Bahamas winter 2005/06       Home

Updated to end of cruise in March 06. 

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Helen and Neil spent a month in late 2004 working on Milvina in Port Canaveral, then had a nice easy sail down to Miami, inside the Gulf Stream. 

We left Miami on 15th December with a great forecast, but the weather turned lousy with 30-35 knot winds from the SE, and the usual steep Gulf Stream seas.   After 24 hours close hauled the weather returned to tourist brochure quality, and stayed OK till Christmas.  Thereafter it was poor for the Bahamas, but of course never cold.

Derek and Michael flew into Nassau, and we sailed to the Exuma islands South East of Nassau. We had various friends on board for up to two weeks each after Christmas, as you can see in photos below.

In Nassau, we anchor between the main island of New Providence, and Paradise Island, the high-end tourist centre, which is less than half a mile offshore.  The huge and spectacular Atlantis hotel is there, with a suite in the bridge you can see in the pink building, costing $25,000/night.

Nassau harbour is so clean that it is a pleasure to swim there.  This shot shows Derek taking his midday dip, and our new wind generator on the radar arch.

We spend a couple of days while awaiting Michael at Rose Island, quite close to Nassau.  It is a complete contrast to the intensive tourist development in Nassau itself.

There is a "summer cottage" on this small island to the North of Rose Island, but many of small ones are completely uninhabited.

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 Local boats still use sail to get around to some extent.

In the out-islands it is more common, but this guy is right in Nassau harbour, passing our anchored boat.

Getting back on board after a trip ashore can be a short, quiet, dry dinghy ride, or it may not be.

Watson and Wiz Leslie joined us for a couple of weeks, and sailed from Nassau to Georgetown and back, with various stops en route.

In Nassau, the Junkanoo parade takes place immediately after Christmas.  A dozen or so teams of 50 or more for each neighborhood around Nassau compete.

 The costumes are quite amazing.  Almost all are on a single person, but a few are man-pushed floats.


In Staniel Cay, we (Neil, Derek and Michael) entered a cruising boat race, coming in 6th.  This shot is over our stern, part way through the race.

Although there were five boats ahead of us, there were several more behind.  It was just a fun race, and all skippers who started got a bottle of rum and a load of Bahamian home baking.

We had a local crewmember who knew the area, but had never sailed on a boat larger than a dinghy.  He had fun and made our race more enjoyable

 The picture on our home page was taken during the same race, by Andy White

Michael took this shot of Allan's Cay anchorage from the masthead.  Apart from being a beautiful anchorage, the presence of the unique iguanas on the beaches adds to the attraction.

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We did not tell Alex or Heidi Poirier about the iguanas until we were ashore.  At first they were somewhat scared of them, but soon got used to the idea.
There is a small herd of wild pigs on Big Major's Island.  they are quite aggressive in meeting dinghies going ashore, looking for food.  Derek was bitten by one, but not seriously.  We later heard that one visitor had lost his thumb to a pig.

Michael was more cautious, and fed the pigs from a container.

When Andre and Heather Poirier visited us with Heidi and Alex, we went ashore on Highbourne Cay.  The local map on the 4 km long island shows a bus stop, but when we reached it, we decided that we did not want to wait as long as the guy before us had, so walked back to the beach where we had left our dinghy.
This anchorage at Big Major's Island is typical of many in the Bahamas.  It is well sheltered from the prevailing Easterly winds, but we left as soon as the wind swung to the West. 

The cave where the underwater scenes of the James Bond movie, Thunderball, was shot is around the corner.  It is a fascinating dive, and has lots of fish too, since it is a protected area.  Unfortunately, our underwater camera let us down  when we were there.

We have opened a new office for N. McCubbin Consultants in Georgetown.  We are working in it here.

Internet access is faster than at home, and the working environment is very friendly, with lots of engineers, and other professionals hanging around the office and the nearby bars if help is required.

Great Exuma Island has its own Fire Department, seen here in the fire Hall, beside our office.

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We anchored for a day or so in Hopetown, in the Abacos.

There is a well known lighthouse there, with a great view, and WiFi Internet access.  In this shot I am talking with a friend in Sweden, on Skype.

We found that many villages, including Hopetown and Man 'o War Cay,  that had been quiet spots when we sailed there in the 1970s, with locals living mostly off fishing, boatbuilding etc, are now almost 100% tourist trade.


This shot was taken by a Welshman on a boat we were passing, on a very light-wind day.

He was flying the Welsh dragon, so we had to put up the Lion Rampant.

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We spent a while in Little Harbour, in the Abacos.  A sculptor, Randolph Johnson, settled there in the 1960's, and his family still operate a bronze foundry.

The photo shows Helen in the mouth of the cave that the Johnston family lived in when they first came to Little harbour, then uninhabited.

Georgetown is a huge natural harbour, and although the town is very small, it has become a a major gathering spot for sailors in the winter.  We visited a couple of times for a few days, but some stay for months.  We are somewhere on the far left in the photo below.  there were over 400 boats at anchor.  In the 1970's there were about 20 when we visited.

At the end of March 06, Helen and Neil sailed back to Cape Canaveral, and left Milvina on shore for the summer.