Stella Maris Marina

Ambler Isle
V and S
Thu 24 Mar 2011 14:36
If it's two things we really get a kick out of, it is Bahamian and quaint.  Both those words fit Stella Maris Marina, perfectly.  The telephone was answered by a woman with that delightful Bahamian lilt that always brings a grin to my face.  I inquired about diesel availability and price, $5.30 per gallon.  We pulled off the main rhumb line to follow the dredged, marked 2 mile passage leading to the marina.  At full high tide we saw 3.4' under the boat; plenty of water by Bahamas standards.  We called on the VHF radio to let them know we were coming and to reconfirm diesel availability and price.  In the hour since we'd called, diesel had gone up an astounding $.26 per gallon to $5.56!!!!!!!  Valt told her he would turn around and leave, so she agreed to the price she originally quoted.  Did it really go up?  Was this another Bahamas fuel scam?  Had she made a mistake?  Who knows?  We tied up at the fuel dock and several Bahamian men helped with the lines.  All were very pleasant.  Amber Isle  is equipped with a "Tank Tender" system and we know exactly how much fuel is in the tank within a couple gallons.  We planned to take 300 gallons, a nice comfort margin.  When Valt went to look at the diesel meter, it had stopped pumping fuel after 60 gallons.  Was it clogged?  Was their big tank empty?  The attendant went to check and came back to announce his tank was empty: they were out of fuel.  And they had just pumped the last of the sludge and dredge from the bottom of their tank into Amber Isle's pristine fuel tanks.    We were furious.  We'd asked, not once, but twice if they had 300 gallons of diesel.  All were very sorry.  But in the end, we would be the ones to buy and change numerous filters to clean our fuel.  And if the contamination was bad enough, we'd have engine problems, too.  They offered to call a tanker truck to bring out 300 gallons for us, but we had to clear the entry channel before the tide went much lower.   In the hour that passed the tide had dropped down several more inches.   The beautiful day had been spoiled.  Many other beautiful days might be spoiled before the problem was resolved.