Spanish Wells

 

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Spanish Wells is a small town on the tip of Eleuthera that got its name from the Spaniards in the seventeenth century who used this as a safe harbor while they transported their riches from the new world to the old.  Now it is a fishing village that exports eighty percent of the fish and lobster that come from the Bahamas.  The residents are hard working, industrious and take great pride in their boats, homes and town.  It is a vibrant fishing village of charm and color.

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Some residents use their yards as a canvas of sea art.  The flowers you see on the ground are made from shells.

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As is Captain Optomiseishismiddlename’s custom, we first checked out several anchorages, then tried to get a mooring ball but it was too shallow, then tried an anchorage only to abandon that and go to the Yacht Haven Marina.  Squalls were coming and we would sleep better being tucked in.

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It had been over a month since our last marina stay.  It is luxurious just to step off your boat and be right in town.  We prefer to anchor for a number of reasons.  One, it is more private and two, it is free.  The marinas in the Bahamas charge anywhere from $2.00 to $4.25 per foot (multiply your boat’s length), per night.  Plus they meter and charge for electricity and water.  This marina cost us about $100.00 to stay the night.  We heard that Freedom, the million dollar restoration behind us, was once John F Kennedy’s boat.  Freedom was the talk of the marina.

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We took a long walk around town.

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And enjoyed a glass of wine.

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The Lazy Pot Coffee Shop at the boatyard was open twenty four hours a day.  Just leave a quarter in the jar, or not.

The town was alive and working well into the night.

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Spanish Wells
Preaches pastels
Boats and shells
Shipyard bells
Tall tales tell
Of mermaid spells
Bringing fish on ocean swells

 

Alabaster, Current Cut and Royal Island

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We sailed along with Soul Divers stopping at several unpopulated anchorages.   We enjoyed a couple of beaches and few quiet inlets.

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We had some beautiful, long sails.  Soul Divers deployed their spinnaker sail as the wind was calm and just right.  It was a thing of beauty.

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Echoes had her best sail of the trip so far on the way to Current Cut.  She had a bone in her teeth and slid over the water like it was ice.  She flew so fast that we had to purposefully slow her down so we could go through Current Cut at slack tide.

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As we approached Current Cut the kraken stirred in waiting.  I saw a tentacled arm reach out for Echoes as he kicked his other seven legs with the current against our way.  But the weather was much calmer than on our maiden trip through the cut and Echoes has proven herself tenacious.  She drove right through the krakens’ churning breeding ground with her mast held high.

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Image complimentary of Dr. Googlesearch.  I love this one because the kraken are trying to steal wine.  My worst nightmare!

 

We set anchor outside the cut and settled in for the night.  It was a long, hot day and I was considering a swim and a transom shower.  Captain Theycanlookatmybuttiftheywantto takes all his showers off the back of the boat but I am a little more finicky and don’t like a possible audience while I shower.  Some extra water usage is worth it to me.  Captian Nevertiresofgivingdirection was encouraging me to see the transom shower light.  Let me show you how to do it, he said.  Believe it or not, I replied, Even with my squirrel sized brain, I already know how to bathe.  First…, he demonstrated ignoring me, you soap up your head.  Then, you move to your torso.  I interjected, I don’t start with my head because soap gets in my eyes….the legs, he was still talking over me and demonstrating and rubbing his stinging eyes.  Then you move on to, and here I will leave out the rest of the lecture.  Then, he said at last, you jump in for the sea water rinse before the fresh water rinse.  Splash!  And then, Ooouuch!  Or perhaps it was a more sailorly exclamation.  He was stung by Jezebel the jellyfish all the way up his arm and onto his shoulder.  Captain Countinghisluckystars was grateful the sting was not located somewhere more personal.

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Needless to say, I did not take a transom shower that night.  The Jezebel sting stuck around to burn and then itch for days and days.

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It has left a bit of a scar.   Captain Brightside said, Well, at least we got some use out of our $300.00 first aid medical kit.  Shhhh,  don’t tell him vinegar works just as well as the jelly sting ointment.

