One of the most asked questions about cruising to the Bahamas is “What are you going to do down there for 5 months?” Being the smart ass, my answer is always “Live my life”.
Of course its all a bit more complicated than that, with lots of frustrations and hurrying up to wait. Essentially I do come down to live a life, one that is slightly more simple, and more in synch with Nature. There is no hiding from the forces of nature on a boat. You can anchor up in some nice little harbor, yet you are still at the whims of the wind, tides and rain. My body readily shifts into a circadian rhythm, rising with the sun, and sleeping shortly after it sets. Its been a long joke of sorts, that when 9:00 pm rolls around its time to go to bed, hence “sailors midnight”
Rising with the sun most cruisers tune in their Single Side Band Radios to listen into the morning weather reports. Never really being the typical cruiser, I get up and settle right back down for a 30 min meditation. Sitting for me, is a way of gently coming into my day. Everyday is different, and the key is to just watch and see what arises. Is it easy? Not so much, but patience comes from waiting. And in the boating world, patience is worth its weight in gold.
After my practice of patience there is breakfast to attend to and gathering up of information from the internet for the coming weather. There are multiple sites that are employed so that I can come up with an idea of what possibilities of weather I am looking towards. Weather is really the only thing that matters out here. Outside of the maintenance of your vessel, it is the sole thing that controls my movements.
The days are taken up doing things that we take complete advantage of back in the states. Simple things like attempting to find a nylon/plastic washer, washing cloths, or grocery shopping tend to take up the entire day. One must walk everywhere you go, after of course taking the dinghy into shore. Its an adventure all on its on.
On the last evening that Bethany was on board we decided to go into Marsh Harbor to wash a few loads of cloths. Simple task, right?
We started off on a good note grabbing a $6 cab ride to speed things along. Things were looking up! This is most definitely a locals spot. To give you an idea of the place, its long and slender, with machines running the entire length of its right side. There is an office on the left with machine before and after it. Locals of all types and colors are sharing a common goal of reaching that social standard of having clean cloths. Moms, grand moms, children and youngsters are everywhere. The windows are wide open and honestly I don’t remember if there were any doors in the entrance. You would not walk in here in the states, but in the islands your grateful its here.
There are only a few machines in the back that do not have someone guarding their possessions. We take all our bags towards the back dropping them on the table, as the floor does not look like a place for dirty cloths. Determining which machines worked, which ones did not, was aided or maybe hampered by the very friendly locals in that section. For the most part I get about every 3rd word, until my brain processes it all and I slowly get what they mean. Finally working that part out, change was made, and the cloths were loaded up.
Coin after coin were slid in the hungry slot, the count down came to 0……. and…….. nothing happened. After some kind, loud, and slightly unintelligible words from a local beside us, we tried a few more quarters….. And….. nothing…..
Several minutes of haggling with our attendant gains us her attention and she comes over to put in another $8 of quarters into the machine. Presto! The latch locks, motors begin to groan, water is flowing and then silence. The entire building went quiet, every person just stared at the machines, the lights went black, followed by a few choice curse word. As if the universe wanted to add in some commentary to our predicament the building begins to be surrounded with the sounds of starting diesel generators. Black out…..
The silence of our dirty little laundromat was overwhelmed by the groans and rattles of every diesel generator on the block. Probably did not help that the windows were open and of course the Laundromat was not one of them contributing to the added noise.
Welcome to the Bahamas, and their rolling black outs.
Time clicks by, and that practice of patience is tested to its limits. After about an hour, several discussions of should we just pack it up and leave, the power comes back on. Our attendant starts her slow process around the room restarting the machines. Two hours later we finally walk out with two very large canvas bags, lavender fresh. Gladly hefting the bags up on our backs we burn off some energy and head back to the boat as the sun kissed the horizon.
Ending another beautiful and adventurous day in the islands.