Tuesday, February 11, 2014


The guidebook said “you will either love it or hate it but you want to try it once.” Long-term cruisers said “don’t leave your boat, it was once great; now it’s a ghetto.” Well let’s just say that after a month on the leeward side of Devil’s Cay, Nassau was much anticipated. Eggs, internet, lettuce-----who could ask for more?

Unfortunately, the winds were 15 knots above expected and the waves were 2-3 feet higher than predicted. We entered fast and furious. Twenty-two degrees of heel. That is about 7 degrees into hell from my perspective. Items which had never moved below before were now in the center of the main salon with a very smelly sick cat navigating flying items. The other cat was safely rooted into the hanging locker. His meow is so undeveloped, if he was howling we could not hear him over the engine. Yes, horror of horror to the true sailors----we were using the motor as well as sails. Why prolong the fires of Gehenna if there is an engine to accelerate transition to safety? As we neared the port entrance, Nassau was experiencing a squall. That meant that sails would need to be brought down in 25+ knots of wind with a smattering of rain. I was unable to do the jib alone, Mike had to assist. The guidebooks spoke poorly of the anchorage stability citing high current and a non-reliable bottom. So we were on guard for the first twelve hours or so for dragging.

But once again our CQR anchor held firm. Thus began three weeks of exploring the culture and history of Nassau. Colorful, dramatic, proud Nassau. It was a wonderful experience. Many cruisers do not feel comfortable in Nassau but we found it very pleasant. Yes, a city, and yet an island with proud natives focused on customer service. Such a shift from what we had experienced in the Abacos.

My favorite spots . . . the Museum of Art was the perfect size, had excellent exhibits and did much to fill in the Nassau story and the Bahamian experience. The distillery tour offered us the best view of Nassau and the first sign of a rooster---always a herald of island life. The Bahama Rock cafe, just outside of the Queen’s stairwell, had excellent fare and free internet. The bus was easy and showed us much more of Nassau including a mall—perfect for pre-Christmas
shopping. Auntie Ann’s was a nice reminder of home.

We had a few harbor-mates onboard for sundown one evening and another batch on Christmas day. It took the edge off of not being with family. Cruisers are inevitably unique company and share a wealth of great stories and experiences. We ended our respite in Nassau with a morning trek to town to see the annual Junkanoo celebration. It is the celebration of being Bahamian with a parade that lasts from midnight until almost noon. Ornate costumes, music, floats---all representing some aspect of being a Bahamian. I was lucky enough to have a 10 year old Bahamian commentator beside me on the fence. I agreed with her, “this was first class, not third class---but first class all the way—that’s the Bahamian way.” A city to return to someday.

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