Saturday, March 5, 2011

Feb. 22- 28, 2011 (Week 21, Day 141-147)

Tues. Feb. 22, 2011 (Week 21, Day 141): Destination: Highborne Cay to Rock Sound, Eleuthera Departure: 0700 hrs. Arrival: 1435 hrs. Mileage: Weather: sunny & warm (25C) & some clouds Winds: ESE 8-13K with 1 ft. seas & insignificant swells; decreasing & shifting to S to W at sunset, then NE & flat calm
A 0600 hrs. start to the day. A quick listen to CP at 0630 hrs. making sure there would be no sudden weather & sea changes. I expected many boats on the move today as the weather was predicted to moderate throughout the Bahamas, although still higher winds in the SE Bahamas. Despite near mid low tide, thus current against us existing south from the Bahamas Bank through Highborne Cut to the Exuma Sound, no problems encountered. The sails were set, engine revs were set at 1900 RPM for charging purposes & we were moving along at 5-6K from the crystal clear shades of turquoise into deep cobalt blue water. Fifteen miles out into the Exuma Sound we lost sight of the Exumas; 1030 hrs. we caught sight of Eleuthera. We required 4 waypoints starting from Powell Point to maneuver around shallows & coral heads to reach the large anchorage of Rock Sound. We set the anchor down in sand in 8-9 ft. water & 80 ft. of chain; the water was a brilliant aqua colour but translucent. Once settled & motor back on dinghy, we were off to shore where we walked about part of the settlement to get our bearings ie laundry facilities, shops, groceries, medical clinic. It was evident again of a bird population, their singing & actually visible. We noticed more boats had moved into the anchorage on our return. Sunset occurred behind part of the island of Eleuthera but the sky was picturesque all the same. Star filled night sky. Lots of moisture in the air & an odour in the air that smells faintly of urine.
FYI: New laundromat by St. Anne’s Catholic Church--> 0900-1900 hrs. Mon. through Sat. & Sun. 0630-1100 hrs. then 1530-1900 hrs. --> 5 washers, 2 dryers= $3.00 per load OR via Dingle’s where you drop it off one day & pick up the next for the same price
Clinic: nurse 0900-1500 hrs. each day & doctor on Wed. & Fri.
Wed. Feb. 23, 2011 (Week 21, Day 142): Destination: Rock Sound Weather: sunny & quite warm (25C), a few fair weather clouds, lots of moisture on the windows & the deck Winds: ENE to NE <5K
The day started off normal; listening to CP at 0630 hrs., Graeme utilizing the moist windows to clean off the some salt, readied the dirty laundry, washed the floors & dinghied the laundry into Dingle’s drop off laundry service. Larry dropped Lynn & I off at the wharf & we slowly walked to the clinic for someone to look at Lynn’s abrasion suffered 12 days ago, knowing that some loose skin needed to be debrided. We arrived soon after 0900 hrs. & then the day became unique, unusual, bizarre, a different experience to say the least. We registered, paid the $30.00 fee then sat in the waiting area. The waiting area was the center of the building with a T.V. & chairs; doctor’s office, treatment room, nurse’s room, dentist office, W.R., assessment room & registration were around the periphery. Now, there were few of us already seated; we were handed a card with a number on it according to our arrival; Lynn was #4 which made sense. We observed people coming & going, in & out of different rooms including the staff, nurses as well as ?other staff members. About 1030 hrs. a nurse called us to the assessment room & took Lynn’s weight, BP, age & purpose of her visit. She asked us to return to the waiting room, that the doctor prefers to see all out-of-country patients & that he was expected to arrive at 1100 hrs. We said we will wait outdoors where there were seats, like overflow seats. The parking lot was full. People continued to arrive & depart, walk outside & walk back in. A scruffy, unkept Bahamian male, walked out, sat smoking a cigarette & started talking aloud & gently making comments to others (born in cat island you know), then moved across the street & sat in scrub bushes at the base of a palm tree in the shade; later when indoors he sat by the T.V. that now was blarring with death notices, birthday & anniversary wishes that continued to repeat & suddenly this man got up & danced; we later found out he suffers from schizophrenia. A another Bahamian man had a sick youngster in his arms that had been sick for 3 days with a cold, had not eaten or drank & had lost weight & appeared to have a fever. A young Bahamian lady had an earache & a swollen side of her face--> something about a chicken bone. A young mother arrived with her daughter that had a cast on her arm applied by the doctor last evening & who now needed a letter to fly to Nassau for an xray of the child’s arm. 1105 hrs. & Dr. Smith arrived. Near noon we decide to return inside. Now there was a young Bahamian male drinking a rum punch from a can & kissing 2 rum mickeys & walking in & out of rooms. A grandfather & his granddaughter with #2 card sitting in the 1st seat of row one finally was called into the doctor’s office. The