Rollin’, rollin’, rollin

Hello everyone,

I write this from the Jumento Cays and, as everyone who cruises them knows, the anchorages tend to be rolly. The boat bounces front to back, which is fine , but when it starts the sideways roll and everything clacks and clatters, no one gets much sleep. But, I am a way ahead of myself here.

With a cold front expected, we led Messenger through the narrow gap between Fowl Cay and Big Major Spot, around the sandbar and into OZ. This time we managed to lead them, without taking them aground! Everyone got their anchors secure before the strong winds expected or, rather, forecast. The high winds didn’t materialize so it was time to visit Staniel Cay. To go into the the village for supplies, we loaded the two kids in our dinghy while Scott and Lisa followed in theirs. I am not sure how they will manage once their older son, Reg, joins them in early Feb, as their dinghy is too small already for four. Especially if there is any wind or waves. After an extensive re-stocking, we bid them adieu and headed to Black Point to do laundry. It must have been the hottest day in a week! The sweat poured off of me but our clothes were finally clean. Now, once the weather was right, we were set to head down to the Jumento Cays. In the late afternoon, we sailed around the point into Little Bay and dropped anchor. Friends had caught a yellow fin tuna and invited us to share. Another great evening followed.

During the night, the wind backed to the northwest and the roll and bounce started. Most of the day found us just staying quietly on a settee reading, as moving around was tricky. By 3 pm, Murray was getting antsy and suggested that we brave the winds and waves and head into The Sandcastle to say goodbye to Doug and Jean. When we arrived, Jean was in a baking frenzy and I helped her finish her English Muffins while she made hamburger buns and hot dog rolls. They kindly invited us to stay for dinner and called Peg and Frank from O’Brien’s Landing to join us. A lovely time was had by all and Jean sent us off into the night with a bag of greens from her garden.

Early the next morning, Jan 29th, we headed towards the Jumentos, anchoring at Coakley the first night and then on to Buenavista Cay. As Murray was tidying up lines etc, shortly after we dropped the hook, he heard a gunshot. It came from a fishing vessel nearby, Lady Marie. He called to apologize for scaring us but he had just caught and shot a 8 foot blacktip shark. In the morning, he invited us over and gave us some lobster and conch and a dozen eggs to welcome us back. George is quite a character and very friendly to cruisers. Along with his son, Ivanhoe, and another crew member, he spends several weeks at a time fishing this area. The cleaning of the fish and conch attracts sharks, so we won’t do much diving until we are away from him. To thank them for the gifts, I made a batch of banana-chocolate chip muffins which Murray delivered while they were still warm. Luckily I made a double batch, so Mur wasn’t too deprived.

High Stepper sailed into the anchorage the next day, having been in George Town, then Long Island and then Water Cay. It was a great reunion and you would think that it had been months instead of weeks. Together we sailed down to Doublebreasted Cay so that we could be there for Klaus’s ( on Lucky Touch ) birthday. He was 72 this year and doing very well after his hip replacement in Oct/Nov. That night, our boats rolled and rolled again and we tossed from side to side in our berth, trying to get some sleep. Shortly after sunrise, we hauled anchor and moved on, to Racoon Cay, further north but with better protection from the east and southeast wind and wave action.

Yesterday, the four of us ( Doug and Connie, Murray and I ) went on a hike ashore. And what a hike it was! Up and down hills, skirting large holes in the rocks, across a salt pond ( dry mostly ), through scrub trees, past huge cactus and finally we arrived at the opposite shore. The ocean side. But there was no beach, just a steep, rocky cove with some debris tossed onto the razor rocks. Murray managed to find a few sea beans amongst the trash to add to his collection.

Today is bread making for me while Murray is off, catching fish for the larder. The generator and watermaker are humming away, adding to the stores of water and power. Soon we will move just a little to protect us from another rolly night, expected when the wind shifts again. Later in the week, we will sail down to Hog Cay for closer access to the village of Duncan Town and Miss Maxine’s grocery store.

But the sun has shone and the days have been very warm, with us jumping in to cool off frequently. How can we really complain? Life is MOSTLY good!

But we miss you all and think of you often. Write when you have time.

Heather & Murray