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January, cuts, cold fronts and our arrival in George Town

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Three weeks of sunshine and low winds ended with the New Year and 2018 brought unstable weather to the Exumas. The tail of the low that battered the US East coast with freezing temperatures brought us higher winds and rain.
We started the Exuma shuffle, waiting for a weather window to go to Georgetown on Great Exuma. The shuffle meant sidestepping waves and wind to find a protective anchorage and occasionally returning to Staniel Cay to provision. The 30 mile sail south in the open ocean required a dayor two of calmer weather that would lay the seas down and allow us to enter from the banksinto the ocean.
Each area of the world has its own particular sailing challenges, which is one reason why cruising can be both‘hair-raising’ and exciting at the same time.For the Bahamian Exuma Islands, this challenge is navigating the ‘cuts’.The Exumas lie in a line between thousands of square miles of shallow banks and the deep ocean of the Exuma sound. Cuts are the narrow openings between these…

Rudder Cay and a Bahamian meal

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We left Staniel Cay New Years Day. It was dead calm and we ran the engine, a necessity anyway, as we needed to charge our batteries and make water.
The weather report had a developing, strong low-pressure system in the forecast and we decided to set our course for Pond at Rudder Cut Cay, 20 miles south. The Pond offered great all round protection and turned out to be the perfect place for us to hang out for a few days.
Like many Bahamian islands Rudder Cay had and interesting history, involving tax evasion, a prison sentence and an abandoned mansion. An extensive system of partly overgrown roads crisscrossed the two and a half mile long island, from the broken down boat landing by the Pond, to the airstrip in the north to the former mansion at the highest point, to four beautiful beaches on the western and southern shore.
It felt good to tie on our hiking shoes, take some long walks and explore.
Having some free time on our hands we decided to create a Bahamian meal from scratch. I…

Cruising with family in the Exumas

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Mika, Eric and Axelia arrives at the docks at Yacht Heaven Marina in Nassau on December 13.We have waited and talked about this moment for months.
Axelia, 9 months old, immediately steals our hearts, quick to smile and with blue eyes shifting with the color of the sea, from light blue to turquoise to cobalt.A constant stream of vowels and consonants in different combinations flow out of our grandchild: baba-bane-nema-maba punctuated by a loud happy shriek.
She has focus and determination and a canny ability to connect with people. She looks you right in the eye and grins her toothless, mischievous grin. When boats pass close by or when one of us arrives or departs she loves to wave, and will do a double arm wave when she gets extra excited. It is irresistible and impossible not to respond.
Axelia loves the dingy, incidentally, named Axelia. The dingy, a nine and a half foot hard bottom takes us from Miraj to land and to snorkeling sites. Axelia wears her neon green life jacket without pr…

The Bahamas

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The Bahamas
We arrived in the Bahamas November 8, after crossing the Gulfstream and sailing along the south coast of Grand Bahamas most of the night. At first light we reached the entrance to Luccaya and followed the channel markers into the harbor and the customs office.
An extensive canal system branched out from the main harbor and we dropped the hook in a well-protected anchorage in 10 feet of water. A strong low-pressure system was approaching and we were happy to be in protected waters in our first foreign port.
Our highlight in Luccaya was Oddliegh’s house.Hot and hungry and looking for a restaurant in a rural neighborhood, we had the profound embarrassment of stumbling into someone’s personal living room, thinking it was a restaurant, and encountering two older people sitting at their dining room table watching daytime TV.Turns out no problem, Oddliegh had some sodas to sell. We sat on his porch for a spell after declining to watch TV with him and his mother in law Beatriz.Odd…