Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Flight to Freeport, Grand Bahama

Eight o-clock comes way too early for me these days, but we were up and at 'em when Sally and Martin (and Ellie--sweet dog, whom I'd forgotten to mention who is Sally's canine companion) tied on their dinghy up to Nalani and came on board.  I made oatmeal for everyone and by the time I had started eating mine, we were anchoring near the blue hole.  Oh well; I can eat later.
What an anchor does in still water . . . .

We all clambered into one dinghy and made for the blue hole, which we DID find this time.  A sobering memorial greeted us there, though, as three divers drowned there in 1994; the message following their names is a warning:  "Let this be a forewarning to any who would endeavor to explore these tunnels below."  (catch in throat)

Searching for the Blue Hole
A beautifully desolate area abundant with life
No one swam that day, but Gary wanted to find a geocache, but had no luck.  We did see quite the variety of wildlife, though, because of the still conditions the water was beautifully clear. The shallower spots held different anemones and coral and the deeper areas held many different kinds of fish and turtles.  Because our time was short, we decided to forego the turtle area and get Sally and Martin back to the entrance to the harbor so that we could continue our trek around the point and head up to Freeport until we could enter the Gulf Stream and make our way, first, to Norfolk, to check back into the country, and then to make the final trek to Maryland.

We said our goodbyes and I felt a real sadness in the parting, one because Elliott was so enamored of the two of them and because it is always so inspiring to meet young men and women who are adventurous and willing to put aside a relatively safe, ordinary life on land for the sea's hardships as well as glories.  I wish them both fair winds and godspeed and joy in anything they undertake in the future.
Sally, Marti, Elliott, and Ellie

We got underway and because we had no wind, we motored for a few hours.  Gary kept hoping for the wind to fill in.  Well, as night fell, of course, he got his wish and then some.  I had the early watch from 8-11pm, with Gary coming on next until 2am, and then Elliott would have 3-5am.

The moon was almost full to bursting and she was a bring light following us along the water.  We had some traffic, but most passed in front or back of us or ran parallel.  Some just disappeared over the curve of the horizon. 

Elliott's shot of Nalani screaming along!
My watch was pretty uneventful even though the wind was filling in; I had to do some sail adjustments and it made me happy to see that a trim I'd done brought on another knot of speed.  When I went down below, I wasn't able to sleep heavily, and around three in the morning, I noticed a huge gust and crazy burst of speed with the maniacal laughter of Elliott as we reached 9 knots!  Something changed, though, and the autopilot decided to cut out, so Elliott had his hands full with steering the flying boat.  He did well, though, and I'm so proud of him for keeping his cool.  I would have been screaming into the night, for sure.
Because we'd laid on such speed and high winds, we arrived a little too early to enter the harbor, so the genoa was furled so that we'd get down to a speed more to MY liking.  After daybreak, we went to fuel up at the spot designated by the charts.  Well, charts can be wrong.

We sidled up to the fuel dock, had the help of someone on shore, and found out that, no, there was no gas there, even though there were pumps there.  The woman explained that the pumps just hadn't been removed yet.  Oy!  So, we threw off the lines again and headed for the Yacht Club where there WAS gas.  Of course, there was a big fishing boat docked there and in no obvious hurry to leave.  After another boat cut in front of us to get their fuel, we sailed by and asked the operator whether we could dock on the other side to get gas.  So that's what we did.  Then the fishing boat left; guess the guys had finished their bloody marys.

The sign there said they had a deli and drinks; I was excited to get something other than water on the boat.  But, again, it was explained that the sign was from a former business and that things were being changed out and updated.  Okay.  At least we were able to get fuel this time.

We sailed out with a little crew skirmish (there's almost always one at docks, for some reason), but we made it and sailed over to the other inlet which would lead to the Ocean Reef Resort in Lucaya.  This had been recommended to us by Tony, late of the Great Harbour Cay marina.  He said mostly Canadians knew about this place.  It was inexpensive, to start.  We came in and had to sidle close by a catamaran which really was too big to be in the dock it was in; not width, but length, sticking way too far out.
But we got in and tied our lines around shaky pilings and a shaky finger pier.  The guy next door on a motor boat helped us tie off.   His name is Tom and he's been living here for at least 10 years.  Nice guy and a very social boat; there's always some kind of gathering going on there.

