Sunday, April 23, 2006

Well the kids and the grandkids arrived. I should mention that they arrived by their private jet. The first bunch is Jon and Janet and their children: Katelin (13), Ben (10), Bill (10) and Vanna (8). This would be the group staying on the boat. Later on in the day the next group arrived. Scott and Joy and their three young ones: Max (10), Billy (7) and Stephanie (5). They would stay in a $300/night hotel room a few hundred yards away from the boat.

Due to the weather last week, poor Zach only got to do one day of Bone fishing which is his favorite, but since his family left the weather has improved a lot. Incidentally, the Bahamas is supposed to have the best Bone fishing in the world. I can’t comment. I had never seen a Bone-fish and still haven’t. But apparently they are 5-10lbs and give one hell of a sporting fight when hooked. It’s a catch and release fish though, not very good for eating. Another day the guys went for Yellow Tail and did rather well, reeling in 33 fish. They are eating fish and made for a tasty dinner!

So anyway, since the weather had gotten nice it seemed like things would be a little easier for us crew. Not in reality though. There is a beach and a pool here. The problem is that it’s not a short walk to the pool or the beach. Now little kids drink a lot and so do moms and dads on vacation, not to mention lunches. And guess who gets to carry the coolers out to them. You guessed it, yours truly. I guess it’s better than blowing my money on a gym membership! And I should have never told them I worked behind a bar. Luckily we had “Bahama Mama” mix on board!

So between all the standard boat work and the drinks, lunches and fishing we were kept pretty busy, but that’s o.k. The Bahamas are nice, the water is beautiful, but if you don’t have a boat to yourself for things like fishing, snorkeling and island hopping it can be a pretty (well let’s not say boring) relaxing place. The night life, in spite of the live music (usually a one man band) is extremely tame. In the future there is one bright spot though. There actually is some decent surf here. The most consistent spot is a place called “Garbonzo” on Elbow Cay. “Charlie don’t surf!”, but Captain Hans longboards so next time I’m bringing a board and it’s on! And one way or another I’m making time for some diving although it’s so shallow here that you can probably put away the tanks and take a deep breath for a free dive. Or you can just snorkel. And it is quality snorkeling.

It’s also a great place if you’re into big game fishing. While we were there they started the Bahamas Billfish Championship fishing tournament. It’s a week long contest with a million in prizes available for those catching the best selection of 500-600+ lb White and Blue Marlins and Spearfish. I put out my line and as it was being yanked out of my hand thought I had the winner, but that jellyfish got the better of me ;)

As I mentioned it’s a great place to island hop if you’ve got the transportation (boat, no bridges here). One place I got to was Hope Town, which was quaint with beachy blue, sea green and white washed buildings and picturesque beaches that could be straight out of a Corona advertisement. But I wouldn’t suggest importing a car here. There is a 50% duty on the blue book value. Ouch! I guess that’s why you see a ton of golf carts.

So on April 19th we prepared the boat for leaving and ~3pm left the marina for a 1 hour trip to anchor up outside of Man ‘O War Cay for the evening. There we had a nice jumbo shrimp dinner and then a peaceful evening until around 2am when I was awoken by Hans. The wind had switched 180 degrees so we had to pull the anchor, move the boats and reset. After that, all was quiet and on the 20th , after sunrise we pulled anchor again to set sail for Florida through the blue-purple waters and rolling ground swell with the owners aboard and the 31 ft. Jupiter in tow. Next stop West Palm Beach.

The conditions were pretty good for the trip. Part of the time there were 4-5 ft. swells but the boat soaked them up well and after a 16 hour sail we were once again tied up at Old Port Cove.

We called our information in to customs and then went to bed. The next morning we had to go to customs for the mandatory check-in. But this gave us plenty of time to offload the 30 Bahamian illegal aliens, 6 crates of Cuban cigars and 80 kg of cocaine. WHAT A JOKE!! There is a $50,000 fine for not checking in with Customs, but the fact is they didn’t even know we were gone and it doesn’t exert one ounce of security doing things this way. But the beaurocrats know what they are doing, right? Yeah, wasting their employee’s time, our time and our tax dollars!! It’s great to see the government in action; playing up the fear factor so they can erode our personal rights and then doing absolutely nothing to actually sure up our borders and protect us! Don’t get me started!

Anyway, we are back safe and sound. The next trip is slated for sometime in June. There is talk of Mexico, but Mrs. P. isn’t really into that so we’ll have to wait and see……