Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bahamian Sunset

Bahamian Sunset
Originally uploaded by S/V Raft.
Yes, we are now in the Bahamas, blue blue ocean, east winds and beautiful sunsets. This one is at Shroud Cay, part of Exuma Land and Sea park. We sat in the cockpit and watched our first unobstructed Bahamian sunset. Rum punch in hand and camera at the ready we hunted for the infamous green flash. As the sun set one of the other boats in the anchorage called out over the "WE" HF radio "Did you see the Green Flash?" to which the second boat replied "No I don't think so." The first boat responded "Yea the only sure way to see the Green Flash is to hold up a empty green Hienekin bottle just as the sun goes down". Yes we are back in the Bahamas.

We will back up a bit, to talk about our stay in Nassau. Basically in Nassau, you have to go to a marina to check in. Customs/Immigration is set up to come to your marina, to check you in and collect your $300, if you are over 35'. We do not like to go to marinas, and if we have to, always choose a "working one" which usually is one of the less expensive. We are not cheap, just frugal. The Explorer Charts show Bayshore Marina in Nassau as one that would match our needs, 75 cents a foot, and it has a travel lift, just in case you need it. Perfect -- no Yacht club or Atlantis for us. After hanging on the hook in front of the yoga center for a day, to recouperate from our adventures getting to Nassau, we called for a reservation. We had been warned about the current in the marinas in Nassau, so planned to go in at slack tide. Glad we did, because the winds were blowing 15+ and even with 2 marina guys onboard, and 2 on the dock, helping us get into the slip it was an experience. Not that we are complaining, but the slip is really was only 2 poles, placed over 50' front the main dock. RAFT was too small, our dock lines weren't long enough. But eventually we muscled her into place. Boy, we hate coming into marinas. But the staff were wonderful. A tip and a beer go a long way!!

Immigration and Customs came, and we are legally in the Bahamas. The boat next to us was Wahoo, a charter fishing boat. Since we were there on American Thanksgiving, they were busy, in and out twice a day with fishing charters. But the clients only wanted the sport, not the catch, since they were just in for the weekend. The result is, that after a lesson on how to catch Wahoo, at the shelf drop offs 7-8 knots, ballyhoo for bait, and a cleaning/steaking lesson, we were given a wonderful set of Wahoo steaks, and we BBQ'd them and enjoyed them. Bev has made it a personal mission, that on this trip, she will catch a Mahi Mahi, they are surface eaters, look for the birds. (Capt's instructions)

We met Ari and his family, and Ross got a tour of the industrial sites in Nassau, trying to get a socket to tighten Keel bolts. They were unsuccessful, but really tried to help. Nice, Nice People. Then we went and toured the Cruise Boat docking and shopping area, downtown Nassau, a "fairyland" not the real thing, and definitely not what we came to the Bahamas to see. so we skipped Atlantis and headed out.

We had a great sail from Nassau to Shroud Cay. Left at 8:00 am which was a little later than planned but the winds picked up to 17-20 knots from the NE to give us a closehauled to a 7 knot average speed on the 45 mile run down to Shroud Cay. Otto performed well and RAFT worked to shake off the bruises and stiff joints from the trip over. Everything went great and as you know great is a relative term. (In case you haven't heard this before, cruising is fixing your boat in exotic places) We had a couple of minor gremlins in the works that we had to chase out early on. The reason we left late was that the weather reports we rely on did not come in on time. But this prove to be a good thing because it delayed our arrival on the Yellow Bank south of Nassau which allowed the sun to be higher in the sky. This makes the coral heads easier to spot on the trip south. Then, just as we left Nassau Harbour the GPS had a flashback moment thought the boat was back in Georgian Bay, Canada. It was working real hard to get to the waypoint a 1000 nautical miles away. The GPS obviously lost its satellite link so it just required a restart to find itself. Lastly we seem to be chewing up Alternator belts like a chain smoker on a Nicorette habit. Broke the second one in three days. This belt only had 2-3 hrs of engine operating time on it. Snapped right in two. Didn't shread or burn, just broke. Had to be defective but its pretty difficult to run back to the Tractor Supply store in FT Pierce to complain. We will try to get some more spare belts in Georgetown. We have also adjusted the voltage regulator to reduce the amperage output to 50% of max. This should cut down on the belt loading. We really don't us the high output alternator that much for charging batteries. The solar panels and the wind generator pretty well handle all of our generating needs.

Now we are back in Exuma Park, a place we truly enjoyed last year. We hiked up BooBoo Hill to retrieve our Momento to date our return visit. Tomorrow we plan to hike to Pirates Lair, so Bev can have her picture taken in the hammock.