Every once in a while, it is fun to take time out from cruising around and just enjoy where you are, at that moment. The Cruiser’s Regatta in Georgetown, Exumas, is just the time and place to do it. The Cruiser’s Regatta has been described as “Adult Day Care/Fun Camp”. There actually is a Regatta/Race, actually two of them: one in Elizabeth Harbour and one around Stocking Island. But the real focus is on fun events for young and old alike! From a “talent show”, to coconut collecting contests via dingy, to volleyball tournaments, to “Poker Run” bar hopping, paddle board races and scavenger hunts, and even a few events for real kids, the CR is a week-long celebration in just “letting your hair down” (of course, this only applies to Admiral Deb, as Shep has no hair to let down). We were blessed to be able to enjoy this week of frolicking with friends Rob and Sandra from VT/Blacksburg. And, as a bonus, they brought us a rebuilt autopilot ram to fix “Otto” (can’t buy such a thing in the Bahamas). Rob masterfully passed the ram though Homeland Security and Bahamian Customs without a hint of suspicion that it might be a rocket launcher (what it looks like) or a very expensive (and therefore subject to 45% import taxes) potato gun for the Regatta events.
Rob and Sandra were indispensable to our coconut collecting efforts…once, that is, we got Rob back in the dingy from an impromptu swim! And the Deb and Sandra seemed to enjoy throwing coconuts (not looking facing backward) as Rob and Shep tried to catch them in a trash bag…good thing we had crash helmets on!
But all good things must come to an end (and this is usually followed by the “bad” and then the “ugly”!); so before the volleyball tournament, Rob and Sandra had to return to the states (and we really could have used Rob as we went 1-5 and tied for last place). And after all that good, Shep had to perform the “Bad”, no really bad, and climb down into the bilge to replace the autopilot ram. Spending 2 hours, squeezed into a space meant for midget contortionists, just to have the ugly appear, begs the question: “Are we having fun, now?” The ugly, discovered upon re-commissioning the new ram, was that the real culprit in Otto spitting up his hydraulic fluid was actually the rudder position indicator unit. The RPIU tells the autopilot brain where the rudder is so as not to overextend the ram…which it probably did and caused the ram failure to begin with. So with no friends flying in for a month, no RPIUs to be found in the Bahamas…we paid Watermakers Air $150 in freight and customs charges to fly in a $400 part! Ouch, real ugly!
But, the silver lining is that Otto is now working fine, we are headed back north, and had some great snorkeling around sunken/wrecked drug airplanes and great little reefs at Normans Cay and Tea Table Cay. Shep even snorkeled Thunderball Grotto, of James Bond movie fame, at Staniel Cay. Deb got to feed pigs and iguanas.
And we are currently waiting at Palm Cay Marina, in Nassau, for a weather window to move to the Abacos. And the real “silver lining’? As bad as you might think you have “it” sometimes…there is always someone else who had it way, way worse…like the unlucky owners of North Wind….