Nippers, Nippers!

The Whale passage eventually calmed down enough for us to pass through and access a new set of Cays in the south end of the Sea of Abaco.  These Cays are a bit more populated and busy compared to the deserted, or at best, thinly-populated islands in the north.
Sue cheers on Colin as he flies around the bouys

We had an instant “in” with the locals down here because friends Sue and Colin have a home on Elbow Cay and were in residence between legs of their round-the-world sail on Uxorious IV.   At the Hope Town Sailing Club, Colin—following protocol—introduced us at the weekly social and I was invited to participate in a race of the beautiful Abaco Skiffs that Sunday.  Abaco Skiffs are local, traditional, all-wood, sailing dinghies with no keel or centerboard so they have some quirks!  I have not raced a dinghy in years and was not feeling confident after being told my boat–Nothing’s Easy–was owner Sam’s pride and joy, and that if one dips the gunwale the dinghies sink like a rock!  But come Sunday, I helped rig the boat, got a push off the beach, and I was on my own.  I had an hour’s practice before the series of three races began—spectators were out in force, the pressure was on!

The Booty
The Booty

John, Sue, and friends Adam and Patti were circling via spectator boat with Bloody Mary’s in-hand: Colin was leading the pack in the Sunfish class, while I coaxed Nothing’s Easy around the marks and tried not to sink, hit stuff, or generally embarrass myself.  Races done, we tacked back into Hope Town Harbour, stowed the dinghies and headed to the sailing club for the awards party.  Results in, Colin won the Sunfish class and I came third in the Abaco Skiffs!  Not a disaster by any means, and lots of fun.  John was quite tipsy…apparently Patti’s Bloody Mary’s were very good.

New Crew!
New Crew!

Our first visitors aboard Genevieve arrived!  Despite delays, Susan and Neil just made it out of the cold North East and arrived in Marsh Harbour on schedule, happy to have a break from the grind and the snow.  They brought some welcome goodies with them: chocolate, DVD’s, magazines, some spare parts.  But best of all, they hauled our replacement head in their luggage.  It was soon fitted in place so we are back to a full complement of functioning toilet devices aboard Genevieve!

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Arrive, Unpack, Steer Boat Out of Harbor

We tried really hard to give Susan and Neil a taste of the tropical sailing life:  we had some great sails in some good strong wind; we anchored in a quiet bay; anchored in a very windy, choppy bay; and showed them a few of the local Cays.  Unfortunately, the weather did not always cooperate and we had some cool, wet, blustery times. But we amused ourselves with spirited games in the cockpit, visited local haunts (like infamous Nippers bar on Guana Cay), and checked-out super quaint Man ‘O War Cay. We took shelter in a marina in Marsh Harbor out of a gale and played Bocce with the locals followed by a chilly Super Bowl at Snappas Bar! We hunted conch, laboriously extracted the slimy gastropods from their shells for salad, and even managed to trap and crack a coconut or two for fresh, rummy coconut drinks. And we celebrated Neil’s birthday for three whole days. It was great to see our pals and to catch-up.  Next visit: warmer, sunnier times…promise.

So now we are changing gears.  Putting Gen in a marina for a while and heading West to ski with some of the family.  Looking forward to a change of scene and the chance to wear socks and underpants again.  We need a break from all this leisure!
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