We passed a quiet (non-rolly) night in front of Chat N Chill Our plan was to wait until about noon and then head across to Long Island. My cousin Peter has a place there in Calabash Bay on Galliot Cay. He and his family arrived on Dec 27 and will be leaving on the 15th, so our timing was just right, but we don’t want to waste any time. We go ashore in the morning to watch some of the volleyball tournament that has been organized and walk around the general vacinity. We participate in the cruisers net on Channel 72 which takes every morning. There is a whole range of information passed on this 1/2 hour special two way radio show! We check in and say that we are going to leave and return in about a week.
On the beach we find a pole with over 100 signs pointing to destinations all around the world where boats have sailed to Georgetown. We do not see one for Saint John, so when we return there tomorrow that will be one of the projects. Here is what we will put on the sign: Saint John NB 20M 1390NM This is to say that Saint John is found at 20 degrees magnetic bearing at a distance of 1390 Nautical Miles.
At about noon we depart Elizabeth Harbour for Long Island. It takes us about 4 hours to cross the sound and we anchor just up the beach from Peters house.
They are busy that night but we make arrangements to meet them the next morning. The anchorage is known to have swell in it and we do not sleep well. At about 7 in the morning just after sun up we move the boat down to the inlet to Joe Sound. This is a very narrow pass that goes into a sound behind Galliot Cay. It has total protection from surge and there are often 4 or 5 boats in there. We anchor so I can take the dinghy in to survey the cut. The actual route in is only about 25 feet wide with jagged rocks and a wreck around the entrance. Clearly you want to do this against a small current, with really good light. The water is so clear that it is very difficult to judge the depth. You might think that it is 4 or 5 feet when it is in fact 20. After I take the dinghy in twice I have found the sandy path that avoids the reef. Ive also determined the bearing to be about 72 deg M. There are a couple of markers; one a stake and the other a buoy, but they seem to be marking some deceptively shallow points as a warning where not to head toward. Once I have found the path it is and easy albeit heart stopping transit.
Pete and Christy see that we have moved down to the entrance of Joe Sound and they join us via Kayak. After a few minutes we go into the anchorage area and secure the boat with two anchors in line with the current. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbhUMQjaySg Here is a great video that describes how to do this.
Val and I are treated to amazing hospitality during our days here at “The Yellow house” , including a day trip down the island to see various churches and buildings and land features. Toward the end we come to Deans Blue Hole. This is a geological phenomenon that is quite common here in the Bahamas but it happens to be the deepest one in the world. So much of the Bahama bank is only about 15 feet deep. The Blue hole is over 600 feet straight down. It is used for the worlds free diving competition. If you google Deans Blue Hole you will find lots of information. We climbed the cliff beside it to get a view from the top.
We dined at a marina on the atlantic side and made multiple stops on the way down and back, looking for a variety of items. This is a normal shopping day.
The highlight however of the whole stay will have to be how we came to an understanding of law enforcement.
The day before Peter and I went out to the local gas Station to pick up some white wine. They were meeting with some other guests that night and needed to bring some wine. Unknown to us it was a newly instituted holiday. (Majority Rule Day) Look it up; it is quite a story in itself. When we arrived at the Gas Station/Liquor store the door was locked and there were about a dozen customers waiting around with the understanding that the owner would be back “Soon” remember we are on “Island Time” After about 20 minutes he does show up. Peter asks him if he has white wine and the owner says he has a good selection. Peter then goes in behind the counter and comes up with four bottles of Chardonnay, perfect for the occasion. We each come out and place the bottles carefully in the back seat. Just as we close the doors of the truck we hear the unmistakable WOOP Woop of a police siren. We see that the local constable has blocked us in with his police Jeep. We think that this is just a friendly greeting as Peter knows just about everyone on the island. It is not. A very officious young constable, badge number 313, begins to ask very specific questions. He asks if we had just purchased something from the establishment. We acknowledge that we have. He asks if it was alcoholic beverage. We say yes.
About this point he begins to tell us that we are not in any trouble but that the vendor is. He explains that this vendor has been warned multiple times not to be open on a national holiday. He may be now facing a fine of $5000 for this infraction and it looks like the constable has him cold! The officer takes our statements and then HE TAKES THE WINE! as evidence! He says that we are welcome to asked the vendor to return the money that was paid, but Peter refuses. This is a guy that Peter has known for 30 years! We really think that what was happening was that the constable was hiding around the corner waiting for someone to come out carrying a bottle of something! He never would admit to that, claims he was just driving by.
On our way home I get a call from the officer asking if he can come by in the morning to take our statement. I tell him that we are not going to be around tomorrow. Once we do get home he calls me again to say that he is on his way to talk to us and get a written/signed statement. This is beginning to remind me of Alice’s’ Restaurant. He shows up about 15 minutes later after calling one more time to get directions. (There is only one road on Galliot Cay. There is only one yellow house, which is known as “The Yellow House”
When Constable Rolles arrives he takes Peters statement and Peter signs it. We talk about all kinds of other things, like his family name and where he is from, alcohol laws, driving laws; Peter had just got a ticket from this guy the week before for doing 30 in a 20. The normal rate of speed in a 20 is about 50. Even the constable would acknowledge that. And of course we get the history of Majority Rule Day.
I ask him about open liquor in a vehicle or in a public place and there is nothing wrong with that. You just can’t be “under the influence” An open bottle of Kalik in a vehicle is a pretty normal thing. As a matter of fact when you purchase beer in any location the cashier will offer to open one before you go out the door. Such service!
At this point we figure the matter is closed and the wheels of justice will begin to move and justice will be accomplished in somone’s eyes.
The next morning as we are setting out for our road trip down the island to the Blue Hole and other places, my phone rings again. I now recognise Constable Rolls Number. He asks us if we can come into the Police Station. Chief wants to meet with Peter. Peter knows this guy but has not seen him for a decade. We arrive at a little group of buildings that include: The Anglican Rectory, the old police Station, A slightly newer police Station, Her Majestys Prison, the Department of Motor Vehicles and some other government offices. Peter and I go into the Station house and Val and Christy go to see what the Jail looks like.
I am told to wait in the waiting area and Peter goes out back, where I hear the clang of a barred door shutting! He is in there for quite a long time. I talk with Constable Rolls and his sergeant. He seems a bit nervous.
Finally I hear the sound of glass bottles and realize that the Chief is giving Peter back his wine. All is well. All was just a misunderstanding! Even the speeding ticket has disappeared.