Monday, March 12, 2007
No one has been checking our church attendance recently. For those with concerns about our wayward life style, poor fiscal responsibility, and abandonment of family and impressionable children we can only say that we do go to mass. This is St. Theresa's in George Town.
Usually, our emails and Blog updates come from Taylor's Grocery store. Here a group of scanky sailors line up on benches and overturned milk cartons. Over the anxious throng hovers Julius, the calm, smiling, and ever helpful young man who seems to figure out every problem. Taylor's is one of the joys of Georgetown. Soon we will be moving on to unsettled or "lightly settled" islands and our internet connection will be gone.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Georgetown is full of fancy dancy boats. They are big, spacious, and have all the stuff. Cruisers know what "all the stuff" is and the rest of you would be dreadfully bored. The eyes grow numb with all the gleaming chrome and shining glass. This boat, however, won the big fun boat award and was worth a second look.
The wind began howling on Monday and by Regatta Tuesday the waves outside the harbor were picking up to 6 feet. Many hardy sailors live by the motto "Gotta Regatta" and would have persevered, but more sober hearts argued to re-schedule the event. Georgetown seems to be the place where refrigeration units and water makers come to die even in the best of conditions. Pounding seas and intense competition could lead to a wave of serious infirmities, both for the sailors and their boats.
Sometimes it must seem that these pictures and words come from a pastel land of sweetness. We can be lulled by the blue sky and sea, only to wake up with a start. Several days ago we ambled our way through islands in the early morning. Following the channel east, we found a small run about crashed up on the rocks, its motors still running hard. The bow was stove in and the steering console was overturned. A dog lay on the floor of the boat, stunned, but without any visible injury. There was no one on the boat and no sign of anyone in the water or on the land. Other cruisers arrived, emergency calls were placed, and a search began. After almost an hour, small work boats with local men appeared. Some boats held piles of conch or chum; one had several silent, watching children. They began their search for the man they knew as a neighbor or friend. When we finally left, he still had not been found.
So much of the time we spend looking at the expansive vistas, sky and sea going on beyond our vision. Then, a glance at our feet can open the door to a tiny world. While walking on the beach near Black Point we found a cluster of 1/2 cup pools with beautiful small shells. Expecting a window into the calm slow world of creeping mollusks, we were surprise to find the shells were a flock of hermit crabs, which bounded through the water and tussled together. Due our poor vision, we could not tell if we were watching desperate warfare or an orgy.
Monday, March 05, 2007
The Land and Sea Park of the Exumas has added mooring fields at several islands, including the south anchorage at Warderick wells, Shroud Cay, and Little Bell Island. In these areas anchoring is either completely prohibited or moved out into deeper and less protected waters. The moorings create a cosy little trailer park of boats parked cheek to jowl. There is even a campground host and hostess, extremely nice people who buzz around the anchorage to share the rules and regulations for anchoring. Always be careful to leave plenty of room for a 60 foot pleasure craft. Honey, somehow we've landed in a KOA (Kampground of Am-Canada).
We stopped at Allen's Cay for the night and had a brief beach walk to give our respects to the Iguana colony. Without the traditional offering of fruit, we were of little interest to them. The next day we anchored at Shroud Cay and waited out a front for 2 days, exploring the mangrove lined streams and isolated beaches.
We left the dirty water of Marsh Harbor and sailed for 15 hours to Royal Island, anchoring on its shore at midnight. The next morning at 7:30 we were on our way through the Fleeminng Channel to the Exumas. For most of the day there were no other boats, no land, and very little sea life, except for the coral heads. 6 adult and 2 toddler dolphins did have fun and games in our bow wave during the afternoon, but otherwise we were alone.
We anchored in Marsh Harbor for provisions and dumping trash. Dumping trash is usually expensive in the islands so the free garbage disposal at Marsh Harbor becomes very attractive as the boat fills up. We stayed several days roaming, picking up provisions, and enjoying good life and food with Lulu and Gigi on Roi Soleil. We also learned a few things. In difficult times, we (especially Maria) will try to remember "Sometimes it is urgent to do nothing." Unfortunately, out best picture of Lulu and Gigi comes from last year's Junkanoo. We dusted it off for this year and really, none of us have aged a bit.
After several days of high winds, we followed Roi Soleil out of Manjack Harbor and its comfortable mooring. To head south we needed to sail through Whale Cut to the Exuma sound. This passage is quite rough in less than good conditions and the seas from the last several days were high. All morning on the VHF we heard the constant anxious chatter of other boaters debating about whether to take the Whale or wait for more settled conditions. A complicated communication network developed for sharing news and consternation: "I'm getting closer, but I can't see anything yet." Although waves were breaking over the small islands, we dodged a few crashing 12 footers and had a very manageable passage