Drifting Through Paradise

 

Part 4 – The Out Islands

 

March 3, 2000 (Probably Friday)

Conception Island

 

We are at Conception Island! Yesterday we were in Calabash Bay at Long Island.

 

Wednesday’s forecast was for light winds and beautiful sailing conditions through Saturday. We were ready to go – as was Blue Star, Katy, and Hope. September Song needed a new exhaust elbow so they stayed behind for a day. They first tried to repair the one that was leaking but the welding failed. Then they ordered a new one. When it arrived, a Customs duty was owed. Tom was furious. The part should’ve been duty-free as it was a replacement part for a yacht in transit. The company in St. Pete swears that they attached the cruising permit necessary for duty-free parts but UPS swears that there was no permit attached. So it was one word against the other. The next challenge was to make it fit. The old one was 2 inches, the new one is 3 inches. The first attempt failed but the second attempt worked! They were underway by Thursday and everything seems fine.

 

We had a nice motorsail on Wednesday to Long Island. Nice place, although we didn’t go ashore. Hope and Katy went snorkeling and said that all the coral was dead. Not much to see. So on Thursday, everyone was ready to leave. The anchorage at Calabash Bay was pretty rolly. The swells were very long. We were in a predicament because we thought September Song would stop at Long Island. Especially because sailing with a toddler is like single handing. We didn’t want them to think we left them behind. In addition, Hope wanted to take advantage of the glorious weather window and sail straight south to Provo. Katy was bound and determined to see Conception, yet they all wanted to stay together. The conflict and discussion made our heads spin so we decided to stay in Long Island and wait for September Song. Two hours after everyone left, we talked to September Song on the VHF. They decided with the westerly wind, they didn’t want to stop at Long Island – they were headed straight to Conception! We were underway and out of the anchorage in less than 40 minutes. It turns out that September Song anchored just minutes after we did in Conception. Boy, they travel fast! They averaged 7 knots on the trip. They caught a 3 foot dolphin fish along the way and invited us to dinner. It was wonderful!

 

We are not entirely clear on Conception Island’s status as a marine park. We know without a doubt that it’s a land park. This means that nothing can be take from the island and nothing can be left behind. The laws about the sea around Conception have changed often. Near as we can tell, the taking of anything around Conception should be done with extreme conservation in mind. They want the area left in its natural, pristine state. There are beautiful white birds here – they have long tail feathers. They resemble white doves with the additional tail feather length.

 

Katy and Hope also snorkeled nearby last night and came home with four enormous lobsters and a good-sized yellow tail snapper. Also, on the way here, Blue Star got an eight-pound fish. They also got a gigantic dolphin fish but that one got off the hook. Everyone is getting seafood tonight.

 

Today we are going on a dinghy ride up a creek to watch turtles. Then we’ll snorkel and I am going to try to catch lobster with a net. Then tomorrow we’ll head towards Rum Cay.

 

March 6, 2000

Underway Towards Mayaguana

 

We are heading from Rum Cay to Mayaguana today. Friday we did dinghy up the creek at Conception. We saw turtles and a lot of conch. Everyone agreed we should only take one conch per person. So I killed my first conch. I thanked God and the conch for his life. After that we went snorkeling. Boy, is the coral ever beautiful! And the fish! Incredible! They look like fish you’d find in an aquarium. In fact, the water is so clear and the bottom so beautiful if feels like we’re in a giant aquarium. The water is still cold, though. Seventy-seven degrees so you can’t snorkel too long without getting cold.

 

Saturday we took off for Rum Cay, 15 miles south. We were able to sail most of the way! It was wonderful. I tried to fish using conch guts as bait but only managed to catch Sargasso weed. A lot of Sargasso weed. The conditions were so nice we started talking about going on to Mayaguana.

 

Mayaguana is 130 miles southeast. We saw September Song tack straight east and thought they too were going to continue and skip Rum. We couldn’t raise them on the VHF so we really weren’t sure what they were doing. Based upon their tack east, however, they did not appear to be headed towards Rum. So we figured, what the heck, let’s go to Mayaguana. Blue Star, Katy, and Hope all decided to do the same.

