Well it's nearly the middle of November and all the leaves are brown and the sky is gray. I'd be safe and warm if I was in L.A? No, not L.A. ... the Bahamas
. (apologies to the Mamas and Papas, California
Dreamin'). Yes, it's time to head
south for the winter.
For our friends from the west coast
or the Antipodes or Asia
who are unfamiliar with the routine, it's the annual migration of the "snowbirds" to warmer climes. Hundreds of sailors head
south, most end up in the Bahamas
, a trek of a few thousand miles or so if you start from Toronto. This usually starts in September if you're in the Great Lakes
but many of us now store our boats in Florida
or the Carolinas which makes the trip a lot easier. I used to have to start the trip right after Labour Day but now I stay up here to November.
Go down to Florida
, spend a few days readying the boat and then take off. We usually sail down to Miami
, hang around Biscayne Bay or Miami
Beach and jump across the Florida Straits and the gulf stream
when a weather
window arises. First stop is usually Nassau
, about a two day trip, to clear in and visit the Bacardi factory. Then it's slowly down to the Exumas
and Jumentos for the remainder of winter. At the height of the season there's sometimes 400 boats in Georgetown
but the area is quite large with lots of different anchorages
so it's not as bad as it sounds. There's quite a community of "yachties" in Georgetown
, which sometimes is described as summer camp for adults. Something to do everyday for the energetic, volleyball, beachwalks, snorkeling and fishing
, party every other night for the partiers, or just do nothing. And, if you prefer someplace quieter you can still find secluded anchorages
in the Bahamas.
Every year we meet old friends and make some new ones. Some have been doing this for twenty years, for others it's their first trip. First time or twentieth time, it's still a great time.
It's been great chatting with you all, talk to you again in May or June. I'll be taking a laptop
with me this year but I'll only use it to store pictures and play with charts
. Searching for hotspots is not my idea of fun. It's nice to be away from tv, e-mail and phones.