28 Little Harbour

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I guess I should know better. I was beginning to worry that our journal might become dull and repetitive. Our laid back living doesn’t generate much excitement. There are the little things like snorkeling a second time at Hope Town and seeing a barracuda and large schools of fish with the flashes of color and light as they change direction. It’s hardly anything for an interesting journal entry.

Then we took off for Little Harbour. Super day, clear, puffy clouds over head and a west wind blowing at 20-30 mph. Had a super sail down with just the genoa up and the rail under part of the time. Loved being a sailboat again. We were enjoying the sail so much it was tempting to blow off Little Harbour and continue down to Eleuthera and put in at Spanish Wells. If we’d been a little earlier, I think we’d have gone for it. However, we’ll hold that as an adventure for next year.

Little Harbour was a complete surprise. We knew it was isolated, but no one had said anything about its beauty. We pulled into the harbor through a cut that only has 6 feet of water at high tide and 3.5 feet at low tide. Since we draw 5 feet timing was critical to come in at high tide. As we pulled in, we found a small harbor surrounded by hills, cliffs and palm trees. Only a few houses are visible. The scene is very tropical. Its made even more so by the 10-15 boats anchored out in the harbor.

We made our way through the narrow cut, dropped anchor and spent the remainder of the afternoon sitting in the cockpit. As Tranquility swung on her anchor, we enjoyed the changing scene.

We began exploring the next day and ran into sensory overload. The visual impact of the old lighthouse building, crashing surf and rocky shore was stunning. The walk along the coral shore eroded by the surf was a challenge in maintaining ones balance because of the eroded surface and enjoyment of the changing scene. We even found the remains of a shipwreck, an old wooden sailboat. In sharp contrast to the primitive natural beauty is the Johnson gallery where Randolph Johnson, who was a world-renowned sculpture created and has on display marvelous bronze sculptures. Next door is Pete’s Pub, which has to the perfect example of what every one ever imagined a tropical beach bar to look like. No walls, beach sand for a floor. Bar and tables build out of salvaged lumber and driftwood. The staff matches the place they look like they just washed up on the beach after a storm.

Having been blown away by all of that we went walking down a road looking for the path to one of the ocean beaches. We asked a lady coming toward us to confirm our directions and ended up being invited to Libby Barr Henry’s home. Best we could figure she’s in her late 70’s. She’s up every morning at dawn and walks down the hill to swim nude in the ocean. Her house was unique, a collection of art, shells and intriguing books. There was a large living area, one small guest bedroom and a bathroom. From her hilltop the ocean view is stunning. In a little guest cottage behind the house, she used to teach school to local kids and kids off of boats. We chatted for over an hour and have been invited to visit her in her Nantucket home when we travel to Maine this summer. We learned that Little Harbour has no utilities. Electricity is from solar panels feeding batteries. Propane supplies the stove and powers the refrigerator. Rain collected off the roof into a cistern provided water. There are no phones.

As we headed back toward the beach we spotted Samum in the harbor. A second look confirmed they were hard aground, just outside the narrow channel. John and Barb headed for their dinghy, and Ruth and I headed for ours and we were off to the rescue. Ruth and Barb climbed aboard to sit on the low side to help tip Samum further and reduce draft. John took the halyard and went over toward the cut to help pull Samum further over on her side. I used our dink like a tug to try to push her off the shallow spot. It didn’t work. A big outboard came to help. With them pulling on the halyard and John and I pushing with the dinks, we got Samum back into the deeper water of the cut.

After all of that Pete’s Pub was too tempting. We ended up ashore for a drink. As we arrived we found Pete stretched out on the bar ‘relaxing’ he said. Looked very hung over we said. Pete’s local rum drink is called a blaster and for good reason. After two, we felt like we were.

John off Eriskay trying ring toss

Hanging from the ceiling was a string with a ring on the end. On the supporting column was a hook. Shades of hours of fun when we went to the Adirondacks. Stand back line up the ring with the hook and let it swing down, arc up and onto the hook. Couldn’t resist trying. After 4-5 tries I got the ring on the hook. Then one of the locals came up and hooked 3 in a row standing backwards. We declined to challenge him for beers.

We’re developing quite a record of boat saves. A catamaran came in, cut behind a moored boat and went aground. Off again to the rescue. Even helped a dink that managed to catch a mooring line in its prop. Then another catamaran went hard aground, missing the cut. We were off again, providing dink power to push him off. We now joke about being Batman, Robin and Captain Marvel.

Found a new reef and went snorkeling. Enjoyed the changing scene and then spotted a very large moray ell moving away from us between the rocks and coral of the reef. I pointed to get Ruth’s attention, but she’d already seen it and was working on setting a new world’s record for getting off the reef.

Took the dink and explored the shoreline. Tried heading out of the harbor but decided it wasn’t a smart idea when we ran into the 4 foot ground swells coming in from the ocean. We got more than a little wet, and headed back along the far shore toward the cliff and cave at it’s base. Had a fun time climbing the rocks and exploring. Looked like there could be a cave going further into the rocks, but mainly the cave was undercut into the face of the cliff with great columns that inspired our imagination about creating a cave house with the great views framed by the columns.

On Sunday’s the local treat is a pig roast. Pete’s Pub was having one and we had to try. Roast pork is served with what seems to be standard issue side dishes. Everywhere we go it’s the same thing: rice and peas, cold slaw, potato salad and bread pudding. Every meal we’ve had down here has those choices and usually nothing else. Then the rake and scrape band started. One guy plays a washboard, worn like a vest. He uses a fork to rake the board. A second guy plays a saw, using a kitchen knife to scrape it. Filling this out was the electric guitar and electronic rhythm box. Pete joined the band playing a turned over dishpan and still looking hung over. Made for quite a sound. We enjoyed the food and music and headed back to relax and prepare for yet another front to roll through the area.

The next day’s weather reports were again forecasting rain and high winds. Tornado warnings were up in Florida and the squall line was moving fast in our direction. We put out a second anchor and buttoned up for the worst. Got an inch of rain in about 2 hours and high winds, but rode nicely with the security of two anchors. As the rain ended, we went over to have drinks and a tour of a 42-foot trawler. Nice boat had one of everything. Even stabilizers to minimize rolling when at sea. Lots of space compared to a sailboat. However when we returned to Tranquility, we were still perfectly happy with our snug living accommodations.

Feel like we’ve hit our high point. We’ll start heading north and then west. High tide was at first light and we left Little Harbour heading back to Ma-O-War.

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