Sorry for the lack of news from down here but it hasn’t been too exciting lately.
We have had cold front, followed by cold front followed by high winds. Here the weather systems are extremely predictable. The prevailing winds are easterly. When a front is headed our way, the winds start to swing around to the south and west and then increase in velocity. The fronts may bring squalls which have rain and/or higher winds for brief periods. Then the winds clock further into the north-west and north and then increase again. They may stay in the north-east for several days before dying
down and swinging into the east. As the islands offer us protection from the prevailing easterlies, we can go up and down the chain of islands freely during those times. When the wind goes around to the south and west, we have to find somewhere to hide. For vessels with 6 foot draft like we are, those places are few and far between. And,last year the Exuma Land and Sea Park put mooring balls in at Cambridge Cay which was one of those protected places! They charge $20 per night and have not left
any room to anchor. If we really wanted to go there, we might be able to get around it by requesting a “harbour of refuge”.
A harbour of refuge is the term for protection from a storm in a place which might not normally allow a sailboat to anchor or tie up. Some years ago, friends entered Freeport Harbour which is a commercial facility and asked for a “harbour of refuge”. They permitted them to tie to one of the docks for several days while the storm howled. It wasn’t necessarily the best dock and there was no power or water but they were safe.
Anyhow, we have spent a lot of time lately in hiding. Not to say that we haven’t had a beach party or two, cocktails aboard other vessels, lunch ashore or even dinner ashore. But, the diving has been scarce with mostly sightseeing adventures instead of hunting for food. The wind has given us lots of power from the wind-generator and we have enjoyed some more of the movies that Steve gave us this year.
We did get to Black Point where I did laundry at the prettiest laundry in the islands. Ida keeps that place spotless but her prices are getting up there. To wash and dry one load costs $7. But, all things have gotten more expensive here. Eggs are almost $5 per doz! Bread is $6, so I bake my own. Wifi is $10 per day.
Yesterday, we helped our friends in the Sandcastle, on Little Bay. They had just flown in for the winter from California. The guys helped take the storm shutters off of the outside while Karen and I helped inside. I swept up the dirt and mouse droppings. We washed off the counter-tops and then tackled the frig. What a mess! A rat had crawled inside and died ( from the poison they left around ). Several cans of pop had been left inside and they had leaked and created a mouldy mass. Yuck! But, by noon
Doug & Jean were in pretty good shape and we all had to take off to hide from the west winds. We will see them later this winter.
So, right now we are hiding again. Back in Oz. But the best spot has been taken by a large motor vessel with lots of windage. We are staying a long ways away from him as he swings wildly on his two anchors. In a couple of days, the wind will die again and we may head off to the Jumentos. We will likely travel alone as High Stepper, Mystic and Flextime all headed to George Town last week.
Oh, and here is some exciting news. At least exciting to me. Before those guys left, we all took a walk to the ocean side across from Jack’s Bay, on Guanna Cay. There the waves bring lots of plastic junk into a cove along with sea beans, if we are lucky. And I sure was! I found a Mary’s Bean which is one of the rarest. It was sitting right in the open and no one had noticed it as it appeared to be a lump of tar. It is very dark, almost black, with the shape of a cross on one side.
So, that is our life aboard, when finding beach junk makes your week! Hopefully, your life is a little more exciting. Your fronts bring snow and cold weather. Stay warm, happy and healthy.
Heather & Murray