Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rock Sound to Spanish Wells

Rock Sound is a great anchorage and we ended up staying a week there (and could have stayed longer). The supermarket is the next best to Nassau. There is now a great bar and restaurant (can't remember the name although 12 Points seems possible but you can't miss it) on the beach on the north side of town, close to where we anchored, just before the supermarket. They have a dinghy dock and a substantial tiki hut on the shore (where many cruiser pot lucks congregate and where we had a Mexican dominos game one day). They host groups from the Princess Cruise ships for a Junkanoo demonstration at lunch on a regular basis. We attended one of these and had a great time.
Junkanoo is a traditional festival held on Boxing Day or New Year's in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos (and occasionally in the U.S. among former Bahamaians. "The word "Junkanoo" came from an African slave master and trader named "John Canoe" in the 17th century. Like the Carnival celebrations around the world, also started among African slaves, it was developed during holiday periods and incorporated tribal music and instruments. The costumes were originally made of native materials but have become increasingly complicated and brilliant.
Making conch salad from the start with fresh ingrediants

Our boats were just off this restaurant in Rock Sound
The food is good with a lunch buffet most days and the staff very friendly. We never made it to Sammy's Restaurant but we heard that was good too. A nice place overall to spend some time. But we had to leave if we wanted to see some more of the islands north of us. It was too far to Spanish Wells so we decided to stop in Hatchet Bay.

Only a few participants but lots of enthusiasm

The audience was encouraged to participate!

The drums are a critical part of Junkadoo
Hatchet Bay is a lake which was opened up to the sound in the 1940's by a narrow cut in the limestone cliffs. It seemed so narrow indeed that when "Anything Goes" saw it, they weren't sure they'd fit! We went ahead and radioed back, no problem. The community of Alice Town is on the south side and construction of a new dock was underway. A small freighter was just leaving the town dock as we arrived.
A few days before we had stopped to check out this harbor and saw a number of new looking moorings, empty except for 1 boat. So we were surprised when we checked them out to find no pennant. Our boats were too high to reach the iron ring on the mooring and thread a line through. So Peter launched his dinghy and helped us tie on. Later Scott swam over to check out the connection to the bottom and found 2 pennants tied to the line under the buoy. They didn't have floats on them so they hung straight down. You would think someone in the town might want to encourage boats to come and tie on some plastic bottles for flotation!
We were now six again as Julie and Peter's friends Kathy and Nigel arrived by plane the day before. That night they came over to our boat for dinner. Cruisers always bring food to share so Julie brought a salad and key lime pie. We had brushetta with sweet hot peppers, fresh mozzerella, tomatoes and basil (I have a herb garden on board)on Scott's coconut bread and pasta with sausage ratatouille sauce. Sitting in your cockpit watching the sun go down with friends is just about the best part of cruising!
Nigel and Kathy, good friends of Julie and Peter joined
us for a week on the boat!

The next morning we sailed northwest through Current Cut. There are 2 routes leading to the Cut and as the seas were calm and the light good we used the alternate cut and had no problem. Our anchorage for this next night hadn't been decided. We tried Week's Patch but found it too rough so ended up in Royal Island. Scott and I were almost out of water so we went into Spanish Wells and filled up one of the tanks at the Marina. It was just after high tide when we went aground entering the western channel. It was incredibly stupid but understandable. The channel markings are confusing and very close to the rocks on the port side. A local boat went through in the middle and added to our confusion. Luckily a local fisherman gave us a quick pull and helped us off.
Our plans were to leave the next morning for the Abacos, but after we talked to Chris Parker, our weather guru, on the SSB that morning, we decided it was too rough for a comfortable passage. Facing several days waiting for a better window we moved into the Marina at Spanish Wells where Scott and I had been the day before.
This sky is a large part of our view on the boat - unlike
at home where we often forget all about it

And sometimes that sky is the star of the show!

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