Its April here in the Bahamas and the weather is surprisingly cool. A cold front passed through a couple of days ago, and the winds have picked up to a steady 20-25 knot blow with gusts up into the 30’s. The temps have been dropping into the upper 60’s at night, which can be surprisingly cool once you’ve gotten used to life without the A/C running. Cindy and I have had to add an extra blanket and shut the main hatch in our bedroom. Missy has been sleeping tucked in tight between us (well, tighter than usual).

Workin’ On Island Time

We’ve been in the Exumas island chain for over 4 months now, and it’s been glorious. We’ve visited Black Point, one of our favorite little settlements, several times. We sailed down to George Town at the southern end of the chain to experience its famed adult summer camp atmosphere. Some 300 boats were anchored in Elizabeth Harbor with us and there were daily (semi) organized activities like volleyball, bocce, aerobics and yoga on the beach at Stocking Island. We watched the annual Cruisers’ Regatta and enjoyed the sunset from Ty’s Bar and Grill at Little Farmer’s Cay.

What we’ve enjoyed the most though has been anchoring out away from everything and everyone, save for the occasional fellow boater. There are dozens of little uninhabited isles scattered along the Exumas and with our water maker and solar panels we can drop our anchor and stay for pretty much as long as we like.  We were surprised to see how busy and noisy even lil’ ole Black Point seemed after having been anchored out for a while. It’s only a couple of hundred people and one main road (think Mayberry without all the heavy investment in infrastructure) but with mail boats arriving, local fisherman heading out early in the morning and tour boats schlepping in sunburned tourists all day long, it started to feel like being back in the grind again.

Calm Waters at Rat Cay

We met up with a couple of friends from home (one old friend, one new one) who flew down to spend a week with us and had a great time. Cindy and I have been somewhat surprised though at how many folks say they want to come down and how few actually do it. Granted it does take a bit of an adventurous spirit to pull the trigger on coming down. There’s luggage restrictions, a hop on a puddle jumper and a wet dinghy ride involved in getting to the boat. Once you’re here you have to abide by the restrictions of out island life…you’ll be sharing less than 400 square feet of living space with two other people, grocery stores resemble a well-stocked mini-mart, there’s nary a Starbucks in sight, internet access is limited, water has to be conserved and toilet paper doesn’t go down the toilet.

But there are also cerulean waters so clear you can make out starfish 25 feet below you and those little deserted cays where the only sounds you’ll hear are the waves lapping the beach and the birds singing on shore. There are new places to see and new people to meet. There are warm breezes that play over your skin and days that ease by without demands and fade into glorious sunsets. And of course, there are rum drinks.

Rudder Cay Sunset

Cindy and I have really gotten adjusted to the slow pace of island life this year and we wonder how we’ll readjust to the hustle of life when we return home. Getting unplugged from the constant barrage of information and the pressure to stay busy has been one of the greatest benefits of the cruising lifestyle for us. That’s been particularly true this past year with its ghastly election season. We’ve been disappointed to find that even though months have passed, the topics dominating the headlines have barely changed since we left. It’s like there’s a war on that no one wants to stop.

As far as the creature comforts of living in the States, we’ve found we don’t miss things from back home, rather we enjoy them when we go back; it’s the best of both worlds. It’s not like I long for a well-stocked Publix grocery when I’m perusing the well-picked-over shelves at Adderly’s Friendly Store two days before the mail boat arrives (if it’s on schedule). You just adjust your meal plan based on what you can find and stumbling across some avocados is enough to make your whole day. Still, is it nice to walk into a Publix and get anything and everything you want? You bet it is!

Little Harbor at Little Farmers Cay

Sadly though, it’s time for us to start making our way back to the US for this year. Our daughter Stephanie is flying down to Black Point on Saturday to spend a couple of weeks with us as we work our way back up the Exumas to Nassau. After that, we plan a direct jump back over to the States. Stay tuned…