 

Then September Song finally called on the VHF to say that they had anchored on the north side of Rum at Flamingo Bay to have lunch. They definitely were not going to do the overnight to Mayaguana. We told them of our decision to continue on and had a sad radio "goodbye". We must’ve changed our minds six times. Got to Rum, go to Mayaguana. In the end we said goodbye to Blue Star, Hope, and Katy. We anchored at Rum.

 

While sailing in, we saw 5 whales that were swimming near our boat! It was incredible! The whales mate and migrate north in February and March. What a sight! I even saw a whale do the tail thing.

 

We had to maneuver around some incredible coral heads to get in. After anchoring, I caught a cow fish. A cow fish is beautiful but not edible. They have hard triangular faces and are blue with light blue spots along their back. While Mitchell was looking through the fish book to try and figure out what it was, I still had the fish on the hook in the water. Another cow fish came along to nose bump the fish I caught. I felt so bad. Then we pulled out the hook to free him and he took off with mighty speed!

 

Olde Thompson is here! So the 3 of us, Olde Thompson, September Song, and us did some hiking and had the best conch fritters on the planet at Kay’s Bar & Restaurant in the little town of Port Nelson. Four years ago we had awesome conch fritters in Boca Grande at Miller’s Marina. No conch fritters have ever surpassed those until today. Kay’s Restaurant is a neat place. The floor in the bar is sand. The people on Rum Cay are very nice.

 

While we were wandering around the town, we met Perkins, who was sitting on his porch. He showed us the puppies his dog just had. The puppies were so cute! Rob and Stacy (Olde Thompson) were tempted to take one home. Perkins also had two pigs. They were cool to see as well.

 

We went on a walk on Saturday and Sunday. Both days we saw this horse. Each day it was tethered in a different place on the road. We presume it was tied in various places so it could munch on the vegetation by the side of the road.

 

Tom and Cindy showed no indication of wanting to leave anytime soon, so with this wonderful weather window we figured we would have to say goodbye here and make use of the conditions to go on to Mayaguana.

 

Olde Thompson is ready to go as well so we decided to travel together. Then Sunday night September Song surprised us and said they would be going with us. Yahoo!

 

Underway we did have to perform a mid-ocean transfer from Hetty Brace to September Song. It seems Sept. Song had no Oreos on board and had a terrible craving. So Mitchell got on the radio to ask permission to approach. Permission granted and we maneuvered within 3 feet of Sept. Song to hand off the cookies safe and sound. I’ll bet they were good on the night watch.

 

March 9, 2000

Abraham’s Bay, Mayaguana

 

It took five minutes to pin down the day of the week and the calendar date. But there it is.

 

Monday we left Rum bound for Mayaguana. We sailed 90% of the way – the longest pure sail yet. Around midnight we had to turn on the engine to let our batteries charge. We have a lot of electronics going: watermaker, two GPS units, computer, radar, radio, nav lights. All those items make the trip very nice.

 

We encountered four large ships on this passage. Three freighters and one cruise ship. September Song hailed them all and they all came back which is unusual. The cruise ship, Veendom, was able to see all three sailboats on radar. This is great! We spotted them on our radar 12 miles out. As they approached the sky turned bright with all of their lights. At one point, in the middle of nowhere, we had to slow to allow a huge container ship to pass in front of us. The container ship was bound for Nassau, the cruise ship bound for St. John. Watching the cruise ship travel at 22 knots, knowing all the wonderful things they had on board and knowing that by morning they would arrive in the Virgin Islands, while we’re traveling at 6 knots is a bit discouraging. Then I thought about how two weeks on a cruise ship would cost what we will spend during 6 months. Also, those people will never know Rum, Mayaguana, or Black Point. They’ll only know the big tourist areas, so they won’t get a real taste of the life of the countries they are visiting.

