Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Moving Day

As a kid growing up in the suburbs of Baltimore, Moving Day was a bad boy night of pranks on or around Halloween. VW bugs were lifted and placed in new places, trashcans were “trashed”, trees toilet-papered, and windows egged. It was not a favorite among adults but it had a certain mystique for those of us not yet teens. A bit of dread, a bit of will I ever mixed with a fascination. Well . . .as a cruising First Mate at the ripe old age of 55, there is no mystique lingering in the concept of moving.

After two blissful weeks of co-habitating at Allen’s Cay with iguanas and bottom fish, my own personal aquarium and all-around wind protection---the lure of meat, lettuce and yes, the ever-
demanding egg fetish—drew me out of my newest safe zone.

Those who have traveled the Exumas will realize that a move from Allen’s Cay to Highbourne is not one of great distance or strain. Unless of course you are aboard sailing vessel Horizon. The trip itself was not eventful. But the dinghy ride to Highbourne from the anchorage was spiritually uplifting. Translate into rote repetition of the rosary in order to keep from berating the captain or cursing the water dousing or wondering if either of us had the muscle to row back to Horizon. Because the problem with the Mercury outboard’s idle, which had been noted in Nassau, became permanent. As the throttle refused to advance, the current and waves took charge while the captain fumed, fussed and generally invoked my Catholic roots without realizing it.

Five decades of the rosary later, he announced that idle was all there was, and we proceeded slowly to the marina settlement at Highbourne. Or as Mike aptly calls it, Highbrow. My spiritual routine allowed me to reflect that future ventures would include a simple dress in dry bag to slip over the now requisite bathing suit for transport.

It also allowed me to crawl from the dinghy with head in a neutral position despite my soaking shorts, wet tee shirt and sloppy Teva’s. At the marina store, we found we needed to pay $5 a person to be afoot High Brow and that allowed only access to the store and the restaurant.

But it was very worth it. When your freezer has only three portions of meatballs, two portions of shrimp and a pair of pork chops, and you find the only store for thirty miles that has meat, lettuce and eggs . . . Blessed are thou among women.

Very few things were priced. We found the receipt enlightening, $9 for lettuce, $18 for a small frozen chicken among other interesting prices. But when in Rome . . .

We treated ourselves to lunch at the Xuma Restaurant---an excellent solace for the idle situation. We had the best food we had eaten since . . . Vero Beach. Although my daughters would disagree and say Baltimore, and Worcester respectively. We enjoyed a spectacular view of the amazing blue water along with a few Bananaquit scavenging for haute cuisine crumbs.

The quality of the food justified the price. In hindsight we realized that the only truly worth it food we have experienced in the Bahamas has been at marinas. Must be the influence of the High Brows :)

The guidebook said we could dispose of the first two bags of trash for $5. It ends up it was $5 a bag. That’s when the true Spartan emerged. I finagled two bags into one.

We boarded the dinghy a bit dryer, feeling re-provisioned. A returning tide helped us idle our way back to the boat.

I have had a lot of spiritual training in my 55 years. I have spent most of my post-first marriage time skeptical of religion. Cruising has given me many opportunities to express gratitude to the God of my understanding, and returned me to habits that I never realized were ingrained. Thank you Jean Fitzpatrick and the Rosary group. The one that disowned me over nursing Bridget.

I find the best times cruising are at anchor. And yet---wait for my next installment.

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