Discovering Hidey Holes and Making Friends
31 March 2010 | Raccoon Cay
Beth / hot but not as sticky
Because Chris Parker warned of a coming front, we thought it prudent to tuck in behind Buenavista rather than anchor along the long western beach. The waves rolling in there would mean we couldn't row our inflatable dinghy ashore even if the anchorage wasn't too uncomfortable. Both the Explorer chart and Steve Pavlidis' book mentioned that the area between the south-eastern shore of Buenavista and Low Water Harbour Cay is good for a front so that's where we headed. Pavlidis recommends going up as far into the narrow as possible, and since we were the first boat in, we did just that, stopping opposite the needle-less causurina tree on the little beach, and tucked right up close between the two cays. The bottom was a mix of rock and sand, and we had to wait till slack tide for Jim to swim over the anchor for a visual check, but when we backed on it we didn't go anywhere.
The current was really strong on both ebb and flow so although we weren't rocking, we didn't feel comfortable going ashore. At least dishes and glasses and everything that wasn't attached or placed on a nonskid surface didn't go sliding around like the night before! We napped during the afternoon, and I worked on a new basket, and we stepped up our alertness level in preparation for the front that was to pass through about 3 am. Dot's Way anchored south of us, and in the evening we saw the masts of Heart's Desire and Always Saturday (the two boats that had been anchored on the western shore) move along the cay, round the corner and anchor out in the wider part of the bay. It was a "good" front in that, although the wind clocked around and we were exposed to the west for a brief period, wind velocity never exceeded 15 - 18 knots, and we were really well snugged in.
It had been so hot and humid that it was difficult to sleep so we were happy that the passing of the front also brought a freshening of the air.
On Tuesday morning, we started out again on our southward journey toward Duncan Town and hopes of a motor- fix, but decided that we wouldn't make Hog Cay at a suitable tide time, so we made the fortunate decision to tuck into the little bay between Raccoon and Nairn Cays. Once again, the wind and waves made the western anchorage of Raccoon undesirable.
This hidey hole brought us two happy encounters. First of all, Bruce (Zingara) was here. We had met him briefly a couple of times before - in the laundry at Black Point in 2008 and at Vero Beach this trip when he gave Jim a lift back from getting his propane tank filled - but hadn't had a chance to spend any time with him. Bruce came by to say hello, heard about out outboard trouble, and in the best of cruiser tradition, said, "I know a thing or two about motors. Let's have a look!" We hoisted it into the cockpit and he and Jim spent the next couple of hours tearing it apart and discovering the problem. Unfortunately, the fix needed new parts, and that's where the next encounter happened. We had just settled back with icy beers in hand when a fast, open speed boat came around the corner. We exchanged greetings with the three fellows on board (from Duncan Town) and said we were headed in that direction. Bruce asked if they knew anyone there who might be able to fix the outboard, and Phil instantly understood the problem, saying that it was a weakness of the Mercury four strokes. He took the part number, said he'd check on availability and could probably get his sister to put it on the mailboat in Nassau and get it here on Saturday! With phone numbers exchanged, we waved farewell.
Bruce, Jim and I dined on a boilfish dinner (hogfish, potatoes, onions cooked together in a broth with limes and garlic.) It was tasty and the juice was good sopped up with home made bread, but I think I still prefer hogfish panfried. I'll use snapper next time I think, and add some other vegetables. Conversation was wide ranging and happy, and Bruce has been encouraging us to take in the Family Island Regatta in Georgetown. We'll see!
Zingara headed off toward Water Cay and Madcap set out for South Side Bay on Ragged Island on Wednesday morning. Off to the next happy encounters! And perhaps - fingers crossed - a repaired outboard motor!