N24 05.998 W76 24.147 Black Point Settlement
Trip Start Mar 09, 2009
49Trip End May 26, 2009
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N24 05.998 W76 24.147
Left Staniel around 11:45AM and arrived Black Point at 12:30 - just a little ride down the Bank passing Harvey Cay, Bitter Guana Cay, Gaulin Cay South and then arriving at Great Guana Cay. The winds are blowing 15-20 kts NNE which is good because Great Guana does not have any hidey holes for a westerly or frontal passage. The anchorage is white capped but the air is cool.
Need to get rid of a two weeks worth of garbage that we have not been able to get rid of since we left Nassau. We have two boxes full of empty beer and plastic bottles and a large black plastic bag with burnables. (At home after two weeks I'd have three garbage cans full of crap!) At Staniel they wanted $5 for the one garbage bag and I don't know what it would cost to get rid of the bottles and plastic. Black Point is very garbage friendly with a truck at the dock and barrels all along the street.
Black Point Settlement
Black Point community is non-touristy and the largest settlement in the Exuma Cays excluding Great Exuma where Georgetown sits. They have made a point of being very cruiser friendly and it has made the "cruiser-vine " so everyone stops here. The people are incredibly friendly and ask if we're having a nice day and please come back again.
This is where the people live - most work up at Staniel or Sampson or the private islands around. This evening sitting on the boat, three open fishermen came by with 8-10 people on board each- obviously commuters coming from the surrounding islands. We even saw our waitress from Staniel Cay Yacht Club on one of the passing boats.
The town lies without pretense. The dinghy dock is on Government dock and it was full of children playing in the water and jumping off the dock, swimming around our dinghies. As we walked through town, children were playing everywhere. That's the first thing we noticed about being on this island. Another is the friendliness from the children to the adults. We got a big hello from everyone we passed.
We met a couple on the docks who were carrying a pizza box back to their dinghy. They said DeShaMons had great pizza! That is one of the two restaurants - DeShamons and Lorraines.
Well.....there were choices of tomatoes (they looked like Florida tomatoes), green peppers (little wrinkled and worn out), onions and potatoes and oranges. That was fine - I picked up two tomatoes and a green pepper which I'll use immediately as it doesn't look like it has a long shelf life. No fresh meat - just some frozen stuff in the chest freezer. New Zealand butter at $5/tin - everyone raves about it but I already have 3 lbs of butter left. Eggs $3.75/dozen - need to check them carefully as many were broken. No chips or snacks that I was craving. Next time I'm bringing less can goods and more snacks!
From Adderleys we headed up the street to look for Rockside laudromat which is the nicest landromat in the Bahamas. She has about 15 new washing machines and 15 new dryers. It is so clean ...it really is the nicest laundry in the islands. Rockside has a dinghy dock so it will be convenient tomorrow to come in and do laundry if the winds and waves calm down. We popped our heads in to buy some tokens and met Carolyn and Robert from Moondance ( a 27' Vega.) They had the mooring ball in front of us (or behind depending on tide) at Warderick. It was fun running into them again.
Moondance gave us a tip on a fruit and vegetable stand further up the street so we continued on. Under most shade trees you'll find people sitting and talking. We passed a group of women under a tree who were having their hair braided. Next to them the guys were sitting around working on masts for the Class A Sloops that would be racing next week in their regatta. Everyone said hello to us and asked if we were having a good day. Proceeding up the street, a women in a tourquoise house stepped out her door to yell hello to us and asked if we were having a nice day. Children were playing in the streets and all said hello as we passed. The whole island is a great big "Meet and Greet".
We came to a curve in the road and walked up to a building on Regatta Point. There is an open viewing area with multiple levels and along the path up to the house were stands where people set up to serve food. Apparently the regatta is a big party and it lasts for three days.
Passed Scorpios Bar and next to that is the police station and next to that is the clinic. Passed a snake crossing the road (oh joy!) We passed the All Grades School. There was a sign at the laundromat about opportunities for boaters to tutor children on the island if they are going to stay for a while. This is a place you could stay for a while and probably really get to know the community.
We finally came to a small sign that said Fruit and Vegetable Stand and pointed across the street. We walked up the hill and there was a compound of about three houses particularly well kept. They are similar to the Perriwinkles in NSB only a little larger. We asked the girl getting on her bike whether the fruit & vegetable stand was up here and she pointed to the house behind the one we were standing in front of. Then an older woman came out of the first house and led us to the second house up the hill and in what would be a car port ( if you had a car) was a stand with vegetables (tomatoes, green pepper, potatoes and onions and celery from Oviedo). Dave thought her tomatoes looked better than Adderlays so we bought two more tomatoes and a lime. Actually the veggies all came from the same freighter! She also sold home-made bread but we've got a whole loaf of coconut bread from Staniel so will wait until we're ready to leave to pick up some home-made bread. (The tomotoes were $2.75/lb)
We walked back down the hill with our four tomatoes, lime and one green pepper, in total, and ran into Paul and Leisal (Elizabeth) on "Leisal" a 40' Bavaria. We saw their boat come into the anchorage and remembered them from Cambridge Cay. They saw our bags and asked about the fruit stand. Paul says, "I bet you guys are off a sailboat. You can always tell sailors." Liesal says "It's because we wear clothes that are water proof and/or float." And I added, "and we have a continuous bad hair day!". That's when we found they were off of Liesal (40' Bavaria) and they remembered Spindrift from Cambridge. We all know boat names - not each others! They are from Ottawa, but Paul is originally from Germany and Liesal is Austrian. We spent a few moments comparing notes on where we've been and our collective mishaps.
