I’m back with Internet service–sitting at a nice cafe in Black Point. To recap the past few days…
On Tuesday, we stayed on the boat all day because it was another very windy day. At least the front that passed through was not as bad a predicted. I did a lot of napping since even reading was difficult with the boat bouncing around so much.
Wednesday, we collectively decided to leave the Park in the morning and head south to Staniel Cay like we did before. The main reason for leaving is to restock fuel, water and groceries. Once we got out, the wind was strong and directly behind us. After motoring enough to charge the batteries, we rolled out the headsail and flew down towards Staniel. When we got close enough to the fuel dock, I noticed that the docks were empty. I called on the radio and they said it was too rough for boats to come in. We turned off and headed into the anchorage behind Big Majors where there were about 15 boats already anchored. Here we found the typical cruising situation where the people on the anchored boats glare at you as you come in and try to intimidate you from anchoring too close to them. We ignored the stares and found a safe place within reasonable distance from the other boats. Later, I realized that I had our radio on channel 77 (the channel we use to talk to our friends) and probably didn’t hear any snarky comments made to us. While Lady of Lorien was setting their anchor, I heard somebody (who must have declared himself the ‘mayor’ of Big Major’) make comments on channel 16 about ‘keeping distance’ and ‘getting up earlier to get an anchoring spot here’. Oh well, there was plenty of room and about 10 boats came in after us.
Later in the afternoon, we dropped the dinghy to take Bailey ashore and attend an impromptu cruisers gathering on the beach. It felt good to get off the boat! We met lots of nice people from the other boats, many of whom we had heard talking on the radio. We came back to the boat just before sunset because it was getting rather cold. Skip and I continued our game of Mexican Train (dominoes.) After all of the discussions over the ‘correct’ rules, we actually read our rule brochure and played the ‘correct’ way. It turns out that you’re supposed to play as many of your tiles on your own train in your first turn instead of playing one at a time. Also, the rules say that more than one Mexican Train can be started. There’s nothing said about the 20 points for a blank. It makes for a much faster, shorter game and, I think, more fun!
The evening was windy and the boat rocked and rolled. At one point, I took an extra pillow and braced myself against it to stop rolling in bed. Neither of us got much sleep. Skip got up early to listen to the weather report on SSB. It doesn’t sound too great. It’s supposed to stay windy and cold for the next few days and it doesn’t look like calm, warm weather will come in for at least the next week! At least the wind will clock around to NE where we will be protected in the lee of the island.
Thursday, all of us decided to dinghy into Staniel Cay to fill up some jerry cans (water and fuel) and get groceries. It’s about a 10 minute dinghy ride—down wind on the way over which wasn’t bad at all. A short walk to the grocery store found little there that was little appealing in the way of fresh food. We stopped at another store and found a few bits of vegetables and fruit. I bought some plantains to experiment with. I also grabbed the last bag of romaine lettuce and shared it with Angie and Joe. The lady who bakes fresh bread said that her yeast was rising slowly today because of the cool weather. We bought some white bread which was all she had and will stop back tomorrow for more.
I bought more minutes for our Bahamian phone and called my mother to wish her a happy birthday– her 80th! I felt bad not being there but Alan had just visited and Judy was flying in for the weekend.
Back at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, it was close to lunch time so we couldn’t resist the hamburgers, french fries, onion rings and beer! I did find the CSC burgee that I donated the last time we were here. Getting ready to go back to the boat, we donned our foul weather gear. The ride upwind was wet! Good thing we brought the ‘Elliotts’. (Our friend warned us to make sure we bring plenty of plastic bags to keep electronics dry!) We were so full from lunch that we only had some tea later in the day as we continued our game of Mexican Train.
Friday, we left Big Majors and stopped at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club dock for fuel and water. Since the wind was coming from the North and East, it was safe to come into the docks. It was still a little exciting getting there as the current is strong and there is a shoal very close to the dock. It was a short trip from there to Black Point where we anchored in the lee of the hills. Ed and Tina invited everyone over to Merlin for afternoon tea. It’s strange to find warm drinks comforting in the Bahamas but it was chilly!
Angie served a super delicious meal on Lady of Lorien. She made a beef roast in her pressure cooker (must get one of those!) with a tangine style sauce. Mike made random rum drinks using up his bottle of 151 proof rum—strong stuff. We watched another good movie. It seems like all of the movies starring Judy Dench are good.
Saturday was wash day!! We slept in this morning. It must have had something to do with the strong rum drinks last night. The wind was still blowing hard (will it ever stop???) We dragged our 3 large bags of laundry ashore—4 loads worth. It will be so nice to have clean sheets. The owner of the laundry is named Ida and she is very nice. She also cuts hair and I may opt for a trim on Monday. Coming back to the boat in the dinghy, we got soaked! Good thing we put the clean laundry in big garbage bags. After lunch, I got busy rummaging through our storage bins. I needed to find the plastic wrap which, according to my provisioning records, was in box 9. Darn, that’s the one all the way in the back of our ‘garage’. It was a good opportunity to pull out some things we’ve used up—granola bars, oatmeal and crackers.
I also straightened out our clothing locker. We took way too many clothes. Even if I wanted to wear something different every day, there would be no place to keep all of the dirty clothes! So I tend to wear a few things until they get too funky. For those who have never lived on a boat, this probably sounds horrifying but it’s amazing how easily you can fall into a totally different mindset. I rearranged clothing and took some of the things I was tired of wearing (and seeing Skip wear) and put them on the bottom of the locker. Now we have all ‘new’ stuff to wear!
In the evening, Ed and Tina picked us up drinks aboard Onward before heading to the dock for dinner at Lorraine’s café. Black Point is a very cruiser-friendly town. All of the people welcome cruisers and appreciate us spending a little of our money to support their community. Lorraine served a buffet dinner comprised of local foods. It was like having a home-cooked meal. We saw the CSC burgee from Seaquel (George and Julie) hanging in the restaurant and added our boat card to the wall containing hundreds of cards from visiting boaters. The ride back to the boat was wet! Luckily, we brought along our foul weather gear and stayed relatively dry.
Sunday, we took Bailey ashore to a small beach that was downwind from the boat and rather protected. He loves running and fetching sticks and I feel bad when he’s stuck on the boat all day. There were a few derelict boats resting on the beach and a small cabin in the trees. After a while, a man came out of the cabin and gave us a friendly greeting.
Packing some lunch items, we rode ashore with Joe to join the group for a walk. We wanted to find the beach at Little Bay but without a map, it was challenging. We did find the airport—one small plane left and an unfinished terminal building. The landscape is littered with partially built homes made of cinder blocks and cement. The unfortunate projects that used salt water in the cement are rusting and falling apart. The most interesting site was the Garden of Eden. A man displays a large collection of driftwood in his yard and can explain what he sees in the shapes. Some look like dragons, animals and, of course, the rare Abe Lincoln or 2.
Eventually we gave up on the quest for Little Bay and ate lunch before heading over to the blow hole to see if it was spouting. On the way we could see a squall line approaching. Only a sprinkle reached us on land. In the evening, Tina served a delicious chili on Merlin. Joe provided fresh baked bread, Angie make a bread pudding for dessert and I provided a salad—yummy!
Now we’re up to date! It’s Monday and I’m happy to read email and update my blog. I may still get a haircut later. Weather looks like it will finally break on Wednesday afternoon. Enough already with the strong wind and chilly temperature!