This was an email I have just found from back then.
Back in civilization again, almost we are about 60nm north of Cartegena and cruising at 6+kns. We have had the joy sail down from when we got out from behind Hispaniola it has been 15 to 25 knots all day and night for over 50hours. Not much to do but drink beer and eat. We have seen and been to some really good places and some rundown joints as well but in the Bahamas if you get on with them you are protected property and no one will try to rip you off. You can leave stuff on deck, boat unlocked whatever but if you asked if it was safe to leave the boat or your dinghy here or there and they say yes then no one will touch it. It’ll cost you a tip, 10usd, but if you are like me and leave shit everywhere it is a bargain. We sailed from Eleuthera Island past Cat Island with pretty heavy seas and heaps of wind and finally made it to the south tip at Hawknest cay. Horror little river, very tidal. All the other boats were facing upstream and tight on their lines so we dropped anchor but then we were pushed into a bank and then we were being dragged up into the creek over our anchor line then we ran aground, I pretty calmly, sort of, raised anchor and got the —- out of there. Never to return. We ended anchoring out the front which was fine although the others reckoned it was a bit rocky, not enough beers, I slept like a log. We were out of there at 0700 and heading for Rum cay but about 15nm into it, it was getting up to 30kns and 3 or 4 metre waves and I didn’t feel right so we headed west a bit and got to Long Island and beautiful calm water with 25kns blowing across it. We hit 9.4 kns with main fully reefed came in close to check out the surf and rode a couple past the big flash resort. Looked good with yachts parked up everywhere. We checked the guides we had and decided to head for a little marina at Stella Maris and rang her up on the radio, still pretty crap at the radio thing, we were greeted with excellent news that the channel can accommodate 7 ft draft so we headed in. This channel is about 3nm long and you can only just tell it is a channel by the slight difference in colour, there is a hint of difference. About a mile in you come across 5 pieces of conduit with floats on them as a guide then they disappear and then it got shallow, you still can’t really see where you are headed but you keep going, our depth got to 6inches then stayed the same, locked up, and we came across the next 6 sticks so followed them till the end and within sight of the enterance we run aground. Got off alright but nowhere really to go so we tried every direction possible and finally got through. We pulled in and the marina was full so we parked right in front of the fuel loading area. Smelt like diesel but stuck the AC on and couldn’t smell a thing. We were greeted by the dockmaster, Chivago, We called him Doc, he was used to it but had never seen the movie. 1usd a foot and free water but you had to pay for power, a bargain, the crew were looking better by the minute and the little marina was a bit like where Gilligan’s Island first started, saw that in Fort Lauderdale, with all the palm trees and boats of all different sizes and types. In its day this was the best marina around although getting in and out would always be a worry. Doc took us up to the resort for a look and to hire a car which actually came with all working parts but was it thirsty. WE checked the Atlantic side of Long Island and were very happy to be standing on solid ground as it looked horrible, 3 metre waves and howling 30 knot wind, where’s the bar. Doc left us to catch up later and we took off in the Mitsibishi tooting at everyone and anyone with the gayest horn you have ever heard, boyng is close.
Had all the kids cracking up, Moe was a bit embarrassed but Murray and I were cool. We were looking for food and went to 3 or 4 restaurants but they were not open, 1600hrs, so we eventually found the resort at the top of the island and some awesome cocktails. Don’t order nachos unless there are 3 of you and you are starving, coconut shrimp was ok but the chicken had veins in it, hid it under the napkins. Helped Murray with the Nachos but no chance of finishing it. Had a few beers and got out of there before the happy hour started. Checked out the Columbus memorial up on the cliffs, unreal views and limestone like our coast at home but not a single surf spot, unbelievable. We had to go back to the ritzy resort as Murray left his hat behind, reckons the guy met him at the door, was not that keen on us at his happy hour, Our tip probably was a bit light on but so was the time taken to cook the vieny chicken wings. We found a bottle shop, Hugh’s, and stocked up on rum, grenadine, girly drinks and some roadys, and a filthy Cuban. Got back to the boat tooting all the way and we all had showers, very quick as the see noseeums, mossies and sandflies were thick. No need for deodorant here just use high strength OFF. Got a smell like orange tic tacs taste, if that makes sense, does to me. We went looking for boat parts when we got up and soon found out that we were heading up south and on the way home it was down north. We met heaps of people who just stared but give them a the standard tip, always listen to your mother and tell them we are from Australia, then they will smile and say Crocodile Dundee. It’s good to be an Australian.
We had breakfast lunch at the Long Island Breeze Resort where we met Mike who owns the show, well set up with bars and restaurant on the water’s edge with a pool and bandstand. Very flash. He sails and he told us about the racing for the next day, Bahamian sloops, so we had lunch, a philly steak without the cheese and it was fine. Moe went the standard, chicken, Murray had the philly with cheese and a few Kalik, the local beer, its good and it’s stronger than normal. We run into a bloke by the name of Michael and I got yacking and he also told me about the sailing. He said to look him up. So by the time we got back to the boat we were a bit worn out, quite merry and I had told the woman at the resort, Karen, that we would come to the rum punch night which was followed by all the conch and steak you can eat.
