Tag Archives: Grand Bahama

Take two

12 Nov

Finally! All the squally north wind junk calmed down enough, allowing us an escape window from Florida. Without enough of a break in the weather giving us the time to get down to Miami and across to Bimini, we revised our plans and shot across to Freeport on Grand Bahama. Just in time for more gale force north winds to start up on Wednesday…which means no kayaking or snorkeling for a few more days. I know…sad. But the girls are hoping to find some storm sea glass, and we are all looking forward to conch salad and curry chicken.

We left around 11PM and motor sailed all night, arriving at Sunrise at 2:30 PM. We had nice winds the whole trip, helping speed us along across the gulf stream. Everything was uneventful until suddenly instead of the quiet putt putt of our old diesel engines, it sounded like a helicopter was chasing us off our starboard. It makes that sound when it’s not spitting out exhaust water (those darn thing tends not to run well without water to cool). Andy thought he’d repair it while underway, but after five minutes of pitching down below with diesel fumes, he decided that could wait for dock.

Andy has always feared having to dock with only one engine. I know that sounds like we are babies (oh, poor you only docking with one engine), but this beast loves to catch the wind and act as a big wind sail, and it really doesn’t maneuver with one engine, especially when you need to go slow in a marina. Anyway, today Tango graciously allowed him to face that fear. Thanks, Tango! He swung in like he’s been crippled docking for years, perfectly.

So, now we get to figure out why the pump isn’t running…but, that’s for another day.


Coming into the marina channel


Hanging out


Love that smile!



Ink blue water

Our Bahama Adventure

4 Jun

As of this writing we have already been to the Bahamas and back. We arrived yesterday morning after a very long trek back to Florida. I would have written more from Grand Bahama but, quite frankly, I don’t want to get into the habit of writing when I should be experiencing the life that is right in front of me. This is a philosophical kind of way of saying that I was either too lazy or too drunk to make a blog entry for the majority of the trip. More on that later. For now let’s take a step back and jump in where I left off last.

There is always a weird juxtaposition when visiting most island nations. On the one hand there is immense beauty to be found but on the other it is usually tempered by very evident poverty. Grand Bahama was no exception. The white sandy beaches and crystal clear water were teeming with tropical fish of all sorts but I couldn’t help but feel a little sad that the people who live there and eek out a living by making us tourists feel welcome and happy never seem to be enjoying this aspect of island life. Oh I know that our dollars are helping to pay somebody somewhere but I never got the sense that very much of it makes it to the people who work the hardest. Granted this is not exclusive to The Bahamas, I know that this is something that has been taking place throughout history and throughout the world. Still, it’s something to ponder.

OK, I’m done bringing you down with my caucasian male fueled guilt complex. Let me tell you of the highlights in no apparent order.

  1. The water and the sand were some of the best that I have ever experienced in my life. Although the weather was kind of nasty for most of our stay, the days that were sunny highlighted the beautiful colors and textures of the natural beauty.
  2. Kudos to the conch guy. We call him the conch guy because his little shack of a food stand had no sort of identifying features other than containing a guy who worked miracles with conch and other local seafood. The hit of the week was his fresh conch salad which consisted of conch thrown into a mix of lime juice, garlic, onions, and other yummy bits. The conch guy makes everything fresh, right there in front of you. Patience must be called upon because it takes time to do something right.
  3. Robin decided that she was going to organize a get together with the other marina residents for an impromptu potluck. To be honest I wasn’t that excited about it at first because I thought that we would be the only ones to show up but I was happily proven wrong. Everyone who was at the marina showed up and we feasted on delicious homemade things and told of our adventures and listened to theirs. Our marina was a veritable United Nations as the cruising “delegates” were from all over the world. I found the Australians (Kevin and Hazel) to be the most entertaining but everyone had something to add to the conversation. We had a great time.
  4. David, the cab driver is a classy dude. Seriously, I’ve been in some shitty cabs in my life but David erased them all from my memory. (Temporarily) Not only did he take us to the many tourist traps on the island but he told of the history of the island and gave us a brutally honest opinion of how the money from tourism doesn’t really help out the average family all that much. Trickle down economics indeed. Meh.

Overall we had a fantastic time. We are grateful to Hank and Lisa aboard Haanli for their friendship and their comforting words as we sailed out into the ocean for the first time. The trip back to Fort Pierce Inlet in Florida was mainly uneventful with the exception of a little seasick feeling shared by all aboard and my colossal brain fart in the middle of the night that I will share with you before others do.

Somewhere in the middle of the Gulf Stream at around zero dark thirty I noticed a blip on the radar screen that I found a bit troubling. Around six miles off of our stern port quarter was a giant cruise ship that appeared to be on a collision course with Tango. I could tell that it was going to be too close for comfort because I took a bearing when it was six miles away and the angle did not change at five, four, and three miles. This is a sign that someone was going to have to alter course or speed. Since we weigh about 20,000 pounds and a cruise ship weighs, I don’t know, a brazillion pounds, I figured that I would be the bigger man and slow down.

Wanting to be proactive I radioed Haanli, who had an AIS system that could identify the cruise ship for me. Finding out that it was Carnival Cruise line’s “Fantasy” I radioed the following. (not verbatim mind you)

Me: Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Fantasy. This is sailing vessel Tango.

Captain Fantasy: Yes Tango, Carnival Fantasy here.

Me: Go up one to one seven?

Captain Fantasy: Yes, One Seven

(pause to switch channels)

Me: Carnival Fantasy this is Tango

Captain Fantasy: Tango this is Carnival Fantasy

Me: Yes sir, good evening. I just wanted to make contact with you and make sure that you see us out here at your eleven o’ clock position.


Captain Fantasy: I don’t see you, do you have your navigational lights on?

Me: Yes sir, I have my steaming lights on. I can see you clearly. (At this point they are about two miles away…these giant ships look much closer than they are.)

Captain Fantasy: I am not seeing you.

At this point I hear Robin whisper from the sidelines. “You aren’t at his 11 o’ clock you are at his 2 o’ clock.”

I hate when she’s right.

Me: Uh…Carnival Fantasy…I apologize sir…I am NOT at your eleven o’ clock I am at your 2 o’clock about two miles distant.


Captain Fantasy: Tango, I see you.

Me: Sorry about that. I will slow down and you can pass in front of my bow. (Like it was my choice.)

Captain Fantasy: Very well Tango, Carnival Fantasy back to one six.

OK. I’m just going to say right now that I really do know the difference between 2 o’clock and 11 o’ clock. I have no idea why I said what I said. Perhaps I was just tired and, when looking directly at the ship it WAS at my (Andy Beck’s) 11 o’ clock position and thus I shared my observation as if the entire world revolved around me. My bad.

Even after all of this we made it safely  to Fort Pierce  at around 9:30 AM. Nearly 24 hours after we had left Freeport. A long trip but a memorable one. We are going back in October at which time I hope to have my 11 o’ clocks and my 2 o’clocks figured out by then.

Dinner the conch guy's place.

Dinner the conch guy’s place.

Yes, it's this pretty.

Yes, it’s this pretty.

Enjoying too much rum n' stuff at "The Two Dollar Bar".

Enjoying too much rum n’ stuff at “The Two Dollar Bar”.

Leaving our mark at "The Two Dollar Bar".

Leaving our mark at “The Two Dollar Bar”.



A Sad Mystery

30 May

While walking along an old Bahamian road I happened upon a little old cemetery with a very sad memorial. It commemorates the death at sea of 21 Haitians. I did a search online and the only reference I could find was one article for the memorial and nothing more. Odd. I shall continue my search. There is a story here that isn’t getting its due.