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25 September 2017

Thoughts On Hurricanes & Jungle Cruising In The Abacos, Bahamas

EDITOR'S NOTE: It feels really weird to be publishing blog posts about this past season cruising in the Bahamas on our sailboat knowing that there are so many people out there who lost their own boats as a result of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. For some of these people, their boats were also their homes. They don't have a base on land to go back to. For others, these boats were also their livelihoods. The trail of devastation and destruction that these hurricanes left in their wake is almost inconceivable.

I know some of you who follow our blog aren't sailors or boat owners and it might be hard to imagine what it's like to live through a hurricane and lose your floating home. If that's the case, then you might want to check out this blog post on Where the Coconuts Grow.

The folks behind this blog are a young family (they have a 3-month old baby) based in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. The mom and baby left the island two days before Irma. The dad stayed behind to secure their boat, as well as the boats for the charter company he works for. Fortunately, the dad survived the hurricane and mom and baby were safe back in the States, but they lost everything. Their post describes what it was like to be apart, surviving a hurricane and their hopes for the future.

Sadly, there are many, many stories like this one throughout the Caribbean and in the States.

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If you want to read about some of our final days cruising in the Bahamas, have a read below. We've got a couple more posts scheduled which will wrap-up this past season's cruising adventures and then it will be all about what we've been up to since we've been back in the States while we're getting working on boat projects and getting ready to head to the Western Caribbean this coming season. If there's anything in particular you'd like to see us blog about, let us know.


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Do you remember how we weren't sure which way to head back to the States from the Bahamas? After flipping a coin, we headed back via the Abacos, which turned out to be a good decision. One of the reasons why is that our friends, Bruce and Michele on s/v Wind Spirit were there.

This is them at the dinghy dock in Hope Town. Notice that dinghy next to them? The orange one? That's their dinghy. I love it for a lot of reasons, mainly because of its orange dinghy chaps. {Dinghy chaps protect dinghies from the elements, kind of like chaps protect cowboys from nasty stuff like thorns, thistles and the like.}

Orange is a great color. It's cheerful and happy. Orange never complains. Orange is always excited to greet the new day. Orange can't wait to go out and play. There are other colors I'm not very fond of, but I won't mention them here. Let's just say that there were certain crayons in my crayon box that didn't get used very often when I was a child.


The other reason I love Michele and Bruce's dinghy is because it picked us up from our boat and took us on fun adventures. I don't think we had to use our dinghy once while we were hanging out with the crew of Wind Spirit. I really think I could get used to getting chauffeured around in an orange dinghy.

One day, they took us out for what they call "jungle cruising," which basically means messing about in the dinghy and checking out the scenery. Bruce chauffeured us around the shallower waters of Hope Town's Harbour.

As you'd expect, there were lots of boats.




But what you might not expect is an old canon. At least, that's what I think it is. What do you think? Is it a canon or something else?


Check out this boat. It's boom sticks way out over the stern of the boat. It's a well known boat in the area, but for the life of me I can't remember it's name or anything much else about it. If you've cruised in the Bahamas, have you seen it before?


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Cruising Log | Tuesday, 11 July 2017 - Wednesday, 19 July 2017

11-13 JULY
Hung out at Marsh Harbour. Laundry, provisioning, snorkeling at Mermaid's Reef, beers at the Jib Room and sundowners with our friends on Wind Spirit. Not a bad way to spend a few days.
Nautical Miles = Nil. Engine Hours = Nil. Spending = $86.22 (laundry, groceries & drinks).

14 JULY
Got Tickety Boo ready to go and turned the engine on. Plan was to head to Hope Town, but our buddy boat ended up having to sort out their solenoid.
Nautical Miles = Nil. Engine = 30 mins. Spending = Nil.

15 JULY
We finally escaped Marsh Harbour. Anchor up at 9:45 AM. Anchor down outside of Hope Town at 11:30 AM. Issues with our roller furling. Scott may have said some naughty words. Showed the crew of Wind Spirit around Hope Town. Very, very hot. Did some jungle cruising.
Nautical Miles = 8. Engine = 2 hours 15 mins. Spending = $37.03 (groceries & drinks)

16 JULY
Lazy, lazy, lazy. Hot, hot, hot. Steak sandwiches for dinner - yummy, yummy, yummy.
Nautical Miles = Nil. Engine Hours = Nil. Spending = Nil.

17 JULY
Anchor up at 9:00 AM. Anchor down at 1:20 PM at Sandy Cay. Had lunch and then went snorkeling. Some of the best snorkeling we've done in the Bahamas. Scott narrowly avoided having a remora attach itself to him. Anchor up at 4:30 PM. Anchor down at 6:00 PM at Tilloo Cay. Delicious dinner on board Wind Spirit. If you're ever in an anchorage with them and they invite you to dinner, say yes.
Nautical Miles = 24. Engine = 5 hours 30 mins. Spending = Nil.

