09 Feb 2007 – Black Point Settlement

Today is a life maintenance day.  Megan is determined to get laundry done at the “laundramat” at Black Point Settlement.  Word is spreading among the cruisers that Lorraine, who is a famously enterprising woman at Black Point and whose mother bakes and sells legendary bread, has opened up a real laundramat.  After having done laundry in buckets with collected rainwater from a cistern on Normans Cay, the prospect of a real laundramat in the middle of the Exumas is Megan’s primary focus.  We can’t get the anchor up fast enough to get the 8 miles from Staniel Cay to Black Point.

But we need to take on fuel and water at Staniel Cay Yacht Club first.  I make preparations by dumping our jerry jugs of diesel that we carry on the rail into the main tanks and adding fuel treatment to the jugs for the new fuel we’ll take on.  I also top up the sunshowers with the free rain water we still have from the druglord’s cistern to make room for the R/O water we’ll get at Staniel Cay Yacht Club.  R/O water is seawater that has been ultra-purified through reverse osmosis filtration.  It is better than most bottled water and is about all that is available out here.  The downside is that we have to buy it at $0.40/gal.

We finally raise the anchor at 9:30 and get to the fuel dock.  Back on the waterway, we had refueling and re-watering stops down to about a 15 minute operation.  This stop takes an hour and a half while we wait for a dockhand, wait for the water to be turned on, wait for this and wait for that.  Megan is beside herself – don’t they realize we have laundry to do!

When I go to pay for the diesel, the gas for the dinghy and the water, I get a taste of the creative accounting that we’ve found can go on at the cash registers on Staniel.  Our 5 gallon gas jerry jug was only ¾ empty yet somehow took a full 5 gallons.  Our 70 gallons of water tanks managed to hold 80 gallons of water.  With all these “extras” the bill came to $106 which exceeded the $100 I had brought with me to the register.  By the time I got bachk to the register with $110 another clerk tallied the bill to $113!  Yesterday Megan had a similar experience buying groceries at the Pink Store.  The prices weren’t marked and seemed to vary depending on how much cash was visible to the shopkeeper.  Another cruiser told us that the shopkeeper had spotted they had a $100 bill.  Miraculously without benefit of a calculator their bill was calculated to be $99.50. 

Finally at 11:00 we’re leaving the fuel dock.  The current is strong and there’s a beautiful classic sailboat behind us at the dock.  It’s difficult to get off the dock but we do fine.  However, after our docking debacle in Nassau, Megan doesn’t have the same level of confidence (in me?) and thinks we’re way too close to the beautiful sailboat.  We’re not.  We make a smooth departure with room to spare but not without a few testy words expressed between the crew on Grace… oh, it’s a good thing we love each other so much!

Finally 12:30 we arrive at Black Point.  The boys and I drop Megan off at the laundramat’s dinghy dock (how many places in the world can you find a laundramat with a dinghy dock?) and return to Grace.  The boys nap.  I “read the mail” (slang for listening in on conversations carried on over the VHF radio and something everyone does) and spend a little time waxing the topsides trying to erase some of the remaining minor surface traces of our Nassau docking incident.

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