The Intracoastal Waterway - South Carolina
The Intracoastal Waterway - Early Morning
George Town Regatta
The Hermitage, Cat Island
I thought I would comment on just general cruising around and how I found it.
The fact that each day I would be going to new places I had never been before and sailing through waterways or island to island was very interesting and I never got tired of it. You also get to meet other cruising sailors on a frequent basis - it is a small community and everyone is in the same boat (literally) so it was very easy to make friends. Since I was on my own, and couples enjoy having someone else to talk with, I was frequently invited to yachts that were anchored close by. I am sure this was helped by the fact my boat was always kept clean and neat and I always acted in a responsible way. There were many occasions I sailed for days or weeks with other boats I had met along the way.
For the most part, sailing in the Bahamas is pretty easy. The winds were pretty constant about 20-25 knots in the winter and 10 knots during the summer months. Since you sail on the lee side of the Bahamas chain the waves were quite small. It was nice to have a constant wind as I was used to light and variable winds on the Great Lakes with their frustrations of having to engine much of the time. In the Bahamas I never motored except to keep the engine lubricated running it a few minutes a week. My small solar panel provided all the power I needed since I used ice for refrigeration.
One thing I found out, that I had not expected, was that your emotional range becomes much greater than when living in a city. I am not really an emotional person, but out sailing in the wild you feel things with much greater depth - like frustration, anger and fear and also satisfaction, accomplishment, joy and relaxation. Other than the brief scary moments, I found myself in very good mood the whole trip. Swimming, sailing and walking or hiking almost every day meant I was in very good shape physically and most of the time I felt very relaxed. Sailing several thousand miles also gave on a sense of having constant goals and feelings of accomplishment and the thrill of meeting interesting people along the way.
There were no 'pirates' in the Bahamas and I felt very secure just about everywhere. In fact, the only time I locked my boat when away from it was in Nassau.
I snorkeled for a few hours every day when I was settled at an anchorage. The reefs were very different in various parts of the Bahamas. I tried to catch a lobster or Grouper most days for supper.
Exploring the uninhabited islands of the Bahama chain on land was quite interesting too. Again, they are all a bit different. Many had fresh water wells, to my surprise, and I could stock up on drinking water.
George Town, where I stayed a few months, was an experience in itself as about 200 yachts from all over the world are anchored there. I made many friends and played volleyball on the beach every day. My family and two friends visited me there too so it was a busy time.
Sailing around Florida was fun also as there are great facilities for sailing everywhere there. Waiting out hurricane season, at Vero Beach, gave me time to do more reading and I also bought a laptop computer and taught myself to touch-type which was a skill I had not acquired before - despite being involved with IT my whole life.
I seriously thought about spending a third year down south - but decided that would not leave me any reserve funds when I got back to Toronto.
The trip home was uneventful. I had a lot of experience by then and I just pushed pretty hard getting home - more like a delivery passage but still at a reasonably relaxed pace.