After our chat, we checked out Lorraine's Restaurant. She has free wifi and even has a separate room with computers that you can use if you don't want to bring your own computer to shore. I heard from Eliena at Cambridge that Lorraine's has great conch fritters so we'll definitely be there for lunch with our computer in hand.
We headed back to the dock and it was full of children jumping off the dock and swimming around our dinghies. It was a feat to be sure there were no children around the boat when we started up to leave.
We've got a good NNE 15-20 kts winds coming across the water so by the time we got back to the boat I was soaked.
Later we saw one of the Class A Sloops being towed over to a mooring ball - guess they are gearing up for their regatta next week.
April 18, 2009
Wind is blowing 20+ kts NNE. I looked topside around 6AM and saw a "new" boat sitting off ArCas and our stern. Apparently it dragged anchor across the anchorage. The Captn was on deck working the anchor. The Capn was delivering the boat to Jamaica and was solo. From his "dragged location" he left the anchorage to peak out to see if he could leave but turned around and came back in to re-anchor. Not a pleasant travel day. We held fast but were swaying like crazy. Dave went forward to throw out the second anchor just in case but that Bruce (my new boyfriend) really holds the boat well.
Around 11AM we bagged up our laundry in garbage bags and headed over to the dinghy dock to do laundry. It was too rough to come into the landromat's dock. Needless to say, it was a very, very wet ride to shore. We lugged our garbage bags over our shoulders and headed up the street to Rockside Laundry. Upon arrival we met the couple from Lizard who were laundry in-process; the couple from Windarra (45' Sparkman Stevens) with their two small children arrived and then Liesel and Paul from Liesel arrived and Carolyn and Robert from Moondance stopped in so pretty soon the Laundromat was full. The poor locals were trying to get through us but were unpreterbed and friendly. We all used, at minimum, three washers apiece. A couple from a large catamaran with three teenagers came in and each teenager had their own laundry bags and did their laundry. Laundry is $3.50/washer and $3.50/dryer. We had three loads for each but now we're clean and dry!
Dave and Paul (Liesel) spent the 1.5hr talking politics - getting the world's point of view from Paul and the rest of us were just talking about this and that having to do with traveling and sailing. It was a great, great time! I was outside taking pictures of the kids and I could hear all these conversations inside - it sounded like a great cocktail party going on. Even after our laundry was folded we hung around to continue our conversations.
Uploaded are pictures of the children, Sophia and Blake from Windarra and Raymiah and Rayven who were locals waiting for their mother to finish laundry. These pictures are for Sophia & Blake's grandparents. Sorry they aren't framed better but the kids were in constant motion playing in front of the Laundromat.
It was a beautiful day on shore...clear and sunny and cool and somewhat sheltered from the high winds we're getting in the anchorage. After laundry was finished, we walked over to Lorraines with Moondance to use the computers there to pick up emails. We're coming back tomorrow with our own computer. Winds may be down a tad.
Later we re-dinghied to shore to cruisers from Moondance, Windara, ArCas and Lizard. at DeShaMons for pizza! It was GREAT pizza. I mean, really, really good!
Coming back to the boat in the dark was a challenge. The anchorage is still kicking butt and waves were crashing over the boat. I pulled out my waterproof pants and started wearing them over my shorts so that when I get to shore, I can stuff the pants and jacket in the backpack and walk around in dry clothes. Everyone I saw today had wet butts!
Life is good.
April 19, 2009 - Sunday. Wind is still up there 18-20 kts so we'll probably stay another day. Moondance has asked us to proceed south with them to Farmer's Cay, Lee Stocking Cay and then to Georgetown. We are thinking of doing that.
Farmer's Cay is uninhabited and Lee Stocking is a marine research center. We won't be in Georgetown long as now the month of April is passing and we still need to get north again. Although the Exumas have definitely got our attention and the Abacos is looking further and further away. Moondance is heading for the Dominican Republic and then either leaving their boat there or sailing back up across the Gulf of Mexico to home.
Family Island Regatta - Georgetown
In addition to unloading island needs, the freighter was loading up the Class A sloops to be taken to Georgetown for the Family Island Regatta. The sloops are tall masted wooded Bahamian sloops, the kind once used as workboats in the islands. Each boat's home island pours into Georgetown as the regatta approaches. Tida Wave in Staniel (Capt Gray's boat) won this regatta many times. The boats have minimal keels and counterbalance the winds on the acreage of sail by the crew of 12 clambering outboard astride long narrow boards - called pries - that extend perpendicular from the boat on the windward side their weight providing leverage to keep the over canvassed boat up right. Rounding the mark the crew clamors to the other side of the boat. Penalties are capsize and sinking so agility, quick reflexes, beefiness (more weight outboard the more upright the boat will stay and the faster it will go) and nerves of steel are prized crew characteristics. The races start Tuesday April 21 and go thru the weekend. We may make it down there depending on the weather - we're still about 60 miles away from Georgetown.
Life is good!