We are still in Long Island and will probably be here into next week awaiting more engine parts and more cold fronts to pass. Tuesday morning, Skip discovered oil leaking from the engine. Upon investigation and consultation with Mike they discovered that the belt that broke got caught up in the engine and broke an oil seal. To make a long story short, Skip consulted with parts suppliers and with Harvey Smith (our mechanic who retired to New Bern) and found out how to fix it. He ordered the parts this morning and they will probably come in early next week. He found a ‘gear puller’ at a tool shop here so he and Mike are pretty confident that they can do the job on the boat without going into a marina. In the meantime, they fabricated a plastic shield from a fluid bottle that helps contain the fine spray of oil. The alternator belts arrived here on Wednesday (the mail boat!) We still need to run the engine a few times a day to keep the refrigeration cold. The part of cruising that’s described as ‘fixing your boat in exotic places’ is certainly true for us!
The last time I updated, we were at Long Island Breeze having lunch. Skip ordered lunch first and got the last hamburger which he gave a ‘7’ on his rating scale. The restaurant owner was out of most things and said that the mailboat will come in on Wednesday bringing more food. That’s the way it is in the Bahamas!
I made dinner on Moondance Tuesday night–a shrimp stir fry. Tina brought ice cream to top her berry crisp for dessert. We had to finish off the ice cream as it wouldn’t keep frozed–darn!!
Wednesday we picked up the rental van to tour the island. The trip north brought us to Stella Maris marina to check out the possibilities for getting our oil leak fixed. It was a small place with a narrow entrance that can only be entered at high tide. I didn’t like the thought of going in there and am glad that we won’t have to. After that, we drove out to Cape Santa Maria to see the monument that commemorates Columbus’ landing in 1492. Long Island was one of the first islands he visited. The road out to the monument is not drivable so we walked–about 1 1/2 miles. For future reference, it really wasn’t worth it. The point at the end is very scenic but the monument is nothing special. We were starving by the time we got back and rode into the Cape Santa Maria resort for dinner. Actually, that road wasn’t very drivable either. Joe was driving and had to swerve all over the road to miss potholes.
The resort sits on a beautiful white sand beach and has a very nice bar and restaurant. We enjoyed a dinner of fresh pan-fried wahoo. Getting back to the boat in the dark was challenging. The dinghy dock is quite a way from the anchorage. Luckily, I remembered the flashlight. Also, a boat anchored near us had a string of Christmas lights that served as a beacon.
On Thursday we wanted to get an early start to drive South to Clarence town. Long Island is about 80 miles long and no greater than 4 miles wide. We are anchored close to the middle in Thompson Bay. Getting ashore this morning was the wettest dinghy ride so far. We picked up Mike and Angie for the ride ashore. The wind and waves were coming directly towards us and we all got soaked!
Clarence town is known for having 2 churches built by the same person–Father Jerome. He originally built an Anglican church and later, after converting, built a Catholic church. Driving further south, we looked for the remains of a plantation called Dunmore. It’s funny that all of our guides talk about places but don’t say how to get to them. We could see the remains but no path to get there. Ed, Tina and Mike braved the bushes, weeds and spiders. The rest of us stayed with the car! We found a nice little place for lunch called the Forest. He had a ‘forest burger’ that received a 9.5 on Skip’s scale. It had sauted onions and the burger was made with some rib meat added.
After lunch, we drove out to Dean’s blue hole. Close to shore and surrounded by cliffs, the blue hole is one of the deepest around–around 600 ft. It’s used by free divers (people who hold their breath to see how deep they can dive–crazy!) Unfortunately, the wind direction pushed a layer of seaweed into the hole. We wanted to swim but the seaweed was not very appealing. Returning to the boat was a pleasure as the wind had dropped (and it was daylight!)
Today (Friday) we’re back at Long Island Breeze for lunch, laundry and wifi. It will be so nice to have clean sheets tonight!!