Spirits were high motoring out of Gaviotta Bay. We were going to Cuba! Cuba… home of the mojito and the daiquiri, with salsa, fabulous music and better cigars. The Bahamas had been lovely, but we were ready for a little culture and some fabulous night life. Maybe some lush jungle treks as well. Who knew everything Cuba had in store. We were more than ready to explore all that it had to offer.
I was in the galley making grissini for the passage when a spirit-crushing crunch shook the boat. The guttural scrape of metal on rock tore at your very soul. It was sound that made fingernails on a chalkboard sound like a choir of angels. What had happened?
“It was so shallow. There were so many rocks,” Sato San said numbly.
Sato San went into the water. He didn’t come back with hopeful news. The starboard rudder was bent. Not just bent, the fiberglass had been shattered. We motored to a mooring ball and tried to think. Plans can change in an instant.
The Spanish aptly named the Bahamas – Baja Mar because the sea is so shallow. We hadn’t thought anything would happen just coming out of the bay. Accidents always happen when you let your guard down.
Umineko is a catamaran so we did have another rudder but what if something happened to that rudder?
No, we needed our starboard rudder.
Would we have to go back to the States to haul out and replace the rudder? What could we do in the Bahamas? We’d even had problems finding places to haul out a boat with a 24″ beam in the States.
There couldn’t be somewhere to haul out around here, could there? At least we were at the St. Francis headquarters so it would be easier to order a new rudder here. If they even had a rudder for the 23-year-old first hull.
I was near tears when we dropped the dinghy and headed over to St. Francis Resort to talk to George. If anyone could give us advice it would be him. In his jovial South African accent George managed to cheer us up a bit. Apparently, we had tried to leave
at low tide, the worst possible time. He could talk to St. Francis headquarters in South Africa, but he wanted to look at the rudder first. They had to straighten one or two rudders a year, so it was possible he could fix it in his workshop and get a nearby boat yard to repair the fiberglass.
George is a legend. He straightened the rudder shaft in an afternoon and by that evening had the thing being fiberglassed at the boat yard. It would take some time to set though, he warned us. I shuddered to think what that might mean in Bahaman time.
George must have bribed, threatened, or implored the boat yard because three days later we had our rudder back. On the fourth day we were underway to Cuba (again). Though the stress was dreadful, having those extra days in Gaviotta Bay was lovely. We met some delightful people and managed to have a classic Umineko karaoke party the day before we set sail. If you go to George Town, Bahamas I highly recommend stopping by St. Francis Marina. Great drinks, some of the best calamari I have ever tasted, and lovely people.
I also got to make a few more tasty treats in preparation for the passage to Cuba. I love quiche because it is easy and delicious hot or cold. I bought a large chunk of feta the month before in Florida. Keeping it frozen I was using it for special occasions and I thought that we needed some tasty food in light of upsetting events.
This quiche is easy and tasty, but I do not recommend trying to make it underway because the filling has the unfortunate tendency of spilling all over the oven when there are even little waves.
Fair Weather Feta Leek Quiche
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 c heavy cream
1 t pepper
1 t salt
½ t thyme
½ c feta, crumbled
½ recipe painter perfect pie crust
Preheat oven to 350 F (170C)
Whisk eggs, cream (or milk), and spices in medium mixing bowl
Roll-out pie crust dough
Put into pie tin, pinching edges into a crust
Bake for 20 minutes
Scatter feta and half leek slices over bottom of pie
Pour egg mixture into pie tin
Arrange remaining leek slices on top of pie crust
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until filling puffs up in the center and is solid to the touch