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Swing Set

May 23, 201303:32 PM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Flexible Cruising Plans are the Key to Succcess

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I've been watching the weather, waiting for a window for us to travel to Little San Salvador, a small, private island to our east, but rain and wind are hampering our attempts to leave Rock Sound Harbour.

Our plans to have breakfast at Sammy's Place yesterday were abandoned, because all morning the sky looked like it does in the picture above. The next break appeared to be on Thursday, so we hunkered down and read our books. Swing Set got a free boat wash.

By late afternoon, the sun came out, but the winds were still howling. We left Holly and took the dinghy into the town dock anyway, not wanting to be cooped up all day.

Dingle's Hardware was on our way to Sammy's, so we stopped in to see if they had the bolt I was looking for. I was specific in the size bolt that I needed, but when the young man behind the counter pulled out a 1/2" carriage bolt about 8" long, I knew I'd be getting the bolt I need somewhere else. We thanked him for his effort and continued on our way to Sammy's.

Along a side street, I saw a man sitting in a chair along the narrow road and who appeared to be fast asleep. His arms were at his sides, and his head hung down with his chin resting on his chest. As we got nearer, he looked to be around 90 years old. Gin bottles, lots of gin bottles, were littered around his chair.

We didn't expect him to stir, but as we nearly got past him, he woke up and asked us to come over to him and we did. "Snake Man," or "The Traveler," as he introduced himself, was ecstatic to see us and began to reveal to us that when he was younger, he traveled "all tru the United States," working as a laborer on movie sets and occasionally even getting in some of the movies as an extra. He asked where we were from, and when he was told that we were from Missouri, he got even more excited and said that he'd been there too. "All tru the United States, but came home to the Bahamas after all dat."

Snake Man shook our hands at least twice before we made our escape, but we should've stayed longer to talk to him. I'm sure we were the highlight of his day, but it was hot and I heard cold Kalik's calling all the way from Sammy's Place.

We walked in Sammy's, and our waitress from the day before, Jen, was tending bar. No one was in there but her and the cook. She was genuinely glad to see us and served us up two cold Kalik beers when we asked for them. We spent the next two hours talking to Jen and whoever else came in. Sammy's Place does more carry-out than anything, and it being dinner time, they were doing a brisk business of selling sandwiches to go after wrapping them in small paper bags. Some folks came in with cash in hand, and others appeared to have some credit line going, as no money changed hands as they went away with dinner.

Jen has worked in Nassau, and we got caught up with what has been going on there on Paradise Island. We found out that some places we'd been to 30 years ago were still there doing business and holding out from selling to the Atlantis outfit. We were glad to hear it. Jen also was telling us about the current problem of Chinese and Jamaican immigrants coming into the Bahamas and adding to a growing crime problem in some areas. Nassau has made some inroads into the crime issue there, but the smaller settlements are having a harder time of controlling crime because they have smaller police departments, if they have any at all. She also explained the need in the Bahamas for a national health care system, so everyone could be treated at the hospitals, regardless of their wealth, or lack of.

We didn't want to walk back too late to the dinghy, so we ordered a couple of orders of chicken wings to go, said our goodbyes and left a nice tip for Jen the bartender.

We were happy to see the dinghy still tied up where we had left it. There were several locals fishing off the small dock where we had the dinghy tied up. They were having some good luck catching snapper with little else than some "slop," or leftover conch parts, and just fishing line, no poles. I'm wondering where on the boat I can keep some "slop."

Back aboard the boat, we feasted on chicken wings and red beans and rice. I stowed the dinghy on the davits, because we planned on heading out in the morning. It was early to bed with our books, but the wind was still howling and it was a rolly night.

During breakfast, I checked Windfinder again. The wind from the east was due to subside during the day, but only through tomorrow. It appeared from the forecast that we could be stuck in Little San Salvador for a week or more if we went there.

Little San Salvador sits alone several miles from its neighbor to the east, Cat Island. It's basically a private island for cruise ships to visit and there are no services, nor BTC tower. I didn't like the prospect of sitting in Half Moon Bay for over a week, so I checked our charts and decided to travel southwest to the Exumas Islands instead. We'd have the wind and waves to our backs, mostly, and if the winds kept up for a week or more, we'd have protection from the islands, as we'd be on the lee side of them and could still bounce our way southeast as we saw fit. Rosie liked the idea, so we pulled up anchor and began to head out.

The wind was still whipping us on our bow as we made our way south in Rock Sound Harbour, and I began to second guess my decision to leave. The wind is really supposed to subside by tomorrow, so we decided to take an anchorage on the southern end of Rock Sound in a calm spot where we could wait to head out tomorrow instead. Highbourne Cay is only 27 miles away from southern Eleuthera once we get around Powell Point as we leave Cape Eleuthera, so we should have no problem getting over to the Exumas if we leave early tomorrow.

Additionally, thunderstorms are still predicted for today and traveling on the open ocean during a thunderstorm isn't something we would choose to do if we had a choice, and we do. Our current situation is exactly why we won't make any plans to meet anyone anywhere, as traveling to meet a schedule is foolhardy, dangerous and unnecessary.

The good news is that our steering is working just fine. We were able to give it a good tryout on our way to our new spot on the hook. The water is nicer here, being away from Rock Sound, and the town dump is also on the lee side of us, so the air smells better.

If our plans change again, I'll let our friends know who we have listed as SPOT contacts. We'll be issuing "We're OK" reports as we cross open ocean on our way to the northern tip of the Exumas. We don't want to keep anyone up nights.

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