Trip Start Mar 09, 2009
Trip End May 26, 2009

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

April 11 - Happy Hour!
The weekend weather is very mild with light and variable winds.  If you're out of the wind, it's warm.  Sky is clear blue - no storms in sight.  Saturday we hung out talking with cruisers from Serendipity and then headed back to the boat to get ready for happy hour!     
Bananaquits or Bahama Honey Creeper:  black back, yellow breast, white eyebrow
I think we've become the anchorage aviary - we had 6 Bananaquits on the lifelines looking down the companionway and two mocking birds sitting on the lines to the headsail.   Put screens on all the hatches and portals and made sure the companion way was closed so that the Bananaquits didn't make there way back into the boat. We were back on shore at 5:30 with our drinks and snacks in hand for the meet and greet.
The table on the "whale beach" was covered with various snacks from the cruisers.  I saw a lot of humus - homemade - except for my humus which was the Publix brand.  There were about 30 people hanging out for happy hour.  There were cruisers who were meeting each other again from other anchorages between Warderick and Georgetown, return cruisers who had made the loop and were coming back and us newbies who are heading south.
It's easy to make friends in the cruising crowd.  There was an instant common thread among everyone on the beach - we all want to be here and everyone has made a special effort along the way to make it to the Exumas!  Everyone loves their boat, being on their boat, being on the water and partying at happy hour! 
Cruiser Demographics:
We met many cruisers who were full-timers, others were out for a year. Many were down for the spring and heading north for the summer.   Some came as far as Maine down the coast, whereas others leave their boats in Georgia and Florida and return home for the summer in Minnesota, New York, Colorado, Texas.  Heard stories about sailing the St Laurence Seaway through the Maritimes and down the coast.    A lot of the cruisers out of the NE left in October (probably because of hurricane season) and  were quick to remark on how cold it was coming down the coast - snow in NC in February, cold in Florida.  A lot of fronts have come through this year so some were holed up in Bimini for two weeks or Chub or couldn't get out of Staniel or Georgetown.  Weather is a major discussion point among cruisers - how it's been, experiences coping and how it's going to be in the next day or two.  Other common discussion points are different anchorages and boat repairs along with new technologies in radar and electronics.  All of it was about boating. 
The smallest boat here is a 29' Dehler.  A young couple (late 20's) out of Chicago are living on the boat and are heading up to Maine for the summer.  The largest boat (not counting the yachts that don't mingle with us) is in the 45-48' range.  I would say the average size boat is about 40-42' - lots of Morgans, Tayanas, Pearsons, Beneteaus, Catalinas (a lovely 450 came by) - haven't seen too many Hunters yet.   (Shoulda bought the Endeavour!).  Surprisingly enough there are only two catamarans and about three motor yachts (trawlers types)  here - rest are monohulls or (Single Slung vs Double Slung---gotta learn the lingo). 
Happy Hour was a success and we made several friends - one couple from the Annapolis, one full-timer on a 42' DeFever (could be our next boat if we could sell the two we already have!) and another from Minneapolis/St Paul. 
Ages among the group range from mid-20's to mid-60's and there are enough in the various age groups that they have groups within themselves.  So the mid-20's/30's have about 4 other boats in that age group - one couple is traveling with two small children.  The middle age crowd is the largest - 45 and up. 
At sundown, everyone piled back into their dinghies and headed back to the boats.  The night was clear and the stars were so bright and I think God has added a couple million more stars to the sky! 
Today is another bright, mild day.  We took the opportunity to dinghy over to the other side of the island, the tide wasn't running so strong and the winds were down so it was an easy trip. Pulled up to Butterfly Beach and walked around then dinghied over to Jubilee (Bill and Julie) to chat with them.  We then headed back to the boat to prepare our dish for Easter Dinner Potluck.  

I fixed sweet potatoes sautéed in pecans and rum (used some of Dave's Bahamian Rum) and we headed back to Whale Beach for the feast.  And it was a feast.  The three tables were laden with food from all the boats, and it was all delicious.  The park provided smoked ham and smoked turkey and ice for drinks.  Dave estimates about 60 people were on the beach for dinner.

Had a wonderful afternoon sitting with our friends we had met the night before (minus one couple who had left Easter AM - hope we see them again!). It was a perfect Easter.  A feast to remember.
Just before sun down Bo Bo the nurse shark came swimming by.  We can hear the Bananaquits and other birds singing on shore - they sure sing pretty songs.  As the sun set, we could hear several conch's being blown - we hear that in just about every anchorage to herald the end of the day. 
That evening, after dark, we were sitting in the cockpit trying to catch a breath of a breeze.  Dave was studying the Belt of Orion and watching a satellite go overhead.  I looked down at the water and saw the phosphorescent plankton float by - it was soooo cool.
So ended our Easter Sunday .. God Bless and Life is Good!
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