With a boat full of laundry, both engines needing new clean
oil and filters, a new alternator booster to be fitted to the port engine and a
starboard engine starter motor that was intermittently working (needing to be
tapped ever increasingly with a hammer to get it to function) we needed a marina
so that all could be taken care of whilst safely tied to a dock - preferably a
cheap dock! The Marina at Emerald Bay (now owned by Sandals) offers such a
facility along with free wifi and - unbelievably FREE LAUNDRY!!! Surely cruisers
Heaven. (We could also purchase day passes into the Sandals resort next to the
marina but at $180 per day each we opted to stick with the maintenance and
laundry chores and forego the fun!).
We motored the 10 miles to Emerald Bay (no fish yet again) and
docked on D31 for 4 nights. The marina was pretty empty but a visit to the
laundry room revealed that those few visiting yachts were all there for the same
All maintenance work was successfully carried
out and amazingly everything now works, despite our on-board
'engineer' taking apart first an alternator and then a starter motor.
After stripping the starter twice and cleaning the shiny bits that the brushes
whiz round on it was discovered that the two retaining screws that keep the
brush assembly pinned in place had vanished at some time although no screws were
ever found in the engine compartment and so there was a short whenever the
assembly moved forward in the motor. That's where the tap with the hammer came
in useful we suppose. Yawn Yawn (Admiral). Anyway, both engines now start 'on
the button' and the hammer is back in the tool box.
Our 'pit-stop' for four nights - $1 per foot per
night - plenty of room!
A round of golf costs $125 or 9 holes for just $85
- a bargain. (Shame about the divots on the tee) - or just lie on the
beach for $0 per day
As so often happens when we hit a marina there is a conflict
of interests. One of us is trying to get things clean whilst the other
dismantles dirty greasy engine parts making the whole boat smell of diesel and
oil. During this time 9 loads of laundry were run through the excellent machines
in the marina although this was trumped by another cruiser who did 12 loads!
Basically if it didn't move it got washed and even the bear contingent were
fearing they would be cast into the soapy abyss, or at least their jumpers!
We refuelled with 63 gallons of diesel before leaving
Emerald Bay and set off on a mini-cruise of the Cays close-by, intending to be
back in George Town for the Admiral's Birthday and to get the first service on
the new outboard engine taken care of as long as we could get enough engine
Leaving the marina we motored 7 miles down to Barreterre
Island which is an extension of Great Exuma Island. There is a small settlement
there which we walked round having anchored half a mile away from shore. The new
dinghy got us to the dock in minutes! There wasn't much going on ashore -
very sleepy. We were greeted by the resident potcake who wanted to play
with us and then became excitable when we didn't want to play with him. A
few stern words from the Admiral (previous dog experience certainly came in
handy) and he slinked off to find some shade.
Phil checking the dinghy is
Local fishing boat in Barraterre and Ajaya anchored half a mile away
(faster dinghy makes this feasible now!)
We stopped to chat with a local man who was working on a
fairly recent Ford Mustang which looked as if it had previously been used
by stuntmen in a Bond movie. It was hard to see a straight panel anywhere
although this aesthetic anomaly was being corrected by a ton of body filler that
he was in the process of applying whilst we chatted. It reminded Phil of his own
Mustang which had consumed so much time, money (and body filler) so many
Phil inspects the large amount of body
filler in evidence Last resting place
for a comfy chair - a local pit stop!
From Barreterre we then spent a night at Children's Bay Cay, a
private island owned by somebody with lots of dosh judging by the building
work in progress, including a small marina for day boats carved into the shore.
This was a very pleasant stopover. Phil swam around the boat looking at
the graceful and always fascinating Rays that are predominant in
the area. They also attracted a few fast day boats on "Exuma Adventure"
excursions who stopped briefly for photos before zooming off to the next natural
Unfortunately, with the wind due to clock from SE through S
into the West at 15+ knots we couldn't stay in the anchorage nor could we go to
our next planned stop at Lee Stocking Island to visit the Caribbean Research
Centre. This would also have been a lee shore so we went shallow
and crossed over to the Brigantine Cays, a group of small islands that extend
onwards over the bank side from Barreterre which would give us complete shelter
from the SW, W & NW as the cold front approached from Florida.
Given that this stop was to get some protection it proved to
be a beautiful place. These Cays are uninhabited and amazingly no other cruising
boats were there - just us. The colours were stunning, the beaches untouched,
the water calm and warm and we were only 5 miles from humanity which we
could just see in the distance. The new engine logged some miles as Phil whizzed
backwards and forwards along the coast exploring whilst the 'Admiral' relaxed
onboard in splendid isolation.
New engine undergoing speed trials off the
Brigantine Cays with the 'mothership' peacefully at anchor close
Deserted - our playground for a day - it doesn't
get much better than this.....................
Next morning it was back to George Town to find a restaurant
for the 'Admirals' special occasion.
Those truly special Bahamian colours which we
never tire of looking at.