Monday, June 16, 2008

Nassau to French Wells, Bahamas

We arrived at Secret today. At long last, El Dorado. Or so say I. With a fair amount of misadventure, nonetheless.

The first was our luggage, which was sent to the wrong island--Acklins, the next island over. My parents were shocked and disgusted, and I , who have a lot more experience on the island, a little less so. Expect the unexpected on Crooked. That’s all I can say.

It ended up being a better deal than I expected, though. It gave us the leisure to be given a mini-tour of the island by Nappy, to pick up the gigantic quantity of shipped-in boxes that Nappy had been storing for us, to eat a nice lunch of fried grouper at Willie Gibson’s restaurant, and to buy some fresh groceries for our two weeks on the boat. It’s fantastic being back again, seeing all our old friends, especially Nappy. Little had changed--the island is still beautiful, sunny, and remote.

Andy was at the dock with his boat for our trip down to French Wells when our luggage finally arrived, via chartered ferry, from Acklins. The motor down was uneventful, passing the sandy abandoned beaches of southern Crooked, and then I finally saw a mast beckon like a finger. She’s still here. That, the major fear, for eight months, allayed.

Better yet, her floorboards undrenched by ocean water, her teak unstained, even my tools and kitchen implements untouched by too much rust. To be honest, everything is in far better condition than I ever could have expected or hoped. Nothing’s even missing that I can find, aside from a bucket, that probably got knocked overboard. I had faith in the people of Crooked (as they say here-- “da island Crooked, but da people straight”), but I also had doubt in human nature.

Andy’s been doing a fantastic job keeping watch over her, untangling the anchor lines and even moving her to deeper water when she was touching bottom at low tide. Honestly, the anchoring situation’s better than when we left her.

Andy rafted up next to us and made us a dinner of fresh conch salad. I even brought one up on my first swim down here again. The water feels like heaven. This, this is what I’ve been longing for over the last brutal winter. I’m so happy I can still dive. Though the mosquitoes are circling and the generator’s throbbing and stinky, I feel like I’m home. Not a surprise.

For how long, though? How long will I be able to be lulled to sleep by gentle seas? That’s the real question I’ll begin to answer tomorrow. Tomorrow the real work begins.

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