04/04/2012, The Marina at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma
This morning was the nadir of our cruising life so far.
Yesterday Bud was still feeling ill. He ate a little, but could only stay up for a few hours at a time. I spent the morning e-filing our taxes. Never a pleasant task. Jamie and Adler are gone; we miss them. We have no more visitors to look forward to this season. I went and visited with Ed and Karin aboard Passages for a bit. Bud was able to walk over in the late afternoon and say good-bye. They left this morning and are going back to St. Mary's, GA, as the weather allows.
We'd decided that we would try to move on at least a little bit ourselves. We've been in the George Town area for quite a while. We wanted to go up and visit the folks we met from the Perry Marine Center on Lee Stocking Island. It's only about 16 miles total, so a reasonable undertaking for two people on the mend. I had a bad night, a relapse of sorts. I took ibuprofen at 3 AM for my sore throat and achy muscles, but was feeling well enough for the short trip by morning.
We took down the awning, I cleaned up the boat, we stowed the electric coffeepot. We put away the electric cord, topped off the water and settled our bill here. Bud topped off the Racor and checked the engine oil. We were ready to go. Bud started the engine while I was down below to turn the fuel supply back on (we always shut it off now, hoping to minimize air in the system). But Bud forgot one important part of his routine. He always checks the gearshift lever to make sure the engine's in neutral and the throttle to make sure it's at idle. He didn't. Adler had been playing with the levers. The engine won't start in gear, but it started in neutral, started racing and fell into gear before Bud could react. There was a horrible noise from the transmission as Bud switched the engine off. He started the engine again in neutral at idle speed and it came on just fine. Our neighbor came to help us cast off the lines, but as the last lines were loosed and Bud put the transmission in reverse the horrible noise returned. We tied back up. We tried it again just a bit with Bud below and me at the controls. It makes the horrible grinding noise in both forward and reverse.
By this afternoon we were resigned to being here a while longer. I finally reached someone from ZF transmissions, and we found someone on the island to pull the transmission on Friday. (I thank Joe, on Onward, for his online cruising guide to the Bahamas with listings of local people with phone numbers!) We think the transmission will have to be shipped to Florida for evaluation and repair or replacement. It has 150 hours of operation on it. We spent way more than we'd hoped or planned on repairs and upgrades last summer and now we're faced with another major repair. But we are safe and this is a very nice and reasonable marina. We will be fine.
04/02/2012, The Marina at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma
We actually got a lot done today before Jamie and Adler had to leave. Jamie gave both Bud and me haircuts. She had to do Bud first, because he wasn't going to be able to stay vertical for long. He's still not feeling well at all. By 8:45 the haircuts were done, Adler was in a lightweight short set that Jamie was going to let him swim in and the three of us were off to the beach. We played in the water for about an hour. Then Jamie left to gather their stuff up for their shower. Adler and I got to stay and play for another five minutes, and then we left. I dropped Adler off at the showers with Jamie and got my stuff and came back and I took a shower. We were all clean and she was packed and ready by the time the taxi came to get us at 11:00. Bud was able to walk over to the cab and carry the car seat for Jamie. I rode with her to the airport. She actually didn't need my help, the cab dropped her off right in front of the door to go in, and the check in counter was probably 20 steps from the door, but it gave me a few more minutes to enjoy being with them. Then they were off and I came back alone.
I did two loads of wash and a big load of dishes. Happily Ed and Karin from Passages are here, so it doesn't feel quite as lonely. They came in this morning. Bud is feeling a little better but has still been lying down all day. And it's very, very quiet.
04/01/2012, The Marina at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma
We had planned today as a quiet day; we didn't realize quite how quiet it would be. We thought we'd just take Adler swimming at the beach here. Adler never made it off the boat until after supper. He was just exhausted from his week of fun and sun. He watched videos and took a looong nap.
Bud is sick. He spent the whole day in his berth and didn't eat anything except some dry toast towards the end of the day.
The rest of us did have a nice supper. I cooked for once. I grilled steaks and we had micro waved potatoes (not baked, too hot to bake) and fresh broccoli and sautéed mushrooms.
After supper Jamie, Adler and I went in to the nice clubhouse here. Adler and I played jacks on the floor of the poolroom. Adler tosses the ball with one hand and grabs a jack with the other, while the ball bounces across the room. Not exactly the rules, but he was having fun. Jamie took a picture with her iPhone; I put it in the gallery.
We came back to the boat and ate pudding and Adler watched more videos until he went to bed. He didn't get to do anything to take advantage of the water and the weather, but he really needed the break.
