After four and a half months, we left the Bahamas. It was not easy. Our experiences with the landscape, the wildlife, the culture and the people were wonderfully enriching. The opportunity was such a privilege! We are full of conch fritters, conch stew, mahi, snapper, peas and rice with thyme and coconut milk, mangoes and papayas, guava duff with rum sauce, and pineapple marmalade...and Lorraine's Mom's irresistable coconut bread (best eaten soon after it leaves her kitchen, still warm, with unsalted butter). We will remember Leslie, Diko, Lorraine, Payman, and Buzzy...Bahamians from Nassau, Blackpoint, and George Town who took time to share their customs, to feed us and to enlighten us. The sea aquarium, the Reef sharks under the dinghy, and the beach hikes in Exuma Park will add to our good memories. Dietrich will remember the thrill of catching those wicked barracudas and those lime green and yellow mahi (dolphin fish). Annie will remember the strong smell and gore of the filetings on the bow while she steered from the cockpit. And the night sky...no competition from city lights! We saw the Southern Cross and crossed the Tropic of Cancer. We smiled a lot.
A thirty-two hour sail from Chub Cay to Fort Pierce, some of it behind our pink, yellow, and purple spinnaker, some of it through a windy night, took us back to Florida. We stayed in Fort Pierce for twelve days while the engine was rebuilt and various upkeep jobs were completed. Tonight, we're tucked into a Daytona Beach marina while 30 - 45 knot winds and driving rains make life under a sail out of the question. Ann Drury and Denny Lautner are a day ahead of us, experiencing even more severe weather. Laurie and Paul Welser (both couples are Traverse City friends and cruisers) are in South Carolina, enjoying chilly but calm weather. We hope to catch up with everyone in the next few weeks, as this trek north picks up speed.