We have sailed south this year down the Exuma Islands of the Bahamas. These beautiful islands offer a glimpse of a time gone by. The local residents are happy and content with island life. Unlike the metropolitan areas of the USA and Europe, there is not very much to spend money on here on these islands. The locals do not need shiny new cars, big faced watches, fancy clothes or electronic gadgets to enhance their lives. The pace is slow and more relaxing than you can ever imagine. People smile when they talk and are friendly to visitors. On more than one occasion, Cindy and I were walking down the street when we would hear, “Good morning”. Perhaps it was someone in their garden or a lady making straw baskets and hats to sell by the roadside. Regardless of where the greeting came from, it served as a reminder how the people here like and respect other people. If you respond with, “Good morning. How are you today?” Expect to hear how they are doing. This could take a little while. We love that about the Bahamians. I can’t recall the number of times we have stopped in the middle of the street to talk to a perfect stranger. But, it’s a lot.
We check the weather every day. Our life is determined by what the weather is going to do. If it’s stormy, we seek shelter in a safe harbor. If it’s sunny, we play. If it’s windy, we look to move on down the road. This week the winds are blowing from the north. Upon closer assessment, we see an ideal weather window to move from Great Exuma Island to Mayaguana. Mayaguana is the easternmost Bahamian island and a perfect jump off point to new countries beyond. The passage to Mayaguana is about 185 nautical miles. For us, this is an overnight passage of about 36 hours. We made our decision to go. Our temporary planned stop in Mayaguanna is to take advantage of the well protected Abraham’s Bay for strong winds forecasted three days from now.
The decision to leave Great Exuma Island was hard. We were there for less than a week. We wanted to stay longer. Some other cruisers we have met along our journey were there. We had drinks with David and Lea Ann aboard Nomad and met their new dog Gypsy. We first met David and Lea Ann last year when they anchored near us just off a deserted beach. It turned out the cliché small world is a truism. David and Lea Ann are from Texas. When the onion was peeled back, it turn out Cindy’s Dad had relatives who babysat Lea Ann as a child in a small Texas town. The town they grew up in is so small that only the people who live there know about it. We’re talking tiny. We also spent some time with Ian and Margaret from Loca Lola II who were also in the anchorage. We also met them last year. They are a Canadian couple each with a wicked sense of humor. And, they just sold their house and plan to cruise aboard Loca Lola II full time. We wish we could have been with them when their house sold to help celebrate. It sold the day after we left. We really hope we run into them again in the Caribbean next year. They are such fun to hang out with.
Leaving friends because of a good weather window is one of the hardships of our lifestyle. Beside Loca Lola II and Nomad, we met others along our journey this year. A few followed us down to George Town and we were hoping to do more socializing. We thought about skipping this weather window and waiting for another. But, we know better. If we skipped this one, it could be weeks before another opportunity comes our way. And, as it turns out, the window was perfect. We enjoyed sailing. Yes, we actually sailed the entire way. We only ran the engine when raising the anchor and leaving the harbor and again when lowering the anchor in Abraham’s Bay at Mayaguana. The sea was a little lumpy but not worse than we expected with waves about six to nine feet high built by the north and northwest winds as part of a strong front to our northeast. We had two glorious days of 20 knot winds on the hind quarter of Cream Puff. Perfect!
We probably will not go to visit the township on Mayaguana as we are stuck here in the bay due to the strong winds. The town is on the other side of the island. Less than 300 people live here. There is no suitable anchorage near the town. Oh well. This stopover was planned as the forecasted stronger part of a north front passing though the area runs its course. The Turks and Caicos Islands are our next stop about 55 miles away. As soon as the winds die down a little we will hoist our anchor in search of a new country and another stamp in our passports.