06/03/2010/11:36 am, Staniel Cay, Exumas
A heartwarming drama unfolded here on Thursday thanks to a dog named Rashka.
A call came out over the VHF early in the morning, asking people to be on the lookout for a dog on Big Major's Cay. She had taken off while they were ashore on Wednesday, and despite calls and searches, including a night spent on the beach, her owners couldn't locate her. We were moored near the SE point so we kept our eyes on the shores but no luck. George and Mo, on Passages (Vermont) had the sharpest eyes and spotted her in the afternoon. Then the fine teamwork really swung into gear. Corning (Blessed Spirit) was in his dinghy and along the rocky shoreline in no time at all. The waves were crashing and he was worried about how to get the dog into the dinghy, but Rashka was an experienced dinghy jumper so as soon as he was within a couple of feet of the rocks, and cried out "Come on baby!" she made the leap and landed securely. Mo and Corning both called for Unicorn on the radio but no response, and no one seemed to have the boat in sight. Then Jim and I got into the action and dinghied up to the west point where we could see a sole boat anchored. Sure enough, it was Unicorn, so we left a note onboard. We also found a dinghy ashore and left a note there too, assuming they were somewhere on the island continuing their search. It was Tom's (Cocoon Too) turn next. He and Phyllis were anchored between the Majors and he spotted some people picking their way along the banks. Having heard all the radio action, he figured it had to be Charles and Indi, so off he went in his dinghy to pick them up and bring them around to Blessed Spirit where Rashka was happily curled up on a special red blanket. It was a happy reunion for sure!
That night, in another example of Tita and Corning's party spirit, we all gathered on Blessed Spirit to celebrate the "Return of Rashka". Indi kindly gave us a lovely watercolour of fish and coral as a thank you. Thank you, Indi!
As the wind calmed on Friday, boats and people started emerging from hidey holes. The yacht club did a booming business at noon and we met up with all sorts of friends. Dave and Paula (Misty Seas) from Halifax, and Nancy and Jim (Solitaire) and Jim and I shared a table. Soon, Judi and Alain (Ramha - Halifax, NS) appeared, and Paul and Marianne (Knot-Ha-Gan - Halifax, NS) came along with Tom and Phyllis (Cocoon Too - Tofino, British Columbia). There is a huge Canadian contingent here including 4 or 5 Quebec boats too!
The Captain C came in before dawn and by 11, the stores had produce on the shelves so we stocked up again lots of fresh goodies and ordered a loaf of lovely bread from Brenda. Our loaves from last week have run out and we don't think we can wait till we get to the next baker in Black Point.
In the evening at the beach party, we met up again with Lynn and Peter (First Edition) and Christine and Rob (Celebrian - Bayfield ON), along with Jackie and Chris (Higheeled - ON) and Heather and Murray (Windswept IV) also ON. (Hey Richard! We finally met these friends of yours and we can see why you told us to look for them!) The eats were delicious, the rum punch went down well, and we all had a good time on the beach. It turned out to be in a different place than I thought so I'm glad we went up between the Majors or we never would have found it!
Today, Saturday, we'll move around to Big Major's Spot and tomorrow or the next day will see us headed for Black Point. It sounds like we have a week of nice weather ahead of us. Yippee do dah!!
03/03/2010/10:00 pm, Staniel Cay, Exumas
How is it possible to have THREE cold fronts go through in the 8 days we have guests aboard??
We decided to move back to Staniel Cay on Monday. We needed to be here on Tuesday night so we'd be able to get Charles and Linda to the plane on Wednesday. Because another front was due to blow through, we wanted to get on a mooring ball again, and thanks to Corning (Blessed Spirit) and Solomon (owner of the mooring balls) we managed it. Jim had reserved one for Tuesday but reservations can be a little iffy, and we were a day early so, as we travelled, I called Corning (already there) to see if there were any empty ones. Being the helpful fellow he is, he offered to put a marker on one to hold it till we got there. Without that, we'd have been out of luck but we hustled along as fast as we could and picked it up (my worst approach of the season wouldn't you know) by 2 o'clock. Solomon came along shortly after and graciously allowed us to stay there even though he had another boat coming in. Because we had contacted him earlier we stayed, while a boat that had not called in got kicked off another ball. Good to know!
