Swing Set

May 21, 201301:19 PM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Governor's Harbour To Rock Sound

We couldn't decide whether to leave Alabaster Bay or not, because we liked the beach and we were well protected from the wind and swells coming into Eleuthera Sound from the southeast. But, we had lots of places we wanted to see and they pretty much have all been better than the last place, so by mid-afternoon on Saturday we made way for a short hop over to Governor's Harbour.

One reason I was reluctant to enter Governor's Harbour was because everything I'd read about it said that holding was poor, being a slim layer of sand over hard rock, not leaving much for an anchor to grab. As we entered the harbor, there were five sailboats settled in, and they looked to be holding just fine. We picked a spot that wouldn't be intrusive to them, dropped the hook and took in the scenery while we waited to see if we were holding.

We'd dragged the dinghy behind us when we left Alabaster Bay, so we jumped in and took a quick look around the harbor to see what was what. We were planning on getting dinner somewhere, so we wanted to scout out a dinghy landing.

The best place for the dinghy seemed to be at anchor in the sand along the beach, so we went back to the boat and, while Rosie made ready to go out for dinner, I grabbed my mask and fins to check on our anchor. The anchor was dug in just fine, and as I swam back to the boat, I spied a dinner plate on the seabed and went down to retrieve it. It looked to be fine china from France, and it hardly had any marine growth on it. I swam back to the boat with it and showed it to Rosie.

"Why, that thing has a chip in it!" Rosie said.

"Gives it character," is what I said, then I took a 3M pad and scrubbed it up good as new, except for the chip. My story is that some irate wife on a fancy yacht threw the plate at her husband, and it missed, sending it to the briny deep. This story may change as time goes by.

We left Holly to guard the boat and went into town. What we've found is that some pretty paint does not make for a good-looking town once you see it up close, and Governor's Harbour is no different.

One restaurant we thought we'd go to had just closed, and it was only 5 p.m. Upon asking, we found that another restaurant was a "five minute walk" in one direction, and a "20 minute walk" in the opposite direction. No other details were given. We hadn't seen what looked to be a restaurant in the five minute direction when we were on our dinghy ride, so we decided to walk in the general direction of the 20 minute place, but had no intention of walking that far. Rosie was wearing tall, chunky sandals and was having all she could do to just stay on top of them on the on and off again pavement.

We walked far enough inland and passed enough shuttered food stands and abandoned homes before we mustered up our street sense and turned around and headed back towards civilization. Nothing gets my defensive radar up like a "remote" part of town. Any town.

We'd passed a small grocery on our walk, so on the way back, we stopped in because I wanted some black beans and some red beans, and believe me, in the Bahamas, both are in abundant supply, along with rice and noodles. Carbs are king here.

On a dirt lot, just off of the road, was a group of folks selling take out dinners for some youth group. I think it was a baseball team. I asked it they were still serving, and they were. We were told we had our choice of steak or chicken, with peas and rice, slaw, and cheese and macaroni, all for $10 per plate. We said we'd take one of each and they piled two styrofoam containers high with a good sized steak in one, and a large quarter dark meat chicken in the other.

When the nice woman who served us dished out the peas and rice onto our plates from the grill where they were being kept warm, the flies swarmed like I hadn't seen since I shoveled horse manure at a local riding stable years ago. We paid and gave them a $5 tip for good measure, and I told Rosie to hurry up so we could get back to the boat to eat our food while it was still hot and before any of those rice grains could hatch.

We actually had a nice meal back on the boat, if we didn't think about the flies too much. After dinner, we played gin rummy and two locals in a center console fishing boat came by the boats anchored in Governor's Harbour at a speed designed to offend. They did this no less than four times. If they were intending on discouraging boaters from anchoring in the harbor, it worked for us. Next time we'll take a pass on Governor's Harbour.

The next morning, we headed down the coast to Ten Bay, a promising-looking anchorage that I'd seen on our chart, and we were not disappointed.

 

Ten Bay beach is just beautiful. The beach has such a gentle slope that you have to be aware of when the tide is going out or you might have a long haul for the dinghy when you want to go back to your boat.

We took a long walk on the beach and met some women who loved dogs. Holly made some friends and also made all three of the girls homesick for their pets at home. Rosie and I took Holly in the shallow water and let her swim. We sat a bit apart from each other in a couple feet of water and let Holly take turns swimming from one of us to the other in the crystal clear water. Holly had a ball.

Back to the boat, and Rosie and Holly took a nap while I had a few beers and chatted with friends on Facebook until Rosie got up and made us a dinner of roasted chicken and red beans and rice. We'd been cooking our beans in our small crock pot that morning, and they turned out great.

We have some bad weather coming our way, so this morning we left yet another great beach and anchorage and set out on a 20-mile cruise to Rock Sound Harbor, which is just about at the end of Eleuthera Island, before we have to come around the southern tip and head east to Little San Salvador, a trip that needs to be done in settled weather to avoid strong prevailing southeast winds and giant swells coming in from the ocean.

When we left Ten Bay, the steering on Swing Set didn't seem right, and as we traveled to Rock Sound, the steering got worse, as in there wasn't much steering to be had. I put the anchor down and did a few quick checks. (No, there was NOT a loose nut behind the wheel.) I suspected low steering fluid, and decided to nurse us in to harbor until I could take a better look at the problem.

Once we got settled I got my tools out and my extra bottle of steering fluid. What I don't have is a proper filling tube and fitting to add steering fluid properly, so even after more than three hours of messing with the steering, I wasn't able to get it working like I wanted to.

Today is Whit Monday, a holiday here in the Bahamas, so going to the local NAPA store couldn't be done, but first thing tomorrow, I'll go and get what I need to do this job right.

If I can't fix the steering, I'll have to ask around for a mechanic that's familiar with hydraulic steering, especially the part about bleeding the cylinder that actuates the steering arm for both rudders. This mechanism is way back in the bilge toward the stern, in a spot that's a little tough for me to reach, especially with two wings that are not in the best of shape.

After getting drenched with steering fluid, I took a hot shower, and Rosie did, too. I spent time contemplating my plans for getting our steering fixed while Rosie made us a nice dinner of Italian sausage on pasta with a small side salad.

It was a perfect dinner, but we found out that we are anchored in the direct path of the smoke from the town dump. Every town has one, and anchoring downwind is typically avoided, but we didn't see any smoke when we dropped anchor, and the reviews on this anchorage don't mention it. If it gets worse tomorrow, we'll have to move.

As you can see by the picture, Rock Sound is not much to look at, but there's a good market here, and several restaurants are in the guide books. Like I said earlier, there's a NAPA, and a hardware store. The water is blue, but cloudy. We hope it's just because the wind has the bottom churned up, but we're not sure.

We might be here a few days, so we'll make the most of it and keep in touch.

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