C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Marsh Harbor - New Friends and Past Acquaintances

Our second morning off Elbow Cay, we awoke to southeast wind in excess of 15 knots.  The breeze discouraged us from launching the paddle boards after breakfast yet we desired a bit more playtime before sailing over to Marsh Harbor to re-provision food, water, and fuel.  We loaded up Rosebud with the snorkeling gear and cast off into the breeze Intent on motoring  to an area where I paddled over a spotted eagle ray the day before.

The engine demons laughed.  The dinghy motor would start full choke and full throttle, but die once placed in gear.  After a couple minutes of false starts,  I angrily gave up on the motor and shipped the oars.  Rosebud has many fine qualities as a dinghy, but rowing is not on her list of attributes.   We gained the lee of Tahiti Beach and worked our way ashore.  Once in the shallows I attempted to have Anne hold the dinghy in place while I tinkered with the engine.  This proved futile.  We walked the dinghy upwind of C’est la Vie and, with the aid of a few corrections from the oars, sailed the bare hull back home.  I tied Rosebud alongside C’est la Vie and attempted to tinker with the engine.  This proved futile due to wakes generated by boat traffic in the area.  Frustrated we gave up, stowed the snorkeling gear, placed the ailing outboard back on the stern rail, and readied C’est la Vie for departure.

Our 2HP Honda Outboard hanging on the stern of C'est la Vie
Sailing off the anchor we fell onto a pleasant broad reach to Matt Lowe Cay.  Rounding Point Set Rock we jibed onto a beam reach towards Marsh Harbor.  The sailing cooled my aggravation with the outboard.  Had I not run out all the bad fuel?  Had the bad fuel damaged the carburetor?  Will I need to find a mechanic in Marsh Harbor?

Hub of the Abacos
Clearing Marsh Harbor’s outer buoys, we started C’est la Vies engine, rounded into the wind, furled the genny, and gaped at the number of vessels at anchor in the Harbor.  Assuming we would need to row Rosebud to and fro from shore, we sought out a spot to anchor near the town dock.  While snaking among the stationary boats, we heard a cry of Hello!  Patty on SV Lutra was waving just off our starboard bow.  Last summer we were hauled out next to Lutra in Beaufort, NC.  It is pleasant to discover familiar faces in foreign places.  We dropped the hook just south of Lutra and within a few hundred yards of the town dock.

Shortly after setting the anchor Patty stopped by to say hello and introduce her father.  He was joining her as crew for her return trip to the States.  She could not recommend a local outboard mechanic, but referred us to her friend Richard on SV-Hello Texas. 

Still convinced the outboard was suffering a bad fuel hangover, I went back to running the engine while it hung off C’est la Vie’s stern.  Within seconds of starting on full choke and full throttle, the motor began to request, via stuttering engine speak, that I lean out the fuel mixture by reducing the choke.  I took this as a good sign.  After a few minutes of running with no choke and at varying RPMs, my confidence grew and we lowered the engine onto Rosebud.  Not willing once again be fooled by the engine demons, I took solo trip around the harbor.  All went well.  I’m guessing it simply took more time to run the bad fuel out of the lines and carburetor than what I anticipated.  

Buoyed by the restored health of the dinghy engine we set off to town in search of food and beverage.  The first store we visited left us wanting for fresh vegetables.  At our next stop, Bristol Distributors, purveyor of beer, wine, liquor we inquired as to a grocery store with a better selection of fresh foods.   The clerk proved less that helpful as she appeared more interesting in her conversation with a prior customer who was now consuming the second of three beers he purchased on site, this is a bit different than ABC or liquor stores in the States.  The woman behind us in line piped up and made the suggestion we head over to Maxwell’s Grocery Store.  She provided directions and we set off.  Moments later a blue Honda Fit, pull alongside us.  The woman providing us directions introduced herself as Wendy and asked if we need a ride to Maxwell’s.  We pile in the car and off we go. 

Maxwell’s Grocery is impressive.  We felt as though we are back in the States as we marveled at the clean, well lit isles loaded with a diverse selection.   Wow.  After a prolonged browse through the produce section,  a search for almonds, and two pounds of sliced lunch meat from the deli counter, Wendy finds us in the frozen foods section.  She offers to wait for us to complete our shopping and give us a ride back to the town dock.  In awe of her generosity we quickly agree to her offer.  On the ride back to the town dock we discover her children attended Camp Carolina and she has visited Brevard,  North Carolina.  In light of our afternoon the world seems small and strewn with people with whom we share common threads.

On the way back out to the boat, we detoured over to Lutra to invite Patty and her father over for sundowner’s aboard C’est la Vie.  She in turned invited us over for dinner as she and SV Hello Texas already had plans.
Winding down a long day, we returned to Lutra a bit later and enjoyed our evening.

Patty – Thanks for the dinner and the opportunity to meet Richard and Nikki traveling on SV Hello Texas a beautiful 38’ Krogen.   Hopefully our travels will bring us together again. 

Wendy – Thanks for your compassion and generosity.    

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