George Town to Spanish Wells
23 April 2013 | George Town to Spanish Wells
April 3, 2013 – HAPPY BIRTHDAY WAYNE!!! Left George Town at 7:00 A.M. – motored to the outside and then set sail – we sailed all day til about a couple of hours from our destination – Cat Island. The winds averaged about 17 knots and we hit a high speed of 8.4 knots. Got quite a bit of spray over the boat from the waves, so the boat sparkles with sea salt. Hoping for a downpour to clean it off. We hit a wind gust of 25 knots, but at that time we were into the bay of Cat Island and had already dropped our sails as we were heading into the wind and the waves were down to about 2 feet so we heard more than felt the winds. We were heeled over quite a bit for the most part. Getting used to it, BUT still uncomfortable if I have to go below to say, use the head. I usually wait til the last possible moment. Our head is on the port side (left) of the boat. This day the winds were at a close reach on the starboard side (right), so when sitting on the toilet, my chest was leaning on my thighs (and I don’t mean leaning over, I mean actually laying on my thighs) and with the boat lurching with every wave it hit, it was a tad uncomfortable (my stomach was in knots for a couple of hours after that) – not fun and then to try and get up from the toilet – brother – actually the hardest part is trying to pull up the pants – it would be rather comical if it wasn’t for the fact that you are trying not to trip and fall while you are being thrown about. When we first started sailing, I had gotten quite a few nasty black and blues – getting my sea legs, now. A long day – leftovers for dinner – shower – blog – reading then bed.
We are expecting high winds and possibly some squalls of 30 – 40 knot winds – we are going to stay put and leave on Saturday. Today we took a walk on Cat Island to a Hermitage that was built early part of last century. From the beginning of the road – the building looked rather imposing, but when we climbed up to it, it was rather small. Interesting to walk around – I climbed up the wooden ladder and rang the bell. Walked more of the island – a large island, but nothing on it. Brian and Adrian decided to check out a coral head and went snorkeling. Brian speared a lion fish, but when Adrian tried to help him put it in the bucket he got stung by the fish. Not good. Adrian was taken to the clinic and given an antibiotic and pain killers and has to use very, very hot compresses on the arm all during the night – the venom is horribly painful.
Brian and I took the dinghy out and checked out some coral heads looking for fish and a few beaches looking for any treasures – didn’t find anything, though when we were walking along one of the longer beaches I noticed a small shark shadowing us. He followed us for about a ¼ of a mile. If you stepped into the water to get a closer look at him and slowly turned away, but once you came back on shore, he turned in and continued to swim along beside us as we walked; the tune from Jaws kept playing in my head – lol.
Our last night on Cat Island we went to a “Rake and Scrape”. The group consisted of an older gentleman who played the squeeze box, a young woman played a huge bongo drum and the third instrument was played by several people – a carpenter’s saw – with the end taped off (wouldn’t want anyone hurting themselves). The handle of the saw is held on your lap while you hold the taped end and slightly bend the saw and use a metal piece (in this case it was a flathead screwdriver) and you tap and scrape the saw keeping in rhythm with the rest of the players. In attendance with us was “Dolphin” and Jonathan and Dorothy of “Egret” and a few Bahamians. We ate fried chicken and talked to the locals. Nina of “Dolphin” tried her hand at the saw – it was a riot – they played a waltz so she wouldn’t have a problem keeping the beat. There was one local who looked like he had a difficult life, but he was rather jovial. His clothes were shoddy and ¾ of his teeth were missing. He showed us his burn scars on his ankles and played the saw and sang – THOUGH, none of us cruisers could understand one darn word he said – and he was a yacker – but you could tell he was a happy soul – could be because he had also been drinking. For the most part, the Bahamians are a rather friendly, hospitable people. Everyone waves and greets you – even the children. Some of the teenagers seem a bit distant (but they’re teenagers). They will go out of their way to help you out if you need it. They all seem to enjoy stopping what they are doing and take the time to talk to you about their island and way of life.
April 10, 2013
From Cat Island we sailed to Little San Salvador – it was a wonderful sail. Brian trolled the fishing line and caught two barracuda – let them go. Saw lots of flying fish. Took us 7 ½ hours to Sail to LSS. Once there, we took a walk on the beach to stretch our legs. Adrian’s arm looks awful, but it is healing and he is not as much pain now unless someone accidentally brushes up against it or grabs his right shoulder instead of his left to hoist themselves out of the dinghy up the ladder to the dock (his wife – oops!) Adrian is a big joke teller – he never seems to run out of them, though I’ve noticed the last couple of days he’s been a bit quiet, so I know his arm is still bothering him.
