NMC049 George Town

Daphine Mbithuka

NMC049th_George_Town

Episode #49: George Town

Recorded: February 28, 2017

Location: George Town, Exumas, Bahamas.

Subject: Making an impromptu visit to George Town after meeting with other kid boats.

One of the greatest human needs is the desire to connect with other humans. When you are a sailing family, alone on the water, filling that need becomes even more pressing, especially with kids on board.

In this week’s episode of New Mexi-Castaways, Rosa Linda Román and her family share how they handled this need to connect with others. As Rosa Linda shares, this is the reason the s/v Dawn Treader and her crew took an impromptu trip to George Town, Exuma, Bahamas. Listen in as she shares an inside glimpse into the joy and heartache of trying to connect to other boats with kids.

As you follow us along, we would love to know, to what extent would you go to connect with others? Enjoy!

P.S. If you liked this episode check out our most recent episode:

NMC048 Audio Issues Atlantis to Palm Cay

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Episode Transcript:

Rosa Linda Román (00:29): Hello, and welcome to New Mexi-Castaways, the enchanting audio companion to New Mexicast, which is my long time video podcast, TV show, and general place where I share my independent video work. I am Rosa Linda Román, and I live on a 45 foot sailing catamaran, a Lagoon 450. And right now I'm in the guest bedroom. It's about 5:45 in the morning and we're rocking we're in George Town Harbor. It's actually called the Elizabeth Harbor, I think in George Town, Bahamas in the Exumas. And it happens to be a week here, which apparently is a majorly big deal and happens only once a year. But my family and I came down here really by accident, ended up here this week. We had met some other kids, boats, boats with kids on them because we live aboard with three kids. And the number one priority is to find other kids because it's sometimes very few and far between. Rosa Linda Román (01:37): So, there were two other boats, actually three boats with kids that we really liked that were coming to Georgetown. So, we decided to come to George Town as well. And then, two of the three boats left the next morning. So, that was very sad, but we are here for almost a month, because my husband is flying out tomorrow to head to New Jersey in a last minute business trip. That's why we weren't able to go with the boats that we really had hoped to sail with because he had to go back and he's living, basically, two lives or really three or four, if you count the number of jobs he's working right now. But he hasn't like told his company that he's doing this. So, he works remotely, and they think he's still in Florida. So, that becomes a challenge for us, logistically, because he has to get to Florida whenever they, you know, say boo. Rosa Linda Román (02:33): And so he is flying on our dime to Florida to catch a flight up to New Jersey. And normally when he leaves us we've always been at a marina, the kids and I stay at a marina and we have the dog, a German shepherd who keeps an eye on us, and usually, other boats nearby keeping an eye on us, just in case something happens, because if you know anything about boats, something always seems happen. But this time we are actually on the hook, as they say, we are at anchor in the middle of the harbor. And that's why we're rocking and rolling right now because it's got… kind of a front that moved in, which is actually why the two boats left when they did, because during this time winds are not favorable for doing that. There should be good winds for a regatta, I think because there's quite a blow going on right now. Rosa Linda Román (03:26): And hopefully that will make for fun races for the boaters, which we are going to have to go explore and figure out what we're doing, because we don't know this area at all. And while they have this really cool thing called the cruisers net in the mornings where they tell you about what's going on around town, there's kind of this assumption that everybody knows what's going on. And it's not really that kid friendly. There’s a lot of drinking, obviously, all the time. Everybody's basically just walking around. As soon as the bar opens everybody's got a drink in hand, which, you know, that's fine. I don't have a problem with that, except that it would be nice if there was also kind of a kid regatta going on at the same time, because we would love to connect with other boaters with kids. So, we call them on the radio and try to, you know, arrange something. Rosa Linda Román (04:12): But if there were coordinated activities, it would make it a lot easier to connect. And they were talking on the net about volleyball. And there's a beach here called Volleyball Beach and they call it the Chat N’ Chill where everybody just goes and hangs out. And we were really excited to hear there are volleyball courts because our middle daughter, Ziva, right before we left Florida, she was training with two professional volleyball coaches or three actually at times. And she was getting very good. And so, she