Well, I thought I was sill going to be in Man-O-War Cay for the 10th and I would be able to post my last entry before we left, but we decided to head out to Hopetown in the morning. The trip was only about 5 miles, but it was directly upwind, and with such a short sail and great weather, Mark and I decided to tack our way upwind under only sail. We about doubled the time and distance of the trip, but it was satisfying, we sailed right up onto our anchor without running the motor at all. Once in Hopetown we did a little exploring, it is a typical Abacos town, with brightly colored houses, a beautiful pink sandy beach on the ocean side, little shops on every corner. A unique aspect of the town was the lighthouse which it operates. It is a 100 year old lighthouse, and it still runs the way it did the day it was built.We asked the keeper if we could come at dusk to help (read: hinder) him when he lights it, and he was glad to have us. So that made 4 little girls and 7 adults, everyone from Sandpiper, Gottalife, Bird, and Casa Mare, crowded into the little light room at the top of the lighthouse. The light is powered by kerosene and can be seen from 17 miles away, I was expecting some grand torchy gizmo that would impress and amaze me, but when we got up there... it was just a... kerosene lamp, just like a coleman lantern, a little wire mesh bubble where the gas burns, which amazed and impressed me in the opposite fashion that I was hoping for. The light is concentrated by Freznel lenses, made by Freznel himself I believe, and there were 5 sections, like gigantic magnifying glasses, on a track that goes around the light. The keeper lit the kerosene, and we then took turns turning the handle that lifts a 1200 lb weight, which turns the lenses as it lowers. It was pretty amazing to see, and then to go back to the boat and watch the beams of light that we just helped create.
The 10th of April was also my deathday, and in honor of that, I bought everyone ice cream cones and made a delightful hogfish dinner from the fish I caught the day before, and a strawberry cake with fudge icing. It was a good deathday. Geneva informed me that one of the ghosts in Harry Potter also celebrates his death day, so I think that is enough to legitimize its celebration.
We are now in Green Turtle Cay, and we are mere days away from making the crossing to the states. We are going to be hopping from Great Sail to Cape Canaveral, it will be somewhere around a 36 hour sail, and with just Mark and I on board it wont exactly be fun, we will handle it just fine, just not fun. So... if you want to fly to the Bahamas for a thrilling sailing experience, and you know how to read a compass, you are welcome on Sandpiper, just be here by Thursday, we will have you back in the states (you too can feel cool by calling it "the states" while you are here) by Sunday. The closer we get, the more excited I am to get home, just the fact that I will be able to talk on my cell phones is enough. We are currently waiting for a little front to blow through, and after that we have a small window on Thursday, hopefully big enough, though we might have to wait till Sunday, but regardless, we will be back soon, and after that we will be making pretty god time on the way home. On the way down we were traveling in the winter so the days were shorter, now the days are getting longer and we have more travel time, which is all that really limits us when we are going up the ICW. We will also hopefully be making some hops on the outside, the Gulf stream goes north, so we can go out and ride that to get over some of the bad spots in the ICW, like the bridge filled Florida and the endless winding in Georgia. We should be back in a month or so from our start on the ICW, so sometime mid to late May, depending on when we get our weather window.
I will be getting around the country quite a bit when we get back, and I am thinking about buying a car, though I have not put much thought into it yet, but if anyone has a car they are thinking about selling, or knows anyone who is, or just has some general advice about buying a car these days, you should let me know. I dont know if the crap going on with GM will lead to some good deals or if it would be bad to buy from them? Maybe I will just hitchhike to get around. Anyone going to be in the North Carolina area around the middle of May? Hah, if so, maybe I will catch a ride with you wherever you are going.