Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Stormy Staniel

Today is cloudy and windy (15-20kts) with the prospect for showers and squalls which could result in gusts to 30kts. Stardust is sailing back and forth on the 2 anchors, but not too bad. Seas here in the harbor are choppy but not rolly so we’re comfortable. Kathy and Rachel are in school, and Rachel just finished some work on a report on coral reefs. Now it’s my turn on the computer. When this is wrapped up I’ll dinghy ashore to post this at the bar, and walk down the street to buy some bread which is supposed to be ready by 1pm.

The mail boat came in this morning at 5:45. It anchored at the harbor entrance, waiting for high tide to come on in which happened at 8:30. All of a sudden small boats were zooming everywhere. When the mail boat comes to town, it’s the biggest event of the week. Fresh produce, special ordered parts for boats, and of course, the mail, attract locals and visitors alike. We saw small supply boats from neighboring islands show up to join in the action. An armada of dinghies flew past us from around the corner at Big Majors anchorage where 40 boats are anchored. It’s amazing how far some people travel in their dinghies. If the little outboard died in these conditions they’d be blown out to sea in an instant. I wouldn’t do it without the handheld vhf radio and epirb, and even then I’d be nervous. We stick close to shore in our dinghy, but maybe that changes too as time goes by.

But our mail wasn’t on the boat. The local mailwoman who Kathy finally met today said that with the time frame involved, it was probably just into Nassau where it would be processed, and sent out on the boat next week. Kathy bought some nice produce however, while Rachel and I were in the bar doing internet research for her coral reef project. Don’t worry, I don’t do any adult beverage research in the mornings (not yet anyway, although there was plenty going on in there). And how many kids can lay claim to doing schoolwork in a bar? It’s actually very comfortable with big windows all around letting in the air from the sea through screens. A big screen TV with the weather channel or sports is always on. Huge shutters all around can be closed during heavy weather.

The post office is in the postmistress’s house. She let Kathy in, looked in the bag for our mail, and then took Kathy’s outgoing mail and set it by the sink. She’ll put stamps on it later, and give it to the boat when it comes back through on Friday, on its way back to Nassau. In the grocery store, the proprietors asked Kathy to operate their new calculator for them. The prices for each item were written in the margin of the newspaper by one of the owners as Kathy picked them from the shelves. This is how things are done here, and we like it, but it does take some getting used to. Kathy said 3 visitors also shopping at the same time were quite condescending but the owners didn’t act like they minded.

We walked a mile to the east shore yesterday to look at the wild Exuma Sound. Waves were crashing ashore, and we ran around and burned off some energy. Whitefoot especially. It’s a little on the cool side, and cloudy, so we haven’t been in the water for 2 days.

We’ll move to Bitter Guana Cay tomorrow, and explore more reefs. Rachel’s research says that 70 percent of the oceans reefs will be dead by 2050, so we better get out there while we can. Then on to Black Point, a settlement of 300 people. We’ll call back here to find out if the mail comes in next week.


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