May 01

Stranger Than Paradise

Finally, everything came together and it was time to say goodbye to George Town, Exuma, Bahamas. The dog paperwork for the Turks and Caicos, the insurance quotes, miscellaneous other things, including the alternator for the generator, found their way to us so we could cut the ties that had been holding us tethered to George Town. We could have easily left early the next day, but decided instead to wait one last day to watch the Family Island Regatta – a huge annual event that pits the handmade Bahamian sloops (whose booms are bigger than the length of the boat!) in a highly contested race and subsequent debate about who takes the prize. Last we heard the Long Islanders were threatening to pull out of any future races due to some deliberation about who won a particular race. The races were fun to watch and quite lively to say the least. The partying that accompanied the races was even more entertaining to witness. We’ve been here so long we felt like locals. The water taxi driver that watched our boat when we were away turned out to make the best conch salad I’ve ever had – a man of many talents!

We spent a fair amount of time on our last day in George Town readying the boat to leave. We had the bottom cleaned the previous Friday, but the diver missed a few spots, including the swim ladder and the anchor chain. The interior of the boat had to be stowed and top decks had to be ship shape. A couple of Beryl Markham books lent to us by Phillip Hugo Thal, the author of Asylum, were returned to him, and at that point he commented that we will meet again, as “There are no coincidences”. And lo and behold, that evening a stunning Hylas 44 anchored next to us. Initially our dream boat was a Hylas 44. We even put a large deposit on one that was on the hard in Grenada, the pictures of which made us swoon! But before we made a huge investment in flying down to Grenada to have her surveyed and perform a sea trial, we hired a surveyor to do a “pre-survey”, and he provided us with about 200 recent pictures of the boat.

Unfortunately, the pictures on Yachtworld and the more recent pictures taken by the surveyor were worlds apart. Apparently the pictures on Yachtworld were several years old, and as Mike likes to say, “she had been ridden hard and put up wet”. She was still beautiful, but a project boat. Since we had zero experience owning a boat and are not “project-oriented” people by nature when it comes to major overhauls, both cosmetic and otherwise, we decided it was in our best interest to withdraw our offer and find something more suitable for our aspirations.

At any rate, we were on our way in the dinghy to take close up pictures of the race boats, and Mike decided to do a “drive by” close to the Hylas. The owner was on deck. The owner’s immediate reaction was “You are from Last Tango, right?” He said he had been ogling Last Tango when it was on the market, but said it disappeared off the market before he had a chance to make an offer. We explained we had put a deposit on a Hylas 44, and it turns out his boat was the exact SAME boat we had put the offer on in Grenada! He thanked us for the 200 or so pictures, as he said those pictures allowed him to make what he felt like was a fair offer based upon the current condition of the boat. He had it painted and renamed and she is a beauty. We made plans for later that evening to give each other the “grand tour” of each other’s boat.

How strange is that? And the next morning he was gone when we woke up. Had we not stayed that extra day, we would have never had that exchange or opportunity to see the boat up close and personal. The dolphins were out that same day we left, and the last time I had seen dolphins in the harbor were on the day we arrived.


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    • Eric Dunn on May 1, 2016 at 5:12 pm
    • Reply

    Love this post.

  1. Glad all is well with y’all !

    • Deb on May 1, 2016 at 6:17 pm
    • Reply

    Wow…..that was a great opportunity!! So glad you got to make that connection!

    • Sybil and Rick on May 1, 2016 at 7:56 pm
    • Reply

    Glad you are on your way–be safe out there on the seas!

    • Benjamin Moore on May 1, 2016 at 10:15 pm
    • Reply

    Karma sails in circles I guess!

  2. You did it!!!!

    • STEVEN GROSS on May 4, 2016 at 5:28 pm
    • Reply

    You have the beginnings of a book…very conversational dialog. Very well written!

    • Kimber on May 10, 2016 at 4:09 pm
    • Reply

    So glad you are out there sailing away now! The two of us just returned from Oaxaca 2 nights ago. Went for a week so Kimber could see it and meet the wood carvers. Just as nice as ever! Sherry

    • richard craig on May 12, 2016 at 9:37 pm
    • Reply

    How beautifully put. Reminds me so much of my USCG SAR days out of San Francisco. Night watch, a couple hundred miles off coast was absolutely amazing. There’s always that which requires your attention but there’s also a wonderful quiet time you get to experience that’s just soul refreshing. Then…on the other hand…there’s hating the night watch when you’re in the Bering Sea and you’re looking desperately for a distressed vessel hidden among the 40-50-foot swells. It’s then that you just pray for daybreak. (I like your version of night watch better.)

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