Sunday, May 31, 2015

May 31, 2015 Elbow Cay-church, hull cleaning and engine

This morning, Dave found his oil analysis kit.  He tested it once while cold and once after running it.  It ended up showing diesel in the oil.  There are only two things that can cause that.  He has eliminated the easy one to fix (the lift pump).  So now we are looking at having a diesel mechanic look at the engine.  There is a Yanmar dealer (our engine) in Marsh Harbor.  We tried calling them on the VHF today, but someone else told us they were closed on Sundays.  Just thought we’d try.  So Dave will contact them in the morning to see what they recommend- going to their boat yard, or to Marsh Harbor and having a mechanic come to us. 

We think we can run the engine for a short time without it getting too much fuel and racing again.  So we’ll plan to bring up the anchor and chain by hand and sail back to Marsh Harbor.  We’ll only use the engine to maneuver into the harbor or boat yard. 

Besides working on the engine, we went into Hope Town this morning for church.  Dave offered to go with me, since the outboard motor on the dinghy was still temperamental.  Or else he thought we needed some extra prayers.  The priest from Marsh Harbor comes over on the ferry.  So mass is held at 12:45pm outside on benches in the shade of a large cork tree.  There were about 6 rows of benches and about 12 people there.  A little girl carried a zippered bag from row to row for the collection.  The reader/song leader led us in an opening and closing song a cappella.   During the homily/sermon, we felt like the priest was talking one on one with us.  We really liked the entire mass, even Dave did. 
I tried to be discreet taking this
after mas

Before and after mass, we walked around Hope Town checking out some properties that my family may rent next winter for a week.  We’re not sure we are going to be here to look at them with an agent, so we at least wanted to see the location for ourselves. 

Back at the boat, we decided to clean the hull.  That was one of the reasons we came over here to the crystal clear water that wasn’t too deep.  This was the first time I helped clean the hull.  I kept telling Dave I would help once we were in nice blue water.  We each worked about 2 hours using the hookah system to get under the boat.  It is starting to pay for itself.  Dave thinks only 8 more times of cleaning the hull ourselves.  That is if we include what it would have cost me and Cheryl to pay for dives. 

Since the generator was running for the hookah, we decided to make water.  If we are in Marsh Harbor for awhile, we don’t like to make water there.  So Dave also “pickled” the water maker since we anticipate that we won’t use it for a week or more. 

On top of it all, there is a possible storm moving through here Wednesday June 3-June 10.  We are keeping our eyes on that.  We have Chris Parker’s forecasts and the net gives us “Barometer Bob’s” forecast.  We haven’t used the single side band radio for forecasts lately, but that is a source, too. 

I have posted pictures on Facebook of us enjoying the beach with company.  So this week I decided to post things about us working on the boat, so people understand that it’s not all fun and games.  A friend commented that she was sorry we were having troubles.  I replied that this was normal for cruisers.  She said her husband explained to her that our boat is both our home and our car.  So there is always something that needs to be worked on.  That was a good analogy.  Thanks Dik. 

May 30, 2015 Engine testing at Elbow Cay

There is a cruiser’s net every morning here.  And they have an “open mike” segment where you can ask for assistance.  So Dave asked if anyone had any experience with a runaway engine and could give us any advise.  The boat Empty Pockets answered back and told Dave a few things to check.  He and his wife later stopped by to check on us.  He was an airplane engine mechanic.  They are different than diesel engines, but still an engine.  He had lots of recommendations of what to do to test things.  And ideas of what the problem could be depending on the results of the tests.  He also owns a sailboat.  So he was curious if the things he was suggesting were transferable to a diesel engine.  He looked at this as a learning situation for himself and was very helpful. 

Through checking things, we found oil in the air intake.  This oil was feeding into the engine and making it race.  Dave checked the oil level right away Friday and it was half way full on the dip stick, so that looked good.  He ran the engine again, and the oil level went over the high mark, which means the engine was “making oil” or oil dilution.  The oil level is increasing because something is getting into it.  He had a kit for analyzing the oil, but had to find it.

While Dave was checking the rubber seal of the air intake for holes, I said “you are so smart!”.  Dave’s reply was “If I don’t read it, I don’t know it.”  That is his version of “if you can read, you can do anything.”

I always like the sound of the engine running, because it means we are going somewhere.  Now I really liked the sound of the engine running, because it was acting normal and not racing. 

Dave worked on the outboard motor again.  It still isn’t running smoothly.  We went into Hope Town to find some Seafoam (thank you Ron and Libbo), but they didn’t have it at the Lighthouse Marina-only place we knew to check.  Dave spent the evening reading more and researching online.

this is why we don't have a cabin for guests, it is full of tools and parts
Dave wants to know where we can store a spare engine

May 29, 2015 Turn of events at Elbow Cay

Today, we wanted to finish any shore projects and move from Marsh Harbor to Elbow Cay.

