Hey folks, We’re here in Nassau now, after cruising moderately quickly through the Exumas, took one week, nice sailing every day, and stopping in time to swim every night. Stopped at Black Point where we hadn’t been before and the principal there is keen to have cruisers kids attend school, we didn’t this time as we only had a day, but maybe next year. We know some kids who did, and generally enjoyed it, but were disturbed by the use of corporal punishment in the school, which is quite common, although the cruisers kids were assured that, “they didn’t do it to new kids.” I loved it. The kids found a mug. Some cruiser must have brought their coffee with them, and then kicked it of the six foot high dock, into eight feet of water and written it off. Not my kids. After much wheedling we found ourselves in the dingy under the dock, pushing the mug into shallow enough water that we could reach it. The kids were delighted and now bicker over who gets to use it.
May has also spawned mega-yachts in the Bahamas. They are coming out of the wood work, I am on the verge of asking to check one out, as we have seen some of them so often that if they were other cruisers, I would go over and introduce myself. Talked to the guys hanging around the dock in Black point, their boats had done well at the regatta, although their class A boat, the biggest class, had been knocked out of 1st place when another boat collided with them tearing their mainsail from top to bottom. They figured it would be sent to King and Brigid, our skipper and his wife who are along with their other activities, are sail makers for the fleet. Brigid said that they made the sails for most of the boats that raced. The sails are made out of quite heavy canvas, and while more pleasant to handle than Dacron, must make fairly heavy bundles to feed through a machine. The racing is actually pretty dramatic, by our count at least 4 boats sank over the regatta. They basically cannot gybe as they heel over too far, and the crew cannot get the pries out in time to balance the boat, and so they heel so far over the water comes into the boat. The boats are decked, but there are quite large holes, we might call them the pits, that fill the hull neatly. The ballast is all internal loose pigs of lead, so when they sink, a bunch of guys have to swim down and grab a sixty pound pig and swim back up again until enough lead is out to allow the hull to float. They hold the races in fairly shallow water where they can. The boats can also add and reduce the amount of lead in their boats from one race to another. As well as the sinkings, our boom broke, and was repaired overnight, and we were in a rather dramatic four (probably) boat collision, no damage to anyone. Red Stripe's main was destroyed, one boat’s mast broke when the topping lift from another boat snagged the top of the mast and just kept going. These are huge boats and weigh A LOT and are going very fast. We were doing a solid 7 to 8 knots and probably more. Biggest damn dinghies I’ve ever raced. King Eric, our skipper in some of the boats at the Family Island Regatta turns out to be quite a big deal in Nassau, as well as on the race course. Turns out King is called King because he is the musical king of the Bahamas and has been for decades. Along with having an OBE, he has an ongoing show in Nassau, called King and Knights. It is a show geared to tourists primarily, unlike a lot of his earlier musical set ups, which were purely him and his band playing. This is a variety show with dancers, musicians, a fire eater, limbo, and steel drum playing.
King and Brigid had invited us to join them in Nassau for dinner and the show, so we duly phoned them when we got there. It was arranged that we would meet them there, at the Nassau Beach Hotel where the show is staged, and see it all. The kids were transfixed. The dancers came out first, then a fire eater, rubbing the flames up and down her arms and legs, holding the flaming torches in her mouth, and then she went for audience participation. One woman lit her cigarette from the flame she was breathing in her mouth -no torch here, just flame coming out her open mouth. This not a woman who needs to blow on her soup to cool it. She got the man to drop his head back and try to hold the torch in his teeth. He was hilariously reluctant, and didn’t let her get too close, even though she tried too shame him that he was his daughters hero, and he couldn’t disappoint them. The youngest wouldn’t watch. It think they agreed with him that it wasn’t brave, but stupid. The next act was limbo, the guy, Don, had actually raced with us as well, and was pretty good. That bar was very low at the end. He also got the eldest and the man (!!!!!!!) on stage doing the Limbo. Never in all my born days did I think I would see the man on stage doing the limbo. He’s not very good honestly but it was very funny. The eldest had a natural advantage as she is only a bit over four feet tall. Hilarious. They didn’t let up on him though. The next act was a guy playing a steel drum, and then singing the two unofficial Bahamian Nat’l anthems, The first is about a young man trying to get married, and he meets a girl, tells his father he wants to marry her, and daddy says no, don’t tell anyone, but she’s your sister, your Mommy don’t know. This goes on five times, till finally the boy tells his Mommy what has been going on and what his father has been saying and she says, Go, marry who you want, your Daddy’s not your Daddy, but your Daddy don’t know. Apparently the real humour in this is that this is quite a common situation. The singer claimed to be the Daddy, and B, who has known him for years, believes him. The other song was the BIG BAMBOO long and hard, etc etc, the song goes on and on about how the “big bamboo” solves all problems with the woman yadaa yada yada. One line was I brought my woman two coconuts, and she says what do I do with nuts, I need the big bamboo. Appropriate gestures are needed. The kids were confused. Then he goes around the audience asking men and their women about their BIG BAMBOO: the husband got nailed here as well. This seems to be a Bahamian theme, VitaMalt is said to put “lead in ya pencil, mon.”
A singer came on next, and got the man to sing into the mike, and then the dancers got him on stage at the end, although all four of us went along with a lot of other folks for that venture. Never ever did I think the man would do even one of them, but all four, or five. An amazing evening. Truly astounding.