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Five days after the sting

 

Soul Divers was continuing on to sail the Ababcos and Captain PoutyMcPoutFace and I were heading slowly back to the states via the Berry Islands.  We had buddy boated with Soul Divers for a month and so enjoyed their companionship.  Matt is a retired Major in the Air Force and a licensed Captain which is an admirable and difficult accomplishment as well.  I will miss his sailing expertise, passion for anything on or underwater and his fantastic sense of humor.  I will miss Sadie’s generosity in all things material and of the heart, her quiet capability and her glorious food.  At the Royal Island anchorage they had us over for a princess worthy bon voyage meal of homemade pizza (including from scratch pizza dough) and avocado salad, mouth wateringly scrumptious.

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My heart ached when we woke up the next day and they had left already.  Baby dolphins jumped in the space where Soul Divers had vacated.  Fair winds and following seas, Soul Divers.

 

 

Governor’s Harbour and Cupid’s Cay

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We turned the screw (engined) from Black Sound to Governor’s Harbour as the wind was on our nose.  This is Captain Instantlyexcitedandboyish’s favorite time to troll for fish because we can stop on a dime when we hear the reel drag.  He put on his favorite yellow jig and we pointed Echoes north for a couple of hours ride.  We were settled into a long blue water day dream when we heard the tell tale drag of the line.  Captain Giddywithaculinaryplan pulled in Cyrano de Bergerac the Cero Mackerel.  Captain Fillet-o-fish very meticulously cleaned Cyrano minutes after landing him while underway and tossed him in the fridge.  Two hours later we had Matt and Sadie over for all of the Mackerel Sashimi (raw sliced fish) dipped in soy and wasabi that we could eat.

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It was delicate, soft and delicious.  The princess was happy.  Sadie purred with every bite.

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The Captains Carnivores growled satisfactorily.

We followed up our sashimi with an unusual food pairing of grilled hot Italians served on a toasted bun with of a slice of provolone, smothered with Italian red sauce and sprinkled with raw onion.  I even had a mouth watering Montepulciano to serve with it to work its magic on Matt.  We are moving in the right direction for another conversion for the winos.  Properly fueled, we were ready to join the party in town at the Anchor Bay Fish Fry.

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The above quaint building hosts the Friday night Fish Fry and street party at Governor’s Harbour.  Do not let the totes adorbs looks deceive you.  There are gallons of their “World’s Famous Rum Bubbas” in there.

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Rum Bubbas are made with rum, punch, rum, rum and a whole lot of dancing juice.  It is quite the locals and cruisers party.

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There was a limbo contest.  This was the ending and the winning contestant.  Are you kidding me?

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And then the dancing began.  By this time Sadie and I had a couple of Rum Bubbas swimming in our blood stream and we were wiggly.  So we joined the dance and shook out our happiness.  Shortly,  a short local gentleman came to dance with Sadie.  I am using the word short generously.  I think maybe “little person” might be a more accurate description.  Anyway, he would put his arms around Sadie while dancing and his arms would conveniently extend from his shoulders and wrap around her stern, her fanny, her patootie, her badonkadonk, you get me?  The Captains Wedon’tdance were hanging out nearby.    Shortstop would look over and when Matt made eye contact with him his arms would quickly reach up to her waist but as soon as Matt turned his head his arms would quite naturally and understandably fall to a more comfortable level around her magnetic gluteus maximus.  My belly hurt the next day from laughing so hard.  And maybe for other reasons, too.

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Read the sign.  🙂

The following day we woke up to bucking roly polys.  Echoes was anchored in a particularly bouncy section of the anchorage and we later ended up moving her becasue of it.  I turn green in these conditions normally so this particular morning I could not get off that boat fast enough.  We spent the day in town like four teenagers loitering.  We had a long lunch at Buccaneer.

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Who did we have lunch with you ask?  Rickrack the little baby lamb in a diaper having a bottle of milk.

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We hung out in the park with a beer each in little paper bags because the cashier told us the bags provide insulation.  The friendly locals would come and hang with us in the park for a while.

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We made friends with Dr. Seabreeze the world famous calypso singer.

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We ate some memorable BBQ and then hung out with the artists of this wonderful creation.

Governor’s Harbour is truly my favorite city in the Bahamas.

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Return to Rock Sound, Eleuthera

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Echoes

It was a sublime sailing day for our sail from Cambridge Cay in the Exumas to Rock Sound, Eleuthera.  Captain Idon’twanttogonorth and I are slowly meandering our way back to the states.  We were  happy to be sailing with Soul Divers as neither of us had pictures of our boats under sail.  We threw up our sails, set up the fishing poles and enjoyed a long, picture perfect day.  I asked Captain Inhisglory if he could sail a little closer to Soul Divers so I could take a picture.  As we approached they began to slow down.  No, they’ve given up on trying to ditch us, it wasn’t that.

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Souls Divers

Look closely at Matt’s fishing pole.  He was wrestling with a fish.  It is difficult to catch large fish on a sailboat because you can’t just stop suddenly.   Also, sailboats aren’t designed to reel in or land fish easily.  It takes a bit of panache.  Sadie sprang into action, pulled in both sails and slowed the boat down.  Matt tied himself to the boat with a belt so he wouldn’t be pulled over.  We sailed on but watched the beginning of the catch.  Thirty five minutes later they landed a big Mahi.  Sadie named him Elmer because he looked like Elmer Fudd.   They guessed Elmer to be about four and a half feet and around thirty five pounds.

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They filleted Elmer up once they were underway again.  Check out Sadie’s technique of rolling back the skin and ripping it off the meat.

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The consumption of Elmer was rapturous.  Sadie made Mahi Ceviche to start with.  Ceviche is a process where the raw fish is “cooked” in the acid of fresh lime juice.  Then she added jalapeno, yellow pepper, red onion, avocado, seeded roma tomato, salt and pepper.   We ate it with corn chips. That was just the appetiser.  For dinner they grilled marinated mahi and served it with a cucumber/carrot salad and fried rice.  We ate like royalty and until we were about to burst.

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Although Elmer was clearly the highlight of Rock Sound, we also enjoyed checking out some caves.

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There were lots of little bats and also a lot of mosquitoes in the caves.  The tree roots were fascinating.

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We hiked on a hot afternoon to the Ocean Hole.  Jacque Cousteau explored this mysterious ocean hole.

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We cooled off in the ocean hole water which is rumored to have healing powers.  All hangovers magically disappeared!

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Rock Sound is an excellent stop for provisioning so we stocked up at the best grocery store I’ve found in the Bahamas and also, liquor (WINE!!!  Oh happy, happy day!) and of course, Evon’s bakery that she sells at the hardware store.   I was happy to be back in Eleuthera!

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Soul Divers gaining on us

Cambridge Cay

The Cambridge Cay story is best told picture book style.

Once upon a time there was a Sea Princess who went to Cambridge Cay Fairytale land in the Exumas Land and Sea Park.

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The Sea Princess and her Captain Notalwayscharming picked up a mooring ball.  A mooring ball is a tethered, secured line you hook up to your boat.

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The witchy anchor B.P. was happy to have a well deserved rest.

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There was a friendly host boat that collected the $20.00 a night mooring fee and told sea travelers wonderful stories on where to go and see magical things.

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There were big Beyonchee (what Captain Notquiterightinthehead calls Beyonce) types of fancy schmancy boats.  The Sea Princess wanted one.  She wondered if she could at least sneak aboard for a bottle of excellent wine and a long hot shower.  But the Sea Princess forgot her robe that makes her invisible so she had to drink vodka sodas and bathe with a cup of cold water.

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Big Blue Shmancy boat wanted the host boat’s mooring site as they liked the host’s location the best and Big Blue was the best.   Big Blue asked if they could pay the hosts to move their boat to another ball.  The hosts said Big Blue didn’t have to pay them but they should bring some water and diesel to the little YoungandDumb sailboat that was in a pickle because they didn’t plan properly and were stuck and thirsty.  Big Blue sent their not so little tender with their not so little, handsome crew members to deliver the water and diesel to YoungandDumb in jerry jugs.  The Sea Princess enjoyed this very much.

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That day the Sea Princess and Captain Needstobuyheracrown went snorkeling with Soul Divers.  Matt and Sadie are gopro profun let’sgo pros.  We swam around a little plane that crashed to the bottom of the sea.

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Someone may have crashed the plane on purpose because it was probably filled with magical pills that took some customers to magical lands and made the sellers very rich.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0140.Then we went to snorkel the Coral Garden.  The Coral Garden  is a cleaning station for fish.  The Sea Princess doesn’t like to clean but she doesn’t mind if the fish do.  The fish made a pact.  The big fish promise not to eat the little fish if the little fish will eat the annoying parasites that cling to them.  The big fish will even open their mouths to let the little fish clean their teeth just like the dentist.

