We left Seabbatical for a month and returned to Des Moines to spend December with family and friends, and Mark went back to work at the Clinic.
January found us back on Seabbatical in the Sea of Abaco. Winter weather here brings mostly warm, sunny, and dry days with light winds. Our activities are dictated by the cyclic weather pattern. The warm days with steady easterly winds occur during periods of high pressure over the Abacos. Then every week or ten days a cold front works its way south from the continental USA and as it does so, the wind veers south, and then west, and then the cold north wind arrives and it rains for a day or two. Then the easterlies re-establish themselves, and the warm weather returns.
Our daughter, Megan, her husband, Robert, and their two sons, William (4) and James (2) visited us for ten days of perfect weather and great sailing. We visited world-class beaches, swam, played in the sand, watched the stars at night, and basked in our love as a family.
This week while snorkeling a reef in about 2 to 10 meters of water we were thrilled to see a formation of seven huge spotted eagle rays cruise past us twice, just a few meters away. These beautiful animals have a wingspan of about 2 meters and are covered on the dorsal side with many dark spots against a brown background. They have a long pointed tail, and they glide effortlessly along with just an occasional wave of their great fins. They tend to swim in formation, much like geese fly. I suppose they ride the slipstream of the animals ahead. What a beautiful sight!
This week has also featured the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in the early morning sky. What a sight. This morning these two brightest objects in the sky were separated by only 0.6 degrees. Stargazing in the islands is amazing. Especially in remote anchorages we experience a degree of darkness that city dwellers never see. Mars is very close right now, is a wonderful yellow color, and is brighter than Sirius. The milky way is a bright smear across the night sky.
Soon, we will put Seabbatical on a mooring and return to Des Moines for a couple of months. We are eager to see our family and friends there again.