|The Adventures of
"Too pooped to chew."©
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(Occasionally, editorial comments from Don of S/V Destiny Calls, host of this web site and southern waters frequenter, will appear in green italic)
Sorry folks that we haven't written any sooner...but what with all the hustle and bustle of the season, going to parties and Christmas shopping...the stores here are as jam packed as anywhere this time of year.
We left Little Farmers Cay on December the 17th planning on a short hop to Lee Stocking Island. The weather was so good that we decided to keep on going to George Town, which was 3 hours further. Having departed at 07:00 we entered Exuma Sound through Little Farmers Cut. When traversing from the Banks to the Sound, you must pick your weather and slack water along with a decent cut. If you try this on an incoming tide with winds blowing from the east you are asking for trouble. A phenomenon called a "standing wave " may occur at some of these cuts. If there is a moderate offshore wind combined with an outgoing tide, a standing wave is created. This is a wall of water about 4 feet high that does not seem to move in any direction .
So on to George Town we went, mostly motoring as the wind was dead on the nose ...what there was of it. We arrived by 1400.
George Town in the Exumas is a special place. This is where a lot of the cruisers end their voyage south, and drop their anchor and stay for the winter, heading back north in May. For others it is a stop over, to either lick their wounds from a horrible passage or stock up on provisions. This is a very small town (1,000 pop.) by North American standards, but has most of the amenities. There are two grocery stores, a bank, two gas stations, a couple of hotels, three bars, a straw/farmers market and even a dry cleaning operation....but the most important thing about George Town, is the water is FREE and plentiful. Its drinking quality is questioned by some, but it is good for cleaning and showering etc. etc. Janette and I have mixed it with other water and we are consuming it with no ill effects yet. (Janette when did you start growing horns?)
Here the time is usually spent not doing much of anything if you don't want to. In the morning everyone listens to the cruisers net which we all receive on our VHF radio. The weather report is always the first thing on, followed by commercial advertising from the local shops. The community and boater announcements bring up the rear...the boaters announcements are the ones most of us keep an ear out for, here we will find out who has lost a dinghy, or someone might need a special wrench to get into that hard to reach area in the engine compartment. This is where we find out about other boaters woes. You will also hear people asking to share a cab ride to the airport, or asking someone to bring mail to the USA...but the VHF is also used for eavesdropping...it is our telephone...our way of communicating with other boats or to people onshore, and anyone with a radio can listen in on any conversation.
So more often than not when you hear someone call someone else, you can be sure that there will be quite a few people switching channels to listen in. Here telephone service is expensive and rare. There are few public phone booths: two at the grocery store (Exuma Market) and one at the Two Turtles Inn and one at the Peace and Plenty store as well as at the Batelco offices. Locals use these all the time with their phone cards. And often there is a line up to use the phone. More often than not one or all are out of order.
So the VHF is the way to contact people on the island. It is used to call marine repair service, to call the grocery store, get a taxi, or make reservations at the hotel for dinner. Boaters use the phone to send and receive pocketmail. This is a large wallet sized keyboard and modem. Almost everyone uses it. Only messages are sent no pictures.
I was asked what we do all day. I'll try to give you a typical day in an anchorage when we are not travelling to another destination.
Daylight is about 0600 and we rise after that to have coffee and breakfast. We listen to the 0700 news or the 0800 news from Radio Canada International. Then we listen to the cruisers net.
Then we plan the day, what needs to be repaired or changed; what fuel needs to be bought; which needs refuelling, the dinghy or the boat; what are the water needs; and what are the grocery needs and the need to go to the Batelco (Bahamas Telephone Company) office to send and receive email.
Following breakfast I sit and read in the shade/sun in the cockpit if it is warm or inside if it is not. Jim does a repair and I clean up dishes from the day before. I sweep the floors and the cockpit sole. I then wash the floors with the dish water to use water wisely by removing the salt from the stairs, cushions, and floors. Then Jim goes to town by dinghy or we go together.
We go to make phone calls. Before we know it is 1200 and it is time for lunch which we eat in the cockpit in the shade. If there is laundry to be done we combine it with the dinghy trip. This adds 1 1/2 hours to our day. Washing machines in salt air get rusty very quick as do the dryers. So the aim is to get new washers and dryers. ($1.50 per load for each cycle). In the afternoon we sometimes go to the beach or to town to wander or we just read. Life aboard a boat is simple and weather dependent.
We sometimes go in for a drink at the bar around 1600 and return to the boat for dinner. Once in a while we eat out. On Wednesdays there is a fish fry and we will go there for dinner. Dinner is anytime from 1800 to 1930. Then we play on the computer, write email or write the web page.
All in all, it is not very exciting. The excitement is trouble; broken bow rollers, small fires, leaking water valves, and other boaters problems.
Jim and Janette
Jim and Janette had a very bouncy Christmas, as a major front went through, it won't be their last I am sorry to say.
December, January and February are bloody windy in the Bahamas and the trick is to get south as fast as possible to where the fronts wimp out, producing less of a punch when they roll through.
Here's a email they sent just a day ago
Janette and I spent a somewhat memorable Christmas as we could not get off the boat because of the high winds. If it had been a tropical wave ,it could have been classified as a class 1 hurricane. We had sustained winds of of over 40 knots and it occasionally hit 50 knots . There were lots of boats with some kind of damage or other. One boat next to us lost his anchor at 22:30 and rode around in circles till somebody got on board 2 hours later with him as he was alone and it was impossible for him to leave the helm to drop another anchor. Another boat next to us also lost an anchor, one of our anchor lines was completely wrapped around our primary anchor chain, and we lost our bow roller(that's the thing that helps you pull up the line or chain) we were heaving up and down and sideways and all over the place ,we did not eat for 28 hours as it was practically impossible to do anything....but life goes on
No matter how hard you prepare before cutting loose, stuff breaks. At least nothing too bad has broken yet. When Joni and I were in GT in 1997, our out outboard crapped out for a while. It's all part of cruising.
Nice to see that Jeans Dog House now resides in a new vehicle. For years she operated out of an old yellow school bus. Have a cheeseburger in paradise for us Borean!
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