 

By 6am our seas turned choppy, making me feel a bit green. We were still traveling at 6 knots with our genoa up though, so the trip would be quick. Tuesday we decided to anchor in Start Bay at Mayaguana. This was alright. We figured we could go ashore and enjoy the beach before proceeding on to Abraham’s Bay. We were all so worn out by the morning chop all anyone felt like doing was napping.

 

Then at 5pm the swell began rolling us. This drove us crazy. We tried to rig a flopper stopper and it helped a bit.

 

On Wednesday I caught a Sand Tile Fish. He was beautiful but I don’t think he’s edible. I feel bad about that and am unsure if I will fish again. I don’t want to torture fish I can’t eat. I don’t want to torture any fish.

 

We left a bit late for Abraham’s Bay. The land effect was creating storm clouds that made it very hard to see the water. It is imperative we have sunshine so we can see the coral surrounding the bay. It was a call whether we should go to Plan B or transit the cut into Abraham’s Bay. We transited and Mitchell got us in safely. Once we passed the reef we touched the bottom once but only lightly. By 10am the winds piped up to 15 or so knots which made the water choppy. Abraham’s Bay is extremely shallow. We had to anchor what seemed to be miles from shore. In fact, you can’t even get to the town dock at low tide in the dinghy. So once we anchored we decided to wait until tomorrow to make the trip into town. That way we’ll have water and less wind if we head in early in the morning.

 

Today, Thursday, it’s barely 8am and the wind has just come up. The whole night has been calm with very light winds. Now the wind is quite strong.

 

We went to town today. But before I go into all the wonder adventures, I want to tell you about the Manta Ray we saw yesterday. It was the size of Tom and Cindy’s dinghy. I don’t have to exaggerate because that’s where we saw it – right under their dinghy. We got to look at it through our glass bottom bucket. Boy was that neat. Today as we dinghied to town we saw many smaller rays.

 

The town dock is a concrete behemoth. About 6 feet tall, 15 feet wide and 100 feet long. The water at high tide was only 3 feet deep. We tied the dinghy to the dock and threw out an anchor just to be sure. I guess we didn’t "tie" the dinghy to the dock because there were no cleats to tie to. The best we could do was stuff the painter into a crack in the concrete.

 

A half mile down the road is Abraham Bay Settlement. Our first stop was at Batelco to busy a phone card and pick up our e-mail. The phone didn’t work at Rum Cay so it we hadn’t picked up e-mail since George Town. My Dad is in the hospital for some tests – it’s very worrisome to be waiting for news from home when we’re so far away. We’ll know more about the tests in 3 or 4 days.

 

It was nice to walk around after being on the boat for four days. We walked all around the town. The houses looked very nice – nicer even than most of the home we’ve seen in the Bahamas.

 

We met Doris. Doris and the Captain have a guesthouse and store. We were able to get some soda there (no diet soda – they don’t ever get that). Unfortunately the Captain was in Nassau having surgery. Doris seems to think he’ll be OK, however. Next we walked by the school. They have three classes for all the school children. I reckon they group them by age as best they can rather than grade. From there we went to the Paradise Resort. Which is basically a restaurant behind some buildings. We met the proprietor, Miss Morris. She agreed to cook us lunch later in the day. As we went on exploring we met Cassan Cartwright. Cassan works for the electric company and was out reading meters. He offered to give us a tour of the island when he was done working. So while we waited we stopped in another grocery store. There we met Henry Charlton. Henry is 82 years old. He says his great grandfather founded Abraham’s Bay in 1679. Tom and Mitch figured he must’ve missed a few "greats" when talking about his grandfathers. He did say that the settlement was founded with four sons and two daughters.  Henry has a lot of grandchildren and the woman witting with him, she was in her 80’s and she had 80+ grandchildren and 3 great, great grandchildren.  We asked her if she knew them all and she laughed and said NO!  There’s no way she could know all 80+ grandchildren.  It turns out that Henry is Mis Morris’ father.  Furthermore, Cassan is dating Miss Morris’ granddaughter.  Boy, this is a tight knit community!

 

So after a delightful conversation with Henry, Cassan took us all over Mayaguana.  We got to see his home, Betsy Bay Settlement.  That’s also where they dock the mailboat.  He also explained how the people get groceries and goods.  They fill out their list and enclose money in an envelope and give it to the first mate on the mailboat.  The mailboat fills the order and they add a delivery charge of $2 per box for dry goods and $5 for frozen.

 

We also saw bamboo trees and herons and egrets.  We’ve noticed an absence of birds in most of the islands north of George Town.  But south there seems to be more – we even saw a fish hawk on Conception and another here in Mayaguana.

 

Cassan also took us to Pirate Wells.  The bay there, which is much like Abraham’s Bay only situation on the north side of the island, is beautiful.  We got to see a newly finished hotel.  Cassan said it was open but there was nothing going on there.  No visitors there either.  He said when Homecoming came, there would be a lot of people filling the hotel.  People who have moved away will come back for Easter and Emancipation Day and bring their friends.

 

Cindy mentioned in passing that we would like to find some corn flour to make tortillas.  So we asked around and finally were told that Miss Lucinda had just ground corn this morning.  We got to meet Miss Lucinda.  She showed us how you took ground corn, separated the grit from the flour, then separated the grit from the hulls.  It was so cool!  Then she gave Cindy some for Dylan.  She also gave us a sweet potato and a cataba root.  She was a very nice and warm woman.  Luckily we put perfume and soaps in our backpack.  Miss Lucinda’s face lit up with the gift.  She refused all offers to pay for the flour.  She also had a puppy with her.  I asked her how old the puppy was – she didn’t know because it wasn’t her puppy.  It just liked to hang out at her house.

 

I was able to step back and view the scene on Miss Lucinda’s porch.  It was delightful and warm and comfortable.  Tom noticed she also had herbs that she used for fevers and other medicinal purposes.  She asked Cassan some questions - I didn’t clearly hear her.  I did hear his replies though: “Yes, Ma’am, No Ma’am”.  I think that growing up among close-knit people makes for good manners.

 

Then it was time to head back to Miss Morris’ for lunch.  What a great lunch it was!  Fried chicken and fish with french fries and rolls.  I was able to give Miss Morris some soaps and her eyes lit up at the gift as well.  I’m so very happy to have met such nice, wonderful people.  It’s the reason we went cruising.

 

I’d like to drop off some books for their library and check out Reggie’s Bar before we go.  There are also a lot of reefs we could snorkel.

 

Tonight we were able to have Olde Thompson and September Song over for drinks and snacks.  Today was a really wonderful day.

 

March 11, 2000

Abraham’s Bay, Mayaguana

 

Rob and Stacy are talking about buying land in Mayaguana.  You can get a nice seaside parcel for about $1200.  Not bad for a retirement home.  Rob found conch yesterday – enough for all 6 boats in the harbor.  We had a “conch cook-off” and all met on Elan (a Morgan Out Island 41).  I made conch chowder, Sept. Song made conch poppers, Whitewinds came from Provo and they brought a wonderful salad with Romaine lettuce and cherry tomatoes!  Elan and Olde Thompson made conch fritters and Aldeberon made a wonderful cabbage and conch casserole.  It was all very nice.  Afterwards, we had a vote and I won!  Patty and Rob on Elan created a wonderful prize bag of Altoids, raisins, gum, toilet paper and an apple.  It was a wonderful prize!  It’s funny how splendid little things become.

 

Today I was telling Mitch that when we get back to the States, I will be drinking Diet Coke and eating pizza for the first two weeks we’re back.  We were in town to make phone calls home and to look for soda, milk, potatoes, and celery.  Ha!  Mayaguana hasn’t gotten their last TWO scheduled mailboats and no one is sure when a mailboat will arrive.  The only thing we could get in town was full strength Coca-Cola.  No diet soda to be had on the island.  No milk, no potatoes and no celery.  Farrington’s Grocery did have Snickers bars, though.

