Wednesday 1 December – Saturday 18 December
The month starts with a sad goodbye to our cruising companions for the last 10+ weeks Jan & George Todd. It is hard with the cruising lifestyle to find another boat to travel with for so long. Their friendship & company will be missed. The first few days of December are spent on a mooring in Man-O-War Harbour waiting for Steve's shoulder to heal and waiting for a Fed-X package. The Fed-X package is our Satellite phone SIM card replacement that got fried by trying to put in too many unlock codes. The Fed-X was a next day delivery that went out on Monday from the US and actually arrived at Man-O-War on Thursday on the 4:20 ferry, pretty good for the Bahamas. By Saturday Steve is feeling a little better & we are ready for a change of scenery, so we head over to Marsh Harbour. We go into to town to visit some familiar places, and go to a Christmas festival we heard about on the cruisers net. There was supposed to be a shuttle bus going out to the fair grounds but our timing was off so we walked the 2+ miles out noticing that they are putting up a second traffic light. It wasn't working yet, it is at busy intersection so a good idea but it will confuse directions since now people will have to distinguish between the 1st or 2nd traffic light in town when giving directions. I'm sure the directions will go something like “go to the old light and turn left”, or the “new light and go right”, all the while assuming the person asking directions knows the difference between the old and new lights. The festival was interesting, they even had the Prime Minister attend & the kids got to sing to him. The newly rebuilt Maxwell's supermarket is open and it is like being at a super back in the states, with higher prices, but a great selection. After a few days in Marsh, the winds have died down and Steve's shoulder is doing even better. So we head over to Great Guana Cay & anchor in Fishers Bay. Steve rents a tank to dive and clean the bottom of the boat & change the zincs. He squeezes into his old heavy 3/4 mil wet suit and gets the work done, but the tight fit makes moving his appendages exhausting. We manage to peel him out of the suit which is now for sale, one of those oh yeah I guess I should have seen if it fit before bring it along moments. The next day we rent bikes and do a bike tour of the Island visiting familiar places & seeing some new ones.
On Friday it is decision time on where to go next. There is a BIG front predicted to come in Sunday night and last thru Tuesday. We have time to get down to Eleuthera & Royal Island our next destination, which would be a protected anchorage for the front coming in. BUT there has been some talk about construction going on and that there might not be room to anchor. If we can't anchor there for the forecast storm there would not be any other good choices to hole up during the storm. SO since we are not in a hurry and do not want to get stuck in a bad storm with no good anchorage we decide to hang around the Abacos. We head over to Hope Town and get into the Harbour to pick up a mooring. We have a couple of beautiful days to enjoy the Island before the front hits Sunday night. Just around 11 pm Sunday the winds pick up and we check to see how we are swinging. The dinghy hanging off the davits in back actually gets caught on the mooring line of a small sailboat behind us. We manage to free the dinghy and get it down and tied off on the side of the boat. But we're so close that now the davits are getting tangled with the small boat's forestay, so we get a short line and run it from the mooring line to the boat behind us, letting it drop back and giving us the extra 5 feet needed to swing clearly. By midnight the winds increase & the rain starts. We can hear it howling all night long with Steve getting up to check to make sure all is secure. They reported gusts up to 45 knots, and Monday they did not die down much. A beautiful sunny day 65-70 degrees but with winds 20- 35 knots. Tuesday a partly cloudy day with the winds dying down more but colder 58° the low & high only reached 65°. Wednesday warming up, winds calm, Sea of Abaco still a little choppy as we head back over to Marsh Harbour. Thursday we are back to shorts & tank tops. Hanging around here for next weather window to cross down to Eleuthera. Friday is laundry day, that means packing all the dirty laundry into a couple of laundry bags, loading them into the dinghy along with our dock cart, motoring to a public dinghy dock, unloading everything, locking the dinghy up, and walking ½ mile to the laundry pulling the dock cart behind, waiting for open washers (Friday must be washing day, the laundromat is packed) while Steve goes shopping for batteries and more groceries. The laundromat is a melting pot, with mixed languages spoken in loud animated but friendly voices. There is a group of 4-5 speaking some kind of patois that's a mixture of French, Dutch and English, that is totally incomprehensible, but they're having as much fun as they can, doing monumental loads of laundry – either they take it in for other families, or they've got one monster family. Back to the boat for lunch and afternoon chores (cleaning, engine maintenance, hull waxing – this is the reality of life in paradise). Saturday we will move down to Lynyard Cay to anchor out & be ready to do the crossing on Sunday. Saying goodbye to the Abacos & off to explore a new region of the Bahamas.
Link to pictures;