Back to Staniel
10 March 2008 | Staniel Cay
Beth - a little cooler, overcast, no wind
We watched the giant ship, Mystique, pull out of Sampson's Cay as we drank our morning coffee. Despite its huge superstructure, it apparently draws only 4 feet, and with its powerful engines and thrusters, it turned on a dime. We spotted the owner down on the lower deck and a female passenger watching from an upper deck, and at least 7 crewmembers releasing lines and scurrying about. The captain was high above at the controls. Yesterday the crew wore white golf shirts and navy shorts and spent a lot of time polishing stainless and cleaning windows. Today, under grey skies, they sported navy shirts and khaki pants as they attended to the business of departure. This is the shakedown voyage for the ship - according to the gossip we collected on the dock; the owner has had it for only a few weeks and is taking a little trip around (480 gallons of fuel an hour - no sails) before it goes back to the states to be totally renovated inside.
Now Jim and I try quite hard really to be non judgmental, but it seems almost incomprehensible that this giant ship - 164 feet long - is for the use of two people and needs to be gutted and redecorated. Does it "need" that overhaul, or will hundreds of thousands of dollars be spent just to reflect the tastes of new owners? We had a few other words come to mind as we contemplated the dollars and materials and the size of the footprint, but suffice it to say ... it is hard for us to understand how so much money could be spent on a boat.
We have met cruisers who are out here exploring the Bahamas with very little money and on boats without all the bells and whistles - some of them only 27 - 30 feet in length. Our suspicion is that they are just as happy and having just as good a time.
After lovely eight minute showers (token - $4.00) we pulled up our anchor and headed back to Staniel Cay. The parts Jim ordered to fix our head (toilet) were delivered to the Yacht Club by Watermakers Air so he has his next little job lined up. The problem seems to be that the hand pump has lost its prime. Maybe a leak in the seal? We hope it is a straightforward fix.
It felt almost like coming home as we pulled into our customary anchorage just in front of the yacht club. We dinghied ashore to make a couple of phone calls and met up with several cruisers we've seen in other places. I took a walk down the road past "our" cottage - Atlantica - and up to Brenda's house where I bought a loaf of cinnamon-raisin bread. Her hand lettered sign, "Bread" rests on a lawn chair outside her door whenever she has been baking, and we have enjoyed many loaves from her oven. I stopped to chat a bit with her and with Rhonda, the woman who was so kind to us all, and particularly to Margaret when she visited here with Pat and Sean. Rhonda was a great connection for Marg when the rest of us went off on the boat to the park for a couple of days.
I strolled on up the hill to the Pink Pearl Store to visit with Miss Flo and to pick out one of her baskets to bring back to the boat. She and her daughters plait the local fronds of grass into mats and baskets. Most of them are flat but I like the round coils, done with a needle. Some are made from sisal, some from silver top. Last week, I watched some women in Black Point sit in the shade, plaiting (pronounced platting) the long ribbons of grass that are then sent off to Nassau and made into baskets, placemats, floor mats, and lots of other creations
There was something very satisfying about being able to walk from dock to house to store, saying a farewell to people we've gotten to know, however briefly, in the time we have been visiting in this area. A few roosters wandered around yards; people waved from porches; laughter rolled along the dock from the fellows who work at the yacht club. It seemed a far cry from the conspicuous consumption we had seen earlier in the day. I know which I like better. As I left, Flo told me I have a good husband, and when I reported that comment back to Jim, he thought she was very perceptive!
There aren't very many boats here tonight - just three of us in our usual spot at the edge of the channel, and another 3 or 4 in closer to the shoreline. We spotted some masts over near Club Thunderball, and counted about 20 boats in Big Majors Spot as we came by.
It is amazingly still tonight - no wind to speak of at all - a marked difference from the last 2 or 3 days when the wind has hardly dropped below 15 knots, and although it's been overcast much of the day, there have been only a few sprinkles of rain.
The darned old generator is working away on the foredeck and I'm trying to stop resenting it and be grateful that it does some good for our sluggish batteries. That problem is still hanging over our heads - how is it that they lose their charge so rapidly? We have no freezer, no water maker, no air-conditioning, the fridge is on the lowest possible setting, we are using LED battery powered lanterns now instead of our mast top anchor light at night and we plug in the computers only when the engine is on or the generator is running. How can energy be such a huge issue???
We'll meet up with Strathspey here in the morning before going to Black Point for a day or so.