Life on Great Abaco Island – Bahamas
I got back to Marsh Harbour mid-October, spent 2 weeks living on board in Marsh Harbour Boat Yard with 10,000,000 little biting bastards that left almost no skin unbitten anywhere on my body; noseeums – worse itch than most mosquitos.
Its always tough living on board in a boat yard but its bound to be as that’s not where boats are supposed to be – on land. But of course it’s the necessary evil – boats cannot be submerged in water without protection from all of the little underwater critters who will embed themselves in the fiberglass, not to mention just the water getting in, so we haul our boats out regularly and spend lots of money painting the soon to be submerged part.
And then of course while its out of the water there are all of the other projects
to get done. So me and the little bastards lived together for 2 weeks, every evening felt like torture, but I got the work done and was out of there much poorer but feeling pretty good about MoondancerX.
The Bahamas is basically a 20,000 square mile sand bar with some bits of land above the water, the rest of it about 6 feet below the water. I don’t have the right boat for the Bahamas. Though I have just met a very nice couple who have a Beneteau First which draws 8 feet. They sailed their boat from Milwaukee via the ICW and never touched bottom. So they are pretty confident that Tumultuous Uproar can get around here. I’ve actually never been so conscious of the tides as I am now. If I’m on the move I want it to be on a rising tide, so at least I’ll float off if I get stuck. Have touched bottom a few times but not stuck yet. It is funny to get in the water and snorkel around the boat to see just a few inches below her keel.
MoondancerX’s been in the water now since the beginning of November, haven’t gone far but so far I know where the good holding is, the good snorkeling is, and I need to find more of that. I also know where to get the best price on rum, where I’ll find good vegetables – almost nowhere – good cheese – nowhere. I so miss good cheese. One could build their whole cruising itinerary around things like that – who’s got good cheese. But much more important with the Canadian Dollar being so weak at present, just go to the countries where our dollar can actually buy some cheese.
Another anomally in this country - When you get money from the bank they charge 7 ½% VAT on top for the privilege of allowing you to get your own money out of the bank. Not just visitors – everyone, and if you are a visitor you are going to pay another percentage to your own bank.
OK enough about that. I’m on Guana Cay as I write – I’ve been here a few times now, what I like about it is Fisher’s Bay which is a fairly protected anchorage with a couple of nice snorkeling spots and clear water. On the other side of the Cay is the wild Atlantic Ocean with forever beach when the tide is out. A couple of good watering holes.
Last night I went to the Christmas tree lighting ceremony which was attended by the official dignitaries of the Abacos. It was so casual compared to anything I have experienced before. Myself and Russ and Lisa from Uproar, of 8’ draught were the only visitors. There were maybe 60 – 80 people there, many of whom were born and have grown old on this tiny cay. They all know each other, and many are related. Having moved around most of my life and born of mixed nationalities I cannot fathom what that must be like, perhaps very comforting to always know all of the people around you.
They were welcoming, we joined in with their Christmas Pot Luck supper. It was cold – I wore my foul weather jacket all evening and long pants. The long pants were mostly a noseeum deterrant.
Tomorrow gotta get outa this marina and go back to Marsh Harbour which is the hub of the Abacos, it has an international airport, an excellent anchorage with about 5 marinas all housing Charter Companies who I’m sure will all be doing a roaring trade when the season gets going – this isn’t it. I think its going to take another month or so before the hoards that I keep hearing about will be here.
What they need in Marsh Harbour is a good deli where they sell really good cheese.