11/03/2010/3:04 pm, Little Farmer's Cay
What a FUN day!
It was windy again (SE 15-20) and it blew right up into the anchorage, keeping us rocking, but the sun felt glorious. Just after breakfast, Solitaire invited us to join them on a visit to Big Farmer's Cay. Did we hesitate?? Not a second.
We beached the dinghy on the little sand beach below Hood's Hill - the hill atop of which sits the geodesic dome belonging to Tom Hood. We climbed up the steep hill, stopping to look back at the view every few feet and wondering how they ever hauled up all the supplied needed for building and rebuilding the dome. The skin on the original metal structure blew off a few years ago, and now Tom is building a dome within the dome. This one is wooden, with windows and doors all round to take advantage of the 360 degree view. We enjoyed our chat with him about his plans and vision for the home and then took our leave so he could get back to work. This time we walked down the trail to the other side of Big Farmer's Cay and enjoyed a stroll through deep soft sand before we took to the trail again - headed for Oskar's round conch coloured house.
Eden Rock, Oskar's home, is just magnificent. He chose the colours from one of those brilliant conchs with the rich pink/coral centre that merges with an orangey/gold edge. The main floor is one big room with 3 sets of French doors that fling wide for air flow, and windows everywhere else - all opening onto a large wraparound deck. A tiny cupola bedroom perches atop the house - again with opening windows all round it. The colours, the thatched roof and the simple but tasteful furnishings made it a perfectly beautiful island haven. A wind generator and a bank of solar panels provide power for all his needs.
Next stop was around the corner to the north facing bay near the cut to the Sound. The sand here was velvety soft and wonderfully warm underfoot. The colours of the bay shifted from pale aqua to deeper turquoise to frothy seagreen shot through with hints of sand and ribbons of deeper blue. Imagine, having such a vista to feast one's eyes on every day!
Once back at the boat, we grabbed computers and headed to Ocean Cabin for a quick check of email and the last few postings ($10 per day) before hurrying home to clean up and host Solitaire, Kolibrie and Winfield Lash for happy hour. It felt a bit like a rush-rush, but it all worked out fine. An hour later we braved the waves again, taking our dinghy ashore at the beach near us and walking down the road to Ocean Cabin for dinner.
Now this is Bahama life!
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?