Monday, 28 January 2008

Grandpa and Grandma’s visit

Gary’s parents flew into Staniel Cay ( a few days before Ina flew home so we were able to celebrate Christmas, and birthdays for both grandma’s (Dec15th and 16th) Bradley and Tavish (Jan 7th) and Richard (Jan14th) with a great meal at Staniel Cay Yacht Club (thanks Grandpa). We stayed in and around Staniel cay for a few days before a leisurly sail across the banks to Blackpoint Settlement. Sailing on the banks is still difficult for west coast sailors. The water is between 12 and 20 feet deep and is crystal clear, with a bright blue hue. It looks like you are sailing in the shallow end of a swimming pool and we find ourselves constantly checking and rechecking the charts and the depth sounder. The winds were 5 to 10 knots and the sky sunny, making it a brilliant first sail for Grandpa and grandma. After anchoring in 9 feet of water and snorkeling out to check the anchor, we went ashore Joan, the manager at Staniel, lived in Blackpoint and had recommended DeShamon’s restaurant for great pizza. Asking about the restaurant at the top of the dock we found Diane, the owner/chef and her husband Simon, who showed us, were their place was and said for us to come back at 5:30 when Diane was finished her day job and could come and open up. This gave us time to walk through the town. Dinner was spectacular, cold beer and Pizza…….. Two of our favorite food groups. Blackpoint Settlement is home to a great Laundromat so the next day was filled laundry and boat work. Little Farmers Cay Yacht Club was the next stop. (don’t let the name fool you) The approach off the bank is shallow, even by Bahamian standards, so at high tide we approached the cay from the west. The charts of this region are notoriously inaccurate, and here there was some disagreement with the paper charts, the cruising guide, and the electronic chart plotter. The first thing you believe is your eyes, and after averaging out all the other inputs we were soon around all the hazards and enjoying a cold beer at the Yacht Club. . Little Farmers Cay Yacht Club consists of a run down fixed dock that cold hold 4 or so boats and a bar/restaurant with a couple of rooms attached. Our host, Roosevelt Nixon, was the dockmaster, bartender, and innkeeper. Although he claimed to have “the best chef on the island” we chose to wander down the road to the Ocean Cabin restaurant where we all enjoyed Carribean lobster and other local cuisine. Here we met a danish couple with a 5 yr old and a 5 month old girl. Soon the 5 yr old was playing games with the boys and Cadeesha, the owner’s daughter. Little Farmers Cay was a quaint little town, the only sour spot was paying our bill at the Yacht Club when the propieter tried to short change us. The weather was fairly calm the next day, the 14th of January, the 9th birthday of one Richard Keith Minielly. It was a great day for the ocean run to Georgetown. With fishing lines out we exited the cut at Little Farmers with 3-4 knots of adverse current out into the Atlantic, in search of fish! Along the way we talked on the VHF with Sunspot Baby, a couple we had met in North Carolina as well as numerous spots along the way. They mentioned that they were going to stop a few miles north of Georgetown at the Marina at Emerald Bay. This is a newly built high end marina with a “no frills” dock that has no services, but is very reasonably priced. This and the promise of FREE showers and laundry was all we needed and into the marina we went. The wind was forcast to build and clock to the west and then north the next night so we stayed and crashed the pool at the Four Seasons Resort next door. The next day we walked 2 miles north to have lunch, with Sunspot Baby, at “Big D’s” beachside conch bar. A spectacular setting with great local food. Georgetown Great Exuma is a sort of Mecca for boats cruising in the Bahamas. Stocking Island, which protects Georgetown and Elizabeth Harbour from the Atlantic Ocean is home to the; Chat and Chill bar and Grill, several completely enclosed harbours and several miles of sand beaches with good anchorage/protection. When we arrived there were close to 125 boats already here. We found a spot just off of “volleyball beach” and soon were enjoying a cold drink on the beach while the kids met some other kids and were soon swinging from the trees. Keith and Ladora were scheduled to leave on Monday morning, just as another “norther” was scheduled to arrive with 20-25 knot winds. Not wanting to see them arrive at the airport soaking wet from the dinghy ride across the bay we sailed back north to the marina at Emerald Bay, had free hot showers, did some laundry, and had another great meal. Monday morning came too soon. Two weeks of Grandma and Grandpa had gone far too quickly. It was sad to see them go but this was all the time their busy travel schedule would allow. After a week in Florida with Pat and Jim they are off to Palm Springs with Ron and Erica, then after Keith’s University Engineering reunion, May 24th, they are planning to come find us again. With Grandpa and Grandma on their way we took the next weather opportunity and returned to Georgetown.

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