The pool, which is a little chilly, is just steps away, but is a nice place to take a book to read until you fall asleep under a big umbrella.  A few more steps away is Miss Esther's Restaurant where very good burgers can be found; I don't eat them, but she made me a turkey club (without bacon or ham), so really a tall turkey sandwich.  A very social environment, but not crazy.

Crazy you will find on the other side of the marina where the larger pool is with attached hot tub.  We walked over there the day we arrived to find 10 people crammed into the hot tub with a couple of people kicking feet and splashing each other, seemingly mad.  Obviously not a place for relaxation. 

There is a calendar of events, such as bocce, dance lessons, bingo, walks to town, beach runs, etc.  It is a cute place, not a hugely luxurious resort, kind of like the Presidential Wilderness Resort that we belong to that is in Chancellorsville.  A little rustic, but we like it and are comfortable enough.

I was able to do laundry for the first time since we left Marathon; I know, I should be grossly embarrassed, because most of the clothing could stand by itself in the corner, but a little bleach went a long way.  Some things need further attention, but they can wait until we get back home.

There's a little computer/book sharing lounge here that Elliott and I go to sometimes.  They also have a fussball table; I've been giving Elliott a run for his money.  I am extremely competitive, so I usually don't like such games as it gets my heart rate up and my ability to lose graciously goes way down. 

OCD that I am, as soon as I walked into the room, I knew I didn't like the way it was laid out.   First was the fussball table on your left, then a loveseat and chair jammed together on the same short wall.  So, the second time we visited, I had Elliott help me move things around a bit.  The couch went around the corner to the shelving that held the book exchange selection.  I angled the chair on that short wall and the lone matching table was placed next to it and laid with a nice selection of magazines. 

A large round table was moved a few inches to make walking by it a little more amenable and we were done.  Then we played more fussball.  So far, I'm winning.  The 70s were good for something, eh?

On the Bahamian bus; Gary screeched every time
we came around a bend on the "wrong" side of the road
We made a grocery run yesterday; there's a free shuttle that takes folks to the beach (for four hours) or to the grocery (for one hour).  Problem is we didn't realize that the hour started when we were picked up at 10 at the lobby, not dropped at the store, which was about 10:20; at 11+, we were still checking out as we had to get quite a bit of goods.  I apologized to the bus driver, but he seemed nonplussed.  And because we were late, two others disembarked and made a beeline for the liquor store.  A young couple on board (she being very pregnant) had an appointment that they were missing because of the lateness; I was embarrassed and felt guilty, but those liquor store folks took a long time as they had a long queue to wade through.

We're out of cash again, so we need to get to a bank as soon as we can.    We are so spoiled by our banking system in the U.S.; here is it catch as catch can and can be frustrating if you've not made good plans. 

Last night was Monday Madness, a resort hosted happy hour/dance lessons/dancing in general time.  We were late and missed chicken wings and Bahamian mac and cheese, but we scarfed a few of the free Bahama Mamas, a drink I remember from our time in Bimini.  We may be here long enough to see the next one on the coming Monday; we'll see.  We met a very fun couple from South Carolina and we laughed and laughed for hours.

Here's the tree that makes
fools out of the best of us!
We've been invited to attend another event tomorrow night; a dinner hosted by the managers of the resorts for the boaters here, so it will be a smaller crowd.  The woman who invited us is named Julia and she and her partner, Gail, are on a cool boat down the way.  They wear Canada shirts backwards, ADANAC, in honor of a boat by the same name.  Nice folks.  Julia told me that octopi come in shore at night, so we're going to bring a spotlight to see if we can see one.

There's a coconut palm around the corner with a hand-written sign on one of the nuts that says, "Free Beer Tomorrow."  I thought I'd go check whether there really was going to be beer, but then I realized that it will always be TOMORROW, and TOMORROW will never come.  Zoinks!

