Saturday, March 04, 2006

Back on "Scott Free" again

It's been three months since we left our boat during which we visited our families and friends up north and in California. Scott did some consulting work and I taught skiing at Okemo. It had generally been a milder than usual winter but on the day we left it was 8 degrees. We left our coats in the car and ran for the terminal. Our three flight segments from Boston to Marsh Harbour on February 27 went smoothly for us but not our luggage. We had tried to carefully weigh our three black duffel bags to make the 50 lb limit each but they went over the limits at checkin. Luckily we were able to stuff our carry on bags with the smallest heaviest elements until they were acceptable. Our fourth piece was the lovely folding carriage that Zoe and George gave us for Christmas. All four didn't make our last flight to the Bahamas and arrived at various times the next day.
Our boat survived it's winter rather well. A tribe of lizards had made their home under our dinghy and it took two days of cleaning inside and out to make it shine again, but now we're just spending time fixing all the normal breakage. The stuffing box leaked and needed to be tightened (very difficult access), our outboard motor gear shift wouldn't budge and our electric windless (this pulls up the anchor) was dead. These are just the big items. Still, "it's a boat", as everyone is fond of reminding us.

We stayed at the boat yard two days and then anchored for two days in Marsh Harbour. Provisioning was a lot easier with our new cart! At one point it held four cases of juice and soda, a bag of laundry and three bags of groceries. There is WIFI available in the harbor and we made voice over internet calls to many people right from our boat. This is an amazing change from last year when we had trouble calling home even from the local pay phone. .
Our new kyack was rescued from the customs office at a cost of $380 (the boat only cost $790) and six hours of running about filling out forms. A front loader carried it to the edge of the freight dock and we paddled it back to the dinghy dock. We've already used this extensively as the outboard isn't working and our dinghy doesn't row very well
On Friday we sailed over to Hope Town on Elbow Cay and tied up to a mooring under the candy red and white striped light house. This charming small enclosed harbor is packed with boats, many here for most of the winter. Pastel hued small cottages line the harbor and we arrived just in time for "Heritage Day".
The whole community turned out for parades (on land and through the harbor), and fete type activities. Scott and I had our first swim of the season over at the miles long white beach. The water was 75 degrees - about the same as the air. It's been dropping down in the 60's at night and we're using at least one blanket
Most of the time though Scott is trying to fix our broken items. Parts for the outboard are arriving on Tuesday (hopefully) and he's got every tool and manual out trying to diagnose the problem with the windless. Pulling the anchor up by hand yesterday was a laborious and time consuming process . The stuffing box has been fixed and our bilge pumps are no longer laboring, so that's one down.
We met a terrific couple from Columbia and enjoyed their company before we left. Luis and Natalia are cruising on their small but well equiped "Vagamundo". The four of us walked around one end of the island on the beaches and enjoyed drinks and appetisers on their boat the next evening.

We hope to leave Tuesday for Little Harbour at the end of the Abacos and then sail the 55 miles down to Spanish Wells near Eleuthera on Wednesday, but we'll see. From there it's a day sail over to Nassau to pick up Sean on March 15. He'll be with us until the 24th as we cruise down through the Exuma chain to Georgetown. Diane and Mitch are joining us there on April 1 and we plan to go through the Turks and Caicos to the Dominican Republic with them.