I used their internet up at the resort to watch dockers. Lost spewing . So off we went to a rum punch party with the old buggers, got pissed with Murray and a nice couple and we were the last to leave. Big night. Woke up got the boat jobs done when Canadian couple rolled up and wanted a lift to the sailing. Moe in the back and off we went with our new cd, Bahamian Hits and it is a beaut. Got one song called, Do right in, goes a bit like, I can’t go home cos I’m do right in, me head is spinning cos I’m do right in, oohhho I get do right in. Top of the charts for me. We are getting the verses down pat and the locals love it when you sing a verse, Murray’s is, Bartender bartender give me another shot cos the more I’m drinking these girls are looking hot, oooho I get do right in. Mine is about a doctor with a glove by then he is do right in.
Can’t believe it we just past a ship, starting to think we were on our own. About 46 nm’s to Cartegena 0600 Sunday.
We got to the Long Island Yacht Club at Salt Pond early and made our way down to where there was 3 sloops getting set up. First person I saw was me mate Michael and introduced him to everyone then we met the locals. Boat 05 won the Bahama Sloop Championship last year and are pretty cocky and with the wind a bit strong more crew are needed so Murray and I got a berth he on Beerly Legal and me with Michael on Surprise. We had to wait for our skipper, at a funeral, and Murray’s mob set off at a blistering pace. For such a heavy boat they really get rocking. They have a huge sail area, although the sumo crewmember, Shawn, called him Shawn the horn he liked that, reckoned it was a napkin compared to the big one. Jules finally arrived and in his jeans jumped on and ordered everyone around, winged a bit and off we went. I felt like I shouldn’t be there at first. When you are on the wind you drag these 2 planks of wood over and shove them under the leeward side gunnel and then you slide out to the end and then Michael slides out with you. Big Shawn didn’t need anyone with him so he just ordered the young fellow around. Poor kid was copping it from Jules and Shawn and he only came out because we needed him. Well first race we got a crap start. You anchor up at the line with your sail down and when the starter drops his hat you have to pull your anchor in and just as you see the anchor coming you pull up the sails, slide out the pry and get out on the end as quick as you can. It’s a hoot, but we blew the first start and were behind for the whole race until we had a chance of pipping Murray’s mob right at the end, but I slipped on the plank and slowed us down. Geez did I cop it. Next race we got a cracker start and were neck for neck with Murrays mob all the race and we just won. ALL happy on our boat, high fives all round. I taught our guys to say Wanker every time Murray’s mob came near us. By the end they were getting pretty good at it. They couldn’t quite get poofter but nor can the yanks. You have a break in the middle get a few drinks in you and back out for the decider. As we left the band cranked out “Do right in”, so cracked the crew up by singing the bits I knew. Got the best start we had all day and well in front of Murray’s mob when they tacked and we run aground. Oooho we do right in, So I just jumped over and started pushing much to everyone’s surprise then in come the Horn and we were off again, no chance of catching them and the crew are silent, Jules was even wordless and in the end I couldn’t take it any longer and said to Jules that’s a carton where I come from. Running aground is the worst. The crew cracked up, so did Jules and then he said he couldn’t believe someone would jump of a boat to push it and that got the crew happy as too. We sailed back to the finish, I got to stand up on the end of the pry, that spun em, and just chucked the anchor in and left the boats out there. Moe had been on rescue boat, heaps of photos. The band was in full swing, drinks going down a treat, bludged a few ciggys until Moe caught me even got introduced to Shawn’s missus, she liked that, and Jules’s family. Murray had exactly the same, it was superb. Had to leave as I had started to shiver and there was talk of hitting the Karaoke later, I still had bad memories from the last one in Bimini, stuff that.
Got back to boat and we had to go to Doc’s for tea, ate and run to bed. Poor old Doc, Curried chicken, bloody beautiful, we didn’t get to appreciate it as we were so rooted from a big day.
Got up a bit late the next day, had brekkie up at the resort, absolutely pigged out the whole hog, good value for us I don’t know about the resort. We went back filled all the water dropped off the car and said our fairwells to everyone, Doc made me the most amazing cheese cake with cherries on top for my birthday, cheers mate, it looked filthy. We motored out of the marina and into the channel and hit bottom 2 or 3 times. Made it though and then checked where we were heading and as we were so late 1500 I thought we should go out to sea and around the banks, I once again found a short cut but then Murray pointed out that we would now have to go around the Exumas, extra 90nm, so we turned around and headed for Saltpond to spend the night on anchor. Great little sail 9knots all the way and anchored up in 1 foot of water, it was low tide so all good. The crew went ashore, I checked the anchor and had a few beers, bit scared of what could happen if we run into the sailing mob again though. BBQ and bed. We got going real early, 0700, and headed for Commer Channel and got through easily as we had an incoming tide. As we cleared the channel, 2 yachts passed us on their way in, the last yachts we saw for ages. I will keep you posted. Alls good.