Quirky place, but its growing on me, though folks drink and drink and drink and get quite loud at night.  A surprise after all of the quiet we'd encountered on most of our island hopping.  Seems the bigger drinkers are the condo and hotel guests, so I guess that's what is different.

Today (Tuesday) has been very quiet as the rain that started last night lasted through a good portion of the day in varying strengths.  We expect no clearing until at least Thursday.  That crazy low pressure system is keeping us in port until we get a go-ahead from our hired gun meteorologist that it is safe to enter the Gulf Stream to head home.

Everyone's watching the system for fear that it will be an early hurricane; our season usually doesn't start until June, so we're just as anxious to see what happens.  I'm just hoping for an extremely boring sail home, so I've got my knitting, crossword puzzles, books, and snack food at the ready!

Little Harbor, We Meet Again

Stay in or go out?  That was the question as we left Lubber's Quarters for a few hours' sail back down to Little Harbor.  The ocean route would be more direct, but could be a little lumpy.  The inside route would be more scenic, but we'd also have to be dodging shoals and the trip would take a bit longer.

We stayed inside and it was good to go back and see places we'd anchored or the guys had snorkeled, especially as we'd not be back this way again anytime soon.

Nalani anchored at Little Harbor
Arriving in Little Harbor, we noticed that Sally and Martin had gotten there before us and to Gary's chagrin (not for long), Sally had anchored in the place Gary had wanted to be.  We were find, though, and found a solid spot with the opening to the harbor aft of us.  When we'd been there before, we'd anchored more inside and more protected, which was going to play an important part in the next few hours.

We had ducked in because we'd been expecting rain.  What a difference from a month ago; fewer boats and actual anchoring room!   What we got was some crazy wind squalling through the harbor opening and right to our boats.  We were first, and then Sally, and then Martin.

After a little bit of tossing, we noticed that Sally's boat seemed to be dragging.  The guys immediately grabbed our second anchor, donned life jackets, and jumped into the dinghy.  

Pete's Pub's Signature Drink:  The Blaster!
At the same time, Sally had come back to her boat and was working hard to keep the boat anchored; we saw Martin speed over and get on the boat with her.  Before the guys got to her, they had decided to motor over to a mooring for the time being.  I'm glad because her sweet Athena got quite close to pilings behind her. 

After the storm, we headed ashore to get some food and drink.  We saw Sally and Martin there and talked to them for a little while.

Beautiful sunset after the storm
Because we were leaving the next afternoon, we invited them to join us for an expedition early in the morning to find a nearby blue hole and turtle habitat.  The guys had tried to find the blue hole without success the last time we were here when they befriended the Tods from Surrey, England.  

Lubber's Quarters, Lubber's Landing Restaurant, Abacos

One of our favorite places to eat was at Lubber's Landing.  GREAT french fries and their salad was delicious with a dressing that was both sweet and spicy hot.  Just perfection.  We had celebrated Gary's 50th there and it was on the list of revisits on our way back through to Little Harbor, where we would be leaving to head North to Freeport. 

Elliott playing the ring-toss game; that's Sally at left
We pretty much got the same meal again, and it was delicious again.  I want to make the Cauli-Tings, cauliflower with a hot saucey sauce that has me drooling thinking about it.  Hector was behind the bar again and remembered us and remembered what we had ordered; thank goodness, because I'd have forgotten about that delicious Rum Punch we'd had.  Of course, we had another round.  By the way, Hector and the staff in the kitchen are just fantastic. 

Elliott started talking to a young woman at the bar named Sally.  They continued their conversation outside and seemed to be enjoying each others' company.  She had been getting chatted up by a boatload of fisherman and while she was handling her own, they had been drinking and were a little rowdy.

Gary is losing the height battle with Elliott
Gary and I decided to go check out Tahiti Beach across the way and Elliott stayed behind to stay with Sally.  As we were leaving, we saw another young man arrive and he asked whether Sally was still at the restaurant.  At that point, we didn't know Sally's name, but that's who he was looking for.  We also saw turtles around the pilings there looking for edibles.

