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Wednesday, 4/22/09                                                                        Day 445

Man!  Today was sooo action packed and full of fun!  Right after breakfast we went into town.  It was flat calm, so we zipped around and said "Hi'" to a few friends, including Rio Dulce and MaryLee.  Like any day in town, we got water, gasoline, and liquor.  We saw Rio Dulce, Priority, and met Asolare, another kid boat who we've heard a lot about.  Because it is the Regatta week, we went to check out all the stands and music set up near Regatta Point.  There were a bunch of shacks that sold Bahamian food and rum-type drinks.

As we neared Regatta Point, we came upon a big pink mast from one of the racing boats.  There were some guys moving a sail, and one of them asked me if I could sail and if I wanted to race with them.  He said that he needed a kid to be his skipper (driver) in the Junior (age 8-16) races.  I told him that I sailed Independence and I could steer one of the Class C (17ft) boats.  When we went to register, we learned that a lot of the boats badly needed kids, so we called our friends.  In the end, I raced the Queen Brigitte with Josh, Dakota (Priority), and the Bahamian guys Derek, and the captain, Remaldo.  Brady and Colby (Asolare) raced on Legal Weapon, Brian  raced on New Dream, and Anne Marie and Declan raced on Slaughter. Our boat, Derek, and Remaldo are from Acklins.  Legal Weapon and Slaughter are from Exumas, and New Dream is from Long Island.   We all got Regatta t-shirts, different colors for each boat team.  Ours are hot pink.

We sailed out into the harbour with 14 other boats from all over the Bahamas and dropped the anchor at the starting line.  It was an anchor start, meaning that when the gun went off, we pulled up the anchor and then raised the sail and took off.  A little about our boat:  She is a 17' traditional Bahamian sloop made for these races.  Her hull was built in Long Island in 1994, and she has been racing ever since.  These boats, though only 17' long, have huge rigs.  The big wooden boom is quite a bit longer than the boat, and the sail, oddly enough, was larger than the triangle between the mast and the boom.  The boom came up from the deck and wasn't very high at the back.  As for the hull, it had a flat deck with a big pit in the center and one big board (the pry bar) that slides out onto the upwind side for people to sit out on to keep the boat upright.  They are the equivalent of hiking bars.

Now for the races.  We raced three times.  I was the skipper the entire time, sitting up on the back deck.  Dakota and Josh were pry riders.  Derek was a multi-purpose crewman, being in charge of raising and dropping the sail and the anchor, but he also helped Remaldo with the lines, me with telling me how to point, and he even jumped out on the pry bar when we were really healed over.  Sometimes we had the whole downwind edge underwater!!  Remaldo, the captain, controlled the lines and told everyone what to do.  He told me where to steer.  We went out and around a buoy by Stocking Island and then on a downwind run to the last buoy, where we jibed and continued on to the starting line.  Each of the three races was only one lap.  The race committee placed the last buoy very badly, and it was very hard going dead downwind to the mark.  Both times, we jibed, the second time unintentionally, causing some craziness on the boat.  These big hunks of wood (booms) are really the devil when swinging over.

This was hard-core racing, and we were flying along.  In starting off and round the marks especially, boats collided and messed up rigging.  We came really close during certain points.  Josh and Dakota even had to duck once to not get whooped by another boom.  Being out on that bar must have been fun.  Sometimes, on the downwind portion, they'd drop in the water and splash back up.
J  We had so much fun!!!  Mom and Dad, and a bunch of other dinghies and little powerboats were always following behind, taking pictures and watching the races.  Mom got some great shots!

We raced for over three hours, starting at 11:30.  We got 6th place on each of the first two races.  On the third race, something bad happened.   Fugitive (another boat) had to re-anchor because she was in front of the starting line.  She re-anchored right on top of us.  At the start, she ran into us, causing us to lose the wind.  We couldn't regain the wind, and the sail went up and down with us trying to get going.  We did once, but couldn't tack up.  Remaldo said that he had more races to do and we couldn't just take the time to try to get around.  We dropped out.  That stinks!
L  We had a ton of fun before that though!! J

After all that excitement, we had lunch.  It was after 3:00 by that time.  We ate BBQ ribs at a shack by Regatta Park.  They were DELICIOUS!  Then we got groceries and went home.  We are anchored at Hamburger Beach with Priority, Rio Dulce, Kaya, Nauti-Nauti, Asolare, etc.  We had an easy evening.  I'm sooooo tired! Exhausted is a better word for it!  Tomorrow we'll go watch the Class A boats race.  That'll be fun.  Go New Courageous!