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The Sergeant Majors above ate all of Captain Fullofhotair’s hair.

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The Sea Princess and her friends have been looking for Bob Lobster’s cousins before lobster season ended because they wanted to eat them.  Matt played tag with one around a reef for a while but lobsters are faster than you would imagine and they hide in holes.  Matt has a tickle stick to taunt Bob’s cousins out of hiding and then he puts a net behind them as they swim backwards.

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Bob boldy came out to flip us the bird now that lobster season is over and we were in a protected park anyway.  This is from my cousins, he said.

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That evening it rained just long enough to make two rainbows to frame the magic land.

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Then there was cloud entertainment.

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Mr. Messyhairbigheadman blocked the sunset.

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I asked Captain Alwayspredictable what he wanted for dinner and he said, Mmmmmeat!  We had steak with grilled, roasted asparagus and potatoes.

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The next day the four friends went on a beautiful hike around the magical land.  We walked around the island in a circle.

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At the end of the walk we had to wade waist deep in the bright blue sea to get back to the dinghy.  The Sea Princess took off her shorts and carried them above her head as even semi fresh laundry is precious to her.  She was wearing black underwear so she figured no one would know it wasn’t a swimsuit bottom.  Captain Thinkshe’sprettyfunny stopped purposefully to chat with a couple on the beach as the Sea Princess stood there feeling foolish.  Then Captain Willpayforthislater said really loud as we bid them farewell, DID YOU ENJOY TALKING TO STRANGERS IN YOUR UNDERWEAR?  The Sea Princess did not.

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Next we took our dinghies to snorkel in the crazy Rocky Dundas caves.

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They had tremendous stalactite and stalagmite formations that looked like the many tails of a scary cave monster.

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The Sea Princess hit the wrong setting on Soul Diver’s gopro and accidently took five hundred rapid fire out of focus pictures and chewed up their batteries.  She is not allowed near it anymore and Captain Meanman said to them, I told you so.

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On the snorkel between the two caves Sadie found Sleepy the nurse shark.

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This living coral wonder took over two hundred years to grow.  It has tons of little coral polyps that are mostly stomachs with mouths and they like to eat algae.  Gross.

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This is Smiley the puffer fish.  We see you.

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The second cave was even more of a wonder.

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Next we got into our dinghies and went a mile or two to check out the infamous bubble bath.  We walked along a creek.

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We reached the cliffs by the Atlantic side.

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It was a mystical place with hundreds of rock temples.

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There was a bath where you sit and wait for the waves to crash over you with a bubbly tickle.

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The Sea Princess took a long bubble bath.  The bubbles were cold.

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Most of us were worn out after a long, fun day but Matt still had some wiggle in him.

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The Sea Princess had a royal last day in the magical Exumas kingdom.  She fell asleep grateful and happy and dreamed of more enchanting seas beckoning to her.

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The End.

 

 

Staniel Cay Part 3 and Pipe Cay

 

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Itsy the Silver Argiope on the beach at Pipe Cay.  Do you feel a tickle on the back of your neck?

We threw out our jib like an offering to the blue sky who gratefully filled it with the kind of wind sailors dream of.  We returned to the same anchorage spot we spent a week at and had the inlet all to ourselves this time.  We dinghied in to pick up our solar regulator and to do a load of laundry with Ruth’s company at the laundry/liquor store.  It really is the best bar in town with its three bar stools and counter next to the washing machines.  The tourist tour boats don’t go there and sailors and locals are frequently dropping in for a cold one and to bask in Ruth’s comical boldness. She told Captain Methismatch when he was teasing her to hurry up and get him a beer, Sit small until you’re called.

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Itsy         many pictures courtesy of Soul Divers Photography

In order for Captain Ohboyabigproject to do any kind of work on the boat he needs to empty every crevice, settee, cupboard, underwear drawer, medicine cabinet, fridge and tool box.  The boat looked like a hurricane hit it as the solar regulator was installed, a battery system control monitor put in and some shunting of batteries went on.  I sunned in the cockpit, sipped umbrella drinks and ate bon bons.  It was a big project that went well and now I can have my fan at night and even some lights on without any lectures about it.  Captain Myhero is really quite a remarkable fixer guy and I thank his mother, Caryl, for buying him that erector set when he was just a wee little trouble maker with bright blue eyes.