was very excited to hear that they had these volleyball regulation tournament and a fun tournament. And so, she signed up. Over the night you call and say your boat name, and then, you sign up to join these different activities. Rosa Linda Román (05:04): Well, when we got there, they said, “Oh, I'm sorry, you have to be 15 or older.” Which ironically, once we started watching them, because we were there already we realized she is better than all of them. So, it's really sad that they didn't make an exception based on her skill level and didn't let her play. So sorry, I got to drink some water. So, I'm going to pause for a second, because my voice is graveling all right. I’m back, not much better, but I don't know what I can do about that because I'm not used to talking this early in the morning. That's part of why I get up so early because everybody's asleep and I don't have to talk to anyone, but I do like talking to you guys. So, I'll just keep talking anyway. So, the volleyball thing, it was very disappointing, but my husband, Nathan and Ziva played about four games with one of the groups that wasn't doing the official skills assessment. Rosa Linda Román (06:03): There was like another court where they were just playing for fun, but they were closer. I guess they were the regulation people. And she played with them and played better than all of them. So, it makes me think I really want to see about trying to fly our coaches in somehow to maybe do a clinic here. Well, we actually have volleyball nets available. We've been looking everywhere. There are no nets anywhere. We haven't seen it on most islands. I guess because of the winds, this area is very protected, so tthere's, I guess, one, two, I want to say there's three courts. And then, they said that the kids had to play on the kid court and I thought it would, you know, be nearby. It's just a broken down net strung across like bushes on the ground, not at all a court and so, poor Ziva. You know, she carries her own volleyball with her everywhere we go. And again, she's quite good. Rosa Linda Román (07:05): So we, as a family took lessons together once she started getting interested in the sport just so we could kind of bat around the ball with her because I guess, you know, not having anyone to play with, it's got to be hard. So, there's a lot of things about the boat life that can be challenging. And that's just one layer of it dealing with the kid stuff and trying to find appropriate activities and keeping them safe, obviously, is number one priority and finding other boats with kids that want to hang out. So, that's a big challenge for us. Some, you know, maybe not so much for everybody because not everyone is as social, but when the two boats their are names are Baila and Nomad left or leaving then because we arrived in George Town. I think it was Friday. Rosa Linda Román (07:48): And we actually would be lined here from Stanton Ky. We were going to stop with all the little places along the way, and we decided not to, to just come straight down so we could see the boats that we had been looking forward to. We actually met them independently and they connected on the way down from NASA. And so, we were so excited that they were together and we were going to hang out with them, and then, they left the next morning, because they were getting tired of all the activities and all the people. And so, they were going to a remote island and we would have gone with them, but it was incidentally my husband announced that he had a last minute trip, and so, $1,500 later and giving up the dream of sailing with our two favorite boats. Rosa Linda Román (08:33): We are sitting here at anchor in George Town Harbor. So, I know I sound a little bit or don't I, when they left we had a boat full of crying kids. Ziva was just sobbing, crying herself to sleep because she had been waiting a couple of weeks to see them, these kids. One of the boats has three. They both have three kids on board. And one has three girls around 12, 11 and six, which our kids are 12, 10 and six. So, it was really good ages. And they're delightful kids just like the other boat, a little younger than ours, but still very sweet. And we were really looking forward to speaking with them, because the kids speak French and Hebrew. And my kids, as soon as we met Nomad, which is a boat that speaks other languages, once we got to NASA, the kids started doing language lessons like fiendishly doing them, like just really took a lot of time every day, Ziva, learning French and Ahava’s learning Hebrew. Rosa Linda Román (09:36): So, they were so excited to be able to practice with this other boat and just hear the language spoken at least. And I really liked both moms on both boats and Nathan actually got along with the dads. So, we were very excited. And then, once we got down and they left, it was very tearful. So, that's one layer of, of things you deal with on the boat is just, you know, the interpersonal relationships, the results of, you know, the coming and going and leaving, a lot of leaving of boats. Most boats don't go in like a flotilla or sail together