December 26, 2015.
If you are really into small-town Christmas, and are White, heterosexual, and maybe also an alcoholic, consider spending the holiday in Hopetown. Here the locals and the cruisers build a “Christmas village” at the center of town, complete with an “ice” skating rink made of slippery plastic and plastic skates and lots of evergreen Casurina (sp?) trees stuck into the sand, tents, a manger with a white plastic Mary, Joseph, and baby, which also served as the backdrop for the stage where kids read religiously themed storeis to the crowd, gift shops that supported local charities (the school, the community center, the animal rescue leagues) and an outdoor bar where you got rosemary margeritas and a gin or vodka based Bahamian “switcha” made with sweetened sour orange juice. Everyone is very nice and very clean and very friendly. Ryan and I joined the carolers and enjoyed the lights and small-town cheer at the Christmas village, but frankly its a depressing holiday for me, always the seaon when I regret how far away I am from my family, not only physically but also emotionally. It’s a very lonely time of year for many people.
We celebrated with our friends aboard “Seahorse,” Travis and Mary Fowler and four of Travis’s five daughters, Lauren, 23, Mary Kate, 16, Mary Helen, 15, and Lily, 9. They flew down for a few weeks with their kids.
We also met a number of other truly great and fascinating people from Canada and the UK and the US
. The cool thing about cruising is you go around meeting people with whom you already have a lot in common, even though you may have grown up on different continents. Most people are gregarious, open-minded, and helpful to others. Every now and then you meet folks with whom you feel a very strong connection.
While I’ve really enjoyed Hopetown and, as I’ve said in previous blog posts, can see why people sail into the harbor and stay for a lifetime, I’m happy to be moving south. The mooring field was starting to feel very crowded, and dinghies and fishing boats and ferries and freight carriers constantly weave through the boats until well after sundown. For the past two nights loud music from somewhere on shore or a boat somewhere in the harbor blared late into the early morning. Many people who come and go from Hopetown are one-week vacationers chartering a boat, and they can be inconsiderate, loud, and even dangerous, when inexperienced. I’m looking forward to getting away from crowds.
Last night I met only the second solo woman cruiser since I got onto this road. She, like eveyrone else I have encountered so far on this journey, is White, heterosexual, and Christian. Where is everybody else? There are Black people in boats but I have yet to see who cruise. Black and White Bahamians are civil to one another but seem to live separate lives. Nearly everyone here appears to be Christian, and most of them are Protestant. Like the American South, from which many of the original settlers, Black and White, came in the late 18th century, this is a very stratified, homogeneous society.
My tone may sound particularly cranky because I have been sick for the past couple of weeks, and am actually getting worse. I think I’m anemic and have started to take iron pills. I’m not sleeping well, am really fatigued, and get stomach cramps every time I eat. I’ve been drinking a lot of water, and did get a nap today while Ryan went snorkeling with our friends. I took a nap on the boat.
I don’t know when I’ll be able to connect to the internet again. It was hard enough to do in Hopetown. We still haven’t been able to fix our M2 Bullet and therefore have to go ashore to get a signal in a coffee shop or bar, where the connection is always extremely slow. Even with a good connection, it takes 1 hour to upload a 15 second video, and photos are only a little bit faster.
I’ll keep up with the blog, for the sake of discipline, I suppose. But I’ll have to post everything all at once, and will probalby not even bother with pictures. When you’re anchored off a gorgeous beach in turquoise water and a soft wind is blowing your hair, you do not want to be tethered to a damn machine drumming your fingers while you wait and curse and wait and curse and wait for photos to upload. And most of the time you can’t connect at all, and you’d much rather be swimming or snorkeling or walking or paddle-boarding or reading.