Weather Window: To Eleuthera
Paul’s sister, Arden left a week ago today. She was here during a very important time (without knowing)…to help us dust ourselves off. Offering motivation and understanding only a loyal blood relative could bring. Awaiting her arrival had been a mix of excitement turned frustration. We were so excited to share this experience with her and offer some respite from the NY winter, but little did we know, we’d have simple necessities stripped moments before she landed. When Arden arrived, we were docked at a gas/mechanic marina in Nassau. A spot that made me question the qualifications the title “marina” required. She found us at the back end of a gas station at the end of the dock right in the wake of the channel and all it’s traffic, rocking our boat with every jet-ski that passed. It wasn’t a true marina experience but rather a dock, offering one single great advantage over anchoring: simply that we were steps (not a dinghy ride) from a grocery store and a grass-patch for Foxy. We needed to be docked to empty our dirty fuel and replace the alternator that flaked a couple days earlier. It rained early the morning Arden was expected and while Paul and I lay awake at dawn, he announced that the refrigerator had broken. He could hear it short-cycling all night and soon it would serve only as a cooler, should we add ice. All of our cold storage would have to be limited again to the Engel (our cooler sized “back up” fridge). Thank goodness there was enough room to house a welcoming beer for Arden’s arrival-cheers a few hours later. Priorities. Within the next few hours we’d almost lose the Engle too when our boat was drenched in diesel (see the last post for full story). Imagine having a gas tank under your house that needs to be cleaned. A service man comes into your house, picks up the floor of your living room, runs a hose from the floor to the ceiling and through a sunroof to a tank on your roof. Now imagine the service man skipping over standard precautions such as the use of a hose clamp to keep the diesel contained as it moved up past your walls, your framed pictures, couch cushions and food. Not to mention your visitor’s bags and freshly made bed. All would be victim to diesel that afternoon. I’d like to be nice and say it was a mistake by the nice local man, but he was just pure lazy and irresponsible.
Arden is the stand out beauty girls wish they could be. Tall, creative and smart, she is well-cultured, flexible and adventurous, consistently sarcastic and down for anything! She is like her brother, a renaissance (wo)man. She can do everything and does; a YOLO ambassador. She was the perfect person to have onboard those couple of days. Though we wished only “smooth sailing” for her visit, she witnessed some of our hardest times to date and kept us positive and enjoying the ride. The days that followed would be a sigh of relief as we cruised around Highbourne Cay (Cay is pronounced “key”) and back to Rose Island in perfect weather and grateful spirits to have overcome the hardships. You can read her take on the visit on the blog previous to this one. We missed her immediately after she left the boat.
Back in Nassau, Arden flew out and we regrouped. Brice, Paul’s brother, was set to arrive in 6 days. We walked our alternator to a shop for repair and hung out at Starbucks, emailing friends and family. The Starbucks there is great with a shaded veranda and tons of couches. One of our neighbors in the anchorage Paul met when docked in Jupiter, called Mishtamek, carrying Claude and Jocelyn from Canada (their blog: mishtamek.wordpress.com). Like us, they have an Irwin 37 CC sailboat which makes for instant friends. We joined them on Mishtamek for a sunset drink and dinner one night, then had them aboard Floridian the following night, along with our good friend Joe (“Uncle Joe” for all knowing). They were great. Brought fresh made popcorn in their pressure cooker and even treats for Foxy Lady! I will never forget the little excitement I get from having visitors come over on their dinghy and hearing a motor get closer to us, announcing their arrival.
The weather was perfect the next day for crossing to Eleuthera, a trip we planned to take once Brice was onboard, but since the weather wouldn’t lighten up during his visit, he added a flight to meet us there instead. We left Saturday morning and had another one of those “is this heaven?” crossings.
Pic from Floridian as we enter Hatchet Bay. Like so many of the island, they are outlined on the bank-side by tall rocky ledges.
We got to Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera mid-afternoon and spent the next couple of days making water runs, diving a bit on the West side and hitchhiking to the laundry mat and to The Rainbow Inn to dance. It’s the first place I’ve ever hitchhiked but the locals are so nice here, it’s the norm. Arden left the wonderful book, Wild which I am slowly reading to try and extend the life of the story and Sheryl Strayed’s writing. Aside from the herion stint, her memoir almost feels like I’m reading the journal I never wrote. Nice little fact I learned from the book that translates into my current life: water weighs 8.3 lbs per gallon. Author, Sheryl learns this from her hiking experience. Paul and I have 6 gallon water jugs so the words, “50 lbs” keeps repeating in my head each time I wobble a jug down the road and back to our dinghy. Paul carries two at a time (100 lbs) and still beats me. How? I don’t know. The handles dig into you as the water weight shifts around inside. I think of Sheryl often now and how much worse she had it during her Pacific Coast Trail hike, reminding me that I can tackle the hard chores when they come around. Paul taught me how to syphon water into the tank too. I basically choke and cough the whole time, but make it work.
Yes, we still take Foxy everywhere.
Brice arrived yesterday (Tuesday, February 10th) and we quickly fell in love with his friend, Georgia who happens to be staying on the island for a bit and gave him a ride from the airport. They both came aboard, I made dinner and they played Paul’s guitar. Georgia has a beautiful voice and they jammed in our cockpit for sunset. We ended Brice’s arrival day with some dancing at a local bar (The Sugar Apple) where ex-pats frequent and Georgia went onstage to sing/play with the guys for a few songs.
In Memory of my Dad: Today has been 6 months since he passed away. I don’t understand the need to acknowledge this in writing. Something just seems so substantial about the fact that you can miss someone enough to count the days since they left your reach.