Tuesday, February 3, 2015

We’ve been aboard a month now, give or take a few days.  The full moon tells me that’s about right.  A natural rhythm has taken hold of our days and nights and our muscle memory has kicked in.  Raising and lowering the dingy from the aft cabin deck to the water and back is once more a smooth operation.  Throwing lines to dock hands without letting them hit the water, lassoing pilings for a bow tie, inflating the dingy while standing in it and the waves are trying to throw me over…all good.  Making my own yogurt, sprouting my own greens and making my own bread…we’re back in the swing of things.

My garden.  Winifred, this year's tomato plant is upstairs on the flybridge:

We are once again visiting our favourite haunts in the central Exuma chain of islands.  After sitting for a week in Highbourne Cay, reveling in the delights of their 3 mile white sand beach, their restaurant with the to-die-for view and the daily gatherings for sundowners in the dock pagodas, we ventured forth to anchor in Shroud Cay.  Nelson liked his short stay there, playing fetch on the small beach.  By 4 o’clock in the afternoon however, we were all so seasick from the beam sea rocking us relentlessly, we weighed anchor and headed to Emerald Rock, where the consensus was things were much calmer.

Nelson on the beach:


We took a mooring off Emerald Rock in the Wardrick Wells Land and Sea Park.  Thanks to “Stephanie M” for the lovely cocktail hour on your spacious and hospitable aft deck.  A gentle sea swell rocked us to sleep in our boat cradle.

Mooring ball:
                                   

From Wardrick, we moved south to Big Major Spot, close to Staniel Cay.  We passed M/V Vivacious Curiosity as we motored the bank.  Every year, more and more of these super charter boats are sharing the waters that once were the domain of daring, single-handed sailing vessels.  Even in the past fourteen years that Steadfast has been wintering here, we have seen enormous changes in the culture, the geo-political climate and the amenities available in the Bahamas. Many changes are for the better, but many more are not. 

Vivacious Curiosity:






The swimming pigs are still an entertaining diversion in Big Majors, as long as you don’t let them get too close.




This surf sailor did aerial acrobatics for over two hours.  He must have been young or very strong.  Probably both!



We stopped by to check on a previous dock-mate who had sent out a distress call last week. 

It was good to see he had survived with no serious issues.  After spending a night in the protection of Norman’s Cay Cut in high winds, he decided to take a run to Guana Cay, on the outside.  One mile out, his single engine overheated and began setting off screaming alarms.  He shut everything down, threw out an anchor and held on.  Cruising solo is never so daunting as when things go wrong.  A good Samaritan motor vessel towed him to the docks in Staniel and he was able to diagnose a blown impeller.  There was virtually nothing left of it, all the veins are gone!

Impeller:



It’s an exciting ride in the dingy to Staniel when the wind is blowing 17 knots and the waves kick up.  We had waited three days for things to calm enough to make the trip.  Wonderful changes waited to greet us!  The Staniel Cay Yatch Club has renoed their restaurant, expanded the kitchen, built new, modern bathrooms and still managed to keep the quaint feel of the old place intact.  Lunch ashore was a nice respite.   We did have a serious agenda though….

Buz and Batelco:

We hiked to the Batelco office, with the tower as our landmark.  Although the signs said it was open on Mondays from 9 to 4, when we turned up at 10:30 am, nobody was there.  Captain B is looking for a SIM card for the iPad so we will have some internet capabilities at anchor. 

The sweet old lady, Mrs. Burke, who ran the Blue Store forever, has now retired.  Her daughter and nieces have taken over.  Another nice surprise:  a modern, working cash register and updated supplies for sale.  You will be mildly alarmed when I tell you, that modern cash register tallied my purchases at $76.87.  Here they are, together with my phone, camera and quart water bottle, all in this one bag.


Casurina Trees:


Bouganvallia:


For $70.00 we have 700MB or 7 days of internet use, whichever comes first.  There is no linking in FaceBook, no videos, no downloads.  Just a quick peak to see that Home is buried in three feet of snow, there is a new puppy in Alberta, and the Jeep is good fun in the winter too.  Blessings on you all as you survive winter.  We think of you all every day and remember you in our prayers.


I’ll leave you with a peaceful sunset. 


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