Our Cruise from Chub Cay started out under sail, we made our way south hoping to take one big tack on our way to Nassau. We ran through a few squall lines so we were moving pretty fast at first. Four hours into the trip we tacked over to head another 4 hours and the wind died. So what could have been a 6 hour motor or an 8 hour sail turned into 5 hours of sailing and two hours of motoring. However, the extra time allowed us to catch three darado (Mahi-Mahi) and a small tuna. The darado are such beautiful fish, see the picture, when in the water. They are the most intenst shades of blue and green and dance as you fight them in. The smaller ones school and the whole school follows the hooked fish to the boat. We messed up the second one on the way in, so I had to kill it. Again, see the picture, there was blood everywhere. But he fed us that night and the next and he was delicious. We threw the rest back. Arrival in Nassau was straight forward and we anchored just outside the Channel.

Nassau was fun, the big city of the Bahamas. We had an enormous cheese burger at the Green Parrot at the encouragement of Jimmy Buffet. We bought 3 liters of rum, that we finished in three days and I don’t think we got drunk once. It was super-sweet and didn’t seem to contain the 40% advertised alcohol, but the ginger beer was delicious. There is a huge resort in Nassau called Atlantis. It is a monster and must take like 10,000 guests. The ridiculous part is that the locals aren’t allowed into the casino or other parts and have to stay on the blue carpet while the guests use the red one. The most interesting thing we saw in Nassau though, and we are lucky to have caught it, was a festival called Junkanoo. This is a huge parade that occurs on the morning of Boxing Day, right after Christmas. It starts at midnight on Christmas night. They locals spend all year making these incredible floats and costumes and there are huge bands and marching. It is pretty much the biggest cultural event in the Bahamas and celebrates emancipation. There is a short and poor video that is posted of one of the bands, I cant adequately describe the parade and wish I would have gotten a better video. On Boxing Day, we left for the Exumas, with high hopes.

During the transit, we passed by numerous coral heads without incident, but now at least we know what they look like. We also crossed the dreaded yellow bank with no problem, it seems for now we are winning the seven and a half foot challenge. We arrived at Highborne Cay for our first stop and it was not particularly impressive. We stayed for two days anchored in 17 feet of water. Still no lobster about as promised and nothing to spear. The swell picked up again but this time we hobby-horsed. It was uncomfortable and we didn’t sleep well. This kicked our spirits down a bit and we decided the trip had better start getting rewarding. Considering all the financial risk in the boat, the cost of travel, the inefficiency of it and the lack of rewarding times, I am at a loss why anyone would actually want to be doing this. When the rewards do come though, it is pretty sweet, after so much bitter.

We left Melbourne on an incoming front, motored out a tricky passage into the Exuma Sound and set sail. Two squalls came up one after another and so did the wind. We cruised down the coast with 20-25 knots off our quarter, the waves built throughout the day and it was an awesome sail, finally. With one reef in the main and a full jib we made between 7 and 9 knots depending on the surfing. In one of the squalls the reef filled with water and I was able to wash my hair in fresh Bahamian rain water. We pulled into Staniel Cay at about 1600, right at low slack, which was good as the rip is pretty treacherous. We anchored in a perfect crystal-clear 12 feet of water between Big and Little Major Cay and I had the first good night sleep in a few days. It was very nice, and today we moved a little closer to town. There is a New Year’s Day Regatta here where they race Bahamian Sloops, a huge party and Thunderball Cave, of James Bond Fame. Tomorrow we will probably snorkel it but today we will just go to town and get a cheeseburger. Staniel Cay has so far been what I have been looking for for the last two months. Also, we have room for a visitor if anyone is interested. Hopefully the chick-charnies leave us be.