Sunday, May 27, 2012

We Bought Crack and Uncovered an Ass


(We decided to do one more post, that makes 5 today. You wouldn't believe how slow uploading the photos is even at reduced resolution.)

May 22 – 26, 2012

Ha-ha, with that title I don't need to have an opening photo to get your attention to read the blog this time!!  Cruisers go to extremes when the weather is bad, and we have had our share of poor weather.  That same low I spoke of last time has hung around, and we have been boat-bound for 7 days.  For 4 days in a row, it rained all day and night, the longest stretch of continuous rain we have ever seen in our travels here.  One of the islanders told me they broke rain records.

Ursa contemplates walking the plank
Ursa contemplates walking the plank

Poor Ursa was going crazy.  She could see and smell land, hear the island dogs (a.k.a. potcakes in Bahamian speak) barking all the time, but couldn't set foot on land.  She would go out on the upper deck to the land side of the boat and hold her nose in the air, catching the smells coming from the land.

We were the only boat in the harbor for 3 days.  I kept looking to the entrance several times a day and would ask the guys when the other cruisers were going to show up.  When a sailboat finally did show up, we couldn't make personal contact with them because of the constant rain.  They had come over from the Exumas and said they just traded one rainy anchorage for another.

Neighbors in the mist
Neighbors in the mist

Rays of optimism shown down through the skies on the evening of the 6th day when we were treated to a blazing sunset.  It seemed like we were going to have a break in the weather.

Red sky at night, cruisers delight
Red sky at night, cruisers delight

We awoke on Sat. morning to partly cloudy skies, but at least we could see the sun – hooray!  It meant we could go to land, walk around the community, finally try to get some internet service, and do some minor shopping before the stores closed for Sun. and Mon. (Bahamian holiday called Whit Monday).

The settlement of Rock Sound is the most populated community on Eleuthera, which is only relative to the others on the island.  There are only a few hundred residents, but there are some convenient, well-stocked stores and a few restaurants/bars that cruisers appreciate.  It is not a tourist destination.  Noticeably absent, are locally owned boats that zip about in the big harbor.  The residents do not take to the sea, but do some fishing from land.  They get about this section of the island by automobile, driving at whatever speed they wish, and always giving a little toot on the horn when they go by.  I didn't see any golf carts – they wouldn't be able to keep up with the cars and its too far to go to outlying communities to ride in a golf cart.

Harbor greeting
Harbor greeting


This community doesn't have a lot of frilly island decorations like I've shown you at the other places we've visited.  The modest homes are typical of a working class community, which doesn't have a tourist-based clientel to cater to.

Our first stop on our community walk about was the Ocean Hole Park.  This is a big blue hole right in the community proper.  Like most blue holes, it is almost perfectly round, with ragged limestone sides.  One section of this one has had the wall modified with concrete to make a platform and swimming area and a nice place to feed the variety of different fish that are in the hole.

Blue hole
Blue hole

It is easy to see the fish in the clear water and it is apparent that fish feeding is a regularly occurring activity by the way the fish came over to the wall even though we didn't have any food to drop in.

Sunshine in the water
Sunshine in the water

This brilliant queen angelfish stayed around all the time.  The overcast skies didn't do justice to the real brightness of the colors, especially the contrasts between the yellow and blue markings.

It looks like they had recently constructed a chickee hut gazebo.  The pretty, tight thatching on the roof even smelled good.

Island building craft
Island building craft

There were several short sable palms in bloom in the park, and they had spider wasps feeding on the flowers.  These are some of the largest spider wasps I've ever seen, up to 2” in length and with pretty, maroon-colored wings.  They are named that because the wasps capture spiders to lay their eggs on, so the developing wasps will have a food source, eventually killing the spider.

Spider wasp
Spider wasp

After we left the park we decided to walk over to the Atlantic Ocean side of the island, 1.5 miles away.  One of the friendly local kids told us it was a L-O-N-G way away and gave us some tips on what to do when we got to the end of the paved road we were walking on.

Pack of potcakes
Pack of potcakes


Pot cakes came running and barking at us from all directions.  The dogs come running at you at full speed, snarling and barking, and then stop suddenly and won't come near you except if you turn your back.  Wayne would pick up Ursa, who didn't feel like bonding with any potcake she saw.  One dog, Sally, was very friendly and would let us pet her, but she was mean to the other dogs.  A Bahamian woman said Sally behaved like that because she was spayed. Right!  Judging by all the puppies, nursing female dogs, and fully hung male dogs I saw on the walk, this island's humans are not big about spaying and neutering their pets, unfortunately.

It is not a flat walk to the other side of the island.  So, when we got to the highest point we could see west to the bay and east to the ocean.  This photo gives you an idea of what the community looks like and how it is positioned on the bay.

Sight of the sound
Sight of the sound

You can see the thin blue band of the sound at the very top of the photo.  The sound extends 4 miles north to south and is about 1.5 miles wide, so at least there is room for a lot of cruising boats, should the need ever arise.  The holding varies.  In fact, we were originally anchored on the south end of the bay, with relatively poor holding and even before our first night came, we elected to move off the town proper because the holding was better.


Through the rock
Through the rock

We keep having to remember to walk on the right side of the road, since they drive on the left side of the road.  Some of the cars have the steering wheel on the right and some on the left, even though they drive on the left side of the road.  There are some blind curves and rises, like you see here, and drivers aren't expecting many walkers, especially in the outskirts of town, so walkers need to be alert.  There are no shoulders to walk on:  it's the pavement or the brush.

