While on the Exumas we’ve been doing short jumps between islands but now that we were planning to head North and ultimately making overnight/multi night jumps as we head home, it was time to think about how to get our auto pilot working; she conked out after we reached Bimini! Adrien had diagnosed the problem to a burned out component on the systems control board in the Electronic Computer Unit. ….Ohhhh, that was the burning smell we got a whiff of a few weeks ago!!!
We knew Greg on “Rapsody in Blue” had spare parts for our model autopilot (circa 1987!) they would make available to us….but they were in Georgetown, 70 miles away. Thankfully the power of the network is very strong amongst the boating community. I texted Par on “Hug” who was sitting in Georgetown; Par connected with Mark on “Nancy Lu” on Volleyball Beach in Stocking Island, Mark was anchored near “Rapsody in Blue” and let Greg know we’d like to take him up on his offer to try his spare parts. Mark then found a cruiser, through the Cruisers Net daily VHF broadcast, that was planning to leave the next day to sail north via Black Point to relay the parts. Then Mark used SSB (single side band radio) to let Que Sera Sera know how and when the parts would be delivered two days later! So, we may be surrounded by dirt roads, crowing roosters, reverse osmosis (r/o) water, no gasoline and two weeks since the next mailboat come in with a new shipment of fresh produce, and sketch internet and ….. but that was a pretty amazing use of old and new technology!
The next day we moved 3 miles North back to Blackpoint for our rendezvous with the courier! We spend the afternoon doing a few more chores; loaded up with more water, and since the weekly mail boat arrived the day before, a quick trip to Adderley’s for fresh produce, (melon, apples, bananas, oranges, romaine, huge red peppers, celery, and eggs were the best picks…you never know what you ‘re going to find or when you’ll find a good selection again!).
We also met up with Chivargo, Scorpio’s Bar owner, on the dock and he helped us covertly score 5 gals of gas for our outboard motor. There has been a severe gas shortage on the Exuma islands for weeks and noone seems to know why. Needless to say, cruisers has been looking for gas for their dinks, borrowering and bartering with other boaters was becoming every day conversations. We were down to our last gallon. Knowing a local was the secret to getting it! Investing in all those Happy Hours payed off!
Speaking of water…did I mention that Adrien fills our two -95 gallon water tanks 10 gallons at a time with jerry jugs. In Black Point he dinks to the Government dock, walks about 500 yards, fills the jugs from a knee high spiket by holding a release valve, carries them back to the dink, motors back to the D, empties them into the tank…. Then makes a few more trips! Water is good and clean in Black Point, so we fill up …it’s just painful! We are very spoiled at home with dockside fill ups! (*note to self….invest in a water maker before the next trip!) This trip has helped put water usage in perspective. I’m proud to say we can get about 2 weeks on one tank of water for cooking, cleaning, and showers. No, we don’t smell! I figure I use about 2 gallons on a shower…Adrien about a quart….. But I have long hair!!
We met Geri and Lillian Larsen at De Shammon’s for a pizza dinner and spend another enjoyable evening sharing stories and they were happy to relay our parts! A delightful Norwegian couple who sail a 54′ Hallsburg Rassy, and currently call Montreal their home.
Rays at the Gov’t dock waiting for scraps as the fishermen clean their catch. They are like poetry in motion. Adrien says they are like watching birds fly in slow motion!
By 08:00 we were off to Bitter Guana Cay to visit the Iguanas and walk the beach and snorkle and catch lobster. This Cay is a protected Iguana Preserve and known for their friendly Iguana’s. They did not disappoint. As we approached the beach to anchor we were wondering if we were I’m the wrong place, there was nothing to see on the white sandy beach. But as we dinked to shore, they came running out from the shade cover to greet us….it felt like an invasions…. Would they stop or attack? You aren’t supposed to feed them but I could not resist giving them a few stale chips! Adrien insisted I put them on the end of a clothes pin rather than feeding them from my hand.
We enjoyed a refreshing swim around D then weighed anchor for a short motor ride to Big Major’s Spot, our second time, to hide from weather. We dinked in to Pirates Beach with cocktails and snacks and the girls challenged the boys to a grudge match of Corn Toss…the boys won this time! We rounded out the evening with delicious Strawberry Grouper , couscous with garlic, salad with apples, goat chesse and toasted pine nuts, and a Blueberry Brumble for dessert. We finished the night with a round of Liverpool; Lauren won, Nina came in last!
The next morning we slept in! It felt great to not have a schedule! We enjoyed french toast made with delicious Coconut Bread from Lorraine’s in Black Point. Lorraine’s Mom cooks a variety of delicious dense breads in her small kitchen; Guava, cinnamon raisen…they are all delicious and freeze well so you can just pull out a few slices as you like. While Nina enjoyed an afternoon on Dolphin and checked in with the team at TRC, Brian and Adrien spent the afternoon spear fishing . They were lucky this time, Adrien found a Houndfish at the surface, Brian speared it. It was 3 ft long fish but got off and tried to bite Adrien’s shoulder, then went after Brian. (Note: there is a clue there of more to come on spear fishing!). The next shot worked and they landed it in the dink. On further exploration around Fowl Cay ( private island with an exclusive all inclusive resort @ $10k/wk!) Adrien speared a Spanish Lobster walking the bottom in 15′ water. Another good dinner was in the making!
We met on Que Sera Sera to draft a sail plan for the next few days and enjoyed a quiet dinner of a Chicken Alfredo and a bottle of Clos De Bois on Dolphin.