Be a Friend, Make a Friend

Ambler Isle
V and S
Mon 14 Feb 2011 14:35
"Got a wrench?"
A helping hand
Our reward
Our new setting
Attaching the bridle
The fisherman in the old motor boat waved cheerfully as he passed.  Then he slowed and turned back.  I guessed he'd want to sell us fish.  We occasionally buy to support the local people.  But when he pulled up to the Amber Isle,  he asked if he could borrow a monkey wrench.  Ramon's air compressor was not working and he'd just started his work day.  Valt brought him aboard, made the repair, and sent him on his way.  As he left he asked if we ate lobster?  Yes, of course.  He promised to bring us one.  In thirty minutes he returned with a boat load of fresh conch and a cooler filled with lobster.  He picked out the five biggest lobsters and cleaned them.  Overwhelmed by the gift, we insisted he take a few dollars for his work. He told us he was from the Dominican Republic, and his lazy Bahamian neighbors did not like him because he worked too hard. No one would fish with him.   After he left, we lifted the anchor and moved a couple miles down the island chain to a spot out of the tidal currents.  As we passed the Caribbean Marine Research Center we noted about 8 new mooring balls. Entering the mooring field, Bobby and Francie, from Barefootin' hailed us on the VHF. We knew them from Georgetown.   He wondered if we were taking a mooring. No, we had planned to pass the mooring field and go around the bend to a quiet little cove.  This roused his curiosity.  "How much to you draw?," he asked.  "Five feet."  He drew 5.5' and said he would follow us.  He'd never passed that way, and wondered if there was enough water.  He followed us for a while.  We hoped they'd anchor nearby.  But in the end they turned around and picked up a mooring ball.   We never got below 8' of water, usually more.   We ate lunch, did a few chores.  We called David to wish him a Happy Birthday.  Next thing we knew, Ramon was back.  He'd caught more lobster and we agreed to buy 5 more.  What beauties.  After he cleaned them, he sat down and began cleaning conch.  He chatted about his life here, where'd he'd lived before, mutual acquaintances.  It occurred to me that he missed male companionship and conversation, so I left them to men's talk.  He promised to look us up again.  We surveyed our beautiful new surroundings.  Time to take a dinghy ride to explore.  First we went over our nearby shore bay. We saw several huge sting rays swimming.  Then more rays.  We dubbed it "Sting Ray City."  Continuing south along the shore we entered Children's Bay, where 2 old steel sailboats and a power boat were anchored.  We went to the first Dutch Maid with Saychelle and Emil from Martha's Vineyard.  The other two boats were unoccupied so we rounded the bay and found it full of big sea stars.  Back north, we went to the mooring field at the Research Center and stopped to visit Barefooting.  Behind them was moored Quest, the Hatteras with Dan and Judy aboard.  Dan caught a 54" mahi today and was eager to share his story.  Back aboard the Amber Isle we enjoyed the first of our lobster tails.