April 29, 2013 by Last Star blog
Exit the Exumas…..
We’ve known for weeks now that soon we would leave this idyllic place. As we pulled out of Georgetown you could hear on the radios that the northbound exodus had begun. We had the luxury that we were NOT pressed for time and would not leave the Bahamas until late May. So we smiled at those poor folks looking at “weather windows” and working out if they would exit at Chub Cay or Bimini. Not our concern for now. We drug our heels through Rat and Musha, strolled into Black Point for the usual laundry, food and visit with Waggie at Scorpios, slow roll to Staniel Cay for fuel and water–as usual no gas (huge thanks to Dirk from Renegade for helping out with the extra gallon for the dinghy). We went “between the Majors” to see that as we rolled towards Sampson, tried going into the Pipe but the winds were too high and the water too low. Next stop was the park for 3-4 days ending at Shroud. Then it got a bit squirrely. We had big designs for Norman’s Cay. We had gouge on some Conch areas, wanted to see the sunken C-47 and anchor on the East side. Again, no dice, too much wind! The water was rough as hell so we ended up by the old Normans Bay Beach Club. We stopped here in January for lunch but it was under renovation (estimated opening Dec 2012?). So we figured April 2013 we’d be good to go–not so much. OK, sandwiches on board again. With all the wind I drug out the sailboard and had a spin around the bay. Patricia walked the beach and got some skinny from a fellow who is building a house on the water and had details on the beach clubs future. Well that night the wind clocked a bit too much South/SouthEast and we were getting rocked on that side of Normans so we moved north a bit and hid behind a little spit of land hoping to get some relief. It was slightly better. Now as the wind was still up and we weren’t in a huge hurry we would spend the day there and go to HighBourne the next day.
Our friends on Triumph had told us how they burned some trash (bonfire they called it) and ours was stinking quite nicely after nearly 10 days so we thought we’d give that a try (for our environmentalist followers out there burning is the usual method here in the Bahamas for trash. The Abacos does it all on the same day and if the winds are light the skies go gray). We sorted out the glass and got our hammer to mash the cans flat after they were burned and off we went. Well it was 90 minutes of hell. We had to gather wood, get the fire lit, add the trash, burn it all, sort out the cans, mash them, then put out the fire, cover with sand and take the cans back to the boat. It got rid of the smell but well worth the $2-$5 at a marina to leave the trash and have someone else burn it but that would require a marina.
So the next day we were off to HighBourne sort of early (early for us anyways) to have a nice lunch there, it was Sunday and Mondays the bar and restaurant are closed. The weather was still not ideal but we did get to sail most of the way. We did duck in between the islands near Tea Leaf Cay and Oyster hoping to see some beautiful water but the sun and clouds would not oblige us. We ended up anchored in the same area we used 3 months ago and dinghied up to HighBourne for lunch.
The weather was intermittent cloudy and we headed back to the boat as the big lunch and few beers knocked us out–we’ve been sleeping poorly in this windy and sloppy weather. We hoped to snorkel but in cloudy weather it doesn’t look so impressive. We also had Barry the funsucker Barracuda living under our boat again? What’s with that?
Well we had another rough night, it was fine at bed-time but in the night the wind clocked to the west-ish a bit and set the bay to rolling, there was about 10 of us in the area and everybody was getting rocked. We hoped to get fuel and water from HighBourne so we dinghied in to talk to the dock-hands, take a walk on the beach, and see about some internet. Well the crone behind the counter told us we could not walk on the beach, the internet was for guests only and we were not welcome beyond the dock and restaurant area (closed I reminded her). This was not the sort of reception we had the day prior nor in the previous months, this was also not the same lady from the days prior either. I call her the HighBourne Hag. Well we went back to the boat and pondered getting our fuel and water and leaving, the wind was to die down in the afternoon but we now had even less to do as we could not roam the island. Unfortunately a “squall” was rolling through and it was really getting rough and the wind had us turned and too close to shore for my taste. We needed to go! The marina had gone to shit too. A another sailboat “Interlude” was trying to come in for a slip, he was getting the crap beat out of him and HighBourne Hag was giving him some song and dance that the basin was not ready, there was someone at the dock and “once that guest is checked out she would call him”. Now from her area she can’t see the marina and Interlude was having quite enough of her. I think what she knew about boating and marinas would fit in a thimble with room to spare. She would be better behind the counter at a Motel 6. With the dick-dance at the dock we elected to skip the fuel and water–we really needed water more but could do without both. So with a lot of work we got the anchor up with the screaming wind, Patricia got us pointed in the right direction and we were off to go find another spot. We rooted around Allens Cay (where the Iguanas live) and found a spot with 8 other folks, all spinning in different directions due to wind and current there. We had lunch but I knew there would be no way to sleep with the tides and crowd in there. After lunch we pulled anchor and moved back south to the north end of Highbourne Cay and tucked in after Alek gave me a updated weather forecast over the phone (big thanks to big son).
SO tomorrow we will leave bright and early for Eleuthera and Rock Sound. We really wanted to go north to Spanish Wells but the weather will not allow that and then the window will close so we will move east first then north later. The last few days have been cloudy for the most part, rough and not the Exumas we pulled into in January under a brilliant sky. Is it us? Maybe it is as we leave we are seeing the worst of it, maybe the weather is crap? We spent nearly 3 full months here, we will miss it terribly.
Here’s the shot off the bow for the last night here, overcast. Maybe it is time to go.