Last Wednesday (1/21) was cloudy and windy. We hung out on the boat most of the day. I finished sharpening the set of colored pencils(72 of them!) I brought and started fooling around with drawing. I haven’t done any painting or drawing in years. I used to paint with oils and draw with pastels. Both are too messy for the boat. It will take me a while to get used to using pencils!
Wednesday night, we had dinner and watched a movie on Lady of Lorien. We also enjoyed drinking Mike and Angie’s ‘random rum drinks’ which involves mixing rum with whatever is open. Tonight, it was grapefruit juice and seltzer–delicious!
We dropped the mooring lines on Thursday morning and motored south to Staniel Cay. I was down below cleaning up breakfast dishes when I heard a thumpety-thumpety sound from the motor. Skip came below to look and found that the belt on the alternator had broken. No biggie–we shut off the motor and I sailed the boat while Skip changed the belt. Pretty soon, we were back in business and followed Onward and Lady of Lorien into the anchorage at Big Major cay. After a dinghy ride to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, lunch and Kaliks all around were in order. We strolled to the little grocery store on Staniel Cay and found some much needed fruit and vegetables. The elderly Bahamian lady operating the store had a small TV on and was watching the US president’s press conference. We stood around and watched for a while. In general, we have found that the Bahamians are very excited about our new president.
The Staniel Cay Yacht club has a collection of burgees (small boat flags) hanging from their ceiling. I donated a burgee from the Chesapeake Sailing Club (one of the ‘rejects’ from an order that didn’t come out correctly). The bar tender said that he doesn’t hang the burgee until after I leave so the next time I visit I can have fun trying to find it. We’ll probably head back there next week so I’ll be sure to look!
When we got back to the boat, we decided to take Bailey ashore for a run on the beach. He’s been so good about using the potty mat but we still like to let him use up some energy chasing sticks! One of the ‘attractions’ on Big Major is the pigs that roam the beach. These are large domestic pigs that someone left there to scrounge the shores and beg scraps from visiting boaters. The pigs actually swim out to dinghies begging for food. I saw at least 4 of them–3 pink ones and one spotted pig. We decided that Bailey would not like to meet the pigs so we chose a pig-less beach further away. As we passed the shore, one of the pigs asked us if we had seen Jim Ellis on Soverign (you’ll have to ask Jim to tell that story!!)
On Friday, we left Big Major with Lady of Lorien (Onward decided to stay) and stopped at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club for fuel, water and to empty trash. Bailey did his usual crazy barking routine when we were leaving the dock. The dock master was laughing at him as he tossed the last line and Bailey caught it!
A short distance away is a little town called Black Point on Big Guana Cay. We anchored in the harbor and dinghied ashore with 3 bags of laundry. They have a lovely little laundromat with its own dinghy dock. Best of all, the dryers were reasonably priced (not like the 25 cents/minute in Marsh Harbor!) I made a batch of painkillersfor happy hour and we enjoyed dinner on Moondance with Mike and Angie. After dinner, we taught them how to play Farkle!
On Saturday, we took a short walk to see the blow hole. The hole was surrounded with bits of seaweed that shoot through the hole with the seawater. It’s a shame to see all of the chunks of colored plastic that also wash ashore. Black Point is a small community of friendly people, most of which probably work at nearby Staniel Cay. There doesn’t appear to be much else for people to do since their primary industry here is tourism. We had lunch at a very nice little restaurant called DeShannon. We shared a delicious home-made pizza with all the trimmings. Having a Kalik for lunch meant that I took a long nap in the afternoon!
It was very windy Saturday night and I awoke several times to check outside and make sure our anchor held. The stars at night are amazing–there are thousands of them. In the morning, we looked across to see that Lady of Lorien was not where they were the day before. They dragged a little bit in the night! While taking up the anchor, Skip realized that the windlass was not working properly. It would only go in the ‘up’ direction. Sigh…something else to fix.
We sailed back up to the Exuma Park and picked up a mooring in a different spot than before. We’re in the Emerald Rock mooring field alongside several beautiful beaches. It’s more exposed here to the South and West so we’ll be okay until the wind changes. We took Bailey ashore and let him run on the beach. Since we never know if we will find a good stick to play fetch, we brought along a nice one from the Chesapeake and keep it in the dinghy. There was a hoard of French people on the beach and several of the women were topless. They’re so nonchalant about it and are probably better off than us uptight Americans!
The big event of the day was the arrival of Merlin. We celebrated Ed and Tina’s arrival on Onward with drinks, munchies and dinner. Their friends on Bay Pelican, Marty and Deb, also joined us. They are on a trawler and we had met them earlier in Beaufort, SC. They’re from Chicago and left last April to make their way to Trinidad to leave their boat during hurricane season. It’s a very ambitious trip–I wouldn’t want to do it. They pretty much don’t have time to linger anywhere. They plan to come back in 6 months and take a leisurely trip back north. I’d rather have my fun now!
Tina told me about hearing of a dog being lost overboard in Marsh Harbor. The dog was found drowned the next day. I had a nightmare that night about losing Bailey and woke both Skip and Bailey up with my shouting.
Yesterday (Monday) Skip and Mike spent the morning working on the windlass. They narrowed the problem down to the switch and rigged an alternate switch to use for lowering the anchor. I’m so glad that they were able to jury-rig it. The thought of not having a fully working windlass for the rest of the winter is not pleasant. We have mostly all heavy chain that would not be fun to deal with manually. We’ll have to replace the windlass when we get back as the motor is very corroded. I just hope it holds out for a few more months!
We all headed ashore after lunch for a hike to the Pirates Lair. My foot is still sore so it wasn’t easy but I made it. A spectacular sunset capped our day. I could have seen the green flash if Onward hadn’t blocked my view! After dinner, we gathered on Merlin for drinks and a movie. We saw Dark Knight (the latest Batman flick). Not my favorite–they could have made it an hour shorter!
Today we plan to move to the North mooring field where we were the last time. Strong winds are predicted for this weekend so it will be more protected in there.
I hope to get a stronger wifi signal when we move and will be able to upload more pictures.