March 13, 2015 Pipe Creek / Big Major Spot/Black Point/White Point:
2/02/2015 Black Point to Pipe Creek, Exuma 14 nm
2/19/2015 Pipe Creek to Big Majors Spot, 5 nm
2/20/2015 Big Majors Spot to Sampson Cay, 4 nm
2/23/2015 Sampson Cay to Staniel (for groceries)/ Black Point 13 nm
2/26/2015 Black Point to Pipe Creek (Causeway) 13 nm
2/27/2015 Pipe Creek to Big Majors Spot 9 nm
3/08/2015 Big Majors Spot to White Point, Jack's Bay 12 nm
3/12/2015 White Point to Black Point
Total Miles to Date: 1236 nm
|White Point Beach N,|
“To look at the face and not see humanity is to lack humanity.” Edward Curtis pioneer in photography and author of “The North American Indian”
“As we frequently need to remind ourselves, history is generally written by the victors and, as such, can be exceedingly misleading, when it does not deliberately lie.” Farley Mowat
|Pipe Ck Sands|
Salty Turtle has been anchored off White Point about 5 miles S. of Black Point for the past few days enjoying a little solitude with a nice snorkel, some exploration, and a couple of beach walks thrown in for good measure. White Point is “beaches” thus white. Black Point is “iron rock” thus black. White Point is a tiny peninsula of land barely 300 feet across with beaches on both sides that extends about a half mile out into Banks off Great Guana Cay.
We had shared this peaceful spot with only one other boat and a resident osprey...until yesterday when the “world” decided to descend on White Point (2 other boats showed up). Guess it's time to head for Black Point and see if the wifi gods will let us up load this blog....
It was a flat calm evening in Pipe Creek – a magic kind of night. Wild Tamarind and Little Pipe cays were etched black against the magenta sky of a dieing sun. Pipe Creek was spooky quiet. Not a ripple. Not a bird. Not a human sound. The Turtle hung in the current as if suspended in a black pool and did not move...she too was waiting. We both know what is coming...by morning Pipe Creek will be a different place. The storm with its strong West winds will be upon us.
|Pipe Ck Sands|
We had re-set the anchor. Added as much scope as possible. Lengthened our snubbers to 20 feet and not only had a loop of chain between the boat and the snubber but had added a pile of chain on the bottom for the winds and currents to have to drag around. The charplotter was on and so was Gigi's iPad both track the Turtle's ever move. Elongated “O” for a track indicates all is good but “Q” shapes do not give warm and fuzzy feelings and something must be done 'cause the anchor is (or has) been moving. We were as ready as could be.
|Joe - Da Mayor of Pipe Ck|
It is not like we haven't been thru this drill before without incident. The last 5 weeks had been a series of cold fronts with strong West winds the like of which no one in living memory can remember.
By morning the winds were exceeding 30ks in gusts out of the WNW (NNW winds will blow straight down the Ck). The snubbers were taught as a banjo strings fixing to bust with a shock load every minute or so from the 3' waves that were beginning to march down the creek, but we knew the worst was yet to come with the switch of tide at 11:00 AM. With the start of the incoming tide wind would be fighting current, waves would build to a short staccato chop slamming the hull every few seconds and wind would turn us sideways to the current. We waited keeping a sharp eye on the chartplotters and the reefs to our W and E both of which we clear by less than 100'.
By 12:00 Noon the winds and clocked to the NNW and the winds built to a steady 30k with higher gust. The fight between the current and the wind was becoming a real problem. We were circling our anchor about ever 5 minutes. Our 88 pound Rocna anchor is an amazing piece of gear. It was holding and veering as we circled..but no anchor can keep up that kind of punishment and stay in the bottom. It was obvious...it was time to go. When it is bad enough to leave a relatively protected anchorage for the Banks where we would be looking at huge seas you know it is bad.
Gigi cranked the “Lolls” (what I call the engines because of the deep throated sound they make) and I went to the windless to plan my strategy. With the howl of the winds and the din created by the canvas being shook like a dog with a rat, it was obvious all communications were to be by hand signals. I prayed to the boat gods we got it right the first time...there would be no second chance.
We waited until the current over came the wind and the Turtle started her circle around the anchor so there would less pressure on the rode to over come. With hand signals to Gigi we followed the rode. I don't know how she did it but she put Salty Turtle exactly where I signaled her every time. Little by little the 100' of rode crept in until it was straight up and down. One more gust and the anchor broke free and Gigi got the “thumbs up” signal that the boat was free and hers.
