After Derek left for the States, the weather, as expected, turned windier and there were three days of rain. Not very exciting, except it was rough starting right up next to the beach (can only imagine how rough it was on the west side of Elizabeth Harbour!). I worked on grading for my online class, and Grant worked on school, and then he'd play video games or we'd watch a movie in the evening. Since we'd had plenty of warning of this weather, we had laid in supplies for the duration.
About the second day of this torrential stuff, people started getting cabin fever. Unusual messages started floating in on the VHF (the marine radio); people talking about seeing pairs of animals lined up near a big boat, other people claiming that a lady garbed in black and riding a bicycle had just blown past their windows... which sparked a contest of people singing like Munchkins. Got to say the guy who sang the Mayor's song ("...she's reaaaally most sinceeerely dead!") should have won a prize :-)
Finally, the sunny weather re-established itself and people started heading out -- mostly north, but some south as well. Walt and Meryl on Flying Cloud and Kevin and Sharon on Timaru buddied up for the hop up to Emerald Bay, Black Point and points north. We had lunch at St. Francis before they left,
"Walter and Meryl at St. Francis Resort, Stocking Island, Exumas, Bahamas
Again I reflected on how it would be great to be able to spend more time with the people one meets cruising -- so much to talk about with such interesting people, and only so much time available with sundowners or dinner or lunch...
Grant and I also got out for a walk to the Exuma Sound side of Stocking Island. It was a pretty little trail from the entrance to Hole Zero
past a helpful sign
up over the hill
to a beach of white sand without all the plastic litter that we found on beaches farther north. Of course we started by sticking our feet into the water on that side of the island:
Grant at the ritual footbath of the island cruiser
Grant watched the waves crash a while
Before Derek left, we'd moved Parallax to a mooring administered by Elvis Ferguson, who runs the water taxi and is also the Harbourmaster for Elizabeth Harbour. The fee is $15/nt but drops to $12/nt for longer stays, and Derek wanted to be sure we'd be safe while he was gone and with the weather coming in, so we paid up through the end of his trip. When Derek mentioned to Elvis that he had an early flight, Elvis agreed to pick him up at 7 AM: that is above and beyond for Elvis' water taxi, especially as it was Race Week and there was a very full schedule.
Saturday at the end of Race Week there was a parade, and Miss Muriel and the others got their awards. We didn't go, but another cruising boat (Alchemy) took this picture of the Police Band with their traditional leopard skin adornments (from Bahamian leopards?):
After his return flights today, Derek met me at Sam's Place (a restaurant/bar overlooking Kidd Cove) this evening before sunset, had a Kalik (one of the two beers of the Bahamas, the other being Sands) and we dinghied out to the boat... which I had moved over to Kidd Cove by myself (eek!) and anchored. Even that short dinghy ride was pretty wet, it would have been insane to go all the way across tonight with his bags. Plus, we needed water and that long dinghy ride really makes us rue the 15HP... get maybe three R/T to a tank. So I had spent the afternoon moving the boat across, anchoring, and then jerry-jugging the water from Exuma Markets' dock to our boat, 10 gallons at a time. Then I showered and dressed and headed to Sam's, feeling very proud of myself for doing all this, only to wind up with us both peeling off our salty wet clothes in the cockpit when we got back to the (nearby) boat, avoiding getting salty damp inside (a very good thing to avoid). Going to do more water carting tomorrow.
S/V Grace, our sister ship, is here at Kidd Cove, with George and Doris -- but Doris had a dramatic day yesterday. She was snorkeling around their boat in a different anchorage, cleaning the bottom in preparation for heading north (maybe tomorrow), and it was kind of bouncy there (as it is here), and a wave bounced her head up against the underside of one of the rudder gudgeons, cutting her scalp open. She needed six stitches, and George upped anchor and started heading toward Kidd Cove in Grave, and again Elvis to the rescue! He water-taxied her swiftly ashore, called ahead to get a nurse in the clinic (which would have been closed) and his wife stayed with Doris as she got her stitches. Doris is looking pretty good today, with a bandage on her head, but otherwise energetic, and she and George are still considering leaving tomorrow or the next day. George will have to snip and remove her stitches in another week. The stuff one gets to do while cruising!
The reason Flying Cloud and Grace (and many other boats) are leaving now is that a weather window is opening up. Today was 15 kts E, but over the next 48 hrs the wind's expected to subside to "light and variable direction" and stay that way for several days. A crowd is also going to be heading directly for Puerto Rico and another group for the Dominican Republic. The radio code for these groups is "Southbound," in case you come across them!