Windy George Town

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Wed 11 Jan 2017 17:56
In position 23:31.23N, 075:45.37W
Just checked back to when we last posted a blog. Whoops. Better start another!
Christmas Day in Rock Sound was just perfect. We had written that on the previous day we’d all met at Sammy’s restaurant in the settlement for a typical Bahamian Christmas lunch. As all businesses were shut on Christmas Day it was left to the boaters to organise something for themselves – never a problem as long as its to do with food and drink! We were fortunate that the local bar/restaurant on the beach facing the anchorage kindly agreed that we could make use of their outdoor tables and chairs to accommodate us all. It worked really well. Everybody brought a contribution for the table to share and we took our own beverages. Apart from being with one’s own family it was as good as it could be for the special occasion.
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The important stuff!                                                                                                                            There wasn’t much left either
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Perfect place for our Christmas lunch together
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Topped off by a long walk to the Atlantic side to burn off the meals                                                                           Inspecting some interesting flotsam
Typically, we all went our separate ways over the next few days, especially as the forecast blow was on it’s way. Some chose to sit it out at Rock Sound whereas we took the opportunity with a day or so of calm to motor across to Warderick Wells in the Exumas. About forty miles away where there was good shelter in the Land and Sea Park moorings. Unfortunately we had forgotten that there is virtually no telephone signal in Warderick Wells unless you stand on the office verandah which seems to pull in a signal from a tower on another island. Not awfully convenient for a Skype call to home. We’d never seen the north mooring field at Warderick so empty – just five boats including us. Not much had changed except there is now a largish display cabinet on the office deck containing the remains of a dead pilot whale, one of four washed up on the beach at Norman’s Cay some years earlier. It has been given a name which perhaps reflects the thoughts of those that helped process the remains and take them to Warderick. The whales name? ‘Stinky’ of course.
Panoramic of Warderick Wells north mooring field – almost empty but it’s early in the season this far south
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What’s left of one beached pilot whale – shame
We took the decision to leave before the bad weather hit and motored off to Staniel Cay to anchor on the sand bank behind Thunderball Cay (where they shot scenes from the Bond movie ‘Thunderball’ in the 1960’s). Good signal, but not a terribly good anchorage, especially when you are the ‘tail-end Charlie’ and arrive with six other boats having already bagged the best spots. It was a nasty cold front that hit us the following day. The wind blew for four days in all. We moved round to Black Point just after the front had passed through and before the wind went too far into the east which would have made the trip to Black Point pretty awful. It wasn’t that great when we did make the move with twenty five knots of wind on the beam but at least Black Point was a good spot to sit out the remainder of the blow.
When the wind eventually eased off we went ashore to forage for some supplies like many of the folks in the anchorage. With no island delivery since before Christmas – well, you can guess there wasn’t much fresh produce to be had and we returned aboard with just eggs, bread and a few onions to show for the effort. At least the ‘Admiral’ was able to get some much needed laundry done. We were now faced with the imminent arrival of another cold front – a ‘whopper’ to quote the weather forecaster. In fact he couldn’t actually predict when the wind would ease below twenty five knots with the first three days or so packing gusts of forty to forty five knots! Charming. Time to head down to George Town for this one as at least there was humanity close by to stop yourself from going gaga.
This blow was three or so days away so we stopped off at Little Farmer’s Cay eleven miles south of Black Point. A place we’re ashamed to say we’ve only ever anchored off of and not set foot on. With a flat calm night predicted we dropped the hook on the east side opposite the cut or entrance from the bank side to the deep Exuma Sound. We popped ashore in the dink to explore the small one mile long island with it’s tiny community. We were met at the dinghy dock with a number of turtles, rays and one of those curious box like fish that nobody would ever be daft enough to catch and eat. They all seemed incredibly tame, but given there is a fish cleaning station on the dinghy dock they probably associate humans with easy food. No sharks though. There’s usually at least one nurse shark cruising round these places.
Before walking the fifty yards to the town crossroads we had to negotiate the locals straw market and conch salad seller. All very friendly and geared up for when the very fast day boats blast in from the Sandals resort at Emerald Bay on Great Exuma taking their gilt-edged clients up to see the pigs at Staniel Cay etc. So they were just practicing their selling skills on us humble souls living on battered old boats. There’s not much walking to do on Little Farmers. Around town and out towards the landing strip which runs almost half the length of the island. But we did take some nice pics of the boat at anchor something we rarely miss an opportunity to do anywhere we visit.
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Off White Land Beach - a perfect spot in benign weather – a little tidal though being close to the cut which is only half a mile distant. In a north-east blow we wouldn’t be there!
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The Little Farmers reception committee.....
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Little Harbour at Little Farmers                                                plenty of smaller fish to process                                                                 as well as that conch salad ......
On the way back to the dinghy we were accosted again by the conch salad man. As the local fishermen had just got back to the dock with fresh fish and conch the ‘Admiral’ agreed to buy one (‘Skip’s not partial to raw mollusks in any form – even if it is a national dish). It was worth it and to watch the day’s catch being processed.
                                                                ........and we just fell for this friendly mutt belonging to one of the islanders enjoying lots of pats on the fish dock
We left early the following morning for the fifty mile motor-sail to George Town. We’ve made no mention of fish so far and there’s no reason to mention fish now. We didn’t catch any, either from the trip from Rock Sound to Warderick Wells or on this south-bound trip. Not much about although annoyingly the yacht that was sailing immediately behind us changed course suddenly, the reason becoming obvious when viewed through the binoculars – they’d caught a damn fish!!! We’re sure it had our name on it.
So we now sit on a mooring in George Town with winds howling at just under gale force in gusts but constant in the twenty five to thirty knot band. This is the fourth day of these winds and the forecast is for another seven days of similar strength winds. You know, just the sort of winds that a famous painter apparently lopped off his ear to avoid hearing. So we’re staying clear of the knife drawer for a while.
Why a mooring and not at anchor? Well that’s for the next blog.
OK! It doesn’t look that windy but we can assure you it is – normally there isn’t a ripple in this mooring field.
As an aside for those of you reading this who know George Town. The above picture is of Volley Ball Beach and we are on a mooring in Hole 1. We have never seen the place so deserted. Upward of 350+ boats have been counted in past years especially at the end of February when the cruisers regatta takes place. Just before the blow someone did a boat count - only 168 boats in total throughout all the anchorages. Is this a sign of the times or has this particularly bad spell of weather held everyone up? It is nice and peaceful tho’.