Thursday, March 15, 2007

Black Point and back to Staniel Cay

We’re back in Staniel Cay, after spending the last week in Bitter Guana Cay and Black Point Settlement on Great Guana Cay. We came back to check the mail, and it is here! Thanks Mom and Dad!

The wind has been relentless. It blows at least 15 knots and usually around 20 knots except at night when it picks up to 25 just to make sure we bob a little extra while trying to sleep. Actually we’ve had some good anchorages, so the nights have been comfortable in spite of the wind. Due to the number of boats here in Staniel Cay, we had to anchor a little further out from the island than last time, just to stay clear of the other boats. But wouldn’t you know it, just before sunset a fellow sailor pulled in and anchored RIGHT NEXT TO US! There is an entire bay behind us with no boats and this guy has to anchor on top of us like there is no more room anywhere. Just more proof that some of us are descendants of the bovines where the herding instinct runs deep.

OK, I’m in a bit of a bad mood, due to the wind and the fact that during our sail from Black Point today, the boat heeled hard over in a gust and our chartbook of the central Bahamas (that’s where we are now) blew overboard from the cockpit. We found a decent replacement today, but there goes $50. I told Kathy that tomorrow when we leave, we’ll just throw a $20 bill overboard rather than the cost and hassle of losing gear. I said this because a few days ago we rolled heavily in a big swell and my polespear went overboard. Also bought a replacement spear today for $70. So at least we can find what we need around here, but it isn’t cheap.

The polespear earned it’s keep with numerous dinners. Lately the target of choice is the Lane Snapper. I found a spot off Bitter Guana Cay which is a steep slope from the point of the island to a deep trench coming from the ocean. There are 4 sizeable coral heads on the slope with numerous fish including Nassau Grouper and Lane Snapper. On two occasions I was able to shoot a few snapper before the reef sharks discovered what was going on and moved in for leftovers. That’s when I moved back into the dinghy. It seems that the grouper know they are the most desirable fish and are the first to seek shelter in the reef when trouble appears. Kathy and Rachel like to snorkel before I start shooting fish so they don’t have to deal with the sharks. But I really have to hand it to my girls, getting in the water and swimming around and enjoying the underwater scene before I’m permitted to hunt for dinner. Rachel and I saw a Ridley’s turtle on one outing. Turtles are her specialty; I didn’t know what kind of turtle it was.

There are no lobster to be seen. Not one. They were abundant in the protected park, but outside the park, at least in shallow water, there aren’t any. As previously mentioned, the majority of reefs are bleached white with few fish and no lobster. The bleaching comes from two sources. The fishermen use bleach to quickly kill the fish and harvest them off the surface. One gallon of bleach can poison 500,000 gallons of seawater. Also, warming sea temperatures cause the coral to bleach. According to Rachel’s school report research, “bleaching occurs when coral polyps, stressed by heat or radiation, expel the symbiotic algae—the zooxanthellae—that live in the reefs and provide the coral most of their food and oxygen. The reefs turn a whitish color, and the coral have little energy to grow or reproduce. Usually the coral can recover unless the bleaching is severe enough, in which case, whole reefs can be destroyed.
Bleaching can be caused by a variety of factors, including diseases and ultraviolet radiation, but scientists are increasingly noting that sudden rises in water temperature are playing a major role. Between 1980 and the present there have been over 60 cases of coral bleaching around the world, and they are becoming increasingly common, especially during El Nino events, which increased sea temperatures in the eastern Pacific by several degrees and caused major bleaching events. Bleaching may become even more widespread if global warming continues to increase the sea temperature.”
At Black Point we enjoyed walks around town and carried fresh water from the town well back to the boat in our 5 gallon jug. 4 trips equaled 20 gallons. A rather labor intensive way to fill the tanks. We can buy water here at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club for 40 cents a gallon. We got 170 gallons during our last stay here, so it can get rather pricey, but instead of paying 5 thousand dollars for a watermaker, we can buy a lot of water.
Kathy and Rachel volunteered in Black Point yesterday afternoon, helping the kids learn math and reading in the church sponsored after school program. There were about 6 boater volunteers paired up one on one with the local kids. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more, the kids of the boaters. I know Kathy and Rachel had a good time.
I’ll post this tomorrow morning before we leave Staniel Cay and head south again. In the meantime, here’s Rachel:
*Rachel’s Corner*
Here are some poems I wrote, inspired by all of the poetry in my classes. The second poem was inspired by a sail when the sun was shining so brightly, so gleefully, on the water. This first poem is dedicated to all who strive toward something in their life:

