Pigs, rooster, ray fish, dolphins, mosquitos…
Prison in paradise, serious decisions…
Beauty and peril of sailing…
New year greets us with weaker wind, big but acceptable waves and problems with motor. First four days we go just with motor, we pass Nassau, anchor in different bays (in one are big wild pigs and a rooster and ray fish right next to the beach), we see double rainbow, have an arguement with captain because he doesn’t want to stop in national park but mainly we keep moving towards our destination.
On the fifth day the waves become bigger, wind stronger and we anchor on early afternoon next to Stocking island under the monument. This island is located right oposite of Georgetown which is the biggest town in the area and a known location of the “winter sea birds” (people who don’t like cold weather and move during witner to warmer countries).
We pack our backpack for the tour to the highest peak here to see the monument on the top. There are many mosquitos in the bush therefore we run some parts. In one steep part there are even supporting ropes at the trail. We are on the top! Beautiful view around, the jungle of bush under us, turquoise water and beaches with white sand, lots of boats (cca 130) and the concrete monument of odd shape without any description. We managed to get the altitude of 100feet without difficulties even after 3 months of sitting on our asses… we are in a good shape 🙂
We get to the boat with at least 20 mosquito bites and we spend the evening solving logical tasks. One example (I solved it:) :
There are 12 golf balls – one of them with different weight. You can use a simple scale with which you can just compare 2 sides. You can use maximum of 3 weightings to identify the different ball and find out if it is heavier or lighter.
There is a small bar at the beach with bonfire and we socialise a little. We get to know the other people and find out about the activities here around. The weather forecast next days tells strong wind for next 10 days which will not allow us to move from here further. We are sad with Jan – what should we do so long in this paradise ??? Just lay on the beach, enjoy the sea, get sun tan, play volleyball, walk the trails on the island, attend parties and dring daiguiri?
For relax we go to walk in the jungle, where we sometimes lost a trail, see big termite houses, interesting trees and plants and a nice bench at above the cliff. There we think about this our misfortune and after a while we laugh – if all our bad days in the future will look like this, there is nothing to be afraid of 🙂 In the evening we dance together at the bow to the sound of bagpipes (next to us is anchored a boat with some Scottish guys who play every evening after sunset)
We get up to another sunny day, wear bathing suit, get all the water bottles, garbage bags and computer and go to the town on our small dinghy. We get a lot of splash from the waves and hope that our waterproof bag is really waterproof. We fill the water (everybody else have big water tank, we have 30 different small bottles). There comes a heavy 10-minute rain and I finally rinse my hair from salt after 2 weeks (under a gutter at the police station:) )
We find the cybercafe and the rest of the day we upload pictures and articles. Joe got a mail that we shouldn’t go to Haiti (from a guy we met during the sailing – only one nicely surprised that we go to Haiti, who goes there also and knows all the procedures how to enter the country). We don’t know what is happening. There are the usual news about how it is not advised and dangerous to go to Haiti but also that there are some political protests and riots next to Port-au-prince (we should fly from there to Cuba). It’s interesting that when we get the feeling that everything is going allright, something gets wrong again.
On the way back is the dinghy almost under water because our total weight with the water is like 200 pounds more than the maximum. The waves get above the sides inside. I try to keep the water out with my skirt, Jan pours the water out in the back. The gas tank is floating around our feet. After 20minutes we arrive to our boat happy from this adrenaline experience (at least we two).
In the evening we make drinks and seriously discuss with Joe if we should continue to Haiti. Neither he knows for sure. He cannot go without crew, but he is also not sure if it is a good idea to continue even with us.
The next days go slow…
– with question what next, trying to get the information what is the situation on Haiti (thank you Lucc and Lukas), we write a long list of pros and cons and decide… we’ll continue!
