Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Bahamas

Still sitting off Rose Island - watching boats come and go. There is a magnificent eagle ray that calls the cove where we're anchored home. He is swimming around and leaps clear out of the water quite often making a big splash. Very cool to see.

Michael did get the water maker working again as we crossed the Bahama Bank - so we are able to make fresh water. It was a marine mystery that he solved. It seems when the boat is moving fast, not enough water comes in through the through-hull (a hole in the boat that can be opened or closed) to feed the pumps. When we slowed down and drifted - it worked fine. This will have to be solved because the best time to make water is when underway!

Now a little lesson on the Bahamas for Ms. Gifford's class in Tennessee. The Bahamas are a group of islands and cays (pronounced keys) - in fact there are about 700 islands in the chain spread over almost 700 miles of ocean and surrounded by 900 square miles of coral reefs. The surrounding ocean is very deep - plunging to 10,000 feet within sight of land. That's the Atlantic and Florida Gulf Stream side. The water within the Bahamas shores averages 10-30 feet over much of the area. The land
however is quite low - only 206 feet at its highest point.

The difference between islands and cays is simple - size. Cays are small, low-lying islands, mostly sand on a limestone- coral base. The word comes from the Spanish "cayo."

In 1492, Christopher Columbus made his first landfall in the New World in the Bahamas. The indigenous island people were the Arawaks who spoke Taino and the peaceful Lucayans. The Spanish explorers unfortunately wiped out these natives. After the explorers came the buccaneers or pirates who used the islands to attack merchant ships and then hide their bounty. Then the English came as plantation owners. Plus many Loyalists came from the newly formed United States after the War of Independence
ended. The Bahamas became an independent nation in 1973 after 300 years of British rule.

Tourism is the big industry…and by all the boats here and the cruise ships we watched coming in - we believe that's true!

No comments:

Post a Comment