The stay in Fresh Creek ended with a night to remember at Hank's as we helped celebrate "Speedo's birthday". Neither the walk home or the underway the next morning revoke any clear memories from either of us.
Our sojourn along the Andros coast was in search of a place less traveled where we could avoid weekend sailors and the din of popular media. Or perhaps, it was in recognition that it was going to be crowded in George Town...a center of activity in the central Bahamas, especially two weeks before the Regatta. That thriving sailboat hangout had good shelter, even for a few of us trawlers, and we were looking for a place to chill-out. From Andros, the trip across the Tongue of the Ocean...deepest place in the world...was spectacular. We found our entry to the Exumas on the old DECCA channel running east-west. Weather was favorable and we made the anchorage at Black Point Settlement before the sun set down. Black Point is a charming place that we have visited before. Longing to go ashore, we chose a dinner aboard that nite, as it would be an early start for George Town in the morning.
From this very laid-back community we next entered the frenetic center of George Town; a place spoiled by the boating community's dominance of what might have been an otherwise respectable Bahamian town. The VHF was on constant buzz covering the virtual activities of those at anchor in Elizabeth Harbor...three hundred and twenty eight by their count. This is a community, unto themselves connected by radio to each cockpit, talking a lot and monitoring others, even more. We too, listened in on all manner of human activity...Yoga, volleyball, AA meetings, lost pets, and even a few serious events. As heavy weather descended, the net proved to be a dramatic media as we listened to dragging anchors, cut snubbers and lost dinghies, cushions and water casks. Several craft just drifted off in the 40 knot gale and the net kept them company in their time of trial. This close to Regatta Week was not the time for a powered vessel to be hanging around; especially one seeking quiet.
From our snug anchorage off Elizabeth Island, we set off on the morning of 20 February for the more peaceful Bahamas. The trip took us to Cape Santa Maria and it was here that building waves and wind forced a reconsideration. It seemed prudent to head down to Salt Pond on the south west coast of the island. This turned out to be a lovely anchorage and we explored ashore for the rest of the day. Salt Pond is a pure fishing community. As such, it has adopted a sensible approach to commerce. We found an industrious population, well stocked grocery and hardware stores and natives that were just happy to be there. The dinghy ride to the government dock was short and we offloaded garbage and called home to the kids. On the morning of 21 February we finally rounded Cape Santa Maria and set off for Rum Cay. Along the way Bill hooked into a barracuda and a tuna in succession; the latter served up as dinner on arrival.
Rum Cay is a little remote. We paid $.50 a gallon for water and the showers/laundry are not in operation. But, that is not to say that there are not positive factors. We have the place to ourselves, leftovers that are tossed over the side are devoured by circling nurse sharks and the internet connection is good. So, for us this is a great spot and a chance to log another chapter. Tomorrow we are off to the Acklins, comprised of Crooked Island, Long Cay and the Acklins, principally.