 

It’s really nice to meet people and visit places where communities live in relative harmony.  No killings, theft, or prejudice.  People here are so friendly, relaxed, and easy going.  It’s amazing to think that most of these folks have never seen freeways or huge populations of people.  Cassan lived in Nassau for a while and he hated it.  He prefers Mayaguana’s simple life where everyone knows everyone else.  I tend to agree with him.

 

Rob and Stacy talked at length with Henry Charlton today.  He told them a story of when he was in the army during World War II.  The British/Bahamian government sent him to Florida to help with the war effort.  I must mention that these people are extremely polite using please, thank you, ma’am, and sir in all conversations.  Henry went to the grocery to get some milk.  He wasn’t allowed in the front door.  He went to the back door and asked the woman “Ma’am, may I please get some milk”.  The woman was very disrespectful and rude.  Henry had no idea why.  Imagine never encountering prejudice in your life and then being stuck in Florida way back then.  I imagine even today if folks from Mayaguana went to the States the would be pretty baffled by the treatment they might receive.

 

Flipside, what a joy to see school kids playing in the schoolyard and knowing they’ve never had to encounter that kind of crap.  It’s really nice to visit places that are free of that stuff.  And it’s really nice to encounter friendly people that will share their lives with you the way these people have with us!

 

March 15, 2000

Sapadillo Bay, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

 

We are in Providenciales!  Provo for short – don hurt your tongue, mon!

 

Sunday we attempted to leave Mayaguana.  We had good water but the tide was falling and the wind was opposing the current.  The resulted in a small “rage”.  Water is trying to pour out the cut while wind is trying to blow it back in.  We had 5 to 6 foot breaking waves in the cut so we decided to turn around and try again on Monday.  The weather Sunday night was great, light winds and calm seas but you have to time the cut right and that meant a mid-morning departure.

 

So Monday we set out and the cut was no problem.  The passage to the Turks & Caicos was a rough one – very bumpy.  A short chop with wind gusts.  Nothing scary, just a bit uncomfortable.  We arrived on the lee coast of Provo at Malcom Roadstead around 10:00pm and used our computer charting, radar, and the depthsounder to figure out where to drop the hook in the dark.  We really didn’t need anything other than the depthsounder – Malcom Roadstead is probably the ideal after dark anchorage.  The anchorage was clear and calm and the moon lit up the sky.  On the beach were tiki huts.  These tiki huts were the setting of an old French TV game show called Pago Pago.  The deal was, you were supposed to collect “pearls” on the ocean floor while mermaids with dive tanks would come by and give you a breath of air.  Only there was one bad mermaid which would swim away when you signaled her.  They only shot 12 episodes.

 

The beach here was beautiful and we wanted to stay here another day.  Unfortunately we hadn’t yet cleared into the country so we couldn’t go ashore anyway.  So we got up at 5:30 Tuesday morning to go around the islands and outlying reefs to arrive early at the Sandbore Channel into Sapadillo Bay.  You have to arrive early because by late morning the trade winds coupled with the land effect really kick up the winds – which, of course, are right on the nose.

 

Meanwhile we noticed a lot of vibration again in our engine.  We could even see some vibration on the prop shaft.  This is not good.  So we go slow to avoid damaging anything.  Mitchell thinks our Nassau repair may have given up on the rough crossing over from Mayaguana.  There’s a machine shop in Provo so we will try to have the necessary parts made to fix the mounts correctly.

 

We got the anchor down and had a fairly rolly night.  The winds really piped up last night.  I’m glad we took the passage on Monday night.  Tuesday night would’ve been much worse.

 

Provo is the land of stuff!  Near Nassau in prices, sometimes cheaper.  But the grocery selection!  Oh, so much more stuff than we’ve seen in four months.  The downside is that nothing is close by.  We took a bus/taxi into town yesterday - $4 per person each way – that’s a quick $16!  All the cruisers who’ve been here a while say hitchhiking is the way to get into town and most people will offer you a ride.  You don’t use your thumb, however, because that is not considered polite.

