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16 January 2008
Nassau Yacht Haven, Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas

I found a nasty tear at the top hank of my Yankee jib. It looks like the downhaul shackle was hung-up on something and I continued to raise the jib (probably with the winch) and just ripped the uppermost hank down about 10 inches, tearing the sail in the process.


The tear at the head of Galena's Yankee Jib.
I've moved the downhaul to the head grommet.

I'm not sure how I'm going to fix this or how I'll keep it from happening again. I've moved the downhaul shackle from the area above the top hank to the head grommet. Last time I put it there it continually jammed itself when I tried to pull down on it. So, like I said, we'll see.

For now I'll probably switch to the 130% Genny and worry about the Yankee jib later. That fits with my usual "I'll think about it tomorrow" attitude.

I met up with s/v Stella Polaris again. They came into the marina to clear customs and stayed an extra day. Tom helped me figure out a mounting solution for my solar panels: hose clamps and strap anchors. Quite ingenious, really. I bought the parts I'd need at the local chandlery and then accompanied Tom and Joyce to the grocery store. We stopped at the KFC and had lunch. Both Joyce and I were experiencing a rather severe case of 'land-sickness.' It's sort of the opposite of seasickness. When one gets off the boat after a few days aboard one feels quite unsteady for a few hours (or days). The first time I experienced this was immediately after my very first trip on Galena. We had just completed 5-days on the ocean and stepped off Galena onto the dock in Beaufort, NC. I almost fell over and Jane did a nice pirouette trying to steady herself.

The only problem with Nassau Yacht Haven (aside from the nasty currents running through the slips) is that they don't have a place to plug in near each slip. There are only four reasons for coming into a marina: 1) Water, 2) Electricity, 3)Laundry, and 4) Showers. Not having electrical hookups within reach of your shore power cable is a real letdown. But by laying the solar panels on deck (and readjusting them a few times during the day) I was able to keep up with my meager demands. The dock master said he'd loan me an extension cord. But he never came through with that. The boat in the adjacent slip had a power cord going to it and I hadn't seen anyone aboard for since I had arrived the previous day. So I just unplugged them and plugged their cord into mine. Just after I did that the owner showed up to get something out of a locker. I said, "The dock master said I could hook into your power line for the night." He bought it for just a moment and said, "No problem," and wandered off.

There's a cold front coming through and it's a strong one. Gale force winds expected on Saturday evening. I'll move out to an anchorage just west of the Paradise Island bridges tomorrow.

17-22 January 2008
Nassau, Bahamas
Anchored in the harbor (N25 04.731 W77 19.809)


To start with this is not that good an anchorage. There's some debris on the bottom, and the holding is only so-so. And when it's as crowded as it is right now, there's no room to swing. And there's certainly no room to increase your scope if you start to drag. And the reversing current and adverse wind turns this into a large bumper-boat arena.

I found what I thought was nice big space in the east end of the anchorage. Since this was Thursday and it was 1230hrs and I was anchored just outside of the Green Parrot Inn, I dinghied in for the weekly Cruiser's Lunch meeting. I spent $25 on a burger and two beers, which I thought was a lot, but I also met 15 other cruisers who were anchored in the harbor. They were all heading south toward George Town. Some were continuing south into the Caribbean. Historically only about 10% of the boats that make it to George Town, Exuma, continue south.

Later in the day the winds picked up from the NE and I found myself dragging. As usual when things like that happen it was at sundown, in the rain, in close proximity to other boats. I didn't want to try to up-anchor in those conditions. So I just motored forward and dropped my second bow anchor to windward and alongside the first.


I dragged at 'A' then moved to 'B' and held well.

Eventually one of them holds and I settle in for the rest of the night. But I'm up constantly checking Galena's position, worrying that she'll start to drag again. But with both bow anchors down, if she drags there's little I can do except try to hoist them and move. That would be very, very difficult in these conditions.

