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Published: March 2nd 2017
One of the stops on our Poker Run
It’s Regatta time here in George Town. Between that, our or so “busy” schedule (ha ha), and me feeling ill the last 4 or 5 days, it has been a while again since I wrote an update.
A week ago Sunday, a group of boaters gathered on Deb and John’s boat, Alexis (our Port Dover neighbours), for a fish fry and a little “farewell” for Deb’s sister and husband who had been down for a visit. As so often happens with boaters, what started as a little get together and snacks, turned out to be a full-on feast of fish, salads, pasta, steak and lobster. We definitely never worry about running out of food down here!
The evening ended with dolphins. The first couple months we were here, we didn’t see any dolphins and I was beginning to despair that we wouldn’t see any until we returned to Florida. But in the past few weeks, we have seen a number of them, right in our anchorage. They are smaller than the ones in Florida (maybe they loose weight swimming over the Gulfstream..haha), but just as entertaining. That evening, they put on quite the show, leaping so high, their entire
body was out of the water!
The following day, Lukus and I headed into town to do some laundry and get some provisions. Laundry down here can get expensive; it is $5 a load, plus a good chunk of your time, if you do it yourself. Or you can leave it with the ladies who run the laundromat and they will wash, dry and fold it for $10. We decided it was a nice way to support the local economy, so we left it with them. Strangely, there is a real sense of loss of control leaving your dirty clothes with strangers – especially when you don’t even get a receipt and all they do is staple a piece of paper with your name and boat name on the bag! But we got everything back the next day (with the addition of a new hand towel – hopefully no one is missing it that much), and it was joyous crawling into a bed with clean sheets! Amazing how exciting a simple thing as clean laundry has become!
The following day, we went back into town to retrieve said laundry, and to visit the immigration office. When we had
arrived in the Bahamas, we thought we had been given 120 days here, but fortunately, we recently checked our passports and discovered we had only been allotted 60 days. In the end, the process was simple enough to obtain a renewal. But it can get very confusing down here when you are on a boat. When you first arrive, you apply to Customs for a “cruising permit” for your boat ($300 for boats over 30 feet). This allows your boat to be in Bahamian waters without having to pay customs for a year. It also includes a fishing permit, which is good for 3 months, except in our case where they gave us 6 months. Then you ask Immigration for Visa, which can be granted to you for a period of 2 months up to 8 months, just depending on the whim of the officer. So, in essence, your boat can stay here and cruise for a year, but not with you on it…I am sure it makes sense somehow to someone! At least we are now “legally” permitted to be here until the end of May.
Wednesday, February 22 was the official start of the 37th
Town Regatta. This is a 10 day long event that has become a popular tradition in George Town and includes small and large boat races, volleyball, bocce ball and baseball tournaments, a variety show, scavenger hunt and much more. The regatta started with a Poker Run, and we were invited to crew along with Graham, a wonderful boater we have met from Nova Scotia. Unless you are a biker or boater, you may not know what a poker run is (I know I didn’t…and no, it’s not “poke her and run”…ha ha). It is really a fun event; you travel in your dinghy’s between 7 different venues. At each venue, they have drink and food specials, and you also collect a playing card. The goal is to get the best poker hand between the 7 cards you receive. Obviously, it requires no skill (perfect for me!). Unfortunately, we did not get a winning hand…but we definitely won out in fun and making new friends. It gave us a chance to see some of the venues around here that we haven’t been to yet. We met a lot of other boaters and ended the day with a dance (and a great
On Saturday, we had intended to head into town to watch the Regatta Variety Show. However, we also decided we needed to fill our water tanks. Just as with anything else down here, this is not a quick task. Usually, we can just pull up to a dock, grab a hose and turn on a tap…down here, it means lugging our water jugs in the dinghy across the harbour, filling them up, then coming back and draining them into our tank. With only 4 six gallon jugs, this takes 4 trips back and forth, and at times, an hour wait at the water station to fill the jugs each time. On this day, since most people were at the variety show, the water line was much smaller, and so Lukus dropped me off in town to go watch the show while he ran back and forth to get the tanks filled. Which means, while he missed most of the show, I was fortunate to be able to take in some of the acts. My favorites, of course, were the local school kids who performed a number of dances, some poetry and a couple songs. I could have
George Town Dinghy Dock
On Variety Show day, there were so many boats at the dinghy dock, boats were tying off to each other!
wrapped up each one of them and took them home…so cute!
In between all of this, we have spent most of our time as has become our routine. Cleaning, cooking, working or studying, reading, playing cards, visiting new friends, walking the beach and island trails, kayaking (our friends have graciously lent us their kayak for use whenever we want) and snorkeling and spearfishing.
The other day, we were out snorkeling a reef when I was suddenly awestruck. Not simply because of the breathtaking scene, the warmth of the sun playing on the crystalline waters lined with snow white sands and swaying palms, but because we are here. Living the “dream” we had talked about and imagined for the last few years. Spending every day in the sun, surrounded by bath temperature waters. Seeing new places and meeting new people. Getting up without an alarm clock. Choosing what we want to do, when we want to do it. Having a choice to wear shoes, or not (or coats, pants, or shirts for that matter!).
And as I floated along in the dinghy, watching Lukus dive down into the blue, I suddenly realized that just a moment before, I
A group of Bahamian kids putting on a dance
had been almost
complacent. Not to the point that I wasn’t happy and content, but I had fallen into a place where I was taking these moments for granted. It’s hard to admit; it’s almost shameful, but I have to be honest. Here I am, living this idyllic life in “paradise” and not reveling in every instant!
But along with this came an even deeper enlightenment. In those thoughts, I was still focusing on the material. I was admonishing myself for not being exuberant over where
I was, what
I was doing and what
we have. In truth, no matter where I am or what I am doing, I should be rejoicing and ever grateful for the blessings I have been given. Because truly, my greatest blessing is the love that is ever present in my life.
And so, with these illuminating thoughts still drifting in my mind, I want to thank each and every one of you, our friends and family, for being a part of that blessing! Thank you for the love!
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