14 April 2008 | Rock Sound, Eleuthera
We're still here in Rock Sound! The wind... she blows.
Jim, Jim, Nancy and I rented a car to go exploring on Monday and we covered the area from Governor's Harbour to East End Point, some of it on fine Bahama roads and some of it on not-so-fine Bahama roads (aka potholes and ruts that provide excellent challenges for would be off road drivers). First off, we headed north, cruising through pretty towns like Tarpum Bay and South Palmetto Point (not as enticing as Rock Sound, but interesting). Governor's Harbour has lots of facilities - we filled our water cans at the Government Buildings on Cupid's Cay, checked e-mail from the parking lot at the grocery store, bought wonderfully sweet pineapples, and then drove up along gorgeous little streets in search of the pink sand beach. It took a few starts, reverses and alternate routes but we found it. A development called French Leave seems to have taken over the beach front and one road was blocked by a gate and another road had a pothole that was just too deep to get through, but the third one took us there. The beach was gorgeous - similar to the pink sand of Harbour Island - very few people there - tiny waves rippling gently in over wide sand bars that were streaked with the darker pink of crushed coral. It felt just as though my feet were being washed with some spa-like concoction of water and powdered stone. The sun was hot, the breeze gentle, the water turquoise, the sky blue. Aaahh - bliss.
As we drove through narrow streets past houses with inviting porches and bougainvillea cascading over fences, we discovered Tamarind - the house Jim's sister and her family rented last year when they enjoyed an Eleutheran beach holiday. There are many houses with rental signs on them and this would be a great place to make a base for some land travel. The chartbook shows poor holding for boats but Jim (Solitaire) talked to friends who had success in the area.
Lunchtime found us at Papa George's in Tarpum. George makes pizzas from scratch and was an enjoyable conversationalist as we savoured them. He recounted memories of the Junkanoos of his youth, and told us of his dual career of writing books and making pizzas.
With stomachs full, we roared off to the south. Once again, it took some determined questing to find some of the beaches. We stopped near Bannerman Town where Princess Cruise Lines have a land base. The beach around the corner was small but pretty and Nancy and I picked up some shells. Jim (Solitaire) steered us skillfully down treacherous tracks to the Lighthouse and stunning beach at East End Point. It was really worth the searching - we were surprised to see two other rental vehicles at the end of the track but when we followed the path to the beach we could see why they made the effort. Limestone cliffs have been eroded to show beautiful layering and caves; the reefs are close for snorkeling when the wind allows; the beaches serene for lying about. We chatted with Rob and Kim, here on vacation and heard from them that the fishing is good too. While the lighthouse itself was not of the picturesque variety, the view was superb.
Several boats relocated over to the western side of the bay where the waves were calmer, but because we wanted to stay close to town we opted to stay put on Tuesday. The wind came up, the waves rolled by and Madcap bucked up and down a bit. Neither of us went ashore because we'd have gotten wet for sure. Jim exercised his creativity in making a wonderful DVD presentation of some of our pictures, while I did my creative bit in the cockpit with my basket weaving. The second basket was far superior to the first one!!
It was much chillier Tuesday night - both of us put on long pants for dinner in the cockpit. That was a "clean out the fridge" success story. Some additions of curry, peppers, tomatoes and fresh pineapple to leftover rice with sautéed plantains and mango chutney on the side made for a delicious new combination that I'll put in the "keepers" file! The night was rough with winds steadily upwards of 25 knots from WNW but the anchor held and we both managed to get some sleep despite the noise of waves crashing on the bow. On Wednesday, the sun was out, the wind has dropped to 15 NW; the temperature was 21C when I got up, and rose steadily through the day.
We'll most likely stay here till Friday to give the swell a chance to drop before heading off to the northern end of Eleuthera and then on to make the crossing to the Abacos. The timing for that is still up in the air (literally and figuratively) since we don't see any point in beating into a strong wind or plowing through 10-foot swells. This is a pretty place with a fine company of cruisers and welcoming Rock Sounders.