Paradise...or not!

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Fri 9 Apr 2010 22:28
26:27.23N 076:59.40W  Tilloo Cay
Paradise.. or not?
On our last day at Spanish Wells we took a high speed ferry about 11nm to Harbour Island. We took the ferry rather than Indigo, as the passage is extremely tricky, surrounded by very shallow reefs. The reef on the top side on Eleuthera is not called The Devil's backbone for nothing! This is the reef that wrecked boats of the original European settlers to these islands. To cross the reef a pilot is needed, even for the Ferry from Nassau that passes through each day. Our pilot, Mr Roberts, all of 73 years, climbed on with us at Spanish Wells and then took this massive ferry, which travels at up to 25kts per hour, zooming a swerving path through the reefs. It was quite a trip!
On the other side is the very quaint Harbour Island - a very wealthy island with beautiful homes, a fancy marina and a very chic little coffee shop that serves damn fine cappuccinos' and offers Vogue and Cosmopolitan magazines to browse through. This reminded me more of St Barths, than of any other Bahamian island. I had heard about the famous pink beach hear, and did not believe it, until we got there. The powder white beach sand is mixed with fragments of pink coral, giving it the famous pink hue. This is truly a little paradise for the rich and famous.  The tenders for the superyachts even have 3 engines!
Back in Spanish Wells we came across an awesome sight - a little girl feeding a manatee. The manatee should not be here - they usually live in the brackish water of the intra-coastal waterway of the USA. This one is thought to have fled the cold winter which killed many of her sisters. She is being monitored by marine scientists and is being fed (cabbage & lettuce) as well as being given fresh water, daily by the kind folks of Spanish Wells.
As to the title of this blog ... I thought it might be time for a reality check!   Life on board Indigo is not always paradise. So I thought I would share some of the recent drama we have to deal with, so that you don't get too jealous of our lifestyle. Firstly, the dinghy has been giving us problems. Not only has the engine been playing up but at the Spanish Wells dock, someone stabbed one of the pontoons, leaving it flat. We were lucky to get back to Indigo who was anchored outside the town. As the dingy is our "car" and usually the only way we have to get to shore, problems are not welcome. Mike has patched the pontoon and so far so good!  With the outboard engine, he has tried everything! Hoisting it up and down on to the deck of the yacht many times (it weights about 52kgs), stripping the carburettor twice, changing the spark plugs, flushing the engine, replacing the gaskets (I had to make some out of cardboard!), and so on..still it will not work properly. Of course there are no Honda agents just around the corner where you can get help, so Mike continues to problem solve. In the process of one of the 'hoists' I managed to get a nasty rope burn on my hand, and so there has been quite a lot of cursing.
Living on a yacht is like running your own island, being the water dept, the power dept, and all other domestic issues. The freezer has also been playing up, and luckily Mike ordered a new pump in Florida, which is arriving with our friend Doug next week. Fairly recently the gas stove kept going out, again Mike had to strip this down to get it to work again. Doing the laundry is also challenge, although we have a fabulous little machine, water is limited, and clothes don't dry very easily with high humidity, so we look like a Chinese laundry with wet washing all over the deck on wash days!  And if you have been following the weblog, you will know the challenges of the weather - bad weather is pretty miserable here in paradise - you get little sleep with all the bumping around and cabin fever sets in quickly!
All that said, we have now reached the lovely Abacos islands. We are currently anchored off Tiloo Cay, which although has a few houses, is regarded as a bird sanctuary. Yesterday we saw a pair of Oyster Catchers with the longest red beaks. Our next major stop is Marsh Harbour, the capital town - before we head back to the north western Abacos to meet up with our friends who are motoring over from Florida.