Alain and Judy (Ramha) stopped by for a visit. We hadn't seen them since Morgan's Bluff in Andros so it was a treat to see them again and catch up on their news. We knew Nancy and Jim (Solitaire) were in Big Major's Spot, and we wanted Charles and Linda to have a closer look at the swimming pigs there, so we made a late afternoon trip (20 minutes in our dinghy) up around the corner. One spotted pig came up to the dinghy, tried to get in and then swam around us grunting all the while because we had neglected to bring food. Sorry, piggy!
After a couple of fast photos we continued on to Solitaire. Oh - it felt so good to see these friends again. We spent a fair bit of time with them in 2008 and kept in touch off and on since then. We could hardly believe that it had been almost 2 years since we'd seen them as we climbed aboard. After introducing our "home friends" and "cruising friends" to each other, we drank a toast, watched the most glorious sunset of the year, and talked non stop until we really, really had to get in the dinghy and go home.
The winds came overnight but although we rocked and rolled, it was not nearly as bad as at the park and we all got a somewhat decent sleep. Jim and Charles made a few runs to the yacht club for water and a garbage deposit. (There is neither at the park) The cribbage games continued - with Charles and I emerging champs against Linda and Jim, and we all spent time with our books. Because we were worried that the wind might be worse on Wednesday, we took their suitcase ashore on Tuesday and left it at Isles General Store. (Wise decision!)
It was perhaps the hottest day of their visit, and even the wet ride back to the boat after lunch at the yacht club (another fish sandwich - my favourite!) didn't feel too bad. For our last dinner together - on our still full stomachs - I made conch salad from the conch I had in the freezer and fried up the plantains left from Andros. These two Bahamian dishes went together quite well as the last samples of local food for our guests. With the sides of our cockpit enclosure securely zipped up and our lantern on the table, we played a few rounds of Sequence - a board game they introduced us to on our August cruise together in Nova Scotia. This time, the guys soundly defeated the women.
Sure enough, the wind blew mightily on Wednesday and we were really glad we had taken their main bag in the day before. Although there weren't as many flights coming and going and Linda was keeping a sharp eye on the skies, we were quite confident that Flamingo would be flying. After a mega breakfast of French Toast (with Charles as chef) and some frustrating efforts to put pictures on a disc for them to take home, we packed the rest of their things into plastic bags, stowed a change of clothes in waterproof bags and headed ashore. Because it was much too rough to get to the Isles General dock near the airport, or even the yacht club dock, Jim ferried us over to the Thunderball dock in two trips. We all got soaked and changed our clothes in the bushes, and then set off for a walk around the south end of the island to pass the time till the plane arrived.
The 8 days passed so quickly, it was hard to believe it was time for these long time friends to head home. We waved as the little twin engine plane took off, and then headed back to our empty boat - getting wet again!
As we reflect on the visit, we're happy that despite the cold fronts and the wind, our friends were able to experience the warm hospitality of the Bahamian people in the Family Islands, and the easy and lasting friendships made among cruisers. We were able to snorkel and swim and walk the beaches. We had a few quiet and serene nights among the rocky ones so they had the opportunity to get a glimpse of the full gamut of cruising life. Jim and I loved having them here - both for the fun of their company, and for the opportunity to share our current life with friends from home.
02/03/2010/2:53 pm, Staniel Cay, Exumas
We've been having a grand old time - mostly in the Park - playing during the days and enduring wind at night - and are now back in Staniel Cay for a few days. Charles and Linda fly back to Canada tomorrow and we'll stay safely on our mooring till this next front blows through.
We've snorkeled and swam/swum? We've eaten well - played lots of crib (Charles and I are the reigning champs!) - enjoyed a few bottles of Kalik - added a board to the pile at Boo Boo Hill - read our books in the cockpit in the mornings and generally taken advantage of the delights of Bahamian life.
More over the next few days when we have to stay still!