Dinner: Fish tacos from the fish Adrian and Brian speared with a salsa of fruit and vegetable
Reading: Lauren: The Devil in The White City by Erik Larson
Brian: The Jack Reacher series and catching up on his Cruising World magazines through the IPad
Spent one overnight at LSS – this island is owned by a Cruise Line and is used by the passengers to sunbathe, snorkel, fish, glass bottom boat rides, etc. and they have eating areas set aside for them. The non-guests have to ask permission to access the beach above the high-tide mark. Left LSS and sailed to Rock Sound Harbor which is on the Eleuthera Island – a rather bumpy ride to start – large quartering waves, but once we turned and followed the island it was a much calmer sail. Sailed for several hours before the winds died down - we were sailing at a whole 3 knots – at that rate our arrival time would have been about 10 PM. Late afternoon, finally turned on the engine and motored sail for a bit then just motored the rest of the way. Didn’t catch anything trolling other than seaweed. I lost my baseball cap while looking up to check the direction of the wind – off it went. Brian lost one about a week ago while standing on the foredeck. Also one of our small solar lights went in the drink.
While here at Rock Sound we rented a vehicle with “Dolphin” and spent almost 12 hours exploring the island. Have to remember to stay on the left side of the road while driving or it makes for some tense moments. We took a few side roads just to see where they would take us, checked out a wonderful library, had lunch at the Laughing Lizard – a very spicy jerk chicken wrap. This island is about 110 miles long – one main road from tip to tip - isn’t as trashed as previous ones we’ve been on. Stopped at a roadside stand and bought fresh veggies and fruit.
Nina and I were passengers for the first ¾ of the trip. We were discussing how liberating it was to not wear makeup (lots of sun screen, though); it’s acceptable to throw on a wrinkled shirt; sometimes (gasp) go braless (big deal for me (don’t laugh); going barefoot or wearing sandels is the norm; don’t have to worry about accessorizing; the only jewelry I wear are the earrings, wedding band and an anniversary ring that I left with and oh, and a black hair elastic on my right wrist as I’m always throwing my hair up in an impromptu ponytail.
Bahamian dinner at Sammy’s
Reading: Lauren: The Devil in the White City
Brian: Finished another Jack Reacher series and is also reading the Cruising World magazines on the IPad
Left Rock Sound and headed to a quiet cove – Hatchett Bay (Still part of the Eulethera Island - about 35 miles from here for an overnight then on to Spanish Wells. The sail was rather invigorating – quartering waves and winds averaged about 17 knots. Brian was pleased to not see any panic on my face when we would be hit by a wave that would heel us over quite a bit and rock the boat. I actually did some reading – guess I am getting use the the feel of the boat and am getting a bit more comfortable with seeing how the boat handles the winds and waves. Getting into Hatchet Bay was a tad nerve wracking. The entrance is 90 feet wide, but as you are coming upon it, it looks like the boat will barely make it through. The problem was that because the winds hadn’t died down and we had dropped the sails, coming
into the channel (albeit a short one) was a bit of a challenge with the boat rocking side to side – once through you have to stay on course, as there were rocky shallows to either side of the boat. I thought I handled it pretty good (I managed the helm). There were free mooring balls to pick up (they are not maintained); the first one had no loop so we bypassed that one; the second one was rather iffy looking, so…. The third one looked good but it took us four tries to grab the ball – the winds were so stiff that I had a difficult time keeping Brian on the ball so he could pick up the lines – finally snagged it – talk about stressful. Stayed an extra night.
Dinners: Fish tacos with the rest of the fish Brian and Adrian caught.