At about 0630 I'm awakened by a bump and a shout. I rush on deck to find a boat banging against Galena's starboard bow. This red boat had dragged down on me and the guy was trying to fend off and at the same time get his dinghy and it's painter untangled from my anchor rodes. I also tried to fend him off since his wind vane had already put a divot on Galena's hull. He didn't speak much english (he was French) but I convinced him to just hand me the dinghy painter and I'd get it back to him later. Finally he understood and did that. Meanwhile I was getting beaten about the head by his solar panels and trying to keep his hull away from Galena's hull. Finally he was able to motor away. I watched as he tried to anchor several times. Each time he would let out very little scope and the wind and current would quickly carry him away. Finally he got somewhat settled. I used my dinghy to tow his dinghy over to him. He was all apologetic. I tried to be gracious. But Galena now has yet another ding in her hull that wasn't my fault. Later that same boat dragged again and I saw him move over to where Stella Polaris was anchored. Finally he seemed to get it together.

I went to town with Tom and Joyce (Stella Polaris) and while she went to the straw market, Tom and I went to a little bar I know down the side street, just south of the market..


Me and Tom at a Nassau pub doing what do best


When Joyce tired of the market (which didn't take long) we all went over to Senior Frog's and mingled with the cruise boat crowd. Joyce had a good time and so did I. By the way, 'good time' is code for 'drank massive quantities of adult beverages.' Joyce also got a balloon-hat.


Tom and Joyce at Senior Frog's, Nassau, Bahamas

Then we took a bus back to the boats. We left a bit early because Tom was concerned about getting a bus ride back to the dinghies. I told him it would be a simple thing, even late in the evening. But, this being his first time in Nassau and him being a lot less adventurous than I, we left when it was still light out.

The next day the three of us dinghied over to the Atlantis Resort. We are anchored just outside of their marina.


View of the Atlantis Resort from the Nassau harbor anchorage.

I can't afford go take a slip in there. As of this date it something like $7/ft, 40-ft min. I just wandered around the main building. I looked at all the big yachts and then went inside to gaze at the aquarium for a bit. Tom and I had a drink in the bar. Joyce played the slots and quit when she was a few dollars ahead. On the way back to the anchorage my outboard motor seemed to be acting up again. Once again I had a bit of water in my gas tank. I have to remember to close that tank vent!

I mounted the solar panels on the stern pulpit. It's not the final solution. But the installation allows me to explore options. I find that they are not as efficient as when they were on deck and I could point them directly into the sun.


Solar Panels (temporarily) installed on Galena's stern pulpit.



On the stern they are sometimes in the shadows. And I need to get a second pivot axis constructed. Just moving up and down is not bad as I can put one up and one down during the morning and reverse that in the evening. But I really need to be able to tilt them forward and aft, too. So there's a project for next summer.

The wind continued to blow in the anchorage as another cold front rolled through. Tom came over just before dark and helped me haul up one of my anchors. I had assumed that the Bruce was holding me, so I hauled up the CQR. As soon as Tom left (and the sun went down) Galena started to drag. So I decided I had to move. The shouts from the captain of the boat next to me helped with that decision.

Hauling up the anchor in a tight anchorage, in gale force winds, in the rain, in the dark is tough; at least it is for me. I have to stand in the cockpit and get her bow directly into the wind (which was blowing at gale force, remember?) and move her forward. Then run to the bow to haul up some anchor chain while the bow falls off in the wind. Then I run back to the cockpit to try to power her nose back into the wind and a bit forward. Then I run back to the bow to haul in chain. Eventually, the anchor breaks free and Galena gallops off downwind completely out of control until I can get back to the cockpit and force her back into the wind. At that point Galena is bouncing through the anchorage dragging a hook along the bottom. So one more time I get her bow to the wind and run up and frantically haul the last of the anchor chain up and lock it. Then back to the cockpit to get her under control yet again. Through all this anyone close to me is at risk. When I finished I was completely exhausted. I stood in the cockpit panting like an old man. I motored slowly to windward while I collected myself.

For the next several minutes I wander through the anchorage looking for a spot big enough for Galena. I end up at the west end of the anchorage near Stella Polaris. I drop the hook (the Bruce) in 8-feet of water and then drifted back laying out 125-feet of 3/8" chain rode. It holds. I'm well away from everyone. I watch my position for several hours and finally get to sleep. The wind is still over 20-kts from the northeast.

