Friday, May 8, 2009

An Update from Cat Island

Chris here... Sorry about the lack of posts. It's been both a lazy week and a busy week so far. It's kind of late so I'm going to keep this short, and I know that Kristen has been working on a blog post for a couple of days.

We're still here at Cat Island. We arrived on Monday afternoon after sailing over from Georgetown. We left at around 8am and arrived here at around 6:30pm, but for some reason the day just seemed to drag on. It could be that we strung two fishlines behind us and all we caught was a small Spanish mackerel, and that was when we were only 15 minutes from our anchorage.

Cat Island is a pretty cool place. Most of the 1,000 or so residents who are spread out along its 42nm length are from one of five or six families that have lived here since slave times. There are many plantation ruins (pineapples were the crop of choice for a long time) and a few intact sites (such as the Hermitage, a scaled down replica of a Franciscan Monastery that was built by hand by a retired priest turned Hermit of rocks hauled onto the tallest peak in the Bahamas - 203ft) and various "restaurants" (shacks) and other facilities (bakeries run out of people's houses, combination gas station/market/car rental, etc.).

Since we arrived here several other kid boats have shown up. We're rejoined with Side by Side, who visited Long Island and Conception Cay, and we also have Ally Cat, Miakotis and a couple of other boats here. There are eight kids total - 6 girls, all around 8-10 years old, and one other boy (Parker from Side by Side) other than Casey. It's been great having all of these other kid boats around. The kids play and hang out, and the grups (short for grown-ups) get to hang out. The other night we put all of the kids on Pelican and all of the adults hung out for several hours on Side by Side.

When we first got here we anchored off of New Bight, one of the three or four settlements on Cat Cay. Cat Cay is fairly untouched by tourism, so there are few cruiser resources, but there is a strong sense of community that we have not seen much of since arriving at the Bahamas. Every car that passes by either waves, or they stop to see if you need a ride somewhere. We went to one of the shacks/restaurants the other day and met Bohog, a long time Cat Island resident who owns hundreds of acres of land here, and also a Rake and Scraper. Rake and Scrape is a type of Bahamian music, originated at Cat Island, comprised of a concertina, a goatskin drum heated by a candle, and a carpenter's saw. Bohog told us to come back on Wednesday night and he'd bring the rest of his group to play us some tunes.

We went back on Wednesday and listened to Bohog for a while and also met someone who works at a resort - Fernandez Bay Village - just north of our anchorage. We also met a pilot who flies charter jets all around the world (it turns out he lives a half mile from Marc's [from Side by Side] brother). They told us we should anchor off the resort, so we headed up here today. It was a beautiful sail north, and once our flotilla arrived (up to 6 boats now) we headed in for lunch. The resort is wonderful and we were graciously received. The cruising guide said that cruisers are usually not welcome here, but we're having a great time. This afternoon all of the kids headed to the airport to check out the huge Bombardier private jet that is flown by our new friend Alan (who we met while listening to the Rake and Scrape band). Alan spooled the engines up and gave the kids a complete tour. They never left the ground, but had a blast checking out the $25mil aircraft.

This evening we all hung out on Ally Cat for appetizers and drinks, which ended up being our dinner. It's amazing how little we can eat now. Tomorrow we're going to take Alan conching and then who knows what.

Oh - some awesome news! We finally rented our house!! The paperwork was signed today and the new tenants move in immediately. This will help provide some much needed cash flow as we won't be supporting both our cruising finances AND our home finances.

Also, the big turnaround has occurred. Our trip from Georgetown to Cat Island has officially placed us in the "returning north" category. We're really enjoying our time here, but there are only so many sandy beaches, coral heads and islands that can be called truly unique, so we're kind of excited to be heading back to the US for a while. I don't think we're going to be running back, but we're probably not going to be stopping at a ton of places along the way either.

As I mentioned in another post, one of our goals is to visit as many blog readers on the US east coast (or along the Chesapeake or Hudson Rivers) as possible, so if you'd like to grab lunch or a sundowner, drop us an e-mail with your location and we'll see if we can make it.


Anonymous said...

We follow your blog, and would love to get together with you. You can sail to within ~8' of our house: go up the Hudson, take a left at Fish Creek, continue on through Saratoga Lake and up the Kadarassus. Then take a right at the Gloweege, another right at Cook's Brook. We are ~4 miles up on the right hand house. Call when you get there if we don't notice your boat in our creek. Love, Noni & Poppi.

Joey said...

You can come and visit Charleston any time ! I keep a small sailboat at Sunset cay marina that is on Folly beach.. shallow at times but near the ocean.. The obvious marina is the city marina downtown.. you mentioned you stopped here on the way down.. let me know if you stop on the way back !!