge sailfish!!! This thing was over 6 feet long (10 feet if you count the bill and massive tail) and from the re-enactment that we've heard (several times...but each time it gets better as fish stories tend to do), he put up some fight!! He was so big in fact that September Song couldn't get him up on the swim platform for an official picture - but check out their blog for some of the action shots! Unfortunately Gypsies was skunked that day - some times you get the dog (or I should say fish) and sometimes he gets you!! Oh well....Bob also caught a mahi that day so the fish didn't totally win!

We headed in to Lee Stocking Island that afternoon planning on trying to see the marine research center but September Song's watermaker was acting up (ours we gave up on long least until we get back to the States and can sort it out!!!) so we headed out again the next morning for Little Farmers or as it turned out Big Majors Spot (did I mention that plans often change when you are cruising??) As soon as we hit the Sound we knew it wasn't going to be a "calm day" - the waves and winds were rocking which made fishing quite an interesting feat - at one point I was sitting on the cockpit minding my own business (and fishing rods) when a huge wave broke on our stern and rushed in through the scupper soaking me!! Seems the fish weren't having a fun day either as both September Song and Gypsies got skunked that day - probably not a bad thing as having to stop to reel in fish with those waves would have been pretty uncomfortable! As it was, our barometers of how rough it is (Cassie on September Song and Bootsie on Gypsies) were telling us that it was time to head in to the calmer waters of the Banks!!! So we proceeded in to Dotham's Cut - talk about interesting!!! We headed in with an East wind opposing an ebbing tide (which every guidebook tells you not to do because the waves and current get so nasty!!!) but we didn't have any really good options so in we went. We watched September Song do 40 degree rolls through the cut reminiscient of the turn into Chub Cay that first day over in the Bahamas - Doug and I looked at each other like "do we really want to go in here"??? but it was too late to turn around and soon enough we were in the washing machine watching our boat churn and roll!!! Bootsie's huge meows from below made it unanimous - we weren't having fun!! Luckily it only lasted for several minutes (but it felt like an eternity) and we were out of the grips of the nasty current and into the calm waters of the Banks!! From there we had a great little steam up to our protected anchorage at Big Majors Spot that we have come to love so much!!!
Bootsie eats fresh mahi to recover from a tough day at seaPuss doesn't like mahi so she gets cat treats

That afternoon, it was a unanimous decision - we needed the beach!!! So we dinghied in to yet another beautiful sandy beach which we had to ourselves until the September Song gang joined us - I think Cassie was the happiest dog I've ever seen to have her paws on terra firma!!! Cassie kind of said it for all of us when after a perfunctory attempt at fishing the shallows, she just came up to our chairs and plopped down in the shade - she was pooped after a tough day on the water!!
Bob and Stephanie sit in the water with Cassie

We did the same in our beach chairs - minus the fishing - with a pitcher of rum punches and suddenly things were looking much, much brighter!! That night, as usual, the sunset was awesome.
Sunset over Gypsies in the Palace
Sunset in Big Majors Spot

Yesterday was an amazing day of exploration (after some boat work in the am - always!!). Doug and I set off in the dinghy with beach chairs, towels and a cooler (what else could you possibly need???) and went off to see the sights!! There are so many little secluded beaches and rocky, uninhabited cays around here that you could be here for months and not see everything (although we gave it the old college try!) We dinghied through a little cut, found ourselves in a 25 foot deep tidal pool with swirling currents which we escaped only to find ourselves washed up on this gorgeous little beach (we certainly weren't complaining!!!) We sat, had a coldie and actually hiked up the little hill where we were treated to an amazing 360 degree view of the Sound, the opposing Banks and lots of little rock cliff cays!! Very kewl!!
Our first "private beach"

Next it was on through another cut to explore several other beaches that looked like they could have been the setting for Pirates of the Caribbean (yes I know it was filmed in the Grenadines but work with me - Johnny Depp does own an island in the Bahamas that we have seen!!) - the water off the beach was a little rocky on one and the current was ripping on the other so we decided to take pictures but keep searching for the perfect beach (sound a little like Goldilocks???) Well we certainly found the "perfect beach" - actually it was a little spit of snow white sand surrounded on 3 sides by crystal clear bathwater temp blue water!!!
Our second "private beach"
The laughing gull

We were the only ones around except for a couple laughing gulls who kept us company - our footprints were the only ones in the sand.
Ours were the only footprints in the sand

We wiled away the rest of the afternoon reading, sunning and occasionally flopping back in the water to cool off - several cold Kaliks helped on that score as well - all in all, a perfect afternoon!!!
Exploring for beachesExploring for beachesExploring for beaches

That evening we had drinks and dinner on September Song - their friends, Jack and Susan, on Freya (a snailbot but we didn't hold that against them - they were really cool anyways - just so long as nobody sees us hanging out too much with ragbaggers!!) had just come in from Little Farmers.
Jack and Susan from Freya

Jack and Susan are also friends of Life's2Short and they had all last seen each other in Islamorada right before we crossed to the Bahamas. We had drinks on the bow as the sun set and were treated to the most amazing green flash - one that you could really see...not one of those ones that you blink and say I think I saw it (yes, for those of you that have never seen it, the green flash really does exist and not just in September Song's blog!!! You just have to have a very clear night with no clouds and a horizon of pure water ie no land). The sun seemed to melt into the ocean and we all held our breath - that was the first green flash of the trip!!! Bob and Stephanie blew the ceremonial conch shells
Bob and Stephanie blowing the conchs at sunset

and the grillmeister of the evening (aka Bob) began to cook up the mahi he had caught the other day!!!!
Bob the "grillmeister and mahi slayer"

We had a great night with new and old friends topped off by a chocolate cheesecake - how can things get any better????

Today we have boat chores this morning but plan on heading in to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club for some cracked conch, cold Kaliks and outdoor internet access (yeah no more bomb shelter). The game plan for the afternoon is a little beach time to collect firewood and then a beach bonfire - Susan and Jack have been reading about them in our blogs so we figured we might as well do a re-creation!!! Yet again, there's nothing better!!!

Click here to see a Google map of our current location in Big Majors Spot.

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