18 JULY
Anchor up at 7:45 AM. Back to Sandy cay for more snorkeling! Very roly-poly. Storm cell came in and we got the heck out of there. Anchored off of Great Abaco Island so that the boys could do some "hunting" with their Hawaiian slings. Another storm cell came in and we got the heck out of there. Headed over to Marsh Harbour where an evil bee stung Scott. I've never been stung by a bee. Seems painful.
Nautical Miles = 24. Engine = 5 hours. Spending = Nil.

19 JULY
Got the boat ready to make our way back to the States and did some provisioning.
Nautical Miles = Nil. Engine Hours = Nil. Spending = $117.01 (diesel, water, groceries, coconut bread and tin foil).

What's your favorite color? Are there any colors you dislike? Do you prefer to drive or would you rather be chauffeured around? Do you have a hurricane story that you want to share?

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39 comments:

  1. Definitely a cannon. My favorite color is blue. I'm not as fond of orange (sorry!). But I like most colors. I love to drive. My husband thinks it's because I like to be in control (this could be true). I love reading about your adventures. We didn't get impacted by the hurricane, but our schools were out for two days because of the tropical storm. We were lucky. I'm keeping the victims of Irma and Maria in my thoughts and prayers and really thinking about Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

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    1. I'm a big fan of blue too :-) I wonder if the kids were happy that school was closed? The hurricanes really impacted a large area - some areas that didn't get hit directly still got some big winds.

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  2. The boat with the long boom is one of the ones that gets used for racing. We were at the Family Islands Regatta in Georgetown in 2016 and they came from all over the Bahamas (usually on the mailboats or other cargo ships) for a week of races. If you've never done it, it still ranks as one of our favorite experiences in the Bahamas.

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    1. Thanks Ralph! I bet that would have been so much fun to see the regatta. I'd love to experience that one day.

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  3. And with orange, you'll definitely be seen.
    The hurricanes took so many homes on land and water. It would be scary indeed.
    Your boat all right?

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    1. That was one of their thoughts when they chose that fabric. If they have to abandon ship and use their dinghy as a life raft then they'd be more easily seen.

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  4. Orange was my nephew's favourite colour, so it holds a special place in my heart (he was killed by a drunk driver 6 years ago). Red has been my personal favourite since I can remember, but I don't like to wear it much except for on shoes and Christmas socks (it's such a pain to wash). I buy a lot of things in pink (probably because it irritates David). And there's something about purple that I don't really trust.

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    1. I can see why orange is special to you :-( I used to like red quite a bit when I was younger. A great color for Christmas socks! Maybe David would like some pink socks or a sweater for Christmas this year?

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    2. Funny you should say that. I bought him a salmon coloured sweater last year and he looks really good in it . . . and he likes it (but that's probably because I was smart enough to buy him one with his soccer team's logo embroidered on the chest -- the man loves his football).

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  5. I know there were a lot of boats that are no more after that hurricane. I can't imagine. Surviving is the important part. Things are things and they can eventually be replaced. People can't be replaced.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  6. Blog ideas: I want to know how living on a 34 foot boat is going for you now that you have been doing it a while. Do you wish you had more space? More tankage? (Our boat is way too big for us, and we're thinking of downsizing to a 35 ft -ish mono).
    I like to drive the dinghy, but hate driving a car. I'd be happy to never drive again!

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    1. Good idea - I'll work on a past on life on a relatively small sailboat. Downsizing from a 38' cat to a 35' mono would be considerable. Scott's suggestion is that you downsize first to a 26' mono then upsize to a 35' mono. It will make it seem all the more spacious. :-)

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    2. I just keep imagining the joy I'd feel while only sanding one hull, and one 26 ft hull - why, that would probably be fun! And the 26 footer might just have an outboard, and we can fix those easy. But, I do have to have a proper galley so Matt keeps cooking and making coffee. And enough storage for 1,000 bags of chips and 200 bars of chocolate.

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    3. Yeah, the galley on our 26' boat wasn't all that great and it did have an inboard engine. Fortunately that never gave us any trouble. Definitely not enough room for all those chips and chocolate bars either. Probably why I was so happy to upsize to a 34' boat.

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  7. Losing your boat, which was also your home, would be tough. My thoughts are with those people. What's happened to all of the islands during this hurricane season is just devastating. :(

    Yup, I think it's an old canon, too.

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  8. It's hard to get your head around how devastating the hurricanes are for those of us watching from afar. I feel for the people who lost everything. Glad you had a fun day with your friends.

