Last night, we retired around 9 o’clock. We were so sleepy and exhausted from the previous night’s adventures. Ten hours later, we awoke refreshed and ready for our first day of relaxation in the Exumas, a chain of islands described as “an emerald necklace bedecking the periwinkle and turquoise waters of the Bahamas. Geologically, the Exumas are the remains of a giant underwater mountain range of limestone. There are 360 or so cays (islands) that make up the Exumas, one for each day of the year.
After our morning discipline of prayer and Shakespeare (right now we are reading the horrifically tragic and moving play, Titus Andronicus), we did some laundry with our bucket and plunger and hung it out on the lifelines to dry. We then filled up the near empty gas tank on Dalí so that we could take her back and forth to Staniel Cay. Soon after, we hopped in the dinghy and motored 150 yards over to Hog Beach.
Hog Beach is a beach on the northwest side of Big Majors Spot. It is the home of a group of freckled pigs which have become accustomed to visitors coming to feed them. They will swim out to your boat asking for handouts. Curious visitors are all too anxious to accommodate them. When we dinghied over to see them there were two other small already there. One up on the beach with its inhabitants hand-feeding the pigs on the beach. These hogs are obviously not dumb. They refused to swim out to our boat when they could stand on the beach and be hand-fed. We gave in and walked up onto the beach to interact and feed the pigs. They can be a little overaggressive in seeking handouts, so you have to be a litle careful with your fingers… and hips! (One of the guys on the beach said one bit him on the hip.) After the boat left that was on the beach however, we backed off into the water. When the piggies realized they would indeed have to work for lunch, they hobbled out into the water and swam to our boat. Who knew pigs could swim?
From there, we took Dalí around Big Majors Spot to Staniel Cay Yacht Club, where we found some wifi and ate lunch. The lunch was delicious and not badly priced for the Bahamas. Or, maybe it is just we are getting used to the exorbitant prices. Who knows? This is the first time we had to pay for wifi, and the first time I’ve ever not had unlimited wifi when available. We had to pay $10.00 for 100 megabytes of data. That’s plenty to do email. But not enough to look at many photos or videos on line, not enough to FaceTime or Tango, and maybe enough to do one blog post. I did check my email and Facebook messages and was able to put up one blog for my 10 bucks. Cindy checked email and Facebook and briefly Tangoed her mom and sister. Before we were ready for it to be finished, our 100 mbs of internet usage was gone.
With no more wifi, we decided to go for a walk around town. There is not much here. There is one church and three grocery stores (if you call them that). There is Isles General (where we shopped yesterday), the Pink store, and the Blue store – each much smaller than your typical convenience store. We then returned to Beatitude. Upon our return, we gathered up our now-dry laundry and decided to let out a little more scope for our anchor. We had out 70 feet, which is about 5:1 here. But over the next three days the wind is going to pick up to 20-30 knots, so we wanted to be comfortable that we were secure. Again the anchorage is massive, and although there are 30 boats here, no one is within 200’ of us. There is good holding in sand everywhere. So, we let out our scope to 105’. This turns out to be about 8:1. With all chain, we should be well set for the predicted weather.
While extending our scope, we saw a nurse shark pass beneath the boat several times. So, after we were done, I decided to go for a swim by the boat. Unfortunately, the nurse shark disappeared. He apparently did not like company. I swam out to check our anchor and decided to do a little bottom cleaning while I was in the water. The water is lovely and comfortable. I jumped in without my wetsuit and was just fine. It is breathtakingly beautiful. The clarity is remarkable. I apparently made the water look really good, because soon, Cindy jumped in to enjoy it as well. I was quite proud of her jumping in to swim since we had seen the nurse shark next to the boat a few minutes before (and yesterday we saw a ray swim beneath the boat). She did swim and enjoyed it for a brief while before we’d had enough for one day, and climbed back up the swim ladder and onto the boat.
We grilled some hot dogs for dinner, and afterwards enjoyed a dinner of reading, game playing, and watching Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Just before dark, the winds veered around to the north and increased in intensity, dark clouds covered the sky, and rain began to lightly fall. It should be a noisy and rolly night of sleep tonight as Beatitude rocks and bounces to the wind and waves.