Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Weigel/Phillips Moto Mayhem

Brad & Amber Phillips have been close friends of ours for a good 15 years now, and we've had a lot of cool adventures with them. We've traveled to Amsterdam, Italy and Thailand together; we've sailed together in the BVI and now the Bahamas; we've flown small planes to Mexico; we've visited each other's homes regularly since Dawn and I moved back to Minnesota (we formerly lived near them in Washington state). But a disproportionate number of our adventures together have been on motorcycles and dirt bikes. The four of us spent our respective anniversaries (1 day apart) on a 3-day ride in the Pacific Northwest; later we all rode the full length of the Blue Ridge Parkway together. Brad, Dawn and I rode from Portland to Alaska in 2011, and Brad and I alone have done a lot of small rides and a couple big ones: up the East Coast in 2010 and down the length of Baja California (via dirt bike) in 2013.

So naturally enough, our present sailing adventure soon turned into a moto adventure, at least for half a day. Bret and Teresa on Elusive had rented scooters with the Mike and Blanche on Saltwater Taffy a few days ago; they told us where to rent them and some of the things to see around the island. The scooters turned out to be 125cc machines in pretty decent shape and at a pretty good price for the Bahamas ($35 for 4 hours). We were on the road and headed southeastward on Great Exuma Island by 10:30 this morning. We detoured down a dirt side road on Little Exuma to visit "Tropic of Cancer Beach," went all the way to the end of Queens Highway on the south end of Little Exuma, checked out an abandoned plantation in William's Town, had fantastic seafood for lunch at Santana's Grill, and picked up some rum cake for an after-supper dessert at Mom's Bakery ("Free Hugs!"). On our way back we checked out the Salt Pillar and then rode all the way to Steventon on the north side of Great Exuma before returning the bikes right on schedule.

After we got back Dawn and I reassembled our cockpit table, which we're happy to have back in place. I've applied five coats of Epiphanes Rapid Clear, top and bottom, followed by three coats of Epiphanes Clear Varnish to the bottom. Now that it's on place on its swinging mount I will apply five or six coats of varnish to the top and sides, the first of which I did this afternoon. We also took the masking tape off of the cockpit combing, as we applied our final/sixth "re-coat" this afternoon. It looks really nice, as does the engine control cover and compass trim that we just stripped and revarnished. Lots of cruisers hate varnishing, but I kinda enjoy it - there's instant visual gratification. Of course now that everything else in the cockpit looks decent, the companionway hatch that we revarnished in Charleston looks kinda crappy by comparison. And several of the dorade boxes are already flaking enough that they'll have to be completely stripped. Egh!

Brad and Amber crashed hard while we were varnishing, though I was able to rouse them afterwards to go hiking with us. We all piled in the dinghy with Piper and headed over to Sand Dollar Beach on Stocking Island, where we hiked a really nice sandy trail to the ocean side and then south to the Elizabeth Island Cut. From there we took the beach back west and north to the dinghy. It was a really pleasant 90 minute hike, and we got back to the boat just as the sun was setting. Before it got completely dark we were visited by four dolphins - I think the same four we saw with Mom and Dad on the day we arrived in Georgetown. They were being quite playful near our boat so I took off my shirt and jumped in. One of the juveniles swam close enough that I was able to touch him, but then they all moved off. Pretty cool anyways.

Tomorrow we'll be heading to Long Island, where we hope to get into Joe Sound (we'll scout our way with the dinghy and a handheld sounder first to make sure we can do it). If not we'll tuck into Calabash Bay. On Friday a mild cold front will be passing, on Saturday we hope to rent a car (or more scooters!) to explore the island, and on Sunday we'll move south to Salt Pond. On Monday Brad and Amber are flying from Stella Maris to Nassau, then Atlanta, and finally Portland. Tuesday or Wednesday Dawn and I are hoping for a break in the northeasterly trades to visit Conception Island, but if not maybe we'll do Cat Island or just explore Long Island some more before returning to Georgetown. We've been mostly stationary for over two weeks now, and I'm excited to get some wind in our sails again!

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