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April 23, 2003
First Impressions of the Bahamas

The sail from the Dominican Republic to the Bahamas was quite different then most overnight sailing we'd done. This time, we happened to be leaving on a weather window along with seven other boats. Some were bound for the Turks and Caicos, and some to Mayaquana as we were. In the pack were our new friends Don and Liz on Enterprise, Mike and Suzanne on Escapade, as well as Paradigm Shift, Honey, Friend Ship, Q2, and Evergreen. It made the trip more of an outing as the VHF was busy with people checking in with one another along the way. We were able to share information about weather ahead for boats that were behind us, and to warn one another of freighter traffic, etc. It was good fun with a warm sense of camaraderie. Sitting alone in the cockpit at 3am didn't seem so lonely when we could see a friend's mast lights ahead.

We left Luperon before the sun had risen. We slowly picked our way through the harbor and out into open sea. The day brought fair winds and we made good time at 7 knots most of the way. Still however, we didn't arrive at Mayaguana until 4:00pm the next afternoon. But what a beautiful sight it was to see. The clearest water yet, and pure white sand beach off our bow. We'd almost forgotten it was Easter Sunday, but I found enough energy to clean some conch Curt had found to put together something at least a little special. I'm not sure it was worth the trouble however, since Curt had fallen asleep in the cockpit as soon as he relinquished the meat he'd pulled from the shell for me to take over and prepare a meal.

His eyes would barely stay open as I served up the final product. I sighed to myself at another holiday's passing without any celebration. I watched Curt snoozing away and thought of all our friends in San Francisco. They were gathering at Nate and Sandy's house, probably about now. I felt terribly homesick and lonely as I looked over the deserted beach and miles and miles of water. We were as good as stranded on a desert island.

The next day the wind had died almost completely, but Curt and I joined Escapade en route to the Plana Cays where we'd get in with just enough time to drop the anchor before dark. The day after that, there was still no wind, and so we motored along some more to make it to Bird Rock on Crooked Island- just before dark. For the fourth day in a row, we upped anchor with the rising sun to motor all day long - to make Clarencetown, Long Island. But this time at least, we had enough time to go ashore and have a bite to eat with Escapade… but no rest for the wicked - up before the sun to try to make Conception Island before sunset as we moved even further north and west. To make it to the States by June, we had to cover as much water getting there as we had throughout the entire Caribbean over the past year.

I'm happy we're making our way north with good time, but it's such a tease to see such beautiful landscape only from the bow of our boat either with the last rays of sun in the evening as we set our hook, and the moments before it rises when we pull away from anchor. We're hoping to have a day off from our self-imposed race and enjoy the beautiful island of Conception tomorrow.

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