The circumnavigation is complete. Staniel Cay is the first place we pull into that we have been before and after three and a half years of going around to some of the most beautiful places on earth I still really like this one. So that’s good. I feel a great sense of accomplishment but shouldn’t rest too long. I still need to get back to Boston and move on to my next mission.

I should extend a tremendous thank you to everyone who helped and joined me along the way though. I suppose I can list them in order of miles spent with me:

Nathan – 11,000
Zach – 10,000
Susanna (the Phantom Traveler) 5,000 (not all sailing though)
Mathew – 4000
Sean – 3800
Joep – 1400
Linda – 1300
Alex – 900
Moritz 600
Will – 300
and the other visitors, Luisa, Lesley and Sara.

I hope I didn’t forget anyone. And also thank you to all the people who I met, old friends I found in various places and all those who helped me in any number of ways. This list is too big to recall.

Meanwhile, back in Staniel Cay. We left San Salvador after quite a nice week and headed to Rum Cay. We only stayed the night though as it didn’t seem that interesting. The next day we had a long spin run to Cat Island and anchored off the Bite. On the way we caught a fairly decent sized skip-jack so we had that for dinner with some friends we made on a catamaran. The next morning we left for Staniel and had another fantastic spin run, this time with a poled out jib. We hooked an enormous mahi but it got away. I could feel him still biting the line but the hook wasn’t grabbing. When I reeled it in to see what the problem was, the hook was bent straight!

We pulled in through the cut and anchored between Big Major and Little Major Cays. This was it, the finishing point of the circumnavigation. I felt only a little different but I was happy to have accomplished it. So, we went to the Stanaiel Cay Yacht Club to celebrate. Things were a little different that I remember, like they added a restaurant, but it is still a great spot.

I’ve been hanging around here since. And why not? It is absolutely stunning in terms of beauty, its full of fun people and you can watch children pet sharks, not to mention eat endangered conch every night. Oh, and there is even a beach here where pigs will swim off and greet you hoping you have some food. There is also a grotto here form a James Bond movie, but I saw that last time.

On a bit of a quaint Bahamian side of things, the day after we arrived the Bahamian FAA came in and closed the runway for having too many potholes. This was a problem for us as Alex had a flight out. Well, all the flights were now leaving from Black Point, a few cays down. We asked around about this and couldn’t find much of an answer since the place is pretty sleepy and answers are notalways readily available. Nor is anything else really, except conch. Anyway, we walked out to the airstrip to check it out ourselves. We just walked on to the run way and had a stroll, no security or anything like that. And why should there be? The runway indeed had a few potholes and some scrapes, but in the end it is no worse that any of the many grass or sand fields I have seen all over the world. Never the less we still had to figure out how to get Alex on his flight. So we stopped into a gulf cart rental shop next to the airport. They said we had to go to Samanta’s house as she was the rep for Flamingo Air. No Office? Nope, just knock on her door, it’s the purple one on the corner over across the bridge. We went, but no Samanta. That’s OK because this is a small island and everyone knows everyone else’s business. So we asked at the general store next door. They told us there was a shuttle boat and we just needed to be there an hour and a half before the flight. OK, great. They naturally also took the time to complain about the government and the new taxes and how they have been asking for a new runway for years. So, satisfied, we went and had some conch. But we thought we better come check how it all works, so we showed up for the afternoon flight and met Samanta and sure enough, there would be no problems for Alex the next morning.

Or would there? The next morning we showed up and, on island time, so did Samanta. They weighed Alex’s luggage and he was a little over the weight. Samanta asked for a fee but how could we pay, there is no cash machine on the island and we had no cash? Ahh, there was a form to fill out and the credit card would be billed in the next to weeks. Well another lady who was checking in had hardly any luggage and volunteered to take one of his bags, putting him under the limit. Samanta agreed as all this was easier than processing the form. After everyone was ready, they boarded the boat and that was the last I ever saw of Alex.

I heard later though that when he got to Black Point they took him off the plane as the entire thing was overweight. I assume they grabbed him as he was the biggest guy on there, I am not sure. In any case, this was a problem as there are only two flights a day and he would then miss his connecting flight by an hour. Nonsense, the Bahamians declared and the flight took off with out him, they promised to come right back and get him. An hour and a half later another plane showed up and took him and a few stragglers to Nassau and all was right again.

I could never imagine such a thing happening in the US. I guess though I have gotten used to this sort of thing, that seems to be the way it works in much of the world. It was not such a shock to me but I think it was probably the first time for Alex. Anyway, it was a great visit and he was surely helpful on the trip and we had a great time. Now I am alone again, but at least it is in a place with people around and a place that I really enjoy.

So next up I head to Nassau, then Chub Cay, across the banks to Bimini and then to Florida. I am not sure where I will land yet but I am thinking Cape Canaveral since it is pretty easy to get into. I guess even though the circular part of the trip is over and I am certainly a much better sailor than when I started, I still cannot take the last 2,000 miles for granted. It is the walk out, but in the end, the walk out is where most people get hurt. So there is still a little danger left, especially with unsettled spring weather coming off a continent.

Never the less, I am eager to get Slick to her new home in Boston. She will be staying at Constitution Marina for the summer and I will try to work towards starting a waste to energy company with the specific goal of creating a package solution for all the waterless islands I have visited around the world. I spend most my days designing and simulating parts of the machine and hope to begin prototyping when I return to Boston. With the meeting of my recent major life goal, this has become my new mission.

Oh, And here is a great big map of the trip so far: