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Published: December 30th 2016
Conch on the Beach
One beach we visited was littered with small conch just beneath the water's surface.
Recently I have been a little saddened to witness my FaceBook and Twitter feeds being inundated with “good riddance’s” to 2016. Apparently, many look back on 2016 as a horrible or depressing year; the worst
year ever. They are pining over the start of 2017; eagerly anticipating a fresh start and the dawn of a more peaceful and stable life.
Now I am not totally in the dark, I realize there have been some dramatic and difficult times this past year; both on the global scene and in each of our personal lives. Naturally, we all have challenges at times. But as I choose to avert my attention off the negative and reflect on all the good blessings in life; I would have to say 2016 has been a great one.
Celebrating Christmas on the boat (no family gatherings, tree, presents, turkey dinner or snow – not that I missed the snow!) didn’t necessarily feel like “Christmas”. But then again, on an adventure such as this, every day is like Christmas! Not the commercial gift giving and holiday rush Christmas. But the peaceful, joyful, thankful, loving spirit kind of Christmas.
Each morning, I peak my eyes open in anticipation
Our view for Christmas
Chub Cay in the Berry Islands
of the scenery that will greet me and send up a prayer of gratitude for all the beauty and bounty of the earth.
Because of high winds, we ended up staying anchored at Chub Cay in the Berry Islands from the 24th
until yesterday. Unfortunately, the island suffered some damage from Hurricane Matthew a few months back, and so was closed to all guests; meaning we could not clear customs there. It also meant we didn’t go ashore all week, but it is surprising how I am adapting to being “boated” (as opposed to “grounded”.. ha ha!).
However, we did have a chance to do some snorkeling and diving. The waters right around our boat was home to various fish, including a barracuda (I stayed away from him!), stingrays, urchins, and conch. And the bottom was littered with starfish, some as large as my head!
When we arrived at Chub Cay, an older man named Dave, who is sailing solo on his catamaran “Miou”, came up to us on his dinghy. Dave has been cruising these waters every winter for the past 15 years, so he had lots of tips to share with us. He is an
Sea Urchin on a Pier
A little different than the sea urchins that Lukus used to dive for
enthusiastic fisherman, so we heard many a “fish tale”. He also told us about the different types of fish in Bahamian waters, what he uses for bait, and finding lobster and conch.
We ended up inviting him over to share Christmas Eve dinner with us. When he came over, he brought us gifts of jam, oranges, nuts and a little flashlight. When you are on a boat with limited space and/or access to supplies, even these little gifs have great significance. We were touched by his generosity.
Most of Christmas Day was relaxed, just lazing on the boat in our underwear (ah the joys of anchoring, some days you don’t have to put on pants – lol). Later in the afternoon, Dave invited us to his boat for Christmas dinner. Lukus’ brother had brought some grouper for us earlier in the week, and since it needed to be eaten, we took it over with us. But it was a nice treat for us not to have to cook!
Over the next few days, Dave shared some yellowtail and lobster he had caught. In exchange, we gave him some fresh water as he was running low. This is
one thing I love about boating life. Even though none of us have huge stores on board, people are so willing to share what they have, with no expectations in return.
On Christmas Day, another boat, Sea Providence, came in to anchor. He had left Chub Cay for Nassau the day before, but with the high winds the seas had been whipped up with 10 foot swells. We were certainly glad at that time for our cozy little anchorage.
The captain of Sea Providence, along with this girlfriend and her mother, are from Montreal. One afternoon, he kayaked over to our boat and asked if maybe we wanted to go out spearfishing with him as he needed someone to drive the boat while he dove. He was fortunate enough to spear a fish and 4 lobster, and so for the second day in a row, we had lobster. (I know, our life sounds rough huh?)
Yesterday, we headed for Nassau. Although we had thought to avoid the highly populated and crowded “big city” we still wanted to be all proper-like and clear customs and immigration. So, we pulled into Nassau Harbour Club marina on the east end
of Nassau and waited for customs. And waited. And waited. Such is Bahamian time – things happen but at a much more relaxed pace. But hey, what’s the rush?
After a few calls from the marina staff and our friendly security guy, Fredrick, customs finally arrived…6 hours later (6 hours can be a little torturous to be at a dock and not able to get off, especially after days on the boat)! But everything went smoothly and soon we were “cleared” to step on land. By that time, it was dark and we were quite tired, so we walked over to the local grocery store for a few provisions and went back to the boat.
While we were waiting for customs however, we met another set of great people. It is always interesting to notice how much attention our boat attracts. I think Lukus is sometimes surprised, and humbly flattered by the compliments he receives. But I must concur that Abigail is a great boat! And she seems to set the stage for introductions to people from all walks of life; Red, who owns a dive charter boat; Seth and Tracy who had an unplanned stop over on
their way to Peurto Rico because of weather, and another young couple from the states on their first independent sailing voyage.
While we entertained the thought of staying longer in Nassau, the weather has pushed us on. Tomorrow, another front moves in with gusty winds and higher seas, so we are headed to the northern tip of the Exumas to find a place to hole up for a few days.
The next two weeks will be spent slowly traveling down the Exumas. We plan to be in George Town just before the 15th
of January, as my parents and my kiddo are flying in that day. I am so excited to have my family join us on this adventure, if only for a week.
So, as we close out 2016, we hope that each of you can recall some of the good things this year has brought; new experiences, knowledge and wisdom gained, skills mastered, and love experienced. May you issue in the New Year with gratefulness for where the past has brought you, joy of the “here and now” and hope for your future days.
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