Thursday, 4/23/09
                                                                                Day 446

Today was pretty good.  We did school all morning.  I slept in, but didn't get a break.  After lunch, we went out to see the Class C boats race again (this time with adults) at 12:30, but we got there just too late.  Then at 3:30, we went out with at least a dozen other dinghies to see the Class A boats race.  We anchored the dink and waited for the boats at the buoy.  First around the mark was Tida Wave from Staniel Cay, Exumas.  Then came Red Stripes, followed closely by Running Tide, a Long Island boat.  New Courageous, our great Ragged Island boat, came around in fifth place on lap 1.  Good News, another Ragged Island boat, Anna Nicole, and a black boat were the last three.  The black boat missed the mark on the first time, had to go back, and later dropped out.  He wasn't the only one.  Side by Side, rafted to us to watch the races, told us that the start was disastrous.  Multiple boats, including the only Cat Island boat, got knocked out.  One boom even broke!  On the Class A races, there is one race with three laps.  There is one race on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Today's race was won by Tida Wave, with Running Tide in second, Red Stripes in third, and New Courageous in fourth.  Abaco Rage, a boat quite favored to win and a boat that has won previously, got seventh place.  Anna Nicole was the last boat to finish.  It was amazing watching all these guys on these boats, healing way over and scrambling on the pry bar.  Unlike the Class C boats, Class A and Class B boats have jibs.  Class A boats even have mini whisker poles to pole out their jib.  When they came around the mark, guys would run up on deck to pole out the jib.  It was all really fun to watch!  They were doing what we did yesterday, times 10!

After the race, we went to Hamburger Beach with Side by Side.  We played Bocci, banged sticks around, found critters, and generally had a good time.

Now it is 7:40 and supper's coming off the stove.  We'll probably play cards afterwards to end the night.

Friday, 4/24/09
                                                                                Day 447

We had a great day!  We did no school.  Instead, we went at 9:30 to watch the Class B sailboats race.  It was a nice race.  Captain Ray got fourth.  Ant's Nest, the Ragged Island boat, got sixth.  Ragged Island hasn't been doing too well.  The boat from the Abacos won.  The Crooked Island boat came in second.  Queen Drucilla, the Acklins boat that Remaldo skippered and also had Derek on board, got fifth place.  We followed them in after the race so we could give them a disc of pictures.  We got it to them after they anchored.  You wouldn't believe what else we saw!  We saw the Queen Brigitte with only half a mast!  The other half, with one very jagged end, was lying on deck.  We talked to Derek, and he said that it broke in yesterday's Class C race when they were sailing really hard.  That's too bad.  She was old, 15 years old.  They'll probably be able to get a mast and refit her.

When we got home, we hung out.  I did website stuff with Mom.  After lunch, we went to the beach with Side by Side and Asolare.  I met Pelican, friends of Side by Side.  They have two kids - Casey (12) and Kaitlin (10).  I also met Sea Wing.  They are Ben (10) and Jackie (13).  We all played around for the whole afternoon.  At 3:30, we (Side by Side and us), went to go watch the Class A races.  On the way to the dinks, we ran into Mike from Long Island Breeze.  He can't race anymore because he broke a thumb racing yesterday.  We got to go out and watch the races on his power boat!  He has a 20 or so foot, center console power boat.  We went out to the mark and followed the boats from there.  Tida Wave, from Staniel Cay, Exumas, won for a second time.  They practically have first place in the bag for the entire regatta.  Rupert's Legend, the official Long Island boat, came in second place.  Red Stripes got third again, and Running Tide got fourth.  New Courageous came in sixth - ouch!  Surprisingly, there were fewer boats than yesterday.  Good News, a Ragged Island boat, and another couple I know I saw yesterday, weren't there.  I wonder what happened!?!

We came home and had pressure-cooked pork for supper.  It was good.  This was the first time we've ever used the pressure-cooker.  It worked well.  There is a big party/dance on Hamburger Beach tonight.  We were planning on going, but we're all too tired.  Good night people!

Saturday, 4/25/09                                                                                Day 448

We did school all morning.  But then things got awesome!!  At about 3:00 we went into town.  Today is the last day of the Family Island Regatta.  We met up with Pelican and Side by Side and went around enjoying the Bahamian culture.  We chit-chatted, got local food and drink form the shacks, and hung out.  Interestingly, every 50ft, a shack will have a half dozen big speakers and a DJ, and they blare that music.  The base will just make your whole body vibrate.

Being the last day of regatta, there were a bunch of groups performing in Regatta Park.  The two most noted groups were the local high school marching band, and the Royal Bahamian Police Force Marching Band.  The latter is quite famous.  We got some great vids and really had a good time.  The drum major, an oldish guy (older than my parents), could really dance.  He'd hand his baton to another guy, and would really get into it.  Really, all the members did.  The percussionists even had their own little act.  I got to film most of it, but Dad did some as well.  We had a lot of fun.  We had some Bahamian BBQ for supper and went home.

The results of the last A-Class (28 ft. -most important) race of the Regatta was as follows: Running Tide (Long Island), Rupert's Legend (Long Island), Tida Wave (Staniel Cay, Exumas), and New Courageous (Duncan Town, Ragged Islands).  We also found out the final standings for the races.  The A-Class was won by Tida Wave, who took first in most of its races.  The next few were the winners of today's race, though I forget in which order.  These races have been really fun and totally awesome!!

