05/04/2010/4:59 pm, Hog Cay, Jumentos
We have a couple of funny stories to relate.
Jim and I invited Marilyn and Bruce over for dinner on Sunday evening, and encountered a difficulty or two. We enjoyed a drink and an appetizer (egg salad and crackers because those devilish eggs fell apart when I tried to devil them and make them all pretty). Although the wind was blowing mightily, we thought maybe we could BBQ the pork chops, but that didn't work as planned either and they weren't cooking because the wind blew out the BBQ.
Just as I decided we had better put them in the oven to finish, Bruce remarked that we seemed to be sitting differently from the other boats. We all peered out and noted that not only were we sitting differently, we were farther away from the other boats. Just about that time, Glen (Dot's Way) called on the radio to let us know he had noticed it too and wanted to alert us. How could this be? We'd been here since Thursday morning! Such are the vagaries of anchors, sand and wind.
Our company kindly agreed that dinner would have to wait. I threw the pork chops in the oven along with the left over macaroni and cheese, fired up the engine and Jim raised the anchor that was dragging along the sand at quite a good pace. As dusk was falling, we re-anchored - twice in fact, because the first time we ended up too close to Dot's Way and had to do it all over again. By the time we got settled down, the sun had set and the wind was really whistling around so we moved our place settings inside, dined hurriedly on a very un-fancy Easter Dinner of pork chops and pasta (skipping salad and dessert entirely) and said good bye to our guests. They climbed into their bucking and bouncing dinghy (successfully!) and returned home to Reflection.
Speaking of successfully entering dinghies, let us move on to Monday night.
Glen and Dorothy (Dot's Way) and Jim and I were treated to a lovely dinner on Reflection. After a fine repast (chicken marsala, mashed potatoes and salad) and many good cruising stories, it was time to go home - again with the wind blowing and the dinghies bouncing. Glen and Dorothy climbed down the ladder, got in their dinghy and departed. Jim climbed down the ladder and got in our dinghy. I climbed down the ladder and ... almost got in our dinghy!
I had one foot in, and, holding the flashlight in one hand and the ladder in the other, was about to put down my other foot when the dinghy lurched - or I lurched - or something - and I ended up with my left leg in the dinghy, my right arm on the ladder and just about everything else in the water! I did manage to hand Jim the flashlight as I tried to decide how to extricate myself from this ridiculous position. Bruce said afterward that I kept looking back and forth from dinghy to ladder as if I was trying to decide where to go, and that was exactly the case. Amid laughs and sighs, I finally opted to get both legs into the dinghy and let go of the ladder while Jim grabbed my arm and hauled me in. Fortunately all that was damaged was my ego - but it sure made for good jokes for the next couple of days! This picture shows how it is supposed to be done. I declined Bruce's invitation to do it again so we could take pics!!
All our anchorage mates are waiting to see what will happen next! Don't things come in threes?
03/04/2010/10:00 pm, Hog Cay, Jumentos
With our brand new motor on our raggedy old dinghy (see the posting on Phantastic Phil for details of that), we zoomed back from the Captain C to Madcap, picked up the computer and headed for town to do email and make blog postings. Before we left, we checked the chart for the route, but somehow missed the first marker past Pass Cay (also known as Pigeon Cay) and ended up in water that was too shallow for even a dinghy! Fortunately, Louis was cleaning conch in his pretty long green and orange boat, and pointed out the way. Even more fortunately, when we were still casting about trying to find the channel (the tide was so low the markers were lying on their sides and we had missed the first one) he fired up his motor and led the way to where the dredged channel starts winding in through the mangroves. Now that's Ragged Island helpfulness!
We tied up at the little dock, being careful to stay out of the way of the small boats unloading goods from the mailboat, and trudged up the hill to the gazebo to spend time on the internet. But alas!! It was down. It was such a disappointment because we were so filled with excitement and we wanted to share it with all our family and friends. At least we got to meet Pete and Louise (Mei Wente) who were also there, and picked up some pasta, oranges and lettuce at Maxine's store. We discovered the shelves don't look a whole lot different even after the mailboat has reached. She had ordered 3 bags of lettuce and only two came. The only other produce was grapefruit and oranges. But - she had flour and eggs and butter, and pasta and canned milk and cheese, and rice and peas - all the things needed to make the staples of Bahamian cuisine. No one will starve because of the lack of fresh produce.
Things got really interesting on our way home. The wind was blowing 20 knots in through the cut and as we crossed it - even at a vastly improved speed - we got totally soaked. Great waves were pouring in over the side and at one point, I was reaching back to hold the tiller as Jim pumped water out of the dinghy! We could not have been wetter if we'd gone swimming, and once we unloaded the groceries, it became clear that dinner would be mac'n'cheese, because the box had gotten wet and came unglued and the macaroni was damp and all over the bottom of the bag!
