The day started off slow for me.
Gesa and Capt. Kevin went to land to get chores done and I stayed on board, still recovering from the happy hour last night… According to their reports, it was a very fun and productive time – they met numerous kind people while visiting different mechanics shops, etc. Kevin happened to come across a fuel filtering system inside a house’s garage, which we were hoping to use on Felix to avoid any future fuel line buggers. When they approached the door, the couple inside simply said “come in!” , with no information on who they were and what they wanted.
Fifteen minutes of conversation later, they were informed that the fuel cleaning system could not be used at the moment. Its primary operator, the couple’s son, is out fishing ’til mid December (According to info we received later in the day, the crawfishing boats were forced to “lay low” because the sea is too rough right now, so the guy must be stranded on some island just like we are). Unfortunately we won’t be able to clean the fuel here in Eleuthera. This might have to wait until we get to the virgins.
Gesa and Kevin came back for a snack/lunch and we headed out shortly after to go speak to the guys at R&B Boat Yard . I really like the front paint job of the place, depicting the true Bahamian spirit.
At R&B, Kevin was able to use their phone and contact Albrey Supply in Nassau to inquire after our much sought-after Saildrive seal. Kevin told them the part number of the seal and Albrey’s first response was a solid “no”. He decided to call again and ask Mr. Albrey himself for a seal with the same measurements as our SD seal, instead of just giving them a part number. He learned that they actually had ONE of those left in stock. Thirteen dollars and all the jazz involved with sending the seal through a taxi to the fast ferry between the isles, and we should get our hands on it tomorrow morning / afternoon! Victory!
At first, Albrey did not want to accept Kevin’s credit card on the phone and wanted to us do a wire transfer, which would end up costing 3x the price of the seal. But fortunately the chubby guy featured in the painting (whose name happens to be Bruce) helped us out and used his store account to purchase the darn thing.
The challenge now will be to do the operation of lifting the engine and doing work on the saildrive to get that seal replaced. Tomorrow’s the day!
While dealing with Albrey and R&B’s guys we met a really interesting fella, a 60-something year old bahamian who rode in wearing a construction helmet on an impeccable-looking 1960s French Solex motorized bicycle:
He told us the bike is almost as old as he is, and is one dependable piece of machinery. Apparently he has never had to change one spark plug in it, has left it in a warehouse for two years without having to do any servicing on it afterwards, and looks forward to riding it every day. As we kept talking, we found out the guy was the owner and DJ of the island’s only radio station “SPLASH FM”. His name was Chris, but people know him as “Mr. C”
A photo of Splash FM taken yesterday:
After our morning feeling of accomplishment, we decided to hitch another pick-up truck ride (we are getting fond of those) to go see the other side of the island, beyond the bridge to Russell’s Island. Capt. Kevin does not want me to reveal this, but he tripped while hopping onto the bed of the pick-up truck, and face-planted a bag of oranges. He also slightly scratched his leg into a lawn mower that was in the back. It was hilarious.
The driver, friendly and helpful like most other locals, dropped us off near the bridge, and we explored a bit of the area. Found some crazy fruits that looked and smelled like papaya but didn’t have any seeds in them.
After some walking on the road without finding anything of interest, we decided to walk back (got another ride, this time with a local who weirdly enough spoke with an American accent) and visit Dahlia, who was the barkeeper at Budda’s bar, where we were drinking last night. The reason why we went to visit her is that we learned last night that she has a couple of baby pigs in her backyard, and Gesa is crazy about baby pigs for some reason. So I offered to gift Dahlia some of the German nougat chocolate that Gesa had brought along to give away (since she doesn’t like it), and had the perfect excuse to go see some piglets!
Hangin’ with the pigs were some turkeys who had miraculously survived Thanksgiving… the turkeys took a stronger liking to Gesa than the pigs, and the situation became confusing at some point
We left Dahlia’s after a pleasant convo with her mother (more of that Bahamian hospitality), and started walking down the road. Less than one minute goes by and a golf cart stops by to greet us – it was Frankie, one of our bar friends from last night (in Brazil we say “One does not make friends drinking milk”). Frankie asked if we had already seen the “beach cabana club” that he built / co-owned. We said no, and he just offered us a ride in his cart to go see it.
Riding along, we were all surprised when, all of a sudden, Frankie simply left the road and embarked into a beach golf cart tour – amazing! Check out the link, didn’t want to try to send the video over e-mail
We got to the club / beach shack, called “On The Beach a.k.a. Old Club Cabana – O.C.C”. An amazing, roughly-built but incredibly decorated and well-localized little cabana with a bar, satellite TV, light system, and a fire pit. The best part – a palm tree growing right through the middle of the club….
We spent some more time talking to Frankie about his “enterprise” and his visions for it. We could imagine how crazy that club would look at night, in the middle of a deserted beach, with a fire pit outside, etc. Once the young tourists start coming in and spreading the word, this place is bound to expand.
The wind was strong and it was very cold… otherwise we would all be there right now!
Despite the freezing wind, we were having a great time talking to Frankie, learning more about the lifestyle of the people here, and appreciating the scenery…
It was time to go, and Frankie decided to drop us off at a swanky bar he had recommended, called Shipyard. As we got there, he simply bought us all a round of beer (which was actually a double round, as it was happy hour!), and left us while we took in the incredible view of that restaurant. I was wondering how much money so many people spend to have sights, rides, and tours like the ones we’ve been having. In any case, such experiences can’t be replicated or bought. It’s the positive energy of the crew and the people around us (that results in situations like finding the very last unit of the exact part we needed right in Nassau), the serendipity of having ended up at a surprisingly wonderful place following a major misfortune at sea, and an equally surprising optimistic spirit that seems to have been hanging in the air lately, that has been allowing us to experience random special moments one after another.
Rowing back to Felix after the unexpected adventure, we tuned to SPLASH FM to check out Mr. C’s work. The radio was playing Island style Christmas music – you can imagine how that sounds like. After the third track, a quick-paced and dancy version of “I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas,” we gave up and played some of our own music. I wrote some e-mails to Marty Cheese and started writing this one, and Capt. looked at the winds we’d be facing once we left / possible routes we can take without beating us and Felix up too much. Gesa cooked a delicious stew, and we’re finishing off our day thinking of the work to be done tomorrow. Lifting the engine will be no easy task, but Capt’s got a plan. He’s done it before and we trust him. Gesa’s role will be passing us tools and documenting the entire procedure. Wish us luck!
Marco, Gesa, and Kevin