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Friday, April 8, 2011

Underway!

Up before first light and away we went, so that we would arrive at Mayaguana in plenty of good light. The weather was glorious for cruising, sunshine and light easterly winds, and the seas were only just a bit beamy. Nothing the stabilizers couldn't handle! Unfortunately, fishing proved to be a bust once again, much to Ron’s dismay. We’d both love to have some fresh fish for dinner, but so far, none have come to play.

We entered the western end of Abraham’s Bay, Mayaguana about 11:30 am, picking our way through the various coral heads and rocky obstructions in plenty of water even on the high low tide. We found we actually could have come in the eastern entrance too, yet the charts showed it being somewhat narrow and not as deep. But, we had good water all the way in, as  we came right to the marked anchorage near the dinghy dock at the eastern head of the bay. There we found we had plenty of water under the hull (5 feet or so) even at low tide.


To say Mayaguana is an Out Island is an understatement. It is so far out, it is nearly desolate...not much here. Yet, the few locals are incredibly cheerful and friendly – what a treat and how nice it is to be back in the Bahamas again!! We took the dinghy in through the very shallow channel, clearly delineated by the stripe of white sand, kept clear of any grasses by the outboards that scoot through there. At the dock, we were greeted by Scully, a local captain and island guide, who helped us secure Eclipse in a rather unorthodox fashion.

Steven Pavlidis’ section on Abraham Bay in his A Cruising Guide to: the Southern Bahamas, outlines it completely, and later, when I re-read it, I had to laugh! Clearly, the dock hasn’t changed since Pavlidis was last here, since the method of tying off the dinghy is the same: “Pull out your dinghy anchor and wedge it into a crack on the dock as there are no cleats and nothing to lie to”. Still true, as that is exactly how Scully helped us “tie up”, wedging our anchor chain into the crack, and tucking the anchor around the cement corner of the steps!!

We walked down the desolate sandy road and easily found the Government compound and Batelco Office. The first building on the left is the Customs and Immigration Office, which is shared by the Commissioner’s Office and the Post Office. (It’s painted yellow now, rather than pink.) The woman was cheery and helpful as could be and delighted that we had all the forms filled out already. 

The Customs Office/Post Office on the left
After the formalities were concluded, (complete with a compliment from the commissioner on my neat handwriting!), we asked about directions to the local restaurant for some lunch, since we were ravenous. The woman hesitated, then asked if we could wait while she made a phone call. (??) After a bit of a wait, she then informed us that “Debby” would be happy to make us lunch and would be delivering it shortly, so we should just sit and wait! Startled, we agreed, although we were a bit mystified as to why. Turns out that the owner of the sole restaurant in Abraham’s Bay – just down the road -- was off-island, so the restaurant was closed, and the Customs lady didn’t want us to be disappointed!! True Bahamian hospitality in action! And, no, we weren’t disappointed, for when the delivery guy showed up, paper bag in hand, we found that Debby had made us the best hamburgers ever, with just the right amount of fixins’: tomato, lettuce, ketchup, mustard and a bit of something spicy. Yum! We paid her modest fee and walked back to the boat happy…so generous of her to take the time to do that for us! It's so nice to be in the Bahamas!

We returned to the boat and did some boat chores: Ron changed out the 12kW gen set oil, oil filter and fuel filter; I changed out the holding tank vent filter. A fair exchange, really, especially since I can’t smell! We also filled the scuba tanks and did a little reconnaissance of the reef outside the Bay; it drops precipitously, and should make for spectacular diving! We enjoyed dinner seaside with a lovely sunset slipping over the horizon of the western end of Abraham’s Bay. Just prior to sunset, another sailboat, Ulysses Blue, made its way in from the west and anchored off our portside. What a quiet, remote place…!! I’d love to explore the island, but Ron is anxious to keep moving, and use the glorious weather we’ve been granted for passagemaking. Another time, I hope!

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