A Day Off the Boat
03 February 2012 | Thompson Bay, Long Island
It's 9:30 PM and we just got back on board and got things straightened out for the night. We left the boat at about 11:15 this morning with our dirty laundry and garbage in tow. We took the dinghy over to the beach where we unloaded the laundry, the garbage and our supplies for the day, which included Fuzzy's bed, his food, his little piece of cheese and his pill. I toted out stuff up the path and piled it all in the bushes on some rocks not far from the little road that heads back along the beach. Then I went back to the dinghy and Bud took me over to the dock near Fox Auto. I climbed up the ladder and Bud turned and took the dinghy back to the beach. He had Fuzzy. I walked up and picked up the car we'd reserved for the day, a Toyota Corolla. I drove it (on the LEFT side of the road) the little ways to the side road behind the beach and parked near the path. Just as I got all our stuff loaded, Bud and Fuzzy appeared. Bud had pulled the dinghy up on the beach and secured it with the anchor for the day. We didn't lock it, the engine is locked to the transom and Bud took the emergency stop cord. Not a really serious deterrent to theft, but on an island that's 80 miles long and at most 4 miles wide, there is pretty much no theft.
Our first stop was the Laundromat that we heard would do your wash for about what it costs other places to do it yourself. True enough, it was $8.75 a load vs. the $8.00 a load it costs at Long Island Breeze. However, I think I could have done the wash we had in three loads in the washers at Long Island Breeze, and they made it into 4 loads. Definitely worth it though to not spend our precious day with the car doing laundry. However, our plan had been to pick up the laundry about 3:30 and take the laundry and Fuzzy back to the boat after Fuzzy had an early dinner because we had dinner reservations for a 5 o'clock buffet at the Thompson Bay Club, known locally as Tryphenia's place. The laundry wasn't going to be ready until 5, so we were going to have to modify our plans.
This Laundromat was right across the street from the Stella Maris Marina. We also wanted to check out the marina, both as a possible place to stay and because they might have the pump for our forward holding tank. The marina was actually pretty small. There was plenty of depth inside and they said we could definitely navigate their channel at high tide as their big dive boat draws 4' 10" and can go in or out at low tide. One big drawback is that the hurricane took out most of the posts they had marking their channel. The channel is pretty straight, but it is almost 4 miles long. From shore we could see one post and one buoy. A challenge for sure. We'd need a good reason to go in there. Oh, and they didn't have the pump.
The marina is associated with a resort that is a few miles further north and on the eastern (Atlantic) side of the island. We went there for lunch. They had outdoor seating so Fuzzy could sit with us. We had a light lunch because of the early dinner reservations. It was a beautiful view. It's very windy right now and the Atlantic was full of white caps. We were pretty surprised to see a sailboat come into view. They were really sailing fast. We think it must have been a catamaran because it went at least 4 miles in about 20 minutes, and that's faster than we think a monohull could go.
After lunch we continued north. We were using our chart book as a road map as there are no good maps of the island. At the very northern tip of the island the chart showed the Columbus Monument with a small road leading to it. Bud had heard this wasn't a very good road but we decided to try it. Not only was it a not very good road, in places it really wasn't a road at all! It was a couple of tracks over rocks and through brush. We almost turned back, but the weeds and brush didn't seem to be hurting the Toyota so we kept going. It was only a bit over 2 miles but took forever. I'm glad we went there, though. It was beautiful. The monument was up on a cape made of white rock. The cape is Cape Santa Maria and is reputed to have been named that because Columbus lost his flagship, the Santa Maria, on a reef off the cape. There is a vicious looking reef just east of the cape. The monument didn't mention that, though, it just noted the date Columbus came there and was actually dedicated to the aboriginal Lucayan people, who were wiped out by the Spanish in a few short years. To the north was open water. To the west was the banks, but to the east was a gorgeous shallow bay. I took a picture of the bay looking down from the cape. We were 40 or 50 feet above it and you could look down and see the rocks and sand of the bay. That is the picture I'll post with this entry when I get internet again. (There are several others from the day I'll add to the gallery.) We saw 6 huge rays swimming together into the bay. When they got to a narrow part in the sand channel they swam side by side so they covered the whole channel. Any fish in that channel would find a wall of rays! I timed our trip back out, we made better time because Bud knew what to expect but we still averaged 7.5 mph. Such speed.
Since we were that far we drove to the end of the main road. It ended at the north end on the Atlantic side. There was a narrow old cement bridge across a small channel to another small island, Newton Cay. It looked like that had started to be developed years ago and was abandoned.
By then it was getting on time to get the laundry. Fuzzy was enjoying the car so much we decide we could stop and feed him, pick up the laundry and then let Fuzzy stay in the car while we had dinner. We pulled into a siding on the way back which was supposed to be the Adderly Plantation ruins. We didn't find any ruins, but we did find a nice little beach and got Fuzzy to take his pill (embedded in a piece of cheese) and eat some of his dinner. Just before we got to the ruins, we passed Adderly's store. The people who ran the store were most likely direct descendants of the slaves on the Adderly Plantation. The freed slaves took the name of the plantation owner. The English plantation owners left the Bahamas, for the most part, but their freed slaves formed the majority of the population going forward.
We got back to the Laundromat at 4:55, but our wash wasn't done. The man who ran the laundry said he had to deliver some other laundry in the Salt Pond area, so he would stop by the restaurant and bring us ours! We got back to the restaurant at about 5:20. We were in plenty of time. We had a drink and talked to some other boaters and about an hour later were served the buffet. There was cole slaw, potato salad, bar-be-qued ribs, fish fingers, chicken wings (she called them chicken fingers) macaroni and cheese, cracked conch and cracked lobster. It was all very well made and very typically Bahamian. We were just beginning to worry about the laundry when the man showed up. Fuzzy slept in the back seat of the car and never even noticed when I loaded the laundry in the truck. Everything worked out nicely, and the boaters we'd been talking to helped us from the car to the beach with their flashlights (we hadn't brought any lights thinking we'd be back to the boat before dark). Altogether a fine day, and it was good to get off the boat!