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Friday, February 1, 2013

Acklins Update

We have had an interesting couple of days. Tuesday four of us (me, Myron, Don and Bruce) hiked out to the Airport Inn, the only place within walking distance - about three miles away - that has car rental, at least according to the Explorer Charts. No vehicles were available, but she would consider renting out her son's car - we just needed to call her back. There is no phone service for this area right now, the microwave is down, so calling her back was not an option. We went into the airport terminal, a very small building with space for a security line that might fit two people and their luggage. The police station is part of the same building and the officer on duty was helpful with information about the Convair aircraft in disrepair off the edge of the tarmac. It was a drug running plane that had been forced to land by the DEA back in the 1980's. We were allowed to go investigate it to our heart's content, 'just stay off the runway' was our only instruction. I wish I could share pictures. The outline of AIR FORCE was barely visible on the fuselage. Much of the aluminum had been harvested from the relic, as evident by the saw marks on the remaining stubs of the propellers.
After we left the airport, Myron and I headed back to our dinghy landing and Don and Bruce went north to the Spring Point settlement. Right away they were picked up by a man in a van. He was the school bus driver and the van was the 'bus.' His wife was currently in Nassau and he was more than happy to rent her car to us for a day.
On Wednesday we toured the north part of Acklins by Stafford's wife's car. It took some creative arrangements to get all six of us in the car, but we managed. One of the roads ended at Lovely Bay. It was indeed lovely. It was made even more beautiful by the cell phone coverage. On a dock overlooking Lovely Bay, at an empty night club, we unfolded from the car, dug out laptops, cell phones and Kindles and had an internet hoe down. As Myron was handling our internet needs, I went to get my Bible from the trunk. An off-duty police officer pulled up to make sure nothing was wrong. I told him we were out touring his island and that our sailboats - but I never got the rest out. He said he knew we were anchored off Camel Point. This is a small island. Word gets around that six Americans are hanging about, walking around and asking to rent a car. He asked how many of us were in the car. When I said six, he twisted up his face and said we should not have that many people in a car. Myron says leave it to me to confess our overloaded car to an off-duty cop. I changed the subject as quickly as possible, inquiring as to where we can drop our clothing donations. Two or three times he gave me instructions to find the little house of Liza Taylor, she appears to be their Red Cross contact.
Somehow, we managed to use up most of the day driving north 36 miles. With time to stop, walk, stretch, take pictures and chat with locals, but no joy on finding ice cream. After a cracked conch lunch at 'Club Rollex,' we headed back and miraculously found Liza's shack. She was most appreciative of the donations. Paul and Shari your donations made it all the way out to Mason's Bay settlement on Acklins Island!
Yesterday we had chores to attend, but my big agenda item was to observe the supply boat. Each local had a different opinion as to time of arrival. It varied from 4 am to 2 pm. Myron assumed it would broadcast on AIS. Sure enough, just before noon I saw an AIS target on the chart plotter, a cargo ship at Long Cay. We alerted our little group to be on the lookout. It finally arrived at Spring Point around 2:30 pm. It is a landing craft, 165 feet long with a depth of 9 feet. She pushed up to the old pier and dropped her bow for the trucks to drive off. The forklift was busy for hours. The steel i-beams arranged in an "L," previously a mystery to us, came to life as a barrier behind which the offloaded goods were organized on pallets for pickup. By 5 pm, the lady with fruits and veggies had offloaded and was ready to sell. We waited until it appeared all the locals were done shopping before we purchased two onions and three oranges. I wanted garlic and tomatoes, but you get what you get, and we can manage without. It was interesting to observe and interact with the locals, but we were losing daylight and needed to get back to our boats.
Gina asked, but there was no ice cream on the supply boat either!
Love to all,

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