We took advantage of our new mobility by dinghying over to Lobster Hole and walking the beaches on both west and east sides on Sunday morning. We swam, picked palm fronds for weaving, and got soaked again on our way home. We sure do appreciate this new motor though. It is a blessing that the part wasn't available to fix the old one. This gives us so much more flexibility in the distances we can travel.
A bit of family news - yesterday was my Aunt Ursula's 95th birthday and she had a big party back in Truro, Nova Scotia. We wish we could have been there, but such things are part of the trade off for this cruising life. We can't be present for all the things we wish we could. I sure do hope I inherit those genes though! My sailing days could go on for a few more decades!!
03/04/2010/4:55 pm, Hog Cay, Jumentos
It is time to properly introduce you to Phicol (Phil) Wallace. This kind and gracious man has been our Guardian Angel here in Ragged Island. Phil and his buddies were in the boat that stopped by in Racoon Cay, to welcome us to the area, collect garbage, and probably to see who we were! It was Phil who said he'd do some checking on finding a new bearing for our Mercury 5 hp outboard motor.
It was Phil who made numerous calls to suppliers in Nassau and Long Island and back to us to report that the part couldn't be located. It was Phil who then made calls to get prices on a new Yamaha 15 to which we had decided to upgrade. It was Phil who put Jim in touch with Shane from Harbourside Marine in Nassau and who came out to Hog Cay on Thursday with the faxed order for Jim to sign, and who then faxed it back to Harbourside Marine in time for the motor to get loaded on the boat that afternoon.
I had wanted so badly to move around to Ragged Island Harbour on Saturday so we could see the mailboat "reach" and take pictures of the event, but the wind direction made that a poor idea. We remained anchored in Hog Cay while I grumbled around Madcap all morning - all my journalistic inclinations thwarted - taking only distant pictures of the Captain C as it came across the banks and passed out of sight behind Hog Cay Point. And then Phil came to the rescue again!
He and Jerard - a mailboat worker - came by ("passed by" in island lingo) to chat while the rest of the crew started unloading. He said he'd go back to pick up our motor when some space had been cleared on the deck of the Captain C. When I asked him if he needed Jim to go with him, he said, "You can both come if you want" and it didn't take two minutes before we were both aboard his boat with "Little Loonie" (our dinghy) tied on behind.
Once at the mailboat, we tied up alongside, (I hopped aboard to take pictures of the crane, the hold, the pallets of goods bound for Ragged Island) and it wasn't long before Phil came across the deck holding a Yamaha 15 outboard motor. He mounted it on the dinghy, hailed Melvin - a crewmwmber - to get some more gas so that we had the right mix of gas and oil in the tank, and then Melvin and Jim took it out for a spin. When Jim kept insisting that we would pay him for his time, his steely-eyed response was, "You don't owe me a thing." Well - we sure owe him plenty of thanks and appreciation!
Before we left Hog Cay on Wednesday, Phil passed by once again, this time to visit with us and to collect our old outboard motor that we wanted to leave with him. We enjoyed a couple of hours of quality time over coffee and scones. We learned that Phil was born here, spent some of his boyhood on Little Farmer's Cay where his mother was the school principal for many years, went to high school and college in Nassau and then decided to move back "home". He is the Chief Councillor of the 5 person Ragged Island Council and at 36, the youngest of them too. He is passionate about encouraging and helping his fellow islanders to manage the changes that are occurring with the financial boost that is providing the enlarged airport, improved streets and the new dock and breakwater. Phil's attitude toward the increased cruising traffic is telling. He wants Duncan Town to provide services - affordable food and drink, a laundry - and he is most emphatic that the relationship between cruisers and locals be one based on friendship and fair dealing rather than just money making.
Phil is the local manager of Bahama Electric Corporation, and also owns and operates Silvertail Fishing Lodge (with its rooms all rented at the moment to the construction crew on the island) and is one of the core group of young entrepreneurs here.
When we come back here - as we surely will - I want to meet his grandma who lives across the street and taught him as a young boy to be careful how his tongue wags, "That little red rag will make you or destroy you!" and who knows Everything about Ragged Island. Phil's wife, Erica, (from Staniel Cay) and his two (and almost three) children were away in Nassau for Easter break so we'll have to wait till next time to meet them too.
By next year, we'll be able to chow down on cheeseburgers and Kaliks at the Silvertail Lodge while we connect with the internet. With luck, this thoughtful and enterprising man will have time to visit with us again and fill us in on what's been happening on Ragged Island. If he is successful in moving vision to reality, things will be happening.
When any of you readers come here, be sure to look up our new friend and Guardian Angel!