Everything is fine until the tide changes. Now Galena, along with two other boats begin to wander about. She starts off facing west, into the current, but pushed downwind from her anchor. Then the bow is pulled north. Her keel then causes her to sail to the north. When she gets about over her anchor, she drifts down current, her bow now turning south in the wind. The current drives her to the east. Then she settles and drifts back toward her original position. Hard to describe. Here's a very rough sketch of what she does. Starting from position '1' through '4' and then back to '1'.


Galena's Nassau Anchor Dance



By the morning of the 22nd the winds had started to moderate. But there were still squalls running over the island regularly. The forecasts call for light winds on the 23rd. I'll get out of here and head down to Highborne Cay tomorrow.

At about 1600 on the 22nd Galena was boarded by the Royal Bahamian Defense Force. Just a courtesy inspection of my paperwork. Checking to see that I had, indeed, paid the customs fees and checked in with immigrations. Counted the bullets for my gun to insure I had not fired any shots. The two men were very cordial and pleasant.

Also on the 22nd I finally tightened the stuffing box! I'd been putting that off since Charleston. The bilge pump had been coming on every 3-hrs or so. But I really didn't want to tackle the job. It's hard to reach and hard to tighten.

What's a stuffing box? Well, the propeller shaft goes through a hole in the hull. We have to keep the water out, yet allow the shaft to turn. So we stuff a ring of, essentially, waxed cloth around the shaft and squeeze it till it's tight enough to keep most of the water out, yet not so tight as to bind the shaft.


From Galena's manual, the drawings of the shaft installation.



Over time the packing material wears out. You can tighten the nut down once or twice, but eventually you have to pick out what's left of the old material and replace it with new packing. I had replaced the material three years ago. I had never tightened the nut since. Back at the start of this trip I noticed the dripping. It's supposed to drip at about one drop per minute when the shaft is turning. That helps keep it cool. But by now I was up to one drop per second! Way too much water coming in the boat.

On Galena the stuffing box is way back in a hole behind the engine. Hard to reach. Hard to get a wrench on and harder still to get any leverage on the wrench.


Galena's propeller shaft and stuffing box.

So I kept putting the project off.

As usual, the actual project takes less time than the time I spend worrying about it. In this case the fact that my wrench is adjustable cost me more time than the tightening of the nut. Once I got the wrench to fit the nut I just backed off the lock nut and tightened the stuffing box 1/8-th of a turn. I checked for dripping and there was none. So I just tightened the lock nut and I was done.

While straddling the engine and working on the stuffing box I suddenly smelt diesel fuel. And felt it on my foot. I had accidentally stepped on the fuel return line and pulled it off the engine hose nib. Fuel was running all over my foot and onto the engine pan. I put it back and re tightened the hose clamp. Now I had a half-gallon of fuel to clean up.

I also changed the engine oil and filter. That was also a bit overdue, but not too bad. I also changed the oil in the gearbox. I checked the fuel filters and the sediment bowls, both were clear and clean. I checked the batteries and they were full of water.

Tom (s/v Stella Polaris) and I disagree on how full to fill the gearbox. The book says to fill it to between the two marks on the dipstick. The problem is that there is only one 'mark' on the stick. And it's about 1/4-inch from the bottom. Tom says the little hole at the top of the dipstick is the second mark, and he fills it to there. I point out that the listed capacity of the gearbox is 0.3 liters. And after sucking out just about all the oil, I poured in 0.3-liters and it came up to that first mark. I think he's over-filling.


Gearbox dipstick showing the lower 'mark' and the hole that Tom thinks is the second mark.



Speaking of Tom: While doing all this work, I'm standing waist deep in the engine compartment below the cockpit floor. I suddenly hear a shout, "Throw me a cushion! Hurry!" I look up and see Tom about 50-ft down current of Stella Polaris which was about 150-ft away from me. He was frantically trying to swim back to his boat but was being rapidly swept away by the tidal current that runs through Nassau harbor at about 1.5-kts. I hopped into my dinghy and sped over to him. I was there in less than a minute. I threw him a life preserver and then maneuvered up to him so he could hold on to the dink. On the way over I saw two other cruisers getting ready to board their dinghies to come to his aid.

