Friday, 13 January 2012

Never a dull moment

When it rains, it pours. Once Gabe fixed the windlass he moved on to our dinghy motor, which started spewing oil last time we tried to run it. This we noticed at our last anchorage in Frazer's Hog Cay. Gabe went to mount the outboard motor onto the dinghy, after he dragged that off the fore deck and into the turquoise waters. He barely got his hands on it when the sad little thing started to bleed its vital fluids all over him. 
If you know Gabe even just a little you know that he rarely lets a mechanical problem go unattended for long. If it's broken, chances are he can fix it, and he will want to fix it right away. So without further ado Gabe started picking the motor apart looking for a snag. We just had to laugh about the fact that since leaving Halifax there hasn't been a day we didn't need the tool box. We've even changed the location where the tool box is stored several times, trying to place it in the most accessible space, because we have to get it out so often. Getting the motor figured out proved a bit more involved than expected and we decided to put it off until the afternoon, so that we could take advantage of the good weather and explore the area. This meant that without a running dinghy motor we had to row the inflatable lug to and from, with or against the current. It was an exhausting 4 hour excursion around the Frazer's Hog Cay, but we got to see quite a bit of it, well quite a bit of what little there was to see, anyway. Like many other Bahamian islands in this area, it had a rocky coast line, covered with dense succulent shrubs and impenetrable mangroves. Parts of the island were in really poor shape, riddled with garbage and debris from hurricanes past. We explored an abandoned home, brought to ruin by hurricane Helen, now overgrown with wildlife and filled with eerie presence of life undone, interrupted. We didn't linger very long. We found a beach to comb, state of which was not much different than the rest of the island. Unkept and unappreciated. It was not uncommon to see refuse lodged in the mucky sands at shoreline, and I was not at all surprised to see a deflated black plastic bag resting at the bottom of an area I was trudging through. But when the bag twitched a pointy tail, lifted its elegant black form and gracefully drifted away from my feet, I was stunned. With an excited and panicked squeal I signaled to Gabe, who was on shore, that I just stumbled onto a sting ray. But before either one of us could even budge, the ray was on the move. I just stood there, mesmerized, watching the gentle giant make a loop around me and float out of sight, wafting swirls of sand behind it as it went.
Having had our fill of thrills for the day we slowly rowed back to Rodeo, where Gabe took another crack at the motor. A few hours and a complete engine overhaul later, the little 2HP was back in action. Only not for long. It ended up giving up on us once more a week later anyway. Though for now Chief Mechanic Gabe was content with his efforts and ready to tackle the head pump, which started uttering quiet squeaks of protest against constant use and requesting maintenance. The next day, on our sail over to Nassau, Gabe got to the bottom of what was troubling the old pump and he had that running smooth and quiet by the afternoon. Just in time for my parents to arrive in Nassau. They would spend a week aboard Rodeo with us, and a well running head for four live-aboards is a luxury we couldn't afford to give up. The last thing for us to do, upon arriving in Nassau Friday afternoon was to get an internet connection so we could reach my parents, still in Canada, and work out the final details of their arrival on Sunday. This too became an aggravating obstacle as our wi-fi antenna struggled to get a proper signal. Gabe slipped out of his plumber getup, for the time being, and put on his IT thinking cap. There was a glitch in the system and he spent most of the evening and all of following morning troubleshooting the pesky affair, and after all that it turned out we couldn't pick up a free signal anyway and had to spend $10/day for internet from a local provider. Once back in touch with civilization we hailed my parents on Skype to let them know we've arrived in Nassau and will be waiting for them at them at the airport the next day. My parents coming to spend 7 days with us was something I never thought they would have the guts to do, and yet here they were, just as excited to be joining us in our adventures as we were to share them. So excited, in fact, we could barely sleep at night. My parents, fortuitous vagabonds, marooned in a 300 square foot nut shell...with us. It was going to be a fabulous week.

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