Saturday, April 01, 2006

Back in George Town to stock up and move on. (Tom, go back to MSN, because this will just be about food and other boring stuff.)

April Fool's Day. Someone called in to Chris Parker's weather broadcast this morning and said there was a white whale in George Town Harbour, and old people, small children and dogs should stay on their boats. Dinghy traffic was to be curtailed.

We're starting to get antsy about moving along. I'm sure that lots of the folks that come and spend months here have sorted out the best way to deal with the chop in the harbour, the need to change locations when the wind clocks around, and the limited joys of George Town itself. We've found that it's a nice place to visit, but we're ready to move on.

Red Shanks was a lovely anchorage, but the trip to town by dinghy was bloody brutal. Wet? We started wearing our foul weather pants after about the second trip, and were accosted by a guy at the dinghy dock who said, "geez guys, what is this, Maine?" Well, he can go on and stand up in his rigid bottom dinghy, but I'm wearing my foulies, cause I'm sick of having a soaking wet arse (and everything else -- my watch strap is pretty much toast). There's a nasty short chop that starts right at the bridge into the dinghy dock. Picture punching through about five minutes of this nasty, nasty line up of standing waves, and then about ten minutes of kidney-shaking waves, then about a half-hour of a variety of smacking waves sloshing over the front of the dinghy, which of course, will not plane with 30 gallons of water, four or five bags of groceries, four bottles of wine and the crew aboard. Purgatory. Then the captain's hat flies off, and we go back to get it. Last time, I was so stiff that when I stood up to grab the taffrail, I plopped back down again in the dinghy.

Applications of rum are always required after such a trip.

After the last trip, Randy's knee bit the dust (the left one this time, for those of you who are keeping track), and we're back to rum, rest, ice, compression, elevation for several days. Other than that, things are just about as idyllic as you could possibly imagine. We've sat around on deck and watched a pair of oyster catchers fly around. Bizarre looking birds.

Randy has read his way through "Das Boot" and we've managed to get the SSB antenna attached to the lofty places, but not the sub-basement places. That's next. Randy hauled me up the mizzen -- I'm lighter and though less handy, will take instruction -- and we managed to get the antenna attached. It's never easy though. I sprayed the connections with Boeshield to prevent corrosion, but hey, the stuff melted the self-amalgamating tape that was the next bit of the application, so I swung around for a while, waiting for it to dry, and when it didn't, I decided to wipe some of it off -- with what? -- so had to work my way out of my tshirt so I could get it over my head to wipe the wire dry. The installation seems to be okay. We won't know until after RS spends a day in the cockpit locker, cursing, and hooking up the other end. Stay tuned.

Lots of cruisers work a lot harder than we do, and their boats are ticky-boo. We read a lot. I made chocolate chip cookies this week. Apparently you can use them as currency with other cruisers. I'm hoping Paul will come over and clean off the streamers of green that we're trailing from the water line.

We went to the airport on Monday with Paul and Denise to pick up their daughter Prentiss. Randy had ordered some charts from Bluewater, and so we headed to the Customs Office to pick them up while we waited for Prentiss's plane. The office is locked, so you have to go over to Arrivals to hunt up someone. A lovely young lady saunters across the dusty road to the Customs Office, unlocks the place, sits behind the desk at the door, and you hunt for your parcel. Two parcels for R. Sherman were found filed between "F" and "G". In every office in at the airport (and at Immigration in town) there's a whacking great new TV, which the employees watch all the time while they are in the room. While we were hunting for our charts at Customs, I was able to explain to Paul how "Let's Make a Deal" works. He had some real trouble with the Showcase Showdown logistics, but by the time we'd filled out the forms and Randy had gone next door to get a photocopy of our cruising permit to file (again) with Customs, Paul was down with the whole concept.

The trip to the airport was enlivened by Gregory, our cab driver. In the Bahamas, your cab driver takes you out, and hangs around until your peeps arrive and you're ready to head back to town. The plane was delayed, so we all had lunch together. Nice guy, snappy dresser, great car.

We motored back to Kidd Cove on Friday - as close as you can get to town - to stock up. Did what we could, but by about mid-afternoon, we were thunking on the bottom and we hauled anchor and headed across the harbour for deeper water. The folks from another CDN boat, Polar Bear, were chasing us out in their dinghy, and grabbed onto our rail and caught a much dryer ride across the harbour than they might have had. And they got a cookie. We'll head back again Saturday, stock up and vacate again. Phew.

Food. Always an issue. Paul says that he was told to carry a spoon in his pocket when going to town in case there was ice cream to be had. The entire chip/tortilla chips/pretzel/cheezie/etc section at the market could be stacked on a small couch and consumed by six teenagers during one bad movie. We crave potato chips and tortilla chips. One day, everything that they had to offer was "made with REAL Cheddar Cheese!!!" I've been eating salted soy nuts that I stocked up on in Florida. I really like them, but Randy calls them dust nuts. If you're going to do this sort of trip, make sure you have the snack issues covered.

We're still looking at some of the canned goods we bought, and saying, hmm. Canned peas have not improved since I was a child. The pictures on the label are green and perky. The peas are grey and salty. Spinach in a bag will last until you're sick of it, then it will go slimy, and you can bin it. Rice is good. Eggs is good. All the fruit juice you mix with rum is full of vitamin C. Grapefruit for breakfast makes sense when you can sit in the cockpit and scoop it up in the bright sunshine. They don't have tonic here, or viable mushrooms, or much in the way of tropical fruit. We did get tomatoes today, and green bananas, and one perfect avocado (1.95).

What else. There's been a bit of a tempest about flag etiquette for the cruising boats. Pedro, of Pedro's Conch Shack (on Volleyball Beach), took issue with one of the boats who was flying a US flag higher than the Bahamian courtesy flag, and there was an unpleasant confrontation. A cruisers' representative tried to sort it out with him, but some boaters were angry about him being angry about the perceived slight. The discussion on the VHF has been interesting. Not altogether flattering in terms of the behaviour of the visitors. A quick review of Bahamian history might be a good idea. We're guests here now, and at other times, the colonial influence was terrifically damaging, murderous, so we should be doing backflips to indicate goodwill at this point.

Another gorgeous day in the Exumas: winds have dropped to about 15 knots, east north east, a few puffy clouds, and temps will be mid-70s to low 80s, as usual. It hasn't rained for more than 30 seconds all month. Next stop, Long Island, probably Monday.

Lots of pictures below. Send email.


Blogger Diamond Joe said...

Hey Randy and Susan!

Joe here, just wanted to say hi! Been following your posts the whole time. Sounds really fun. Ellesmere Island was amazing, even saw a Russian cruise ship up there! And the most amazing glaciers with petrified tree trunks. Later on in the season though had a bad helicopter crash in Quebec, spent a bunch of time back home nursing wounds and taking time off. Have since just started a new job in Vancouver for a diamond-exploration company working up in the Arctic. Am now trying to figure out the west coast....the other coast!

So just wanted to say hi. Been following your posts all along. How can I send you a letter or e-mail? Well, all the best. I'm heading back up north the end of April.....see you there??

Take care guys,

9:46 PM  
Blogger Xcelsior said...

Hello Nancy "D"
Pat and I are soon going to depart DYC for the sunny and warmth of the south. As soon as our replacement autohelm arrives we will be Bermuda bound then to the Virgins. Stay tuned to the Herb weather net on 12359 each evening, you may hear our progress.
Fair Winds
Pat n Ted Xcelsior

1:02 PM  

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