poor sick youngster, coughing in the waiting room, was asked to see the doctor next, then was taken to the treatment room, given an aerosol breathing treatment & an IV for rehydration. The doctor was in & out of his office, treatment room & assessment room. A Bahamian male who had arrived after us & who had been sitting behind us walked out of the assessment room behind the doctor then sat down--> how did he get in there & who called him? A mother with her son, obviously dressed in a school uniform had been chatting to all around; she stood up when he had left his office for the assessment room & said she would block the doctor’s way to return to his office because her son needed to be seen next & get back to school; he sat in the empty 1st seat of row one & when the doctor’s office door opened they entered. Lynn & I just looked at each other, making light of all the shenanigans & laughed then got back to watching the walking in & out of rooms of staff, often interrupting the doctor, the walking in & out of general public sometimes not even knowing where they came from. It was now after 1300 hrs. I tapped the young lady who was #3 on the shoulder & sitting in seat 3 of row 2 & we said jokingly that she was next & maybe she should seat in 1st seat, row 1; we all laughed. Lynn got called & the doctor asked the pertinent questions; he stated his intentions & proceeded to spray & inject local anaesthetic to the wound, then debrided it & applied 4 sutures to an area of the wound that continued to bleed, applied some antibiotic cream, suflatulle, a gauze dressing. We were done with instructions to return Fri. for a dressing change. We left at 1410 hrs. with a receipt for the $30.00 paid! Perhaps I have not given the whole scene justice; one really had to be there to see the humour of apparent organized chaos. I wonder what Fri. will bring? A delicious late lunch (conch fritters, cracked conch with potato wedges & salad) at a lovely restaurant north of the government dock called 4 Point Marina Bar & Grill. Home for an hour then happy hour for all of us in the anchorage on ‘The Big Catsgy’; most were moving a little further north tomorrow. Another lovely sunset, very calm night with star filled sky & barking dogs (continued for most of the night) on shore. Not hungry for supper. Tomorrow is Larry’s birthday & we are renting a vehicle & tootling north for the day.
Thurs. Feb. 24, 2011 (Week 21, Day 143): Destination: Rock Sound Weather: warm & sunny, blue skies, few dark clouds around but no rain Winds: SE 5-8K
Happy Birthday Larry! A celebration day out & around Eleuthera Island by rental car from Mr. Dingle. By 0800 hrs. we were driving north along Queen’s Hwy. Our 1st stop was at Palmetto Point Bay to see if the docks, etc. that we had been tied up to with ‘Sweet Chariot’ when damaged still existed--> still in good shape with no additional services (water, electricity) & the restaurant ‘La Dolce Vita’ was under new management & renamed ‘Chateau France’--> structural changes, only opened 3 wks., menu expensive & still the prettiest bathrooms. On the road to Governors Harbour; 1st stop was the infamous bakery for bread & breakfast--> busy; Cupid Cay to the Bacardi Shop for wine & cases of beer & soda pop--> good prices; filled a jerry can each with fresh water from the public tap; revisited Haynes Library; drove along a few of the streets & their large gingerbread architectured old houses. Next detour was Hatchet Bay & the village of Alice Town--> poor & most unappealing. Soon thereafter we visited a cave-->large & dark but filled with graffiti at entrance + stalactites but we did not have a flashlight to go far into the cave. This area is filled with remnants of banana palms & pineapple plantations & concrete & stone silos because one time farming was a major industry; now only small scale farms growing tomatoes & cabbage in the red soil. We stopped & tried to pick a hand of bananas growing but they were not ready for picking. Gregorytown is the pineapple center but the famous Eleuthera pineapple is a dwindling crop. We stopped at Glass Window in Northern Eleuthera--> a bridge that connects north & south at this narrowest part & where we can watch the ocean on one side & it’s reefs & waves (at one time a rogue wave in 1991 knocked the bridge 7 ft. to the west; impassable of some time) & the bank side on the other side & it’s glistening turquoise water. On through Upper Bogue & Lower Bogue then to the settlement of Current were we stopped for a picnic lunch & watched a fisherman fillet a catch of strawberry grouper, yellowtail snapper, trigger fish & porgy. From The Bluff Settlement to James Bay Liquor Store across from Spanish Wells was our turnaround point. We retraced our route back south except for a detour to Bottom Harbour directly south of Harbour Island--> poor road & a closed bar at the end. We had a superb celebratory supper at Beach House on Bank Rd. between Governors Harbour & North Palmetto Point. And finally back to Rock Sound at 2100 hrs. A fun packed day with clear skies & stars galore at night.