First, we took the dinghy to a dock near the welding shop.  I stayed with the dinghy while Dave walked through a boat yard property and across the street to the welding shop.  He came back with good news.  They would fix it today by 3:00.  Dave asked Lucy, at the desk, how much it would be.  She said she didn’t know and would have Dave talk to the welder.  He said about $80.  Dave heard Lucy make a little squeal in another room, so he said $60, heard another squeak and then said $50.  So really, Lucy did know what he should charge. 

There is a fuel station by the dinghy dock that sells gasoline.  So Dave took his fuel tank with the dirty gas and an empty 5 gallon jerry can.  He had his jerry can filled and asked them how he could dispose of the old fuel.  They said they would take it for free!!  We were quoted $100 back in the states.  So Dave tipped him $5 and they were both happy.

Dave headed to the Mercury dealer and hardware store while I headed to the grocery store.  The nicer one, Maxwell’s, is about a mile from the dinghy dock, but worth the walk.  We didn’t need much.  Mostly we wanted some fresh vegetables to make conch salad-peppers, tomatoes, jalapeƱos and limes.  We had onion and orange juice.  That’s all you need.  Dave ended up meeting me at the grocery store, so we picked up a few more things that I wouldn’t have wanted to carry, like milk, tonic and flour.

When we left, our back packs were heavy and it was getting hot.  I also had 3 dozen eggs in my pack.  We haven’t broken an egg yet carrying them back to the boat in our packs.  We decided to have lunch in our favorite local restaurant that had air conditioning, the Golden Grouper. 

We still needed to pick up the welding part.  Dave was concerned about walking through that property again, especially with the no trespassing signs.  It was a long walk with heavy back packs, full bellies, and high humidity.  So we decided to give Rinssor the taxi man a call on the VHF radio.  He picked us up at the restaurant, took us to the welder, waited for us, and took us to the dinghy dock all for $10 and a $5 tip.  There went my good deal on milk and tonic, oh well. 

Back at the boat, it was about 3:00, so we decided to head to Elbow Cay.  It takes about 2 hours to motor there.  At 4:40, about one mile away from our destination, our engine started racing really fast and smoking!!!  It wouldn’t slow down when Dave tried to throttle down.  So he shut off the engine.  (We found out later that it was a good sign that we were able to shut it off.  Sometimes it keeps running until something blows, which can also put a hole in your boat.) 

We regrouped, thought about anchoring right there, but decided to sail into an anchorage outside of Elbow Cay where we have anchored before.  The winds were really light, so it took us about an hour to get there.  We had to tack a couple times to miss some islands off of Elbow Cay. 

Dave was able to lower the anchor by hand.  The windless only runs when the engine is running.  We usually back up the boat to set the anchor.  But we had left the main out, turned the boat so it would pull against the anchor, and called it good.  I dove the anchor and it look OK, not as set as usual, but it was real sandy and uphill if we did drag anchor.  And we made sure no one was directly behind us. 

By now it was about 6:00.  Dave didn’t want to start into anything tonight.  He wanted to do some reading about what could be the problem first.  So we made our conch salad, enjoyed the sunset and the lighting of the light house.  Then Dave set to reading.  It sounds like we had a “runaway” engine.  Something was feeding the beast fuel from a different source.  So we will track that down or end up having a mechanic look at it. 

What a day!!
cleaning our produce-so pretty in the sink

our first conch salad was great!
since nothing else was working, Dave didn't have to either

we haven't used this chair on this boat over the last 2 years!!

peaceful sunset

even the clouds to the east were colorful behind the light house

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May 22-26, 2015 Marsh Harbor projects

All these days seem to run together working on the boat.  So I will just tell you what things we have been working on and the highlights from a few days. 

SATURDAY, I helped raise Dave up the mast and over to the roller furler to finish fixing the 5 connectors that he started back in Georgetown.  The last time we used our spinnaker, it was pretty windy and the halyard was stuck at the top of the mast.  So he was able to get that down, too.

Dave installed a dual Racor filter system for the diesel engine that is in the fuel line.  He bought it back in the US, but hadn’t installed it.  This was suggested by friends we met in Panama City, FL last year (thanks Ron and Libbo).  It has two filters side by side.  If one if bad, you just have to switch over to the other one.  Then you can change the filter when it may be more convenient.  There is also a pressure gauge that indicates when it isn’t functioning as well, which would be an indicator to change the filter.  He did that Saturday, so it seemed to run well when we went outside of the harbor on Sunday.    He also changed another fuel filter on the engine.  It was good timing, because when we removed the existing filters they were black.

SUNDAY I had Rinssor the Taxi man pick me up for church again.  The little church here is so friendly and they love to sing, which I love.  But I haven’t considered singing with them.  They aren’t practicing before mass, so I would have to take a taxi to practice on a different day. 

We thought we would leave Marsh Harbor Sunday afternoon because we needed to make water.  We don’t want to use the water in this harbor.  But the weather forecast called for strong winds for a few days and the harbor is more protected.  So we decided to just go outside of the harbor to a bay where there is a small reef.  While Dave was running the generator and making water, I took a floating dive flag and swam over to the reef (so other boats would see me).  There were all kinds of fish and even a large sea turtle.  I checked out a few conch on the way back.  But I didn’t want to stick my hand inside to see if they were alive or not, which Dave would have done. 

