March 5, 2021
Molasses Reef was so calm in the morning that we could “snorkel” the coral heads, just by looking over the side of the boat. This was fortunate, because Jeff was able to guide me in as I drove the boat in a big circle as we upped the anchor, unwrapping our chain from around a coral head without damaging it. To check out of the country, we needed to Mathew’s Town, five or six miles around the SW corner of the island. Once there, we hooked up with the buddy boats we met in the Acklins and the “Eastbound Renegades” all went to check out together. We walked about a half mile up the road to the customs building, and all enjoyed the liquor store sandwiched between customs and immigration. All four boats enjoyed the 3 for 5 dollar special on beers, and they lasted just about the 30 minutes it took for all our paperwork to be processed. We had Despachos for the DR!
It was time to walk a mile and a half to the Lighthouse Restaurant, which people at the dock highly recommended. The eight of us were super hungry by the time the food came so it was fabulous. A big family style presentation of the usual Bahamian fare. A big plate rice and peas (the peas are really beans) served as the base for chicken, ribs, mac and cheese, wings, and more beer of course. We were then ready to climb the old lighthouse next door. It was a steep and rickety spiral staircase – never mind the missing stairs. The light at the top was gone, leaving a big empty platform to stand in a glass walled room and admire the view. It was a bit stuffy though, so I liked walking around the outside ledge to enjoy the wind. The railing was super rusty, but it seemed like it would hold together for at least another day.
While we were hiking through town, the wind had come up, blowing west, straight against shore, and waves were then reflecting off the low cliff. Let’s just say that Renegade was rolling so much, we were able to thoroughly inspect her very clean bottom paint without looking under the water. I wasn’t actually positive I was going to be able to get back on the boat. The dinghy and the boat were both going up and down 3+ feet, and not in sync. Thank God Jeff has the wingspan of a pterodactyl. He was able to grab the side of the boat to hold the dinghy next to it while I timed my leap onto the boarding ladder for a time it was heading up out of the water to propel me up the side. Jeff had to let go before the roll finished, because even his arms aren’t that long, and he drove away in a circle. I thought that was going to be the last I saw of him, bc who would hold the dinghy in place for him? Well, luckily, we have what we call the Tarzan Rope hanging off the arch at the back of the boat. You can use that to yell appropriate crazy things as you fling yourself off the boat into the water. The lucky part is that process seems to work in reverse. I was able to toss Jeff the rope after he tossed me the painter and I tied the dinghy off the stern. Jeff then used his good upper body strength to swing himself across a couple feet of water and onto the bottom step. Whoo Hoo! My heart was pounding , and I had all this adrenaline in my veins. I kept yelling, Holy S—, we did it! For several minutes until I settled down. I tell you what, you can NOT get that kind of a thrill walking up the 3 steps onto your flagstone patio to walk across to your front door! It was so crazy with all the waves, we couldn’t get the dinghy safely up into the davits. Instead, we motored the hour around the corner to Molasses Reef again. Like magic, everything flattened out, and we glided in to prep for the crossing the the DR. As we were getting lazerettes dogged down, running jack lines and preventers etc, two HUGE dolphins, one after the other, leapt up out of the water, straight up, tails clearing the water like they were trying dunk a basketball. They were right between us and our buddy boat, Moon Dancer. What a show! We cheered and clapped, but the dolphins had fish to catch, so they were gone as quickly as they appeared. It was definitely a good omen for the passage.