December 17 â€“ 23.
The sign at the laundry reads â€˜Go to Adderlieâ€™s store for wash tokensâ€™. We are at the Rockside LaundERmat in Black Point, the finest laundry in the Bahamas. I woke this morning after dreaming of using Rocksideâ€™s clean machines and wi-fi, perusing the titles in their book exchange, and eating conch fritters, battered and fried on the spot. Now at 9:30 we find that the doors are open but no one is inside. Oh well, we are on island time. No need to hurry, just a yankee desire to check â€˜washingâ€™ off the list before we head to Georgetown for Boxing Day junkanoo. Duwan takes our folded sheets, towels and clothes out of our waterproof bags and loads a couple of machines while I walk out to get tokens.
We left Pipe Cay two days ago, sailing at a leisurely pace in a light breeze. We stopped at Big Majorâ€™s Spot for the night, waited for the tide the next morning, and went to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club to top off water and diesel. Last year this process took about half a day, so I was mentally prepared for delays.
We radioed ahead getting an OK to come in. We waited 20 or 30 minutes after tying up. Then walked to the restaurant to find help. After a while the dock master came out, breakfast sandwich in hand, and got us started. Later his dockhand made it to work. Older then me, with his right arm off below the elbow, he helped us finish. He seemed happy with his tip, and tossed us our mooring lines as we left.
We got away early enough to sail to Black Point! Here we found a quiet harbor with only two boats. More came later in the day.
As I walk to Adderlieâ€™s store I see a man making baskets across the street. He looks like he is settled in for a day of weaving. He says â€˜Laundry?â€™ I nod. He explains that there is a meeting on the other side of the island and the store is closed until noon. Joking, he says that the pace Iâ€™m walking I could catch up to the meeting. Thus chided, I try to amble back, but probably just stomp along a little more slowly.
Weâ€™ve got good wi-fi. Weâ€™ll just wait here until noon. Cruisers Fred and Cathy come in. They are headed for the Ragged Islands where they have spent a few seasons. We have a lot to talk about. Cruiser Clark from Seabattical I arrives. Clark is a biker who has motorcycled all over the States. Recently he sold his bowling alley/restaurant business. He has a lot of stories. But, by noon people are checking their watches. Cathy walks to Adderlieâ€™s and comes back with washer tokens.
Clark and I go to the store and find that there are no more tokens. The meeting has run late, we should just come back and check in a while. (We didnâ€™t know this at the time, but the meeting was about restarting a failed attempt to build a nearby resort. The developer and several representatives of the Prime Minister were there. It was a very big deal.)
We check back at the store a few more times. Fred and Cathy finish their clothes. We chat with a local, who just stopped to look in. He makes a phone call, and chases down the key to the office. At 4:30 we can check â€˜washingâ€™ off the list.
Clark wants to go to Scorpioâ€™s for happy hour. He knows the owner Zhivago. (Clark knows everyone.) Scorpioâ€™s is closed, so we go to Lorraineâ€™s CafÃ©.
Lorraine greets us. She remembers that I played music there last February. She fries us some onion rings and invites us to her Christmas party. She wants me to play. We decide this sounds better than Georgetown. But when we press for details she is vague. Weâ€™re not sure if itâ€™s a pot luck or a paid buffet. We donâ€™t really know if all cruisers are welcome. I think she has just come up with this idea. Weâ€™ll wait and talk to her again in a few days.
Christmas is a week away. We canâ€™t stay anywhere that long. We hang around long enough to celebrate the winter solstice by having Clark over for pizza night. Then we spend a couple of days up at Bitter Guana Cay. Enjoy the pics.