Fri. Feb. 25, 2011 (Week 21, Day 144): Destination: Rock Sound Weather: warm (27C) & sunny, blue skies & few fair weather clouds Winds: S 12-14K, whitecaps, decreasing to 5K & less approaching sunset & overnight & a shift to the E
AM began as usual with a coffee & listening to SSB weather; CP was in George Town X 1 week & his replacement (?Ed of Rainy Day) was terrible; a)started on time or early b)difficult to tune in c) missed most of the VERY short synopsis d) totally different presentation that would normally take Chris 20-25 min. took < 10 min. e) answers to SSB subscribers questions was almost 1 word answers. Hence we did not get an info re wind or seas. The Morrows discovered a major obstruction in their plumbing lines. A quick trip to Dingle’s to pick up laundry (3 loads = $18.00) & 1 jerry can of diesel. Larry dinghied Lynn & I to 4 Points dock to walk to the clinic for 0900 hrs.; arrived at 0855 hrs. & still locked. But we were the 1st in line with the doctor’s arrival time expected at 1100-1130 hrs. It was decided that Lynn would wait while the rest of us did the grocery & hardware shopping for a long rotorooter located in the hardware store with the help of Mr. Dingle. Larry & I did the shopping but no Graeme & no cart; now 1100 hrs., cart found in the dinghy but no Graeme--> out on his own agenda as usual without thinking of others. I returned to the clinic; no doctor but many people had come & gone that were dental patients & /or children for scheduled vaccination shots by the nurse. At 1220 hrs. the doctor arrived after having an overnight emergency till 0730 hrs. We indeed were the 1st to see Dr. Smith. The wound looked good; it was cleaned & redressed & we were given supplies & a disposable suture removal kit instructions. We arrived back to the 4 Points dock as several bus loads of tourists were arriving for their sampling lunch of Bahamian food, conch harvesting & Junkaroo dancing & music. Larry stated he delayed long enough from getting back to the boat to tackle the plumbing problem & in the end was unsuccessful; in fact he was unwell from the event. Despite a layer if clouds there was a lovely sunset just below. Supper simply BLT. Quiet, calm water, few stars & few clouds.
Sat. Feb. 26, 2011 (Week 21, Day 145): Destination: Rock Sound to Governors Harbour Departure: 1005 hrs. Arrival: 1440 hrs. Mileage: 28.4 SM/24.77 NM Weather: warm (28C), sunny with fair weather clouds till departure then a line of dark clouds from SSE with rain in some areas of the Exumas then clearing trend towards 1300 hrs. Winds: quiet, calm morning with gradual increasing E winds 10-17K; after sunset near flat calm
Chris’ replacement was better today--> no significant weather for the next several days. Some cleaning of the head & cockpit was done. Larry went ashore for diesel & draino type product; if this proves to be ineffective as well, they may look into help at Spanish Wells or Marsh Harbour. Up anchored & once out of harbour & past the coral head field towards Kemp Waypoint, we turned north & unfurled the jenny moving nicely at a speed of 5.5-6.3K. In the distance we could see the shoreline of all the places we drove through 2 days ago. We passed in between long strings of fish traps on our approach to Governors Harbour. Larry had his rod out & caught a good size barracuda & of course gave it back to the seas; no fresh caught again tonight! Yes, we have returned to Governors Harbour but have anchored & have verified that there was no inclimate weather in the forecast! Anchor sat down in sand in 15 ft. of water; we took Jerry Doucet’s advice & let out almost all our chain ie 140 ft. once the anchor hooked. Glen Gray from ‘Graynorth’ dinghied over & introduced himself; also from Ottawa & knows Tom Winlow well. The guys dinghied to shore X2 with jerry cans for water from the public tap. A magnificent sunset with a green flash! A joint effort for supper= 1st cheese & bread fondue, 2nd gumbo soup compliments of the Morrows. Governors Harbour was conducting a fundraiser for breast cancer--> a police marching band at 1700 hrs. followed by food concessions of fresh conch salad, chicken, ribs + Junkanoo at 1900 hrs. then amplified pop music till the wee hours of the morn. We dinghied to shore to watch the Junkanoo -->fantastic. A windless night, humid, clear skies, stars+++ & shore music.
