17/03/2010/12:49 pm, Georgetown, Exumas
We left Lee Stocking Island at 8 am and were anchored off Volleyball Beach in Georgetown by 2 - after a leisurely trip down the coast and in through the harbour. On the way we met and waved goodbye to Mary and Bill (Southern Vectis), saw Nighthawk but never got to meet them even though their name has cropped up time and time again as being really great Canadian folks, and exchanged VHF hello and good bye with Sundance V whom we didn't see at all this trip. Too bad! We also heard a new VHF radio exchange. A boat was calling the Exuma Veterinary Clinic. The Dr answered and an appointment was made. This is the first time we've heard a vet clinic with a VHF radio. I wonder if any clinics in seaside towns back home have them? It would be a good idea.
As we approached Volleyball Beach, a Bayfield 36 pulled out so we took its place! Unfortunately we were too busy to take note of the name but it wore the same colour trim as the one in Little Farmer's that had left before we got up to that end of the harbour to say hello. Maybe we missed our chance again!
With the anchor set, and a dinghy trip over it with the lookey bucket (clear bottomed bucket that all of us carry) to make sure, we set off to reconnect with old friends. Mike and Kathy (Sapphire) were a few boats over (with a big Irish flag flying in honour of St. patrick's Day!) and as we climbed on board, it did not seem like two years since we spent time cruising with them. After a non-stop catch-up conversation, we left them to their happy hour preparations and went by Cygnus just in time to say a quick hello to old friends Mary Lou and Bob as they arrived back. They were headed out again so we'll visit them tomorrow.
As part of the never ending round of parties and activities that make up the fabric of Georgetown life, there was a gathering at Hamburger Beach at 5, so we threw together a plate of food and headed over there. Unlike the gatherings of a dozen or so folks in other anchorages along the way, there must have been well over 50 people there! Culture shock! After meeting several new friends and some familiar faces, and chatting some more with Mike and Kathy, we stopped by Oz for a visit with Connie and Ken. We last saw them at a distance as they, Star of the Sea and Katmandu headed south from Warderick Wells when we were on our way there from Staniel Cay. Doug and Pat (Beltane) were already there; Peaches and Chris (Star of the Sea) dropped by too and Connie offered a tray of scrumptious bruschetta - with even the bread made from scratch. Mmmm gooood!
We'll stay here a few days to spend time with friends and do some re-stocking of the larder, the wallets (there are banks here!), and the water and fuel tanks. The Music Festival starts today so we'll take in some of that too.
16/03/2010/11:20 am, Lee Stocking Island, Exumas
We finally tore ourselves away from Little Farmer's Cay on Tuesday. We have friends to see in Georgetown so it's time we headed in that direction.
We had hoped to get up to Oven Rock on Great Guana Cay to explore the cave and the beach with Kolibrie and Solitaire but it was not to be. Despite Monday being a lovely day in the harbour, we could see breakers rolling in up north where we'd have to dinghy and none of us really wanted to get into that. Instead, we all did "housekeeping" things.
I got the last few postings up, but I couldn't get pictures to go through because of low bandwidth (or should that be "narrow"?) and didn't have enough time available to answer any e-mails. So - my apologies to all of you! It will be nice if we can get a chunk of time with a strong signal in Georgetown.
Dinner on Monday night was stewfish - made with the grouper Jeffery caught, and with his recipe - well sort of. He told me the basics of how he (or maybe his mother?) makes it and I went from there. Because neither of us used any measurements, it was one of those dishes that I may never get quite the same again - which would be a pity. The general idea is to make a roue of flour and butter, add some fish stock and seasonings, including enough hot pepper to give it a bit of a zing, along with onions and peppers. When that is nice and bubbly, add fish fillets and some potatoes and cook till done (as they used to say in the old recipe books.) Someday, I'll try to get that into clearer recipe form, but those of you who like to invent dishes can have a go at it from Jeffery's directions.
We stopped at Lee Stocking Island on Tuesday night but chickened out of going through the narrow channel to the anchorage in front of the research centre. When the depth was down to inches, we did a quick turn and dropped the hook just between the shoal and the corner of the island. There were three boats out there so perhaps others had reservations about the depth too. When we dinghied in later, the hand held depth sounder showed that we could do it at mid to high tide. We sure wish the Explorer charts were on our Navionics chip in the cockpit chartplotter. It is a lot harder to pick out a route from paper charts, and I have great admiration for the folks who always do it that way. Our chartplotter is great in Canada and the US but it leaves a lot to be desired here. Some brands have the Explorer routes and waypoints on them already. We enter the waypoints but have to figure out the curvy routes ourselves!
Ashore, we signed the required forms relinquishing the Perry Institute for Marine Science from liability if anything happened to us there, and went for a hike down the runway and through the bushes to Coconut Beach. Because we had forgotten to take water and had only our light sandals on our feet, we didn't hike to Perry Peak. We'll save that for another visit. The tours are offered Mon, Wed and Fri, so we'll have to do that another day too. On the walk back we enjoyed meeting Karen and John (Felicity) and were sorry that our paths crossed so briefly.
Once the tide changed and the boat stopped swinging around as it did when the current and wind were opposed, we had a beautiful quiet night. The Bruce anchor dug in really well and reset perfectly when the tide turned.
This picture is sunrise at Lee Stocking Island - so peaceful and beautiful.
14/03/2010/3:13 pm, Little Farmer's Cay
Another fine day! Aiden returned our dinghy with the motor all fixed and stayed for a soda and a visit. This is the first time we've met him, although we've heard others speak very highly of him. Although his primary occupation is fisherman, Aiden is the local government representative on the council that manages the area from Highborne in the North to Bock Cay in the South. There is one rep from here, one from Staniel Cay and three from Black Point, each elected for a three year term. He likes it and says it has opened his eyes to the complexities of getting things accomplished and the importance of working together for the common good of all three communities. We really enjoyed talking with him, and he was very curious about the way we do things in Canada, a fellow Commonwealth country.
As soon as Jim returned Aiden to the dock, we hopped into Solitaire's dinghy and along with Kolibrie headed off south past Hattie Cay to Little Galliot, and then west to where the shoal should be. For the longest time, we wondered if it was imaginary. Then we started to see a line of white and for the next longest time, we wondered if it was in Florida as we grew sloooooowly closer to it until we could see a great long, high, S shaped curve of sandbar. We never knew this existed because we never travel this way (The charts with their magenta lines do not cover a route out here, and we can see why!) We got there about 2 and left around 4 and there was still sand showing.
With the dinghies beached and plastic bags clutched in our hands, we spread out to explore, dig, and collect. (On second thought, it was only the women who carried bags - does that mean we were greedier, more optimistic or, simply more prepared than the men?) We each found some lovely shells - angular tritons, sunrise tellins, milk conchs, sand dollars and small king helmets among them. It was like finding Brigadoon - that mysterious village in musical theatre - except this appears every day, and even though it is a significant shoal from which we could still see Little Farmer's, none of us knew where it was and it can't be seen from the Cay. We heard that David Copperfield, who owns Musha Cay threw a grand party here once, and it is sometimes used for weddings. (I hope the longeveity of the marriage is greater than the place of the ceremony!)
It was altogether a glorious afternoon of sun, sand, water and fresh air, to say nothing of new specimens for our collections.
Happy hour was on board Kolibrie - such fun for us to be on a sister ship - and we enjoyed more delicious appetizers and, along with our dark'n'stormies, a taste of a very smooth Mojito rum (with lime and mint) from Pat and Wayne's cupboard, as we celebrated sundown of another fine day.