Just after we brought up the anchor and we were starting to leave, about 100 feet of our anchor chain ran off of the gypsy and overboard along with the anchor that was already on the bow roller.  We were only in about 15 feet of water, but there was a strong wind and other boats in the area.  The chain had piled too high under the hawse pipe (deck pipe into anchor locker), so it lifted the chain off the gypsy which holds it on the boat.  Luckily, Dave was still at the bow and we were able to bring it back in right away without drifting into anything.  He’s doing some reading to see how to avoid this in the future.

I also made bread Sunday.  Getting better every time. We did laundry Monday and Tuesday.  Remember, that means washing and rinsing in a 5 gallon bucket, wringing out the clothes and hanging them on our life lines around the boat or on a line we put up for sheets to hang higher.  The strong winds are great for drying, but a challenge to keep things on the lines. 

Dave spent part of every day working on our Mercury outboard motor.  Seems like it will have a complete overhaul by the time he is done.  It still doesn’t want to continue running with the choke in.  Monday night we took a few laps around the harbor at all speeds and thought it was taken care of.  But Tuesday morning it died on us again.  He has adjusted the fuel/air mixture, and the idle screw.  He changed the outboard filter and the inline filter from the tank.  He opened the top of the carburetor and sprayed in a carb cleaner and cleaned the spark plugs.  And it still seems to not get fuel.   There was no change with adjusting idle and fuel mix which tells him some little hole has a “gob” in it.  That’s short for goblin.  After not finding a manual at the Mercury dealer in Marsh Harbor, he downloaded a manual for $5 and watched some you tube videos.  He thinks he has to take apart the carburetor and clean it.  If it needs rebuilding, he’ll do that back in the states.   There’s always the possibility of bad gas.  Then he is just plugging things up again every time he runs the motor.  So there you have it.

Back to MONDAY, we had the Lehr propane motor on the dinghy and wanted to exchange it for the Mercury motor.  We store the motors on the stern and use a system of pulleys to raise the Mercury off of the mount and lower it to the dinghy.   Dave can lift the Lehr which weighs 25 lbs.  But the Mercury is a little over 100l bs.  As we were remounting the Mercury motor onto the dinghy, a strut we use in a motor davit lift system bent at a right angle.  So after studying it for a while, Dave came up with another system using our dinghy davit and was able to get it to the dinghy, with me manning the winch.  All the while, Dave had a pulled muscle on his side and now a cramping stomach.  The pulled muscle might be from climbing the mast and/or pulling the outboard motor starter cord a thousand times.  The cramping might be from eating leftovers :(  But he was determined to get that motor on and test it out.  

Our shop vac stopped working.  So Dave took that apart, cleaned it up, and had it running again.  He always amazes me. 

TUESDAY we decided to go into Marsh Harbor for errands.  We went early enough to drop off an empty propane tank at a hardware store to pick up later.  Then we walked to a local restaurant, the Golden Grouper, for breakfast.  Dave had their special, steamed sausage (bologna) in a red gravy with grits and toast.  I had their French toast made with home made bread.  He's more adventurous than me when it comes to trying new foods.  I think it comes from his Temporary Duty while in the Air Force.  He went to Egypt and Korea and says he would just point at the menu and see what he would be served.  There was nothing her ever had to spit out.  He said "if it had wiggled, I might have spit it out, but nothing wiggled."

We planned to go to the Immigration office to see if we could extend our 3 month stay.  We thought it was in the area.  Dave asked about the location as he was paying our bill.  Another gentleman said they built a new building for all the federal offices and he would give us a ride.  It was about a mile away, so we appreciated the ride.  At the Immigration’s office, they said we had to come back the week of June 8 to request the extension.  Who knows why.  We were hoping to head further north before leaving June 15 and didn’t want to be tied to that exact day.  Well there is only one office north of here, and it is on the main land of Great Abaco Island, as is Marsh Harbor.  So I guess we won’t go north until after June 8.

About 1/2 way back to the dinghy dock, there was a full service gas station (K & S Esso).  Dave asked if they knew of a place he could get something welded (the motor davit).  They sent us almost all the way back to the Federal building, but then took a right and headed back to the harbor.  We found the place and saw some interesting side streets in Marsh Harbor.  We had to leave the piece with our info.  The welder is off until Thursday.  Then they’ll e-mail us an estimate for the cost and time to fix it.  Nothing is done in a hurry here. 

Now we followed the road parallel to the shore and ended up back at the only street light in Marsh Harbor, which is by the store with the propane.  It was about 11:30 and our tank was back early.  So that worked out great.  OK, there is ONE guy that does things quicker than expected.  Dave also stopped in the Mercury dealer to look for a manual for our outboard, but no luck.  So back to the dinghy, get rid of garbage and back to the boat. 