Once he caught his breath he told me what had happened. He was washing down something on deck and had dropped a 50-cent sponge into the water. So he just dove in after it. He said that as he hit the water he remembered me telling a story that ended with, "So remember: you can't swim against the tidal current at Nassau." When he came up (with the sponge, by the way) he was already well away from his boat. One of the other cruises shouted, "No worries! You'd be brought back by the tide in about six hours!" Tom was tired and unhurt but he was mostly embarrassed. So of course I have to reveal it all here.

One point here. Galena has two life rings on her stern. One of them is attached to 150' of small polypropylene line carried in a small canvas sack on a rear stanchion. If Tom had had something like that in place on Stella Polaris Joyce might have been able to toss him something attached to the boat quickly. Instead, when I got there she had tossed him a seat cushion with a dock line attached. But that was too heavy and too late.

23-26 January 2008
Highborne Cay, Exumas, Bahamas
Anchored on the west side of the island
Trip: 30 nm, Total: 1447 nm, Engine: 1600 hrs


Both Stella Polaris and Galena were underway by about 0700. The winds were very light and what there was was right on the nose. So I motorsailed all the way. It was a bright sunny day. Warm without being too hot. I just set the autopilot and read a book until we got to the coral heads of the Yellow Banks.

Many first time crossers of the Yellow Banks sit up night worrying about sailing through the 5-mile section that is speckled with coral heads. Joyce on Stella Polaris was one of those. I tried to assure her and Tom that the heads are very widely spaced and sparse. And more importantly you can see them from hundreds of yards away. You can always spot a first time crosser: They will have someone perched on the bow scanning the waters. I know that's where I had Jane standing the first time we crossed. But now, having crossed this piece of water several times, I don't worry about it at all.

Here's the chart showing my track between Nassau and Highborne Cay. Right in the middle is the Yellow Banks. The depth come up from 18-ft to about 13-ft. Then you start to see the widely scattered coral heads. And after about 5-miles you're through.


Track across the Yellow Banks between Nassau and Highborne Cay.



The coral heads don't photograph well. But they look like ink blotches on the water. Here's a picture of what a corral head looks like. You can see it clearly even in this still photo. And it was still a couple hundred feet away. When everything is in motion that dark splotch is very, very visible. I had seen it when it was a couple hundred yards out. And that was from the cockpit.


Coral head on the Yellow Banks as seen from Galena's cockpit.


As the coral gets closer, it's even more obvious. Still plenty of time to maneuver around it.

I've been told that these coral heads are almost all more than six-feet below the surface. But I've never really measured one. Maybe some day I will stop, hop in the dinghy and check the depth over a couple of them. The water here is 12 to 14 feet deep. So these coral heads, most are about the size of an SUV, would have to be seven feet tall to cause a problem for Galena.

As I was leaving Nassau Harbor I noticed that there was a bit of steam coming from Galena's exhaust. It also looked like the water flow was a bit less than normal. It was just a little steam and it might have been due to the high humidity and the cool temperatures. So I just kept an eye on it. After I got to Highborne Cay I opened the strainer and found that it and the hose from the through-hull were completely packed with sea grass. I'm lucky the engine didn't overheat.

The night of the 23rd was great. No wind. No waves. Almost no motion at all. After several nights of high winds and dragging anchor around Nassau Harbor this was a most welcome respite.

I dinghied around a bit. I went over to the little store at the Highborne Cay Marina and bought a beer with Tom and Joyce. I walked the beach and snorkeled a bit.

On the 26th Stella Polaris moved into the marina. Tom and Joyce were a bit tired of the bouncing caused by the wind clocking around to the south. I rode in with them to help them dock their boat. Tom did a perfect job of putting her in the slip. We hung out for a while and were told by the staff that there was a barbeque picnic that night. Only for the marina guests. We should come. So Tom said I was his crew and we went. After a nice dinner Tom, Joyce, and I were walking away when a staff member ran up and said, "You didn't pay." "Pay," asked I? "Yeah," she said, "$35 each." Here I felt guilty for sneaking into a 'marina guests only' event and now I find I have to pay for it. I was a bit miffed about my misunderstanding. If I had know it wasn't a courtesy picnic I would have eaten a lot more.

