Mosquitoes at 4 o'clock

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Mon 15 Mar 2010 17:57
We are into our 4th day here in the Salt Pond / Thompson Bay area. We originally dropped the hook at Salt Pond, a mile away but a rapidly approaching active cold front brought the precursor of ominous dark grey skies which contrasted so beautifully with the turquoise Bahamas seas that we were briefly mesmerised until the brain clicked in and we upped anchor just as 30-40 knot winds hit us, sending the 4 boats close by scuttling for some westerly wind shelter as the front approached. We followed behind them. Then the rain arrived by the bucket load and we battled the mile or so through short steep seas round Salt Pond Cay towards Thompson Bay. Once the front arrived the winds settled down from the northwest and we were well sheltered in our new location. Well, it was nice to have a change of scenery anyway.
Yesterday was a beautiful day - clear blue skies and gentle breezes. However, we lost an hour as we'd forgotten that Eastern Standard Time clocks had gone forward overnight. An afternoon walk to stretch the legs was agreed so we decided to find another route across the dense scrub of the island to walk the long Atlantic coast beach with some good beachcombing in prospect. Not a chance. We took several promising looking paths leading towards the Atlantic coast but all led nowhere in particular despite our chart indicating a possible route through at some point. The furthest across the island we achieved proved to be one of the quickest walks back as the path led us between the saltponds after which the settlement is named after. Having the Sunday brain installed we didn't fully appreciate that most of the islands mosquito colonies use these stagnant brackish waters as a maternity hospital and having walked across to the far side we were royally ambushed by squadrons of the proboscis-wielding insects. From a distance we were probably  a laughable sight, as we had carefully stepped our way into the area, only minutes later to be seen hotfooting out again at Olympic walking speed, swatting madly as we made our escape.
                    Home of a million or so mosquitoes - dont go there!                                                   Not a bad place to be at rest - the building is the local Anglican Church
Once clear of the salt ponds and the few billion mosquitoes that call it home we counted our wounds on arms and legs and headed back to the main - and only road back towards the boat. We passed a small churchyard and stopped to peer at some of the graves. Only three names were represented throughout the cemetery - quite normal for these islands. Venturing in the other direction led us nowhere in particular except to spot two flattened snakes (apparently brown racers) by the roadside. Given the irregularity of cars on Long Island - one every 5 minutes or more it seems incredibly bad luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time but then if we don't cotton on to the presence of a few million mosquitoes in a stagnant salt pond what chance does a humble reptile have in crawling across the road. Even if it has 'racer' mentioned somewhere in its name.
                    First goats we've seen  - nice motors on the boat though                                           There are many abandoned and overgrown houses in these islands
It was time to get back to the boat which was a mile away at anchor. Whilst we had been gone a small armada of yachts had arrived from the Georgetown area and today the anchorage is humming with dinghies whizzing between boats and the VHF alive with traffic ranging from where to get propane bottles filled to whether there is a vet in the area for a yacht mutt. Yep, they'll soon get things organised in Thompson Harbour before they all move on some place else.
                      This sunset. and cloud formation.........                                                                   ....... evolved into this beautiful scene - the only cloud visible in the sky last night