Dave bought a new boot (switch cover) for a light switch in one of our heads.  The old boot had come off when I was cleaning the head.  The boot helps keep water and dirt out of the switch.  When he went to exchange it, the switch stopped working.  He found a loose wire and a broken spade connector.  So now it’s no longer simple.  He has to take the cover off the holding tank and see how he can get to it.  Or crawl into the small space under the sink.  There is always something.  He is going to get back to that on a later date.  There are two lights in that head, so it is going down lower on the list of priorities. 

We have only seen 2 cockroaches since we set out the roach killer.  One was alive in the cock pit.  And one was dead in the bag with the other roach killer.  Guess it works.  So we put more traps, etc in other parts of the boat besides our galley and heads.  But we haven’t seen any live ones inside the boat.  Thank goodness.

This is life on a boat when you don’t have company.   We are usually busy working so I don't think to take photos. 
Dave fixing the shop vac

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 20, 2015 Fowl Cay Reef

Thunderstorms were predicted for the afternoon, so we moved the boat this morning to Fowl Cay to snorkel in the Land and Sea park.  We anchored on the west side of the island, then took the dinghy to the east side to the coral reefs.  There were mooring balls to tie to over the dive spots.  The first place we stopped had two large coral “islands under ground”.  We snorkeled around each of them seeing schools of fish and all types of coral. 

We got back in the dinghy and moved to a mooring ball further out in the ocean.  We had to cross the reef in a shallow area to get to the mooring ball.  Once there, Pete got into the water first.  He said there was a barracuda beside the boat.  I got in and swam around the dinghy to see it.  It was about 4 feet long and swimming with a school of fish.  Pete seemed to be backing away from it quickly, so I met him on the other side again.  Then Dave got in and could see it, too.  We all started swimming towards the reef, and the barracuda seemed to be hanging with us.  I thought it was after the school of fish.  Pete and I took off for the reef.  After a little while, I looked around for Dave and didn’t see him.  I looked back and  he was in the boat.  He yelled “that damn barracuda wouldn’t leave me alone.”  Later, back at the dinghy, he told us how it kept swimming up along side him, would disappear and reappear again.  He would come right at his face as Dave swam backwards, not fast, but sticking with him.  So Dave would swim perpendicular to him and he would still come after him.  Dave even kicked it with his fins and it stuck with him.  So he decided to get out of the water.  We later read somewhere that they are protective of the school of fish they are swimming with and could even attack you if it thinks you are a threat to their food source. 

At the reef, we saw multiple types of fish.  We saw a large grouper about 5 feet long.  This reef was more 3 dimensional with the growth rising and lowering, so it was interesting to explore.  We considered exploring further with the current and having Dave pick us up, but there was a thunderstorm developing in the west.  So we decided to call it a day.  Back at the dinghy, Pete was going to let me get in first with the ladder.  Then he would get in just over the side.  I had one foot in the rope ladder and was reaching for Dave to help pull me in when Pete yelled “SHARK”.  We were both in the boat immediately.  He said it was about as long as our 10 foot dinghy and heading towards us.  I didn’t see it, but that was OK. 

We had put the Lehr outboard motor on the dinghy because we were still having trouble with our Mercury.  The Lehr has 2.5 horse power and the Mercury has 15 hp.  So it seemed to take forever to get back to the boat with a storm heading our way. 

Later, we headed across the Sea of Abaco to Red Bay on Great Abaco Island, about 10 miles north of Marsh Harbor.  By the time we arrived, the rain had started.  We could see by our AIS that there was another boat in the bay, but it was hard to see very far in front of the boat.  So we just crept in slowly until we could see 3 other boats.  We should have had our radar on to see all of them.  By the time we anchored, the rain had stopped and there was a great double rainbow with a really high arch to it.  That was unusual. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

May 19, 2015 Hope Town, Elbow Cay, Abacos, Bahamas

Pete’s original flight would have had him leaving today.  It cost about $500 to add the 3 days, but we were glad we did.  Pete and I went to shore today to explore Hope Town.  We  climbed the Light house and enjoyed the view.  Pete took a video as he walked 360 degrees and posted it on Facebook.  Maybe I’ll figure out how to add it here. 

Then we walked through town to the Hope Town Lodge.  We had lunch in the Reef Bar Restaurant overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  We shared “conch in a bag”.  It was fried conch and french fries served in a bag tossed with ketchup and Tabasco sauce.  Messy but another local dish. 

After the late lunch, we stopped in the museum.  They have a great gift shop with items from local artists and books about the area.  Pete found a book that was the log book of Randolph Johnston, the artist who settled in Little Harbour in the 50’s.  Then we walked through the “shopping district” of town that I had not been to.  It was on two streets and stretched about 4 blocks.  The stores were interspersed with houses.  We walked through about 4 gift shops and found Vernon’s grocery store.  All we needed was milk, but they are famous for their home made pies.  They were out of pie, but had bread fresh out of the oven.  We had to buy a loaf because it smelt so good.  I have a lot of practicing to do before I can make bread like this.  But Pete gave me some hints. 

