Cruising on Last Dance


This blog archives the adventures of Glen and Jill Moore and provides a means of communication for friends and family. Exploration and adventure have been synonymous with boats and water for centuries. The joy of adventures shared while exploring new places and meeting new people has built a strong bond for Glen and Jill. Last Dance is the platform for the exploration.

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." St. Augustine, 354 - 430

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain, 1835 - 1910

"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats." The Wind in the Willows, 1908, Kenneth Grahame, 1859 - 1932

"I've never believed speed and ease are conductive to living fully, becoming aware, or deepening memory, a tripod of urges to stabilize and lend meaning to life." River Horse: a log book of a boat across America, 1999, William Least Heat-Moon,1939 -

The Great Loop -- The current adventure is a circumnavigation of the Eastern United States, cruising north up the east coast through New York into Canada, across the Great Lakes to Chicago, navigating multiple river systems south to Mobile, along the Gulf coast to the Florida Keys and back to St. Augustine. This trip by boat is commonly referred to as the Great Loop. Progress and current location are indicated by the red line on the map to the right. It was titled the Traceless Path in recognition of a German sailor we met in St. Augustine who published booklets of his travels with hand-drawn, detailed maps describing his travels across the water as the Traceless Path.



Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bahama Islands - Miscellaneous Ramblings

Towing


Pearl, a13' Bostton Whaler, trails Last Dance on her short painter (a line attached to a bow of a boat for towing or making fast).  The deck of Last Dance is not large enough, nor is the lifting system stout enough, to carry a sizable dinghy aboard.  In the Bahamas, a large dinghy makes a great diving platform and adequate fishing boat.  So, towing a dinghy provides a great boating resource, though it adds complications and safety issues.  Here, heading home to St. Augustine, leaving an anchorage in Ft. Pierce, FL.




Even large boats find needs for support boats too big to load aboard.  Here, a sizable motor yacht tows a 21 foot center console fishing boat in the Exumas.






And some wish to have a tender that is even too large to tow.  The 36' quadruple-engined RIB (rigid inflatable boat) accompanied a 100+ foot yacht. Here, it is backing to a 47' Nordhavn to pick up someone for a gathering on the mothership.






If you have numerous interests on the water, you can tow multiple boats.  Here, off Elbow Cay in the Abacos, a cruiser tows an Abaco racing dinghy (the famous Abaco Rage), an off-shore fishing boat, and a flats boat.





There are no towing services, such as BoatUS or SeaTow, in the Bahamas.  If you experience difficulties, you are on your own.  Here, a 36' Krogen Manatee, which had a transmission fail, is towed by a generous guy, who was single-handing a 34' Marine Trader.  It took 2 days to tow the boat to the nearest mechanic.


Inflatables

Boats with inflatable pontoons are the most popular type of dinghy accompanying cruisers in the Bahamas.  The inflatable at right demonstrates why the crew of Last Dance tends to describe this type of boat as a "deflatable," although never in earshot of Rubber Ducky, which sits on the aft deck of Last Dance.





Big Boats


Mega yachts travel in the Bahamas, particularly in the Exuma Islands.  The large number of them testifies to the fact that the one percenters are doing well.  Above, at Manjack Cay,  two mega yachts are rafted side to side, with a string of water toys (other boats) on a line behind the boats.

Pay Up


The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park is a 176 square mile park that is a no take zone, creating waters filled with sealife for exploration.  The park has very secure moorings in protected harbors, for which there is a daily charge.  At the Cambridge Island moorings, cruisers are expected to place their payment in a box on a small island.  The park rangers come to check on payments, and will make personal visits to boats who's crew have not made the trip to the small island.  A member of the Royal Bahamian Defense Force, carrying an AK47, accompanies the ranger.  The Last Dance crew always made the long trip to the box on the island.





Laid-Back, Easy-Going Pace

The only bank on Green Turtle Cay, in downtown New Plymouth, has hours that brings new meaning to the term "Bankers' Hours."  The staff arrives on the morning ferry with a satchel of money and a guard, then returns to the mainland (as Big Abaco Island is called) on the early afternoon ferry - twice a week.













The library is open Monday through Friday, from 2:00 - 5:00 pm.  The sign on the door denotes different days, but to be accurate, it would require making a new sign - not consistent with laidbackness.









Critters

One of the interesting aspects of cruising remote areas is the wildlife encountered.  This Land Crab, ready to protect his turf, was in the woods on a very skinny peninsula at Powell Cay.







Only a few feet away, on the beach, this Ghost Crab stands still, believing he cannot be seen if he doesn't move.  Although these two species of crabs share a small piece of the island, they would never interact as they inhabit different terrain.








A favorite in the underwater world is the Trigger Fish.  When Jill talks to them, they will come close.  This Trigger, just off the beach on Powell, came within one foot.  They have not learned to enjoy being petted, but give Jill a little time.






Reading List


Wind from the Carolinas is historical fiction, written much in the style of James A. Michener, describing the lives of the people who fled the United States after the Revolutionary War.  It is centered in the Exumas, following a family from the Carolinas who settle on Grand Exuma, attempting to recreate their plantation life.  This book is an interesting-to-read account of the Loyalists and British adventurers who colonized the Bahama Islands.













Out-Island Doctor is an autobiography of an Indiana high school science teacher who retires and moves to the Bahamas.  Through self study and a short internship, he is licensed as a physician to serve the small islands.  An Abaco boat builder constructed a ketch for him, which he used to travel the islands serving as the only doctor for many out islands.  This book provides a glimpse of life in the Bahama Islands during the late 1940's and 1950's and the adventures of a Midwesterner adjusting to a very different life.










Set in the Caribbean, not the Bahamas, Don't Stop the Carnival describes how the laid-back life style of the islands challenges an American who buys and operates a hotel/resort in the islands.  This book is a favorite of Jimmy Buffett, who purchased and operated a hotel in the Caribbean.  Buffett collaborated with Herman Wouk to write a musical based on the book.  It is a fun, fictional account of life in "paradise."




No comments: