Bahamas cruise in monochrome…

god rays

The last weeks cruising the Abacos, Bahamas, have felt much longer — they’ve stretched like elastic as our days have unfolded organically and naturally.

We have molded our course to the wind and the weather and are now waiting for a good window to cross back to Florida on Windsong II.

Here are some images that stick with me — and just seem to  call out for monochrome treatment.

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Piggyville…

Many have heard of the swimming pigs of Staniel Cay in the Exumas, but not so many know about Piggyville on No Name Cay in the Abacos.

The last two times we were in the area, we didn’t have time to visit, so this time with a very fluid schedule we made the time. And Beatrice from our buddy boat was full of delight to finally see the wild pigs of the Abacos!

There were lots of children having fun feeding the pigs, which is encouraged, and we couldn’t help think of the grandkids in the North and how much they would enjoy this too.

sign

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Back on the boat, Part II…

So, what is it like to live on a sailboat on a mooring ball in a Florida anchorage while waiting for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas?

When I’m too old to do this, I’ll be able to look back on my photos and be reminded of what daily life was like. I will remember these days fondly..

Cooking and eating

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Getting things ready on the boat

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Some projects that have been installed:

  • new bimini that Bob sewed up at home
  • motor lift crane for the outboard
  • a new VHF radio with GPS, AIS and DHC, interfaced to chart plotter and new mike at helm
  • two new cockpit tables Bob made at home
  • new AM/FM stereo radio at nav station
Hanging out with friends

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Enjoying the environment

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Back on the boat, Part I…

in the cabin

The propeller that you see on the cabin wall to the upper right is not only an item of decor and conversation, it is our actual back up propeller.

For the last few years, we’ve lived in our sailboat in the winter and spring, starting out in Florida and cruising through the Abacos in the Bahamas. Well, we’re now back on the boat…in our “happy place”…

It’s compact living to be sure, but we love the simple lifestyle and freedom. You can see more pictures of Windsong II, our sailboat, here. It’s a Hunter 356, which is just short of 36 feet long.

As Bob has put it: “Windsong II is so much more than our winter home. She connects us to mother nature. With her we can see, hear and feel the wind, the waves, the tide changing, and wonder at the number of stars so bright from our bed at night.We watch the sunrise and the sunset from her cockpit. On her you can feel very small and full of awe. The wind can move her along so quietly — you can tell she loves it when the engine stops and the sails are full.  She takes care of us in bad weather. She is our mother ship — she allows us to swim in the clearest water, explore and photograph remote beaches, shorelines and settlements in her tender. She is just big enough we can have friends visit to share these experiences with us — what could be better than that? And those are just a few of the reasons we love her…”

Scene from Charles’ last trip to the Bahamas.

The last few years we’ve stayed in marinas as we cruised with one or two salty dogs, our Westies, Angus and Charles — and being on the dock made it much easier to get them off and on the boat many times a day — but sadly, it’s just Bob and me now.  So we have the option of anchoring out or taking mooring balls, which require dinghying to shore.

Right now we are in southeast Florida in a mooring field. We’ve stayed here before and really enjoyed it. It draws a community of friendly cruisers from all over the United States and Canada, even other countries. As part of the modest fee, you have access to showers, tuck shop, lending library, lounge, laundry facilities, wifi, bikes to rent, a shuttle bus and special events. There are also lots of great restaurants in walking distance. And shopping if you have the need.

Leaving the mooring field behind as we dinghy to shore — this particular day it was early morning.

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On board, we have a 70 gallon fresh water tank, which we use for washing dishes and such, and to fill it we need to haul 5 gallon jugs to the boat. Once you’ve hauled a few of these heavy suckers, you find ways to minimize your water use! Last year we installed a solar panel, so this year we have been relying almost 100% on solar for our electricity — fridge, freezer, LED lights, computers etc. On rainy days, we run our diesel generator briefly to provide power. Many other cruisers have wind generators too, but we haven’t gone there at this point. All in all, we have a much lighter ecological footprint than we do on land.

Scenes from the Sunset Bay mooring field…

It’s called Sunset Bay for a reason. One shore faces east and the other west, so we are treated to beautiful sunrises and sunsets almost every day. I don’t have to go far…just a few steps with my camera and there it is. I never tire of this beauty.

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Stay tuned for Part II…

 

 

Above board…

boats black and white

The expression “above board,” meaning honest, originated in the days when pirates would hide most of their crew below decks in order to lure some unsuspecting victim. Those who did the reverse, by displaying all their crew openly on deck, were obviously honest.

Back home, with projects…

Now that I’ve settled back into the swing of things in my Canadian home, I’ve been compiling a long list of photographic projects I would love to accomplish before we go away again. (What would I do without lists?) This includes making prints, making books, and making a video from my Bahamas images, as well as reorganizing my portfolio and streamlining my blog. I also have ideas for several series I would like to start shooting and have identified some new techniques I would like to learn. I’ve noticed that I’ve been moving more toward 500 px and away from Flickr lately, although I still pop in at Flickr intermittently. I’ve found that  500 px has so much more functionality for me, especially since it acts as the back end of my portfolio. It is so easy and pleasant to use, plus I enjoy the quality of the photography there. This week I uploaded a few images from my winter sailing experience to 500 px and have been surprised and gratified by the positive feedback. I encourage you to have a look at 500 px if you’re seeking an easy way to set up a portfolio or you would like to sell or license your work. And if you’re already a member of 500 px, let me know and I’d be pleased to follow your work. Enjoy your weekend, everybody!

Tranquility…

Sea of Abaco

The Sea of Abaco in a tranquil moment, as seen from our sailboat Windsong II.

 

Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life. Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it.

Khaled Hosseini