The beach at Tahiti is cool, but a good portion of it (a spit, really) disappears during high tide, so we had to make a fast run out so as not to be stranded.  I did not go swimming.  This area had me a little paranoid, as a woman who had been swimming (or snorkeling) near a closeby dock had been viciously attacked by a tiger shark.  Somehow, after she'd been savaged, the woman climbed out of the water by herself and quick and smart medical attention saved her life.  She is now recovering in the States.  The story changes according to who tells it; some say that a fisherman nearby was feeding fish scraps to the sharks for the enjoyment of folks on shore.  I think this is a terrible practice and wish it would stop, and hope this attack calls immediate attention to a stupid thing.  Others say they're not sure of the type of shark, but because a tooth was taken from this woman's back, DNA tests will provide the answer soon enough.

We found a strange place littered with buoys and with nets strung for just hanging out.  Beyond that, Gary went off to find a geocache.  Before he came back, a couple had been there with their dogs, border terriers (they look like Ewoks), and one of them came by to check out our dinghy propeller and the bounciness of the sides of the dinghy.  
A loggerhead at the pier at Lubber's Landing
Picked up Elliott and he announced that Sally, and a new guy named Martin, were having a movie night on Sally's boat.  They watched "The Interview"; Sally loved it and Martin was just okay with it.  Elliott said he didn't like it.

That's when we found out that both Sally and Martin are singlehanders; Sally had sailed all the way down from Maine.  Martin had trailered his boat from Kansas to Florida and sailed over to the Bahamas from there.  They both are on a year-long sailing adventure.  Sally will be returning for her first year in college in Florida in September.  As far as we know, Martin will be sailing for a few months longer, also, but we don't know further plans.  I really liked them and Elliott wanted to spend all his free time with them. 
I had to rein him in a little, though, as they seemed like a new couple and I wanted to make sure he wasn't overstaying his welcome.  We had them over to our boat one night for movie night, too; I popped some corn and set out cookies and lemonade, though they brought their own drinks from the bar.  

Martin has a blog; s/vmeadowlark.blogspot.com; his videos are so good.  Give them a watch and look for sight gags!

Hope Town, Abaco, Bahamas

Holed up here in Freeport waiting for a while to wait for clearance to start our sail home, so I'm going to bring everything in this journal up to date.  I know this is supposed to be a blog, but I've gone way beyond that and it is now a journal; mostly for me, but also for my small cadre of readers.

I do not have the gift of brevity, so all the details that I remember are put down for me to do something with them later.  Could it be a sailing book?  Doubt it.  Maybe just a year in the life; we'll see.

Our next stop on this tour was Hope Town.  We snagged a mooring and, while a little close to the boats fore and aft, we felt we had a lot of room considering the space that was not in Man o' War.  I was still a little nervous and did not sleep well the first night.

View out to the Sound from the Hope Town Lighthouse
Hope Town is notable for its lighthouse, one of only three manual lighthouses left in the world.  It is operated by hand cranking every few hours to manipulate a spring that provides a 15-second interval of light in five turns of the lens, then there's a small pause, and it starts again.  As it burns kerosene with a wick and a mantle, the job of lightkeeper is a very important one on the island.  When we visited the lighthouse, Gary inadvertently touched the lens area and it moved so smoothly he almost didn't notice.

Harbor-side view on the way back down
The view from the top is absolutely breathtaking.  The harbor on one side, where we were able to see Elliott sitting on the boom of the boat and then the Abaco Sound on the other side.  The gradations of color in the water were incredible!  To get outside after climbing the many steps, you have to stoop low to get through the door.  The handles on the door are made of bronze and are sculpted hands grasping a rod.

Windy and high, it is an exhilarating experience.  One the non-wind side, it is breezy, but once you move to the other side, it is strange to breathe, the winds are so strong.  

On an excursion around town, we walked through a much-neglected cemetery to a dune where we met a nice woman and her dog, Sasha, a chocolate brown lab.  

Sasha and Elliott digging in the sand
While the woman and Gary stayed at dune top to talk, Elliott called Sasha down to the beach to play.  Elliott just has a way with animals and they both got wet and sandy and sweaty and happy.  It was a beautiful sight.

I explored the cemetery and the dead got me back for stepping near their holy place; I got about 50 sandspurs (if that's what they're called) all over my pants and legs and shoes and even IN the shoes.  Painful!  I apologized to the inhabitants and left quickly.

Beach view from Hope Town Harbour Lodge
We ate out several times, mostly because it is such a luxury now, twice at a place right on the water in the anchorage, and then we were told by the couple on New Passage about this amazing place that overlooked the beach.  An inn, restaurant, cottages, pool!, and beachside bar makes up the Hope Town Harbour Lodge.  There is such a great atmosphere here and even though we weren't staying at the lodge, we could come over and have a meal, swim, enjoy the beach, the bar, everything except a bed in a room.  Elliott checked out the beach and could have snorkeled right off the shore if he'd brought his gear.  

The beach had been the scene of a wedding we'd witnessed a day or so earlier, as I found bougainvillea petals that had lined the aisle for the bride, and then I found white roses and starfish decorations that had been missed by the cleanup crew.  I'm sure it was the perfect ceremony.

Speaking of which, we were witness to the Junkanoo parade that followed said ceremony while the guests made their way from the beachside ceremony to the city dock, where ferry boats awaited them to take them across the anchorage to the reception site.

Junkanoo-Style Parade for Wedding Celebration
We were on the boat and heard this live wonderful horn and percussion music and then got a visual of a parade going through the narrow town streets.  We got in the dinghy and zoomed over to the dock to catch the grand entrance as the dancers and musicians made their way onto the docks following by the wedding guests.   Colorful and fun, bodacious, and a true celebration that brought folks out from their boats which turned into a dinghy parade of our own as we followed the ferry to the other side of the anchorage.

Earlier in the day, we had noticed that there was a big pile of boxes laid out on the shore not 100 feet from us.  The boxes looked like fireworks!  Yikes.  Too close for comfort. When the time came to set them off, we did get quite nervous.  As beautiful a spectacular as they were, they dropped cinders and spent cardboard cartridges on the boat decking.  We picked up as much as we could find in the dark, but we should have washed the decking, even with salt water, as some of the black dots are looking permanent.  Still, it was quite exciting and we certainly wish the newly married couple well.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 21, 2015 -- Man 0' War Cay--What? No Alcohol????, Boatbuilding and Sailmaking Happens Here

Ootching our way into the marina at Man o'War was tight, but we finally found a decent mooring.  Only decent, because I watched the boat behind us come so very close to us when the wind picked up.  It was a little nerve wracking.  Then a catamaran came in not long after, speeding along very confidently, and they hooked in behind us. 

I would only recommend staying on the inside if you had a smaller boat than 46 feet and if the winds made it impossible to anchor outside.

When we got settled, an older man motored out in a small boat and asked us to pay him for the mooring.  He was David Albury, of the legendary Albury family that settled in these parts a long time ago.  He managed the moorings.  We had gotten down to very little cash, so we had to finagle a deal to take $15 for the night instead of the normal $20.
Lesson here:  Always bring more cash than you think you need to the Bahamas.  Many places still don't take credit cards and if they do, they request a purchase of at least $20 or $50.  It can cause some headaches.  The "bank" only comes once a week on a regular weekday from 10am to 2pm.  Gary was in line at 9:45am and being the gentleman he is, when a few of the town's ladies showed up behind him, he offered to let them go ahead of him, but they politely declined and let him go first.

A new Albury boat being built in the boat shed
Man o' War Cay is best known for their boatbuilding and sailmaking expertise, as we evidenced by a shore excursion later that day.  The noise and smell of sanding came from one building while another used fiberglass molds to make new boats.  The noise went on all day, stopping around 4 or so in the afternoon, when a lot of workers left their jobs and took the ferry back to their homes on other islands. 

Because of the work ethic there and a no-alcohol policy, I wasn't sure what type of island this would turn out to be.  The accents were an interesting mix of Boston, Canadian, and further up the North Atlantic.

Joe Albury's newest project:  a hand-built
sailing dinghy
We needed some repairs done to our genoa, so we took it down and hauled it over to Jay, the island sail repair dude.  An American, he said he will never go back to the States.  He lives in a beautiful, large home overlooking the inner harbor with his daughter (and maybe a wife, though the guys never saw her).  We had to stay for as long as it would take him to finish the sail and a charter company had the slot before us, so we knew we'd be in the area for at least a few days.

We met the couple, Day and Cray, on the catamaran behind us, and Rich, who was on a Tayana in front of us in the mooring field.  All very nice people, and we ended up having lunch with Day and Cray at the newly opened Hibiscus Cafe.  They are rusty, using a menu from another restaurant down the street, and a little overpriced, but we had a good time.

While walking around town, we noticed a flyer for a school fundraiser; they would be serving lunch the next day and all monies would be going to a field trip fund for the students (whom we later found out numbered 10 total).  We sauntered up to the school a little later than the scheduled time to find not much left, but we walked away with some interesting dishes:  spaghetti with chicken wings, hot dogs and rice, and for me, cornbread salad and a Rice Krispies treat bar.  I had also picked up half a papaya at the grocery store, so we had quite the eclectic feast at a picnic table by a playground.

We decided after a nervous night on the mooring to move to the outside and anchor.  We saw all kinds of "stuff" in the water as we anchored; Elliott was curious enough to don snorkel gear and check things out.  He found barrels (who knows what they had held, but they were cracked open now), and a large satellite dish, which our anchor snugged up to nicely. 

The next day, as we dinghied toward the cut into the harbor, we noticed an Albury boat with two guys aboard paddling towards shore.  We went over to them and asked if they needed help; they were certainly glad to have it their engine was messed up and the one oar was okay, but the other was just a mop handle.

We tied up and pulled them in, without getting their names, but we got many thanks.  

Very nice guys.  Funny thing was, over the next 24 hours, we saw the older guy (maybe 30 years in age or so) about six times.  We'd laugh and wave every time.

On the same pole that we saw the flyer for the field trip fundraiser, we saw a notice that the school was having a film showing that Thursday.  Five bucks got you into the show with popcorn.  Elliott decided to go as he'd never seen the movie, "Cool Runnings."  He got to meet some of the local kids and he brought fresh coconut to share.

Island living means that everyone knows each other and they all look out for each other.  We found this out the hard way.  I had gone to the marina to check out their book swap; I traded some of my books for new ones.  But I had about six books and they were heavy and we had planned on walking down island for a look-see at some of the private residences.  Gary came up with the plan to put the books under a milk crate he saw on one of the docks.  I wasn't keen on it because I assumed the crate belonged to someone, but he went ahead.  Even before he had gotten done with putting the books under the crate, I could hear a local behind me telling on Gary.  "That guy just went and turned over your crate, Joe." 

In a few seconds, Joe Albury, proprietor of a dock front store, walked down the dock to check things out.  Gary told him what he was doing and the guy said okay, but I could tell he wasn't happy about it.  He's probably thinking that he'll be much better off when the durn tourists go home.  I was uncomfortable with it, so I asked Gary to retrieve the books.  Some other folks we knew on the boat New Passage offered to take the stack of books to our boat for us when they left.  I was grateful.  I wouldn't want anyone messing with my stuff either.

We did some grocery shopping to top up on a few things and went back to the boat to wait for the phone call from the sail repair guy.

That call came later the next day.  In the meantime, we noticed that when we thought we were buying one can of Arizona tea that we'd been charged for a whole case to the tune of $26.00.  We got that refund fast!

Almost all the rest of our money went to pay for the sail repair, but so far, it seems money well spent.  (We've noticed a difference when we tack that the sail no longer gets hung up on the spreader where it had been wearing thin and thready.)

April 19, 2015 -- Part II, Elliott Hogs the Glory, No Name to Crab Cay, Abacos, Bahamas

Before we got underway again to escape any more potential porcine pokes, Elliott decided that he wanted to singlehand all the way back to the especially fragrant Crab Cay where we would anchor for an evening or so before heading over to Man O' War Cay.  That means he had to lift anchor, hoist the sail, trim the sail, plot the course, man the helm, and then re-anchor when we got to Crab Cay.
Not a good shot; he was moving too fast
for me to catch him in action!
The best part of this sail was watching Elliott deal with every challenge that came his way with no panicking, with thorough thinking through of the problem and how to handle it, and as a result for us, his parents, we realized just how smart he really is and how much he has picked up from our time on the boat.  I've been sailing with Gary for a bzillion years and had not even picked up any where near the information that Elliott had to plow through to make this single-hand sail a success!

