Sunday, April 10, 2005

Where's the Dinghy? Day 4

or, How We Learned Most of Cruising's Lessons in Just One Week

Day 4 (Tuesday, May 4, 2004)

Sunset over Cane Garden Bay
The next morning, the faucets started to gurgle a little. We can't be out of water already, I thought. Maybe the Conch people hadn't filled our little thirty-gallon water tank all the way. We were on our way to Cane Garden Bay that day and wanted to get there early to get a good mooring, so we thought we'd wait and get more water, if indeed we needed it, when we got there. The weather was somewhat better this Tuesday, but I still held my breath as we motored around Steele Point. The swells were not as bad as the day before but they were still sizable, and they were coming from the direction we needed to go, directly east and straight into the wind. The idea of tacking back and forth for hours trying to make headway was not appealing, especially given yesterday's adventure, so we left the sails down and motored into the wind and swells at a very modest two knots.

When we arrived at Cane Garden Bay, we had our pick of moorings and found a nice sheltered one not too close to shore. We ran the dinghy over to the dinghy dock and tied up, then I diligently tossed out the stern anchor, as Emma at Conch Charters had advised, to keep the dinghy's bow from getting beaten up or punctured by the high wooden dock. We had some shopping to do, but first we were eager for an early lunch at Rhymer's, the two-story beach bar, grocery store, hotel and beauty salon. Our waitress Mary remembered us from our previous visits and it was all smiles until we asked her about water and fuel. "Oh, no. There's no fuel and water dock here. You have to either go to Sopers Hole or Marina Cay." Great, we thought. Guess we should have noticed that small detail earlier and planned accordingly. Well, at least we could buy gallon jugs of drinking water at the grocery store. But it remained to be seen if we had enough fuel to get to Marina Cay the next day. Rather than worry about it, we ate our grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, drank our piƱa coladas and enjoyed the view out over the bay.

We bought only what we needed at Rhymer's grocery store because everything was so expensive. The man behind the counter wanted to charge us $18 for a six-pack of Red Stripe! We lugged our ice and water back to the dinghy and motored back to the boat. Of course I forgot about the stern anchor and dragged it all the way there. I wondered why Squishy, as we had christened our dinghy due to its tendency to lose turgidity in the evenings, was straining even more than usual.

Later that afternoon, we were lounging on the boat when two catamarans full of twenty-somethings pulled in and moored about thirty yards away. We thought they might be trouble because they were flying an anatomically correct blow-up doll from one of their masts like some kind of party flag. The party started as soon as they tied up. I don't mind loud music if it's good, but I can't stomach white-boy rap, especially when drunken people in skimpy swimming suits are trying to dance to it. We took the disruption as a sign that we should get ready for our big evening: the full moon party at the Bomba Shack.

We dinghied back to Rhymer's to purchase fresh-water showers since our stern shower was dry, then ditched our stuff back at the boat, locked the dinghy to the dock and went to look for a taxi to take us over to Apple Bay. The first two taxis we saw wanted to charge us $30 for the fifteen-minute ride, so we started walking. A taxi with two people already in it stopped and picked us up to split the fare. They were headed to Bomba's, too, but like us, they planned on dinner first. Wilbert the taxi driver dropped us off at Sebastian's on the Beach, where we reacquainted ourselves with Cynthia, who had been our waitress during our previous two visits. One thing we have learned is that restaurants in the BVI appreciate reservations, so we always call ahead. It guarantees you a table and, we usually find, better service. Cynthia seated us at the window where we could watch the sun set and served us some fabulous shrimp dishes. On our way out, Nan asked her if she was going to the full moon party after work. "Oh, no! That would be trouble," said Cynthia with a big smile.

We walked down the road a couple of hundred yards to the plywood monstrosity that is the Bomba Shack. It sits on pilings above the beach and has collected an eclectic assortment of junk from its thousands of visitors. Dead boomboxes, hubcaps and driftwood are tastefully arranged around dozens of pairs of cast-off panties and bras, like a perverse reverse souvenir shop. Everyone leaves something behind to show the world they were there. Needless to say, the place was rocking. Bomba, the big man himself, was sitting in his throne room holding court with the ladies. One of the big attractions of the full moon party is the "tea" that is served free to anyone who wants it. It's made from mushrooms and is hallucinogenic. Since we had to make the complicated journey back to our boat later that night, we passed on the tea. We still managed to have a very good time.

No comments: