We spent a few more great days in Black Point, although admittedly the fun parts tended to revolve around Scorpio’s. We kept them open super late on Oscars Sunday and had a blast getting to know DJ the bartender and Zhivago the owner. We met a bunch of other locals that sort of gave is the scoop on the community, and here are some fun tidbits that stand out in my mind.
1. The kids go to school on the island until they get to high school, at which point they have to go stay with relatives in Nassau for high school.
2. You see a lot of “ruined” or half-built homes on the island. It’s not that it’s impoverished – I mean, it’s not a rich place by any means but it’s pretty ok – but since all building materials have to be shipped in, and there’s no heavy equipment on the islands to help, houses that in the states might get built in a matter of months, here, it takes years.
3. You’ll see little kids – I’m talking 4 and 5 years old – running around and playing the way we used to be able to when we were little. It makes me even more sad that kids in the states can’t/don’t do that anymore.
4. While Mr. Wright – former police chief, maybe now auxiliary policeman, and gentleman who sold us a carton of Marlboros at the cut rate price of $50 – said that the centipede we encountered on the road back to the dinghy dock might kill us if it bit us, Wikipedia said we’d live.
We didn’t want to leave but we were really running low on cash, and there was a front on the way that would make us miserable in the anchorage there again. So after hugs from the Scorpio’s staff on Tuesday, we set out bound for Georgetown early Wednesday.
Up until this point, we’d been island hopping in the shallow calm waters of the Exuma banks. But to get to Georgetown, we’d need to cross out to the deeper waters of the Exuma Sound. We went through the scary looking cut and found ourselves in rough seas with 22 knot winds dead on the nose. Brian and I looked at the Garmin that was telling us we’d have 9 hours of beating into that crap, then looked at each other and said, no way. Just then we hear the dockmaster at Farmer’s Cay Yacht Club make an announcement on the VHF that he’s got moorings with 360 degree protection, and he takes credit cards. Decision made, we’ll duck in at the next cut and take him up on his offer!
The mooring was a little tricky to pick up, with the strong winds and current and a pretty screwy pendant configuration, but we were settled in by 10:30 am. But soon we noticed something really odd. See, normally at anchor or on a mooring, the bow points into the direction the wind is coming from. Not this time…we kept turning this way and that, with the mooring ball going almost under the boat. WTF?
We quickly realized that it was because the current was stronger than the wind, so it was dictating which way Summer was going. The problem was that it was also causing the mooring lines to put an enormous amount of strain on the two cables that attached our bowsprit to the hulls. A quick text to our rigger Collin and he said, get that bowsprit off. Dumb me, I always kind of thought the bowsprit was structural – nope, it’s just there to allow us to fly our gennaker – which, after our disaster in Biscayne Bay last year, we haven’t done anyway.
Over the next few days we made sure to do some exploring. It’s a great little island with an interesting history – all of the residents are the descendants of the three children of a freed slave who settled there back in the 19th century. It is incredibly tidy, quiet, and charming.
On one of our walkabouts, we met Denzel, who pulled us into his yard to see his garden. The tamarind fruit he had us sample was tasty, the noni fruit – aka ‘vomit fruit’ – not so much.
The blow came through, and it gave us some time to tackle some boat projects. One hadn’t been on the list (at least not that high up) – replacing the lines that hold the dinghy up on the davits. But thanks to me bringing the dinghy up in the dark too quickly, the old lines had gotten twisted. Brian was not exactly pleased with me, especially the following day when one of the shackles broke while the dinghy was raised up, with him in it. He went for an unplanned swim…sorry baby!
Finally, by Sunday, the winds had died enough that we could get a move on. While in Little Farmer’s, we met a cruiser who told us about the best kept secret in the Exumas – the free laundry and showers, along with a $1/foot per night rate, at Emerald Bay Marina, about 15 miles north of Georgetown. Brian agreed we could go as an early birthday present for me. It was a beautiful marina, but other than the adjacent resort and a liquor store about 1/2 mile away, there was NOTHING there. But we were happy to do 7 loads of laundry for free, we met some fun people at the Monday night social, and I found a wad of cash in Brian’s jeans pockets that he had taken out in Miami. Score!