We checked with Capt’n Jacks to see if they had Taco Tuesday then went back to the boat to get Dave.  At the boat, we had to try the fresh bread with the guava coconut jam that I had bought. 

By the time we had returned to Capt’n Jacks, they were out of the fish tacos.  But we had a nice dinner on the deck watching the sunset behind the lighthouse. 

conch in a bag
conch in a bag

little crowded at the dinghy dock

at Capt'n Jacks

another beautiful sunset

May 18, 2015 Marsh Harbor then Elbow Cay

After a lazy morning, we went to Marsh Harbor.  We needed to change Pete’s return flight from Marsh Harbor to Nassau.  I had sent an e-mail last week, but didn’t get any response.  We anchored in the harbor and went to shore (with our garbage).  First we walked to the tourist information office.  The lady working there remembered us from a month ago.  We asked her if there was an office for Bahamas Air.  There was one at the airport, so she called them to be sure they were open. 

Then she called our favorite taxi driver, Rinssor.  He took me to the airport, waited while I changed Pete’s ticket, and brought me back to a restaurant to meet Pete and Dave.  And he only charged me $20 roundtrip instead of $15 each way.  He said “we’re friends”. 

Dave and Pete walked to a couple hardware stores.  We finally found a blue jerry can for water.  They visited George to get a conch salad.  George remembered Dave.  Then Dave told Pete, in ear shot of George, that George had a thousand acre conch ranch out west.  How can you forget someone who makes comments like that?

They picked me up and we headed back to the boat.  We left Marsh Harbor and headed back to Elbow Cay.  I think Pete was pleasantly surprised on how friendly everyone was and at how they remembered us. 

May 17, 2015 Great Guana Cay-Nippers

Today we spent about 2-3 hours sailing to Great Guana Cay.  We used the gennaker and were able to sail at 7-8 knots and even touched 9 knots.  We can’t go that fast with the motor.  We anchored in Fisher’s Bay and took the dinghy to the harbor where we tied up to Nipper’s dinghy dock.  We walked to Nippers on the ocean side of the island.  They have a pig roast every Sunday.  So we had a great buffet of pork and local Bahamian dishes.  The sides were Bahamian peas and rice, macaroni and cheese that is thick and served like cake, corn, potato salad, a mustard based coleslaw, a custard type cake and mixed fruit.  There was BBQ pork and plain pork that you could add a thin gravy to.  Pretty good.  We spent the next hour or so walking the beach and swimming.  The water is beautiful and warm.  It was kind of windy today, so we decided not to bring our snorkel gear.  Then we returned to the restaurant/bar and people watched.   I was amazed at the people I saw that were about my age singing along with songs I had never heard.  Guess we’ve been out of touch.  Of course there was a lot of flesh, or eye candy, as the guys say.

We had watched a group of guys drinking shots and having a way too much fun.  As we were leaving, we heard them trying to argue their $600 tab.   It sounded like they had a $500 limit credit card.  Live and learn. 

We decided to stop at another place that is in the bay where we are anchored.  Pete and I walked to Grabbers while Dave brought the dinghy around from the harbor to our bay.  They are right on the beach and have a swimming pool (as did Nippers).  This afternoon they had a DJ, so there was more people watching entertainment.  This time, there was a guy about 70 strutting around in a speedo.   They had someone making fresh conch salad.  So we had that and some conch fritters to give Pete another taste of the local cuisine. 
Nipper's dock on Great Guana Cay

Beautiful water to enjoy

shortly after this photo, a wave came all the way up to us, soaking my sundress

pool at Nippers-need to get the sand out of your suit

ocean view from Nippers

"eye candy"

water hole on the way back to the boat

enjoying the end of the day at Grabber's
our boat is in Fisher's Bay behind the guys

May 16, 2015 Little Harbor to Elbow Cay, Abacos

We went for a dinghy ride this morning into the Bite of Robinson (the bay next to our anchorage).  There is a blue hole that you can dinghy over.  But as we got close, we realized we were close to low tide.   We couldn’t get into the area we wanted, so we turned back.  We saw a small fishing boat with a family of four slowly cruising the shallow waters.  The wife was on the bow with a pole.  As we got closer we saw that it had two tines bent at 90 degrees to the pole.  We asked them what they were looking for.  They said conch and that they pick them up by hooking under the shell.  Looked pretty cool.

Today we motor sailed to Elbow Cay.   Staying inside the Sea of Abaco, we had to work our way around islands and shallow sandy areas or rocky areas.  We anchored outside of Elbow Cay, where we have anchored in the past.  We made a great peanut sauce with chicken  over pasta that our friend Joe taught us to make when he was here.  Then we finished the night by watching the lighthouse light.  It’s a nice excuse to set out in the cockpit.  You have a beautiful sunset in one direction and the lighthouse in the other. 

