Friday, December 30, 2011

Mini Junkanoo

Last night we went to a Junkanoo competition at one of the local resorts. Two of our favorite groups performed...the Treasure Cay Explorers and the Spring City Rockers. They didn't have their whole entourage with them, since they had to adapt to the small street. However, the costumes, music, and dancing were still fantastic!

The crowds waited in anticiaption for the first group to arrive. We could hear (and feel) the beat of the drums, and sounds of the horns, tubas, and whistles.

Then the colorful parade began.

We really enjoyed seeing that the kids were even involved in the event. What a big drum to handle, almost as big as the kids themselves!

Right after the fireworks over the harbor at the stroke of midnight, there will be a Junkanoo Rush-out through the streets of Hope Town. This is when anyone can join in the fun and dance to the beat behind the costumed performers and musicians. What a memorable way to ring in the new year!


We woke to this eerie sight this morning. Luckily it quickly dissipated.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

First Fundraiser

Yesterday we attended the fundraiser event for the local Bahamian race boats, Abaco Rage and The Dove. The Class 'A' Rage sails in local races, but the smaller Class 'B' Dove participates in the national competitions down in George Town, Exuma. Upkeep on these engineless wooden boats requires constant attention and money, plus getting the Dove to the southern Bahamas is a challenge in itself. The Dove is loaded onto a Bahamian mailboat for the trip.

This is the Dove out of the water and Dave stands next to the mammoth keel.

Dave helped tow the Rage over to the government dock where the party was held. He is becoming more involved with the Abaco Rage Sailing Syndicate (A.R.S.S.).

This picture shows the prys that get extended, and the crew has to climb out on them during the race. The 28 foot Rage sails with a crew of 10-15 depending on the wind.

Class rules state that the sails cannot be synthetic material, and they must be sewn in the Bahamas.

Belinda and Amy are hard at work selling shirts, while Ben can't wait to sample some of the famous gin and coconut water drinks.

Wild pig was on the menu along with homemade coleslaw, and the tasty Bahamian specialty, peas 'n' rice. The peas are more like a pinto bean mixed with rice in a spicy sauce. Dave and I were caught on 'film' sharing our meal.

The Abaco Rage has its own website being set up, and you can find updates and information by clicking on the link under 'my blog list' on the sidebar of this page.

The festivities kicked off the first of many great fundraising events here in Hope Town. Another reason we blend in with this community so well!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Boxing Day Blues

It just figures that after many weeks of windy weather, the wind would completely die for the Boxing Day sailing regatta. The race was cancelled for the day when the boats couldn't make it over the starting line.

I think the one Rage crew member looks like he is standing there scratching his head saying, "Why are we out here, and how are we going to get back to the harbor?" They did end up being towed back.

What did we do once we (who are on the race committee) made it back to the dock? We took the 's' off of blues, as in blue water, and headed to Fowl Cay reef. The crystal clear water temps are still around 75 degrees, so with a wetsuit it made the snorkeling perfect. I didn't stay in as long as Dave did, because I wanted to feed the fish from the skiff. The yellowtail snappers were a bit leery at first, but as soon as the sargent majors and bermuda chubs joined in the action, it turned into a feeding frenzy. The snappers were grabbing the bread so fast at the surface of the water that I ended up getting wet from the splashing. It didn't matter since I was already wet from being down there underwater with them to start with.

Feeding the fish from the boat:

Watching underwater:

A southern stingray even passed right under the boat to check out the action.

So the old saying still is true. "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." What a gorgeous day on and under the water!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Morning

What a perfect morning to go sailing! After Dave and I cruised around the harbor, he dropped me off at New Horizon, so I could start the prep work for the sailboat race awards party that we are hosting.

Our friend Jan spotted him as he headed out into the Sea of Abaco, with the famous lighthouse in the background.

It doesn't get better than this!

Friday, December 23, 2011

"Happy Christmas To All...

And to all a good-night!"

We'll leave the light on for you.

Happy Holidays from Carol and Dave!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Caroling through the quaint streets of Hope Town is an annual Christmas tradition. This year we were invited to be the cheering section at Cozy Villa, where the carolers always stop. This is one of their favorite places to entertain the audience, because Janet and Philip always provide a special holiday punch for the singers. Naturally we got our own sampling of this fine beverage (along with awesome appetizers) and joined in the songs. What a memorable experience!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


We certainly are glad that we didn't leave New Horizon in THIS boatyard during hurricane season!

Monday, December 19, 2011

They're Baaack!

This morning the dolphins from last spring were back in the harbor. How can I tell it was the same ones? Intense observation ("it's a tough job, but somebody has to do it!). At first, I thought it was just one lone dolphin, but then after awhile, another surfaced quite a distance away. As they rejoined each other I could tell that it was a mother and calf. The mother's dorsal fin had a big notch in it, so I looked at the pictures I took in March, and sure enough she has the same markings.

Then it all made sense that the calf (who has really grown) was out on its own, so far away from Mom. It has been doing this since quite young.

To see the previous dolphin post and pictures click HERE.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Wind Fatigue

This Bahamas courtesy flag looks like how we feel after 3 weeks of non-stop 20-25+ m.p.h. winds...flagged out.