I went back out to Galena and rode out another quiet night at anchor. But on the morning of the 27th things changed.

27 - 28 January 2008
Highborne Cay, Exumas, Bahamas
Highborne Cay Marina


The morning wasn't bad at all. The wind had clocked around to the west but was light. That started a bit of wave action and Galena started bouncing around a bit. I made a pot of coffee and dinghied over to the beach. There I sat on the sand, read a book, and drank my coffee. It was nice and quiet and still. By about 0830 the wind was getting a bit fresh. The waves and wind asserted themselves when I attempted launching the dinghy off the beach; which was a bit of a chore. The waves were up to about two feet and the wind was upwards of 12 kts.

On the way back to Galena I stopped by s/v Moonlight Serenade, the only other boat still anchored on the banks. There I met and talked with Bill and Sarah and Dave. Bill and Sarah own the boat and had their friend, Dave, helping them sail down to George Town. I had followed them across the Grand Bahama Banks from Gun Cay to Russell light on 13 Jan. On the morning of the 14th I had sailed by them at about 0400 while they slept at anchor. I had heard them on the radio a couple of times and stopped by today just to say, "hi". It's nice to meet people you've previously only talked with on the radio or passed as 'two ships in the night'.

Galena was really starting to hobby-horse in the increasing chop. By 1000hrs the chop was up to 4-ft and the wind was really blowing. Suddenly Galena moved about 100-ft downwind. The anchor just let go. Now, 600-ft away was a hard coral shoreline; the dreaded 'lee-shore.' I motored upwind (westward) dropped the CQR and raised the Bruce anchor. By now Galena's bow was diving under the water and then rising up until a third of the boat was out of the water. Quite a statement when you realized that the bow is normally about 6-feet over the water. So she was bouncing a total of 12-ft up and down. Standing on the bow and handling the anchors in that situation is more than a just little tiring. The CQR was holding but it's on nylon rode. I don't like to us it as a primary anchor rode. Especially against a lee shore. Moonlight Serenade pulled up their anchor and heading in to the marina. I soon followed them.

I called the marina and asked if they had any slips available. They said yes, but only on the high-priced big-boat bulkhead. Instead of the usual $1.85/ft, this spot was $2.25. Well I was starting to drag down on a rocky shore so I took it.

Entering the marina is straightforward. you line up on the range marks as you run east into the channel. The range marks are a little hard to find. One is on the beach and the other is on the hill over the beach. Oh, and they are not exactly where they show on the map (see below). Be sure to keep the little rock pile on your right. Don't turn to port too soon. Wait until the marina range marks are lined up before you turn. This will take you very, very close to the end of the fuel dock. That's OK. Once abeam of the fuel dock you can maneuver to your slip in the marina.


This is the GPS track of Galena's run from anchor to marina.

As I was coming in I radioed Tom on Stella Polaris. He was walking over to the dock to catch my lines. I also heard Sarah (later to be referred to as 'Moonlight-Sarah') on Moonlight Serenade calling all-hands to the dock saying there was "...a single-hander coming in and he'll probably need some help with docking in all this wind." As I came around the corner I saw why she was concerned. They were putting me into a rather small spot right behind her boat and ahead of another. There was just enough room to squeeze Galena in. And if I didn't stop her in time her bowsprit would be peeking through Moonlight Serenade's cockpit enclosure. Moonlight-Sarah's call for assistance on my behalf was more an act of self preservation than concern for Galena.


Google Earth view showing where I was put. The marina was completely full.

I had readied my dock lines before I weighed anchor. As I maneuvered Galena toward her spot on the bulkhead I saw 6 people standing there to help. Nice to have friends. Luckily I did a fairly good job of docking her so I wasn't too embarrassed. But as I was getting Galena all tied up she rubbed against a pile and broke off a chunk of her teak caprail. Sarah was standing right there and I made the usual excuses about Galena being just an beat-up old boat and that I wasn't worried about cosmetics. Actually, I had just spent a lot of days working on the caprail and was bummed out about the thing breaking off. I later glued the piece back into place. Looks crappy but better than it looked broaken off.

