Batteries, Wind and Flexible Schedules
13 December 2007 | Green Turtle Cay, Abacos
Along with blissful weather, views to soak right into our cellular memories, and extrovert-satisfying conversations, Wednesday brought continuing frustrations with the batteries, and a minor change of plans for us.
We had planned to explore more of Green Turtle Cay, and sail around the Cays north of the Whale while we waited for a sea state that would give us a comfortable passage through there. We would move on to Hopetown, leaving the boat there when we flew to Nova Scotia for Christmas with the family. We seem to be moving in Island time though, because everything we do takes about three times as long as we expect. This is partly because we keep meeting interesting people and stopping to chat- and the luxury of being able to do that is almost beyond belief! - partly because of wind, and boat related issues.
On Wednesday, we trekked up the hill to ATC - the Abaco Telephone Company- to get a new sim chip for our cell phone, stopped at Sid's to get a calling card to use at payphones, and dinghied to Black Sound to check on possible moorings. I woke up in the night thinking that I wanted as much flexibility as possible in getting to Nova Scotia for Christmas (or before if it seemed necessary), and this would provide it.
The result of the day's efforts was that we now have a mooring rented in Black Sound for a month. Kevin MacIntosh of the Other Shore Club was most helpful in finding one for us, and at a most reasonable fee. This means that we do not have to be dependent on the weather or the batteries to move further south as we had originally planned. If we need to leave early - the boat has a home.
With that done, we were free to explore some more, so I went to the local Albert Lowe Museum to learn a bit about the Loyalist settlers. It is so interesting to see that Loyalists came here just as they did to Nova Scotia. The furniture in the house is familiar as are many names - Lowe, Russell, Curry, Christie, Saunders. There is a charming sculpture garden on Parliament Street with busts of men and women who have contributed to the life and times of this Cay. The population here is comprised of blacks and whites - probably because of this heritage.
I visited the Library to check out the excellent selection of books for loan or trade. There are shelves and shelves of paperbacks available for a one-to-one trade, and the librarian said if I am planning to be in the area for awhile, I can sign up for lending privileges.
It is so much fun to wave to the folks in golf carts as they rattle by - some with tourists, and some with locals. We've caught rides on a few of them as we walk the roads too. The children all wave and say hello - whether they are dressed in their crisp school uniforms, or their casual wear. Jim laughed that the only fellows wearing ties around here are the young boys!
We took a late afternoon walk to the beach on the Atlantic side of the island where we marveled at the colour of the water and let the waves soothe our busy minds. Even at dusk when the sky was more violet and grey, the water was brilliant green kissed with whitecaps. The sand under our feet was powdery white - and is reported to be good searching grounds for sand dollars although we were not so lucky on that particular walk.
We met up with Peter and Gail on Jabiru - a lovely Cabo Rico anchored next to us, and with Tom and Jan, Dillon and Sarah on Ripples - the huge catamaran at the mooring next to the one we'll eventually tie ourselves to. In the evening, we dinghied across the brisk waves to Sundowners - a beachfront bar with pool table and loud music where we enjoyed a beer while Brian kindly unlocked our phone and set us up with our new Bahamian phone number.
Thursday brought more calls to Nova Scotia to check on Mum - she is having a few low days - not eating as much as we'd like to see, still suffering from some infections and seeming pretty tired. Dad is spending lots of time with her and I managed to find out bits of information in calls to him and to the hospital. (Regarding calls - when I have wifi - they cost 2 cents a minute on Skype. Wifi however has been very sketchy here. A $10.00 calling card for the payphone gave me 20 minutes. Local air time on the cell phone is 31 cents, with another 50 some cents per minute for long distance.)
The Liquor Store beckoned us for lunch again - conch salad for me this time- with a dash of hot sauce -mmmm. There must be a dozen kinds of hot sauce in the array of bottles there. John - on the stool next to mine - recommended the chocolate cake - and he was right!
The streets were places for fascinating conversations with Beep and Ed of Midwatch, (and a purchase of one of Beep's lovely seaglass necklaces) and Kelly, Debra and their daughters, Danielle and Kristin of Kwitcherbitchin. We watched the big Belize City cargo boat loaded with with diesel tanks maneuver its way in and out of the harbours, as well as the Nassau boat carrying stock for the stores in town. We love being able to see this process. As flats and boxes are unloaded, merchants can be seen checking over lists, and little forklifts trundle loads up and down the streets to the back doors of buildings.
We topped off the day by dinghying to White Sound to say farewell to Strathspey. Mary and Blair are planning to leave on Friday along with a whole fleet of other boats that have been waiting here for weather that allows them to move further south, and it will be a couple of months before we see them again. On our ride back, we stopped by to enjoy a visit and lots of laughs with Joel and Kalin on Achates II - just back from a fine couple of days at Manjack.
The downside of the day was that we couldn't follow our plan to go back to Manjack because of the wonky batteries, but we have George (from Roberts Marine) lined up (we hope) to do some work on them tomorrow. The upside is that this is a beautiful area with beautiful people and we are content to stay in the vicinity now and move on after Christmas. We just want the darned batteries working so we can move around a little!