Final Chapter of Exploring Eleuthera

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Lydia Fell

Dec 7, 2010, 3:41:12 PM12/7/10
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George Town, Exuma
December 6th, 2010

For all of you that have hung in there with me on this Eleuthera recall, I promise you that we’re nearly finished.  As I told a friend today, I have to get these memories down in my log before I forget them.  I don’t know whether it’s CRS syndrome, or whether the last four years of cruising has been a blurry blend of one beautiful adventure into another.  In any event, there’s no denying that both Skip and I can’t remember where we were in any given time in the past, and without reference to this log, which is essentially my Journal, I’d lose the details of our experience along the way.  For instance, I was trying to recall the details of the 9 day passage we made from Florida to Maine a couple of summers ago, and was horrified when I kept coming up with a blank screen.  Other than remembering that we did it, I couldn’t visualize the weather conditions at the time, whether we’d successfully kept ourselves in fish for dinner, how Portia reacted to that trip, or any other details.  Skip was no help at all, and I finally pulled the log from that journey to remind myself.  So, that’s all to say that, like the pictures on Picasa, this log is primarily for my memory supplement.

That said …

We had a beautiful sail out of Governor’s Harbour, leaving Troubadour behind us (their plans were to sail to Nassau, instead), and we dropped anchor late afternoon off the Pineapple Cays.  From our boat, it was a short dinghy ride to shore, where we landed right in front of Skip and Sharon Warner’s house, and they ushered us inside for the grand tour, accompanied by two smiling dogs and cat with a personality and a half.   The house was built by Skip and Sharon who are, clearly, gifted in skill, patience and creativity.  Their home is not only beautiful and spacious, but very practically laid out for a second home in this hot climate.  They have a working cupola in the roof, which keeps the hot summer air moving up and out, and the house is artfully decorated, with a very pretty beach theme throughout, including a hand-painted mural above the kitchen cabinets.  The rental units had the same, cool and comfortable ambiance, and with the beach immediately in front of the property, you couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing atmosphere.  I should add here that if any of you are ever interested in a vacation rental unit, where you can truly escape from the stresses of the world, here’s the link:

After we’d walked the property and finished marveling at the Warner’s home building talents, they graced us with a pork loin roast, complete with fresh steamed veggies, rice and a big colorful salad.  This quantum departure from our boat diet of, primarily, beans and rice (in all it’s various renditions) was a huge treat, and everything was delicious.  Skip and Sharon pampered us thoroughly until we all finally pulled the plug, and we dinghied back to the boat for bed.  The following morning, we picked the Warners up and brought them back to Flying Pig for our tour - which takes about 3 minutes if you take your time – and Sharon presented us with a gift of just-out-of-the-oven beer bread, along with the recipe.  Yum!  The wind was really picking up, and we had to get quite a bit further south to Rock Sound, so reluctantly, despite their offers to drive us to grocery supplies, we said our goodbyes.

Yet again, it’s these random acts of kindness from strangers that touch us, and remind us to continue to pay it forward.  This give-and-you-shall- receive attitude pervades these island communities as it does the cruising community, and it colors the quality of our lives in the richest of hues.  We feel so blessed, and we are grateful, every single day.

Our 23 mile sail from the Pineapple Cays down to Rock Sound was nothing short of exhilarating.  It was one of those perfect days, with perfect wind at a perfect speed and in a perfect direction, in perfect sea conditions – the stuff that sailing brochures are made of.  For just a moment, we touched 8 knots of speed in this old Pig, and shortly afterward, entered Rock Sound harbor.

S/V Boto, with Ed and Vicki aboard was there when we arrived.  They, too had made friends with the Warners … reminding us how small the world is out here on the water.  We’d been a day behind Boto in our travels for a while, and we enjoyed a late afternoon on their boat the following day, swapping war stories and loving their two adorable Cocker Spaniels on board.  Boto was headed south to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, so their route was very different from ours, but it was exciting listening to their plans, which I hope will be ours this time next year.  They left the following morning at the crack of dawn; we visited the grocery store, and listened intently to our weather guru, Chris Parker, for a window south to George Town.  When the window came, we were ready, and we left Rock Sound at 2.45pm on the afternoon of December 2nd for our overnight passage.

20 hours later, we sailed into George Town after a hard, but fast ride south.  This wasn’t one of those passages when you can set the sails, kick back, enjoy the stars and watch for traffic.  It required our constant attention to keep the wind on our stern quarter as we surfed down the waves in the Exuma Sound, and by the time we arrived, we were absolutely knackered.

And so, we are back at the beginning of another season in George Town, this being our first in time for Christmas.  I counted 37 boats here between the various anchorages yesterday; I think there were more than that when we arrived, but several have headed south since then, taking advantage of these west winds.  We’re anchored off George Town proper, in Kidd's Cove, where we can pick up some good (albeit, sporadic) internet, and are close to supplies.  The weather is as cold as we’ve seen this year – not conducive to bathing suits – and down to a brisk 55 degrees tonight, although warming up to the mid 60’s soon.  Nevertheless, that’s a dramatic departure from every night up until now – definitely cuddling weather!

We went ashore yesterday with the laundry.  The Corner Laundromat here is really wonderful, and Leigh, the owner operator, remembers every boat name and every cruiser from year to year, which is astounding to me, since I can’t even remember the names of people we shared dinner with from one year to the next.  She has plenty of washers, (except during high cruising season, when you may have to take a number and wait) and enormous gas dryers which spew two foot flames out of the top of them, guaranteed to shrink your rayons at a minimum.  It’s scenes like this that always make me wish I’d remembered to carry my camera with me, but, flames aside, it’s still one of the best Laundromats in the Bahamas.  The local library is alive and well with a great selection, but alas, no Stieg Larsson sequels to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Skip has read the first two books and is racing his way through a borrowed third in the series.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, this series of books are the talk of the season.  I may have to wait until I get back to the States for the third book before I begin them all.  I rejoiced as quietly as possible, however, when I found another Chris Bohjalian book at the library; I may just as well have found the crown jewels, so pleased was I.

Shortly, I expect, some folks will start to open conversation about what to do for Christmas.  I’m sure the Organizers (in which category I have never belonged) will figure out how best to arrange that, and fellow Followers (into which group I will fall for this particular purpose) will contribute time, or music, or food , to create a memorable Christmas Day for all.  I’m hoping that will be the case – it’s a very nice crowd of cruisers here, and we all miss our families at this time of year.

So, I’ll let you know how that turns out.  My best wishes to all of you for a wonderful Holiday Season, and a fresh New Year for you to shape however you choose.  May Peace, Health and Happiness be with you all.

Here are the links for the last couple of posts:

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