Thursday, February 19, 2009

out and about

Those of you who have been checking on my spot know by now that I had a bit of a foray into the world outside of Georgetown a few days ago. I got on the morning cruisers net and asked if any of the boats that are participating in the upcoming race from Georgetown to Long Island would like crew. Fred on Casa MarĂ© took us on, he is a single hander, probably in his mid 60s, and he took on both me and Mark for the trip. He was on an Irwin 35, which turned out to be a pretty nice boat, the build quality wasn’t great, but it was laid out nicely and sailed great. We made the 37 mile course in 5 hours and 42 minutes on the way there and 4 hours 51 minutes coming back, averaging a respective 6.5 and 7.3 knots, so it was pretty quick sailing, winds were around 20 knots and with a following sea on the way home, seems like we were cruising at hull speed the whole way. The hull speed of the boat is the max speed at which it can travel efficiently, above it the bow wave is too big or something like that and it takes much more energy to get more speed, the equation for monohulls is something like the square root of the boats length at waterline times 1.7, which turns out to be 9.3, so I guess we weren’t doing quite hull speed, but we were doin a steady 8 knots for a while, which is cookin for a 35 footer. Out of the around 35 boats in the race we got 13th, better than I was expecting, and once we got there, they had all kinds of activities lined up for us and the other racers. Thursday night we had a dinner at Club Thompson Bay, and the owner, Trifina, cooked up one heck of a meal. Grouper, conch fritters, potato salad, cole-slaw, rice n peas, wings, ribs, mac n cheese, all washed down with some Kalik. We stuffed ourselves to the gills and the three of us waddled back to the dinghy and made our way back to Casa Mare. The next day we went with friends of Fred’s to explore the cave we kept hearing about on the island. It turns out that there is a huge cave in a lady’s backyard just down the beach from where we were anchored. We walked down her driveway and she gave us permission to go check out the cave, so we walked down to the little beach in her backyard and spotted a little sign that said Cave next to a path going into the woods. A couple hundred feet down the path and it took you into a huge room with sun pouring in through holes in the top and roots from trees reaching down the 15 foot drop to find the ground, it was pretty spectacular. Continuing on, as the light became thinner and thinner, the sound of bats became more and more dense. The ceiling never got lower than 12 feet in the middle of the cave, and there were caverns going off to the left and right everywhere as we walked. One tunnel going off to the side of our original path really shocked me with its size, the beam of our flashlights was just swallowed by its depth. We spent an hour or so that day and all day the next day exploring the cave and taking pictures, hopefully I get the pictures up, it is difficult to get good pictures in a zero light environment, we sat the camera down and walked around lighting up the cave with our flashlights while the shutter was open. There were some crazy crabs we found too, bodies about the size of your hand, and bright blue and red… for whatever reason, you couldn’t see the color without a flashlight. After cave exploring we went to the local grocery store and bought pints of ice cream and sat on the deck at Long Island Breeze next to the pool overlooking the bay, it dosnt get much better than that. Ok, so then Friday night, after gorging ourselves Thursday night, the cruisers had a potluck dinner at the Long Island Breeze, and we again stuffed ourselves silly on all the casseroles and pasta and various goodness and desserts we could get our hands on. Fred got an award that night for hospitality in picking up two hitchhikers (me and Mark), which was a pink neck warmer someone brought as a gift, and he wore it as a hat for the rest of the night. Stylin.
Saturday on Long Island, Mark and I decided to go on a bit of an adventure. We hitchhiked the 50 miles or so to the bottom of the island, just happening to get our last ride from the guy who lived at the very last house on the road. We walked on from where the road ended, rounded the tip of the island, which was lined with huge white cliffs and stretched of untouched beaches. There was lots of flotsam, wrecked boats, seaweed, shells. It was insane the amount of shoes that are washed up on the beach there, where do all those shoes come from? Hundreds, literally hundreds of shoes every ¼ mile. A big thing to do on the island is to find sea beans, which are seeds from plants in Africa that float all the way across the ocean and wind up on the beaches here. There is one bean that looks like a mini hamburger, so our goal for the day was to find as many of those as we could, I found 7 all day I think. We walked the shore all the way across the island, scaling cliffs and navigating thick brush and jagged iron rock, both in the light and dark. We walked somewhere between 15 and 700 miles, and after our 9 am start, we finally got back to the road around 8 pm. The kid that picked us up was only going 10 miles or so down the road, but he said that he decided to just take us the whole way, going probably an hour and a half out of his way to take us back to the Breeze, and that is no surprise down here, you see that kind of stuff happen all the time, after we got back, we were sitting by the road because the Breeze was closed, trying to figure out how to get ahold of Fred, when a car stopped cause we were just sitting there, brought us to his house down the road, called Fred on his VHF, and dropped us off at a dock for Fred to dinghy over and get us. They are a different breed down here, the rest of the world could use a little Bahamizing.
When we got back to Georgetown, Grandmother and Grandad were in great spirits, Brian had been serving on them hand and foot, they hadn’t even gotten into our dinghy the entire time we were gone, Brian did it al for them. So, Grandads blood pressure is at a record low, but we are back now so it is starting to rise. They could hardly contain their… excitement… that we were back. So we are back in Georgetown now, the internet hast been working on Stocking for the past few days, but hopefully I will get this up soon, I am also mailing a few things out, some of the cool shells I found, a lucky few might get some hamburger beans, maybe a dead baby shark. Anybody want a conch horn? I have made a few, everyone plays their horn at sundown in the harbor, it is pretty cool, they can also be a great way to wake up roommates/siblings, but ya, just say the word and I will ship you a conch horn. Oh, and also, I have been trying to find someone who has a spare laptop they would be willing to sell me down here with no luck, does anyone have or know someone who has a laptop sitting around they would be willing to sell? That would be great, let me know if you know anything. That’s all for now folks, have a wonnnnderful day.

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