Staniel Cay to Black Point, The Bahamas
Monday, February 2, 2004
Staniel Cay had been nice, but it was time to move on. We selected the settlement of Black Point on Great Guana Cay as our next stop. Again. Wind was mostly on the nose so we ended up motoring most of the short, ten mile trip. He anchorage is a large cove, protected from the north, east and south. We anchored far into the cove, near the government pier. “Government piers” are the most prominent docks at most settlements. Typically, it’s where the various mail and supply boats tie up. In the cast of Black Point, there is a small dock attached to it that dinghies use.
Just before we left Staniel, Sandy decided to do some hand wash. As a result, there was lots of need for drying Tuesday, February 3 – Thursday, February 5, 2004g line space. First to go were the lifelines with large items. Ringing the bimini was the underwear and socks. It was quite a sight!
Unlike the settlement on Staniel Cay, Black Point is not mainly a tourist economy place. Instead, the locals make a living fishing and weaving straw ribbons from palm leaves. The ribbons are, in turn, exported to make large baskets and other products. To be sure, there are a couple of restaurants and a bar but this is, mainly, an “unspoiled” village.
Another feature of interest of cruisers is that Black Point provides free water at public faucets. The community installed a reverse osmosis water plant a few years ago, providing free water for residents who had not, yet, installed plumbing (with meters) into their houses. In spite of the fact that virtually everyone now has central plumbing, the public fixtures remain and are used by cruisers, with the town’s blessing. The town also provides free trash removal for cruisers.
We suspect they provide these benefits in hopes that cruisers will come and support the shops, restaurants and other businesses. And come they do! While we were there were many boats in the harbor and a steady stream of cruisers walking about town.
Black Point, The Bahamas
Tuesday, February 3 – Thursday, February 5, 2004
Our days in Black Point were very enjoyable and productive. For one, the log postings to our web site were woefully behind. As it happens, Black Point recently added a library and computer lab with high speed access to their school. The facility is available to the public for $5/hr … a real bargain! We finished writing a few weeks worth of activity and Bill uploaded the info along with many photos.
Black Point also has a couple of grocery stores. They aren’t as “big” as the ones at Staniel Cay but had many of the things you really need, especially just after the supply boat visits the settlement. Since the dinghy ride to the dock was short is was a real convenience to just be able to “run into town” for water or groceries.
Lorraine’s Café in Black Point is an Exuma institution. We met her on our first day here and made reservations, along with several other boats, for dinner one evening. While the company and atmosphere were fine, we were a bit disappointed in the meal. We’ve gotten use to the fact that you almost never have a choice of vegetable … you almost always get “peas and rice” and corn with a meal, which is fine. However, our high hopes for the steamed grouper were dashed when it came our grossly over done and dry.
We were not disappointed, though, with the bread that Lorraine’s Mom bakes. She’s a very sweet lady and turns out beautiful and delicious loaves of home made bread. Bill bought a loaf of coconut bread that was excellent. Lorraine’s Mom also does laundry, keeps a lovely house and, in her spare time, does straw work!
The island is quite long with a small network of roads. Sandy was happy to explore those roads on her daily walks. She had company one afternoon when Bill and Joe and Michele (Simple Life) walked north from town to find a blow hole we’d heard about and to explore some of the beaches on the sound side of the island. The sound side is ruggedly beautiful with small beaches interspersed with rocks and sections of precipitous cliffs and undercut rocks.
We had hoped to go from Black Point to Little Farmer’s Cay just south of Great Guana Cay for the annual Little Farmers First Friday in February Festival (5F). The festival is mainly aimed at locals and features games, eats and, most importantly, Bahamian sloop racing. The Bahamian sloops are traditional racing craft in the islands and town avidly support boats from their home towns during racing festivals. We looked forward to attending.
However, the protected anchorage at Little Farmers is relatively small, the anchor holding is not great and the currents are strong. On top of that, the wind started blowing pretty hard, 20s with gusts to 30, and wasn’t forecast to let up for days. So, we canceled our plans to attend. Although the festival was apparently a success we heard from cruisers who were there that no one got much sleep as boats bounced, anchors dragged and moorings broke. So, though is was disappointing, is was a good call on our part.
Otherwise, while we weren’t ashore or trying to decide whether or not to go to Little Farmers we read, did laundry, made granola or invented new dinner dishes to make with the limited produce we could get; dishes like GF pasta with broccoli and beans … delicious!