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Monday, March 1, 2010

A REAL TOUGH "AUSSIE" ........................


We made the jump across the EXUMA SOUND, a passage of 50 miles from the Exuma Island chain to the island of Eleuthera. With so many cold fronts passing through, you have to time it just right. One day of sailing, then two days hiding from tremendous winds in some anchorage, then hope for the seas to go down, before making another run for the next hiding place. ........ Great cruising...... bit like crossing the freeway.............. The photo to the right is through our little porthole in the head in a "safe" anchorage, while the wind outside hits 35 knots, and you get ready to sleep on the floor, as the yacht does incredible contortions...............Beats bull-riding every time..................because you can get off the bull.

Now getting back to the tough "Aussie", well, double click on the photos below on the right and the left. That is a 'Casuarina' tree growing in a crack in the cement cap on an entrance pillar for a seaside restaurant at Rock Sound Harbour, Eleuthera. You might call it "The seed that refused to die"....... This one is really going for it. Casuarinas normally grow to a height of about 150-200 feet, so it has a while to go..... Look closely (do the double click thing) and you will see that even its stem base got a good lick of pink paint ...............and that didn't kill it. Casuarinas are better known as "Australian Pines" and this one is truly a 'tough Aussie'.......... and I bet you thought I was putting tickets on myself......................



Before leaving the Exumas we passed through some very shallow water near Stanial Cay and even saw these 'Nurse sharks' lying on the sandy floor.



Now Mr. Steve Smith (below) is one of those famous traditional Bahamian boatbuilders with some awesome credits to his name. This year they will hold the 57th Annual National Family Islands Regatta in Georgetown, featuring the Bahamian sloops as shown below. Steve here, next to his new mast for "TIDA WAVE", with one hand on an electric plane, the other on a cell-phone, has laminated this mast from imported Oregon pine, in readyness to once again win the event on his sloop "TIDA WAVE" or his other sloop "LADY MURIEL". He has won this 'Bragging Rights" event 19 times in the 56 year history, and I have a T-shirt to prove it.



To keep these boats upright "TIDA WAVE" will be loaded with 7000 lbs of lead ingots (that's more than 3 tons) and a whole bunch of people as counter weight. The sloop "LADY MURIEL" (above on the right) will give you some idea of the incredible mast height of solid pine.

The locals no longer use these Bahamian sloops for travel.........Heck No, they now drive to the local island airstrip, generally made of compacted crushed coral rock and jump on a four or six-seater aircraft, like this one below, secured against strong winds with some string and a cement block or maybe just half a block. Not that the 'Airport Fire Service' is much and better............... "Its Island style, I'd be guessin"...............



And it pays to be vigilant. This yacht dragged its anchor during a bad blow after anchoring in a place that is clearly marked on the charts as "POOR HOLDING".........



The island of "ELEUTHERA" has been established the longest, with its better soil and higher ground and was the hub of the original plantations. Many of the buildings date back to the early 1800s with the classical colonial looks. Today we visited the library, the oldest in the Bahamas, which dates to 1890 as a functioning library. Below right, is the pink Government Office in "Governors Harbour", the former capital of the Colony of the Bahama Islands. The waterfront cemetries are something to behold............. ravaged by storms and time, they are too sad for words.............



But life goes on, and there is wholesome bread to be baked................right in her own kitchen, and for the whole community.............wheat bread, raisin bread...... dough on her face, and in her hair and a beautiful golden smile. We walked away from this Bahama Island Queen with so much more than just bread....................

And truly a rare sight is this Mango tree in flower above on the left, especially for those of you who have never seen a Mango tree in flower. (Do a double-click on this one and the photo below)....Equally beautiful are these seed pods........... a work of art in nature.....And so our day ends on "ARITA" with an incredible sunset.............. The calm before the storm, for tomorrow we will need to be in "HATCHET BAY", twenty miles further north, when the wind will clock from the SW to the NW at 37 knots.................... and stay at 30+ knots for two days................. There is a price to pay for all this incredible beauty.




........................AND SO THE DAY ENDS WITH A SKY FILLED WITH WINDS IN TWO DIRECTIONS.....

2 comments:

Orpailleur said...

The flowering mango reminds me of Sturts Desert Pea. Great pictures as usual. I wouldn't complain too much about the weather - it's 36 degrees and raining in KY.

嘴唇 said...
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