Friday, February 16, 2018

Welcome to our blog!

By: Kathy

Welcome to our blog. This is our first official post on the blog!! We are so excited to share our travels and adventures with you. To start off I want to fill you in on the who, what, when, where and how of our trip so far.

Where are we??
Right now we are in the Abacos, Bahamas. We crossed the Little Bahama Bank to the Abacos right after Christmas. Most people have never heard of the Abacos. I encourage you to pull up Google maps and check it out. There is a big island with the main city of Marsh Harbor (one traffic light and regular cars instead of golf carts). Then you have the out islands that are separated from the main island by the Sea of Abaco. We have spent almost all of our time cruising the out islands and we are now in Marsh Harbor getting a few errands done and some good provisioning. It is a wonderful place full of amazing people and beautiful water. The water is pretty shallow so this part of the Bahamas cannot have a cruise ship port and is kind of a little hidden gem in the Bahamas.  

What are we enjoying about the Abacos??
The water!! It is so beautiful and clear. You can see the bottom when you are in the dinghy and paddle boarding.  This was a perfect spot to get our hulls wet and start this adventure. We also love the culture and people of the Abacos. There is a difference in the islands that have cruise ships and those who do not. We came from Grand Bahama (Freeport) to the Abacos so we definitely saw the difference. It is kind of hard to catch a good beat on the local culture when the big boats come into a port. Even when they are not in port the stores are different, the restaurants are different, and the activities around the island are different. When you go to islands that do not have big ports you see a little bit more local culture and even though there are less people you will actually meet more people.

The water in the Abacos is amazing!!
photo location: small island near Whale Cay, Abacos

Who do we meet??
This has been the most intriguing aspect of the trip for me. We meet all kinds of people. The islands here are small. Some only have about 125+ people living on them. I think there might be more people in Target right now at home. The locals on any island we have visited will very kindly answer any questions and help you with anything. We have learned a lot just by asking questions when we go out to eat or talking to people at the marinas or stores. Everyone is happy to share information. If you go to dinner you will most likely have a conversation with the people that work there and any table that is near you. This vastly different to what we experience in the states. I would never talk to the table next to us at a restaurant when we were in Florida. If we stay on the island for a few days you will run into the people that you met at the dinner the night before and have a chat. Some are locals and some are seasonal residents. There are also a lot of cruisers here. Right now it is their low season but there are plenty of boats around. The most surprising thing that we have seen meeting other people and seeing other boats is that there is a big number of cruisers from Canada. I think every other boat we see is from Canada. We have asked a few why they come all of the way down here (it is a long trip) and the two answers they give are: the great weather and the cost is about the same as what they pay in Canada. For us, the cost of goods is much higher than what we are used to paying in the states.

How do we find things to do??
This is something Dan worried about before we left. Would there be enough things to keep him busy? I was less worried about this aspect of the trip. It turns out that there is plenty to do. Even when we are at anchor and it is raining and we can’t go outside and play we still have plenty to do. Of course there is always schoolwork to do. We are usually playing a little catch up from the nice weather days. Sometimes it is a boat project because as soon as you fix something there is another thing that is broken. We also have spent a lot of time learning the boat. How does the alternator actually charge the new batteries? Why does it shut off before the batteries are charged?? It is not broken but we are trying to figure out which setting needs to be changed. What do we do for fun? Sometimes it is just swimming or paddle boarding from the back of the boat. Pretty easy to do and very close to home.  If it is a beautiful day we may postpone school and head out to a beach and snorkel. Sometimes it is just to relax and enjoy the day while we read or play games. We are always game for a good festival or market. I try to read all of the flyers around any island to see what is going on. There is also a great thing called the cruisers net that is on every morning on the VHF radio that will fill you in on all of the happenings around the islands. If we go somewhere on an island it is usually about 5 minutes away even when we are walking.  This has made me realized how much time I spent on land going from point A to point B even when I thought they were close.

This is one of our favorite places to relax on the boat!
photo location: Guana Cay, Abacos

We have just finished gathering all of our supplies and food. It was really different grocery shopping for such a long period of time. It took me 3 trips to the store to finally get what was needed. We are now heading over to Man-O-War Cay to get a little canvas repair done on our sail bag and also to make preparations for our crossing to Eleuthera at the end of the week!!

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