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Sunday, December 31, 2006

16 DEC thru 31 DEC 06, Current, N. Eleuthera, Bahamas

GPS Position: 25°24'.778N: 76°47'.323W

These past two days have been a maze of stores and shopping. The interior of the boat looks like a Wal-Mart 18 wheeler with stuff packed into every spare storage compartment. Perry and I have all of the stuff for Christmas, his B-day party and the stuff for the boat and our forthcoming guests. There’s no spare room on board.

With everything loaded, we’ve decided to take advantage of a weather window and leave the US around 1630 EST and head across to Bimini. The trip took just shy of eight hours and we spent the first night anchored off of North Bimini.

In the morning, we set out across the Great Bahama Bank toward Chub Cay and had an uneventful trip. We arrived at Chub Cay around 2230 and anchored out until morning, then we went into the harbor, took on fuel and cleared customs and immigration. Having passed inspection, we now have our cruising permit and are legal for up to the next twelve months in the Bahamas.

Leaving Chub Cay, our next destination was Nassau, on the island of New Providence. I have reservations at the Nassau Yacht Haven beginning tomorrowbut we should arrive well before sunset today, so we'll anchor out in the harbour, west of the twin bridges connecting to Paradise Island, until morning.

It's the 20th and we're snug in Nassau Yacht Haven. Perry and I went up Mackey St. and had breakfast at the local Wendy's and then picked up a few things at the Super Value at the top of the hill. Kim arrived from the airport, via cab, at 1730. She has pictures of our new granddaughter, a few things she picked up in Atlanta and her luggage. It's good to have her back on board again.

We spent the 21st shopping for some last minute Christmas items. Bay Street, Mackie Street and all points in between. Kim and I learned that the bus routes are the best, cheapest way to negotiate downtown Nassau. We finished up at 1630 EST and returned to the Yacht Haven. The Dock Master allowed us a late checkout and we finally departed Nassau Harbour at 1700 EST.

We followed the islands between Nassau and N. Eleuthera, staying close on the west side, in the lee of an east wind. We made N. Eleuthera at 2330 EST and anchored off of N. Beach at 25°24'.778N: 77°47'.323W. Tomorrow, we’ll move over to Grants’ Dock and offload the stores from the boat. That should give us a lot more room, and with Kim's sister coming, we'll surely need it..

It is Christmas Eve and we are anchored off of our favorite place in the Bahamas; North Beach, Current, N. Eleuthera. The sky is full of stars, the wind is warm and light and the world seems at peace. The only thing that could make it better is to have all of the kids here with us. Kim’s sister and Grandniece arrive tomorrow, however, and we’re looking forward to having them aboard. At least we'll have some family here over Christmas.

Sonia and Zoey arrived at N. Eleuthera Airport right on schedule. They had a long trip from Oklahoma and are pretty tired. We had celebrated Christmas with Perry and his family in the morning and now we got to open more preasents with Sonia and Zoey in the evening. We were back on the boat and asleep by 2200 hrs as we had to get up early on Boxing Day and help with Perry's 60th birthday party celebration.

We were ashore by 0900 and people were already making preparations for the party. This was a a big deal with the entire town invited (about 117 people) plus at least that many more from down island.

Kim and Sonia worked on pasting sequins and colored paper to the Junkanoo style banner that wished Perry a Happy 60th Birthday, while I helped Perry get the town gazebo set up with decorations, chairs and coolers of ice for the pop and beer.

The party lasted from noon until nearly dark. Believe me when I say that nobody went home hungry. There was music and dancing and a "Rush" put on by the Junkanoo Association from Tarpum Bay. If there was anyone there that didn't have a good time, it was thier own fault.

The day of the 27th, we took the boat to Spanish Wells to get fuel and to do some shopping in town. We docked at Ronald's Service Center, took on about 40 gallons of fuel and spent 4 hours or so shopping in town. Then, it was back to our anchorage off N. Beach, dinner and bed.

The next three days were spent touring Harbour Island and the island of Eleuthera as far south as Rock Sound. We walked beaches, found seabeans, explored old churches and visited many points of intrest on the island. With this much activity, no one had any trouble sleeping each night when we returned to the boat.

On the 31st, we were up early and dinghied ashore to get Sonia and Zoey to the airport. It was a sad parting, but we hope we'll be able to do this kind of thing again sometime soon.

We returned to the boat well after dark and were almost asleep when WW III broke out on the beach. Someone set off rockets and aerial bursts for almost an hour and ended up being one of the best fireworks displays we'd ever seen.


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