08/04/2010/5:03 pm, Buenavista Cay, Jumentos
Once we left Hog Cay we found ourselves moving at a rapid pace back up the chain of islands. Our initial thought had been to to move slowly, but "weather" looms and it seemed better to make one day visits.
We had the engine on for a total of about 10 minutes and enjoyed a beautiful sail the rest of the 2 hour trip. Raccoon is beautiful! We stopped at a lovely beach, immediately dinghied ashore to snorkel and swim and explore. There is a sweet little cove with a sand bar curving around the point. We snorkeled all through the area but didn't see any live conch so we contented ourselves with looking at fish and enjoying the exercise in crystal clear warm water. There were some brilliant blue fish that we haven't seen in other areas, along with the usual assortment of other pretty ones. (How can I possibly be so dismissive of these gorgeous fish?!)
We used our fast motor to zoom up to the north end of the cay to see the blue hole before racing back to clean ourselves up and join Reflection and Dot's Way at Happy Hour hosted by Joanne and Frank on Fantasy Island. It was a treat to meet these folks who have travelled in Guatamala and Belize - planned destinations for us. Joanne's pictures and enthusiastic recommendations have whetted our appetites for it even more than before.
We'd love to have stayed here a few more days, but we had a window for travelling from Buenavista Cay north on Friday so we moved up there on Thursday morning. That was another lovely long beach where we could have spent more time. On the way down, we'd hidden out from a front at the bottom end of Buenavista, between it and Low Water Harbour Cay - a perfect little hideout by the way - but at the time we were immobile and couldn't go exploring. Together with Dot's Way and Reflection, we walked across the cay to the beach on the far side but found no shells or sea beans. back on the west side, we walked the long beach from south to north, thoroughly exercising our calf muscles. The sandy beach was either soft and flat or hard and sloped depending on where we walked. We chatted with Avery who is staying with his father, Edward, at the house on the beach. They have a little pen of goats and sheep, some chickens clucking around, and bonfires going in the back yard. Avery told us they are trying to clear some land and grow peanuts, and that one day he'd like to have a little bar there for cruisers. Another Pete's Pub maybe? Edward was off fishing, and at dusk we watched him row back from his fishing grounds. That was a long row and he is an older man!
Once again we watched some beautiful fish and lovely blue fan coral on the coral head near us. I saw a shark resting under a ledge and I fluttered myself backwards pretty quickly. It was probably a nurse shark, and it was not a bit interested in me so I decided to leave it that way!
We didn't get to see Double Breasted Cay or Johnson's Cay or to linger at these two beautiful places - but we'll be back!
This is our departure point from the Jumentos, and from here on we'll be headed mainly north so we celebrated with a long-saved bottle of iced cider wine from Quebec and reflected fondly on our time here as we watched our final Jumentos sunset in the cockpit.
05/04/2010/4:59 pm, Hog Cay, Jumentos
We have a couple of funny stories to relate.
Jim and I invited Marilyn and Bruce over for dinner on Sunday evening, and encountered a difficulty or two. We enjoyed a drink and an appetizer (egg salad and crackers because those devilish eggs fell apart when I tried to devil them and make them all pretty). Although the wind was blowing mightily, we thought maybe we could BBQ the pork chops, but that didn't work as planned either and they weren't cooking because the wind blew out the BBQ.
Just as I decided we had better put them in the oven to finish, Bruce remarked that we seemed to be sitting differently from the other boats. We all peered out and noted that not only were we sitting differently, we were farther away from the other boats. Just about that time, Glen (Dot's Way) called on the radio to let us know he had noticed it too and wanted to alert us. How could this be? We'd been here since Thursday morning! Such are the vagaries of anchors, sand and wind.
Our company kindly agreed that dinner would have to wait. I threw the pork chops in the oven along with the left over macaroni and cheese, fired up the engine and Jim raised the anchor that was dragging along the sand at quite a good pace. As dusk was falling, we re-anchored - twice in fact, because the first time we ended up too close to Dot's Way and had to do it all over again. By the time we got settled down, the sun had set and the wind was really whistling around so we moved our place settings inside, dined hurriedly on a very un-fancy Easter Dinner of pork chops and pasta (skipping salad and dessert entirely) and said good bye to our guests. They climbed into their bucking and bouncing dinghy (successfully!) and returned home to Reflection.