I was very happy to be safe and sound in a marina. It was only 1100hrs but as I headed over to the office to check in I stopped at the store and had a beer.

As I sat on the porch in front of the store, drinking my beer I met Steve. I was singing the song "You Don't Have to Call Me Darling" and Steve joined in. He is the computer network guy and he was doing some work on the local marina's WiFi system. He was heading over to Norman's Cay for lunch. He was taking a couple of people over in his little boat and asked if I like to go. Sure, I would. While waiting for the others and for Steve to get fuel I had another beer... for the road. By the time we were ready to go the boat was full. There was Steve, Tom and Joyce (s/v Stella Polaris), Brian and BJ (m/v Executive Suite), Dave (s/v Moonlight Serenade), and me.

Steve gave us an exciting and fast ride to Normans. Remember that I came into the Highborn Cay marina because of the extraordinarily rough weather on the banks. We were running south between the cays and out to the sound. Every time we crossed an opening to the banks we hit that rough water. Steve's little open powerboat bounced up over the waves and then crashed down with such violence that Tom was soon wincing in serious pain. Tom used to be an electrical lineman and is pretty torn up from years of climbing power poles and other hard physical work. He had a previous back injury and by the time we made it into the calm waters of Normans bite he was in serious pain.

Once off the boat we wandered down the dirt road to MacDuff's. MacDuff's is the bar/restaurant at the resort on the island. The current owners have made some significant improvements since I was last here in '05. The bar is much larger and the deck has been rebuilt. The head is still an outhouse, but it's a very nice outhouse.

Here are some pictures from Joyce that she and Tom took while the rest of us were scrampering to get to the bar and yet another beer.


BJ and Brian on the dock at Normans Cay with Steve's boat


Joyce and sign on the airstrip on Normans

    
The path from Norman's airstrip to the bar


The deck at MacDuff's is really nice now. We were at the table just inside the door.

    
But the head at MacDuff's is this outhouse; but it has modern plumbing.

Norman's island is famous (infamous?) for having once been the home of Carlos Lehder, co-founder of the Mendellin drug cartel. Lehder lived on the island in the late 70's and used the island's airstrip to run cocaine shipments between Columbia and the States. This brief history is taken from Bahama Pundit:

The facts are that from 1978 to 1982 Lehder operated one of the world's biggest cocaine rings from Norman's Cay in the Exumas. One of Lehder's associates, interviewed in the 1990s on the PBS news magazine Frontline, put it this way:

"He operated on the island from the beginning because he had the blessing of the Bahamian government. They were funneling tons of money...The Bahamian government gave Carlos a promise. We will advise you. You will get a wink from us, a signal, when things are getting too hot and you need to move out of there."

Well, things did eventually get hot - for the Bahamian government as much as for Lehder. And those activities forever tarnished the reputation of Sir Lynden Pindling, severely damaged our national psyche and almost brought down the entire government in disgrace.

Heavy pressure from the US led to the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry in November 1983. And the following year its 500-page report published the unpleasant details of widespread official corruption and described the enormous social problems the drug trade had spawned.

The son of a German father and a Colombian mother, Lehder started out as a small-time car thief and pot dealer. But his notoriety as one of the founders of the Medellin Cartel, and his eventual megalomania, made him a legendary and feared figure much like Blackbeard - an earlier international rogue who once had free rein in the Bahamas.

At the time of his arrest in 1987 Lehder, then 37, was reported to be worth more than $2 billion. Throughout the early 1980s his airstrip at Norman's Cay was receiving cocaine flights from Colombia on a daily if not hourly basis, transferring the loads to smaller planes for distribution throughout the US.

To begin with he bought as much property on the island as he could and then chased off the remaining residents. Armed guards patrolled day and night and former Member of Parliament Norman Solomon was once threatened at gunpoint on the beach.

Lehder's social activities were also legendary: "Orgies," his one-time associate told Frontline. "Five males, 10 females and everybody runs naked and everybody switch partners and everybody drinks and smokes marijuana, and alcohol, and three days of Sodom and Gomorrah."

