Friday, April 30, 2010

Spanish Wells & Hatchet Bay

Wednesday Dirk and I decided to get off the boat and poke around town a bit and check out the Food Fair grocery store. I have heard different accounts from different folks on their ideas of the best provisioning places. My advice is if you need something get it, even if it is 20 cents more but don’t over buy anywhere except for when you leave the states stocking up on items you may really like that might be hard to find. Face it, the Bahamas are expensive so be prepared to pay about double for what you buy and be happy when you find a deal. The Food Fair Grocery was fairly large with a good selection of pretty much everything you could want so we stocked up on a few items and headed back to the boat stopping only to pick up a few coconuts we saw to replenish our stock. We hopped in the dinghy and on the way back we saw a few folks hanging around a dock throwing greens in the water. We putt over and see a manatee. Hummmm, I didn’t know there were manatees in the Bahamas…..Of course I didn’t have my camera so we went back to the boat, picked it up and headed back. The other folks had gone but the manatee was still there and very inquisitive about us coming right up to the dinghy. Soon a gentleman drives up, gets out and we find out he is from some sort of marine & wildlife organization. He informed us that the manatee was actually a female and due to give birth any day now. Her name was Rita and she somehow managed to get from Florida to Eleuthera. I believe he said it was the 3rd such one that has done that, and she is actually tagged for Florida. They have no clue how or why they do it but somehow they do. The last one they had was in Bimini and they transferred it back as it was beginning to stave as I guess the food supply is a bit different here. The government has had the marine specialist from Atlantis resort come over and they say that after 3 months of her being here she is doing well. Here she is being curious with Dirk as he is taking her picture
Part of the reason being of course is the folks from Spanish Wells have spoiled her. She hangs around one dock and gets handouts on a daily basis and even the large ships going in and out of there know to look for her and it was told she held up the channel traffic for almost an hour one day. The gentleman was full of information and it was great to be so close to and photograph her. The afternoon was spent spear fishing with another couple moored next to us. Dirk did manage to spear a good size gray snapper and the last thing he saw was the fish heading for deeper water with his spear shaft. The other guy had speared one also that got away but 15 minutes into the hunt with another shaft he sees it swimming by and spears it again. Well at least he found his, and Dirk spent 30 minutes looking but never could find his. Oh well, what can you do? We decided to hit a little beach on the way back. The waves didn’t appear to be very large coming in but as I stood up to take a step out of the dinghy to pull it to shore a wave hit us and just about capsized the dinghy. I remember flying face first into the water and looking back I saw Dirk doing the same. We quickly pulled the dinghy to shore and realized it was half full of water and everything was floating in it including the canvas bag that had my non-waterproof camera inside. It only took a matter of minutes for me to realize it was a hopeless case. I was so disappointed all I wanted to do was get back to the boat as everything was drenched and full of sand. My fun meter was pegged for the day. Our neighbor told us that she heard if you take it and put it into a bag of raw rice that might help, heck at this point it wouldn’t hurt. Well it’s been in there for a day and a half and it is still not working. At least we still have Dirks camera but his is the nice one that I hate to take to shore. I’m gonna miss that camera and have stated the next one will be waterproof. Friday morning one last trash run and internet run was made along with a trip to the fish market to buy a new spear shaft for Dirk. Note to self…Next season bring more than one. About 10ish we headed out making tracks for Current Cut making sure we hit it with the incoming tide as it is a narrow cut that runs like a river through it. At just about idle speed we were making about 7 knots. As soon as you make it through you have to hang a tight right so as not to get washed up onto a grassy bar so things were a bit un nerving for me momentarily but we made it through with no problem. From there we headed to Glass window where we spent the evening anchored off a nice beach being the only boat. Sun downers and a beautiful sunset concluded the day. The following morning we prepped the boat for a short sail down to Hatchet Bay in Alice Town. Dirk pulled up the sails, raised the anchor, and off we went without starting the engine. Great start to a beautiful day until the wind shifted and we were heading straight into 20 knot winds so the engine was started and we motored the last 30 minutes or so into the very narrow opening of Hatchet Bay. Once we were inside we headed to the west end looking for a mooring ball as the bottom is grassy and holding can be iffy. Besides all the mooring balls are put here by the government and offered for free to boaters. Free is good…..As we are heading in we see a boat that looks very familiar and sure enough we spot Bill & JoAnn from s/v Ultra. Last time we saw them was when they were traveling through Panama City Florida from Texas close to a year ago. Wow, small world….Sun downers were planned at their boat for the evening and they invited most of the harbor so we met several new folks and got some nice information as we are headed in opposite directions. Sunday was a lazy day for us, It was beautiful and we should have been off the boat poking around doing something rather than lounging about reading all day but that’s what we elected to do. I stepped outside at one point and saw our friends from s/v Sovereign Swan just coming into the cut. When we had left Marsh Harbor we had to leave them behind as they were having battery issues and would have to wait on new ones from the states. They were suppose to catch up with us later but after several days of the batteries being delayed in customs we figured there would be no way they would. They pushed hard and made up several days so we will press on together. Once we turn back for the states they will head further south for Hurricane season. Several of the boaters were talking about getting together and heading into town for the evening to go to a little place called Da Spott, a little outside bar for dinner and some rake & scrape music later in the evening so we figured we would join them. It was just a little hole in the wall place that was very welcoming. There wasn’t a great selection of food but what we had was wonderful thrown right on the barbeque pit outside. We sat around watching a basketball game on the TV over the bar and had a few drinks catching up waiting on the band to arrive. One of the band members arrived and it was determined that the other one was too intoxicated to come. Oh well, this is the islands, so much for the band we still had the house music and the basketball game. Today we sit out a front and as I look at the cut I can see it is rough out there. We are in the safest Harbor in Eleuthera and it feels nice. Tomorrow it should be nice so we will head down to Governors Harbour.

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