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Last update Febuary 03 2016
In the New Year JoHo is still anchored in front of the town
of New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay. After having champagne and lighting our
old emergency flares (as the only fireworks around) we went ashore. Upon arrival
on the land we find no one there, no fireworks, no nothing. Everyone appears
to be in church.
Around one o'clock at night, after church, everything comes alive. Bars with loud music, everyone wishing each other a happy new year. No matter whether you're local or not. Nice. Past three we went back to JoHo for a short remainder of the night.
By noon January 1st there's a coming and going of boats. Slowly the island is invaded by tourists (local and far-away ones) for Junkanoo. Junkanoo is held on New Year's day on Green Turtle Cay as the only Cay with such a festivity on this date and this tradition is dating from the 19th century. The former West African slaves celebrate their freedom and friendship. The parade consists of colorful costumed people dancing and making music. The music is rhythmic and comes from drums, conch shells, horns and whistles. The crowd is almost in trance, what a party! We meet lots of new and old friends and we enjoy ourselves hugely.
Early on January 2nd JoHo is finally sailing again. It is a quiet sunny day, a good day to get past Whale Cay. JoHo cannot take the inner route, because of our draft, therefore we have to go outside. This means only a short lap into the Atlantic Ocean, but from experience we can say that this is not always fun. The ocean swell is usually the cause of this. But today the weather and sea gods are with us. The tide is with us, there is almost no swell, we have a nice breeze, before we know it we are on the other side, at Great Guana Cay. In the distance we see a beautifull big ship with a helicopter and super slide. A jewel you usually only encounter in the Caribbean. Then in the distance we see Marsh Harbour and early afternoon we anchor again. We will stay here for a while, have some things that need to be done, including laundry and shopping.
The weather still is completely off, located in the Bahamas we find it is chilly. There is a lot of wind with rain, with luck you have a day in between with some sun. On these days I can do my laundry. The wassing on shore, the drying on board. Obviously an extreme El Nino is responsible for the abnormally wet and chilly weather. If the water temperature in the Pacific rises a certain amount above normal than we have an El Nino. This temperature increase causes abnormal weather patterns in the whole world. Some parts that are usually dry will have floods, other parts extreme droughts or severe storms. This year will be an extreme El Nino year, according to Noaa. One of the reasons that we postpone the crossing of the Atlantic with JoHo to Europe.
The first Monday of the new year we are invited, along with
George, Lillian and their dog Dolly, at Brian and Teresa's boat MV Intermission.
We are greeted enthousiastically by their dogs Martini and Meg.
It is a chilly evening and we are happy that we can go inside of the spacious motorboat. The six of us are chatting about everything, but the main topic tonight is Donald Trump. We all agree that 2016 will be an interesting year for America. In November they vote for a new president, but actually everyone agrees the real vote is which direction the US citizens want their country to move to, a more caring, social one or an even more greedy individualistic one. Ah well, we'll see. Can't do anything about it anyways, we can only watch the play. After dinner, many drinks are served, needless to say we had a great evening with a bunch of lovely people.
Thursday 7th january is the first day I can do my laundry. It is sunny and pleasantly warm for a change. So my laundry dries really fast. There's nothing like the smell of fresh laundry. Around noon we are surprised by Toni and Deb and their two dogs as they come to say goodbye. Our ways part here, we will stay in the Abacos, they go to embrace their new adventure, sailing towards the Caribbean along the path of thorns. We wish them luck. Later that day George and Lillian with dog Dotty come over to invite us for a potluck at their marina. Very nice, but what to make on such a short notice. Nasi, an Indonesia dish is the outcome. Around five we dinghy to the boat of George and Lillian, together we go to into the marina. We're there at the right time, but to our surprise, all the food is already gone and everyone busy playing bingo. Not really my game. I am pleased that we go and end up aboard the catamaran of friends, George II and his 91 year old mother. They like the nasi very much and after dinner George takes his guitar outside. So we make our own party again. Mother sings a nicev blues and finishes with 'Summertime' from Porky and Bess. Classic. Super. After this wonderfulmusical evening we thank our host and say goodbye to George and Lillian too. They leave tomorrow to go up north again.
The days that follow are covered with rain and lots of wind. These days are boat days, we stay aboard, do small jobs and watch movies. On the dry days we go by bike to explore the Marsh Harbour area. In one of the bike tours we are approached by a local. Justin is his name. He just wants to show us his woodwork. Proudly he comes out with a miniature wooden motor yacht. It's nicely done, he has spent many hours working on it. Unfortunately for him, we are no buyers, only admirers, so we thank him and move on. Every time we walk or bike the islands we're surprised how poor the general population lives over here. Houses with the windows boarded up, people living in it mind you. Cars that are left to rot in the garden. Nothing is kept. It's a big contrast to the resorts around the corner. And that being so close to the USA.
The following days there is a lot of rain and wind-again. Our
Dutch flag is badly bruised, so skillfully John makes our flag presentable again.
In the meantime the temerature goes down and even drops to 12 degrees Celsius.
Cold. And what do we do when it's so cold, right, we make red cabbage stew with
sausage. Just a little Dutch sentiment.
On January 13th, surprise, surprise, we see Sim and Rosie SY Wandering Star again. We saw them last in Port Washington, Long Island, NY. They invite us for a potluck coming Saterday in Mangoes Marina. We talk a little bit about the last months and agree we will see them after the next storm, Saturday that is. We are safe at anchor, they choose to stay in Mangoes Marina until after the storm.
So on Saterday we go over for a sundowner to Sim and Rosie's boat. Around six we go to the potluck area at Mangoes Marina. We meet a lot of new sailors there. One of them are Dorethy and Ducan SY Hunda, friends of Sim and Rosie. After some time and a lot of alcohol the men get a little silly. Sim and John think they can jump in a hamock together at the same time. Before they know it they end up with their feet in the air, wine spilled all over the place and they land on the ground with a smack. Mmmmm, I think it's time to go, too much fun can hurt, right.
it's the end of the month. January was wet and windy, but that didn't diminish
our fun. Hopefully we will get some better weather in february.
JoHo and it's crew will still be in the Abacos, Bahamas in February. After that we will probably sail slowly back to the USA. Everthing depending on the weather of course.
I finished a special photobook, about our travels 10
years JoHo's travel from 2001 to 2011.
Curious ? Then click the link.
And if you're interested in sailing the BAHAMAS, BERMUDA, MALDIVES, BONAIRE, SURINAME or ARUBA have a look at our books at SAILADVENTURES where the books are available online.
You can always mail us for more info on these cruising grounds or cruising in general, we'll gladly help you out.
John and Jolanda
at anchor at Elbow Cay, Bahamas at 26°30,3'
N - 76°59,0' W.
Our floating home and office is always ready for us to work for ourselves as writers and editors compiling cruising guides on our way.
Remember to live life to the max, it can be over before you know it. That's our motto.
John and Jolanda