Sunday, September 29, 2013

Boat Sale - Therapy

Last weekend, I closed on the sale of my boat, a sad, but good, but  stressful time.   She is really a great little boat, comfortable, solid and great sailing.  I had her up for sale for about 4 months.  Many people came to look and everyone said she was beautiful.  Problem was, the buyer had to have a cash reserve set aside to buy her.  The boat was old enough that she couldn't be financed.

The man who finally bought her was a pleasure to work with, the communication was great and I know he will take care of her as she should be cared for.   When he first came to see the boat, we spent about an hour talking about the boat, cruising and sailing - and then went on to talk about other things for almost another hour.

On closing day, we did the survey, sea trial, and haul to check the bottom of the boat.   The buyer was on board, the surveyor, my friend and I.  It was a beautiful Florida day, bright blue skies, hot sun and no wind.  OK, we knew there was not going to be any sailing up to the boatyard.  We motored while the surveyor continued to poke around the boat, checking everything.  We got to the haulout and watched as the workers put the boat in the sling and raised her from the water.  The surveyor spent about a half hour checking the boat bottom and then she was put back in the water to finish the trip back to our marina, raising the sails to check them on the way. 

Back at the dock, we tied her up again, got the shore power all hooked up again as the surveyor continued to check things.  In all, the survey and haul took about 4 hours.  It was hot in the marina and we were all ready for a good rain shower.  It was another hour before we finished the exchange, signed papers and then located a notary to sign the documentation over. 

I am so glad that the buyer was someone I felt comfortable handing over possession of the boat I'd put so much hard work into.  I could tell he would be someone who took care of his things.

Betty Karl

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Exumas, Bahamas

The Bahamas are great.  The Exuma island chain in the Bahamas is amazing.  On the west side of this chain of islands is shallow water, varying shades of pale blue.   On the east side of the islands is more varying shades of blue, but mostly darker, deeper.  It's all very clear water.

Some of these islands are inhabited, nothing more than large rocks.  We had the opportunity to anchor for a couple weeks in an area known as Ship's Channel, just north of Allen's Cay where everyone anchors to see the iguanas.  To get into this little skinny channel between a couple islands, we had to go single file and anchor in a row.  There were 3 or 4 boats in our group at that time.

We were there in the winter and we kept getting cold fronts with lots of wind, so we stayed there since it was nicely protected.  The guys went out fishing every day and we always had fresh fish.  The local fishermen had a building on the top of a hill that they let us use for cookouts.   The fishermen would come in a couple days a week with a load of conch and they would string them together and put them in shallow water to keep them alive until they went to Nassau with them.  Since they were tied together, there was no way for them to coordinate an escape.  The island people sometimes have the simplest fix for problems.

When we left there, we visited the Exuma Cay Land and Sea Park, a preserve full of those friendly little birds that fly right into your boat looking for sugar.  Bananaquits are so friendly, they'll sit right on your hand while they eat. 

The anchorage has the beautiful Bahamian water, multiple shades of blue, and so clear.  We hiked up to a hill where other cruisers and visitors had left signs of their boat name or their names and what year they were there.  The pile of driftwood signs was high, but only the latest ones, the ones on top, were still colorful.  Sunlight had faded the ones underneath.

We anchored overnight at Little Farmer's Cay, a sparsely populated island where the locals use the VHF radio, familiar to all boaters, as their phones.  We walked around the little settlement and went into their grocery store.  They obviously did not have much tourist trade - they had boxes of Corn Flakes that were faded from the sun coming in the windows.  Guess the locals don't eat Corn Flakes.  As in most of the Bahamas, the islands that don't see much tourist trade are very friendly.  It's not every day someone comes into their harbor to visit. 

We bypassed a few of the islands and ended up in Georgetown on Great Exuma, the largest island in the chain.  Cruising sailboats (and a few power boats) gather here for the winter months, most of them returning home to the states or Canada for the summer.  There were 500 boats anchored in the various anchorages in the area.  Cruising sailors are very social and there were volleyball games, pot lucks, fishing expeditions, hikes and other activities going on all the time. 

We stayed there a few weeks and then went on to other islands, going east and south as we hopped from one little island to the next.  These are the out islands, and very few people visit them and some are uninhabited.  We enjoyed them all and marveled at the different shades of blue that the waters produced, all depending on depth.  We went on down to the Caribbean islands and cruised there for years.  We found only one place that was a little similar to the Bahamian waters -  the Tobago Cays.  That was one of my favorite places in the Caribbean.  Not much can top the beauty of the Bahamian waters.

Betty Karl