Sahara -- Not
12 February 2013 | Spanish Wells
Our good friends from Seattle, Kea, Doug, John, and Carita, left us today following a week aboard Gratitude. After so much company, we are not sure what to do with ourselves! We had a great time, and it was especially nice to get better acquainted (hard not to do on a boat) with folks who understand boating and its tribulations.
The day they arrived, the generator decided not to start, so we fretted whether we would have enough electricity for a week of extra hands. Turns out the glow plugs needed to be pushed and really hot. It has been running fine since. Near the end of their week with us, the refrigerator controller stopped working and we thought we would have no food! Following a sleepless night “troubleshooting” possible alternatives and some initial confusion on his part as to which compressor was which, Van tracked down the problem. It was a switch to select either 12 or 24 volts (we have 12) that had “jumped” out of position and prevented the controller from getting power. (The switch is on the side of the compressor controller facing the other compressor with only about 1 ½” for access. It was tough to see and took some pondering to determine that was the issue.) Because they understand boating, and the need to conserve water and electricity, the issues did not faze our guests.
We enjoyed showing them Spanish Wells, Harbor Island, the pink sand beaches, golf carting, different ferry systems (fast versus local), Preacher’s Cave (where the first Eleutheran Adventurers seeking religious freedom took refuge after foundering on the reefs of the Devil’s Backbone), and sampling Bahamian cuisine – mostly fried food and, while good, not up to Lauren’s standards aboard Gratitude. We also enjoyed a guided tour of the museum on Spanish Wells where we learned more about the folks who settled here – and received electricity only very recently. One of the special, repeat stops was Bernard’s Fish Market – on his dock – where we bought freshly caught huge lobster tails, yellow-tail snapper, and red snapper, all of which we ate aboard Gratitude on different occasions.
We also got to go sailing one day (we forget that Gratitude is a sailboat)! We left the south east end of the Spanish Wells Harbor and passed through the cut in the Devil’s Backbone reef to enter the Atlantic Ocean. We encountered 1-2’ chop on top of 4’ swells, which was not too bad. We set the jib for a broad reach and set out two lines for trolling. Most of the catch was seaweed – which got us to wondering where all that comes from in the middle of nowhere -- but John managed to catch a Blue Runner, which we filleted and grilled to supplement the salmon we had on board. We anchored in Royal Island Harbor and swam, walked a portion of Royal Island, and explored the ruins of an old abandoned private villa, with multiple verandas where we concluded they must have had some wonderful parties. On Monday, we returned to Spanish Wells for some final shopping and a farewell dinner (before this morning’s farewell breakfast). At the appointed time, we ran them to Pinder’s Dock (in front of Pinder’s Market) to catch Pinder’s Ferry to Eleuthera where Pinder’s Taxi would take them all to the airport for the flight to Florida.
We were sad to see good friends leave, but happy to be on Gratitude and return to being a cruising couple. (We have reported on the Cruiser’s Formula – 6 for cocktails, 4 for dinner, and 2 for overnight – that we consistently violate.) Because Lauren had left a back pack at Bernard’s fish market, after some minimal larder replenishment, we took the dinghy through the harbor to fetch the wayward bag. “Mrs.’ Bernard”, Cheryl, saw us while she was driving through town and tried to flag us down to tell us she had the backpack, but we caught up with her at the market. While there, we decided to buy some lobster, so she drove us to her home to make the selection. On the way back to Gratitude, we passed Bernard, en route back from another day of fishing. He waved us over to tell us our backpack was at the market and he was pleased we had retrieved it already. It is just that sort of honesty and “looking out for each other” that makes this place so appealing.
After lunch, the two of us dinghied through the harbor again to explore the sand bar between Russell Island and St. George’s Island, which is exposed by low tide. No shells, but we did meet a local woman who showed us how to find sand dollars. While we explored, we remarked at how the little sand ripples looked like miniature sand dunes and deserts. You be the judge.