We talked earlier about our fascination with weather and its impact of our travels over the past two months. So when we saw that there was a huge weather front moving into our area bringing 30+ knot winds for three days we needed to find a place to hide out. We looked at our destination, Highbourne Cay and saw that they had a marina! Well. What better place to wait out weather than a marina!
The weather was not forecast to hit the area until midday on Thursday. And today was Tuesday. What we should have done was sat outside at anchorage with the ten other boats that were on the west side of the island, saved a bunch of money, and then made our way in on Wednesday. Or even Thursday morning. But we are rookies. So when we got in to the marina on Tuesday, we basically had the place to ourselves. There were three boats that belonged to day charters and two MONSTER yachts on the long dock wall, but other than that it was empty. The yacht crews and people seem to stay on the boat (because, frankly, why wouldn’t you. Damn things are bigger than the house we just sold and a lot nicer. Those boats come with a crew, including a chef. Full bar. 500 TVs), multiple rooms. So we had the run of the place. At least in the short term.
Highbourne Cay is a private island, owned by a company who has built
houses cottages villas that they rent out by the week. We checked the price and the starting cost for a villa is $700. Per night. It goes up from there. Though that does include use of a golf cart for the week. The island has beaches with permanent gazebos that have chairs, tables, bars, grills, paddle boards and kayaks. Everything you need to relax and all just waiting for you to use. There is a beach on the Atlantic side and a beach in the bay in front of the club. They have a restaurant on site as well as a store to restock. They also have a small marina. Which cost $2.75/foot.1 Much less than the cost of a villa. And we get to use all the stuff!! This is not going to be terrible.
Tuesday we elect not to hook up to power in order to save some money. It is warm in the harbor; the sun is shining and since the harbor is really well protected, the wind doesn’t really reach the boat. So we head out to a pavilion on the water, spend the rest of the day at the beach and grilling; eating our dinner out. Then on Wednesday we change our minds…
And if you don’t care about power on boats, feel free to skip this section.
Wednesday morning dawns bright and sunny and by 9am it becomes apparent that it is going to be hot in our boat. It was also made clear to me that now would be a good time to crack open the wallet, hook up to power and fire up the AC. For an hour I walked around in a funk, snapping at every person who talked to me as my the cheap side tried to lay a smack down on my happy marriage side. I finally accepted the inevitable, got us some power, hooked everything up and we headed off on a bike ride to explore the island.
After an hour or so, I left Jan and AJ at an ocean side beach and came back to get Lucky and when I got aboard, noticed that the air conditioner wasn’t running. And our AC board had no pretty, pretty lights telling me that we were indeed getting power.
Crap. This could be a very bad problem.
So off to the beach to tell Jan that I’m not bringing the dog back. And, oh yeah, we don’t have shore power on the boat.
Back to the boat to start troubleshooting procedures.
I pull out the trusty multi meter. It appears we have power from the box to the boat, in that I have a couple of nice LEDs that tell me that power is flowing. On the boat I have a indicator at the shore power/generator power selector switch that there is a load on the shore side. But there is nothing on the AC board that shows power. Jan and I drop down the board and hook the multimeter up to the switch and we see power going into switch and when we close the switch see power going through the other side on the way to the inverter charger. How much power? Jan reports out 138 volts. Hmmmm. That is high.
Down to the inverter/charger. We have power coming into the charger but the ‘AC in light’ is not lit. For some reason it isn’t seeing the power in. I turn on the inverter and it works just fine. Head scratching abounds. We break out the manual and find that the inverter charger has a customizable range for input voltage, of which the high end default is set to 135. Could it be this easy? I push some buttons (making ‘booping’ noises as I do so because it is fun and because it annoys the snot out of Jan and AJ), change the input to 138 and whammo! The charger clicks on and we are back in business!