When we got home, Josh went over to Side by Side to play with Parker, even though it was already 6:45.  Dad, Mom and I played cards on Liberty.  Also, while talking with Casey, I learned that they have an X-Box 360 video game console on board but can't play it.  They don't have a TV, and they thought that they could play it on their computer, but they can't.  Casey's been looking for another kid boat with a TV so they can play X-Box.  I convinced Mom to let us get together and do that, maybe tomorrow.  Today was really good, all the way around.

Sunday, 4/26/09                                                                                Day 449

Today was simple and very fun.  After breakfast and all that, there being no Beach Church, we all hung out and played around together.  No school, some cards, etc.  At about 10:30, we started talking to Pelican and Side by Side about doing something.  Another idea from yesterday was that Casey come here, Josh go to Side by Side, and the girls go to Pelican.  In the end, Casey & Parker came over here with the X-Box 360 at approx. 11:00, and we got down to business.  Parker and Josh played some X-Box, but also left a little after noon to play on Side by Side.  Casey and I played on that X-Box for over five hours.  We played racing games, motorcross games, skateboarding games, Sonic the Hedgehog games, and more.  We had sooo much fun!!
J  He didn't have any shoot 'em up games, but that's okay.  We just played and played and played.  I, not having been allowed to own a single video game in my entire life, was pretty bad, but I got much better as the day advanced.  Casey's Dad called us at 4:45, saying that Casey needed to come home.  We packed up and he headed off.  Everyone soon ended up at the respective boats.

We had a light supper and watched Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.  It is a very good movie.  We have had a really good day.  We seem to always have good days.  That sure is good.  That means life is good, too,

Monday, 4/27/09                                                                                Day 450

After school today, we devoted our energies to help make an awesome bonfire/potluck possible.  Side by Side organized a bonfire/potluck for all the kid boats in the harbour.  This afternoon, the parents went to Side by Side and the four boys (me, Josh, Casey & Parker) went in a dinghy to collect wood.  Priority and Rio Dulce had done the same thing, on a big beach north of Hamburger Beach, and got a ton of wood.  We dinghied up to that beach and did the same.  We went to Oceanside from that beach and got so much wood that it took two trips to the beach and two dinghy trips to get all the wood and us over to Hamburger Beach.  We had quite an impressive pile, between our expedition, Priority/Rio Dulce's, and Sea Wing/Asolare.  The latter got a bunch of logs from the Peace & Plenty gig at the end of Hamburger Beach.  The last idiots who made a fire in the pit that has been here forever buried the pit instead of throwing water on it.  It had to borrow a shovel forma guy on the catamaran Miou to dig the pit out again.

We spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach - playing in the sand with other kids, setting up the bonfire, whittling roasting sticks, etc.  At some point, we all went back to Liberty to get ourselves ready for tonight.  We brought peas 'n rice (Bahamian recipe - pigeon peas; like beans) to the potluck which started at 6:00.  The most kids showed up since December - about 30!  After hot dogs and potluck goodies (for the food was YUMMY), we all played for practically all night.  Currently, it is 10:00, and we still need a shower.  Somehow, these bonfires are always messy.  Maybe it's all the s'mores! J

Tuesday, 4/28/09                                                                                Day 451

After school today, I hung out for a while.  Josh got himself grounded.  That is grounded, plus you have to do school all day.  Ouch!  I did some projects with Dad, such as cleaning/fixing our old, corroded, messed up fishing rod holders.

A little later, we saw Priority, Asolare, Rio Dulce, & Sea Wing all tubing, wakeboarding, wakesurfing, right around here.  We got the idea to inflate our tube and call Side by Side and Pelican over here.  Side by Side has a kiteboard that you can wakeboard on, so they brought that.  We spent about two hours doing water sports with them.  I got to wakeboard and did pretty well.  The first time I tried (see 2/28/09), I got the "get up" part.  Today, I got the "go" part.  I am still only going way outside the wake.  I haven't learned how to carve yet, so I can't turn.  I'll try to get some advice from Priority, Brady, and other wakeboarders in the big group.

This evening, we quit our projects and everything early, and we had dinner and played a game.  Dad made lobster and fish curry.  It was good, like almost any lobster or curry dish.  Now throw the two together and you get ... whoosh ... bang ... double delicious lobster curry.  Voi la!  After dinner we played Scrabble.  Mom won, and I got second.  I made, as we all did, a bunch of big words.  Dad made a bunch of really long words, but somehow didn't get many points.  I'm tired of always playing quiet, serious, strategy games, like Spades, Scrabble, and even Hearts.  We need to play some lively games, like Slap Jack, or Donkey, or Sorry.  Maybe I can get a bunch of kids together to play wild card games.  I'll sleep on it.  Maybe I can come up with some ideas.  Probably not, but what the heck!