 

So, we’re here to explore and to take care of our engine.  We’re undecided if we’re going to go on to the Dominican Republic.

 

March 17, 2000

Sapadillo Bay, Providenciales

 

Mitch fixed our engine and I did laundry with two Haitian women. 

 

Yesterday September Song and us hitchhiked into town.  Everyone was so friendly and picked us up almost immediately.  We went across town three times and quickly/easily got a ride wherever we went.

 

We started at the marine store.  They had a decent selection of stuff and we were able to get the stainless bolts, nuts, and rods we needed to fix the engine mounts.  Then onto the machine shop where they promised to have the rods welded to the bolts by afternoon.  The reason we need the stainless rods welded to the nuts is because the position of the nuts under the engine is so small, no hand or tool can get in there.  So by welding a rod to the nut we can position the nut properly to be able to thru bolt the engine mounts.

 

We heard of a good Mexican restaurant across town called Hey Jose’s, so off we went to lunch – it was extremely good.  The dining experience was very similar to a good restaurant in the U.S.  This was a first for us in the past four months.  We were also on a mission this day to find Dylan a pair of shoes.  He woke up one day last week and had out grown all of his shoes.  After lunch we went to Payless.  Payless is a garage of sorts with bulk merchandise.  In fact, Cindy and I are convinced that it all came from Sam’s Warehouse in the States.  In addition to a pair of sandals for Dylan, we stocked up on Snickers.  Along with September Song, we went half on a case of 48.

 

The nuts were done and it was inexpensive.  We also managed to get some great produce at Island Pride Grocery.  Island Pride is not big on pricing so sometimes you have to ask or take a chance on things.  All of the produce bins had recipe sized cards displaying the price of various vegies.  The problem was, the vegies in a particular bin did not match the price card attached.  A bin of apples would have a price card that read “Carrots $0.69”.  Cindy got really good at picking out produce and roaming the aisle looking for the correct card.  Then an employee came along and said that all of the produce on the left side was being swapped for the produce on the right side.  We don’t know why.

 

We had winds in excess of 30 knots last night.  The roll was so bad that Mitchell and I would wake up multiple times in the night – we would get rolled awake.  So on Thursday night, after two really rolly nights, we put out a stern anchor to position the boat into the waves rather than the wind.  The waves roll around a point in Sapadillo Bay and are therefore not necessarily from the same direction as the wind.  With the stern anchor we were able to sleep through the night.  It lessened the roll considerably.

 

Today I went ashore to do laundry.  We’d been told there was a cistern nearby.  Meanwhile Mitchell was going to through bolt the engine mounts.  It wasn’t an easy job – even with the new rods.  Tom help and Mitch feels good about the repair.  I think that it was supposed to be this way from the beginning.  When the weather turns nice, he’ll dive and try to fix our prop.  There’s a chunk missing and a blade tip is bent.  Maybe a needle-nose pliers will help us re-gain the knot we lost in our motoring speed.

 

I trudge up to the abandoned house off the dock all of the boaters use and to my delight and surprise there are two women in the courtyard doing their laundry.  The house has not windows and garbage is everywhere yet you can tell that at one time it was a nice house.  Actually, in the guidebooks it’s referred to as the Provo Aquatic Center.  I don’t know what an Aquatic Center is though, although Bruce Van Sant in Gentleman’s Guide to Passages South mentions something about being able to get a drink there.

