Windy day at Norman's Cay
Wed 3 Mar 2010 19:52
The second part to last night's blog was rushed because both the laptop battery and the boat battery were running low. The solar panel can't keep up. Right now, we're idling the motor to recharge both.
There's so much to say about yesterday, that we'll backtrack.
We moved the boat yesterday morning, to slightly north of where we spent Monday night. We had a SW wind and we saw a little cove that would give us more protection. Garth literally walked the boat, like a large eager dog, 200 yards then pulled it into the cove. The girls and I walked around the ironshore to reach the cove, which has a wonderfully sandy beach, with very easy access to the road. Isabel saw several flying fish in as we approached the beach. Once settled into our new home, we took the walk to McDuff's, along the road that seems that was once paved, and patched with cement, but now is mostly sand and limestone. The plants along the roadside are fascinating. Aloe or agave-like plants, cacti, some type of pine that branches out like a deciduous tree, something that looks like what we call Gumbo Limbo trees in Miami, scrubby bushes, and vines.
When at McDuff's, the girls looked eagerly at the menu. Isabel eyed the jumbo hot dog and fries, Rose the chicken fingers. I couldn't say no to them, given that there options on the boat are pasta, pasta, and pasta (though in different forms: mac & cheese, spaghetti, ramen noodles), and canned chicken, Vienna sausages, and spam. Then, of course, there was ice cream for all. A big treat, not to be repeated any time soon.
McDuff's has two dogs, a yellow Lab and a tiny, ancient, Chihuahua, wearing a t-shirt that said "beach bum." The Lab is obsessed with fetching coconuts. She strips the outer part to get to the heart of the coconut and then drops it at customers' feet, hoping someone will lob it so she can retrieve it. Her patience is boundless. The Chihuahua barks bitterly at the Lab and then begs shamelessly, though a sign instructs not to feed the animals. Another highlight, which Garth mentioned last night, was meeting the woman, Louise, who has spent the past 2-3 months in Norman's Pond. She lives in northern Quebec when not spending her 4 months of winter in the Bahamas. She knits extravagant things. While we were there, she pulled out a sweater that she had made for a Jack Russell terrier that belonged to a woman who clearly worked there. The dog was thrilled to put it on. It was the second sweater Louise had knitted for the dog, the first being too tight in the neck, she felt. She showed us a scarf she was working on: minute black thread, in an intricate pattern. She also told us about the world's most beautifully situated laundramat, in Black Point Settlement on Great Guana Cay and a sculptor on Little Farmer Cay, both places we will try to visit. Louise explained the mystery of the empty, perfect conch shells that are piled on the beach here, near this whole section of Norman's Pond's shores. They are rollers, conch that couldn't hold on tight enough during a hurricane and get washed up on shore. We have so much to learn from the seasoned cruisers we meet. Each encounter imparts so much information, it's hard to retain it all.
Speaking of conch, more detail about how we cooked it last night: sauteed in garlic and olive oil, salt, and pepper, and I removed the slices (very thin) and heated our one jar of bruscetta topping (tomatoes with garlic and herbs) and served the conch in the sauce (over pasta for Garth, straight up for me). Tonight, we may do the same with pesto.
Last night, the winds kicked up as promised. We heard the wind roar, but the waves were very tolerable in our little cove. Today, we walked back to the road. The plant life is suggestive of the Jurassic era, and we half expected a brontosaurus to walk out of the brush. The aloe-type plants reached over 6 feet tall. To either side of the path/road, which must have been built at such great effort, are caverns, some as impressive as Henry Morgan's caves back at Morgan's Bluff. The limestone is scoured and pocked and treacherously jagged. We were determined to reach the banks side of the island to see what the N-NW winds were doing to the water. Eventually, Garth found an overgrown path leading to the banks, from the main road, that had obviously been created only about a year ago by someone with a good brush clipper. It didn't seem that it had been used any time recently. We crawled our way through to the a very rewarding sight. The banks were being whipped up to a frenzy. The wind blew so hard, it almost blew Rose over. Our wind meter registered 20 Knots, and 25 in a gust. Five foot waves pounded on the rocky shore and sent up huge sprays. We were very glad not to be making a passage today and even more appreciative of our precious anchorage in Norman's Pond.
Back at our beach, we waded and bathed (gotta love that Sea Savon, the soap/shampoo that lathers in salt water). The girls played on the beach, setting up and leaping a jump course (some things don't change no matter the context). They've invented such imaginative games. One is called "conch factory." One day Rose drew pictures in the sand that she could climb on (Harold's Purple Crayon became Rose's Sandy Finger): a ladder, tree, a horse, boat, and a bakery. I've noticed creating baked goods from sand is popular. I think they're missing fresh bread. Garth is going to try to make them pizza tonight. (Fried pizza dough with steamed cheese--we'll let you know how it goes.)
We started our first batch of sprouts today. The yogurt I made took two days to become truly yogurty, but it's passable.
We'll be holed up here another day or two to let the nasty weather pass by. Then we hope to visit Shroud Cay -- a thicket of mangrove swamps.