We move the whopping eight miles from Hope town to Marsh Harbor. Should have stayed where we were at.

Start: Mooring ball, Hope Town, Abacos, 0900
End: Anchorage, Marsh Harbor, Abacos, 1114
Total Distance: 8.8 nm
Time: 2:14
Average Speed: 8.8 kts.

Lets be clear. Our one AND ONLY ONE reason for coming to Marsh Harbor was to do laundry. That was it. Nothing more. One thing. Laundry. It has been a couple of weeks since our last load. We are running out of essentials. On this thing called ‘the internet,’ we can see that Marsh Harbor has a laundry. And on our cruising chart, it shows a laundry. So we are going to throw in an emergency load or two to tide us over until we get back to the good old USofA.

This morning we left Hope Town after three days. It is a short trip over to Marsh Harbor. We drop the mooring ball, pooter out of the harbor and into the more open water. Mike from S/V Irish Rose pulls along side in his dinghy and says good by and we are on our way. The wind is pretty good so we put up the sails. And we aren’t the only ones out here. There are a ton of boats banging back and forth. And all of then chattering incessantly on channel 16. Good lord it is annoying.

We pull into Marsh Harbor and it is, indeed, a harbor. About 25 boats but plenty of room. We drop the anchor then the dinghy (helps to do it in that order), put AJ on task for school work while we loaded up our dinghy with two loads of laundry and headed into the dinghy dock.

Where we were met by a small pack of feral kids.1 Who were there to helpfully help catch our rope and tie us off to the dinghy dock. Plus they would watch our dinghy for us while we were shopping. All for a small donation.

Small digression:

While I applaud the entrepreneurial spirit of the young studs, this is something totally different than what we have encountered up to know. We have stopped in a ton of towns. Our interaction with kids has been more of the ‘can we pet your dog’ variety. And since we could see the dock from our boat, the service of ‘watching’ the dinghies while people were shopping looked more like ‘hopping up and down and bouncing from dinghy to dinghy’ than actually ‘watching.’ Perhaps those owners didn’t pay enough.

Back to the story.

Now secure in the knowledge that our dinghy wouldn’t be tampered with, we headed off to laundry. We had directions, found the building, and in the door was a sign that said ‘permanently closed.’ We peered inside and could see the actual machines still in the building, but it was locked up, dusty and no one around. Jan asked a passing lady if the place was closed and if so, was there another place to do laundry. The answer was yes and no, in that order. Our one reason for stopping here was laundry and that wasn’t happening.

So back to the boat. We pull out our emergency clothes, calculate the number of days we have left before we get back to the USofA and Jan knocks out laundry the old fashioned way–in a bucket. Fortunately we don’t go through a lot of clothes so even if we don’t get to a washing machine in a week, we only need one change of clothes.

Which gets me to boat clothes.

Way back in May, we packed our boat full of the clothes we thought we needed for a year. In July, at least one of us cut the amount of clothes in half and gave the rest to goodwill. I have four sets of shorts, two sets of jeans,2 four sets of running shorts (which I haven’t used in MONTHS), seven t-shirts, seven sets of underwear, four pairs of socks (which, like the running shorts, haven’t been used in MONTHS), three swimsuits, two collared shirts, and four sets of footwear (tennis shoe x1, sandals x 1, boat shoes x 1, flip flops x 1).

But what do we wear? Not much, it turns out.

I don’t mean that to mean that we walk around in our tidy whities. Nope. We leave that to the gentlemen from Quebec who seem to proudly parade around in a speedo or bikini bottom and nothing else. Even if they are miles away from water or beach.

What I mean is that, especially when we travel many days in a row (or heck, even when we AREN’T traveling many days in a row), we tend to wear the same clothes. I call them my boat clothes. And my ‘go to’ getup (which, left to my own devices, I will wear every day of every week3). It is a quick dry t-shirt from REI and a pair of cargo shorts. And over the past 10 months I have been wearing that outfit more often than not. And it is showing its age. The T-shirt, once black, is now faded grey except under the armpits and at the bottom of the shirt where it is tucked (sometimes) inside my underwear. My shorts have oil and other unidentified (but permanent) stains and holes/rips. They may have been khaki in color at one time, but now are permanently white. Except for the stains.

Favorite Shirt
Favorite Shorts

Getting up in the morning is easy–reach down and grab my clothes from where I left them, put on and go attack the day. End of day? Drop them in a heap ready for action tomorrow. Days go by with the same clothes. And as long as we are only interacting with each other, not a big deal. This explains how we can go weeks without doing laundry, or just doing very small loads of delicates and frillies.

I bring this up now, because we are back in the land of the (more) civilized. In a land of apparently unlimited fresh water with which one may shower more than once every other day(ish). And electricity by which one can heat the water to make it a more pleasant experience. The land where clothes are worn once and then put into the ‘dirty clothes’ pile to be washed with the unlimited water in a newfangled machine known as a ‘washing machine.’ And I can tell because when we walk into a restaurant, most everyone is wearing clothes that are cleaned, pressed and don’t have stains or holes. Which is making it a bit awkward for moi.

We knew that this was going to happen, just surprised it happened so soon. Our transition from ‘Bahamas seclusion and beauty’ to ‘civilization’ happened in one afternoon when we went from Eleuthera to the Abacos. Just wasn’t ready for it to be over so quick.

Enough about the clothes. Which was really a metaphor for this part of our trip. We make one more trip ashore to go to the grocery store for some fresh veggies and to get Lucky off the boat. Then back to the boat for dinner to sleep and to leave. Can’t wait to get out of Marsh Harbor and head off on our trip.

And for the record. We didn’t take one, not ONE picture of Marsh Harbor.

1OK. They weren’t feral. But they were definitely a pack.

2It would be one pair of jeans BUT I somehow got battery acid on one set of jeans and it burned holes across a good part of the pants. I HATE getting rid of clothes just because they have a couple of holes, so I kept them. But I KNEW that when I wore them out in public, I would be crushed, so kept the second set of jeans for ‘dress up’ day.

3But I’m not left to my own devices. Jan has veto over everything that goes on/off the boat.