Monday, June 8, 2015

Desperately Seeking Chubby

   Ok, so, it's been a while since I've posted but, when you're traveling around the Bahamas, a decent internet signal is not easily obtained.  So, I didn't post because, well, I couldn't.  We are now actually back in the States and since there is quite a bit to catch up on, I am going to do things a little differently.  My plan is to put up a series of posts during the course of this week.  This will allow me to post, and you to read, in reasonable chunks.  So, without further ado, here is the first installment in my catch up series . . .

Heading To Shore
   Once we put Black Point to stern, we headed (along with most of the boats we'd been traveling with) for Staniel Cay.  Staniel is certainly not the biggest island in the Bahamas but, it does have a few more resources than a lot of the little places we visited.  It also held the possibility of a diesel mechanic by name of Chubby.  So, we sailed the short jaunt and, with some help from S/V Five Flip Flops and their dinghy, dropped anchor across from the channel to the marina.  We'd have liked to get in closer to our buddy boats but, we just didn't feel comfortable maneuvering into that area without an engine . . . sigh . . . oh well . . .

Running To The Grocery Store
Bet Your Local Store Doesn't Look Like This
   We were there for a couple of days trying to track down Chubby and taking advantage of the small stores to do a bit of grocery shopping.  We did a preliminary trip around town on our first day, just to get a feel for the layout of the town. The next day, the mail boat actually arrived.  Knowing when the mail boat arrives in the Bahamas, no matter what island you happen to be on, is essential.  The mail boat is a huge cargo ship that not only brings mail, but pretty much anything else you could imagine.  Produce, toiletries, furniture, boat parts, . . . whatever the locals need.  As a cruiser, if you talk to the right people and get you order in in time, you can actually have what you need shipped in, too.  Mail-order groceries in the Bahamas . . . and you thought that was something started in the States . . .

   The Isles General Store had all that we needed.  Once the crates (two truck loads worth) were unloaded and stocked, the wonderful little lady that runs the store opened up her doors.  We (we meaning Bill, myself, and two other cruising couples) descended on this grocery haven.  Green peppers, grapes, butter, ground beef, sour cream, and  . . . is that an avocado? . . . and (Wow!) a new start button for our diesel engine?!  We loaded up with what we could and shuffled over to the counter to have everything weighed and totaled up on an old calculator.

   As we each had our turn, the lady running the store struck up conversations with us all.  When Bill and I got to the counter, I told here that I was glad to have found a small jar of mayonnaise because I was going to make chicken salad with the grapes, celery, and chicken I found.  She told me that mayonnaise was good but, she usually used Italian or Ranch dressing (since mayo is hard to come by).  Hmmm . . . I never thought of that.  Ranch dressing would make a great stand in for mayonnaise.  I thanked her for the tip but, joked that she just cost herself some money.  I was going to put the mayonnaise back because I already had a bottle of Ranch on the boat.  She simply laughed and said,"That's fine, honey.  You just make sure you eat something healthy.".   She even dipped into her own personal stash of coffee when Bill couldn't find his regular dark coffee on the shelves.  This sort of generosity isn't hard to find in the Bahamas.  Warm, friendly locals are the norm.

   While anchored, Bill and I continued to sweat it out trying to fix our stubborn engine.  As for Chubby, well, we never found him.  The closest we got was a conversation with someone we actually met in Black Point.  I first talked with this guy in Lorraine's when he asked me how long I'd be in town to teach (I didn't have to ask how he knew I was "the teacher".  I did kinda stick out).  He seemed sympathetic toward our situation and offered to get Chubby to come to us.  By the time we left Black Point, we still hadn't set sight on this mechanic and figured we'd find him in Staniel.  As I was waiting outside the marina on our last afternoon for Bill to fill up our gas can, I heard, "Hey, Teach!" behind me.  I turned around to see the guy from Lorraine's waving at me.  He told me that although he'd been trying, he couldn't quite pin Chubby down either. . . So, the illusive Chubby stayed that way.
   I stated earlier that the locals are, on the whole, wonderful people.  The people that stay at the marina in their grandiose power boats . . . well. . . they, on the whole, leave something to be desired.  I was working my way though my old-fashioned laundry methods one afternoon, when I looked up to see a rather large power boat barreling towards us.  I nervously called over to Bill to warn him about this potential t-boning situation.  The boat was moving closer and I was about to grab the air horn when the boat turned hard to straighten out and pull alongside us (still moving enough to cause a wake).  "You MIGHT  want to think about moving your boat out of the channel!", the captain yelled.  Ruffled, I yelled back that the channel was clearly over there (pointing off behind our stern).  "NO IT ISN'T!" he retorted.  "It's right here!  I've been coming here for thirty years!  It's always been right here!".  Bill yelled over that we were anchored on a sand bar (shallow for his sort of boat) and that, surely, he didn't need to run through the sand bar. . . This screwball's answer to this? . . . "The sand bar is part of the channel, too!"  After trying to explain to Captain Sunshine that our engine was dead and that we couldn't move even if we were in the channel (which we weren't), he exploded, started talking into the wind, and said something about "moving anyway".

   I couldn't believe the audacity, the gall, the stupidity . . . First of all, he could have been a whole lot nicer.  Second of all, there were two other boats around us that actually were in the channel.  He didn't say a thing to them. . . and third, we were NOT in the channel.  We checked the charts.  We really were not in the way. . . I have very little tolerance for blatant ignorance but, couple it with arrogance and I have NO tolerance for the resulting "better than you" attitude . . . ugh . . .

Brain Coral Outside The Cave
This Little Guy Was Almost Too Quick

   So, as a way to relax, cool off, and actually enjoy this place we were anchored in, we and a few of the couples we were cruising with went to the grotto.  The grotto is a snorkeling site in a cave not too far from the channel.  The cave is accessible and best entered at slack low tide.  Once the tide starts to change again, the current becomes too strong to make swimming in the cave safe.  This was just what we needed.  It was certainly a worthwhile dinghy trip out there.  Fish and coral were everywhere and in a rainbow of colors.  We even brought some frozen corn (a tip from a friend) and released handfuls at a time.  The fish gobbled it up; It was a fish frenzy.  You could even hear the fish's mouths smacking closed as they snatched up a kernel.  This was a really cool experience.

So Many Fish

Looking Out From The Side Of The Cave

These Little Jellies Were All Over  The Place

Looking Up At The Cave

Lots Of Stripes

   Well, this finishes up our stay in Staniel Cay and my first catch up installment . . . Next up . . . Hawksbill Cay . . .

   Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)


  1. So where along the,Atlantic coast did you manage to hole up at?

  2. Well, I was trying to lead up to that as I progressed in my catching up . . . We are in Hollywood, Florida (just south of Ft. Lauderdale).


Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments.