Not just another day in Rum Cay. The mail boat visits!!!

It’s Monday and we are enjoying our 6th day at the marina at Rum Cay.  Perhaps the most puzzling fact of all is that we haven’t really done much since arriving except enjoy the marina, sit aboard Pandora and go for a few walks.  Perhaps I am finally getting into the “cruising ting” where there’s always tomorrow to do what you don’t want to tackle today.  One thing that I need to tackle is the persistent water leak in the pressure water system. I have torn the boat all apart and can’t find it.  Very frustrating. Ugh…

This is a view of the marina from one of the surrounding “hills”. You can see that this harbor was carved out of the coral rock.  Pandora is the one with the double head stay. That large sand dune is a result of the ongoing attempt to keep the channel open which fills in after each major storm.Friday was an action packed day here in Rum Cay when the weekly mail boat came to the island.  The boat, perhaps better described as a small tramp freighter, visits the island about once a week from Nassau.  Pretty much anything that comes to the island comes on that boat.  That includes groceries which are sold at one of the two “grocery” stores including my favorite The Last Chance Grocery.   This “grocery” is really more of a small cute shack and the selection is limited, at best. Based on the selection we saw when we visited prior to the mail boat’s arrival, we had clearly missed our last chance for fresh produce.  

There isn’t a very protected harbor that can accommodate the mail boat so the government maintains a pier that juts out from the “town”.  It’s pretty heavily built and in spite of that is often destroyed during hurricanes.  I understand that the pier was heavily damaged by Sandy and was recently rebuilt. 

The arrival of the mail boat is a major social event with just about everyone on the island coming down to greet it.  As you can see, “boat” may be a better a better description than ship.  Having said that, it’s pretty heavy and when they came up alongside the pier, they gave it a pretty hefty nudge that made the pier shift several inches under my feet.   I just had to be in the thick of it and walked out onto the pier for its arrival along with everyone else.The mail boat includes a freezer and refrigerated section as well as a cargo hold down below in the bow.  There is a crane on deck that lifts out pallets of goods all wrapped up with the name of the recipient stamped on a label.  The boat also takes passengers who boarded the boat on Wednesday night for the 36 hour passage. Things move slowly here in the Bahamas and the cost of passage on the ship is a lot less than a flight by plane, if you could get one to come here at all.It’s amazing to see all of the goods that come ashore including major appliances.  I doubt that freight costs he can compete with trucking in the US however, where else would you have the opportunity to take delivery of a washer or dryer with a salt film all over it?   Rum Cay, that’s one place, for sure.  We were particularly amused by the package of dry cleaning picked up by the local police officer.   His vehicle is one of the nicest on the island.    We had been wondering about his perfectly pressed uniform. 

Here’s the goods that were destined for Last Chance Grocery unloading.  So, what’s with the coconut palm babies on the truck?  Sort of seems like selling ice to Eskimos.  We learned that the owner, a women, takes the goods into her store and gets everything into place only to open for business the following day at noon.  I expect that the delay is more about crowd control and less about taking inventory.  I expect that there will be quite a mob waiting when she opened up on Saturday at the magic hour.  And, the famous Last Chance Grocery being stocked with the latest “imports”. When Brenda and I walked the mile into town we spied this osprey who gave us a great show as he flew off.  I wonder if they commute from Essex to here?  Hmm…Another highlight of perhaps better described as a “grand finale” of the day was the party celebrating the marina owner Bobby’s birthday.  Bobby has lived here off and on much of his life and has been here full time since the mid 80s.  As such a central figure here, Bobby’s birthday was cause for quite a celebration.  Bobby ordered in a mess of ribs and cooked them on the grill for everyone in attendance.

Some of the visiting fisherman had a good day of spear fishing and brought in two terrific lobsters, a 20lb Nassau Grouper, some smaller fish and a good size octopus.  We were going to contribute a pork tenderloin but there was so much food that it was politely declined.  However, Brenda’s onion foccacia bread was much appreciated and didn’t even last until dinner was served.

The birthday boy, Bobby thinking about how to prepare the octopus for the grill.   And, a really fresh octopus isn’t something that shows up in our Essex kitchen often.Bobby and others in the kitchen preparing the feast.

How about those lobster tails?  Just a few hours earlier they were in the deep blue.

We enjoyed meeting some of the locals. Anyone who’s anyone in Rum Cay, it seemed, was there.  What fun.One of Brenda’s new friends.  We weren’t the only ones hanging around the kitchen looking for handouts, and getting them.

The dining room is in what was once a restaurant that closed after one of the hurricanes a few years back.  Pretty eclectic decorating.  Works for me and looks totally in sync with the feel of this place.Everyone contributed something including this load of drift wood for the after dinner bonfire collected by one of the visiting boaters. Prior to cocktails and dinner in the dining room, we were treated to a fabulous sunset, one of the best so far.  All and all, a banner day. So, what next?   We have a rental golf cart, a sort of mini off-road cart, for two days and I hope to do a bit of deep sea fishing on one of the local boats in the next day or so.  We were going to head to Long Island on Tuesday as it’s the only weather window for much of the next week.  However…

We feel that we haven’t yet done enough here so we have decided to stay another week.  As someone probably once said,  “relax, don’t worry. Tomorrow is another day in paradise”.    So, what’s the rush, indeed.


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