By Wally, Motor Vessel Sandial
It's been a long time coming it seems, but we finally got SANDIAL repaired from the damages caused by Hurricane Wilma in October of 2005. What I was hoping would take a couple of months took over a year.
However, we are not complaining. The delay afforded us the time to cruise the Chesapeake Bay and meet some more friends. The Chesapeake was an interesting trip and reinforced, in us, why we want to go south rather than north. North is not good. North is cold. North has snow in it. We do not like north. I am going to take north off my compass.
We finally headed for the Bahamas on January 3, 2007. It was a great feeling pulling out of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale early that morning. The trip was a little sloppy at first, but then calmed down and we had a good cruise into Bimini. Bimini hasn't changed much since we were there seven years ago. The two exception are that the Complete Angler (a bar) burnt down a few years ago and remains a heap of rubble and there is a huge development going on at the North end of the island. The quaint little island we love so much is soon to become another tourist trap.
We left Bimini after a few days and cruised up to Great Isaac and on to the Berry Islands. Now we are back in the Bahamas! Beautiful sand beaches, with crystal clear water and few people. And the people you do find are mostly natives and are very nice.
After a few days in the Berry Islands we headed over toward Harbour Island or as the locals call it: Brilan. In order to get there you have to go through a spot between Spanish Wells and Harbour Island called the Devils Backbone. It is a treacherous route through coral and jagged rocks. We did the prudent thing and called for a local pilot to take us through. We called for Edsel who is the pilot we have used in the past and to our sadness found that he had passed away a few years ago. So we had another pilot take us through. Just before we were to go the pilot hailed us on the VHF radio and told us that a squall was coming through and asked that we grab a local mooring ball and we would wait until the squall passed before making the passage. As it turned out we ended up tying to one mooring and getting another stuck on a prop. Pam went down and knocked it off.
After an hour or two the pilot came and took us to Brilan. This has always been one of our favorite spots in the Caribbean with its quaint little shops, wonderful people and pink sand beaches. It's absolutely paradise. It too, though, seems to be going the way of over population. There are more resorts and new homes being built constantly. I guess its progress and it certainly helps the local economy, but It appears to me that the local people who have lived and worked there all there lives have very mixed emotions about it.
After Brilan we headed for Nassau and met up with Mike and Judy Henricksen and Mary Diddams from the SSI office. They were attending an insurance conference and we joined them in the social aspects of the conference. A few days at Paradise Island in Nassau is enough for us. It's a spectacular place, but more like going to Disney World than the Bahamas. We remarked that listening to the hotel guests talk about how nice it was being in the Bahamas and how quaint the locals were we just wanted to tell each of them that this isn't the Bahamas. Paradise Island is about as much like the Bahamas as Disney World is like Munising, Michigan.
When we left the Bahamas we went to Alan's Cay, which is only about a forty mile trip. Alan's is a must stop for us because when you approach the beaches you will see the iguanas begin to come out of the bushes. First there may be one or two but soon there may be as many as twenty or more. They are merely looking for handouts and are quite harmless. The only thing you have to be careful of is when feeding them you don't want to let them eat out of your hand. They have very powerful jaws and very poor eyesight and sometimes cannot tell the difference between the slice of bread you are holding and your hand.
Mariah was fascinated with the iguanas and the beaches. The only people on the island were those that came off other boats like us. It was very quiet and we would have stayed a little longer, but some weather was approaching and we weren't as protected as we wanted to be in this particular weather, so we headed SOUTH.
We made a few other stops along the way and all of them were wonderful. Long white sand beaches with clear blue water. We are now in Samson's Cay and waiting for some more weather to pass before heading down to Georgetown. We hope to get there for the Super Bowl because there is not a TV between here and there that I know of.
Wally, Pam, Mariah and ElvisFrom the Bridge - m/v SANDIAL reports from the Caribbean.