Monday, August 20, 2007

Crooked Island, Bahamas

So I’m an internet pirate yet again, borrowing lovely fast internet access at an unnamed location and with tacit permission. I guess there are worse kinds of pirates. Especially because I’ve been so remiss at keeping everyone posted the last two months. I gaped in horror when I realized I hadn’t posted since June 21! I’m sorry, folks. I really had envisioned updating this blasted thing at least once a week, but I cannot stress enough how much more difficult internet access has been than I had envisioned. Especially when we were en marche, generally I have to dedicate a full day to finding a place with an internet connection, which is generally down, and at which I generally have a severe time limit.

I’m realizing that the SSB transceiver/sailmail option would probably have been a good investment, and may be one we choose to make in the future. It’s definitely going on the boat wish list. I’m sure that we could find used components at less than the $3000 pricetag I’m always quoted. And (in other news, which I can’t fully disclose), we may even be able to afford some things on our wish list now!

The other good news is that this internet connection is basically unlimited, which means I can post all my long-awaited blog posts for ye few patient souls, as well as reams of pictures, and I can do all the research that we’ve been postponing. I’m almost up-to-date on the blog, but I may have to interrupt my session until tomorrow soon, so I wanted to post a brief explanatory note. I’ve been dutifully blogging every day since Georgetown, which means I’ve wandered through the vistas of my own mind a lot, and in some cases I don’t even remember what I’ve written. I hope I didn’t say anything embarassing. Still, it’s yours now, so I’m posting it, for the most part without rereading. Feel free to read all, or none, of the gory details. It’s in reverse chronological order as always, in bizarre Blogger fashion, so you can read it in order or not, whatever you want. It is a choose-your-own-adventure world, after all. I apologize for the vast quantities of text.

The short summary is this: we’ve decided, at least for the time being, to not head to the Turks and Caicos. We’re staying in the Bahamas, probably on Crooked Island, probably for the majority of hurricane season. We’re looking for work here. Whatever happens, we’re going to try to resolve our fuel tank/engine problems and our foresail problems, maybe by converting our roller furler to a forestay with hanked-on jibs. We may decide to head back to the States for a little while, we may decide to head south again once we have our boat headaches worked out.

If you read a little way back, you’ll find a spot where Karl and I had resolved to sell Secret: to all you staunch R33 fans--have no fear. I, always the defender of the fearless Secret, have postponed that decision, possibly indefinitely. I still believe she’s the right boat for us, and I think we can find solutions to the problems we’ve been having. The hard part is whether the solutions will actually be cheaper than buying a new boat that already has those problems solved. Still, I love, love, love Secret, and I absolutely don’t want to get rid of her, ever, so I’m hoping Karl will be converted back to my way of thinking. It is harder for him because he can’t stand up in her.

In the meantime, we’re having a wonderful time on a beautiful island, which is called “the best kept secret in the Bahamas.” A little synchronicity there, methinks? I’ve just realized I can see Secret from the window, the sun shining on her in the blue sea, her mast framed by casuarina and palm trees. I keep forgetting: we’re in paradise.

Oh, and in regards to Hurricane Dean: I can’t believe I haven’t seen anything on the internet news about it? We were really worried for a while--category four is nothing to scoff at--but we got some thirty-knot breezes last night and that’s about it. Is Jamaica demolished? I have no idea. I was shocked to discover that the only Bahamian news on the hurricane was the happy report that all the straw vendors in Nassau are going to make lots of money from the rerouted cruise ships. There’s a lot of anti-Jamaica sentiment in the Bahamas, but I hadn’t realized there was that much.

There’s a good hurricane hole around the corner in French Wells, where we can tuck into the mangroves. But if there was a Dean-style hurricane, I think we might just run away to the States and leave Secret to Neptune’s fury. I can’t imagine what sustained winds of 140 and gusts of 170 knots would do to this little island. I don’t want to think about what they might have done to Jamaica. Or did Jamaica even get hit?

In happier news, I’d like to report that one-way tickets from Nassau to the Crooked Island airport on Bahamas or Pineapple Air are a mere $129!! There are cheap round-trip tickets to Nassau all the time from everywhere in the States. I know. I used to be on all those cheap flight emails. So: if anyone would like to come visit, now’s your chance. Seriously: ANYONE. Even if we only met you once, or never, or whatever, come down, see the island, stay in a bungalow, lounge on the pink-sand beach and eat fresh-caught lobster and get a conch snack down at Blackjack’s. You can even meet Secret. I extend a formal invitation for homemade pizza aboard. Just beware the head.

We might, of course, be leaving at any moment. You never know. But if you let us know you’re coming, we’ll stick around. And this island is very rarely hit by hurricanes. It benefits from its proximity to Cuba, whose mountains and vast weather systems tend to push them off to the north. So don’t worry about us either.

Much more to come...


Anonymous said...

sorry to hear we won't see you pulling into Turks and Caicos anytime soon. Good luck and enjoy Crooked Island. We met some nice ex pat folks who have homes there as well as the locals in the town that doesn't smoke or drink - i'll look up the info. and try Gibson's Restaurant! best, plan b

Peter/Cephas said...

Hi Melissa! Great Blog! Sorry to hear that Karl has run head on into your gale force determination never to relinquish possessions of any emotional or personal significance to you! Just kidding, and sorry for the bad metaphor. And I don't actually think you should sell Se(a)cret (cheezy, the 'a', no?). But it was just funny to read that and think about you and how you are about stuff like that and feeling a brief bout of sympathy for Karl. Anyways, I love you and while there's lots of traveling been in the works and still for me maybe I can get somewhere that you are sometime over the next few many months even though that currently seems overwhelmingly implausible don't think that I don't really want it to happen. I love you so much, sorry for such an enormous comment when this really should have been an email. Especially odd since so many people I've never met read your blog...hi people. The word verification awaits. Let's skype sometime, ok?

John@thesurfshop said...

Hi guys,

you are doing Great! I read every word. ( I just realized you can read the comments...Da...) I would have emailed earlier. Kristin send her best wishes and I wish I could be there!

Melissa said...

Hey everyone! I hope we can still make it to Turks & Caicos--just not in the next month or so! How long will you be there, Plan B? We'll try Gibson's.

Thanks for the kudos, kid brother. I think it's funny you remember my gale-force determination to keep things. Poor Karl is right. He should've known when I couldn't part with my first pair of trail shoes. You know, though, you really, really should come down here. Get a grant, or something, to study Bahamian Creole. There's a crazy language here in Landrail Point, a Seventh-Day-Adventist community, that under ten people speak. I have no idea where it originates. Doesn't that sound like a crazy publishable Harvard paper? Huh? And--get this--there's caves that are hundreds of feet deep, completely unexplored, that we could go wander around in if you bring your climbing equipment! So rearrange your travel plans and bring Sara(h?). It's around $450 roundtrip.

You did know the Secret originally had the (a), didn't you? I got rid of it forthwith.

You too, John!! Great to hear from you! Bring the kids down! There's fantastic fishing and sailing down here--give yourself a vacation.


Anonymous said...

Hey Karl and Melissa, great to hear from you again. We are still reading your blog here on the Cape.
Sounds like things are improving. Karl working? go figure. Think the wooden kayak idea is a winner. How about "Swamp Mantus Kayaks"?

Dave P.

Melissa said...

Hey Dave! Glad to hear that those on the Cape are still reading. That wife of yours dug up any cheap fares to the Bahamas yet? You could come help us build some kayaks!

Karl and Melissa