May 15, 2015 Little Harbor, Abacos

Today, we left shortly after sunrise for 50 mile/9 hour sail to Little Harbor.  With leaving and entering anchorages, we usually average 5 mph.  We made good time today with a 15mph wind off our starboard bow.  Pete was at the helm this morning as Dave raised the anchor and I closed up things below.  It is great having another hand on board with some experience.  I made breakfast for us after we left the anchorage.  As the day progressed, we were at too much of a heel to do any cooking below.  But, I made a pasta salad to eat underway.

I had a new experience today.  I was sitting on the port side, but facing aft.  So with the heel, I was actually leaning to the right.  So as I took a sip of coffee, it went from the cup to the right side of my face.  So I had to slurp my coffee  or change position.  Didn't see that coming.

About an hour before we planned to turn in through a channel, we decided to straighten the anchor chain.  Somewhere Dave read that this was a good thing to do occasionally (but maybe not with our boat). The chain twists and then doesn’t raise as easily.  It jumps out of the gypsy.  The gypsy grabs the chain to raise it on the windless.  We were in deep enough water to let out the 200 feet of chain.  Well after Dave was part way into it, he decided that wasn’t such a smart idea.  Usually, when you let out your anchor, it sits on the bottom with the chain, taking the weight off of the windless.  Now he had all this weight hanging off the bow.  So he stopped and brought it back into the boat, straining the windless in the process.  IF we try this again, we will at least take off the anchor first. 

About 3:15 we brought in the sails, 3:30 went through Little Harbor Cut, 3:40 we were anchored on the west side of Tom Curry Point.  We wanted to anchor inside Little Harbor, but the entrance is so shallow that we could only enter and exit at high tide, which didn’t work with our schedule.

We had a late lunch/early dinner on the boat, then took the dingy to Pete’s Pub for happy RRRRR.  This was  a cool open air bar/restaurant.  We enjoyed a few beers and one rum punch special.  There seemed to be a lot of locals hanging out there. 

In the 1950’s, Randolph Johnston, a sculptor in Northampton, MA, came here by boat with his wife, daughter and 3 sons.  He wanted them to live out their lives in sight of no man, in the pursuit of a free life and devotion to art.  They settled in Little Harbor, lived in caves, built thatched huts and eventually constructed a foundry for Randolph’s work. One son, Pete, has a gallery devoted to his father’s works and his own, as well as local artists.  It was closing when we arrived.  So we’ll have to come back some day.   But there were many bronze sculptures along the road we walked to the pub. 

the dock for Pete's Pub

one of the sculptures along the road

speed bump

Pete's Pub

view of bay from above the pub

view of the ocean with bird sculpture

for my sister, Janice

hammerhead shark sculpture

May 13 & 14, 2015 Nassau to Egg Island

Our son, Pete, arrived today after a delay of about 40 hours.  After we got him settled in, we set sail for Egg Island in the Elutheras.  It was a great day for sailing 35 miles.  And we had about 7 hours to visit, with a nap in there somewhere.  Just as we arrived in the area and wanted to anchor, we caught a barracuda off of our fishing line that we drag behind the boat.  It was about 3-4 ft long and we released him.  We hope to catch something we can eat someday.  We were the only boat in the pretty anchorage. 

fetching Pete from the dinghy dock
another barracuda

anchored at Egg Island
5-14-15 Thurs hookah
After breakfast, we washed sheets and towels.  Since we were going to just stay here and play for the day, we could hang out laundry.  Today we ran our generator to make water.  So we decided to use the hookah system  to enjoy the water near our boat.  Pete and I “dove” within 100 feet of the boat with the air hoses attached to a compressor.  There were a lot of small fish in the coral heads in the area.  After about 30 minutes of that, we snorkeled further from the boat.  Pete just loved being back in the water, floating, and watching the world under water.  Dave stayed back at the boat watching over everything and grilled chicken for us.  It was a nice day of just hanging out and getting Pete back on “island time”. 

Using the hookah for diving, came up for picture

May 12, 2015 Nassau Stowaways

I started 2 loaves of bread last night and let them rise overnight.  So I was busy baking this morning.  Also made Brownies for my son (box mix) :)

Dave and I started discussing a plan to get rid of some stowaways on our boat.  We have seen about a half dozen cockroach type bugs over the past month.  Dave and I have been planning our attack.  I know all of our food is bagged and protected, but we just don’t want them on board.  I told Dave that if they were crawling on the cupboards or in our dishes, I would want the boat fumigated.  I went to the dish cupboard and found one inside a clear glass.  YIKES!!  So far I haven’t taken the time to look at them, only squish them.  So we had this one trapped and could study it. 

Dave got online to find out what it was for sure.  And yes, it is a cockroach.  They weren’t native to this area but came over with boats.  We’ve only tied up to a dock once since we’ve been here and I saw our first one before that.  So they flew to our boat or came in with the groceries.  They didn’t seem to run from the lights, so I wasn’t sure they were cockroaches.  I guess even the bugs are laid back in the Bahamas. 