Why do we strive for the things unseen?
Why do we strive for our relentless dreams-
For the imaginary figures that dance about in the sweetest dreams,
For the wisp of magic within our wishes.

Why do we strive for the never ending want?
We strive for the unseen,
The unheard,
The impossible.

Oh the never ending Why-
Why do we walk the endless steps?
And leap the long, sorrowful leaps of time and space,
We let the needs,
The dreams
Fill our sails of billowing thought
Fill our cups with the nicest wine
Fill our mouths with words that come untwined-
In an endless jabber of things so,
So unimaginable.

Oh, the endless strive
The endless step,
The endless want and dream, and need, and wish, and thought-
For, what have we to lean on?
What have we to watch, to see, to hear?

No, not one thing of steel hard proof,
Yet we strive, and we leap, and we go on
Looking and walking towards our unseeable dreams-
Towards our unthinkable future-
Towards our wishes that we whispered so.

Why, Why do we strive the endless strive of our winding roads filled with blackness,
And brightness,
And taunt;
These things that we see,
These dreams that we know are there, yet we do not.

Why do we strive towards nothing that we can see, or hear, or smell, or touch?
Perhaps it is not the dreams of which are unseeable,
But it is out strives, and leaps
The dreams, perhaps, are real-
Right there before our very shapes
It is, just perhaps, our strives toward it that are the invisible.

This second poem is dedicated to all sailors:
Gold, Silver, and Bronze
Boldly behold the riches of the sea
Stare forever not,
Yet hold the picture
Of these sparkling jewels
To your mind.

Tend to the sails, ye sailor of the seas
Stare forever not,
Yet stop to block the bright picture from your mind
It is all of the longing of all the sailors
Scarred from the seas,
And longing the riches.

Gold, Silver, and Bronze
Boldly behold the foux riches of the sea
You ask,
Are they foux?

Tend to the sails, ye sailor of the seas
Could ye get rich in all of one night?
For the sun shines,
The seas are calm,
Now is the time to go and collect your years worth of livings
There are bronze pounds, silver dollars, and gold deblunes out there-
Yet, here, here holds your mistake of the many a sailor

Gold, Silver and Bronze,
Boldly behold the suns sparking rays on the dark blue waves
For, realize this
The shiny liquid that splashes upon the never ending blue-
It is all the joke of the sea,
For it is just the suns rays upon the waves splashing so gaily. Rachel Lee


Blogger Laura said...

Jim, I'm in a pickle-mood too. I just drove down the road (hey, do you miss driving?) and saw litter everywhere. What are people thinking????
Rachel, I am so proud of your writing. I know that book will be published in a year!!! Keep up the good work and play hard.
Kathy, we're slowly getting some more music together for you....let us know a new address when you can.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Dennis said...

Looks like the mass of moisture over S.FL. is headed your way. Maybe you'll be able to collect some water for your tanks! Of course the downside is that it will be raining, BUT you'll collect some FREE water for your tanks!
Remember the old adage... "yachting is like standing in a driving rain and tearing up dollar bills...".
But with better scenery!
Besides, you haven't had police divers nearby in a long time. You don't know how lucky you really are. So you dropped a book and some equipment, in the bigger picture everyone is healthy, the boat is in good shape, and the lobsters are just around the bend!

8:41 AM  
Blogger stancilsatsea said...

Hello Rachel!
Your poems are truly amazing! I would never be able to do ANYTHING like that! We are going out West with a car and a camper! I have a blog now so you can check it out! I am going to give you and your family a special page! See ya!

8:13 AM  
Blogger Erin K said...

Hey!! Great writing! I would like to read more!!

4:38 PM  

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