Sun. Feb. 27, 2011 (Week 21, Day 146): Destination: Governors Harbour Weather: quite warm & sunny, little to no clouds Winds: ESE to SE from calm to 12-15K suddenly by mid am, then 8-10K by night
Dolphins made a few passes through the anchorage particularly close to our stern to say ‘good morning’ at breakfast time, gracefully diving & showing off their tails several times. Graeme took me to shore so I might check the mass times of the 2 churches close by the beach; (1) St. Patrick’s Episcopal at 1045 hrs. (2) Governors Harbour Methodist at 110 hrs. The SE wind had started kicking up & as I walked by the south most beach by Cupid Cay & saw how rough the seas were running horrific memories of 2 yrs. ago flashed through my brain & shivers up my spine. It has been a while but I did treat myself to a good boat shower & dressed for Church. All the other 5 boats were departing as I was taken into shore. It was approaching low tide so I had to row to get closer to shore then hick my skirt up & walk in the water the rest of the way; thank heavens for the town water tap close by where I rinsed my feet off before going to St. Patrick’s. It was a high mass that got started late at 1100 hr. with incense+++, singing+++, a 45-60 min. sermon! I thought Episcopal was the same as Anglican which is close to RC, but this was very old church style; the spoken church words were very British, but when Fr. Scott Brennan was giving his sermon I had much difficulty comprehending all he was saying because he spoke so fast. Length of service= 2-1/2 hrs.! Dedication & prayers for Guido & his family. Lunch then over to the Morrows; Graeme assisted Larry with his plumbing issues which were unsuccessful in the end; Lynn & I especially did hours of emails & downloaded updates. We missed the sunset but there was a great red sky. Lots of cars driving to the government dock--> weekend ferry arrived then quickly departed. Another joint supper= BBQ hamburger patties, baked beans & macaroni salad then Larry’s cookies. We were entertained by crazy Murphy Brown (Jack Russell dog). Because of the unsuccessful attempts at the plumbing system (non functioning toilet!), Lynn & Larry will head in the direction of Spanish Wells early in the am, contact R&B Boatyard by phone to see if they can do the job & how soon; that will determine future plans. We will take a more leisurely pace. ‘Twomorrows’ & ‘Sweet Chariot Too’ were the only boats in the anchorage tonight. A star filled sky, tame & quiet night in comparison to last night & pleasant, cool breeze & less humidity.
Mon. Feb. 28, 2011 (Week 21, Day 147): Destination: Governors Harbour to Royal Island Departure: 0800 hrs. Arrival: 1515 hrs. Mileage: 50.9 SM/44.23 NM Weather: very warm & sunny Winds: S to SE 10-15K & gusty at night; seas 2-3 ft. on east side of Eleuthera Island & 1 ft. on the west side
This was the last day of this short month; also the last day in Eleuthera Island. No CP or broadcast by ‘Rain Day’; someone said this was Chris Parker Appreciation Day. ‘Twomorrows’ left at 0700 hrs. & hourly checks planned starting at 0800 hrs. 0720 hrs. to shore to rid our garbage & purchase some bread at Governors Harbour Bakery, but no bread till 0830 hrs. Boo Hoo, back to the boat with no best bread in the islands & at the best prices! Once on our way we were headed in a WNW direction with the wind directly behind--> a bit rolly. We rolled out the jenny & cruised along at 6-6.4K. The dolphins were playing in our bow wake & the waves created by the wind. A couple of VHF correspondences from the Morrows; R&B at Spanish Wells do not do interior boat work; Marsh Harbour Boatyard contacted & they too do not do that kind of work but gave them the name of a man who works for Moorings that maybe of help --> O’Brien (OB) is able to do the job. Therefore they will cross tomorrow, head to Marsh Harbour & stay probably at Mangoes X 1 mon. (leave in 2 weeks X 1 week to their son’s wedding in Las Vegas). Of course we could hear this transmission but with our VHF problems our transmission was not heard. It was interesting to see by water all the settlements today by boat that we had done by car last Thurs.--> airport strip at Alabaster Bay, the entrance to Hatchet Bay, silos & farmland to Gregorytown, Glass Window, site where we had a picnic lunch at the defunct marina in Current. We passed through Current Cut with 1.8K current against us at 1345 hrs. Calmer seas on the west side of Eleuthera Island. We motorsailed to Royal Island, anchored in the SW corner in 9 ft. of water & 70 ft. of chain & surprised Lynn & Larry with our presence. 13 boats in anchorage tonight. We made popcorn & rowed over to ‘Twomorrows’. They are sticking to their game plan & crossing early in the am. Graeme admitted that he was tense during his stay in Governors Harbour. We called ‘Bandit’ in Spanish Wells over the VHF & are on a reservation list for a mooring ball there tomorrow. We may not be able to cross to the Abacos till Sun. due to weather predictions of high winds over several days. Sunset occurred behind Royal Island. Supper= sweet & sour chicken & pork strip stir fry with a medley of vegetables + rice. A dark night with stars+++ & gusting winds.

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