31 December 2013 | Thompsons Bay, Bahamas
Conversations on Long Island:
John: We need to order a seal kit for our steering from Ft. Lauderdale. How do we go about doing that?
Ian (the manager of Stella Maris Marina. He and his wife, Sue, are from England): Well, have it shipped via Fedex to the marina. When it comes in, the Fedex office at the southern end of Long Island will call me and I’ll ask the girls who work at the bank across the street to pick it up tomorrow before they come up here to work. They live down there. They’ll call me and I’ll go over to the bank to get it. Of course, it will have to clear customs in Nassau and, well, there are some things that we have yet to receive from two years ago.
Note: we did order some parts that cost $36 to buy, but $77 to ship. Full cost, $111. We are testing the system to see if they get through customs before the end of the week.
Conversation with the customs agent, Tyrone (we had to extend our visa and fishing license):
John: We need to renew our visas and fishing license.
Tyrone: You can renew the visas because they expire tomorrow, but you can’t renew the fishing license because it doesn’t expire until Tuesday (this was Saturday).
John: Why not?
Tyrone: Because it’s too soon
John: Can we just buy a fishing license and pretend we don’t have this one?
Tyrone: No, because it’s too soon.
Note: We came back on Tuesday and renewed our fishing license…sigh…but we did get to hitchhike up to the airport. Haven’t done that since college!
The Long Island Ride
We have been on Long Island long enough that we were happily able to reconnect with Carefree, the boat that crossed from the Abacos to Eleuthra with us. We really enjoy Lisa and Doug’s company and are thrilled to have another boat to play with. As we came down the Exuma chain, they came down the Eleuthra and Cat Island chains. They have come to Long Island to meet up with some old friends who live on the island (and deliver 2 beach cruisers to them – refer to Nassau customs story above). As a result, we have had a “locals” guided tour of the island. Linda took Lisa and I to the grocery store last week in her “bakkie” (So. African term for a little truck). I got to ride in the back bed of the truck. I haven’t done that since high school! On the way to the grocery store, we stopped at the post office, then the local mat weaver (bought 2 place mats), then the electric company (there is no mail on the island and no way to pay your bill on the internet, so you have to drive it to the company to pay every month). We stopped at Rosie’s house to buy some fruit. Behind her house, she has a grove of banana, papaya, mango, plantain & citrus trees. Rosie is a tiny, wizened sweetheart of a lady who picked up this huge machete and took us out tromping through the banana grove chopping down bunches of bananas for us. We each came home with a branch full of bananas and several papayas. Fresh fruit, right off the tree…whoo hoo! When Lisa discovered that she had not addressed her envelope correctly that she had previously mailed at the post office, Linda took us to the Postmistress’ house where we were able to rectify the problem. Actually getting to the grocery store was a minor experience compared to all that came before.
Linda & Neil are Jehovah’s Witnesses and came to Long Island because they felt they could really help the people here. They are amazingly wonderful to everyone they encounter, including us. They have built a home here that is a fiberglass dome. They had all the materials including interior furnishings shipped over in two containers and built it themselves. It is supposed to be hurricane proof due to it’s rounded shape and has proven it’s worth through both Hurricane Irene & Sandy. It reminds us of a very large quansat house. They have a garden and several goats and a car they bought from Japan for $900 but paid 4000 to get it here (shipping and duty). Shipping is the biggest issue here. There are no income, sales or property taxes here. All revenue comes from import duties. Grrrr!
New Year’s Eve
Tonight, we are going out at midnight to hunt for lobster. We have been told to go to a certain beach that has tide pools on a night with no moon and go at low tide. Bring flash lights and a pronged stick. Linda has provided us with all necessary equipment. All we have to do is stay up late enough to actually accomplish this task. I hope the lobster are accommodating too.
We hope you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and a Happy New Year. With luck, our next blog will originate from somewhere in the Caribbean…