Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Normans Cay, Bahamas

0 nm
Wind: S-SW 5 knots to calm

It’s my sister’s birthday today, it was my brother’s five days ago, and my dad’s three days from now, not to mention Mother’s Day, which I’m not exactly sure when it is. I’m beginning to feel a little lonely for friends and family other than Karl--we’ve never been this isolated before. Even on the trail, we were able to use the cell phone at least once a week, and I haven’t even talked to anyone in my family since we’ve been in the Bahamas. I didn’t call from Bimini because I had just talked to them the day before.

It’s a bizarre feeling to be this isolated. No wonder Karl and I were snapping at each other. We haven’t had anyone else to talk to, except for those fishermen on the beach yesterday, for two weeks. Especially at this anchorage, where we can’t even leave the boat without risking our lives. Both Karl and I went for a swim today, both clinging desperately to our little swim line. I think he finally realized why I was so scared yesterday. Even clawing your way back up the line requires great effort.

We keep hearing radio chatter from all the other boats who have spent the winter in the Exumas together--they’re getting together for cocktails or snorkeling trips or potlucks or dinners on each other’s boats, and zipping around the anchorage on their giant Zodiacs. We’re definitely out of the social whirl. I wish we could make friends with some of the other boats, but I’m not sure how to break the ice, especially when we can’t really row anywhere and they all already know each other. We’re the odd one out in each anchorage, the scruffy little race boat with the giant barbecue and no bimini that looks like it doesn’t belong. People seem friendly when they motor on by waving, but they all have fancy $100,000 boats and they’re all a lot older than we are and they’re all heading back north for the summer.

In some ways it’s nice to not feel social obligations, but on the other hand, some social interaction would be nice. If nothing else, it’d be great to get information about the islands on down the chain, or to talk to people who have traveled even farther afield. But all that will have to wait, at least until we get to an anchorage with less current.

So Karl tore apart the engine for the third time since we’ve been in the Bahamas, testing the thermostat and the water pump as much as he was able. They seem to be fine, so my theory is still that it’s gunk in our fuel. Karl siphoned some of that out, too, and it does seem to have debris in it, but we don’t know how to get it out without tearing apart our whole deck and taking out the fuel tank altogether. It may be a blessing in disguise. We’ll just have to sail more, actually tack if we’re dead into the wind, and allow more time for getting south. I hope we can get replacement parts and advice either in one of the marinas along the way or in Georgetown.

The anchorage here is beautiful, as all of the Exumas seem to be, but without being able to go snorkeling or to any of the islands, we’re a little bored today. Still, though, the water is perfectly blue, there are palm trees and sun and white sand beaches. Every island around here seems to be covered with deserted marinas and resorts that were unable to make a go of it. The little cottages on the water are scenic, even if they are abandoned. It doesn’t seem possible that it’d be that hard to run a successful marina around here, but I guess not.

Our plan is to leave tomorrow morning at first light, and try to sail 25 miles. Tacking adds about 50% to your total mileage, so that turns 25 into 38. Still, sailing all day we should be able to make that. I just hope the Master decides to befriend us. Hand-steering all day is fun, but terrorizes your back.

Sorry I’ve been so chatty lately. I guess I don’t have anyone else to talk to, except you, loyal and faithful readers of the future. I haven’t posted in an eternity, I know, and it’ll probably be a second eternity before I can post again, so I can muse in solitude, in hopes that someone, somewhere, someday, will read my words and rejoice.

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