Feb 01 to Feb 08 2012

February 01, 2012

We had a great sail to Black Point. Since it was only 5 miles away and we had no time restrictions we were able to play around in the wind for a few hours before making our way into the anchorage.

There are about 30 boats in this anchorage. It’s a large bay with good holding. The winds are supposed to be anywhere between 15 to 25 knots and climbing all out of the ENE during the next few days.

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Anchorage in Black Point…these are just SOME of the boats!

Once we were safely at anchor, we headed right for the laundromat!

Black Point is well set up for cruisers. By luck, we anchored 300 yards from the Rockside Inn, which is owned and operated by a lady named Ida. The marine and store sections of the Inn are in the process of being expanded so for now she has a limited stock of marine items and food stores to offer. They just install showers which we are told are fantastic. I believe the cost is 4$ for eight minutes – which sounds good to us. The dinghy dock is probably the best dinghy dock we have seen so far. It is built strong and sturdy with lots of room. The laundry facility is excellent – clean with many machines that actually WORK! Ida also cuts hair, so Steve made a date with her tomorrow morning for a haircut. Feb_03_Black_Point_Waterfront_Rockside_Laundry_resized.jpg

View from Diana of Black Point Shorline – Rockside Inn is big white building in the middle and Lorraine’s Café is the white building on the right I

We loaded our laundry in the machine then took a walk to explore this little gem called Black Point. Everything is within a little walk. The Black Point Settlement is a large settlement for Bahamian standards – approximately 300 residents. It has a school, paved roads, three restaurants, grocery store, library, clinic and they even offer free R/O water from a spigot near the Government Dock – tastes great! The people here are EXTREMELY welcoming and friendly.Feb_02_Lorraines_Cafe_Sign_resized.jpg

Sign outside Lorraine's Cafe

Our first stop was Lorraine’s Café. It is a common stop for cruisers as it offers great food, cold beer and free WIFI. Lorraine is the owner, cook, bartender and all around amazing person. The bar is a ‘help yourself” and “pay before you leave” set up. Sounds crazy but it works here.  I couldn’t imagine something like this in Ottawa…it would be a free for all…but I digress. Steve and I sat down at the bar and looked over to see two familiar faces – it was Gabe and Monika from Rodeo. We met them in Fraser’s Hog Cay and also saw them in Nassau. Rodeo is a beautiful Alberg 37 – bigger cousin to our little Alberg 29 J. Cold beer and cruising stories ensued while we waited for our laundry. Steve and I made dinner reservations for 6pm to come back for internet and to enjoy some of Lorraine’s Bahamian cuisine J

We also ran into Mario from Schmetterling - who we met in Fort Lauderdale with his girlfriend Marie-Christine, then later, ran into them in Bimini where we spent Christmas. We haven’t seen each other since and often thought about them. It was really neat to run into him. MC had to go back to work for a bit so Mario’s friend Robert has joined him. They both joined us for dinner…and another beer and, of course, cruising stories. J

The food at Lorraines is fantastic!! I had Red Snapper, rice and beans, vegetables – it probably was the best fish I have ever eaten. I am a vegetarian who reluctantly adds fish to my diet because I’m living on a boat – but THIS I would happily eat again. Steve had the cracked conch with rice and beans, vegetables – this too was delicious!! Cracked Conch is lightly breaded pieces of conch deep fried. It was tender and very yummy.

With full bellies, we checked our emails and got caught up with news from home J

February 02, 2012

I had some trouble with the internet last night which resulted in a very frustrating website experience. Mario let us know that he was able to pick up a strong signal from his boat so I decided I would try again really early in the morning when hopefully no one else was using the connection.

After our 0630hrs Chris Parker weather broadcast, I went to work uploading and succeeded as you may have noticed ;)

Around 0900hrs, Steve dinghied to The Rockside Inn for his haircut with Ida which was by far the best haircut location Steve has ever had one in. Ida took him outside to cut his hair overlooking this!

