Sunday, March 22, 2009

Amazon Adventure # 11. Wind bound, and a Christmas tree.

                                              Christmas at Green Turtle Cay.

The prevailing winds here are the brisk South East Trades in the winter when they are not interrupted by the northers. There is usually a week-long period during which the winds shift around the clock and back to yet another norther. We have been lucky to get this far with the north-west winds but yesterday has shown us how difficult it is to make progress against the easterly winds that have settled in for a while. The outboard engine pops its propellor almost out of the water as Amazon pitches into the waves and it is difficult to make progress. We have found shelter last night all right but it looks like we may be here in this isolated place until the wind shifts again. We are almost out of propane and it is almost Christmas.

The journal:
Dec. 23rd.
Last night we had to put the tent away again because although we are in the lee of some wooded slopes the wind still jumps over from time to time. We slept under the tarp and under the stars (and what stars!) until it started to rain. Just a little shower ( pull tarp over head).

By morning the wind had shifted from east to south-east and was up to 20 knots. We motored out and tried but came back after half an hour of no progress to our shelter and nosed into a little strip of sand beach between coral rocks. Heather and the girls went exploring and found some kind of bitter oranges and a Christmas tree ( Casuarina pine) which got lashed to the bow. I tried to make a bow drill to make holes in the shells so the girls could make necklaces. I painted the name AMAZON on the bows and sterns.

 Storm bound and 'living off the land'.

Some Bahamians came by in a speed boat and checked to see if we were ok.(When we saw them stop and turn toward us it was a PIRATE moment for a while until they turned out to be offering to help push us off the beach). The wind died by this evening but too late to move before dark. Heather is baking bread. We saw a dolphin today that came right up and visited with us. Bill.

This most important day began with Bill and I huddled under the tarp as usual trying to decide if each pause in the rain squalls was long enough for us to make a run for it up the coast of Little Abaco as the winds were slowly shifting toward the south-west. Quickly our damp bedding was stowed, our oilies located and a promise given to the girls that we would stop for breakfast when we reached the sheltered side of the island. The engine would n`t start! Damp again! Out came the oil spray for the wires and eventually it started to our shrieks of joy!

At first we made good speed along the coast, then it appeared that the wind had not shifted that much and it was going to be another fight against wind and wave. It was after 12:00 before we found a sheltered cove over a beautiful coral reef and made some hot tuna sandwiches - and ran out of propane! We decided to sail across the water to Green Turtle Cay as it was closer than Treasure Cay and might have propane. A wet, exciting ride for those on deck.

Arrived on the beach of New Plymouth ( the town on Green Turtle Cay), a delightful old world town of pastel coloured houses and streets the width of sidewalks. The girls and I did a quick scout - I did some shopping on the basis of ‘no propane’ and we did the Christmas shopping. It was fun. Then back on the boat to find a marina. We eventually found ‘The Other Shore Club’ and took the last slip left that was too shallow for a normal boat ( there was ‘room at the Inn’, - just.) We could tie up, use the showers and the owners, Trudy and Allan, would lend us a propane bottle while we are here.

 Room at the shallow end of the Other Shore Club to pitch our tent.

Trudy sent us meatballs and spaghetti for supper - delicious and such a boon for our depleted stores. We felt welcomed and good. A shower made us feel better and then all of us but Gwyn headed out clean and well dressed for the Anglican Church Christmas Eve service. Gwyn elected to stay at home and sleep (and it turned out, write her yearly letter to Santa). She had already put a branch of our Christmas tree against the mast and decorated it with the tinsel she had painstakingly cut all day from tin foil, and candles left over from birthdays. She and Bill made a star for the top. She popped some corn for stringing a garland but then sensibly ate it all instead.

Gwyn`s Christmas tree and letter to Santa.( and his reply)

We church goers made our way along narrow roads amid popping fireworks. We followed the waterfront around, past the Baptist Church until we reached St. Peter`s Anglican. Here we had an experience reminiscent of a Christmas long ago on the Island of Cariacou in the West Indies. The singing was wonderfully enthusiastic and the people watched all engrossed. Altogether this was a day to remember.

Returning to the boat, listening to the parade developing on the streets behind us. Saw unripe bananas growing on a tree and all sorts of things that need further exploring tomorrow. Heather.

1 comment:

Gwyn said...

From the boat I got to hear the beautiful singing from across the water - a beautiful way to fall asleep on Christmas Eve.