Monday, February 19, 2007
For anyone who has been away from the blog for a few days you might want to scroll down to the story of our crossing from Florida to Nassau.
Hurrican Hole Marina...we're in there ...somewhere!
Monday 2/19/07 - We offer here a couple of pictures from our short stay in Nassau. Later this morning we will once again set sail this time heading for the northern end of the Exumas. We hope to anchor off of the western shore of Ship Channel Cay (cay = key). Yesterday the winds cranked up to near gale here in Nassau for a brief time but today they should be down and from the north-west allowing us another down hill ride. We are on an exploratory mission from Ship Channel Cay down to Staniel Cay about 40-50 miles to the south. Then we’ll sail back to Nassau to arrive on 3/10 to pick up daughter and son-in-law and then take them on a well deserved vacation from Nassau back to Staniel Cay. From there they will take a charter flight back to Nassau and from there back to the frozen tundra that is our beloved Chicago.
We are excited as usual to get going again. We didn’t have time to learn much about Nassau. We did take some long walks and we did visit the fish market under the bridge. Bahamian people are VERY friendly and talk VERY fast and laugh VERY easily. My dream audience!
Conks at the marketplace
From our reading of our various cruising guides it looks like we could be in touch again before reaching Staniel Cay but at Staniel Cay for sure. We are looking forward to getting away from the hustle and bustle of US/Nassau (we skipped Atlantis).
Finally, I offer a little story about our checking in progress...Thanks to all for the comments...we really cherish each one. Onward!
The Customs of Star Trek
We knew there was a checking in process to go through upon our arrival in Nassau. It involves paying $300 and getting a cruising permit and fishing permit (Any fish reading this you can relax. You are safe from us.). OK. Our marina in Nassau contacted the authorities for us and, sure enough, while I was paying (a lot) for our slip a lady showed up from immigration. She looked at our passports and took those cards that you always fill out when you arrive in a foreign land. I was told that Customs would show up at our boat later. This was the day we arrived after 48 hours at sea with little sleep. We were hoping this would be taken care of sooner rather than later as you are not supposed to go wandering about until you’ve finished with all this bureaucracy and we were hankering for cheese burgers. After a couple of hours I went back to the marina office and asked if they knew how much longer it would be for the Customs person to come to our boat. The nice lady there seemed surprised that this hadn’t happened yet and made a call after which I was told that a man would be out around 4:15 or 4:30 and could I stay on board and wait for him. No problem. This gave me time to walk about and find out that the Bahamas $20 phone card that I bought for $15 in Boot key didn’t work (damn Aussies!). I had no sooner gotten back to the boat when two officials arrived from Customs to check us in. They were early but, OK. The younger guy came aboard and went over our paperwork and asked a couple of questions. He then told me that unfortunately he didn’t have the forms with him for our cruising permit but would be back tomorrow at 8:30 AM and we could pay the $300 then. Starting to sound suspicious but as long as my $300 is still in my pocket I’ll play along. We are told that we are virtually cleared and can drop our quarantine flag and raise our courtesy flag which we do.
About 30 minutes later another official arrives looking for the boat that needs to check in. I told him that we were that boat but that it already happened . . . mostly. He seemed shocked and told us that he was the ONLY person that checked in boats for Customs on the entire island. Uh oh. I explained what had occurred and asked him what to do if these guys show up in the morning. I’m to just tell them to contact Mr. Burns. Hmmm...
Well, I smell scam but I still have all my money so I figure someone has a problems but it ain’t me!
The next morning the young guy comes back, not Mr. Burns. Uh oh. I already am planning to give this guy no money. He comes to the boat and is very apologetic and tells me that I must go with him and we’ll take care of the ‘business’ back at some office. Am I in for a one way ride after which I am $300 lighter and find myself sleeping with the fishes? Um, maybe one too many Chicago movies there. He has a badge and everything so I go with him. As we are walking to the car we strike up a conversation (Bahamians LOVE to talk...FAST!)
Now get this...for the next 20 minutes we did nothing but talk about...ready?
Yes. It came up that I was a retired physics teacher and that just launched him into a thousand questions including but not limited to...
Q: Would it really be possible to produce artificial gravity as they do on Star Trek?
Ans: Probably not. Gravity is the force that we actually know the least about and the lack of gravity is also the most expensive special effect to duplicate so easier to just write a fiction about ‘generated gravity’ as long as you are writing fiction anyway (Ever notice how every thing goes to hell on the Enterprise including shields (no stronger than Mark Prior’s arm), life support, and engines but NEVER their gravity.).
Q: I understand that there are such things as black holes but what of worm holes?
Ans: Worm holes are theoreticians with too much time and pencil lead on their hands (nice mental image there.) They just mess with the equations and see if there are any solutions that would include popping out of a black hole if you happened to fall into one.
Q: What about transporters?
Ans: According to the book “The Physics of Star Trek” (ok, we’ve all read this, right?) the teleportation of physical objects let alone an entire functioning (non-republican) human being is totally out of the realm of even the most mind bending science fiction.
Q: According to the treaties of blah blah and blah blah it is certainly legal for ANY country to produce their own nuclear power, right? So how do we make sure that they are not also producing weapons grade uranium.
Ans: You’re way ahead of me on this one.
Needless to say the rest of the check in process went fine and Kevin the Customs officer drove me back to the boat as soon as we were done. Funny. I rarely get to talk physics any more and today I did...with a government bureaucrat!
You have to always be prepared to be surprised.