Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Back to Georgetown

After a crazy and fun two weeks in Georgetown, Bahamas during regatta week, we are peacefully anchored in Nurse Cay, Jumentos. Our position is posted on the ship trak link on our blog. The Jumentos, which means donkey in Spanish, is a string of virtually uninhabited islands closer to Cuba than the US. Prior to G/T, we were blessed by our dear friends, Chris and Kelly, Jack and Katie Case of Saratoga Springs, The weather cooperated and we enjoyed a few long sails interspersed with snorkeling, hunting, beach combing and great company. Their trip ended with two great days at Atlantis, a super-resort on Paradise Island. Las Vegas has nothing on this place, add to that the largest man-made marine habitat in the world along with literally miles of water park activities and you begin to understand what this Atlantis is like. Surrounded by mega and new giga (bigger yet) yachts whose expenses at Atlantis exceeded our yearly cruising budget, we hung our wet laundry out with pride. I tried to weasel my way onto Pegasus, a 200+ foot yacht that blocked our view, to no avail.

In Georgetown, we had to say goodbye to Mima who we had been cruising with for a year and a half. It was an emotional time but we know our paths will cross again. We enjoyed campfires, dinners, the coconut challenge, kids days and did a Tim Conway Dorf-on-Golf like skit with them. For those of you too young to remember, someone is behind you under a shirt with their arms as your arms and your arms are your legs. It is fun, physical comedy or it can bomb. Marc, Brad and kids have been doing a Johnny camper version at YMCA camp the last few years, so it gave us the idea. We performed "Stan and Lena come to Georgetown". Mark on Mima and I were a dysfunctional cruising couple from Minnesota with Marc and Susan as the arms. The kids passed up props like a mini mast and sail, fishing pole, radio, lipstick, shaving cream and razor, etc. The crowd loved it as we poked fun at the typical situations in the cruising community. Mima, being relative newbees to the Bahamas had to trust that the jokes were funny. When we get internet, we will post the video on the blog. In the end, we won 3rd place out of 15 groups. One couple stopped us and asked where we were from in Minnesota! First place was garnered by the French Canadians doing a Can Can for which that had transported complete costumes for 15 people. 2nd place were our friends, the family on Los Gatos. They did a Youtube inspired "Evolution of Dance" skit with their two daughters and mom and dad. Angie's Mom came for 10 of the days and was a fantastic boat guest.

Marc raced on Phoenix, an Ocean Cat 49 twice. The boat was owned by the Henry who built the only 10 Ocean Cats in existence. Marc calls it a Manta on steroids. After starting last and catching up to all the other boats, Marc decided to tack to get out in the ocean more, while all the other boats headed to shore. Unfortunately, the wind died and they were becalmed for 45 minutes while the others still had the wind. They were going so slow they could see lobsters in the water. So, they finished 5th out of 10 boats. Saturday we all raced around the harbor and finished 2nd in the Ocean Cat. The harbor race was crazy, with boats having to dodge anchored boats and lots of up wind sailing.. not good for a cat. We actually caught and dragged two marks that we had to round. So we got a bottle of rum for 2nd. Parker was the official door prize drawer for the race. He pulled out "Phoneix" and won the captain a beautiful watch. The next day, the captain gave it to Parker.. he has not taken it off.

The kids did well in the competition category in Georgetown. They got 1st in the coconut harvest, having to round up coconuts from a dingy with only used fins to propel the dingy. Parker came up with a sea monster idea for sand sculpture and won first with Sabrina, Kristen and Annie from Bird on a Wire, Geneva on GottaLife and Lee Ann, the only adult in the group. The judges were moved by the only true kid group vs. an adult group with kids thrown in as labor. The adults got second in the sand sculpture with a "Red Hot Knight", a knight with brandishing a sword with bulging muscles everywhere. The theme of the event was Red Hot Nights so we were trying to gain points. In the end we lost to Dog Beach. I think the fake dog poop made of sand and sea beans but them over the top. Alvina/Mom helped tremendously and got a 2nd place flag to take home. We did an encore presentation of Stan and Lena at the closing night ceremony with Chad and Lee Ann, a newlywed couple from Muskegon Michigan.

Our first day there, we won a snorkeling trip with 4 other couples on a high speed power boat. We stayed an extra day to take the trip..value $100 a piece. After waiting an acceptable amount of time to factor in "Mon, this is the Bahamas, mon", we called. The day was spent trying to track them down. As it was the first calm day in a while, they decided to make money vs. take a donated trip. So, Marc went snorkeling and got two huge lobsters and gave one to Mike on Los Gatos who went with him. With 300 boats in G/T, it was amazing there were any lobsters left. That night we did a huge group bonfire on the beach and had grilled lobster and veggies. Three guitars kept us all singing late into the night. It reminded us of the reasons we are out here, clean air, warm ocean breezes, new friends, and perfect smores, even with sticky marshmallows and stale cookies.

The next day, the Exuma tour people showed up early! The just in time Johnsons almost missed the boat as we were saying goodbye to friends. The trip was amazing, exploring all the local knowledge places near G/T that most of the 300+ boats and cruisers never see. I found and Marc shot another huge lobster!! After the trip we motored out of G/T, another emotional time for the kids. This is their favorite place on the planet.

Yesterday was the best day of fishing and hunting ever. Each kid shot a monster lobster with guidance from Dad. Marc found 3 more huge lobsters, a field of conch and we caught 4 fish on the way south without really trying. With the freezer over flowing, we continue to head south before lobster season closes in 7 days.

Parker's Lobster