Wednesday, May 11, 2011

National Family Island Regatta

One of the reasons that we decided to spend so much time in George Town was so that we could be here for the National Family Island Regatta. This regatta is like the Superbowl of the Bahamas. How awesome is that, a country that prizes sailing over football? This year was the 58th annual regatta and it was obvious that the Bahamians take their racing as seriously as they do their seafaring heritage. Boats came to compete from all of the major islands in the Bahamas and many of the smaller cays and communities as well.

Sloop sailing in the Bahamas was originally the principal means of transportation between the 700 islands that are spread out over 100,000 square miles of beautiful waters in every color of blue that you can imagine. The sloops were originally used by the fishing industry as well as for the transportation of passengers and cargo between the islands.

The sloops are all built in the unique Bahamian tradition. I never could find the exact specifications but the boats are beautiful and the amount of canvas that they fly is amazing compared to the size of the boat. The boom hangs out over the stern of the boat by about half the length of the entire boom. The races start by lining all the boats up in an anchored position. At the cannon blast the crew must weigh anchor and hoist the sails starting the race on a starboard tack, with the exception of the first boat, chosen by lottery. That boat may start the race on either a starboard or port tack. It is so much fun to watch this type of sail boat racing, as opposed to the typical race with each boat assigned ratings, it’s kind of like “what you see is what you get” and you can actually tell by watching who is winning the race. We took our dinghy out into the bay (along with almost every other cruiser and Bahamian with a power boat) and took lots of great photos of the races. It was difficult and exciting to get the shots and still pay attention to the racers and the other dinghies, power boats, kayaks, etc.

Since the boats are all built by the same specs it makes for some beautiful sailing and great pictures. I took so many that I had a really hard time deciding which ones to post.

Race Start (from an anchored position)
Sailing downwind - they look like butterflies
Hiked out on the PRY - one of our favorites - Anna Nicole!
Our favorite boat - Red Stripe (they took 3rd overall)
Red Stripe rounding the mark!
The regatta grounds were filled with these temporary booths selling food and drinks
Check out the length of the booms
Gigantamous speakers so everyone could enjoy the Rake N Scrape music
Local entertainment!
The cannon used for race starts - surprisingly loud
Race boats catching a ride back home
Christie and Matt are Running Tide fans
Matt, Troy, Christie, Deana and Rusty enjoying the race on Sea Yawl Later

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Adderley's Plantation

We visited the ruins of Adderley's Plantation on Long Island.  It was a cotton and live stock (cattle, sheep, and horses) plantation established in 1790 on 700 acres by Abraham Adderley, a British born subject from Nassau, Bahamas.  By 1820 Abraham had enlarged the plantation to cover 2,500 acres.  The plantation was devastated in 1927 by a hurricane that cost 200 lives on the island.  Sadly, when the eye of the hurricane crossed over the island people collected stranded fish on the temporarily exposed sea bottom and were drowned when the sea suddenly returned. 

We were surprised that the living quarters seemed so small.  It's obvious that the plantation life was a difficult one.

St. Mary's Church

Some of the pictures that I took at St. Mary's Church.  It is actually the ruins of a church thought to have been built by the Spanish in the 17th century. It is the oldest church on Long Island.