December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas all from Wardwick Wells Exumas! We will celibrate the day here with dozens of other cruisers from around the globe on the beach for an afternoon potluck. We miss you and welcome you out here anytime you want to join in.

December 14, 2007

Naughtso Bahamas

Tropical storm Ulga has pinned us in the Bahamian capital of Nassau. Anchored in a channel /no-mans land between the have’s and the have-nots we lock our dinghy to a free dock on the ghetto side and walk the bridge to where the grass is watered and the beaches are sanded. It’s the scene of a future revolution. A toll bridge brings you from a concrete graveyard to a highly guarded Disneyland. Across that bridge is celebration: nightly fireworks illuminate the casino skyline as timeshare folks file in to drop off their weekly pensions and Carnival cruise line ushers thousands of buffet gurus into the t-shirt stores with their fifteen bucks so they adorn their tanned pot bellies and spare tires with proof of their Bahamian experience, even though tourist day here was designed by the same group that did Myrtle Beach and south Florida and every other tourist coral. If you walked deep into New Providence Island then drew up a t-shirt after the fact it would hardly be yellow with a palm tree, but its no wonder since the seamstress is looking out the factory window dreaming beyond their own rusted corrugated roof line of Sri-lanka.
Informally I have surveyed the impressions of other foreigners and our sentiments concur. Slouched middle aged men line the crumbling city streets of Providence Island with hopeless eyes and idle hands. There is a defeated feel and distance in their eyes and smiles are few and far between. Their ethic is different than what we are living off of from the protestant era. When you do make a connection with someone and venture beyond that first layer the people are beautiful and proud.
The common hope here is that one can land a tourism based job where the tipping culture put you above the daily average wage. Its interesting that people are coming to see a way of life that is contrived for the benefit of and exists solely because people come to see it. So how does it occur?

This weeks adventure has been a high low search for a two person meal under thirty bucks. Our first four days ran us thirty bucks every time we stopped walking. A burger is eight bucks and if you want fries and a coke that’s seven more dollars. Ha! So we found a few shacks built up with scrap plywood and other scavenged timbers on a vacant lot down on the fisherman’s wharf underneath a two lane bridge. I ordered the cheapest chopped onion, tomato and ice burg salad with diced conk and it was nine bucks. This was as local as it got. We need to get further south it looks like. Lobster fetches $19.50 per pound to the fisherman, that’s twice what we get for chasing down King crab in the frigid Bering sea. Sorry folks the Us dollar wont get you far. So we collected a few coconuts from the trees and plantains from the market and we fry that up everyday along with our daily home bake pizzas. Our thirty bucks now lasts two people two days.

December 12, 2007

December 03, 2007

Gun Cay and on the way

We reached the teal Bahamian waters and entered into the life of subsistence gathering and barter. When are you ready to set off on a trip around the world? What do you need to know, and what do you need to take? A month of Home Depot runs and Wal-Mart provisioning drained the kitty and the soul, and filled the closets with “things we need”. We couldn’t fit any more stuff on this boat, so it was time to leave- I guess we were ready.

We crossed the border of the US and Bahamas on the eve of my 27th year. It was a great year. I hope to find new ways to make a living that are adventurous and pose the opportunity for personal development and the next challenge.

Rob, Derek and I speared some fish today and got our first sense of what it actually takes to put food on the barbecue. Day one we caught nothing, day two we caught our first, and day three we caught our first meal. The debate is open about what fish we have been catching, but the freshness is amazing, and the experience unbeatable. Derek nearly shot a sleeping shark thinking it was the biggest fish he had ever seen. Numerous sting rays and jelly fish made us aware of our thin skin and vunerability.

The crew had a blast when we decided to fly our spinnaker for the first time…. It’s not a one person activity, and when we got it flying it was so beautiful that I had to get pictures of it. So I jumped into the dinghy and attempted to take some pictures. Well, the boat took off and the dinghy began to sink. The boys had to keep the boat on course so that the spinnaker wouldn’t tear. So there I was, terrified, watching my new boat sailing beautifully off into the horizon with two laughing deckhands. I bailed water and finally caught up- all the while they got more pictures of Captain Ahab out adrift behind the boat than we had taken of the new spinnaker.

Rob leaves tomorrow, to rejoin his wife in their first trimester and the boat is heading South East to Great Inagua and then to Panama. This adventure is continually fueled by the prospect of exploring different cultures and a simplified lifestyle, coupled with the opportunity to volunteer and serve at whatever capacity we can. As Jimmy Rouge used to say “The people we meet make the experience, the places will always be there”.

We are going to take a slow journey to the Eastern Bahamas where the fishing is rumored to be untouched and the surfing is credible. The boat remains named Nicole Marie until Glory comes with a paint brush to reintroduce this old boat as “Ultima Noche”.