May 25, 2013 by Last Star blog
Ok, it must be time to leave the Bahamas, we both feel like the islands are trying to kick us out. We have mentioned how we blew past some of these islands with Cole when we first got here to rush down south a bit, for the weather to be warmer but also to pick up Alek. Well, now that we have seen them, I think we maybe should have skipped them the second time around.
I don’t know whether to call this post Not So Grand, Grand Cay or the Match.com Cay. Walker Cay (one cay up) used to be THE island up north to check-in and for the Floridian fishing boat trade. Close enough for the serious fisherman to run over from West Palm for just the weekend. However, a hurricane took out Walker Cay and so Grand Cay has recently seen a large insurgence of attention and cash because of it. We pulled into the harbor and noticed it was really pretty shallow, even for us, at high tide but the little town looked so cute we were pretty happy with the idea of two nights here. There are quite a few rooms for rent/motel with a bar and grocery store, mostly owned by Rosie. Many of the fisherman come over on smallish boats and don’t have sleeping accommodations on board. We also noticed many many conch fisherman hanging out cleaning boat loads of conch. We dropped our anchor and dinghied in. Upon arrival we notice quite a few brand new buildings, Rosie’s new cottages. We took a little walk around and saw the sights. Seems Grand Cay has some grand ideas but maybe not the follow through. It also seems, Grand Cay has a little of that match.com issue…the pictures on the brochure are a little bit like bait and switch. Now, let me say, the locals are hard working fisherman.
The whole village is a fishing village. Mainly conch, as they are wholesalers to the states. As always, the Bahamians are the nicest people! They are open and friendly and seem to have a great respect for family and God. Their internet was down, they have four links into the town but they were all down. Raquel at Rosie’s called the custom’s gal to see if she could get some weather for us on her smart phone. She came from the other side of town in a golf cart for Hank to use her phone. No worries. However, I am afraid the quality of Americans that come through here are not the nicest or most pleasant of our countrymen. I have been more than comfortable in any bar all through the Bahamas, but the one here, I refused to go in. And it was not the locals I didn’t want to rub elbows with.
I am just going to post the pictures I took here. You can see they have really updated the churches, schools, and parks. There are quite a few new buildings being built and people seem to live in them regardless of the stage of completion, or maybe they are done?
We spent two nights here, as we got here fairly late the first night and are a little ahead of schedule for our slip at Old Bahama Bay in West End to leave the islands . The first night was fine and the second day the wind began to pick up. Late in the day the second day, we were leaving the town and we ran into a local guy living on the only other sail boat in the harbor. The Last Case. He told us the holding was iffy in the harbor in stronger winds and we should put out a Bahamian anchoring, which is two anchors in a ‘V’ off the nose. There is quite a bit of debate on the procedure and we are of the mind it is not a great idea. However, we thought: local knowledge is usually great advice. Hank loaded the dinghy with the second anchor and he set it in a lovely V. Oh boy, sound sleeping tonight. NOT. I slept through a storm and the anchor alarm going off and Hank had to shake me 4 times to wake me. Stupid Rum punches. Dead to the world in my ignorant bliss and ear plugs. Oh, we were dragging all right. Hank had already been up and out a few times before he woke me. Now, obviously neither of the anchors are holding and the water tower is getting closer and closer.
And so is the yacht moored behind us. All with rain and gale force winds pelting us. Hank was pulling one anchor up and then using the windlass for the second one. Once they were both up, I had to drive the boat and Hank had to ‘reset’ the anchor. Well, I am not going to go into the details but there was A LOT of screaming and not just because the wind was howling. It was like Chevy Chase’s European vacation: water tower, town, yacht, water tower, town, yacht. And Hank yelling obvious things like, “can’t you see the water tower on the iron shore?” Why yes dear, I can, and I am driving the boat like a crazy person because I am also seeing 4 feet of water and we run aground at 3.8 and why, yes dear, I can see the yacht getting closer too. Hmn. I am driving as fast as I can. I have the boat at around 1800 rpm and it is not really responding because of the current and the wind. We FINALLY get the boat anchored. We sorta sleep. We wake. We leave. We are zombies for the day. WE get to Mangrove Cay and we debate on even eating dinner. Quesadillas and we are in bed by 8:00 pm. A new record, even for sailors. It was still day light out. Ugh. Grand Farewell for Grand cay.