Now it was time to do something with that damn dingy. It had been tied along side. Gigi eased us into the current in the wind shadow of Wild Tamarind Cay and I re-tied the dink off the stern for towing – no way could we lift it on deck in that wind. I can hear you asking why the dink was in the water in the first place with a storm coming on? Answer: safety. What if you needed to take a second anchor out or go the assistance of another boater – with the dink in davits that can not happen.
The 4 foot seas were a piece of cake after the anchor drill and by 1:00 PM the Turtle had her anchor down in the NE corner of Big Major Spot with 150' of chain on the bottom and we could breath again. We were rolling our ass off but we were safe.
Time for an anchor's down R U M! Gigi and I had 2. By dark the winds had gone due N and settled the roll to something liveable.
All was right with our world again. Which just goes to show a little fear can move mountains.
|Dave & Diane|
Then There Was... the wedding and (before you ask) definitely not mine.
|Dave & Diane|
Pam and Ron on “Legacy,” a Defever-44 like ours, had spent most of the year in Pipe Creek with us and “Just Ducky.” They had been excited ever since they entered the creek at the start of the year. Their best friends, Dave & Diane ,were coming to spend 10 days with them the first of March. Then came the phone call. Things were changing and changing fast.
Dave walked into work on or about the 16th of February and his asshole of a boss strolled in and erased his name off the “vacation board” and penciled in his own. Dave protested. He had had the vacation approved for months with tickets purchased and everything. His boss said, “so?” or words to that effect. Dave had been considering retirement and quit on the spot.
|Dave, Diane, Pam, Ron, & Gigi|
He went home, talked things over with Diane, his lady friend, and decided to put his home on the market and move in with her. It sold the day it hit the market...Dave was on a roll. Might as well go all the way, why not get married when they were in the Bahamas – they were going anyway and damn Dave's Boss. Good plan!
|Bouquet in Progress|
That's where the phone call came in and Gigi and I entered the picture. Ron knew I was a photographer and all weddings need a photographer...right? Of course I said yes. Now all that was left was to find a preacher and a church. They went looking for Burkie Rolle. Burkie works the gas dock at Staniel Cay Yacht Club, is part owner of Isles General Store with his wife Vivian, distributes propane for the Cay, is the best outboard mechanic on the island, and...is the one armed pastor of the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church (the one armed part is a story in its self). Burkie said yes and the date was set for Saturday, March 17th at 3:00 PM.
|Pam & Diane|
The wedding day was a splash of color as the dinghies sped over the calm waters sprinkled with shadows of scudding clouds dancing before the sun making a kaleidoscope of ever shifting blues and greens. They were headed for a pre-party and lunch at Staniel Cay Yacht Club. After a great lunch, a number of Kalik beers, and few frozen daiquiris the wedding party headed out to pick the brides bouquet (note I said picked not pickup). Pam had come prepared and she and Diane stopped by the bougainvillaea that grew along the road on the way to the church and did a little trimming of the bougainvillaea. Pam even brought scissor for just such a need – nothing but the best for this bride.
|Vivian & Burkie|
We arrived at the church early. The ladies were dressed in their finest beach attire and sandals. Dave actually wore long pants..and sandals. Burkie came “formal.” He wore his “arm” (never seen him with two arms before). Ron and Pam gave the bride away. Vow's were given. Fifteen dollar rings they picked up at the last minute in Nassau were exchanged and by 3:30 Burkie had pronounced them “Man and Wife.” It was a simple, quite beautiful ceremony. Vivian, Gigi and I were the witnesses. Burkie's service was perfect. And the Bride and Groom were happy and left hand in hand for the stroll back to the Yacht Club for...at least one more beer.
For the price of a meal, two $15 dollar rings, $150 for the church, $20 for Brukie, and an odd beer or two Dave and Diane were husband and wife. The wedding its self was simple, stress free, and as perfect as a wedding can be. Weddings don't need to cost fortunes (although Dave said they blew the budget on flowers). All a perfect wedding really needs is love, good friends...and maybe a beer or two.
|Hand in Hand|
We will probably spend Easter at Black Point and then head for Rock Sound in Eleuthera, do a little exploring, and then head on up island to Spanish Wells and up to the Abacos. Until next time.
Faiwinds and Rum Drinks,
PS – If you want to find a “private beach” then the Exuma Sound side of Jack's Bay Cove off Great Guana Cay is your place.
|Jacks Bay Cove Beach|