Grilled chicken with salad – mango and sticky rice for dessert
Grilled chicken and salad
Reading: Brian: Jack Reacher series along with Mark Twain stories
April 12, 2013
Left Hatchet Bay – going through the cut was fine, but no sooner did we get passed it we were slammed with, yet again, quartering waves. I was at the helm and we were really rocking that my knee would bend so much that I thought I was going to hit myself in the side – this went on for several miles. Finally, the rollers quieted down a bit but every so many seconds a larger one would hit us and send us rockin’ ‘n rollin’. We actually sailed along averaging close to 6 knots and the winds averaged 20 knots – hit a gust of 25 knots. A dolphin swam up to our boat and then under and off it went – pretty neat!! Other than that, no other marine life. We had to travel through another cut – Current Cut. Needed to time it so that we were either going through at slack tide or slightly against or with the current – it’s runs a bit fast through there. We checked the tide charts before we left and were able to navigate it just fine. We figured we hit it at outgoing tide and it carried the boat along at over 9 knots. Once through, we made our turn and the waves were down to about 2 feet, but the winds didn’t abate, so it made for a great sail. Coming into Spanish Wells was a bit iffy as we thought we were hitting it near high tide (which we found out later – not). Anyway, we felt a slight bump-bump, but it didn’t stop us. Once into the mooring field, it was pretty tight to navigate. Spanish Wells is a fishing community and on the way to the mooring field it’s a bit narrow – thankfully, no one was heading out or we would have been squeezing by each other. The mooring field is all of 5 balls. We had called the day before and lucked out in getting one for us and one for “Dolphin”. We were told that the balls went in order of 1,2,3 – 4 was missing, then 5, then S – do not take the S ball as it was near a very shallow area. So, what’s available, but the S ball. We snagged it, but it made us a bit nervous as depending on which way the winds were blowing, we would have been backed into the shallows and stuck. The people on #5 came back after a few minutes and apologized – they were late in leaving – undid our lines and whipped around in the little bit of room we had to maneuver and picked up the new ball.
Took a walk about town – everything and I mean everything closes down at 5pm. It is the cleanest and neatest town we’ve been in in all of the Bahamas. Spanish Wells is a lucrative fishing community and it shows – they take pride in their gardens and brightly painted houses. We could rent a golf cart to get about town, but I think we’ve already walked quite a bit of it. No facilities here for cruisers, though Brian will fill up on diesel while here. I can always do laundry in the ole bucket. Ended up with a nasty migraine, so a quiet evening. Tomorrow the town is hosting a Junkanoo Festival – we will definitely check that out. The one beach that we briefly stepped on was absolutely devoid of shells and most important, garbage.
Dinghied to the park for the Junkanoo festival. Had cheeseburgers and met a few locals. Nothing else going on except a blowup bouncy castle for the young children and a ring toss. The older children had competed in a Junkanoo contest with children from other islands. The Spanish Wells children won first place, so we were looking forward to seeing them perform with their costumes. That wasn’t going to happen til 8pm AND they were not going to be wearing their costumes – too bad – would have been a wonderful photo opportunity. We rented a golf cart (main transportation) and tooled around the island with “Dolphin”. We never made it back to the park for the night time festivities.
Monday, we took the fast ferry to Harbour Island – that’s the fastest mode of transportation we’ve been on since we sold our car. Harbour Island has numerous celebrity homeowners (Mick Jagger, Ron Pearlman, etc.) and famous visitors (Queen Elizabeth and family). Rented a golf cart and stopped and gawked at these multi-million dollar properties, checked out a few local shops and had lunch. As we were tooling around in the golf cart, Brian, who was driving discovered he had no steering at one point. Brian and Adrian checked it out and some very important doodad was missing – you could actually pull the steering wheel out of the shaft. Thankfully, this didn’t happen when we were traveling on some of the rather steep streets. We called the company and they came right away. The golf cart was put on a trailer. Nina and I were passengers in the pickup vehicle and Adrian rode shotgun – Brian and the other helper sat in the defunct golf cart on the trailer. We were given a second golf cart – it didn’t work all that great, but it got us around. The waiter who took care of us for lunch at Ma Ruby’s was of the family that owned the restaurant and he had lived in Boston for a few years. He’s now working at the restaurant and trying to put in a golf course on Northern Eleuthera. Lea (his name is much longer, so goes by the first three letters) is also a dentist. It was interesting talking to him about all of his ventures, the Bahamian life and his life in Boston.
Brian spent the morning working on the boat getting ready for our trip north to the Abaco’s while I spent it prepping for dinner, lending Brian a hand if he needed it and doing bucket laundry – found that my hands are a better agitator in cleaning the clothes than the plunger. We will be leaving hopefully no later than 6:30 A.M. as it will take us about 11 hours to get there. Here’s hoping for favorable winds and a calm sea state.
Dinners: Chicken Salad
Beef stew with veggies and pineapple upside down cake
Fried fish fingers (grouper) with salad
Conch Fritters with salad
Eggplant Parm with chicken roulades (capers & a schmear of anchovy for filling) with salad
Reading: Finished the Devil in the White City and waiting for Brian to finish his latest Jack Reacher book, so I can have a try at the Kindle to see if I like reading on it.