I found my stash of ant and roach killer that I bought when we first moved aboard in Alabama.  I was surprised at the arsenal we had on hand.  The cockroach in the glass was trying to crawl up the walls to get out without any luck.  We sprayed Raid into the glass and covered it.  He kicked it into high gear, then turned over on his back and died.  You always see pictures of dead roaches on their backs, and it’s true.  You should have heard me yell “YES” and do a victory dance.  We went to work putting out 6 sticky strips that had a pesticide they take back to their nest with them to the “henroach”.  We used the spray into areas we couldn’t reach.  But we don’t want the liquid going into the bilge if possible.  If we end up spraying, we’ll wash the bilge again.  Dave likes to be able to taste the water in the bilge to see if it’s salt water or fresh water to help track down the source. 

OK, Ron and Libbo, or any other sailors.  We are waiting for your experiences and what to do that could be more effective.  Or what to do to prevent them.  I have been slacking off on washing my fruit.  The eggs can be on them, especially bananas.  So I did that right away with the fruit I bought yesterday.  We keep everything as clean as we can and bag all foods.  And we don”t bring cardboard onto the boat.

We are going to see what happens over the next couple days and use more of our arsenal as needed.  Worst case is having the boat fumigated.  So we’ll see. 

This has been a fear of mine since moving aboard and living in tropical climates.  Only thing worse would be to find a snake aboard.  And I’ve heard that can happen. 

By the way, the bread and brownies turned out great.

We decided to see if we could extend Pete’s flight so he could be here at least a week.  He said he had to be back Saturday, May 23.  So I went online to to American Airlines but I couldn’t make the changes online because there was an international flight.  I had to call them.  We discussed our options for using a telephone.  And then Dave came up with the idea of having a travel agency help us.  So I sheepishly sent an e-mail to friends in Rapid City.  Moderick’s sold their agency to Bursch Travel.  And the mother of Pete’s high school friend works there.  She was happy to help us even though we originally booked the flight online.  So if anyone can give Gloria and Bursch travel any business, I would recommend them anytime.  It took her most of the afternoon to get through to American Airlines on hold.  And we were able to extend his stay 3 days.  I was really glad we didn’t try to call since we would have been on hold forever. 

We had thought about going to shore to just see more of Nassau, but now it was about 5:30.  So we just finalized getting the boat ready to leave tomorrow.  So far, no sign of any bugs!!

I  can think of a couple people who will never set foot on our boat after seeing this.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

May 11, 2015 Change of events in Nassau

Well, today didn’t turn out like we thought it would.  Our son was supposed to arrive at 6:00 this evening from South Dakota.  BUT Rapid City set a record Sunday with 13.5 inches of SNOW.  His flight to Dallas this morning probably wasn’t able to come in to Rapid City last night.  Now he won’t be here until Wednesday morning at 8:20 am.  We spent some time messaging through Facebook messenger.  It seems to work like texting if we are both online.  He is going to see about arranging his schedule so we can extend his stay, IF it works with the airlines, too.

Then we heard a short siren outside our boat.  Dave peeked out and there was an official looking boat that wanted to talk to us.  It was a routine inspection by the Royal Bahamas Defense Force.  They wanted our Coast Guard Registration form and passports.  They didn’t board the boat, like the US Coast Guard did back in Georgia.  Everyone gets a chuckle out of the name of the boat.  So it lightens the mood.  They wanted to know where our last port was and how long we plan to stay in the Bahamas.  There were 3 of them on their boat and they all seemed young, like in their 20’s.  It’s actually nice to know they are checking boats out.  There is a lot of crime in Nassau.  Now if we had to call in with a problem, they would know our boat. 

We then had coffee and breakfast and planned what to do in the meantime.  Should we stay in the harbor or move outside to an island for a day.  We decided to stay and work on a few things.  Dave wanted to work on the outboard Mercury motor.  We needed to provision at a nearby grocery store.  And Dave will take fuel cans to shore to fill, rather than moving the boat to a dock.  And I always have cleaning to do :(  But I am going to cook some things ahead of time for the week while Pete is here. 

Dave fixed the Mercury!!  He adjusted the idle control and it would start and die right away.   So he replaced the filter in the gas line.  He added it because of a suggestion by another sailer.  And he brought a replacement filter.  There is usually gunk in fuel that you buy in foreign countries.  It is brought to the islands in tanks that slosh around and stir things up.  After replacing the filter, it ran beautifully!

We also “pickled” the water maker.  We haven’t used it for a couple days.  And now it will be a couple more.  We don’t want to use the water in this harbor to make water.   To make water, we run the generator.  So, I plug in the computer and catch up on my blog.  I can’t be in the galley while he is pickling anyway. 