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We provisioned with an $8.00 package of frozen, sliced, water injected, yuck deli ham, a $7.00 bag of Fritos, a $7.00 box of Wheat Thins, a $9.00 bunch of asparagus, a $75.00 case of Heineken and because I was starting to talk backwards and my left leg was doing a nervous jig, one bottle of $35.00 Josh Sauvignon Blanc.  I could not and would not spend $28.00 for the bottle of Barefoot.  Forgive me if I told you this already, but back in February a kind marina employee gave us a lift to a liquor store and grocery.  I bought sixteen bottles of wine.  I bought them in a hurry.  I later found the whites to be dated 2012 to 2014.  What should have been pale yellow was dark gold.  The wine was most likely sold cheap because it was old in the first place and then it sat in a two hundred degree freight car on a baking ship for three weeks.  Three bottles we used to stun and kill fish with or I simply dumped.  The others I drank with sparkling water to cut the vinegar taste.  Even the shit wine was gone.  I drank Soul Divers out of their wine.  The wineless princess was whining.

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A LOT!

Project completed, boat stocked, we headed off for Pipe Cay with Soul Divers on our way back to the Exumas Land and Sea park.  I don’t even mention our diesel/water stops anymore as Captain Toocooltobumpdockswhilegettingfuel has become one with Echoes.  It is a thing of beauty.  My digestive tract is most grateful.  Captain Scoringbigpoints is also really good at filling our water tanks with rain water saving us the fifty cents a gallon for water and affording me longer showers.

Pipe Cay is a quiet cay with a beauty all of its own.

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We walked around the ruins of a US Navy Decca station and followed a path to the west side of the island.  We came upon a vast expanse of sea floor at low tide.  It was like stepping on to a beached moon .  We walked for a mile on rippled sand to the slim Pipe River where boats were anchored in the river but appeared to be sitting on the sand.  Conch shells littered the vast and vacant sand floor.

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Happily worn out we settled in for a quiet night of reading and star gazing.

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Black Point

An angry squall was coming with her bully brothers wind.  We tucked in to the well protected harbor of Black Point to wait it out.  The winds were a steady twenty to twenty five with gusts up to thirty five.  We spent days stuck, swinging around on Echoes and with my hands getting closer and closer to Captain Notagoodboredman’s neck.

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Black point residents take great pride in building their own class C boats and racing them in competitions.

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We leave the VHF on twenty four hours a day when there is heavy weather in case someone sees a boat, hopefully not yours, dragging anchor, or a runaway dinghy.  We were woken up at three am to a VHF argument between two freighters one stormy night.  A smaller delivery boat was tied to a dock where a big freighter felt he had the right to be.  We woke up to their angry curses and threats.  Woke up implies we were sleeping.  We barely slept that howling night.  I imagined the roar of the wind was from kraken drowned banshee spirits recruiting for the dark undersea by trying to send our boats into the craggy walls.

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A small grocery store on Black Point.  Typical Bahamian meats in the freezer are steak of an unknown cut, pork shoulder chops, chicken wings , occasional lamb shoulder chops and frozen hamburger patties.  All are packaged in plain ziplocks and are of questionable quality.  The women at Black Point weave fronds to make the purses, baskets and dolls you see on the left.

All boaters underway, and often when anchored, have VHF tuned to channel 16.  Channel 16 is the hailing and emergency channel.  You move channels to have a conversation with the boat you hail.  There is a protocol of procedure and language;  roger, come back, over.  For instance, if we want to reach Joy we hail them on channel 16… Joy.  Joy.  Joy.  This is Echoes, over.  And then they respond, Echoes.  This is Joy.  Let’s go to 17.  You move channels and carry on.  Sometimes you hail boats for social reasons or other times with questions of navigational intentions, or to gain information.  You soon recognize not only the many boat names within your VHF vicinity but the voices that go with them.  Some of those voices are almost cartoon like and we have our favorites that we make fun of regularly because we are not nice people.  It is fun to run into the boats (not literally) you have been hearing and occasionally you meet their people.  Oh look, there is Von Yachtzki.  Or, So that’s Bumfuzzle.  Once we were at a happy hour and as soon as the man spoke I knew exactly which boat was his.  He was one of the voices we often mimic.  Like we might say, Dahhling, can ahh pour you ah libation of yah pleasuhhhhh?  I couldn’t look at Captain Twinkleinhiseyes as the man introduced himself or I knew I would lose it.  Hah, Ahm Thurrrston from the yachhht I’vegotmoremoneythanyouandbiggenitaliaaswell.