or cruise together. You just hope to find boats that you see again and again along the way, which we haven't had that experience yet, but that's something we're going to keep an eye out for whenever there's an opportunity. So, another layer of things that we deal with is things breaking or things happening, things shifting, and changing, and not ever really having a hundred percent security. Rosa Linda Román (10:38): I mean, nobody has a hundred percent security, but usually when you're in a house, if something breaks, it can be fixed tomorrow or it can be dealt with later. That's not often the case when you're living on a boat, it has to be fixed now, now, now, which is another reason why when we got here to George Town, there were some regatta activities going on, and there was a variety show, and we were excited to go see it with the kid boats that we were talking about. And on the way here from Stanton Ky one of our engines stopped working. And so when we got here, instead of going to spend the day with the friends, we had to spend the day sitting on the boat waiting while Nathan tried to troubleshoot and figure out what was wrong with our engine. And the good thing about being here instead of a remote island is, and this is a remote island, but there's lots of people and other cruisers on this island where they come for the winter and particularly this week are here for the regatta. Rosa Linda Román (11:34): But you call out on the net and say that you would like to, you know, every morning they share like different tips and things that are going on and then they have a call for help or questions and you can get on there and ask for help. And so, we did that. And so, we asked for help. Sorry, I'm trying to do a little bit of work while I talk and it's impossible. I can't function when I'm speaking. Anyway, so we put a call out for engine help and right away two guys contacted Nathan and came over to the boat and one brought tools and the other worked with Nathan for a few hours. So, that was way generous and very kind that he helped. And that was Steven from Turning Point, I believe was the boat name and they troubleshooted and figured out what was going on with the engine. So that was great. Rosa Linda Román (12:26): Sorry, it's early. So, what I was going to say, one of the reasons I wanted to record this is that I am quite nervous about being left on the hook by myself with three kids and a dog. Usually, like I said, we go to a marina and this is the first time that I'm going to be here like this. And last night we were falling asleep and all of a sudden we heard the thump, thump, thump, thump and Nate’s like, “What was that?” I'm like, “I don’t know.” So, we ran out and I had just my robe on, and it was the dinghy, the rope that held the dinghy up onto the, I think it's called a davit, but I could be wrong onto the little thing that you lift the dinghy out of the water and the rope broke. And the dinghy was hanging like halfway upside down. Rosa Linda Román (13:20): The gas tank had fallen out and fallen into the water. And I'm like hanging on to the side of the boat, trying to reach this swinging dinghy because the waves are pretty strong. And so, it was swinging here and there and I'm trying to grab it, and get the gas tank back into the dinghy. And Nathan had righted the dingy by then, but I'm trying to get there and get the gas tank and not break the rope further. And I managed to do it, but it may have been impossible if it was just me here without Nathan. So yeah, that's a little scary. And I just worry, because what happens when you're anchoring is oftentimes anchors drag and you know, you have to reset them and with all these boats in the harbor, I would be afraid that I would be, you know, running into somebody or having a real problem. Rosa Linda Román (14:09): But everybody here reassures me that this is a great place to be on the hook, because there's so many people here to help and not to worry that I will be fine. So, I'm trying to be confident. The other issue is I'm going to have to run the dinghy because when you live on a boat, instead of a car, you have a dinghy to get to and from the shore and get around and connect with other people. Sorry, I am yawning today. Anyway. So, your dinghy is your car and that's how you get around, and I have a real hard time starting this dinghy that it's not a quick start, like, where you just flip a switch, you have to like really pull on this stark cord, or I don’t know what you call it, but this cord, and you pull and yank and he bull and yank. Rosa Linda Román (14:54): And then, eventually it starts, hopefully. A lot of times I haven't been able to get it to start. So, I'm just going to be confident that I'll be able to do it, and if worst comes to worse, I'll use my crystal kayak and just paddle around in that, because the Chat N’ Chill beach where people congregate, the volleyball beach, I can paddle there. I paddled there yesterday with Samuel in the kayak with me and I don't think I could fit the dog and the kids, but I could fit at least the kids with me in the kayak. I've done it before, or