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    1. I imagine you don't get quite the same coverage that we did here in the States as it didn't directly impact Britain (although it did impact Commonwealth countries). We definitely see quite a bit coverage, especially as part of the sailing FB groups, forums etc. that we're part of.

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  9. I can't imagine losing everything in a hurricane. It's just terrible.
    My favorite color is gray. Yeah, I'm a weirdo.

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    1. Gray is an excellent color choice. Mysterious and versatile is what comes to mind when I think of gray.

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  10. I'm just so grateful to live somewhere that hurricanes don't come. It must be awful to lose everything. My favourite colour is blue and I love driving.

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  11. We're wondering about your plans for this winter? Sionna still hopes to spend time in the Bahamas after January 1 if conditions permit. Would be fun to share an anchorage with you somewhere! We'll have chocolate pie makings...

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    1. Another good post idea - I'll do one about our plans for this coming season. We're planning on heading to the Western Caribbean. One possible routing was via Key West to Islas Mujeres. Not sure that's such a great idea now. The other is via the Bahamas. It would be awesome to share an anchorage with you guys if we go the Bahamas way.

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  12. The devastation caused by the hurricanes is mind-boggling. My husband and I are amateur radio operators, (AKA "hams") and the Red Cross has issued a message to hams through our national organization (ARRL) that they are in DIRE need of volunteers to deploy to Puerto Rico for three-week periods to provide vital communications. My hubby and I have been involved in post-disaster things like this in the past, but we had to reluctantly agree that we're too old to do it now. Point is, this is the first time the ARC has actually made such an urgent request, so I know things are beyond bad there.

    When traffic is light, I enjoy driving, but if I had my druthers, I'd be chauffeured in Atlanta's nasty bumper-to-bumper driving where everyone is constantly weaving in and out and changing lanes for no apparent reason.

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    1. The situation in Puerto Rico is so dire. I think people sometimes forget that they're US citizens which doesn't help with the media coverage of the situation (although to be fair there seems to be more coverage today). How cool that you guys are hams. I got my ham license, but haven't used it. yet.

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  13. Best wishes to that family, and all those suffering. Beautiful pictures. That sure looks like a cannon to me. As for colors, purple was my absolute favorite growing up. Now I honestly cannot say. I saw something in a bright yellow earlier that made me smile. Be well!

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    1. Bright yellow is a very cheerful color too. Orange and yellow get on well together.

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  14. I like strong colors and orange is one of my favorites. I even have our aft head painted orange! it positively glows. And although you'd think it would, it doesn't make me look like a cheeto. I wish our dinghy was orange. When I bought it, they had advertised it as 'white'. But it's not white, either. It's sort of a white with a green undertone. Not attractive, but serviceable as heck. I forgave the color and named it 'Penguin'.

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    1. An orange head - how fun!! That would be a cheerful color to brush your teeth to in the mornings.

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  15. I looked at that post - awful pictures of the devastation, that poor family. On a happier note, the pictures of your jungle cruising look lovely. Orange has unfortunate, sectarian affiliations here. I think my favourite colour is blue, but sometimes it’s red.

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    1. Ah...that's true about the color orange in Scotland. I had forgotten that. :-(

      Lots of people seem to like blue. I bet it would win color of the year if we put it to a vote.

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  16. We loved Hope Town. It was one of our favorite stops in the Bahamas. However, all those boats on moorings in the harbor that never move all season and no pump out facilities. Needless to say we went in with a full water tank so we wouldn't need to run the water maker. Saw some nasty stuff float by the boat there. Aren't you glad I posted this wonderful word picture :)

    Mark

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    1. Well, I certainly can't get that word picture out of my head now :-) Smart move to make sure your water tanks were topped up.

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  17. The boat is called a Bahamian Sloop. Now mostly used for racing, it was originally used for fishing and diving for conch.

    Wow...that story with Jody, Peter, Brig and Betsy was just heartbreaking! Thank God they were able to leave without a passport! My ex husband insisted we get passports for both children when they were born, I always thought it was silly, but this is a perfect example of why you might need to travel in a hurry. They made it out with their lives and that is all that really matters.
    They, and the islands, WILL rebuild!

    Thank you for sharing that story.

    - Lisa

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    1. They were so lucky that she was able to get permission to travel to the States with the baby. That must have been so stressful on top of all of the stress they already had going on at the moment.

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  18. Since having read your blog for awhile now, I did think about people who live on their boats, something I don't think I ever really considered before, during other hurricanes. Really scary stuff.

    I like orange well enough, it's just not my favorite. I'm more of a purple/blue kind of girl. :)

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