This is a long post as it has been a while since we’ve had reliable internet connections. I’m writing this from a Starbucks in Nassau (the first one we’ve seen in the islands.)
We had a wonderful time back in the US for Christmas and New Years; although we had a hard time adjusting to the cold air. Dad drove down and spent Christmas with us. Colleen carried on Nana’s tradition and cooked puffs on Christmas morning. Our son Brendan joined us on the 27th, with his dog, Ellie. We spent a quiet New Year’s Eve with Colleen and her boyfriend Brendan (yes, he has the same name as her brother.) Before we knew it, it was time to hop on an airplane and return to Delphinus in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island.
The travel was relatively uneventful until we went through Customs in the Bahamas. With the new year new laws went into effect. The local customs official’s interpretation was that only things that affected the propulsion of a boat was allowed to be brought into the country duty free, but being in a generous mood, he allowed all of our parts and supplies to be brought into the Bahamas duty free.
We caught a cab and returned to Sea Breezes Resort where we left Delphinus. Bob & Mary took good care of Delphinus in our absence and greeted us on our return. Quickly, we met other guests at the resort and felt right at home. Before long, it was time to rent Bob’s “wreck” and drive to the airport to pick up Brendan from his flights from Massachusetts.
The next day we used Bob’s car to pick up packages we shipped ahead and shop to provision Delphinus for our next journey. Along the way, we found the Bahamas Brewery, home of Sands beer, and stocked up.
The packages were more of a challenge than we expected. The first one was the rebuilt wind generator which arrived before the new year and was not subject to the new Value Added Tax laws. We were able to retrieve this package with little trouble, but the other two arrived after January 1, so were subject to new laws. We were in the Customs area of the airport and could see our boxes, but were not allowed to touch them. Turns out we had to hire a broker to retrieve our boxes, which was done quickly with the appropriate cash changing hands. We emphasized our schedule and need for the contents of the packages. After multiple phone calls, we were given the “go ahead” to retrieve our boxes from Customs.
After settling back into Delphinus we invited our new friends, Judy & Al and Nancy & Grant (guests at the Sea Breezes Resort), for Dark & Stormies. They brought along wonderful food to munch on including homemade salami, black bean dip and crudités. We traded stories and compared US and Canadian politics and generally enjoyed each other’s company. I hope our paths cross again.
Over the past few days Freeport had become more familiar. We ate at the same restaurant a couple of times, shopped at the same stores and became comfortable with driving on the opposite side of the road. The next day we departed Freeport for our next journey through the Berry Islands.
It was a long day and we dropped anchor off Great Harbour Cay in Bullock Bay close to sunset. The next day we took the dinghy into the marina looking for lunch. This was Sunday and the restaurant was closed. Fortunately we found a local lady who described our options: a 45 minute walk to the “Beach Club” or a five minute walk to a “local” restaurant. We opted for the local restaurant, which was adjacent to the local grocery, and were not disappointed. Along the walk we found cotton plants growing wild along the road, a residue of the failed cotton plantations of the 1700’s.
On the path to the restaurant, we passed an Anglican church packed to the rafters with worshipers. When we found White’s Restaurant, it was full of locals playing pool and dominos while watching US football on TV. Lunch at Whites Restaurant was Baked Chicken and Barbequed Ribs, with the best Macaroni & Cheese we’ve had so far. Walking back from lunch we waved at the local worshipers on their way home from Sunday church. It seemed the settlement was divided into two camps … church goers and those gathered at White’s for drinks and play.
We had an unplanned day at anchor off Great Harbour Cay to deal with engine and generator problems. Dinner was solved with homemade pizza … pepperoni and shrimp/pesto. We all went to bed with full tummies!
The next morning started early with our destination of Chubb Cay. Early on we caught a barricuda but opted to cut it loose … not sure of how to turn it into dinner.
Along the way we encountered a thunderstorm and tried to pull in the gennaker sail in the higher winds, but were a little too late. The sheets worked themselves loose and we couldn’t completely furl the sail. We had to lower the gennaker until better conditions allowed us to refurl the sail.
On the trip from Chubb Cay to Andros we were lucky enough to catch a Mahi! We’ll have several meals from this catch, including that evening’s dinner – grilled Mahi.
We visited a local spot, Hank’s, for beers. Hank is pretty serious about no fighting.
A short walk from the marina is the Androsia fabric factory. Androsia is locally produced Batik fabric which is inspired by nature in the Bahamas and completely hand made. When we found the factory, Bertrand found us. He showed us through the process of adding the design to the fabric and then dying the fabric. We were lucky enough to see bolts of fabric drying in the air behind the factory. Bertrand cuts the designs into the sponges and sets them in hot wax to mark the fabric before it is dyed.
The Androsia Outlet store was closed as they were remodeling, but they allowed us in anyhow. I felt like a kid in a candy store with all the hand dyed fabrics, clothing and accessories. I finally picked out four fabrics I think will work together nicely in a quilt and then discovered the remnant basket and found three more pieces of fabric! Brendan found a few gifts for his girlfriend, Alex. I also found a hand woven basket with Androsia fabric woven into it.
The next morning was another early start for our crossing to Nassau. Unfortunately, we had the wind on the nose, so we motored the whole way. Our approach into the harbor took us past the cruise ship terminals, Atlantis and multiple resorts. We got a slip in the Nassau Harbour Club and found our friends, Rick and Helen on S/V Symmetry III at the end of the dock. We got together that evening on Symmetry for drinks and snacks, and to catch up on each other’s sailing adventures since we last saw each other in Marsh Harbour.
On Friday morning it was time for Brendan to return to Massachusetts (brrrrr). We got him a cab from the marina to the airport. It was great to spend the last 10 days together and Brendan was a sport to accommodate his parent’s new laid back lifestyle. We wished we could have spent more time actually sailing between destinations, but we enjoyed the time together all the same.
More on Nassau in my next post.