The local kid ended up peddling his bike to catch up with us and make sure we made it to the beach OK.  He was telling us who lived in the houses we passed, most of which seemed to be one of his relatives of some sort.  He also told us about locals going out in the bush to collect the land crabs and wanted to know if we ate them too.  He grabbed one of them when we were walking through the bush on the final leg to the dunes.

Bubble face
Bubble face


I guess the crab bubbled up so much as some sort of defense mechanism.  I remarked that the crab seemed too small to eat, and the kid said that they were made into some sort of soup.  I told the kid we ate the crabs out of the sea, not the land variety.

Island dunes
Island dunes

It was surprising how the big sandy dunes rose so abruptly from the dense island vegetation in this area.  We have not typically seen such large piles of sand, but rather more of the hard rocks, of lower elevation on the ocean side.

The beach here is quite pretty with a variety of landscape, both the sand areas and some rocks.  It looks like it may be a good place to snorkel when the seas are calm.

Ocean beach
Ocean beach


We all went our separate ways to do some beach combing.  I was up near the dune line, and a Bahamian man came walking into the bush.  I asked him what he was looking for, and he told me he was trying to find some kind of a vine that was used for curing the flu.  He said he had seen the vine nearby earlier in the year, but couldn't find any of it again, presumably because it had already dried up.

Soon after he left, I saw a big bone sticking out of the ground and pulled it out all the way.  It kind of reminded me of a scapula, and I also saw several large rib bones.  I decided to keep digging in the area, finding a whole backbone and more rib bones.  I called Eddie over to help me dig and find out what kind of animal it was.  At first he was whining that it probably died from some kind of disease that we were getting on our hands, but I always tell him that's what we have skin for and don't worry about it, just dig.  We finally got to some large plate-like pieces and then saw some teeth.

The uncovered ass
The uncovered ass

It didn't appear to be big enough for a horse, so we think it must be a donkey.  Now we can add archeologists to our cruising resume.

With that job done, it was time to make the hike back to civilization and do some shopping.  I really wanted to find a place to buy some Crack before everything closed down.  Eddie wanted to buy some medicine to put in his swimmer's ear, a chronic problem he seems to wind up with on these trips.  The medicine he brought with him expired in 2010, and what remains in the container sounds like a little rock bouncing around instead of a medicinal slurry.

We stopped at Halls Variety Store, which was bustling with a lot of shoppers.  The proprietor told Eddie he didn't have anything to sell him for his ear, but that he should just heat up some olive oil and put that in it.  Yea, maybe some lettuce too.  I should have just asked that Bahamian man I met in the beach bush if there were any plants I could harvest to cure Eddie's ear.  So, Eddie bought some vanilla pudding and water instead.  If you are going to have an earache, you might as well not be hungry or thirsty.

I wanted to buy some rubber bands for my hair and described them to a young girl worker.  She said something to the owner, which I couldn't understand, other than hear him say, “take her next door”.  She motioned for me to go outside with her and pointed to the gas station next door and said “I'll open the front door for you”.  It turns out that the gas station doubles as a beauty supply annex to the store, carrying all kinds of hair accessories, jewelry, and grooming products.  I got the rubber band, having a wide selection from which to choose.

I found Wayne and Ursa sitting in the dirt under a big fig tree outside the store with an empty bottle of gin right next to them.  Ursa was covered with the cool dirt, just like the potcakes, and Wayne was busy trying to keep the mosquitoes off both of them.  Island life.

The variety store didn't have any Crack, and I told the guys I wasn't going back to the boat until I got some Crack.  Plus, we still needed to go to Dingles to try to buy some internet time.   Maybe Dingles would sell me Crack.

Dingles was only about a 1/4 mile from Halls, and along the main road, so it was easy to find.  Internet cost $10/day (as in 24 hrs from the time you pay).  Supposedly boats in the harbor can access one of several WiFi “towers” Dingles has up along the waterfront.  Dingles didn't sell Crack, but a Bahamian guy leaving the store said I could probably get some about a 1/2 mile down the road.  That was OK with me, because the grocery store was down that way too, and I wanted to try to buy some romaine lettuce, assuming they had any.

I have to tell you that it was already past noon, and you know what that means for the tummies of my crew mates.  They were both getting testy, and wanted to go back to the boat to eat, but I said I wasn't going back until I bought Crack and I would walk a mile to get some, along with lettuce, of course. 

I ended up stopping at 3 more places before I finally bought some.

My Bush Crack
My Bush Crack

That is quite a name, huh? This is supposed to be a premium Bahamian beer, but I haven't gotten to try it yet.  I'll let you know how it is in a future post.  One thing is for certain though, I won't become a Crack addict, because I can't buy it in my neighborhood.

Have to run, our internet clock is ticking down, and we want to get this post off to keep you updated.  We hope to be moving out of Rock Sound and heading south, maybe tomorrow.  No telling when we can connect again.


3 comments:

  1. John Schieffelin10:17 AM

    Loved reading about long jaunt from
    Abacos, Royal Island, Spanish Wells and Eleuthera. A shame Eleuthera hasn't developed its harbors more. I gather the Cape Eleuthera development has a good marina.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have heard boats calling Cape Eleuthera on the VHF. $2.50 per foot per night is not in our budget!

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  2. The photo of the sunset is stunning. Imagine full panorama must have been spectacular!! Slightly jealous - can't see anything like that in New England.

    ReplyDelete