at least two of them I have. I don't know if I've done all three. Anyway, but hopefully, it won't come to that and I'll be able to just take the dinghy to and from shore and we won't drag. Rosa Linda Román (15:33): We're going to be fun. All right, I'm going to go get some work done and reset my yano meter and try not to be yawning when I come back. So yeah, I'm going to take a break and I will be back once I've gotten a little bit of work done this morning. Okay, I'm back. And it's actually the next day because after I finished recording and took that break my family woke up and then that's when my work stops. The way it works is I get up before sunrise so I can get my work done. And then, I had to sit with the kids. The rule is they don't come in wherever mom is until seven o'clock because I wake up at five. It gives me two hours to work. I'm trying to get in that habit and then ,you know, maybe I'll squeeze a few things in here and there, but mostly that's when I'm able to get anything real done. Today is going to be different. Rosa Linda Román (16:34): It's 6:15. And I wanted to fill you in on all the exciting things that happened yesterday and give you a little preview of the exciting thing that's going to happen today. So, after I stopped that recording, I was helping Nathan. I had some video. I shot our generator maintenance. We needed to look at that to see if it was something that he could do, or we you want to hire someone to fix the generator. But he left yesterday. So, we watched the video, but he didn't have time to fix the generator, but everybody kind of hung out here in guestroom with Nathan, you know, over the snuggle time, before he left. And then, we left and went to town to take him over to the ride share that we had arranged on the net, the Cruisers’ Net for a ride share to the airport. Rosa Linda Román (17:28): And so, we met up with the people who he’s going to ride with. So, Nathan drove the dingy to town and you drive the dinghy from your boat over to most places that are cruiser friendly, have dinghy docks. Some are much better maintained than others. This one is very busy, but a bit [INDISCERNIBLE 00:17:48] surprisingly, not as good a shape, as you would think for a very busy cruising community. I don't know if I mentioned already, but there are 307 boats here for this regatta right now. So, you know, that's a lot of cruisers, that obviously brings a lot of dollars to the community, the stores and restaurants. Anyways, so you drive over to the dinghy dock and it's fine. I mean, it's not, terrible. I mean, you have to be careful, probably the kids, if they walked barefoot would end up with splinters. Rosa Linda Román (18:19): But anyway, I digress, we came over to the dingy dock, got Nathan to… we were way on our way to getting him to the taxi share rendezvous place. And we saw the local school, Georgetown Primary School. And when we were in Hope Town, when my daughters were two and four, when we were in the Abacos, Ahava went to the little primary school there. They were very welcoming. It was Hope Town Primary School. And they just loved it. Everybody welcomed us, but it was just a really great way for us to get to know the community and to not feel like total outsiders for the time that we were there. Now we were there for five months and we are now hopefully not going to be here for five months. But well, I don't know. I mean, right now plan is to be here for three months. Rosa Linda Román (19:18): Anyway, so we said, “Well, why don't we just go in and see, you know, if they take transients.” They call us cruisers, we’re transients and just check it out, because we had actually done the same thing when we went to Stanton Ky, we went to the local primary school just to look at it and to meet some other kids because that's obviously a big priority. As I mentioned, we, you know, we meet boating kids, but why not meet local kids. Right? So, that would be not better, but just different. Both of them are great boating kids, as you learn a lot more. There's a lot of independence or self-reliance guess maybe a better word anyway. But then obviously, the culture and just local knowledge local kids. So, we went to the primary school, all of this to say that we went over there and peeked in one of the classrooms. Rosa Linda Román (20:13): They were clearly in middle of class. And so, we just kind of peeked in, but there was no doorknobs. So I just kind of looked in and the teacher was actively teaching, so I didn't want to interrupt. And it wasn't obvious where there was an office. And so, we were walking away and then whoever was in that classroom had seen us and came out and pointed us in the direction of the office. So, we went over to the office and there were four women there. They immediately, one was the principal, Ms. Smith, Laura Smith. So, we met her and three other. And I remember Ms. Beneby, Mrs. Ferguson, the third one slips my mind. But anyway, they couldn't have been nicer, couldn't have been more welcoming and immediately were like, yep, you'd be welcome to come to the school. Absolutely. You know, we can start as soon as you'd