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View from Rockside Inn - Diana is the last boat on the left

After his haircut, he picked me up and we made our way to the town clinic. I’ve had a rash on the back of my neck since the end of December. I thought it was a friction rash from my lifejacket after our tumultuous Bahamas Banks crossing but it hasn’t cleared up so I bit the bullet and visited the nurse at the nearby clinic. Nurse Gale, who is originally from Jamaica but stationed here, was very thorough. She gave me antibiotics and topical ointments. We were even able to pick up a spare asthma pump for Steve – the total cost 52$!!!! That is including the 30$ administration fee. Drugs are cheap here!

Starving, we headed to restaurant number two – Deshannon’s. This is another, quaint little place – clean and friendly. Over a couple of Kalik’s we perused the menu. Steve ordered the conch burger and I ordered the grouper fingers. Again – delicious!! Grouper is another very tasty fish – so now Steve has to get fishing!! I have two kinds of fish I like now…so it’s time to start catching. The conch burger was tender and tasty too J No complaints AND they had an extra loaf of their coconut sweet bread for sale – so I HAD to get it!!

While waiting for our lunch, we met another couple of cruisers from California; Myron and Dena on a Whitby 42 called “Hold Fast”. They sat down for ice cream and we got to chatting, sharing stories. After lunch, we had planned to walk to a place called “The Garden of Eden”. There were posters about it at the Rockside Inn and at Lorraine’s so we had to check it out. It is a garden with driftwood sculptures...we aren’t really sure. Myron and Dena joined us for the walk.

At first glance the “Garden of Eden” had a slightly creepy feel to it. It is a house with pieces of driftwood carefully displayed throughout the front yard.

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Garden of Eden – first glance

The four of us sort giggled at first not really knowing what we were looking at when a man came out of the house to great us. His name is Willie, the owner and artist. He offered to walk us around to explain his sculptures and show us his garden of fruit trees. Phieuf!

In order to provide us with some perspective, Willie explains to us that his inspiration comes from his walks in the woods where he finds his pieces of driftwood that speak to him. He sees images in the pieces of wood like someone would see images in clouds. So, everyone can see something a little different from every piece.

As Willie walked us through his garden, he explained what the sculpture was so we could see it. Once his explanations sunk in, these weird pieces of driftwood became wild animals, birds and people. Here are some of the most obvious:Feb_02_Garden_of_Eden_Jesus_resized.jpg

Jesus on the cross

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A woman leaning over a wall washing her hair Feb_02_Garden_of_Eden_and_Willie_resized.jpg

Willie telling us the piece he is pointing at is a woman with no head, no breast and missing one leg…admittedly, this one is kind of creepy; I get a survival feeling from this one – maybe from cancer. I think it’s interesting. Willie explained that he found this piece “walkin’ in the woods”.

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This is George Washington – think of the silhouette on the American quarter

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The stone in the back is a Turtle Head

Willie also an extensive fruit tree garden. He has developed a way to crow plants in the rocky coral landscape. He uses the crevasses in the rock as pots. The fills them with dirt and compost then plants whatever he likes. He has a large almond tree, mango, avocado, guava, sweet apple, seven-year apple, aloe vera, corn, lemon grass, tomatoes, a number fruit trees that I cannot remember their names…pretty amazing. I would be very happy in this garden.

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This is a banana tree growing in one of the holes. His technic is so fertile, he planted some clippings from an old banana tree in here and it has taken off.

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A sweet apple 

A sweet apple – delicious!! We can’t eat the skin but the inside is sweet, juicy and mushy with a hint of spearmint. The two little boys in the background are two of Willies 16 grandchildren. I asked them to make a funny face for the camera:

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This is the best that they could do ;) Polite little guys

After the tour, we tipped Willie a few dollars for his time. Thanked him for teaching us about the local agriculture and left feeling like we learned something. It was a great experience and reminded us that seeing something from a different perspective can reveal a beauty and knowledge we never expected.