03/31/2012, The Marina at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma
The car rental place sent over a car as requested. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the Toyota Corolla as wanted, this is the start of Easter break and they said they were out of them. We got a mini van instead. It was $26 more for the day, but it was easy to get all of us, and the car seat, into it. Fuzzy had the third row seat to himself.
We had made reservations yesterday for Santana's Grill Pit, then called and changed them for today. So whatever else we did, we wanted to be there between 4 and 4:30 for early supper. We'd promised Adler we'd find a beach for him, so we started out driving south. We drove all the way to Little Exuma Island. The bridge from Great Exuma to Little Exuma has a 1.5-ton weight limit and a 15 mph speed limit. Driving our 2-ton van over it, you wanted to go a bit faster, so you had some momentum in case it started to crumble under you. (At least that seems to work in the movies.) It was a one-lane bridge and didn't look great, but it held. I was following our progress on our charts, which show most of the roads and are usually the only land maps you can find. I saw a beach at the end of the first left turn on Little Exuma island. That turned out to be a private road, but at the next beach there was a beach access sign and a little road to pull in.
There were actually two beaches there. The first was in a bit of a cove. While Adler was playing in the water I walked out on the iron-shore at the south end of that beach. I saw another beach just to the south. I came back and looked for a way to that beach and found that the lane led around a corner where it became two tire tracks through the grasses leading to the second beach. We all walked over there. This beach faced more directly to the open water and had gentle waves rolling in up a pretty steep sand shore. We all walked along the shore. Bud and I walked to the far end thinking it would be easier for Adler to go in the water there. We were wrong. Waves were coming in from the beach side and from a cut through the iron-shore at that end of the beach. We watched a group of about 4 fish swimming in that bit of current. It seemed they would surely be swept ashore, but they weren't. Jamie and Adler were walking in the sand, but Adler hadn't tried even walking at the edge of the water because of the waves. Grandpa took his hand and they walked out to the edge of the waves. Little by little Adler and Grandpa went further in. Finally, Adler was laughing and letting the waves push him around. He let go of Grandpa's hand. Once he even got rolled over by a wave in the very shallow water. He came up laughing. Grandpa was never more than a step away because the waves there had dug a deep edge right along the beach. It looked like an adult would go from knee deep to waist deep in one big step. Grandpa made sure Adler didn't try that step!
After he swam Adler had to roll in the sand until he was completely sandy. So we walked over to the beach in the cove and Jamie stripped him and washed sand off him and his bathing suit. Then we sat in a little pavilion they had there and Adler had a snack while he dried off some. I had to wash Fuzzy, too, as he'd been wading again. We all packed back into the car and drove on down the road. We soon came to Santana's but it was way before our reservations so we kept on going. We soon ran out of road. Checking the chart again I saw roads on the southern tip of the island, one of which got quite close to the end. We headed back and found the turn off. It was a dirt road, more like a lane. It got quite narrow and brushy. It got so bad we folded the outside mirrors in. Bud finally decided we'd better turn back before we damaged the van, so he backed up until he got back to a spot wide enough to do a nine or ten-point turn. Then we headed back to the main road. By now Adler was getting sleepy. A couple of more miles on the main road and he was asleep. We drove back north on Little Exuma Island until we came to that bridge, not wanting to press our luck, Bud turned around before we crossed it. We decided to go to another little beach access road and stop and let Adler sleep. The next one past where we'd swum didn't have a road back far enough to even see the beach so we ended up back at the place we'd been earlier.
Adler slept for about an hour and we headed back down to Santana's. We were still a bit early so we tried to take a back road, but that quickly changed into two tracks through the brush, so it was back to the main road again. We got to the restaurant right on time. Now this was a restaurant that we had heard was one of the best in the Bahamas. The restaurant consisted of a shack with open sides and counter seating, with a few tables outside. We sat at a counter, as there wasn't a table in the shade. The only items on the menu today were cracked lobster, cracked conch or cracked chicken, and all were served with rice and pigeon peas, cole slaw and sliced beets. We adults all ordered the lobster; Adler wasn't hungry so Jamie was going to share hers. There was a lovely little beach just behind the restaurant and while we were there a boat and a couple of jet skis pulled up and about ten people came up to eat. Happily we had reservations, so even though we'd been piddling around and hadn't sat down yet, our orders were taken first. Jamie and Adler wandered down to the beach while we were waiting. Adler would really have preferred to be swimming, instead of eating, but he let us get through our meal without too much of a fuss. It was pretty good, but not what we'd hoped. We did see the famous picture album with pictures of Johnny Depp from a Pirates of the Caribbean shoot that happened in the area.
