Monday, March 17, 2008

Cold Fronts and Cold Beer

When our German friends Michael and Sabine left Marsh Harbour on February 24th, it was more than time for us to do the same. The next stop on our agenda was the small, picturesque town of Hope Town. We found a good anchorage, strolled the narrow streets with its colourful houses and cottages, explored the pleasant waterfront, and climbed the hundred steps of the wonderful kerosene operated lighthouse. From the top we had an amazing view over the whole town, the different blues of the ocean and all the boats in the harbour. On the one calm day, we tried our snorkel gear for the first time, and floated over the beautiful coral reef right off the beach. Our friends Shawn and Alison (who we met in St. Augustine, FL, and ran into several times in Stuart, FL and the Bahamas), and our good friends Gray and Cindy (who we’ve on and off been hanging out with since Stuart, FL) also arrived in Hope Town and the whole gang was together again. That resulted in social evenings with tasty drinks and lots of talking.

Our fridge had been giving us problems for a while, sucking up all the energy we created with the engine and the solar panels. Something had to be done and we tried about everything, from removing extra insulations around the lines, to adding weather stripping around the door, to adding caulk at the edges, re-foaming the connection between the lines and the ice box, turning down the speed of the compressor and removing some refrigerant. In the end, the fridge worked better and consumed less energy. We have no clue what solved it, but we’re sure happy with the result. Some days we now even make electricity, when the sun is bright and hot, and when we’re faced the right direction. Cold drinks on us!

Hope Town is a great little place, and I would have loved to spend more time there, but, another cold front was to approach again. Since no mooring balls were available in this harbour, we had to move to another place with all around protection. During a cold front, the heavy wind turns from the south all the way to the north, a tricky move on anchor and surroundings. This was the one and only reason, we ended up on Man-O-War Cay, a small, “dry” and traditional white settlement with nothing to do, no beautiful beaches, and a lot of people that look alike and have the same name. Black people are only allowed to work on the island, but have to live somewhere else. Interesting in a certain way, but we didn’t like to be stuck there on an “expensive” mooring ball.

For Mark’s birthday, we decided to spend another day and evening in Hope Town. The weather got better for a few days and we would try to make it to Little Harbour the following day. Little Harbour became our last stop in the Abacos and proved to be a decent place to sit out the next storm. We had a great sail over there, and met up with Shawn and Alison again. Cocktails, yummie home cooked meals (like fresh conch salad, conch fritters, and pizza), games, and other "hanging out with our friends" stuff followed, while we sat out the next cold front. With a bit of sadness in our hearts we said goodbye to Shawn and Alison, who turned north again, slowly heading back to the States.

As for us… We were itching to make our way to Eleuthera. Therefore, we needed to cross another stretch of ocean. After waiting four days for the weather to turn in our favour, we realized that perfect didn’t exist. But there is only so much you can do in Little Harbour. One of the more neat things is being present during the casting process of bronze sculptures by the local artists. Very interesting. Anyway, instead of losing our small window and having to wait another four days, we decided to risk it. Once again, the weather was worse than predicted, and once again, we had to beat into the wind and the nasty waves for about 11 hours under motor. We nevertheless made it to Royal Island in Eleuthera on March 6, 2008, just in time to weather out the next cold front. And, who was there to share beer and fronts? Gray and Cindy!

No comments: