Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Living At A Gas Station: What It's REALLY Like

A few weeks ago in Bimini, we reviewed our options for docking overnight in Nassau with other boaters. Like lemmings, we followed each other to the Nassau Harbour Club Marina and Hotel, complete with showers and pool, for $1.75 per foot per night. Everyone automatically dismissed the cheapest option: the Texaco fuel dock.

We've come full circle. Now we live there! When we sailed back to Nassau the second time with engine failure, we bypassed Harbour Club and aimed straight for the fuel pumps.

It's not bad. In fact, I'm feeling pretty relaxed.

We paid our monthly fee to Harbor View Marina, which owns the wooden dock and boat slips (sign at left in photo; locked gate between the pumps and dock.) The dock houses mostly charter fishing boats.

Rubis, formerly Texaco, sells diesel and gas to boaters at the water end of the dock. A 24-hour security guard watches the fuel tanks and fishes after dark.

We use the bathroom at the gas staton on the shore side of the dock (forefront of photo). Pope made friends with the service station coordinator, Daniel, who is lots of fun, loves his laid-back country which nobody hates (and he can catch his dinner, and plant things in his backyard, if he wants to). Daniel wants to know: "What's up with that Chris Christie thing?!" All the bad news from the U.S. is on the TV in the station.

The gas station has free wifi and a snack bar. Every day Pope buys $1 coffee and $6 lunch specials, and checks email. For  five days he has searched the Internet for parts for our 30-year-old, obsolete engine, contacting every cruiser and mechanic he knew, enlisting others at home to make calls.
The lunch menu at the gas station includes pork chops with delicious "peas & rice," the local staple.

On the dock, the boat is hooked up to electricity, so we can use our electric hot plate, water heater, and fans. The heat and humidity are similar to Washington, DC in late summer (without air conditioning), and the no-see-ums harrass me constantly.We  blazenly walked into our old marina down the street two days ago to take a shower. Yesterday I just poured jugs of water over my head. (And did I mention that the boat rocks? And everything is damp?)

I'm relaxed because, for the first time in three months, we are not rushing anywhere, we are not preparing for a crossing or even a short cruise, we are not constantly analyzing the weather forecast, and--most of all--we have stopped tussling with wind, waves, chop, and water depth!

We made friends with Gabe and Gail on the trawler Sea Wolf, whom we docked next to last week at Harbour Club (they left for the Exumas), and Judy and Dave on the 31-foot sailboat Wren, which two days ago got towed to Harbour Club Marina by the Royal Bahamian Navy. It's rare to see a boat as small as our 30-foot in the Bahamas, and this one--no kidding-- also has a broken-down 30-year-old engine. Judy and Dave suggested sailing together to Miami and fixing the engines there. However, they have already been to the Exumas, and we haven't arrived yet!
Today I took off my anxious countenance, gave my chewed fingernsils a rest, and took the bus to lovely turquoise Love Beach, encircled  by reefs. No photos--too risky to leave a camera or wallet on the sand. All the stores here have locked doors; you have to be buzzed in. The headlines scream murder and mayhem. We watch our pockets on the streets.

Still, the beach was beautiful! And tonight, we're cooking beans and rice of our own, at "home"!

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