Saturday, July 4, 2009


Finally, the historic yacht "SVEA" is back in the water. I mean salt water. We had so much rain during the haul-out period, that we were fearful she would float off in fresh water. It is always amazing to see the travel-lift just pick up a yacht and gently pull her out or put her back in her element. Flags flying she is back in the anchorage with a "FOR SALE" sign on her. This week sees the arrival of many yachts for the annual ABACO RACE WEEK, an event spread over six islands with triangular courses. The main event however is the camaraderie and the consumption of copious quantities of what can best be described as Austrian brake fluid, for ultimately it has the same effect, though labelled as 'Bahamian Rum'. There is a spare day between each race day for recovery and of course to move your yacht to the next island in a safe and steady and non-shaky method.

SVEA motoring out of Black sound on Green Turtle Cay. The Bahamian sloop with the likes of Ernest Hemingway at the tiller, is a carry-over from former times, when this design was the vessel of choice.

Land is scarse, roads are narrow, so narrow the golf-cart tyre marks are on the wall and houses are painted in various colours to allow the chickens to know whose house is whose. Eggs laid in the dark are white or earthy, but at Easter, when they lay eggs during the day, the colours match the home-owners. Ask any local, and they will tell you "Mon dat is the Bahamian way of doin tings".

Yes, it's 3pm and the afternoon squall is ready to move in and create havoc......................

The prelude to ABACO RACE WEEK is a giant beach party put on by Bob Henderson and his wife Patricia. It started off many years ago, as a party on a houseboat. So many people came that it nearly sank the houseboat and so it was moved ashore to FIDDLE CAY, accessible only by water. The "Stranded Naked" part is due to the tide that goes out, exposing a tongue of white sandy beach and all the boats are left high and dry and "naked" and no one can leave until the tide returns. Not that anyone really wants to.......... Bob and wife, this year provided 1200 cheeseburgers, 900 hot dogs, 100 gallons (500 litres) of rum, 100 gallons (500 litres) of Marguarita mix, all the cups, plates, finery and music including a 'spray-mister' to keep the people cool while waiting in line for the burgers. All of this free, and on the "house" or "houseboat" so to speak. Generosity with a capital "G". Below is Bob himself, wearing his home-made 'Jimmy Buffet' parrot-head hat, precariously balanced and needing Bahamian police protection. Notice that Laurie needs no protection, although I was always close at hand, as this gentleman tips his hat to the Queen of Florida. A great Beach party that had to be at least two thousand strong and gets bigger every year. Bob Henderson deserves a "tourism" medal of honour.

All the yachts are anchored way out in the deep water, which is 9 feet deep (3m) and half a mile away. We don't want yachts with long keels 'stranded naked', for that would truly be 'ugly'. What made this day so eventful, was that for once, the afternoon thunderstorms did not materialise. This "Bob" has amazing influence in high places, perhaps because he is a commercial pilot by profession and occupation.

We took the underwater camera with us for the Stranded Naked Party (You just never know) and thus the photos are not quite as clear........... sorry..... and the drink that I'm holding at this pre-stranded naked party is a rum punch which I'm holding very well, amongst other things.

Once more the sun sets over an island scene that dreams are made of. ...............................and tomorrow is the 4th of July, and some more celebration, and DAY 1 of the Abaco races in various classes. Not that we would be in it, despite having two yachts here, although there is a 'Mothertubbers' class for fully laden cruisers............. No thank you................................We don't wish to keep the committee boat waiting all night......

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