Speaking of successfully entering dinghies, let us move on to Monday night.
Glen and Dorothy (Dot's Way) and Jim and I were treated to a lovely dinner on Reflection. After a fine repast (chicken marsala, mashed potatoes and salad) and many good cruising stories, it was time to go home - again with the wind blowing and the dinghies bouncing. Glen and Dorothy climbed down the ladder, got in their dinghy and departed. Jim climbed down the ladder and got in our dinghy. I climbed down the ladder and ... almost got in our dinghy!
I had one foot in, and, holding the flashlight in one hand and the ladder in the other, was about to put down my other foot when the dinghy lurched - or I lurched - or something - and I ended up with my left leg in the dinghy, my right arm on the ladder and just about everything else in the water! I did manage to hand Jim the flashlight as I tried to decide how to extricate myself from this ridiculous position. Bruce said afterward that I kept looking back and forth from dinghy to ladder as if I was trying to decide where to go, and that was exactly the case. Amid laughs and sighs, I finally opted to get both legs into the dinghy and let go of the ladder while Jim grabbed my arm and hauled me in. Fortunately all that was damaged was my ego - but it sure made for good jokes for the next couple of days! This picture shows how it is supposed to be done. I declined Bruce's invitation to do it again so we could take pics!!
All our anchorage mates are waiting to see what will happen next! Don't things come in threes?
03/04/2010/10:00 pm, Hog Cay, Jumentos
With our brand new motor on our raggedy old dinghy (see the posting on Phantastic Phil for details of that), we zoomed back from the Captain C to Madcap, picked up the computer and headed for town to do email and make blog postings. Before we left, we checked the chart for the route, but somehow missed the first marker past Pass Cay (also known as Pigeon Cay) and ended up in water that was too shallow for even a dinghy! Fortunately, Louis was cleaning conch in his pretty long green and orange boat, and pointed out the way. Even more fortunately, when we were still casting about trying to find the channel (the tide was so low the markers were lying on their sides and we had missed the first one) he fired up his motor and led the way to where the dredged channel starts winding in through the mangroves. Now that's Ragged Island helpfulness!
We tied up at the little dock, being careful to stay out of the way of the small boats unloading goods from the mailboat, and trudged up the hill to the gazebo to spend time on the internet. But alas!! It was down. It was such a disappointment because we were so filled with excitement and we wanted to share it with all our family and friends. At least we got to meet Pete and Louise (Mei Wente) who were also there, and picked up some pasta, oranges and lettuce at Maxine's store. We discovered the shelves don't look a whole lot different even after the mailboat has reached. She had ordered 3 bags of lettuce and only two came. The only other produce was grapefruit and oranges. But - she had flour and eggs and butter, and pasta and canned milk and cheese, and rice and peas - all the things needed to make the staples of Bahamian cuisine. No one will starve because of the lack of fresh produce.
Things got really interesting on our way home. The wind was blowing 20 knots in through the cut and as we crossed it - even at a vastly improved speed - we got totally soaked. Great waves were pouring in over the side and at one point, I was reaching back to hold the tiller as Jim pumped water out of the dinghy! We could not have been wetter if we'd gone swimming, and once we unloaded the groceries, it became clear that dinner would be mac'n'cheese, because the box had gotten wet and came unglued and the macaroni was damp and all over the bottom of the bag!
We took advantage of our new mobility by dinghying over to Lobster Hole and walking the beaches on both west and east sides on Sunday morning. We swam, picked palm fronds for weaving, and got soaked again on our way home. We sure do appreciate this new motor though. It is a blessing that the part wasn't available to fix the old one. This gives us so much more flexibility in the distances we can travel.
A bit of family news - yesterday was my Aunt Ursula's 95th birthday and she had a big party back in Truro, Nova Scotia. We wish we could have been there, but such things are part of the trade off for this cruising life. We can't be present for all the things we wish we could. I sure do hope I inherit those genes though! My sailing days could go on for a few more decades!!