Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Short interlude to the States...

Back to the Island for Karyn! I apologize for the hiatus...I’m fine, no issues, but I did fly back to the states to spend a long weekend with Ally and to get a follow-up check-up from the doctor. All is well! But, I admit I was swamped with must-accomplish tasks of mail sorting, time-consuming and time-sensitive correspondence and errands. The only good thing about the all the time spent doing so was that the weather was gray and rainy, so I wasn’t missing out on any beautiful Florida sunshine. Plus, I got a lot accomplished paperwork-wise, but no blogging was done as I focused on spending time with Ally, which was truly enjoyable. A good visit off-island!
Happily, arrival back to the Exumas was welcoming. There was gorgeous weather: bright sunshine on the turquoise waters, light winds, low humidity, warm temps. I only had carry-on luggage, so I breezed through Bahamian Customs and Immigration with nary an issue (although the Sherwood shammy mop heads I had in my bag did give US security a pause at FLL -- they wanted to know if I had hand weights in my bag! Then I had Taxi 16, Mr. Clifford, waiting outside for me at GTT so I hopped in and listened to some rake and scrape Bahamian music all the way back into town! Couldn’t ask for a better arrival!
Arita, dressed for the occasion with 
flags of various nations flying

Ron was at the dinghy dock loading up Eclipse when I arrived at Exuma Markets. After a quick return to Equinox to unload baggage and groceries, we went back into George Town to enjoy the air of excitement. The National Family Islands Regatta is gearing up to get underway! As I've mentioned before, this annual event is when the best sailors from every major island in the Bahamas converge at Elizabeth Harbour on Exuma Island for the regatta. During the four days of racing, Bahamian sailors arrive prepared to sail their locally-built sloops for the much coveted “Best in the Bahamas” title. 

The town was bustling with people, and the straw market was in full swing with all sorts of items for sale. Some of the fish shacks were open, too, busy selling jerk ribs, chicken, pork & steak, conch salad, grilled fish of all kinds and beer: Kalik, Sands, High Rock! The Bahamian sloops, glossily painted and proudly bearing the names of the originating Cays, were still being unloaded from the ship, and getting rigged in the harbor. Some were already out in the harbor, tuning the rigging and sails in preparation of the events tomorrow. 

Where Ron and I had fabulous jerk ribs:
smoky and spicy, falling off the bone!

Grilling in action out back of the Crowbar's food shack
Ron and I walked about town, and stopped in at Crowbar's Grill Pit for a lunch of spicy grilled ribs, beans and rice and cold Sands. We walked to the water’s edge, ate, and enjoyed the spectacle around us as boats continued to be prepped and readied for sailing, people milled about the food stands, with a festive party atmosphere prevailing! The races will start tomorrow, with different classes - A, B & C - for the different size vessels. The prerequisites are that the boats are made of wood, made in the Bahamas, and have a majority Bahamian crew. (There are a few allowances for the occasional non-Bahamian, we've discovered, which is cool.) Our friend Rob, off Arita, will be crewing aboard Tida Wave, one of the perennial winners from Staniel Cay here in the Exumas, in the A class races. It's quite an honor to be invited aboard!! We'll be cheering for Tida Wave!

This food shack's sign says it all!

The mid-afternoon was spent relaxing on the beach at the Chat -N- Chill with one of Kendall's  Goombay Smashes before a lovely late afternoon siesta aboard Equinox. In the evening, we had Sam and Heather from Cloud Nine join us aboard; they brought dinner, a lovely Lebanese dish of grilled fish, rice, with pine nuts and almonds, and we supplied the movie: BottleShock, which they hadn't seen before. It was a gorgeous night on anchor, and we enjoyed it immensely!! It's good to be back aboard!

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