Monday, 4 February 2013

No 5/13 Conception Is & Rum Cay

Hi from Clare,                                         Sunday 3rd February 2013

Tasmanians on Australia Day & Rum Cay Marina

Before leaving George Town we reprovisioned with gas and fresh produce to last us for our time in Cuba. We have washed and individually wrapped the fruits and vegies in aluminium foil and after endless planning and shopping we think we have it covered. One of our Aussie friends heading for the Panama has purchased 365 rolls of toilet paper, needless to say we are not that well prepared.
Thankfully we sold our old 5ph Mercury outboard before leaving Georgetown. We repeatedly advertised on the morning radio net and managed a sale two days before our departure. Andrew was glad of the sale and I was glad to reclaim the space in the cockpit locker and get the buckets out of the bathroom.
We had a thank you dinner with George and Mo on 'Passages'. Andrew had spent considerable time nutting out a problem and then installing a 'work around' to get George's HF Radio working. Mo produced a great meal and created a restaurant atmosphere with subtle lighting and a beautifully laid out table with linen cloth, napkins, china and glassware. They said it was their treat and indeed for us it was a treat. George was glad to have his radio problems solved and Mo said she feels a lot safer now; Andrew just enjoys the challenge and mental stimulation.

The free docks at Rum Cay Marina & the Anglican Church at Rum Cay

We left George Town on Thursday ahead of a cold front and sailed 43 miles to beautiful Conception Island. We enjoyed sunshine, blue skies, fair winds and we caught a good size Mahi Mahi a few hours out; this is more like it. Conception Island is uninhabited and the beach is picture perfect with brilliant white sand and shallow aqua water. We walked the beach, swam and enjoyed perfect peace and quiet.
At Conception we caught up to Steve and Carol on 'Innamorata'. We had drinks on 'Eye Candy' that evening to celebrate getting back into cruising mode. The following morning we sailed 21 miles to Rum Cay. This is new territory for us and the island has a small community. Hurricane Sandy came through here in October ripping rooves off houses, disrupting power supply, sinking small vessels and damaging the marina. The people are very friendly and the visiting cruisers were invited into town the following morning (yesterday) for breakfast or lunch as a big cook up was happening. Lunch was due at midday and we were pretty hungry after walking around town all morning. However at midday the locals were sitting around the fire drinking beer and no sign of food. There were quite a few cruisers hovering in readiness to support the local economy but due to their lay-back Bahamian Time the opportunity was lost.
The local food store advertises as "Last Change" shopping. But we decided it should be renamed "No Chance" shopping as the place has been shut since we arrived. We went back into town late yesterday with 'Innamorata' and met an Aussie family from the yacht 'Dulcinea' which is anchored near-by. The nine of us called into a local restaurant (if you would call it that) for a drink. We sat on plastic chairs in the outdoor eating area surrounded by junk, litters if kittens and empty beer bottles. Our umbrella was an upside down satellite dish partly covered with palm fronds. The rest had been blown away by Sandy (in October) and the "umbrella" was at a forty five degree angle. However it was safe enough as someone ('Fireman', the local 'jack of all trades') had tied a rope around it anchoring it to a near by tree. The Aussie family Scott, Nicky and children Sam, Kelly and friend Beth ordered fish for dinner, as there was no other choice. Although they were the only customers, the rather large Bahamian woman smiled and said it would take an hour to prepare. We decided that perhaps she had to catch the fish first. We sat and chatted with them for an hour and then returned to the boat to eat the rest of our Mahi Mahi.

The Last Chance shop & a house with hurricane damaged roof

So today is Sunday and the locals are ensconced in the church. We could hear the church bells ringing early this morning. As is often the case in small communities the church is lovingly maintained. It is well constructed, freshly painted and has the only garden in town. I looked through the window yesterday to see polished wood, crisp linen, lit candles and arranged flowers. It is a lovely church and by far the most substantial building we saw in Rum Cay. It is also the local Hurricane shelter.

The cold front is passing over bringing rain and grey skies. We expect the wind to pick up this afternoon turn to the N/E. We will head out tomorrow morning and sail to the Acklins group as the front dies. This will bring us ever closer to Cuba. The weather for the next few days is pretty settled with winds from the N/E around 15knots; it should be a good trip.

Love Candy xx

At 12:40 PM3/02/2013 (utc) our position was 23°38.71'N 074°50.81'W

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