09/03/2010/2:37 pm, Black Point Settlement
I'm not sure where that saying, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" started, but I'm here to tell you, clean and salt free bedding and towels and clothes sure feel divine!
We were at the Rockside laundry before 8 on Tuesday morning and I filled 4 washers. Marilyn was right behind me and did the same thing. Water was scarce again so we wanted to get our loads done before the tank was drained. Surprisingly, there were only a couple of other people in - we heard that there was a rush on Monday morning and that people were there till 11 at night, so maybe that's why! Ida's machines take tokens ($3.50 per load) and like most of the laundromats we've found, there is a book exchange (I discovered Pat Carney's memoir "Trade Secrets" ) good conversation and, as a bonus here, homemade carrot cake and haircuts!
Unfortunately, the wifi connection was still not working so we couldn't check email or make blog postings. There were a few others in there and some of them seemed to have access, but others were like us - frustrated. After trying and trying for half an hour on both Lorraine's site and the one at Scorpio's, we decided to give up and go do something pleasurable instead. Back to the boat we went, just in time to see Celebrian come into the bay. That made three Bayfield 36's in one little Bahamian bay! Pat brought over some of the bread starter that I had read about on her great blog (http://kolibrie.us) along with her recipe and I'm looking forward to trying it. It seems like such a friendly thing, this passing along of bread starter. It is perhaps another thread in the lines that link cruisers together.
Jim and I took the trail just before the cemetery up to the beach on the sound side of the cay and were lucky enough to see a blow hole in full "blow". A great plume of mist blew 15 feet high, followed by a frothy white spray every time a wave rolled in. I don't remember ever seeing such a spectacular one - and wouldn't you know, I had left the camera behind. After an hour of clambering up and down over the sharp ironstone rocks, admiring the textures, absorbing the colours and listening to the crashing waves, we headed home to clean up and go over to Reflection for happy hour.
Marilyn and Bruce had invited Randy (Mariah) and Nancy and Jim (Solitaire) as well so the cockpit was full of happy people. Their sweet white Maltese, Nimo, made the rounds too, getting a snuggle here and a salty leg to lick there. That's one way to get the salt off!
08/03/2010/2:35 pm, Black Point Settlement
We came across the shallow bit from Staniel Cay at close to high tide on Saturday and saw no less than 9 feet all the way. This was in contrast to the trip in last Monday when we were barrelling along at 6 knots and the shoal kept rising and rising until I'm sure there was no more than an inch under Madcap's keel. As I watched the depth sounder and our track on the chartplotter, and grabbed the paper chart to see what was the matter, I realized we hadn't checked the tide and even though there was nothing on the chart to indicate we couldn't get through, it was sure heart pounding, gut clenching, dry mouth time! Our exit from Staniel Cay was far more conducive to healthy bodily function.
After getting settled, using our Bruce anchor for the first time in a couple of weeks, we dinghied over to see Phyllis and Tom on Cocoon Too. They used to live on a previous boat in a couple of familiar places in BC - False Creek in Vancouver and near the Second Narrows Bridge in North Vancouver. Because we lived in North Van for a number of years, we had fun resurrecting memories of shared places. (What WAS the name of that grill under the Second Narrows Bridge? We ate there lots and so did they but the name has gone!) Cocoon Too is a beautiful Krogan motor yacht, and we sailors enjoyed having a look at it.
Next stop was Solitaire for sundowners with nancy and Jim and a sample of the way cruisers find kindred spirits and maintain caring connections across years of time and miles of water.
Sunday saw the wind still blowing at a pretty good clip. We dinghied over to say hello to Marilyn and Bruce (Reflection) last seen at Georgetown two years ago, and then struggled through the cut at Fowl Cay to go down between the Majors and say farewell to Judi and Alain (Ramha) who are headed north. Alas, they had already gone so we called them later on the VHF to express our goodbyes.
The current was really strong all the way through, with quite a chop on the water so we were glad to get back home and into dry clothes for a while. That didn't stop us from going off in the dinghies with Nancy and Jim though, to have a look for conch and lobsters out beyond the rocky cays off Fowl Cay. It was hard swimming in the waves, and the few conch I saw were too deep for me to dive to, but Nancy is more of a pro and got several (and she shared.) At least I got some needed exercise. (The Jims kept the dinghies in close proximity for when we needed to climb aboard again.) It occurred to me as I was kicking my way along against the current with real waves, what a long way I've come in my comfort level in the water. A few years ago, I would never have done that. So maybe diving 10 feet is something I still might be able to learn to do.
Although the water was cool for here (about 24C), it felt really nice to get some exercise, come back, sponge off the salt, shampoo my hair and feel clean again.
Karin and Ed (Passages) had arrived in the afternoon and kindly invited the four of us over for pizza. It is always interesting to introduce new friends and old friends, and we appreciated their gracious hospitality. That pizza was delicious too. It is pretty high on our list of comfort foods and it hit the spot on a cool evening.
Boats started leaving the anchorage early on Monday morning, and we joined the trail around 1030 after coffee, eggs and the last of Brenda's hearty whole wheat bread. We were glad we waited because we sailed most of the way! We hadn't had the engine on for more than the half hour to move from the mooring to Big Majors, so we ran it for about an hour simply to charge the batteries and then turned it off and let the wind take us.
Those connections revealed themselves again when we saw Pat and Wayne (Kolibrie) waving enthusiastically as we dropped the anchor near them. Marilyn and Bruce (Reflection) were ashore when we got to Lorraine's Cafe and the six of us shared a table at lunch. Marilyn echoed my thoughts about the way we connect, as we remembered our shared hitchiking travel in Long Island, and beach walking in Georgetown two years ago.
Lorraine's little Joshua, at seven months, is an absolute darling and seeing him just added to the fun of being back here. I got to hold his snuggly little body for a few minutes but he wanted to go back to familiar arms.
The laundry had run out of water so all we accomplished there was getting Jim a haircut. Ida wasn't busy so she plunked him in a chair in the corner, misted his head and proceeded to snip away till he had a good looking coif.
We had contemplated doing some entertaining in the evening, but in the end Jim and I curled up with books and a light supper and then sat out under the multitude of stars for awhile before bed. Tuesday will be laundry day ... and who knows what else?
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!!