Doing his best "Hans and Franz" (from SNL) imitation

April 19, 2015 -- Here Piggy, Piggy! No Name Cay, Abaco, Bahamas

First of all, I want to mention that if someone or some entity can name an island No Name  Cay, then why didn't they just go ahead and give it a substantial real name?  I don't get it.

Anyway, while we were visiting New Plymouth (that's the town at Green Turtle Cay which is appropriate considering the Loyalist background), we came upon a sign at the government offices notifying folks that the pigs on No Name Cay would love for you to share in your foodstuffs and water for their care.  The Pig Whisperer, also known as a guy named Craig, usually went out on the weekends to take them bread, fruits, cookies, etc.  He put together a flier to ask that residents and tourists feel free to make donations to the food fund or take food themselves to the island.  He mentioned that there were boxes for food and a tub and buckets for fresh water.

I thought it would be a nice thing to do for the pigs.  We had heard about another island in the Exumas, called Staniel Cay, where the wild pigs were quite the tourist draw.

So we left Green Turtle and sailed over to No Name.  When we arrived, we noticed a small motorboat near shore.  We anchored and dinghied over; we had bananas and biscuits and apples with us.

The guide of the boat had taken food up to the stores on land and tootled his horn when he got back on the boat.  The horn must have woken up the mama pigs from their afternoon slumber; one came running down the beach from the brush and shortly thereafter, another came along.  Fairly big sows they were; one brown and one with stripes.  A woman from the other boat, around my age, got in the water to throw food to the pigs, but she was smart; as they started swimming toward her, she rightly got back on her boat.

That boat left the beach and the pigs saw us with their little steely eyes; they started swimming over.  We threw some biscuits near to shore to distract them because Gary wanted to take the bag of stuff to the shore side where the babies (we heard there were babies!) might get a nibble.

The striped mama got a little overzealous and attempted to clamber into the dinghy, an action that I, as the acting safety officer, was not happy about.   (And it scared me.  These were not small cute pink piggies.  These were pigs that could make a nice meal out of a person.  Did you ever see that episode of "Deadwood" where the dead bodies were thrown into the pig sty for proper gustatory disposal?  Forget the cute pinkness of the pig from Charlotte's Web.  Seriously.)

Herding Pigs?
Gary hopped out of the boat and walked to shore, under the watchful eyes of the mama pigs.  I really did not want him to get out and told him so.  Don't do it, don't do it, don't do it.  He was carrying the bag of food and the pigs really wanted the food, no matter what.  So Gary put the bag behind his back and walked slowly backwards with the pigs following.  I wanted to close my eyes and just wait for the screams and squeals.  Elliott followed from a distance.

Gary got to the food store area and threw some of what we had brought into the containers, and then I saw him put the bag high up in a tree.  (He later told me that he wanted to keep the pigs from bothering him and figured if the food was not around, they'd calm down.  Yeah, right.)  Well, one of the mama pigs was not having anything to do with that idea and she came up to Gary and nipped him on the butt.  I could hear him yell and he smacked her in the schnozz, dumped the food, and then slowly made his way back out of the woods, onto the sand, into the water, and, seemingly weeks later, into the dinghy, while the pigs watched his every step from the shelter of the shady pines.

That's when I found out about the bite, so we raced back to the boat to clean the wound and put antiseptic on it right away. 

While we were playing doctor on board, another guided boat came along, and that guide had a bigger bag of what seemed like grain that he poured out on the sand.  At this point, we saw two babies racing down the beach toward the mamas.  They were adorable; one was brown and one was striped.  A few minutes later, another mama trundled out of the woods and SHE had three piglets with her, two brown and one striped.  We didn't see any males, but it was obviously a fecund feral family.  As we sailed away from that interesting adventure, we saw the whole lot of them happily nibbling away on the beach.  That'll do, pig; that'll do.