Sunday, December 27, 2015

Just Piddlin' And Christmas Too

The days stretched out in front of us... We could do as much or as little as we want... The winds will continue to blow from the east for days...  They all blend together as we settle into a lazy lifestyle here at Big Majors Spot.

Our first morning here, we got busy straightening things up.  It's amazing how jumbled things get when we're traveling daily.  Bruce went after the topsides while I was busy below cleaning and straightening...

The stuff I washed down the galley drain attracted a nurse shark!  I went up on deck to help Bruce with bagging our staysail and found this huge shark just lazily circling our boat.

I was looking forward to getting a local SIM card for the iPad so that we could communicate with the outside world.  Our only link has been the Delorme by satellite text, which has been NICE... but a little one dimensional.
We watched as this sea plane landed in our anchorage

Then they taxied over to visit the pigs!

The protected dinghy dock at Staniel Cay Yacht Club
We dropped the dinghy into the water off the deck - still amazing that we've been in the Bahamas for a week and haven't splashed the dink until today...  We got pretty wet on the ride to Staniel Cay just around the tip of Big Majors.  Our decision to stay anchored here was solidified when we saw how bouncy and windy the Staniel Cay anchorage was.

It was nice to stretch our legs and take a walk through the familiar streets of the Staniel Cay settlement.  We've been on the boat for too long, I'm surprised my legs remember how to walk!

St. Luke's Island Clinic.  

Our destination:  The BTC office.  We arrived at the office just before 2pm.  The sign on the door listed the limited business hours, luckily today they open at 2pm!!!  Score!  We waited outside the door and a young lady arrived and unlocked the door right on time. She swelled with pride when Bruce commended her for her punctuality!

We were first in line and chose to get only a SIM card for the iPad and not turn on the phone... I want to see how my connectivity choices work and if I'm lucky, we can use Skype for a phone...
We found our sea plane again sitting on the public beach at Staniel Cay

The bread house
Now that we've got that Sim Card business taken care of, we turn to food.  We've run out of fresh milk and have no fresh fruit or veggies on board.  Some bread would be nice to have too.. our mouths water just thinking of the delicious coconut bread we enjoyed last time we were here...

We stopped in at the yellow house to find bread.  Unfortunately they were sold out.  We ordered a loaf for the next day and continued on...

There are two stores here in town, the pink store and the blue store.  We stopped in at both and found no milk and no fresh fruits or veggies to speak of...  The supply boat wasn't expected until NEXT Wednesday so supplies are short.

We bought some coconut rum for Bruce at the pink store and headed for the blue store... there's still hope.

But not very much!  They had some potatoes and onions and a few other things...

We picked out some onions and took them to the checkout.

There was a woman training at the register.  Our onions struck fear in her eyes.  She would have to use the antiquated scales to complete our purchase.

Our three onions weighted more than a pound but less than a-pound-and-a-half...  She called Lois over to help her.

Lois' suggestion was to pick out some more onions...

OK, so we put a couple more small onions onto the scale.  It tipped and she added another weight to tip it back.

She turned to us and announced "Two and a half pounds!"  What???  But we didn't want that many onions...

Looking nonplussed, she continued fussing with the scales, adding and taking away weights and onions... until finally we reached a happy medium.  Two pounds it is!

The scales had been in use for decades and although rusty, they still work.

We took our onions and our rum back to the boat where it was warm enough for us to think about taking a dip.

What a great life when you can don a swimsuit and hop off the stern at the end of December!

This is the first time Bruce has been in the water with good visibility enough to consider replacing the zincs.  He realized they were gone back at Rose Island but the water was too bouncy to handle the small screws underwater... so we waited.

Still a bit bouncy here so we decided to put it off once again until the winds come down a bit more.

We enjoyed the cool water and a relaxing evening on the deck watching the families on the mega-yachts come and go...  I tried to envision the lives of those families... must be nice.   But then THEY have to go home next week... we don't!

The next morning we did some more routine things, cleaning, minor maintenance.  I washed the insides of the enclosure windows which had some salt water on them.  A brief rain had washed the decks and outsides pretty well so we didn't have to use our house water.

We decided to try and make some water using just the solar energy.  This worked, sort of, until gathering clouds put an end to our productivity and we ended up charging the batteries back up using the Yamaha.

I guess they put out the sign when there's bread available...
We went ashore to collect our coconut bread which was supposed to be done by 11 am.  We didn't make it until almost noon but they were still in the oven.

We left and took a much needed walk.  Thinking that we could easily walk to the other grocery store and check for milk, then return just in time to get our bread, we set off.

