April 4.

Festival area as seen approaching from the water. Thought we had some nasty weather up in Crab Cay the past few days, but a water spout came ashore near here yesterday.

With the first inch of rainfall the boat doesn’t shrink too much. The rain is usually preceded by some exciting wind and cloud action. And you can always scrub the salt off the deck while getting a cool refreshing shower.

The most dramatic shrinkage comes with the second inch. Our 200 square feet of deck space is now completely uninviting. It’s too wet to even sit under the dodger and read in the thin ambient light. We just hunker down in the main cabin, which is smaller than your guest bedroom.

Third inch. A month’s worth of books read and puzzles worked. Our living space seems the size a pup tent. Humidity soaks everything.

Inch four. Coffin.

Saturday morning! It’s still raining and windy, but we’ve been trapped here since Thursday. We gotta get out of this place.

We motor out of the Crab Cay anchorage and sail southeast for Green Turtle Cay. Ooops. Too much east wind. We should have put a reef in the mainsail. We shorten sail and set for a close haul. We beat past Powell and Manjack cays and anchor outside of New Plymouth by 4pm. The skies have cleared now.

The Island Roots Heritage Festival is in full swing. We can see colorful booths and hear Bahamian music. We arrive at the dinghy dock hearing teenaged girls squealing to their boyfriends, begging not to be tossed into the water. And then… we are on the dirt, and it’s covered with people, people from all over the Abacos.

Fortified by a couple of Kalik beers and a shared plate of grouper fingers and sides, we explore. The history booths are informative. The spin top and conch horn blowing contests are well attended. The tug of wars are friendly, but the young island bucks do demand a rematch from the geezers in the fire department. Bahamian legend Eddie Minnis sings about Naughty Johnny and over-consumption at buffets. T-shirts, shells, art: by dusk we have absorbed all the local atmosphere we can.

We row back; not to a coffin, pup tent, or guest room, but to our full sized boat. We’ll nod off to the distant tunes of the Gully Roosters. And at sunrise the tide will allow us to go into White Sound for final provisioning, and to do some more poking around.

Festival crowd.
Top spinning contestant launches his top (center).
Next contestant is up. He’s good at this too.
These guys can do anything with their tops.
The champ celebrates! Guys in the background are figuring out new tricks for the next festival.
All age tug-of-war.
Conch blowing contestant.
Conch-blowing contestant.
Eddie Minnis entertains.

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