Blowing the shell
18 March 2008
This is me blowing our Conch Shell at 7:18pm, i.e. sunset, today.
We have had an eventful day. The triumvirate, plus some dock neighbors (making 8 in all), caught the bus into Freeport and from there another bus to Port Lucaya. It was very interesting to see more of this island. The little town of West End is quite sad. It was always a rather poor town but then two hurricanes decimated the area in 2004 and the town has never recovered. There are many broken down shacks which are still lived in, the stores are little more than shacks themselves and have very little in the way of goods. Freeport is aspiring to become even more of a shipping port than it already is and would appear to be doing a bit better than West End although still not a very affluent community. Port Lucaya was a little different as this is a thriving tourist spot. The cruise ships dock here; there are many large hotels and several casinos as well as marinas. We explored the touristy bazaar which was fun. We all had lunch - at a Greek restaurant of all places - which was very good. Then we got the bus back to Freeport and hit the markets there. It was here that we found our Conch Shell - at a little market stall. It is a big shell and surprisingly heavy. The final spiral is cut off and by blowing in there a deep, resonant note is sounded. For some reason I am able to sound the shell quite well. Tom is only able to blow raspberries; apparently this is because he used to play the saxophone rather than the trumpet! We were pleasantly surprised by the supermarket which was well stocked and the prices were not as outrageous as we had been lead to expect. Even though we really didn't need anything we still managed to spend $40! We did buy two bottles of Rum which are dirt cheap. We were both very impressed by the warmth and friendliness of the Bahamiam people. Even though they are not a wealthy people they do seem to be very happy. At the end of the afternoon it was time to catch the bus back to Old Bahama Bay. We met Sam, the bus driver, as arranged and were delivered back to our respective boats in time for tea.
Tomorrow, we will be getting organized to leave here on Thursday. We have to fuel up, stow all the things that creep out of their storage spaces when we are in port, review the charts and decide on a rough itinerary for the next few hops. It looks as though we will be leaving together but after the first few stops I think we will end up going our separate ways as we all have different timelines for cruising. It has been a lot of fun sharing this part of the adventure with Wind Whisperer and Orion and I'm sure our paths will cross again in the future.