It's not a long walk but one we hadn't made before.  Last visit here we took the dinghy to the store.

A hen hustles her chicks out of our way as we approach.

Small but surprisingly busy airport.

Dinghy channel at low low tide...

We arrived at the store at about five after 1 o'clock.  They were closed until two... seems like I remember this same thing happening last time so we waited with friends until they opened.  Being as we really don't NEED anything, we decided not to wait and so headed back to the bread house by a different route.  

When they're gone, they're GONE!
The loaves were out of the oven and cooling on the kitchen table.  We came in and picked out our loaf.  They usually put them into clear plastic sleeves but since it was still cooling, it needed to be left open so as not to get soggy.  They wrapped it in paper towels and put it in a grocery bag, giving us the sleeve for later and dire warnings about closing it up too soon...  

Looking around this tiny kitchen, I wondered why we would consider eating food cooked here when it is so obviously not regulated in any way.  It is SUPER cluttered with all manner of baking goods stuffed onto open shelves.  But as cluttered as it is, it looks very clean.  Probably better than most restaurants we frequent back in the US...  My kids would be appalled!

Back at the boat I wasted no time making us each a piece of buttered bread before we even put it into the bag.  MMMMmmmm! Must limit our purchases to once or twice a month or suffer the consequences...

The rest of our time here runs together... Christmas day we went to the Pig Beach.  We had been kind of waiting until there weren't a lot of people over there and Christmas morning was our chance.  I was feeling kind of anti-climactic since there really wasn't anything special about the day for us.  I had the chance to talk to both of my kids on Christmas Eve, one in Florida and the other in Guam, who was already having her Christmas morning and opening presents and stuff.  Getting to talk on the phone with no worries about cutting it short was really nice.  Loving my Skype Out.  

There is a place at the northern end of the pig beach where the pigs don't really go.  I wanted to make my Sand Christmas Card without pigs, so we headed up that way to beach the dinghy.  I was able to get my card done, but with no embellishments due to the arrival of one particular piggy...

Bruce wasn't even done settling the dinghy when this one HUGE pig made tracks our way...

I remembered last time there was one pig, brownish with black spots, who was very aggressive.  I wondered if this was her all grown up!  

A little caution is in order until we establish that she isn't going to knock me down and eat my eyeballs!  I will admit that I allowed myself to be backed into the water before holding my ground as I fumbled with the opening of the one packet of saltines to offer.

They seemed to be acceptable.  We had a brief discussion about manners and patience but I'm not sure I got through to her...

Shameless begging!
She followed me around with her gaping maw open while I pulled crackers out of the packet as fast as I could.  I tossed them into her hole, missing some.  She scrambled to eat them from the sand or the water, then returned to her position..

It wasn't long before I was out of ammunition.  I worried that this would be ill received, but she seemed OK with it.  I held out my hands so that she could see and told her "all gone".  She begged a bit longer then turned tail and wandered back up the beach to the newly arrived boats bearing more food.

We followed her and were met by this late bloomer... no more food.  No problem.  Can't blame a girl for trying.... She turned back and joined her friends who were swimming out to meet the arriving boat.

I was delighted to find PIGLETS!  There were twenty new babies all snuffling in the sand.  One was a runt and wasn't going to make it, but I wondered what would happen to the other 19...  Some must be destined for the menu over at Staniel Cay Yacht Club.  This island doesn't need nineteen more mouths to feed.

The beach began to get crowded with tourists so we left them to it and took a spin around the anchorage in the dinghy.  The colors of the water here are stunning.  There are two more beaches to explore but we headed back to the boat.

The Yacht Club was providing Christmas dinner, which we considered... but the windy and wet ride to get there, plus the return after dark were off-putting.  We opted to just stay home and eat the awesome (and free) leftovers we had instead.  I spoke to my Mom on the phone for a while to see what the Fam was doing.  Nice quiet evening at home.

We spent the next two days relaxing, reading, cooking, and doing various boat chores.  The winds were up on the weekend so we had no plans to move until Monday, when they were expected to moderate slightly.

We used the dinghy and the anchor wash-down hose to clean the outsides of the hull.  They were caked with salt and looked dull and dirty from exhaust fumes.  That was fun!

We removed the two-year-old-plus lifeline netting.  We have new nets onboard to be installed some light wind day.  We knew the nets were beginning to deteriorate as there were already some small holes in the high traffic areas... but when the lee board took out a huge section on port, and the escaping diesel cans holed this spot on starboard, we figured we were looking like a shipwreck so we'd better take them down.

Bruce finally got to replace the missing zincs.  That was another biggie off the to-do list...

The rest was just piddlin'.

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