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Our group walking back from the “Garden of Eden”. Lorraine’s is the white building on the leftFeb_02_Black_Point_Homes_resized.jpg

Some of the homes lining the main street of Black Point

We had one more chore before heading back to the boat – WATER. This is the first time we have had to lug our water. A short dinghy ride to the Government Dock to where there is a spigot for fresh water. We filled three six gallon jugs and picked up a block of ice – good for another couple of weeks.

February 03, 2012

We had intended to go to Little Farmer’s Cay today to their Regatta to watch C class Bahamian Boats race but decided against it. The anchorage there is more than over filled with boats and the wind is supposed to keep increasing throughout the day. It wasn’t worth the trouble so we hung out one more day in Black Point with Internet access.

We didn’t do very much. I worked on the blog, Steve read a good book. We went to Lorraine’s for lunch – conch burgers and fries – delicious!! We met a very interesting couple from Halifax Nova Scotia who are avid sailors with a history of race sailing and enjoyed their company over lunch.

My Kindle was stuck in Nassau so I contacted the Shipping Company and paid the taxes so they would forward the Kindle to Georgetown. It will be waiting for me at the Exuma Market when we get there - yippee J

Tomorrow we will make our way towards Georgetown if weather permits of course. We may just go as far as White Point or perhaps Little Famers or Cave Bay to wait for good weather to cross into the Exuma Sound on our way to Georgetown. 

February 04, 2012

It’s very windy with the predicted winds for the next few days will be ESE from 15 to 25 knots and cloudy.

We left the Black Point anchorage and motor-sailed about 6 miles for a little more privacy to White Point.

We set anchor early afternoon and headed for the beach. I worked on my tan while Steve went fishing. Not much else to report!

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View of Diana at anchor from the beach

February 05, 2012

Birthday Announcement – it is my nephew Eric’s Third Birthday today!!!

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“Auntie Loves You – Bonne Fete Eric 3 – White Point, Exuma” I know he can't read yet but he will some day soon ;)

It is a cloudy day with periods of rain, so Steve and I vegged out with our books for most of the morning. It cleared up by the afternoon, so we took a long walk along White Point. The beach along the point was varied from parts of powder sand to piles of shells to pebbly smooth stones. The rocky shore was fun to hike along but to Steve’s disappointment we will have not found any hidden treasure.

February 06, 2012

The weather seems to be improving for the time being. The winds are supposed to die down by tomorrow which will hopefully make the Exuma Sound a little more pleasant.

We attempted to go to Farmer’s Cay to get fuel and water and successfully made it through the narrow entrance into the harbor only to be told the marina had no fuel. So, we turned around and headed further south a couple of miles to Cave Cay Marina. We were able to fill up on fuel, water and they threw in a bag of ice. The diesel was very expensive over 6$ a gallon!! Fortunately, we only needed 10 gallons J

We anchored just south of Galliott Cut, perfectly staged to enter the Exuma Sound first thing tomorrow morning to make our way to Lee Stocking Island then to Georgetown! Lee Stocking Island has a Marine Research Facility. We can stay there for a donation and we MAY be able to get a tour of the facility then take a hike to the highest point in the Exumas!

Steve and I went fishing and caught yet another needle fish. Poor little guy!! Steve hooked him right in the side!! We were able to free him so hopefully he lives to tell the tale.

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View of Galliott Cut from anchorage at Cave Cay

While back at the boat we were visited by Myron and Dena who we met in Black Point. We chatted for a while when they mentioned they could pick up internet access - yippee!!

We took it easy for the rest of the evening, watched a movie, ate popcorn and drank rum J Could be worse ways to spend the day!

February 07, 2012

We were up at 0600hrs to catch Chris Parker’s weather forecast. Turns out it will be a good day to travel on the Exuma Sound. Very little wind so no sailing, but at least it will not be rough and we can try to catch fish.

