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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

16 FEB thru 28 FEB 07 - Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas

GPS Position: 26°04'.538N: 77°18'.998W

The storm came back today, but not as bad as yesterday morning. Rather than stay on the boat, we rented a car and went down island exploring. We found a tower that stood 40 feet above the hilltop and took some photos from its top. Then we went to Marsh Harbor and went to the grocery and hardware store.

Following Marsh Harbour, we went down to Cherokee (what a strange place) where people peek out from window curtains as you drive by and no one comes out and speaks to strangers. We went up in the hills, though, and found some orchids and air plants and took them to give to Rosie. Then, we went back to Treasure Cay, put our findings away, turned in the car and called it a night.

It’s the 20th and due to checking out from the marina and getting some last minute items from the grocery, we got a late start this morning. WindKist and About Time advised us they were going to go ahead to Guana Cay, so they departed about 0800 EST. We finally got underway at 1000 hrs, but we’re not really concerned about the lateness of the hour, as Guana Cay is only about a two-hour sail from Treasure Cay.
The trip over was uneventful and we arrived in Orchid Bay around 1230 hrs. WindKist and About Time were already situated and had reserved us a mooring ball. Gary got in his dinghy and helped us tie up to the mooring. I then shut down all but the most essential electrical items on the boat and we all dinghied in to visit the famous Knipper’s Beachside Bar.

Knipper’s is really neat and is painted in all sorts of bright colors and there is a pool, bar, restaurant and souvenir shop. We walked around and explored until close to sunset. Then, it was back to the boat for dinner and some relaxation. Tomorrow, we move on to Hope Town, Elbow Cay, Abaco Islands. WindKist and About Time are staying in Guana Cay and then heading back to the northern Abacos for the balance of the winter. We’re sorry to leave them, but we need to move on towards Eleuthera.

We departed Orchid Bay around 0930 EST to the sound of conch horns blowing as we passed. Dan and Debbie Skidmore had gotten up and serenaded us as we left the harbour. It was really quite touching and a wonderful sendoff.

The passage to Hope Town was uneventful and we arrived at the above location around 1130 hrs. We are staying at the Club Soleil Marina, which is right under the Hope Town Lighthouse, across the harbour from the actual town. The lighthouse is one of two remaining Bahamian lighthouses that have full time tenders.

Chip and Kay (Beso) arrived around 1000 hrs this morning. It’s really great to see them again and to catch up on the past few weeks. Once they’d settled in, we all dinghied over to Captain Jack’s for happy hour and hors d'oeuvres. It’s another day in paradise.

Today, the 25th, we’re going to a soccer game. We got up around 0800 EST and got ready to go to Marsh Harbour. Chip came over in his dinghy and carried us to the Hope Town Ferry Dock so we could catch the 9:45 AM ferry.

The soccer matches were crazy!!! Absolutely every aspect of every match was gambled upon by the fans on the sidelines and Kim and I saw as much as $2,000.00 change hands on a single bet. The first match ended without any real issues. The second match, however, ended in a huge fight that saw one person being hit over the head by another with a school desk.

After the matches, it was back to the ferry and to Hope Town. It was really an exciting day and Kim and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

This morning, the 26th, there’s a strong south wind blowing at about 17 knots. Kim and I were up at 0800, filled all of the boat’s water tanks, paid the dock master for our stay and left Club Soleil Marina at 11:30 AM. From there we went to Lighthouse Harbour Marina to take on fuel and were on our way.

BESO passed us just as we were finishing up with the fueling. We followed them out of the harbour and all the way to Little Harbour, Abaco, where we hooked onto a mooring for our two day stay here.

At Little Harbour, there are only two things, Johnston’s Gallery of Bronze and Pete’s Pub. At the gallery, one can get beautiful art and become cultured. At Pete’s Pub, one can get good food, Kalik beer, rum and become inebriated. Here, Pete Johnston can be found sipping absolute vodka while entertaining his clientele with wit and commentary on an endless number of subjects. Under an awning made of multicolored T-shirts from patrons past, cruisers enjoy an endless measure of good food, good drink and good times at this southernmost, Abaconian oasis.

Kim and I got up at 0600 EST and got ready to depart Little Harbour. Beso and I headed south, BESO towards Royal Island and us to Nassau. Just past Hole-in-the-Wall, a major storm cell grew off of our nose and engulfed both Beso and us. We saw winds in excess of 74 Kts and waves in the neighborhood of 12 to 15 feet. Fortunately, it only lasted for a short period of time (25 minutes or less) and then the weather calmed back down.

We arrived at the Nassau Yacht Haven about 1830 EST and headed for our slip. Once tied up, we washed off the boat and settled in for a good night's sleep.

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