Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Fowl Cay to Nassau

We stopped by Highbourne Cay, as it was about halfway to Nassau and according to the guide, it had a shop. A squall on the way in livens things up. We were hitting 9-10 knots when we were easily passed by Tom doing 20 knots (he later admitted it was only 19.9). We were too busy reducing sail and avoiding reefs and getting wet for pictures. We didn't bother with the shop, Tom informing us that a head of lettuce there would cost $8. We didn't even launch the dinghy. Tom and Judy called us over to give us some of their provisions, so I combined what they had with what we had and called it a curry which we all mostly enjoyed. The chillies from I'd bought from a stall in Georgetown were a little hotter than anticipated.

Nassau is a city of 250,000 and covers the eastern half on New Providence Island. It's where everyone goes by default, but I didn't fancy any urban dystopia after all the quiet and gentle places we'd been recently, especially as there are many reports that Nassau is the murder and robbery capital of the Caribbean. I appreciate my chances of being murdered here are statistically low, but it makes for an unpleasant atmosphere I find. I was not charmed by St Lucia, and was not entirely surprised when a man was murdered on the yacht next door. On the whole, as a friend put it, 'less murdery' places are preferable. So we sailed into Jaws Beach, at the western end of the island, Triad and Scrumpy arriving at the same time on account of a head start, and a decent turn of downwind speed for Scrumpy.

It made it difficult to pull in the barracuda.

But at least we had something to offer Tom and Judy in return for their kindness on this route.

The bay is a gated community of small hotels and plush resorts with very many security guards, and the afternoon breeze wafted the piped music across the bay, that strange ponderous and deliberate continuous piano solo you normally only hear in lifts. We weren't allowed on the beach. Fortunately, there's a small public jetty too, and just beyond that, a nature reserve with walks through the woodland.

The nature reserve had its gates locked. By the gates a couple were scouring the ground, as if they'd lost something. They'd had their car robbed there the day before, and they'd returned to look for clues or discarded possessions.

There was an easy way round the gate, and I walked a couple of miles through the woods. The flora is clearly Floridian, but there was a great lack of turtles, snakes, lizards and birds that I'd expect in such an environment. On the whole walk, I saw a 2" lizard and a couple of birds. At a beach along the way:

An authority I've never heard of is declining to accept responsibility for acts of God and fellow beach goers. Important too, because it is red. People in offices eh? What they dream up!

Access to the preserved slave houses was denied. I didn't bother climbing over. The photograph seems apposite and sufficient.

On the way out I was approached by a uniformed woman. I'm inclined to avoid uniformed people, but the woman was making great efforts to get to me, possibly hampered by an excess of high fructose corn syrup, and it seemed rude to run, or just walk away. I waited and was told I ought to have paid someone somewhere $5 to be here, and I ought to have a bond. I'd expected an American flat-voweled accent, and was quite confused as to what sort of bond I should get for $5. But her accent was more plummy than a Brit's, and it was a band I ought to have had, tattooed apparently on my wrist. But I'd met no-one to pay anything to, and it seemed pointless getting a tattoo to leave. Not that I'd seen anything worth paying for.

I walked back to the boat along a road, and leaving the road for the beach, found some wildlife at last.

And at the beach, an osprey pulled a pipe fish from the water.

and sat on a low in a tree over the sand, eating the thing as it writhed hanging below a branch.

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