And he was also a Nazi, dressing in military fatigues and comparing himself to Hitler. According to Tamara Inscoe-Johnson, who has written a book on Lehder: "He spent untold hours plotting a political career, aiming at the Colombian presidency. As his goals expanded, so did his fascination with Nazism; after all, Hitler’s goal was to take over the world, and it was the same with Lehder."

Before Lehder, Norman's Cay was a popular anchorage for visiting yachts. It was developed in the early 1970s as a small residential community with a clubhouse and marina. But in 1978 a Bahamian company called International Dutch Resources began buying up land there. IDR was set up for Lehder by a regular trust company in Nassau, which conveniently managed his working capital.

According to the New York Times, Lehder was responsible for 80 per cent of the Colombian cocaine reaching the United States, mostly through the Bahamas. And the interest in his current whereabouts is ironic in view of the recent renaming of Nassau international Airport after Sir Lynden Pindling, "the father of the nation".

Lehder's Bahamian empire collapsed in mid-1983, when NBC television broke the news that Bahamian officials were on the payroll of Colombian drug lords. At first the story generated howls of protest (and some lawsuits) from top Bahamian officials, including the prime minister.

But soon afterwards, they began singing a different tune. In 1985, after the Commission report was published, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Hanna called on Sir Lynden to resign and opposition Free National Movement leader Kendal Isaacs condemned the 'nation for sale' scandal as the worst in modern Bahamian history.

We all had a marvelous time swapping stories and getting to know each other. After a most excellent burger and a few more beers we headed back to Highborne Cay.


The new party gang at MacDuff's, Norman's Cay
(Dave, BJ, Brian, Steve, Me, Tom)
(Minus Joyce who took the picture)

But we were now in party-mode and we had to continue. So we and a few others went over to Brian and BJ's boat and partied till about 0100hrs. Sarah and Bill from Moonlight Serenade joined us, as did some guys from a freighter that was in the marina.


The Brian and BJ dancing and drinking on m/v Executive Suite

When I got back to Galena I noticed that she was still being blown into the dock by the wind. So I climbed into the dinghy and hauled my stern anchor (a 25# Danforth) out about 50-ft from the port beam. I fashioned a bridle running to the bow and stern and pulled Galena a couple of feet away from the dock. Then I went to bed.

The next day was still windy. Too rough for me to go back out on the hook. And I was heading back to Nassau to pick up Jane on the 27th. So I decided to hang around in the marina for one more day.

I had dinner with Tom and Joyce and played dominoes till the wee hours.

29 January 2008
Nassau Yacht Haven Marina, Nassau, Bahamas
Trip: 30nm, Total: 1577nm, Engine: 1607 hrs.


Up at 0630. Dinghy and outboard stowed and cleared out of the marina. The guy at the desk did the paperwork. He went over the bill and said, "One night dockage, right?" I said, "No, it was two nights." He said, "I already wrote it up as one. We'll just leave it that way." Fine with me. I had just talked with a lady who was also leave this morning. They have a very large motorboat and with six days dockage fees they were billed over two thousand dollars! She said, "We could have spent a week on a cruise ship for that much money!"

I stopped by Stella Polaris to get Tom to help me cast off. The wind was still blowing a bit and I was tightly docked between these two boats. I did have that anchor off my beam, though. My plan was to pull the bow away and toward that anchor. While doing that, Tom would hold my stern line and keep me from either hitting the dock with my stern or blowing down on the boat behind me. By the time I was ready to go I had Tom, Joyce, Bill, Sarah, Dave, and the dock hand all standing there to help. Again, it's nice to have friends. As I pulled the bow away and hauled up the Danforth, Bill said, "Bill, you make this look easy." He didn't see the frantic way I was hauling in that anchor and trying to get Galena to complete the 180-degree turn without running out of water. But it all worked out.

I was off and sailing back toward Nassau to pick up Jane. But half way there the wind died and I had to motorsail the last 15 miles.

Nassau Yacht Haven had room for me and here I sit.

Jane will be here tomorrow. Before then I have to clean up Galena, do laundry, get fuel, do some grocery shopping, and, of course, shower.

Then Jane and I will sail down the Exuma island chain to George Town, Grand Exuma, stopping to visit some islands we have not really explored on previous trips.

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