Best Birthday Present Ever
Trip Start Nov 06, 2010
108Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Pete stayed up until just before 0600 when he woke Caleb to take over. Other than the head sea, it was an easy night - if not a bit sleepless. Finally about 0630 I got up from the v-beryth to give the settee a try - definitely less bouncy back there.
I was snoozing quite nicely when I heard a drastic drop in RPMs around 0830
We carried on motoring with a more brisk headwind and some intense head seas - it wasn't too terrible, but it was pretty wet and annoying. We had also discovered that our lovely chartbook was missing the close-up chart of the northern Berry Islands... Imagine how stoked we were when we flipped to page 11 and it skipped straight from page 9 to 12. Which led Pete to scroll through our Garmin chartplotter - apparently the chip that we purchased that included "East Coast U.S. and Bahamas" really meant PART of the Bahamas. Missing sections scattered all over - thanks Garmin!
OH well. This is why we have multiple tools for navigation. With our chartplotter leading us closer to Great Harbour Cay, the Navtronics app on Pete's iPhone, our cruising guide, and a harbor/anchorage guide that came with the charts, we were able to safely make our way in
We motored through and headed to the marin to clear customs. No problem getting in and, other than having to wait aboard until the customs officer arrived, clearing in was a breeze. Once cleared, we took down our yellow quarantine flag and raise the Bahamian courtesy flag, stepped on shored, used the head, and wandered around the marina a bit. We stopped into the Pool Bar just to check it out - one glance at the menu let us know we wouldn't be dining there to celebrate or anything - at least $20 for a meal! The rumors are true...
Back on the dock, we met Arline and Jon off of Kasidah. They had to get a tow coming in due to engine trouble. Very nice coupld from Upstate New York, and Jon and Pete were able to discuss engine issues. After a while, they told us about the party the marina was throwing at the Beach Club. As it's my birthday, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to celebrate it and our arrival. Pete chatted with the dockmaster to see if it would be cool for us to join, and he let us know where to show up!
We moved Hejira to anchor back out in the harbor. There was one other catamaran anchored to one side of the channel, but it didn't look quite spacious enough. As we tried elsewhere, Caleb and I stood on the bow watching the color of the ater to see if it was getting shallow. Suddenly, it went from dark green to a lighter shade and we could clearly see grass - we should have yelled back immediately but, of courese, we hesitated - and ran aground. At least it was grass! Once Caleb and I got our fat butts aft, Pete was able to throw it in reverse and give it some and we were able to back off. We kept hunting for where the deep water ended and were able to find a comfortable and spacious anchorage.
We got settled, grabbed our celebratory bottle of rum from Dennis and Vicky from back in Ft. Lauderdale, and took the dinghy (okay Howie?!) back to the marina. Pete got a little pamphlet from the marina with a little map on it, and we started the 20 minute walk to the Beach Club. Not more than five minutes into our walk, a nice Bahamian named Alvin stopped in his pickup to offer us a ride. Caleb and Pete hopped in the bed, and I sat up front and chatted. He didn't have brakes in his pick up (knows how to fix it, just waiting on the part to arrive...who knows how long that will take), so we got a more scenic drive cutting through random side roads to avoid stop signs. It was kind of hilarious. But he managed to stop perfectly in front of the Beach Club.
We thanked him for the ride and walked up to the Club. It was a quaint little hut, and there were a couple of people there but we were obviously early. We wandered down to the beach, and it was gorgeous. The sand was so fine it was like lobster butter. Seriously. And the water was such a bright aquamarine. There were a couple of boats anchored and we're toying with the idea of coming over for a night before we leave this island - we'll see. The three of us had a really nice time just standing with our feet in the water, moving the sand around with our feet, sipping rum, and enjoying being here. We look forward to having a bit of time to just relax here.
Finally, we could see some action up at the club to we wandered up. We saw Jon and Arline from back at the marina, and we also met a nice Canadian couple on Glory Days I, a catamaran, and Judy and Steven from the sailboat Hey Jude. All very nice people, and we had a nice time chatting with them - it'll be good for us to talk to such seasoned cruisers since we're such rookies! Though, it was pretty funny, whenever Caleb would introduce himself, mostly just to Bahamians, they would say "Say it slower..." Caleb would repeat his name, and without fail, they would say, "Cable??" I think it's a good new nickname.
After a while, the food was laid out on the bar - and oh man were we spoiled! Barbequed ribs, chicken wings, fried grouper and fried conch, rice and beans, and Bahamian macaroni and cheese (apparently it involves a block of cheese, sweetened condensed milk, and some sort of chiles - killer...and I'm sure it was totally fat free...). We enjoyed all the complimentary food and tasty rum cocktails - and thanked Joe, the owner of the marina, profusely for such hospitality. We couldn't have asked for a better first night. The music got going, and, mostly, the Bahamians got to dancing, and after a while, there was even cake put out. They must have known it was my birthday! Ha.
After a long evening of socializing, the marina crew was headed back - and they had a ride. Seeing as it had been raining intermittently, we were stoked when Jon ran back to let us know there was room for us! We hopped in the back of the truck, and we all joked and laughed our way back to the dock. It was a really good time. Tomorrow, Pete will go take a look at Jon's engine just for another set of eyes to confirm what Jon thinks the issue is. It'll be good.
We hopped in the dinghy and made our way back out to the harbor to Hejira. Caleb played guitar for a while, and we're enjoying ourselves just chilling on the boat before bed. I was pretty shocked when I glanced at the clock - it isn't even 2200! It's going to be a killer night of sleep. Really glad to be here.