Saturday we couldn’t muster up any energy to get off the boat.  Dan wasn’t feeling well.  He thought he might have the flu.  I cleaned up the boat and the kids and I went for another swim.  On Sunday, we were pretty much out of fresh food.  After making water, we decided we would walk into town and check out the grocery store, or at least find a restaurant where we could get some diet cokes and beer. There is a sort of abandoned dock in Abrams

Bay, but nothing to tie your dinghy to.  The guidebook said to take your anchor and put it into a crack in the concrete.  We did that and Dan also took the painter (rope) and tied it to a bush on the dock.  We were really secure now! 

It was a short walk into town.  Mayaguana used to be a booming island several years back when the

US had a missile tracking station there.  The island had about 3000 residents then.  When the US abandoned the facility, the people left too.  Now there are about 60 people living on the island.  The island seemed pretty poor; the houses we passed could use a lot of work. The town was quiet except for the songbirds. They serenade us as we walk past bushes bursting with fragrant flowers.  I didn’t realize how seldom I heard the birds back in the States.  From the Exuma islands south, you hear them all the time.  I make a promise that when we go back, I will take better care of the songbirds.   We didn’t see anyone out until we got closer to the church.  I waved to a man on a bicycle and asked him if a grocery store was open and he said no.  He did show me where the lady who owned it lived and I could go to her house and she would probably open the store for me.  I wasn’t about to do that.  I asked him if any place was open where we could get something to eat and he told us Paradise Villas was down the road, about 4 light posts.  We headed off.   Luckily he followed us it was tucked back behind some rundown houses and we would never have found it.  Paradise Villas is a small restaurant/bar.  As we walked inside, it was all locals, some sitting at the bar and some playing dominoes.  

The bar/restaurant was very clean and airy.  It was obvious the owner took a lot of pride in it.  We ordered some food, conch, chicken and fish and while we waited at the bar, the kids went to the restaurant and played dominoes together.  There was a big TV hanging in the corner of the bar.  After we had been there awhile, one of the younger guys with short dreadlocks, put on a movie.  Dan and I gave each other the “Here we go again” look.  Apparently, we look/act very white, because while we are enjoying the Bahamian music or enjoy watching whatever they like to watch, they always switch it to something very white.  We were in Ocean View restaurant on Rum Cay, and Miss Ruby and her helper were watching BET channel.  After we sat down, they changed it to some SCI FI channel.  At Kayes Restaurant on Rum Cay, same thing.  As soon as we sat down, they changed the channel from what they were watching and turned it to Home Alone 2.  While this is a very nice gesture, we came to experience the island, the people here and how they live, not try to fit our lifestyle into the island.  Besides, I would never watch the Sci Fi channel anywhere!  The movie they put on?  Scary Movie 3.  Ok, we hadn’t seen it before so that was fine. An American named Kenny came in and started talking to us.  He was from Cape Cod and was on Mayaguana working on the new development on the other side of the island, at Pirates Well.  The I Group had purchased a big chunk of the island and was going to build a hotel and oceanfront homes.  Kenny was running a grader, working on expanding the existing runway to serve the major airlines.  It wasn’t going too well.  When we told him we hadn’t been into the island any further than this, he offered to drive us around.  I told him that we were waiting for our dinner, but we would love to go with him after we ate.  It took awhile to get our food, but it was well worth it.  Dan and I had the fried conch and fries, Tessa had the chicken and fries and Tristan had fish and fries.  The fish was served differently from any we had ever had.  It came out on the bone with the tail still on it.  Tristan gave me a look, but didn’t say anything.  I took it from him and cleaned it off the bone.  Of course I had to have a sample.  It was without doubt, the best fish I have ever had.  It had dipped in a light batter and lightly fried. I later learned it was mutton snapper.  My conch was very good too, but there was just too much food.  We ate all that we could though.  When I came back from the restroom, Smokey, the guy with the dreadlocks was sitting at the table talking to Dan.  He owned the restaurant, having bought it from one of his brothers a few months ago.  I say one of his brothers as he has 11 brothers and 8 sisters.  He told us a little about the island and how he caught all the fish and conch for the restaurant himself.  Ever since Farmer Cay we have been trying to get another good lobster dinner.  Smokey said he would be happy to get us some lobster tomorrow.  We made plans for dinner the next night, then Dan paid the bill.  We then piled into Kenny’s truck for a trip around the island.  

Kenny was quite the tour guide.  He worked for a company in Boston, which was supposed to be consulting with the I Group.  He ended up actually running the grader, helping to expand the runway.  They were way behind schedule.  The airport was supposed to be finished by December, but there were problems. The asphalt was not up to FAA standards.  They were using machines from India and workers from China, and it wasn’t going well.  He drove us past the building where the Chinese workers, engineers and chemical guys stayed.  They never ventured from their building, he said.  A plain white building housed the Nicaraguans who had been brought in to work.  Next to it  housed the food center where the Americans and Nicaraguans ate. All these were out in the blazing sun, in the middle of nowhere.   The Americans were lucky.  They  were housed in a hotel on the beach.  The only hotel in town. 

Kenny drove on the airstrip and took us past the airplane graveyard.  There left to rot were the airplanes the US had shot down, back when Mayaguana was used as a hideout for drug runners. 



He showed us the site of the new terminal which would replace the old one consisting of a building the size of a closet, and 4 plastic chairs sitting in the hot sun. He even took us to his hotel and showed us around there.  It was fun. I think he was getting anxious to get back to the States as he had been in Mayaguana 3 weeks without a break.  He was very surprised and a envious when he found out we were living on our sailboat.  He was a big lover of cruises and had 2 planned in the next 6 months.  He was a really nice guy, and went out of his way to take us all around the island.  When he dropped us off at the dock, we promised to buy him a beer if we saw him at the bar again. 

We were tired and happy as we headed our dinghy out to Alegria.  Because it was so shallow close in, Alegria was anchored about a mile off shore.  She looked beautiful anchored all alone, surrounded by the lightest blue water you could imagine.  We were talking and laughing as we came alongside Alegria in the dinghy.  From the direction we came from, you couldn’t see the back of our boat.  As we motored along I pointed a small boat far off in the distance.  I assumed they must be fishing.  As we turned the dingy around the back side of Algeria, we were surprised to see a Bahamian, sitting on the platform steps, holding a spear gun.  At first I was a little startled.  It’s not everyday you come home to find a big man with a spear gun sitting on your porch!  I think we startled him too. 

 “Hello” he quickly called out.

“You scared me!”  I replied.

He apologized and explained that his boat, the small boat I saw way out in the bay, had run out of gas.  He had swam over to our boat for help as it was getting late in the afternoon.  It was getting close to shark feeding time so he brought the spear gun for protection.   It was a long, long swim to our boat and I could tell he was exhausted.  I asked him how we could help.  He needed gas.  His buddy was still on the boat. No problem.  Tessa and I got onto Alegria while Dan grabbed our extra gas can, then helped our visitor into the dinghy.  When Dan and Tristan arrived at his boat, the other guy was very happy to see them.  They were very grateful and offered Dan some conch, but he said no, that he was happy to help.  When Dan told me that, I told him I would have liked some conch.  But he made a good point in saying he didn’t want them to think he was doing it to get something back.  But if they had offered him lobsters?