 

Anyway, the women don’t speak English or Spanish.  They speak Creole and they are from Haiti.  They let me use their bucket to draw water from the cistern and then the three of us sat on the patio doing our laundry.  Between hand signals and a smattering of English, Spanish, and French, we talked a bit.  When they saw the grimy-ness of my whites one of the ladies put some bleach in my bucket – then they saw I was using liquid soap.  They used their dry soap and a stiff brush and began scrubbing my laundry!  Before I knew it, they were completely doing all of my laundry while I drew water from the cistern and rinsed.  When I pointed to her pile of unfinished laundry and tried to tell her that shouldn’t be helping me, she would smile and nod.  At one point she said “I’m not a lazy woman, I work hard”.  I would smile, put my hands over my heart and point to her and say “You are so good, so warm, merci bo cou”!  I said merci bo cou a lot!  They were so nice and so generous!  They even asked if I was coming back to do my laundry next week.  I tried to explain that if the weather is bad, I would be back.  I’m not sure if they understood.  Oddly enough, I detected a note of desire – I think they actually wanted me to come back to do my laundry with them!  When I think about how nice those women were, how generous to help me do my laundry when that had piles of laundry themselves, I feel very warm inside.  It’s really nice meeting new people – and I’ve learned a lot on how to hand wash laundry!

 

Tonight the winds have lightened to 15 knots.  All of the cruisers had cocktails and snacks on the beach to celebrate.  Then Tom, Cindy, and Dylan came over for curry chicken.  Dylan is getting so big!  He readily will try out new words and often puts 2 or 3 of them together.  “Bye, bye sun” (at the sunset), “two dinghies”, “big fish”, “big boat”, and “abeedabeedabee”.  I’m not sure what the last word means but he likes to say it often and when you say it he smiles or laughs.  We will miss the three of them this summer….

 

Tomorrow all of the cruisers are invited to a cook out hosted by the local residents.  We’ll have to hike into town to get something we can throw on the grill.  Also, we’re hoping to rent a car so we can tour more of the island.

 

March 21, 2000

Sapadillo Bay, Providenciales

 

Sunday we hiked up a nearby hill to look at carvings left by shipwrecked sailors.  Mostly names and dates.   Many of the dates were from the early 1700’s.  It was pretty neat to look at and think about someone two hundred years ago sitting right where we are and carving in the rock.  Much of the lettering was quite fancy.

 

On our way to the hill we stopped at the bakery.  The bakery is located in a closed resort.  The resort is beautiful and looks to be in really good shape.  Makes us wonder why it’s closed.

 

Monday, Olde Thompson arrived.  Their wedding anniversary was on St. Patrick’s Day.  The people of Mayaguana threw a huge party for them.  They said that there were more fish, conch, and booze then they’ve ever seen.  It sounds like they had a great celebration.

 

Along with September Song we rented a car – an India made jeep, actually.  We go into the Budget Rent A Car and say “we’d like to rent a car, please”.  They don’t say anything for a good 30 seconds.  They just smile at each other.  Then finally they say "we have no cars to rent”.  Cindy asks them about the red jeep in the parking lot.  Surprised, they go out to look at it.  “Yes, we can rent that jeep”.  The jeep is a back lot beauty, to be sure.  Completely void of any amenities, it’s a beat up 4 wheel drive with two bench seats in that back that face each other.  The bench seats are covered by an awning or bimini.  We were able to comfortably put four adults in the back, Dylan in a car seat wedged in the center and two adults up front.  For our purposes it was the best deal on the island.  We provisioned quickly and then went off to visit the tiki huts and beach we saw at Malcom Roadstead when we first anchored there.  The four wheel drive road to Malcom Roadstead was an experience.  Hills made of boulders at 45 degrees!

 

Looking at the seemingly endless bush country and driving in the open jeep, we felt like we were touring the outback of Australia.  So we created new names:  Crock, Dingo, Lassie, Missy, and Dabee.  Crock drove most of the streets (it’s left-hand driving in the Turks & Caicos) and Dingo navigated the off roads.  Meanwhile, young Dabee took a nap in his car seat to rest up for wrestling crocodiles later.  When he got fussy, Lassie would ply him with Snickers bars.  We had a blast!

 

Today, Crock and Dingo have gone out to get tanks of fuel and water before we surrender the car at noon.  We hope to dinghy around Chalk Sound and maybe do some snorkeling before we head out for the Dominican Republic.

 

Coming up next – Part 5 – The Dominican Republic and Part 6 – Returning to Florida