“I dream of my iguana, wherever she may be”   Leave a comment

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Crossing the Banks to the Exumas.

Lee sings this song regularly. Back on the Chesapeake, a guy gave him this homemade CD of music by a sailor/musician. It was kinda weird, sailor-y stuff, including a song about somebody named Esmerelda. Lee left the CD in a rental car in Florida but has been singing his own versions of the Esmerelda song. In one version, he morphs the lyrics into “Mayaguana”, the name of an island in the Southern Bahamas. Lee thought it was announced my iguana, provoking a chuckle from me every time he belted out his ballad about iguanas.

Then we pulled in to the anchorage at Allan’s Cays and saw iguanas! We knew these islands were home to the last population of indigenous Bahamian Iguanas but we didn’t really know what to expect. I joked about watching for giant lizards out on the rocks (Galapagos style) when we were dropping our anchor.Then there they were: giant iguanas swarming the beach. Some silly people were feeding them. There were dozens of them and they were so cool!

Iguanas and all, Lee and I have arrived in an exotic landscape of islands and ocean. The Exumas are reputed to be some of the best cruising grounds in the world. There’s no doubt about that in my mind.Our crossing from Nassau was smooth and fabulous sailing – no rocks or coral heads got in our way.

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The Allan’s Cays anchorage.

Allan’s Cays are a cluster of tiny islands near the top of the Exuma chain. They serve as a gateway for many boats from Nassau. The anchorage was crowded and plagued by strong currents but we found a nice, deep spot. Our one night there was much more comfortable than the couple of nights our two boat friends had at Allan’s. The boats we met at Bottom harbor beat us to the Exumas by a day and spent a nerve-racking first night watching their boats spin pirouettes in the current. They were anchored too close together and nearly collided several times in the night.

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Sunset

We hung out with both couples as well as another young pair on boat they had met a while back that pulled in that evening. It was a boisterous group celebrating a birthday and Lee and were glad we had caught up with them.

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The water looks like this!

All of us left at different times yesterday. One boat took off first and headed to the ocean side of the islands to troll for a Mahi Mahi on their way to Norman’s Cay. Their brief ocean run paid off! They radioed their success to the rest of us and I’m sure the Norman’s Cay crown had a Mahi feast last night! The whole gang moved to that cay while Lee and I opted for Highbourne Cay, the next island down the chain from Allan’s. Norman’s, the next after Highbourne, is a bit too shallow but Highbourne has room for Pirat almost all the way up to the shore.

We have good shelter from the Northeasterly wind here and good holding for the anchor. There are quite a few other boats but there is plenty of space so we don’t feel crowded at all. Yesterday evening, after we anchored and waiting for a brief rain squall to pass, Lee and I took the dinghy ashore hear the Highbourne Cay Marina and went for a great run. There are narrow little roads along the island, linking a handful of private homes and winding through the stubby palms and thick, tropical greenery. We glimpsed white sand beaches in protected coves on the ocean side and watched waves break on the reef. I picked up a couple nice shells where we landed the dinghy (I’m starting a little collection for table decorations at the wedding).

This morning began with a flurry of tools and activity as Lee attempted to diagnose a refrigeration problem. It didn’t cool off the cold plate when we ran it last night so were were afraid it had finally bitten the dust. After some tinkering, Lee started the engine and turned on the refrigeration to find it working again. We still don’t know what was wrong or whether it will happen again. I’m just thankful that we don’t have to switch back to ice!

Our renewable energy sources are also on the fritz. The problem is most likely with the charger that directs voltage from the solar panel and wind generator to our batteries. We noticed that the wind generator was making an intermittent grunting/moaning noise and our voltage hasn’t been doing so hot despite the bountiful breeze.

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Look at that beautiful loaf!

Galley News: I have made bread! I feel like running around like Tom Hanks in Castaway yelling “I have made fire!”. It’s that exciting. This isn’t my first loaf of bread but it is by far the best one yet. I made the french bread recipe from last time but plopped the dough in a loaf pan instead of trying to squeeze baguettes into my tiny oven. I skipped the pan of hot water but started baking at 400 degrees, switching to 350 after 15 minutes as the recipe suggests. It worked beautifully! This loaf had actual crusty crust! I’d still like it to rise a little more so maybe I’ll try more kneading and a longer second rise next time. Now that we’re really out in the middle of nowhere I have to make bread if we want sandwiches!

Sorry for the long post. I guess I’m just excited to be able to post at all! Our BTC blackberry and tethered internet work beautifully albeit slowly. Hey, at least we can check our email, download weather, and upload blog posts.

Posted February 17, 2011 by Rachel in Uncategorized

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