Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bye Bye Bimini

Hello all,
First I have to apologize to you for these impersonal emails.  Finally we are in the States and will have pretty easy access to the internet for a couple of days while we are at Cracker Boy Boatyard getting the engine fixed (again!).  I hope you will write and give us your news while we can have a dialogue!  (What a concept!)
No more turquoise water.  No more vast horizon with just an occasional island.  No more flying fish "escorting" our boat home. Now it is all memories, photos and souvenirs.  We collected empty conch shells, fan coral, pretty shells of many colors and sizes, sea beans and beach glass.  We made friends with countless strangers, also boaters, whom we have found again all the way from Georgetown in the Exumas up here to Riviera Beach!  Now we're embarking on yet another chapter in this adventure.
On Wednesday Kathy, Lew and I walked down N. Bimini island to go beach combing.  As we passed the Fisherman's Paradise Restaurant, Desne Smith (the owner/chef) came out to say hello.  She gave us some of the history of the island including the large estate across the street and stories from the Hemingway era.  Before we left we had made arrangements to have a big family style dinner for at least four more boats on Thursday evening.  It turned out to be 14 boats and a fabulous way to say good bye to the Bahamas.  We were delighted that Desne could put together a delicious grouper dinner with cole slaw, peas and rice and a cracked conch appetizer (plus corn and green beans and ice tea and a fruit punch) for so many people on such short notice.  The best part was that it was only $15 per person!  A dinner like that would have cost us $40 anywhere else in the Bahamas.  If any of you are traveling that way, you can reach Desne at work (242) 347-3220 or home (242) 347-3370 to arrange your own dinner party.  But it is more fun to meet her in person.
Bimini is the best place to start or end a Bahamas vacation.  It is only 40 miles east of Miami but, because of the strong current, getting across the Gulf Stream is rarely a straight shot.  We were about 70 miles from the Lake Worth Inlet, near Palm Beach.  We left Bimini with about 20 other boats on Friday morning crossing the Gulf Stream in near perfect weather. 
The statistics of this trip so far have been too detailed to list but the synopsis is this: 95 "Lovely Wonders" which include animals, sunsets, beaches, and social gatherings; 58 irritants that are as wearing as water torture but not life threatening; "only" 21 scary and/or dangerous incidents that could have been worse, 8 of which were actually life or health threatening.  On this long trip so far we have spent 42 days in the Abacos, 85 in the Exumas and only 6 in Bimini.  We could enjoy many of the places we visited again, and again.
Now we're living aboard about 20' off the ground in the boatyard.  There are three or four other boats that are "populated" but the yard is locked up until Monday morning.  Our rented car is outside where we can get to it if we want to.  There is another catamaran "Harmony" to our right.  Between us, in this order, are "Lady Rapscallion", "Tranquility" and "Mayhem".  At least "Mayhem" is surrounded by "Tranquility" and "Harmony" and not the other way around!
The Intercoastal Waterway part of this adventure will begin as soon as the engines are good to go again.
We hope you are doing ok in your many adventures. 
 Cheers from Florrie & Lew

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