It pains me to admit that Amber & Pope’s Extraordinary Adventure has degenerated into Life at a Gas Station. Instead of tossing us down its gaping throat, the ocean has lodged us, like a lump in its throat, in the constricted channel at Nassau. The latest hiccup in the engine repair is that the bolts that came with the replacement crankshaft don’t fit our flywheel.
We have been here 25 days. Occasionally, Pope gets agitated and I get depressed. As my friend Linda keeps reminding me, however, there are compensations to being stuck here:
1. We didn’t drown. Every day I sit in the sun and give thanks to Mother Earth.
2. Our friends and housesitter are shoveling snow, cleaning house, trudging to the grocery store, and performing their normal jobs, interspersed with huddling by the radiator or shivering under the blankets, tussling with colds and flu. We are also hard at work: today I cleaned the oil and slimy biofilms out of the bilge and washed throw rugs in a bucket. Pope repaired an anchor clasp and sail guides. But…. It’s 70 degrees. We are wearing shorts and T-shirts. We are healthy. We have no deadlines, and nobody’s standards to meet but our own.
3. It’s cloudy now. But before long, the sun will pop out and dry the rugs and the boat. If the wind calms down, we’ll row the dinghy across Nassau Harbor to Paradise Island and walk to the clear turquoise blue beach. Pope’s brother Henry arrived Wednesday. Since we can’t take him snorkeling in the Exumas as planned, we will entertain him Nassau-style.
4. Since Henry arrived, we bought a freshly caught hog snapper from a gnarled old fisherman and paid an enterprising young man to clean it (total $15). We bought two conchs off a boat and paid a friendly woman in a carry-out lunch shack to fry it up (total $10). Today, when the boats come in about 3:30 or 4:00, Pope and Henry plan to buy Bahamian cracked lobster (brown polka-dotted critters sized midway between lobster and crawfish). Tofu, vegetables, and whole wheat cous-cous are available across the street at Fresh Market, a Whole Foods take-off.
5. I’m reading books and taking yoga classes on Paradise Island; the ashram provides a free boat to get there. I’ve been to a Toastmasters club meeting and, if we stay another week, can do it again.
We may be stuck in the constricted throat of the ocean, with occasional hiccups disturbing our equilibrium. But overall, the life goes down easy.