Saturday, May 2, 2009

Amazon Adventure # 18. Spanish Wells.

We visit the community of Spanish Wells, get the story behind the ruins on Royal Island and sail on to Current Island, passing through the ‘Cut’ and into a shallow bay for the night.

The Journal:
The morning starts very well after a lovely night`s sleep with no midnight alarms; but feeling decidedly cool around the edges by dawn. A bright breezy day. Breakfast of coffee,(oh, what a treat!) fresh baked buns, (last night`s baking) and home made lemon curd. Then a mad dash to get ready for sea. We motor out of the bay and then hoist sail and really fly down to Spanish Wells. A very neat and prosperous town. After getting gas and dumping garbage at one marina we cruised down to the other end of the harbour and beached on a sand bar at the edge of town. We went exploring and found all the stores shut!! Ah, we remember, it`s lunch hour. We strolled down streets, saw children in school uniforms walking and riding to school and bought some stamps at the post office.

We ask a Mr. Currie if he knew the real history of Royal Island and it`s ruins. It seems a Mr. Steward ( an American who made millions as a business consultant) built the place in the 1920`s, paying a dollar a day for labour. When he died (?) the locals ransacked the place and took everything of value ( thus raising their average wage) . In the 1960`s there was an attempt to farm the island to save on taxes but people from yachts ate all the fruit and scared the sheep. End of story.

We finally shopped, ( no fruit, no milk) and filled up our water containers. On pushing off the beach, the outboard quit and we were blown into the channel. A big motor yacht was coming at us full bore and we were drifting toward some anchored yachts. I threw the anchor overboard just as Anne got the engine going. We must not forget to hook up the gas tank next time! Ah well, I don`t suppose there were more than twenty or thirty people watching us do our comedy routine.

After lunch we set sail for the ten mile trip to The Cut - a channel between Current Island and Eleuthera. Amazon really zipped along in the cool, fresh breeze. We followed the compass course toward an unbroken shoreline. Closer and closer. Where is the Cut? It finally opened up and we were swept through in a swirl of tidal current.

There was a beautiful sunset fading behind us as we edged around Current Island to find a sheltered, shallow bay. We felt our way in, bumped gently on some coral and managed to get into the very corner of the bay. We expected the NW wind to shift in the night so we must have shelter from the north and east. We beached on a lowish tide on white sand and set two anchors in the shallows. The sea was warm compared to the air but we noticed it got cooler on the edge of the beach. Just the opposite of home.
A rush to furl the mainsail and get the tent up. It is COLD! Now it is bright moonlight outside, the tent flaps in the breeze and the girls do homework as Heather cooks supper and thereby warms us up with the stove.
The tent comes down at bedtime because of the wind and Heather and I lie warmly under our trusty tarp and watch the stars swirl around the masthead above us. This is not a bad life ya know.

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