Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Headwinds in the Bahamas, jan 06

We’ve all been having food fantasies lately. We’ve been out remote for over a week, unexpectedly, I’m not quite at the stage of counting a squirt of ketchup as the days veggies, but it’s approaching. When you know EXACTLY how many cloves of garlic you have left it’s getting thin. There is a restaurant a few islands up so we can go there to buy veggies if we have to but we’re ok so far and hope to make Nassau tommorow. We last did a big grocery shop in Miami, well before Christmas. Then we went futher south in Florida and had out Christmas there. It was very good. I had bought a four foot tall artificial Christmas tree, and we put it up Christmas Eve day. It was decorated to the nines. We had garland wrapped around the lifelines and a wreath on the backstay. Plus an origami Santa scene, Santa in his slay, four reindeers, including Rudolph, and two trees stuck to one of the bulkheads. Santa came, and there were lots of gifts and lots of good food. We even had Tourons, those special Nougaty type things that appear at Catalan Christmas. Then to crown it all, friends of ours with two girls the same age as N and D arrived in the harbour. We hadn’t seen them since last March so that was quite a treat and they had a great time playing together before the big Christmas feast.
Christmas eve day, the kids decided that Christmas dinner had to include meat. Cow to be specific, and I quote. So, since they get very little meat, and even veggie N was decisive on the subject, X went to the grocery store. Hour and a half walk one way. He got the meat, and some apples, bread and eggs, but not much else. Oh and he had to get himself a Christmas present. I had planned, for a combined Christmas and birthday present to send him for a return flight on Chalks, and airboat that flies commercially between Florida and the Bahamas. These are the planes that actually land on the water on their canoeish shaped underbellies, rather than floats. X is fascinated by them, indeed he took more pictures of those planes than of his family. I wanted him to get a chance to ride in one. There aren’t many left. The week before Christmas we discovered there was one less. Seems a wing snapped off in Miami harbour on take-off killing everyone aboard. X isn’t going to be flying with them, and I had nothing for Christmas. Though we now have a new morbid running joke about me trying to off him for the insurance money. So he was delegated to pick up one of a selection of items I wanted to give him. He chose the fancy coffee maker, go figure. What with his coffee maker and the cow and some apples, it was not exactly a big stocking up visit. That was the 24th. We crossed to Bimini on the 28th, I think, and spent a couple of days there. We left on the 31st anticipating making Nassau by the 3rd or 4th. Favourable forecasts. I had picked up a few veg in Bimini, but it is more expensive than Nassau, so I didn’t go wild, only a few days. We had headwinds. On an 80 nm passage that takes two days and we only had one day of gas, we turned back. Nice harbour at the top of Gun Cay, met some nice folks and some kids, and there were some semi-tame sting rays that would swim up to the shallows to be patted. I know, I know, what were we thinking but after you’ve seen enough folks do it and you stay really still… Anyway, we got away with it. Finally left 4 days later and went across to Fraser’s Hog to wait out some weather before we could go to Nassau, then moved over here, Bond Cay, to wait out more strong easterlies. May manage to go tommorow. They aren’t sure if it will be SE or NE, NE is a go, SE is our course. We’ll see.

The other really exciting thing is that X finished the sailing rig on the dingy. He actually got it up and running in Florida, and I took it for a trial run. We had two glitches that needed immediate work, and some tweaking. The mast step was too shallow and the mast kept leaping out and tipping over, NOT very go fast. And the rudder kept floating out of it’s gudgeons. We need to install the rudder clip. Between the rudder flaoating off and the mast tipping over it was busy, and probably a bit like a day in Pete Goss’s last venue, but X fixed both problems and the girls and I had a glorious sail today. She is quite a sweet little boat. We junk rigged her and the mast is a little short for the size of sail we made, ovesized for light airs. We got the mast in Florida in the place we had X-mas. There was a rowing club there, and X went up and chatted with them and came away wth a broken sweep oar for a mast! Rowers rule! We had a great sail. She is not the most weatherly boat I’ve ever sailed, but the girls were steering and we need to tweek the various lines that shape the sail quite a bit. We elected to mount the mast about a foot and a half aft of where it is designed to be and it has messed up our sheeting angles. However it maintains the integrity of our water tight bow bouyancy compartment and gives a small person a place where they can recline. Once we tweak the trimm lines I think she’ll do better, I wasn’t exactly worried about any gusts today, we were fairly effectively spilling the wind. I had also used the wrong halyard and it didn’t go quite as far up as it should have, so it looked like a big rice sack a bit, but that is also traditional with junk rigs. The kid’s droved and were quite adept. I was delighted. They had to adjust to how much more quickly she reacted than Oreneta. X didn’t go for a sail, but I was thrilled. Brings more distant points into easier range as well. Not going to go anywhere we can’t easily anchor, and row back from. Possibly not so easily. But wow what fun.
Hopefully we’ll make Nassau tomorrow, and I can send this off.

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