I just woke up from a short nap after competing in the 32nd annual Georgetown Regatta! Claire and I were part of one of the 26 teams entered in the "Coconut Challenge"!
We were the only all girl team, and our team name was "Mad Dogs aka Mothers and Daughters"! We teamed up with Brenda, one of our Canadian boat friends and her 28 year old daughter, Ashley, who is visiting this week. We had a lot of fun practicing and competing together. Let's just suffice it to say we didn't come in last!
Since I last blogged, we've met more amazing people and had more great times in more amazing places.
We really enjoyed our time in Black Point. It's a small community with only a few cars--no gas station. Gasoline is shipped from Nassau in 50 gallon drums on what Bahamians call the mail boat.
This cargo ship comes once a week bringing whatever has been ordered from cars to fresh produce for the small local grocery store and the few restaurants on the island. It can also bring people. There is a mail boat for all of the islands that make up the Bahamas. There's kind of a festive atmosphere on mail boat day! Volunteering at Black Point All Age School that I wrote about in the last blog entry didn't work out, but we did have the pleasure of meeting the missionaries, Charles and Sharon Vassallo, introduced to us by our friends George and Marianne. They have been in charge of arranging for cruisers to volunteer at the school in the past, but no longer head that up. Charles and Sharon are former cruisers that decided to come back to one of their favorite Bahamas Islands as missionaries with the missionary organization, Crossing Cultures. They train local people to be leaders for Christ.
We had a great visit with them on their front porch, and Sharon invited Claire and me to join the church choir to practice for their Easter cantata, Once Upon a Tree, at their regular Friday night practice time. We jumped at the chance! Sharon gave us the music and we met her at the school promptly at 7:00pm the next night. Everyone else started trickling in around 7:30pm (island time). It was sooo much fun to sing with the choir, which is learning how to sing SATB parts! We had 7 ladies and 1 boy besides Claire and me show up. Mrs. Young, the principal at the school, sang bass!! The lowest I heard her sing was F below the bass clef staff! After practice, Claire and I felt perfectly safe walking down the street after dark, which was pretty alive with people visiting in the street and driving by on golf carts, especially around Scorpio's bar since it was Friday night.
We joined Mark at Deshammon's, the restaurant we patronized quite a bit, for homemade pizza.
Earlier that day we joined other cruisers and the whole community for a fundraiser at the school. The moms cooked barbeque chicken and the two side dishes that come with every Bahamian meal, rice and peas and baked macaroni and cheese. It was a lot of fun.
The kids got out of school at noon, and there were games and even a little dance party in one of the rooms after everyone went through the food line. Timmy was a big hit with the kids at this event! Sharon and Charles were there.
We attended Sunday school and worship service at the church where Sharon and Charles work. We really only intended to make it for the worship service, but since we got there a little early, "island time" made it where Sunday school was just getting started! We didn't step out the front doors of the church until about 1:30pm. Pastor Kevin who is also the local policeman taught Sunday school, but Terrance, who owns the awesome laundromat there in Black Point preached as part of his training with Sharon and Charles. It was a great service!
I would have been happy to stay in Black Point longer, but we wanted to head on south towards Georgetown where we would meet up with Marianne and George, who had left earlier, and others who we've met along the way. I really wish we could be back in Black Point for Easter to sing in the cantata, but we need to be back in Florida by the first of April.
We had a quick over night stay at Little Farmer's Cay. We got there late in the afternoon, and took a short walk through this community of 70 people.
We met J.R. and bought one of his woodcarvings that he sells out of his home and also all over the world in his role as an ambassador for the Bahamas. The government pays for him to go to different countries with his craft. He said he's been carving for 57 years!
We also met Denzel who invited us into his home to look at the hats that his girlfriend knits along with some of the basket weaving that she does...more amazing people and places!
The next morning we were on to the much anticipated destination of Georgetown! Actually, we are anchored off of Stocking Island that is east of and runs parallel to Great Exuma Cay where the town of Georgetown is located. The huge Elizabeth Harbour is between these two Islands. At this time, during the 2 week long Cruisers Regatta, we are anchored among 257 other boats in the harbor! This harbor is an established cruiser's community. There are activities on the beaches everyday. One beach is even named Volleyball beach after its three volleyball courts that see organized action every day. We've enjoyed the Wednesday evening get-togethers for hors-de-oeuvres on Sanddollar Beach,
afternoon knitting on Volleyball beach,
shelling and playing in the surf on the ocean side of Stocking Island with George and Marianne,
meeting A.J. who works in the conch salad bar on Volleyball beach. He loves all animals, and Timmy is no exception.
He introduced Claire and me to his "pet" stingrays, Sasha and Sunshine. They come up and rubbed against our legs just like a big playful dog would do! They're so soft underneath!
Claire's had a guitar lesson on the beach with Hugh, an amazing guitar player from Charleston, SC.
Since it's regatta time (theme--"Cowboy Boots and Bathing Suits"), there are even more activities than usual such as the coconut challenge I mentioned.
We had a blast at the opening night "no talent show" and free hamburger dinner and dance!
We find out about everything going on through "The Net". Every morning at 8:10 there is an organized information time on a designated channel of the VHF radio with one person acting as controller. There are several categories of announcements including: community, regatta, local businesses, housekeeping, general, thought for the day, and arrivals and departures. After "The Net" you can contact boats for further info. or if you're interested in something they said. That's how we contacted Hugh after he got on the net to announce that he'd be happy to give lessons on the beach to anyone interested. One day, I got on "The Net" during the general category and asked if anyone had a pair of dog nail clippers we could borrow. Sure enough, someone came on and said they did. We went to another channel and arranged to pick them up!
I had already met a nice lady the day before at the Regatta Pet Show in which Timmy participated who said she would cut Timmy's nails if I was able to borrow some clippers. I just got on the VHF radio and arranged to meet her on Volleyball beach, and Timmy got his manicure!!
By now, you're probably getting an idea of what a unique place this is. There's even a Beach Church!
It is a non-denominational Christian church with it's own doctrinal statement. You can even join by signing a paper! After hearing about choir practice on "The Net", Claire and I decided to go on Saturday afternoon. We sang in the choir on Sunday morning. It's the first time I've ever gone to a choir practice in a bathing suit and sung in a choir with barefeet!! Each week someone different volunteers to give the message.
Last week, it was a 15 year old girl from the motor-vessel [email protected]
Wow, it was amazing! My favorite part of Beach Church was holding hands at the end and singing The Lord's Prayer a capella as a benediction. They do this every Sunday. As we sang the last part, "for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever", we all raised our clasped hands. It was beautiful!
We plan to stay here a few more days and then head off to some other amazing place where I'm sure we'll meet more amazing people! We'll continue to travel with George and Marianne.
Look in the photo gallery if you want to see more photos!