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Myself, Elizardbeth, Igor, Tinkerbell, Godzilla, Junior and Juanita the protected Bahamian Rock Iguanas.  Well, not me, I’m not a protected Iguana but the rest of them are.  These and many pictures courtesy of Soul Divers paparazzi.

As you know by now, Captain Mercelesslybadgersme never, ever tires of his jokes or games.  He is still making ridiculous bets.  And  remember Echoes, like the Pink Floyd song that I stupidly let him know drives me nuts?  I went to sign a guestbook at Farmers Cay yacht club and Captain Itsstillfunforme had already signed it.  I didn’t even let him know I saw it.  Do not fuel the fire.

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Captain Mustbedoingsomethingconstantly is frankly not pleasant to be around when he is bored.  Bugging me becomes his favorite time filler.  You can not give him any reaction to his shenanigans or he will grab hold of said annoyance and beat you with it until you want to kick him in the nylock nuts.  You have no idea how hard holding in your annoyance is on your third day stuck bobbing in howling wind.  Sometimes I can feel my eye twitch and my veins pop.  I was loading up pictures when he decided to hail Soul Divers about something.   Soul Divers!  Soul Divers! Soooul Diiiivers!  This is ECHOES!!!  Cooome on back, ya’hear?!, Captain Obnoxious shouted in the VHF with his best and quite accurate Gomer Pyle imitation.  I couldn’t help myself.  I lost it.  I screamed, STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!  as I threw a pillow at him.  It was the nail in my coffin.  He giggled like a ten year old finding his first Playboy and did a little happy dance.  He got me under my skin and he knew it.  So now this is his new VHF hailing voice he uses frequently no matter how much I have ignored it since my fatal mistake.  And now when we pull into an anchorage our fellow boaters will see our cattywampus, bounced between pilings bow pulpit, our dock rash, me at the bow wrassling B.P. with rust all over me and mumbling obscenities like a mad woman and then they will see the name Echoes and think, Oh my word, its that boat with the guy that sounds like a complete idiot.  Should we pull anchor and reset somewhere else?

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Colonel Oliver Osprey keeping watch

The winds began to calm in the late afternoon after three days of captive Captain hell.  I’m sure everyone was anxious to move on, get off their boats and a few more feet away from their spouses.  Our neighbor pulled anchor at 4:00 in the afternoon which is unusually late.  Captain Curious watched them go because they left their anchor dangling in front of the bow where it could bang into the hull and cause damage.  Let’s call that boat Oops.  Oops went about two hundred yards weaving through the boats in the crowded anchorage and unfortunately cut a small sailboat a little short.  Let’s call that boat WTF.  Oops drove right over WTF’s anchor chain, or most likely anchor line, and got all tangled up in it.  Next, Oops swung smack dab into WTF.  WTF ran out with fenders to put in between the boats.  Several fellow sailboaters jumped into their dinghies to provide assistance.  It seemed as though WTF’s anchor line was wound around Oops’ keel, or maybe even his prop.  People were snorkeling and buzzing around in their dinghies trying to fix it.  Finally, WTF released their anchor line from their boat and drove off with the anchor still set to nothing but the seafloor.  Oops somehow got loose after some assisted fiddle faddling and also drove off to reset.  WTF came back to their anchor and with aid of a couple dinghies retrieved the loose end of their line and retied their anchor to their boat.  I don’t know which boat I felt the most sorry for.  For some reason I seemed to relate more to Oops.

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Sadie and Toby enjoying the last beautiful evening before the weather turned some of us, ok me,  all grey and grumpy.

The excitement over, Captain Boredoncemore started acting like a pirate…again.  Come ‘ere ya wench and bring me some rrrrrum! he growled simply to entertain himself.  And then he chased me around the boat, I’m Long John Silver and I’m gonna shiver your timbers.

I’m ready to move on from Black Point.