"Time Enough" in the Bahamas|
February 11, 2000
Well this is the second Friday night chapter from Time Enough. Hope it warms your heart an keeps you thinking about summer and sailing.
When I left Time Enough had just arrived at a protected anchorage after slogging to windward in 18 knots of wind. The boats we were sailing with had to stay several hundred yards from shore in the wind and waves, while TE could go right up to the beach in good protection. If need be we could have gone even further in behind some tiny islands for complete protection-the advantage of an ultra shallow draft boat. We had a restful night, though the wind was howling all night long, and was still howling in the morning. If we were smart we would have stayed put and waited for a fair wind, or at least less wind, but our buddy boats were heading on 20 miles to Green Turtle Cay, so we went with them. Mistake! Another 5 hours of pounding to windward with salt spray in our faces-not scary or dangerous but very, very unpleasant. We arrived at Green Turtle exhausted and spent the rest of the day washing off salt and drying out.
Green Turtle Cay is where we were really introduced to the cruiser community. The next morning was calm, warm, and sunny. (we would have had an easy passage had we waited) Everyone was out and about in their dingies, and three different cruisers came by to welcome us, chat, offer information, etc. Mark, on our buddy boat EVEN FLOW, said it took him all morning to row 200 yards to shore because he was chatting, or "gamming" as it's called. We heard about Green Turtle Club's Sunday morning brunch and sailed the Wren in for a wonderful all you can eat buffet for $12. This cruising life was looking better.
The next few days were sunny and warm. I snorkeled the reef on the ocean side and used my fishing spear for the first time. Fish for dinner! They were so beautiful I was reluctant to spear them. The water was a bit cool for Carol's taste so she cheered from the beach, and we did eat well. We spent six days at Green Turtle, snorkeling, sailing the harbor, visiting the charming 18th century town of New Plymouth (settled by American Loyalists after the Revolution), and socializing with new friends who quickly became old friends. Everyone has an interesting story to tell, and we are all in the same boat, so to speak, so have immediate common ground (or rather, water). By getting here in your own boat you become a member of an unofficial club. Everyone seems to know everyone, and a newcomer is quickly welcomed and accepted. It's a wonderful feeling.
Green Turtle was so pleasant we could easily have spent the winter right there, but we had only started exploring the Bahamas, so on to other harbors. From here south there are good stops every 10 miles or so-no more long passages for a while. Everyone keeps in touch on the cruisers net (more about that later) so we will meet the same boats again in other places.
To be continued-