25 April 2008 | Marsh Harbour, Abacos
"If you don't leave, you can't come back." That was an expression I used frequently when our children were small and didn't want to leave a friend's house. It's one we've heard here in the Abacos as folks head north, and it's one into which I would now put a slight twist. "If you don't part, you can't have a reunion."
We arrived in Marsh Harbour Thursday to see a familiar profile - Sapphire! We last saw Kathy and Mike on their 40 ' Bayfield ketch in Black Sound, Exumas when, after spending a few weeks together, we headed off on separate timetables. Our reunion took place in their cockpit in the form of an evening of rollicking laughter, spicy and satisfying jambalaya, multiple bottles of wine, and dozens of stories of the "Did you see...? Did you go...? What did you think of...? Oh, we'll have to do that next time!" variety.
Jim spent most of Friday on the internet researching power options - wind generators, solar panels, batteries etc, while I did laundry and engaged in a most frustrating retrieval of our ship's clock. I left it to be repaired back in January and went in to pick it up only to find out that not only had the man not gotten around to repairing it, there had been some kind of mix-up in the clock itself. From being all silver coloured when it went in, it now has the same face but on a brass body. The owner of the shop assured me it had come in like that just as much as I assured him it hadn't. We parted ways with him saying, "That's why I put a numbered sticker the clock - so there will be no mistake" and me saying, "Next time I'm taking a picture of any article I leave for service - so there will be no mistake." I'll get it checked and fixed back in Canada (although interestingly enough, this guy is a Canadian who moved here 20 years ago.)
Going back to the Laundromat was therapeutic. It was just some local women and me - the cruisers had finished up early - and as we all stood at the counters sorting and folding, the woman next to me singing away, it felt soothing and calming, and things kind of got into perspective again. I've got clean sheets to sleep in tonight and a clock on the wall.
Solitaire arrived this afternoon and had a chance to get reunited with Sapphire (they last saw each other at American Thanksgiving in St Mary's). We joined them and as the six of us walked down the street to dinner, we gathered in Carol and Steve (Restless). The others all knew each other, and despite Jim's reply of "It must be a case of mistaken identity!" when Steve said to him "I was right behind you when you went aground near Daytona Beach," we laughingly agreed that it was a reunion for them too.
As we sat at a table in Snappas enjoying delicious fish, burgers and salads, more reunion related information emerged. Solitaire Jim, Nancy and Steve found all sorts of connections in their history as pilots - the sort the just make you wonder about the degrees of separation in this world. Among cruisers, it has to be far fewer than six! While Steve and Carol headed back to their boat, the rest of us piled into Solitaire's cockpit once more for songs from Nancy's enormous collection with added percussion from the wonderfully rattly pods from the Poinciana trees, and reminiscences about the music of our youth. Oooh - doesn't that sound like we're oldies?
We had never met these people before we started this trip, have now met them again and again, and know that we have many reunions ahead of us for they have become dear friends.
When eventually we decided we really must go home, we discovered that our dinghy was well and truly wedged in under the dock and Jim had to partially deflate it, haul it out and pump it up again before we could depart. Those tides - even though they aren't very high, they can take boats where they were never meant to go!