About six boats left through Galliott Cut this morning around 0730hrs. We hoped it was slack tide but I think we needed to either wait another half hour or leave a half hour earlier because it was a rough ride through the cut. It looked innocent enough but the closer we got to the cut the bigger the water got. The waves in the middle of the cut got up to 8 feet!!! Diana slammed hard on a wave and made a SMACK sound we have never heard before. All was well though and within an hour or so things were calm again.

The trip was uneventful. We were going to stop at Lee Stocking Island to visit the Marine Research Center but we were unsure about entering the cut as the tide was in full force. We hemmed and hawed, tried to contact the Research Centre for advice with no response, watched a boat rock its way out of the cut and decided to continue to George Town.

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Lee Stocking Island from a distance

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Perry’s Peak on Lee Stocking Island.

Perry's Peak is the highest peak in the Exumas measuring in at 130 feet. I really wanted to do this hike so we will make it a stop on the way home.

We rolled into George Town around 1400hrs with lots of time to check out the numerous anchorages.

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Blue water in Elizabeth Harbor on our approach the George Town

This is a busy place and we had expected a lot of boats. We plan to be here for a few days to provision and get the boat ready for the Ragged Islands.

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Some of the boats at anchor…squint your eyes and all the little white blobs are sailboats!! Over a hundred for sure!!

A little overwhelmed we began looking for an anchorage.

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Potential Anchorage along Monument Hill

The winds are supposed to be light from the ESE moving to SSE over the next couple of days so we can anchor just about anywhere. We chose to anchor close to George Town in order to get back and forth with provisions, laundry, fuel and water easily.

George Town is a little busy for our taste but we will make the best of it to get the things we need done and hopefully check out some restaurants, the infamous Chat and Chill and maybe a dance (we hear they can be a lot of fun).

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Beautiful boat at anchor next to us in Elizabeth Harbour

February 08, 2012

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We headed into town around 1000hrs to check things out.

George Town is a friendly little town that surrounds Victoria Lake.

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Dinghy Entrance to Victoria Lake

Our first stop was to pick up my Kindle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was waiting for me at the DHL Shipping which is also a marine store called Top II Bottom. They really do have everything!! We scanned the store for a few things and made some mental notes to return later. The supply boat comes in tomorrow so the real shopping will start on Friday.

Our next stop was to go to a clinic. The rash on my neck is not clearing up and I need to see a Doctor about it.

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George Town Clinic – in a rain storm – you’ll notice behind the sign that you cannot see the water on Elizabeth Harbour AT ALL. I think this is the most rain I have seen in the Bahamas and it lasted about 30 minutes – a fresh water rinse for everyone J

The clinic is a well-organized and busy place. Besides the few people in line for a basic check-up, there were two emergencies; one with a cut foot and one with a cut hand…like really bloody!! It tried not look as the sight of blood makes me a little queasy.

It took about two and half hours to get through registration, intake with a nurse, speak with a doctor and get my meds. Pretty great as the same process would take four to six hours in an Ottawa Emergency room – or more! All this at a cost of 41 dollars!! That’s the admin fee, steroid, antibiotic and topical ointment – pretty cheap here too!! The bad news is – they weighed me – so it’s official folks – I have shockingly put on 10lbs during this trip so far!! This is a record for me – I haven’t had a weight gain like this in more than 15 years. Needless to say, I will be jamming my new pudgy body into my running gear tomorrow and going for a nice long run!!

Speaking of eating ;) We went for lunch at a place recommended to us by the owner of Top II Bottom called the Towne Café. Steve and I both had grouper for lunch – it is a very tasty fish. A little pricey but big portions – we got two pieces of fish, rice, coleslaw or macaroni salad AND beets or corn.

We went for a long walk after lunch to check out the straw market, some gift shops, liquor stores and both grocery stores. We picked up a few things but most places did not have what we needed but were assured that the items we wanted would be coming in on the boat tomorrow.

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Fresh Veg!! We are having a salad tonight J 

We then visited with our friends Bruce and Jan on Celtic Rover and made a date for drinks at the Chat and Chill tomorrow afternoon.