When we last posted, we had finished up a glorious experience of the Exumas and were headed down to George Town, in the southern Exumas. George Town is a cruisers’ Mecca, with a large beautiful harbor, easy anchoring, the perfect beach bar, and large grocery and auto parts stores for provisioning and repairs. There’s a robust cruisers’ net that announces the weather, as well as daily opportunities to connect with other sailors. It’s also close to a major Bahamian airport, so it’s easy to pick up friends who come to visit – which we did with my friend Lauri Bonilla!
Lauri’s visit was a laid-back time. She was looking for sunshine and a little break from regular life, and I was so glad to welcome a friendly face from home. Andy was happy that Lauri successfully accomplished her assignment of bringing us a new raw-water pump for the port engine, which had been out of commission for weeks! He had that engine running again within fifteen minutes of her arrival. 😎
Lauri and I had a great time together. We mostly worked out, hung out at the Chat-n-Chill, fed the rays off of Volleyball beach, and enjoyed delicious Bahamian barbecue and giant mango daiquiris and painkillers.
The big drama during Lauri’s visit happened at night, on our way home from dinner, in the dinghy. Our 20HP Honda outboard kept running, but it failed to propel us forward! Our dinghy just started floating in the general direction of the waves. This was a new dilemma. We named our dinghy Patience for a reason, and we were reminded why. Fortunately we were equipped with safety light and handheld VHF radio, so we put out a call to the anchorage. A kind sailor put down the bourbon he had just poured himself, fired up his functional dinghy, and came to pick us up and tow us back to Gratitude. Where would we be without the aid of fellow cruisers?
We managed to shake it off the next day. Andy took the Honda apart and diagnosed the problem as a throttle linkage, then repaired it (cause he’s a boss like that). Then we spent the day sailing to Calabash Bay, off of Long Island. The winds were light and the water was impossibly blue, making for a pleasant sail to an area much less populated with other boats.
I had originally envisioned taking Lauri all over the Exumas, to visit the swimming pigs and snorkel in Thunderball Grotto. Alas, the weather during her visit had other ideas and limited our direction of travel. But Lauri’s a single mom who loves being out in the sun more than any person I’ve ever met! So I think that the sunshine therapy, combined with a little break from her lovely kiddos, made her time with us a nice little getaway, even if we didn’t do a lot of the touristy things that I would normally have planned.
After Lauri returned home, we followed a few days later, leaving our boat at the Emerald Bay Marina. Andy had a doctor’s appointment and I had scheduled the removal of my last two wisdom teeth. (The removal of the first two, back in 1988, was quite traumatic, so I’d been avoiding it for, well, decades!) I had the surgery on March 3, and was marginally better by March 8, when we returned to Gratitude. We wanted to begin our journey south and east to Puerto Rico as a soon as possible.
We didn’t have to wait too long for favorable weather to cross the southern Bahamas. We made one more provisioning trip to George Town, picking up not only groceries but also a new starter battery for the dinghy. Then we started plotting our course south: Rum Cay to Atwood Harbour, Atwood to Mayaguana, then Mayaguana to Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos.
We’ll cover the jump to T&C and then to PR in our next post. Meanwhile, here’s a final photo tribute to the beautiful and adventurous Lauri. Love you, my sweet friend!