After we ate we set out in search of another beach. Jamie asked that we just head back to the marina, so when Adler was done swimming she could take him directly into the showers and get him cleaned up before he was too tired to move. That's what we did and it generally worked out. Everyone is asleep now, and I'm trying to get the blog up-to-date before I head off to sleep, too.
03/30/2012, The Marina at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma
First, let me apologize for the late entry. I seem to have come down with whatever bug Jamie and Adler had last week. In Adler it's just a bad case of sniffles. For Jamie and I it is a sore throat and sore muscles and general lack of energy. I was just too tired yesterday evening to do anything. Our plan for the day was to go to George Town and rent a car. First we had our holding tank pumped out as Livingston, in the pump-out boat was in the area. He told us he also ran the water taxi and as soon as he finished with our tank he was going to go back and switch boats and come back with the water taxi. We had decided that Jamie and Adler and Adler's car seat should take the water taxi as we would never get the four of us, Fuzzy and the car seat across the harbor to George Town in the dinghy and stay dry. So we waited for the water taxi. It was almost 10:30 by the time it came back, dropped some folks at Hamburger Beach and got to Earendil to pick up Jamie and Adler. We told them to wait near the docks where they were dropped off in case they got to town before we did. No need to worry. The water taxi made two other stops before they came across the harbor. Bud dropped me at the public dock so I could take the garbage to the dumpster, then he took the dingy into Lake Victoria and tied it up at the dinghy dock inside. He had almost walked all the way back to the public dock by the time we got Jamie, Adler and the car seat unloaded from the water taxi.
You notice I list the car seat as if it were another person. That's because it probably weighs almost as much as Adler. It has straps so you can put it up on your back, but it is not the easiest thing to carry. Anyway, we trekked down the street to the bank where there was supposed to be one car rental place. We asked there and they sent us down a bit further to where the second car rental place was listed. We asked at that place and they said the car rental places in town had closed. The closest one was four miles away. We talked about Bud taking the dinghy up there and coming back for us, but then Bud suggested we not even try to rent a car as it was nearly noon already. Instead, we should move the boat back to the Marina at Emerald Bay where he thought we could have a car delivered. I called the marina to make sure and they confirmed. So I ran a couple of errands, we got a great lunch from the guy that sells jerked pork and chicken and ribs and ate it in the park. The only picnic table in their little town park was collapsed, so we ate on the stage of the pavilion where they do outdoor entertainment.
Then we walked back to the public dock and loaded Jamie and Adler back in the water taxi. As soon as Livingston got back, Bud, Fuzzy and I started the block or so back to the dinghy dock. We managed to get in the dinghy and out of Lake Victoria and pass the water taxi before they got back to Earendil, even though this time we were the first stop. We wanted to be there to help Adler back on board and to unload that incredibly heavy car seat, which we'd carried around all morning for nothing.
Within an hour we had everything stowed, out, closed, open, on, off, as needed to move the boat. We raised the anchor and set out for Emerald Bay. Adler watched us raise the anchor and started to watch as we made our way into the channel but long before we got out of the harbor he was down in his cabin, asleep. He had a nice nap, and when he woke up we were back at Emerald Bay. This time we didn't even put out the jib. We were going pretty much straight down wind and there was about 7 or 8 knots of wind, so no point. Anyway, we got docked in time for Adler to go for a late day swim, so he was happy. I put a few pictures from our day in the gallery. I didn't take a picture of the lovely car seat, I should have.
03/29/2012, Elizabeth Harbour, George Town
This morning, before it got too warm, Jamie, Adler and I climbed Monument Hill. We told Adler how the pirates used to climb up there and watch for ships, which they would lure to shore using false lights. Then they would plunder them if they wrecked. I don't think Adler got the idea completely, but he understood enough to want to climb the pirate's hill. Bud didn't want to walk again today as his foot was bothering him, so he dropped us off and made a run to town for groceries.
The trail to the Monument gets quite steep. I didn't get any pictures of Adler climbing that part because I was helping him, but he did a great job. When we got to the top we sat on the benches overlooking the harbor and Adler had a drink and snacks. This picture is Jamie and Adler taking their break at the top of Monument Hill. Then he was ready to make the trip down. He was starting to flag but managed to get back to the beach with the enticement of swimming. We stayed at the beach until 12:30 and it was time for his nap. I was just about to call Bud on the hand held VHF radio when we saw him heading towards us in the dinghy.
Today Adler actually took a nap in his berth. After he woke up Ed and Karin from Passages came by for a few minutes. They didn't stay long because they'd just gotten in and anchored, but they at least got to meet Jamie and Adler.
We went swimming again for a while in the afternoon. Adler can't get enough of the seawater and sand. Tonight he was awake for supper and was happy to have the great pizza that Grandpa made.