Today all that changed! We were able to venture out and see why we like the Abacos so much. Tonight it is so calm that our ears are ringing and every sound is magnified across the harbor. This is what we came here for. Unfortunately yet another cold front with strong high pressure is due to arrive tomorrow, meaning we will be wind blown again. Tonight though, we sure will sleep soundly!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Waiting Game

We are still waiting for the pipe to be fixed at the welder in Marsh Harbour. The problem is that they have just moved to a new building and the electricity is just being hooked up. This has made them have a back log of work, so it is still up in the air as to when we will get the pipe back. Luckily Beach Cruiser has come through for us once again, and offered to be committee boat for the Boxing Day race if we can't run on both engines. What a relief. Now all we need is to have Carol and Bill on Interim make it here before that date also, since they are supposed to help us with the stand-up awards party after the race. They have been stuck in West Palm Beach for about a month, looking for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas. They certainly have been playing their own waiting game also.

And here in Abaco, the wind continues to blow...a lot! Maybe we should consider trading New Horizon for a sailboat.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dilemma Unfolding

We have been lucky so far this season. All systems have been working well...until now. Dave finally got a chance to investigate the exhaust leak that has been intensifying. What he was hoping was a gasket leaking, is actually a major problem. A chunk of the turbo charger link of the starboard exhaust system has fallen out, leaving a large hole in the flange. Dave continues to smile though, as he crawls out of the engine room! He was glad to have found the problem even if it does create a dilemma.

Right now, Dave is on his way to Marsh Harbor in the skiff (in 20-25 m.p.h. winds), to find a welder to see if there is any chance it can be welded. The port engine exhaust has the same problem, but not quite as bad, so he has left that link attached, just in case we need an engine in an emergency situation. Time is an important factor since we are supposed to be the committee boat for the Boxing Day sailboat race, the day after Christmas. All the rest of the Harbour Rats are leaving to go Stateside for the holidays, so no one can substitute for us. Nothing happens too fast in the Bahamas to start with, let alone at Christmastime. We'll keep our fingers crossed that the welders will come through for us. For now though, we have a great mooring and New Horizon makes a fine houseboat. At least this hole isn't in a place that could cause us to sink!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Just Another Sunday

It seems like I say this a lot, but the wind continues to howl here in Abaco. Today was the quietest day we have ever seen in and around Hope Town. I think that everyone was hiding out of the wind and resting up before the Christmas rush of tourists.

I woke at sunrise to a gorgeous sight we seldom see. The huge full moon was setting and the sun was rising at the same time, so I could see them both on the same level.

Then it was on to friends Philip and Janet's house, Cozy Villa, where we were treated to a delicious breakfast of waffles, bacon, fruit, and lively conversation!

Back on board New Horizon, it was time to see if the washer and watermaker were still working, and luckily both are functioning quite well. At least with all this wind, drying the laundry certainly isn't an issue! Plus there's nothing better than knowing we are independent and refill our water tanks by making fresh water out of sea water.

Most of the afternoon was dedicated to exploring on land. With most of the workers not around, it was a perfect day to check out the renovations at the Hope Town Marina. When completed, this is going to be quite a resort. This is the pool area, complete with swim up bar.
Dave couldn't resist giving it a 'dry run.'

Then we meandered over to Lighthouse Marina and came across the Abaco Rage hauled out of the water. Dave will be helping to sand and paint it before it is launched for the racing season.

At low tide, Dave helped install a swim platform on our friends Colin and Jan's Rosborough 24. It was a long way up to the top of the dock.

Meanwhile, I went for a walk along the north end of the island. I just had to laugh at this truck parked along the road. I think it's seen better days, but was still in service.

A much nicer sight was one of the Hope Town Volunteer Fire and Rescue fire trucks, sitting at the ready at the north end boat basin. Hopefully the next fundraiser event will do well enough to provide a shelter for this refurbished truck. The salt air certainly takes its toll on vehicles, as the other picture shows.

Getting back to the boat and securing the skiff is a challenge in this much wind. I am getting pretty good at judging the swing of the New Horizon so I can pull right up to the fenders on the side.

Tonight, as we sit in the main salon looking out the windows, our view keeps changing back and forth. First we see the bright white moon rising in the east, and then a few seconds later we swing around to the west and see the Christmas lights blowing in the wind on the lighthouse.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Irene's Calling Card

We did a tour in the backwaters of the harbor today, and found some of the damage that Hurricane Irene caused.

Actually the boat next to us barely survived the storm. Sozo, lost its mast and rig, and looks pretty sad. What a shame because Dave knows the owner and went sailing on Sozo last spring. We had permission to take her out sailing and were looking forward to it this winter.

Next came this mess, which at first we couldn't figure out what happened.

The boat lift broke and the bow of the big boat fell into the water. There is also a dinghy on its side in front of it. What a challenge it will be to get everything untangled.

Way back in the mangroves, we found two boats tied up.
This is the best spot to put a boat for a hurricane and we see this quite often. The mangroves are very strong yet flexible, and provide a great haven for vessels.

End of the line...this is where many small boats ended up after not only Irene, but other hurricanes as well.

Black cat in the Loo...must really mean bad luck!

Considering that Irene was a category 3 hurricane, luckily there wasn't as much damage as we would have expected. That includes not just boats, but buildings and trees also. Everything is green and flowering again already. The worse part is probably the beach erosion, but that too can be cyclical. The next storm could possibly bring the sand back. All in all, thankfully Abaco fared quite well.