Friday, March 7, 2014

Lessons



We are back in Black Point Harbour, on Great Guana Island in the Exumas, Bahamas.  There is one other boat here with us.  Two weeks ago, there were over 100 boats in this harbour.  Over the past two days, we have watched boats roar out of here in what our friend, Beth, calls the Black Point 500.  This is the mass nautical exodus that occurs every couple of weeks when news that a North Front bringing punchy west winds is about to blast us.   Black Point is wide open to those testy west winds.   Weather forecasters have again been sending bold typed warnings:
CLUSTERS OF STRONG CONVECTIVE SQUALLS AND THUNDERSTORMS TO 40 KNOTS…
We are staying put in Black Point.

My sister Colleen, sister-in-law Cindy, and our mom Gail, are with us.   They have watched the lovely parade of boats blasting past us on their way to somewhere else.  The other hardy boat remaining is owned by a family from Canmore, Alberta.  For those of you unfamiliar with western Canadian geography, Canmore and our home town are only a couple of hours apart, bordering the central Canadian prairies and Rocky Mountains.  Land-locked, central Alberta.  We all grew up making snowmen and sliding down icy hills on toboggans.  Canmore family and Alberta Crewed have decided that this is the place to rock through the system. 

Colleen finally voiced her bewilderment at our decision to stay.  “I’m a bit concerned.  It’s us and a boat from Canmore.  Are you sure?”  After sitting out several fronts in this area, we are confident this is our best bet.  There are very few places one can escape west winds on the Bahamas banks.  The sheltered bays become packed with scurrying boats and tend to have very strong currents.  At Big Major, Little Major passage where most are heading to, we had very long nights (see previous blog).  Here at Black Point, we have excellent holding (sand), lots of space (no kidding), and are close to a town if we want a break from the rocking and rolling.  Ida who owns the Laundromat/store/hairdresser also pointed out that the town watches out for those of us on boats.  They are ready to help if we need anything. 

Black Point has also become our home this winter.  The community’s generosity and kindness towards us foreigners continues to humble us.  When I introduced my family to our town friends, they all hugged mom.  “Mama!”, they exclaimed.  Mamas seem to be the ones in charge in Black Point.  They are revered; running many businesses, organizing churches, baking bread and ensuring supplies are brought in from Nassau for the yachties, and caring for multi-generational families.   

Walking main street



We were snorkeling along the shore near the school a couple of days ago when Mom and I popped up and were called over by a class of five year olds and their two teachers in the midst of an outdoor classroom.  They wanted to know what we were doing, and what we could see.   These children are growing up in and around the water.  I could not imagine telling them anything they didn’t know.  They therefore told us.  Watch out for rays and don’t step on them.  They have sharp tails.  There are also sharks.  “What kinds of sharks?” I asked them. “Nurse sharks!"  "Black Tip Sharks!"  "Big-ass sharks!”  Of course.  Watch out for rays and big-ass sharks.  They sang us a song about Love, blew us kisses, yelled that they loved us, and sent us back into the sea.   


Black Point is more than our haven through storms.  They haven’t given up on silly Canadians yet.

Our shoreline lesson

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