– playing volleyball – on the first day I hurt my thumb, but after couple days we remember how to play it and even jump for the ball to the sand
– learning spanish – everyday we study and finally get the feeling we are able to say something
– sunbathing – our eyes and teeth are brihter and brighter on the photos
– swimming – first long swimming was because we didn’t know how far is the volleyball beach. After one hour of fighting the waves and water splashes in the face from the opposite wind we need long time to calm down again
– another great experience was with dolphins which swam right under and next to me (I’m still waiting for a dolphin kiss)
– making way through jungle bush – next try to get to the volleyball was by land. One hour of walking – half of that crawling in the bush without trails.
– drinking Daiquiri – the cheapest drink: 1l of rum – $7, 2lb of brown sugar – $2, lime juice – $3 and a big glass of mixed drink around 50cents. Just for comparison – one can of beer costs $3.
– meeting a gret finnish couple – Arto and Mimosa are from Helsinki and now have 3 months for travelling. They bought a cheap flight to New York and then Nassau. There they hich-hiked a boat and then another one and here they are waiting for somebody who will give them a ride to Cuba. There they will hich-hike and afterwards go to Mexico. You can see why we get along so well with each other. One evening we borrow their hammacks to try to sleep in them on the beach. At the beginning I fall down and then I am afraid to turn around. But it is a good way of sleeping / you dont need a flat surface like with a tent. BTW: one night we also tried our tent – next to the lake under the monument – on rocks covered with 1inch of sand (you can imagine how comfotable it was)
During the days of waiting for a better wind we attend more bonfires, potluck (everybody cookes something and than you can eat everything), we borrow a kayak, socialise with other sailors and find out about their interesting plans and stories. We go to Georgetown again, extend our visa in Bahamas, skype home, buy more food and rum, get water and gas.
On the 12th day in the morning we say goodbye to the other boats in radio and finally move further. We cross the tropic of cancer and with weak wind and the noise of the motor we go south. Next day the wind is forecasted between “almost no wind” to “strong wind” so it takes a while till Joe decides to go that day. The wind is strong. The sails are up, the motor is also running to make the steering easier and we beat waves comming from left ahead the whole day. We almost lost the shower bag and dinghy from board. The right hull leaks somewhere and we starve the whole day, because longer time spend in the galley can empty our stomachs even more. We anchor late in the night (the last island before Haiti – Great Inagua), waves still banging the boat… we really want a calm water or to stand on a land.
We are sent to a mission to get gas and cigarettes. It is Sunday and all gas stations are closed but the locals help us to find what we need. One bahamian musicians takes us to a water station and there in the garage he fills our gas tanks with a hose directly from a barrel. It is more expensive, but still better than nothing. As a bonus we get colorful hats from yesterdays carneval. Cigarettes are not available because they need to unload them from the mailboat first. Everybody was really nice to us and we felt secure in this little dirty town.
We are leaving Bahamas – last long run and in the evening a land for which we’ve been looking forward last 3 months! Sun is shining, the wind is great, sea is relatively calm – this is our nicest sailing. Joe lets us steer the boat most of the day. In the evening the wind gets stronger and waves bigger and go from our side (nature reminds us its strength). The steering is difficult so we turn on the motor and go freaking fast and after 15minutes Joe breaks the tiller (fortunately we have two of them). It is almost impossible to steer so Jan goes to put the sails down. The waves splash above the bow and Jan sitting there on the trampoline. After a while he managed to get the jib down. Main sail gets stuck also and he almost falls down from the roof … but in the last second grabs the mast and gets safely down. We are one hour from the shore and the waves are big and sometimes we get a big splash. Till the lighthouse is Jan steering and then the sea gets finally calm again and Joe continues with the tiller fastened with tape.
There are 4 more lights visible on the coast (this is a big difference compared with Bahamas or US), we hear the barking of dogs, donkeys and smell a fire. We anchor at the beach and in front of us is a contour of a mountain – first real hill visible from the boat. After some time we get a Haitians visitors who want to sell us fish…
We are here! Joe is totally melted, talks how beautiful it is here (even if everything is dark and we cannot really see anything) and that he almost forgot how much he likes it here. We cheers with Haitian rum and enjoy the feeling being finally here. How will be the morning? We don’t know but we are looking forward to that…