Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #89 The Beauty of Cruising


The view from Nipper’s

Guana Cay was a fun stopover, especially Sunday’s pig roast at Nipper’s. And we were delighted to finally find free wi-fi internet at Grabber’s Beach Bar…well, free for the price of a drink, anyway. (And the three-rum punch dubbed the Guana Grabber was well worth it!) But after a 30-knot squall straight into southwest-facing Fisher’s Bay and our laptop’s refusal to send e-mail, we decided to head for the metropolitan hub of the Abacos, Marsh Harbour.

We wouldn’t have been surprised to find anchoring in Marsh Harbour on a par with wedging ourselves into the postage-stamp space available in always-crowded Boot Key Harbor. Such was not the case. Maybe it’s more crowded here during the winter months (although spring is considered high season), but we found ample room and excellent holding for a very comfortable stay. Our first task was to find some reliable internet access to sort out our e-mail snafu. Café la Florence seems to fill the bill, so a Bahamian breakfast is in our near future.

So what’s a Bahamian breakfast, you ask? Souse chicken, we were told, and, other than sweet rolls, muffins, and an Egg McMuffin wannabe, that’s the only breakfast served at Café la Florence. Our mouths watered for the coming culinary delicacy. Well, the cinnamon roll was delicious, but the souse chicken? We don’t ever bother with chicken wings because to our way of thinking there’s too little meat for too many bones. This dish was chicken wings boiled with potatoes, onions, and lemons. The broth was somewhat tasty, but trying to pry the chicken meat off the bones without slopping the broth everywhere was more challenge than it was worth. We checked off having a Bahamian breakfast of souse chicken as one of those experiences we’d have once but wouldn’t repeat.

As for our e-mail, after spending the better part of the day at the café, we determined that there appear to be some controls regarding sending e-mail without paying into the local internet service system. We can receive e-mail with Microsoft Outlook, but we can’t send it. Go figure. So while we’re in the Bahamas we’ll be sending e-mail only through our internet service provider, AOSoft.net (Mike’s company). At least that’s working.

Our first objective this morning was to call Mom to sing “Happy Birthday” for her 96th. And many more, Mom!

Our second objective was to take care of all the laundry that’s been piling up for the last few weeks. Everything is now clean.

Our third objective was to get a look at the beach behind the Marsh Harbour Marina—pretty but not extraordinary.

What was extraordinary, though, was the Jib Room’s steak barbecue at Marsh Harbour Marina. They serve dinner only on Wednesday and Saturday nights, and tonight was steak night, so we went for it. We had one of the best steaks we’ve ever been served in a restaurant. It certainly beat the souse chicken as a Bahamian taste treat.

We felt we had earned the delectable dinner, as we had spent the earlier part of the day searching for a padded mailer in which to ship our cockpit VHF microphone/radio back to the manufacturer. It had stopped working (stuck in transmit mode) just after a deluge at West End. Since it’s supposed to be waterproof, there seems to be a design flaw somewhere. Only a little over a year old, it’s still under warranty, so repair or replace should be no question. But, of course, we still have to pay for the shipping.

One Bahamian custom of which we strongly approve is that just about every business (except restaurants, of course) is closed on Sunday. So we spent the day relaxing on board. Dawn and Bruce joined us for Sunday dinner, and a great day was had by all.

Dawn and Bruce with Scooter

After a quick trip into town to the local UPS shipper, our microphone is on its way to California. We’ll need to pick up its return at some later time (along with a mail package from Lauri), but we decided to visit some other Abacos anchorages rather than sit in Marsh Harbour while we wait. As we were preparing to weigh anchor we were approached by a dinghy whose occupants asked, “By any chance was your boat in charter in the BVI?” Upon my affirmative response, they gleefully cried, “We chartered your boat!” We then had a delightful conversation with Mike and Darlene about their pleasant experience on Caloosa Spirit and our travels since then. They currently own m/v Etoile, a Mainship 39. We hope to meet up with them elsewhere in the Abacos to share more. What a charming small-world experience—the second of its kind this season!

Treasure Cay is touted as having one of the top ten beaches in the world. Not really a separate island, Treasure Cay is a destination resort carved out of a peninsula on Great Abaco. And, yes, it does indeed have one beauty of a beach—the best we’ve found in the Abacos. The sand is as soft as flour with only a slightly tanner tint, and it stretches in a three-mile arc perfect for beach-walking. The anchorage at Treasure Cay has good holding, is fully protected with natural habitat and modest homes in view, and the marina charges only for showers and pool use, but not for dinghy dockage. As if the beach and anchorage weren’t enough, we also get free wi-fi internet ON THE BOAT! We’ll be staying here for a while.

A day at the beach—what more need I say?

Treasure Cay beach 1
Relaxing on Treasure Cay beach

Except maybe to wax rhapsodic about the liquid rainbow of blue, turquoise, and aqua hues unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the States. Such a visual feast! Even the clouds adorn themselves in a faint aqua as they reflect the water’s tint.

Treasure Cay beach 2
The beauty of Treasure Cay beach

It’s hard to believe that another four days have passed as we’ve relaxed and enjoyed the treasures of Treasure Cay. On our way over here last week we realized that our starboard winch was not working properly—as in, not at all. Jim determined that the spring which keeps it from turning backward had broken. Yesterday he took the winch apart with the intention of replacing the broken spring, and discovered that the spring wasn’t broken after all. It had simply gotten gummed up and stuck, so ungumming and unsticking were a quick fix.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that our usual litany of fixing, repairing, and/or replacing has been conspicuously absent over the last month or so. Apparently, cruising to the Abacos has been highly agreeable to Caloosa Spirit. Our watermaker loves the clear water, our batteries love the wind and sun feeding our wind generator and solar panels, and our refrigeration purrs along happily, either with or without the engine running. Our sails and rigging enjoy a work-out now and then when we’re heading in the right direction, and our trusty Yanmar diesel takes care of us the rest of the time. All has been well. Our only snafu has been the aforementioned VHF radio/microphone which we’ve been able to temporarily replace with our handheld VHF radios.

CS at Treasure Cay
Caloosa Spirit relaxing at Treasure Cay

We’ll soon head to other anchorages. Our time in the Abacos is already half over.

Fair winds and a faithful wake until next time,
Alice & Jim Rutherford
s/v Caloosa Spirit

Posted Sunday May 4, 2008

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