March 5, 2016
We got up to go to the Orange Creek Inn and Grocery Store but once there we found out it was closed on Saturday? We then went to the beach for exploring. The beaches were pristine. There were no shells, no sea glass, and in fact there was no debris at all. After walking the beaches we went back to the boat, pulled anchor, and headed for Little San Salvador.
Today the winds are moderate and the seas are flat. It is another great day for sailing. We sail out of our cove and head southwest to clear the point and coral protecting our anchorage. We sail an extra hour away from our destination just to prolong the beautiful sailing day and then tack back over toward our destination. We are again trailing lures hoping to catch a fish. We did get one bite but the hook did not set and the fish got away. We must be in the right spot for fishing, there are fishing boats working the waters all around us. It does not appear that the fishing boats are catching much either.
We can see the two cruise ships sitting off of Little San Salvador long before we start to see the island. These cruise ships tower over Little San Salvador's flat terrain. We come in between the island and the cruise ships to enter the harbor. We enter the harbor and drop the hook in about 16 feet of water. We are right in the middle of the harbor with little sailboats and paddle boards milling about.
There are several hundred people milling about on shore. We just hang out on the boat and people watch. One of the local wardens comes out and lets us know that we are welcome to come ashore once the cruise ships leave. I tell him that we will just stay on the boat which seems to hurt his feelings. I finally relent and tell him we will go ashore after the cruise ships leave, which seems to make him happy.
They have an activity there that is kind of interesting. They have about 20 horses there with these little English style saddles that they put the tourists onto. They then ride the horses down the beach and into the ocean where they literally swim with the horses for a few minutes and then head back to the corral. The overall trip is not over half an hour. I wonder how much they pay for that half an hour experience?
By 16:00 all the tourists have been ferried out to the cruise ships and they leave the island to us and the local workers. By the time we get to shore everything is all buttoned up and there are only about four workers finishing their cleanup. The grounds are very clean and very well maintained. We walk through the empty bars and cabanas. We walk their trails and beaches. It is certainly a nice manufactured environment. We head back to the boat at dusk.
We have a brutal night. The winds were predicted to be out of the northeast and this bay faces the southwest, so we should be well protected. The winds are actually out of the southwest and we are totally exposed. The thunderstorms start at midnight and go on until around 3:00 in the morning. We are getting knocked all over the place by the winds and storm. After the storms abate the seas settle down a bit and we get a few hours of sleep.
March 6, 2016
We are up with the sun and ready to get out of this lumpy harbor. We head out to sea for our 43 mile trek to Rock Harbor. We motor sail to Eluethera because we have the winds on our nose and put out our fishing lines in hope of a fish.
We see two cruise ships as we cross the waters from Little San Salvador to Eluethera. I check the AIS and see that the one closest to us is headed to Eluethera at about 14 knots. It is also headed directly for us so we keep a close eye on its progress. He gives us a wide berth as he passes then turns and slows in front of us. We then have to turn south to avoid him as he pulls in to anchor at Bannerman on Eluethera.
We see that Bannerman is another manufactured cruise ship town. Now it makes sense why they are headed to Eluethera, we were not sure why they would be heading to Eluethera. The ship lines are setting up these little towns through the Bahamas. Someone told us that 87% of the Bahamas income is Tourism.
We round Powell Point and bring in our lures. We are now heading into shallow waters which are barracuda country, so there is no need to leave out the fishing lines. The waters become very flat as we get into these protected waters. This is a nice break from the eight foot rollers we were experiencing out in Exuma sound.
The waters are crystal clear and absolutely gorgeous as we head past Powell Point towards Rock Sound. There are various shades of blue as the water depths change. As we travel down the channel we still have to keep an eye out for coral and alter our course to avoid them. We also have to make several changes in our course to avoid the shallow waters in the bay as we approach Rock Sound.
We are now in about 6.5 feet of water so I slowdown in case we touch bottom. Our approach to the anchorage is painfully slow. We find a spot to anchor near the dock at the church in about 7.5 feet of water. We are only about a quarter mile from the dinghy dock in town. It is a pretty spot to drop the hook.
