Since our arrival in Beaufort, we’ve made pretty good time towards our destination in the Chesapeake. Thanks to Jordan joining us for the long passage north (and to Lindy, India, and Theo, for letting him join), we didn’t arrive completely sleep-deprived and were able to get back underway after just a couple of nights.
More motor sailing and then just plain motoring as the wind dropped to near zero. More flat surface seas on long-period ocean swells. A very hot day, but we were back in the Gulf Stream, and getting a nice northward push from the current. Meals continue to be terrific: good coffee that Jordan brought for breakfast, a ploughman’s lunch, curried lentils for dinner, the last of Elsa’s chocolate cake for dessert.
Well, that was civilized…
Just after lunch, noticing a glassy patch on the water and a slight rise in the sea temperature, Jordan let out some more fishing line and — fish on! —promptly caught a medium-sized mahimahi. He was able to land it and immediately filleted it on the transom.
As former British colonists, Bahamians drive on the left side of the road. Most of the cars here come over from the US though, which results in the somewhat unnerving situation of driving on the left side of the road from a steering wheel also on the left side. I began noticing that there were lots of Japanese domestic model (JDM) cars with right-hand drive, including some (kawaii) kei cars. Dennis King, from whom we rented a car on Cat Island (a right-hand drive JDM Honda Accord) told us that there were websites (e.g., BeForward, SBT, Trust), from which you could order used Japanese cars and, thanks to the magic of containerized shipping, receive them in the Bahamas just 45 days later. I like thinking of these cars and trucks, which began their lives on the hectic streets of Tokyo, or in the cold northern reaches of Hokkaido, getting to live out their dotage on the balmy, traffic-free, sandy roads of the Bahamas.
Elbow Reef Lighthouse at dusk.
While waiting for a laundry dryer cycle to finish earlier this week, I decided to head up to the Elbow Reef Lighthouse, just across the harbor from Hope Town. Early in the history of the Abacos, the local population had supplemented their livelihoods by salvaging ships that wrecked on the Atlantic side of Elbow Cay, often the first landfall after a transatlantic crossing. There are even allegations that ships were lured onto the reefs with false lights by “wreckers” in order to increase their salvage yields. To help reduce the number of wrecks, the British Imperial Lighthouse Service began building lighthouses throughout the Bahamas and, after repeated construction delays due to vandalism by locals interested in continuing their “wrecking” salvage, the Elbow Reef lighthouse was completed in 1864. It is now the last hand-cranked, kerosene-powered lighthouse in the world.
The view from the top of the 120-foot tower is…not bad.