Monday, February 14, 2011

Pete's Bar

2011 02 10
Anchored rockily in the Bight of Old Robinson, 
off Little Harbour, South tip of Great Abaco Island

Yesterday we escaped the Senior Citizen Interment Centre known officially as "Marsh Harbour".  Marsh Harbour is an assisted living centre for delusional sailors.  Here reside the "retireds", people who bring their boats here year after year, take the same slip beside the same other boats year after year.  And they never ever leave, other than to return home come summer or "sail" the 10 miles it is to Hopetown or Treasure Cay for a day at another marina or mooring ball. 

 One day in Marsh Harbour and we had been to the "Florida quality" grocery store and the "Florida quality" hardware store and the pretty "just like the tropics" bar and we had had our fill and then some.  We took off like Randle Patrick McMurphy running from  Nurse Ratched.

Looking for something unfound and unspoiled we found what we were looking for in Pete's Pub in Little Harbour.

I would not want to suggest that our escape went unnoticed, nothing escapes the all seeing eye of US Homeland Security and its thrice daily overflights of Bahamas airspace.

Of course Homeland Security is so cleverly disguised no one ever suspects it is them - I mean the only unmarked military transport flying overhead in continuous sequence gives nothing away.

Last time the "secret" photographers flew overhead the Budget Committee yelled "Ze Plane, Boss, Ze Plane" (it is understood that the BC was being artistic in her use of the term "Boss".)  Her cry was a beat to quarters.  

We both dropped everything and got on deck.  Then we undressed all the better to give the twisted priggish homeland security peeping toms something to look at.  Assholes.  We danced and waved and carried on something fierce.  When the plane passed we laughed like hyenas, dressed and returned to our duties.

As you can see from the chart excerpt travelling the Sea of Abaco is no dream.  By the time Meredith had sailed, in 20 knot winds gusting 28 I might add, from point 1 to point 4 on the chart we had been underway for near two hours.  Measured from the black circle which was our position at anchor we had made exactly one half nautical mile distance made good.

Having made good the first half mile we then had to backtrack so as not to run aground on this big bejeezeling sandbank.  The fun continued as we came upon the Tilloo bank:

Depths are in metres and even at half tide it was a challenge.  The pass from point 1 to 2 is little more than a keel width in width.  Going past the North Bar Channel is deep but similarly narrow and has the added fun of agitation from the Atlantic Ocean beating its way into the Sea of Abaco through the inlet.  There are no markers lighted or unlighted at the North Bar Channel or any other inlet to the Sea of Abaco.  Sailors don't need them.

The point to the whole exercise is to get to Little Harbour at the southern tip of Great Abaco Island.  We cannot actually enter the harbour - the harbour is too shallow even at high tide.  As you see here the depth at low water is 1.1 metres. 

So why would anyone bother.  Little Harbour certainly lives up to its name.  Tiny and inassessible.  What gives?

Pete's Bar is what.  Pete's Bar is comprised of the prow of an old ship, or two wooden benches placed in the sand to look like the prow of an old ship.  The floor is sand the way god made it.  For cover from the elements Pete erected some poles, wood, aluminum, steel, whatever was at hand, and hung some plastic tarp.  Sides are open.  

The ceiling, beneath the tarps, is covered by hundreds and hundreds of teeshirts, each signed by its owner and tacked, tied or taped in place.  No surface is uncovered and the result is a ceiling of fruit salad colours. 

From the prow of the ship, two counters about 12 feet each in length Pete's woman serves powerful drinks called "Blasters" and cooks great food. Pete's woman is jaded, her demeanour worn.  Meltschmerz.   Her face shows an interesting life lived. One imagines, sneaking a glance into the deep emotionless black of her eyes that there is little she has not seen. She returns the look with all the emotion of a piece of obsidian.  

Pete's woman does not display the trivial gaiety so common in the tourist joints.  As she cooks she smokes.  Continuously.  Never is her mouth without a faggot smoldering away.  She does not even remove it to talk.  Never is there any ash.  Never do you see the dear actually tap the ash from her nicotine crutch.  Chewing my unbelievably good cheeseburger I never once stopped to thing about that ash.  Well, maybe once.

Meeting Pete's woman was a moving experience, the woman herself a wonder. 

The cool thing about Pete's Bar is that we came upon it by accident.  After a day beating into brutal wind and attendant chop we very nearly did not drop the dinghy into the water and head to shore.  We were tired.

How lucky for us we found the energy to explore.  No one remembers the day when the ending is so fantastic.

Travelling in the Sea of Abaco is bizarre, as you can see from our course plan shown in blue on the chart above.  After two hours of sailing all we had accomplished was to move the boat one half mile from our original anchorage.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds wonderful. We would love to see Pete's bar! We sit moored among 157 other boats and ride our bikes everywhere. Our trip will be cut shorter this year. We have to get taxes in by March 21 and have to be docked to drive home. then Irish cousins are arriving April 14th for 3 wks. So we will return to Port Canaveral for a few months storage. The who knows...maybe head north for the summer??