After lunch and a quick trip in for wi-fi at Lorraine’s Café and a few necessities (eggs, butter, M&Ms and tonic water) we hauled Bunting, raised the main, raised the anchor (yes, in that order) and set sail for Staniel Cay, an enjoyable 10 nm sail. Elvis was anchored off the yacht club and we saw yacht M&M with their tender, Peanut.
Wednesday was a perfect day, less than 10 kts wind, sunny and a high of only 76. Hit the 3 markets and as the boat had not come in lately with fresh fruits and veggies, our best find was a bag of carrots. No bread, but one market had flour. One store had chicken breast halves (bone-in) and although the price on the package was $12, our price (high mark-up due to transportation costs) was $19! Jeeze I thought $12 was pricey for two halves. When I said I’d need to return the chicken to the freezer, the owner, no doubt wanting the sale, cut the price to $14. Ok, I took it and happy to help local businesses. Although this particular one is about on its last legs.
Dinghied over to Thunderball Grotto for a quick snorkel then over to a plane that crashed in shallow water after take-off.
One problem with many anchoring spots is the current and every time the tide changes the anchor has to re-set and certain types are better at that than others. Our Rocna will handle that if it’s got enough strain on it to tug it around in mud or not-too-hard sand. This is what happens with no strain – the chain just wraps around the anchor and no way will that silly thing be able to dig back in.
We untangled it and dropped it back in.
Our big treat tonight was dinner at the YC; so far the best dining out we’ve encountered in the Exumas. With the lack of decent “eats”, Russ’s (and mine too sorry to say) eatery of choice is Chez Ortolan. As with every Exuma restaurant, dinner reservations are a must and you make your meal choice ahead. The YC serves a good meal, soup to dessert. Not a loaded plate like you get most places state-side; just enough to fill you up.
During the salad course (which tonight was yummy coleslaw) we perked up at the sound of drums. Umm. The waitress came by to tell the diners “Junkanoo!” and the main course would be held if we wanted to go out and watch. You bet we did. Sorry, no camera. Junkanoo was introduced to the American colonies by slaves from Africa’s western coast and it quickly spread to Jamaica and The Bahamas. One of the steps used in today’s parade is two steps forward and one step back. The history and tradition of Junkanoo in The Bahamas is long and varied- so I’ll skip all that and just say that the “scrap gang” version we watched up close is one you are most likely to see, unless you are in Nassau on Boxing or New Years Day. Bells, whistles, goombay drums, clappers were employed by the 7 or 8 men who paraded alongside the YC and out to the docks. These instruments – homemade for sure.
We all watched in fascination as the drummers began with a “bringing it up” process that uses a small fire to warm up the goat or sheep skin drum cover. This gets it tight and helps to produce various drum tones- the drums are the core of Junkanoo and my favorite sound. The group’s leader used a whistle to lead them along at a slow pace with each member imparting his own energy and unique step to the parade. This was a thrill and a real Bahamian treat for us and I am so disappointed I have no photos to show, just a great memory forever etched.