Light and Shadow
24 April 2008 | Tilloo Cay
Since my last update - posted while sitting on the steps of the Administrative building next to the School in Spanish Wells, we've visited 3 more anchorages.
We motored over to Meeks Patch Saturday afternoon and spent 2 nights in that tranquil little bay - once again, all by ourselves. A small coral head nearby invited us to do a little snorkeling and Jim chased a grouper around with his spear. I found some interesting small shells on the beach and we did a little cleaning, swimming and reading.
As we sat in comfort on our boat in the beautiful sunlight, we listened to a much darker story unfolding on the VHF. A fixed wing US Coast Guard aircraft was calling for assistance in locating persons in the water in NW Providence Channel - not all that many miles from us. A group of Haitians were in the water - the calm and concerned voice kept mentioning persons in the water, and it wasn't until much later that we heard him say there were 3 survivors, 20 dead and 2 still missing. It was interesting that he never did refer to picking up bodies - it was always persons in the water. A small thing perhaps but it sounded so much more respectful. We still don't quite know all the rights of the story but we heard from another cruiser that one boat had sunk and a passing fisherman had tried to rescue them, only to have his own boat swamped by the panicking people.
It felt dreadful to know that while we sat there in comfort and sunshine, these people - and there are many more - have been living such an unbearable life in Haiti that they ventured out across the sea in an unsafe boat, only to die on their way to what they hoped would be a better life. The men we talked to on a Bahamas patrol boat said their prime target is human trafficking and this is what it is about. It was one reminder that wherever there is light, shadow is not far away. We listened in vain for updates on the radio news the next day. Eventually Jim found a report from Fox News and a fellow cruiser found a paper that covered the disaster. Such events need our attention. Listening to a rescue live on the radio sure focused my attention.
Monday was travel day despite the lack of wind and we motored almost 60 miles north to the Abacos - entering Little Harbour Cut just as the wind whipped up to 20 knots. It was such a localized gust that it didn't alter much in terms of swell or rough water in the cut - just increased the wind chop a bit. We were amazed to see 17 boats scattered along Lynyard Cay - last time there were just 4 or 5 - all of them unfamiliar. It has been a long time since we entered an anchorage and didn't see someone we knew. It must be a combination of people moving south, and those who left Georgetown before we got there. Having said that though, it is quite easy for boats to be always a day or two ahead or behind or on a slightly different route through here.
We moved the boat to a day anchorage just off Tom Curry Point to enable us to make a short dinghy ride to Little Harbour. Before sitting down to lunch at Pete's Pub, we visited the gallery and foundry to see the magnificent pieces of lost wax bronze sculpture that have been created by the Johnson family. I had visited the gallery on our trip down and it was really helpful to see the production process too. Randolph was a master of facial expression.
Solitaire came through the cut just as we were heading back to a more secure anchorage for the night so we were pleased to have Nancy and Jim join us for happy hour in our cockpit followed by an early night for all of us.
We had so wanted to spend Wednesday exploring the Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park - snorkeling the reefs at Sandy Cay and walking the beaches, but just as it was on our way south, the wind was too high and we couldn't stop there. Quite a swell was coming in through the cut and the water was too choppy to swim. We tried to anchor near the south end of Tilloo by a beach but the anchor wouldn't hold and there was still an uncomfortable roll so we gave up that idea too. We cruised up the side of Tilloo to the northern tip and anchored in the protected little curve just south of Taverners Cay where we had spent a night last January.
This has been a comfortable stop and we'll head on into Marsh Harbour on Thursday. That will be a day of errand running. The water we picked up in Spanish Wells tastes horrid even when it has been through the Seagull purifier so we'll get drinking water and use that for washing. We hope our ship's clock is ready and we'll do a little grocery shopping as well. Jim has had no luck fishing despite having a line out most of the time as we travel. The "honest to goodness fresh from the field" tomatoes and green peppers I bought by the bagful in Rock Sound are just about gone, and I'm ready for a new supply of pineapple too.