I mean, with the name “Pensacola,” we had to at least stop and see. And then we decided December 25th it shall be! Merry Christmas in blog time followers! I hope you all are enjoying our Bahamas Voyage vicariously. Fun video and blog post for you below from our “holiday on the hook” at Pensacola Cay!
It is always so fun to go back through our photos and footage and share these stories with you. Pensacola Cay. We were destined for it, right? And boy what a beautiful little stop it was. Each island in the Abacos offered something unique and memorable. Pensacola afforded us the first stretch of clear beach and enough wind for kiting. So, it was the first time we kited on the Atlantic ocean. That is not something I’m likely to forget for a long, long time. This was our first kite spot!
For us, kiting is not just a hobby, it is a sort of freedom. As with the sailboat, you are moving, propelling forward actually, by the sheer virtue of the wind. You steer by skillfully working the kite and board together just as the boat does with the wind, keel, and rudder. It’s a powerful, sometimes frightening, but more often freeing, exciting feeling to know you are harnessing the wind. There’s no rumbling motor. No stinking fumes going into the air. Nothing but nature is moving you along.
Time for a jump-off! Annie …
Man, did you see that mega-hop?! I cleared like a foot and a half! Okay, now Phillip …
I think we have a clear winner! Man, Phillip can really fly. I’m still working on jumping. It’s just not something that is coming naturally to me. So far I can either launch and land a mega-hop (yeehaw!) or launch a huge leap and yard sale it at the end. I hate to say that kiting, just tacking back and forth and maneuvering the board without jumping, is so fun to me that I often don’t practice jumping as much as I should because it might mean I’ll lose my board, crash my kite, potentially end my session. “Over a silly jump?” my mind screams. “Nuh-uh, not this kiter!” But, I love that I can push myself to that goal anytime I want to and it’s always there: a fun, challenging reward if I attain it. This—the challenge, thrill, peacefulness, and simplicity, i.e., harnessing the wind to maneuver—along with, of course, the high-flying jumps and flips, is what draws us to kiting. And to look out the opening of that beautiful little cove at Pensacola Cay to see the Atlantic ocean! An enormous body of water that we crossed in a boat not much bigger than ours only one year ago, was a really cool feeling. Like everything is connected together—time, places, and people—by water. This was us on that same body of water, not so long ago!
The water in the Bahamas, however, while warmer than Pensacola’s mid- to low-sixties winter waters, was still a little chilly. Likely seventy degrees if I had to guess, along with air temps in the high sixties and low seventies. Definitely nice and cool for a day on the boat, but a little chilly to get wet and windy in just a bikini alone. Oh, you’re right, Phillip doesn’t always wear the bikini – ha! But we had brought all of our wet gear for this reason, so we donned what I call our “platypus suits” and didn’t let it stop us!
It was so “cold” there, Frosty came to join us!
I was kind of surprised by the landscape as well. Many of the cays in the Abacos are formed solely on limestone, so in some areas the only walkable shore is a jutty, jagged patch of very unforgiving limestone. Didn’t stop us from traversing it, but you definitely wanted to tread carefully!
We also often stumbled upon what we began to call “conch graveyards.” I, a very naive and silly Bahamian cruiser to begin with, thought all those conchs must have decided it was “their time,” so they huddled together and crawled to shore, a heaving pile of shell and slimy innards drying under the sun. I mean, how else would they all end up piled together in a collective, crumbling heap?
Yes, I know now (after the patient and kindly Phillip told me) they’re there because that is likely where a local fisherman harvested and cracked them. Ahhh … that makes more sense. A concher left them there. Yes, “conchers” are real in Annie Land. So is the blonde hair! Phillip is rather nice to put up with me. But, my very silly questions about all the intriguing things I always seem to find when we’re exploring definitely keep him entertained. As do these beautiful views. Just walking around the islands, making footprints in the sand, and picking up shells is one of our favorite pastimes.
I had thought about keeping this guy, but after holding him five minutes (which left a hand that stunk for five hours!), I decided he was never coming near our boat. Do you see that little brown dribble coming out of the bottom?
Yeah, he seemed empty when I picked him up. I mean there definitely was not a live squirmy conch in there when I peeked inside. But every time I sloshed water in and swished it out, more of this brown goo would come out and I’m sure it was his poor decaying body, but my God that stuff was potent. Sorry little man, but you’re staying with the other stinkies! We do not bring stench aboard Plaintiff’s Rest!
With “dollars” everywhere, we felt mighty rich! : )
It was also great to see our boat anchored out in the Sea of Abaco. After all the planning and prepping and work it took to get her there, it was like you could feel how happy she was to finally be floating in these beautiful green waters!
And, just our luck, a few billowing, beautiful clouds rolled in and brought us a refreshing rain storm. That’s right, for Christmas, we gave Plaintiff’s Rest a much-needed, well-deserved, indulgent freshwater rinse. I listened closely and could hear her singing during the storm. Do you know what she sang?
“Siiiiinging in the rain. I’m just siiiiinging in the rain! What a gloooorious feeling, I’m haaaaaapy again!” (That’s what she always sings when it rains ; ).
It was a well-timed, rather-welcomed rinse for the boat and all of our kite gear stacked up on the deck. And, the storm left behind a crystal clear sky for the sunset. It’s happy hour on our boat. Cheers!
And you know you’re living right when you watch the sun both set and rise every day:
I know, I know. Sunrises. Sunsets. Cocktails and bikinis. Yes, it really is just like that many days. When we’re not changing the oil on the boat, or cleaning the dinghy, or on a gas and provision run. It is paradise. Dozens of times over with each little cay you stop at in the Abacos. But, as I mentioned, each cay seemed to offer something unique that made it stand out in our memories and distinguish each cay from the other. Do you know what our favorite thing about Pensacola Cay was?
That’s right! The SIGNING TREE!! It was something Phillip had read about before we even got to the Abacos, some big tree on the back side of Pensacola Cay where boaters leave old buoys, or life rings, or pieces of driftwood (all kinds of creative nautical trinkets) often with their vessel name, the crew and the date written or painted on it.
It reminded me a lot of the sea wall at Azores which is covered with colorful paintings left behind by cruisers who have been there.
Some of the items hanging from the Signing Tree were very creative. One had a message in a bottle. Another, a carved silhouette of their boat. One, a toilet seat! I’m not kidding. And, from s/v Plaintiff’s Rest? Your very own signed copy of Salt of a Sailor, another one of my “traveling books.”
Phillip and I like to occasionally leave a book behind in a port or place where we hope one cruiser will read it then pass it along to another and another and another, so that the book gets to meet a lot of different people and see many different parts of the world. ”Go little book, go!” we often cry as we leave her behind.
“All you have to do is be a little brave and really resourceful. Happy cruising!” I wrote inside.
Then we triple-bagged her and hung her from the Signing Tree. I hope someone, somewhere, someday tells me they found the traveling Salt of a Sailor that we left at Pensacola Cay. What if the little books is still there when we go back? That would be fine too, but I’ll have to open it to see if folks are taking it to read, then putting it back! I put a little log in the front where people can leave a note with their vessel name and crew. So, it’s kind of like a “signing book” too.
We’re making some fantastic memories along the way. Hope you all enjoyed Pensacola Cay!
Next time, we’ll take you underwater on our very first colorful snorkel in the Bahamas! Stay tuned! glug, glug, glug … : )