like, and we were, I think, a little taken aback because we were really not planning that at all. Rosa Linda Román (21:10): Maybe none of us were thinking we were going to start school tomorrow, but guess what? My kids are starting school at Georgetown Primary School tomorrow. They were just right away very welcoming. I said, “Okay, well we'll come back tomorrow.” Because we were on the way to the cab. And so, I said, “We'll come back tomorrow and then we’ll go from there.” Well, after we met the cab and said goodbye to Nathan, we started walking back in that direction and I said, “You know, let's just see about like, if we did this would be with the uniforms because the kids at the primary school wear uniforms, you know? So, let's see if we can just find out about that.” And sure enough they said, “Yeah, we don't have the regular uniforms, but we have a PE uniform, which is, you know, what the kids would wear for physical education. And we have enough that we can sell them to you for your kids. Rosa Linda Román (21:58): So, we went in there, bought three Georgetown Primary School uniforms, and the kids they've gone through this rollercoaster ever since, excited and wanting to do it to sheer terror and not wanting to do it, and the biggest source of stress right now is that Ahava in particular is very unhappy with the way the outfit fits her. It's very baggy and she likes things snug because she's an athlete and she doesn't like the feeling of hiding. So you know, there were a lot of tears yesterday once we got back and she put on the outfit, she was very angry, and upset, and crying. And so, I just tried to stay calm and not overreact. Yeah. So, so let me finish what happened yesterday. So, we got the uniforms, and then, we headed back toward the dingy. Rosa Linda Román (23:01): No, no, then we went to the grocery store and I realized I had forgotten [INDISCERNIBLE 00:23:04] but we had enough money with us that I was able to get some things and it was good because the grocery store, it doesn't have fresh produce most of all. We didn't have it when we got here and it could just been completely [INDISCERNIBLE 00:23:17]. So, we went to see if they had any fresh produce and they did at the time. It just come in the day before. And so, we got apples, and nectarines, and bananas. So, that was very exciting. There are places when you're cruising that I'm sure you'll find lots and lots of fresh produce, but we have not found that to be the case in The Bahamas. Sometimes it's very hard to get a lot of fresh produce. So when you can get it, you get it. So, we went and got that. Rosa Linda Román (23:44): And then we went back to the dinghy to head back to the boat. Now this was the day of the actual sailing races for the regatta. So, there were a lot of boats on the water, which was good and bad. I figured if there was a real emergency. Someone would help me, but so I don't know what happened to the handle of the thingy was incredibly tense and really, really hard to manipulate really hard. And the waves were very high and it took us a while even just to get started. And it was quite an experience, but we got soaked and getting up and down the waves and trying to get across the harbor was quite a challenge. But we did it. I did it little by little, got us there, probably took us a good half hour to get from the dinghy dock to the boat. Rosa Linda Román (24:35): Maybe more even, I don't know, it took a while, but we got there. Yeah. I was very proud of myself for managing. I'm sore today because it's something wrong with it. It shouldn't be that tight. But anyway, I got us back to the boat and I'm going to try it all over again this morning when I get them to the primary school. I'm looking at the little Georgetown Primary school t-shirt and it says success is confidence on, so that's kind of cool. It's got some sailboats on it. It's kind of a tan, beige and brown, which, well, I don't think they like colors of it to begin with, but also just the fit is not what she likes. Hopefully, she'll stay calm this morning. Usually, that's not the case. We have at least one meltdown day whenever we're trying to get somewhere, so that's just part of the process. Rosa Linda Román (25:32): The biggest thing is for me to try to stay calm while they get ready while I help them get ready. So, I'm going to go do that. And I will record a new episode after the fact to let you know how it all went, but for now I’m going to let you go, and I appreciate you listening. And by the way, today, what I'm planning on doing when I take them to school is go the laundry mat and do my laundry because that's something that being here on the hook you don't use your washer dryer if you can help it because it takes power and water. And obviously, those two things are scarce when you are away from shore. So, that's the plan is to gather all the laundry and do that in town while my kids are in school. So, wish us luck. I think it'll be interesting. And we'll share the adventure here on New Mexi-Castaways. Thanks for listening. And I'm Rosa Linda Román.

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