While we are at it, we check the power at the pedestal and it is flakey. We end up moving to another pedestal.2
We finally have found some more kids. Turns out that on Wednesday all the boats that were anchored just outside the marina had a gathering on the beach and there were kids. We missed that. But on Thursday Summer Kai pulled into the marina with two kids and hosted a party on Friday at which there were enough kids to form a pack. And on Saturday we met more kids on a beach outside the marina for a couple of quality kid hours. We hear there are more ahead of us and we don’t want to get our hopes up, but it is nice to see families out here.
Sharks and fish
After our excitement actually catching a fish on the way over here to the marina (and shout out to Bo who identified the fish for us as a Spanish Mackerel), we decided to see how one actually cleans a fish.
The marina has charter boats that you can rent for $750 for a half day. Too rich for my taste. BUT the charters come back to the marina and they clean their fish at the fish cleaning station at the end of the dock. Free. And I like free. So when we got tired of sitting on the pristine white beach looking at the crystal blue water,3 we managed to pull ourselves off our lounge chairs and out from underneath our umbrellas and head over to the head of the dock.
Where we found out the charter was pretty darn successful. Four ladies headed out for a half day and came back with two barracuda and three big fish that weren’t mahi or tuna. And no, I can’t remember the names. The charter captain and first mate put the fish on the cleaning station, lined them up. And beat them upside the head with a stout stick. OK. Not beat. But well placed blow that was, at least for the three of us, unexpected. And then we got an impromptu class on filleting a fish. And, as an added bonus, got to see a fish show.
Let me explain. Charters go out quite often and one presumes they are successful (else there would’ the charters, no?). And when they return, the clean the fish and throw the icky bits into the water. And over time fish with big teeth (we will call them ‘sharks’) have learned that in the afternoon, mana drops into the water. And so there is a large congregation of fish/sharks under the dock. And, oh by the way, the dock is about 100 yards (max) from the swimming beach. So if there isn’t a big catch, there is always a tourist’s 12 year old son.
If you live in a place that has snow, go ahead and skip this. Matter of fact, I’m not sure why you would read anything that has to do with our time in the Bahamas. What are you, masochists???
We have an island that is made for relaxation (for a price, naturally). I mentioned the beaches. The kayaks and paddle boards. The advertisement quality scenery. Our total time here is 8 days. And it cost over a boat unit (after tax, tips, and the list of crap that they charge you for that is as long as a basketball player’s leg). But this is a place where one could relax if one wanted to. Which we did. A lot. Biking. Grilling. Swimming. Hiking. Shelling (Jan). Beach chairs. Hammocks (and I kid you not…we used a hammock). Aaaaannnnddd repeat. I want to be a purist and find a secluded island getaway that is untouched by humans. BUT. Finding an island that is set up for relaxation and that has NO ONE on it seems to be a great alternative.
So our time has come to an end. We have at least a week of relatively good weather ahead of us, so off to Explore. Next stop? Warderick Wells…
1Remember what I said earlier about marinas in the Bahamas being a bit different than in ‘Merica? So the base cost is $2.75. Then you add water (.50/gal). Fuel ($5.00/gal). Electricity ($10 a day if charging batteries or $35/day if running AC). Internet ($10/day per device or $35/week per device). Food in the store is RIDICULOUS. $8.25 for a bag of chips. $2.25 for a red pepper. Bottle of wine is $22 (so guess who isn’t drinking wine while we are in the Bahamas). Restaurant is $25/plate.
2Serious shout out to Don and Peg. When we were starting the loop we had one lonely power cable. While we were in New York, Don told us he pulled power from a socket that was a long way from the boat, but no issue because he had an extra cord. I asked if we needed another one and he told me it comes in handy. Another wrestling match between my ‘cheap side’ and my ‘practical side,’ and we picked one up later. And have used it on multiple occasions. Extra cords along with the 50amp to 30 amp and 15 amp to 30 amp adaptors have been our friends.
3And yes. I’m flaunting white beaches and blue water. Because I know that my brother is surrounded by white snow and grey (not blue) skies and it just feels right.