The winds are light so we light up the grill and have our Hoffman Grillers (hot dogs) as a special treat before preparing to go ashore. Just before we leave the winds come up and start blowing 20 knots and the winds have created quite a chop so we just chill on the boat for the rest of the day. We barely feel the chop outside while in the boat but if we had tried to get to shore in the dinghy we would have gotten soaked. Better to chill in the boat.
March 7, 2016
What a wonderful night's sleep. Slept for ten hours and woke up only once all night. We feel great! Karen gets up and makes biscuits with eggs on top smothered with a cheese spinach sauce. A gourmet breakfast on the boat! No wonder I can't lose any weight.
The winds start out mild but build to 20 to 25 knots. The winds are out of the northeast and we are close to the eastern shore so the waves do not have the fetch to build up. We are well protected.
We head ashore and tie up at the town dinghy dock by the church. We walk south on the Queen's highway to find the water spigot for our free water. We then head north for about two miles to the local grocery store to check it out for provisioning. We then head into town and go east for about five blocks to Sammies' for lunch. We check out the menu but it is a bit early for lunch so we head over to see the Ocean Hole which is about ten blocks away.
The Ocean Hole is a round sinkhole about fifty yards across. It is full of seawater and is reported to be over 600 feet deep. It is connected to the ocean by an underground labyrinth of caves and there is an abundance of sea live in the hole. We brought some johnnycake with us from Sammies' and fed it to the fish in the hole. There were about fifty fish waiting to be fed there so we must not be the only ones feeding the fish.
We went back to Sammies' and ate lunch. We were talking to Janet, the proprietor, and she could not believe how much walking we do. She told us that she had a heart attack three years ago and has been meaning to exercise but has not yet made the effort. She tells us she is inspired by us and will start walking tonight. We shall see…
We head back into town towards the dinghy dock and run into Debbie on River Rat II. We greet her and she says "Oh, I didn't recognize you." What a load of crap. That is about the third time we have run into her in the Bahamas and it is the same old tired line. Just because we are in the Bahamas does not mean we don't have any snobs around.
We headed back to the boat and chilled for the rest of the night.
March 8, 2016
We got up and ran over to the fuel dock this morning and carried our four jugs up to the gas station to fill them up with diesel. The price for fuel here is fantastic. We were paying over five dollars a gallon all over the Bahamas. The price here is $3.41 a gallon. What a great deal. We take our jugs back to the dinghy and load them is which is no easy task. The dock is about six feet above the dinghy so Karen has to hand me down the jugs which weigh about 48 pounds each while the dinghy rolls below me with the waves from the harbor.
We load the jugs onto our boat and then decided to walk across the island to find a beach on the Atlantic side of the island. We parked our dinghy at the dinghy dock and walked due east from there. We walked about 1.5 miles up and down a pretty good hill before arriving at the beach.
The beach is pristine but not good for shelling or sea glass. It has a long slow curve between two rocky points about a half a mile long. It was lined with trees all along the beach. We walked the beach from point to point and then headed back to town to Sammies' for lunch.
We stop at Hall's Grocery Store along the way and check it out. This store must have started back in the 1950s. All the shelves are wooden and it is a ramshackle building that has been added to several times. It has a good selection of goods and the meat prices are quite reasonable. It is not a very attractive store but we will likely come back and pick up some meat here before leaving.
We had lunch at Sammies' and used the internet there for several hours. We then went back to the dinghy and rode north up past Wild Orchids and beached our dinghy on a road near the other grocery store. We picked up some gluten free bread mix for Karen and then headed back to the boat.
Once back at the boat Karen tried out her bread mix. It came out beautifully and smelled great. There was not much taste to the bread but at least she has a bread that she can use now. Somehow she has developed an allergy to gluten and cannot eat any regular bread. Thanks to the new bread we had bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches for dinner.