Next.  Dave moved on to replacing the pump unit in the aft head.  Seems like there is always maintenance on those head toilets.   We had water, etc, gurgling up in the toilet between uses.  I can’t imagine what else would be involved if we pumped paper through it, too.  Yes, we put paper in the garbage, not the toilet.  I thought I heard him say “this smells just like poop!”.  I asked him is he wears gloves when he works on the head.  He said “I could.”  That’s the first thing I would do.  He said the trick is to not lick your fingers.  This time the problem was not only the joker valve, but the base valve too.  But it all comes together as part of the pump assembly.  Dave explained to me that different grades of rubber work with water, verses oils.  So I asked why they didn’t put a better grade of rubber in the head assembly.  His answer was because they wouldn’t make any money on replacement parts.  He also did some reading in the manual about what can be done to prevent this problem.  One problem with Beneteau’s is that the holding tank is upright, so everything has to flow uphill and stay uphill.  He may add a vent to keep water from flowing back towards the head if it is below the water line.  He had done that in our Catalina because we would often heel at a greater degree than we do in the Beneteau. 
Dave holding the joker valve closed after washing it
distorted joker valve that leaks
different view of distorted joker valve

After a quick late lunch, we took the dinghy to shore.  The dinghy dock we used before was gone.  There is now a fuel dock there.  The fuel attendant/dock master at Harbor View Marina remembered us and that we were going south to the Exumas the last time we were here.  So we asked him where there was a dinghy dock.  He let us use their’s.  It helps to make connections, I guess.  We walked to the grocery store about 2 blocks away.  We carried everything but the eggs and bread in backpacks. 

After we took everything onto the boat, Dave returned to Harbor View Marina with 3 jerry cans to get 15 gallons of diesel.  Whew, we felt like we accomplished a lot today. 

May 10, 2015 Highbourne Cay to Nassau, Bahamas

This is the navigation chart showing rocks at the red dots.  Upper left is New Providence Island with Nassau.  We are on the lower right and will follow the waypoints-X.  The red line shows the direction our boat is pointed, but the wind moves us in the direction of the green line to Nassau.  The blue water is Exuma Banks and shallow.  the white areas are deeper water-in the thousands of feet.  The right is Exuma Sound and the left is called the "Tongue of the Ocean".  It is between Exuma Banks and Andros Island.   
We have done this trip between Highbourne Cay and Nassau 2 times each way.  There is a nasty field of rocks we have to go through.  And so far, the charts have been correct.  Can you imagine the job of creating those charts.  Someone has to plot where every rock that could be a hazard exists!

We had a nice wind for sailing with our spinnaker sail again today.  Love saving that fuel.  We also decided we’d put up with the traffic in Nassau harbour to save the money from not getting a slip in a marina. 

On our passage today we saw about a dozen dolphins swimming with the boat for about 15 minutes.  Those are the first we have seen in the Bahamas.  Dave said they probably come here for a vacation, too.

On the way here, we were discussing my attempts at making “refrigerator pickles” with our aging cucumbers.  Remember, I am not a cook or chef, just a survivalist.  I was asking Dave for any suggestions or changes.  He is always so nice to say that they taste fine.  But I wanted to know how I could improve them.  So he started out by saying “well, you do have to brace yourself before eating them, because one leg shoots out straight after you bite into them.”  I guess that means I could thin down the vinegar some. 

Then over the last 2 hours of the passage, we listened in on the radio while a boat was in trouble.  They were going the same way we were, but further behind us.  It was a sport fishing boat and had trouble with the rudders freezing up.  Sounds like they had broken apart and weren’t working together.  They were headed back to Nassau to take the owner of the boat to see a doctor or get him on a flight back to the states.  They were talking to BASRA, Bahamian air and sea rescue association.  Since it was Sunday, they couldn’t get them a tow in to Nassau.  But they could get a mechanic out to them on Monday.  They wondered if the sick person could take a high speed rough ride back into Nassau or if they could bring him medication.  They did get the boat running again and made it into Nassau right behind us.   Lesson learned is that BASRA is made of volunteers.  Things don’t happen at the same speed as in the US.  And you better be able to take care of yourself.   Remember, it can happen to you in a car out on the prairie of SD, too.

Either the wind picked up right when we entered the harbor or the wind always funnels through here.  But we had to motor against the wind and current to anchor.  This is a busy harbor with all kinds of boats passing you.  So we expect the boat to rock some tonight.

May 9, 2015 Compass Cay to Highbourne Cay

This morning we left our anchorage to head north.  As we came into Conch cut, we used the tracker on our chart plotter.  That way we could just follow our path back out.  It’s amazing to see a wide open area, but have to follow a channel zig zagging through it to avoid rocks and sand.  
it always amazes us to see the different colors of the water.  the lighter color is more shallow with sand on the bottom

It was a light wind day so we put up the spinnaker sail.  We could have made the 35 mile trip in about 7 hours using the engine.  But we were in no hurry to get to our destination, other than before sunset.  So we sailed and saved fuel and took 9 hours. 
uncovering the spinnaker.  It is raised inside a "sock", then you lift the sock to let it out in the wind

The only excitement of the day was when Dave thought he saw a fish splashing on the surface at the end of his line.  Then he realized it was a “floater” in his eyes. 

It was so calm that I was able to do some food preparation and some things on the computer down below. 

We made it to Highbourne Cay by 6:30.  We have anchored here twice before, but we had never come through the Highborne Cut form the east side on the Exuma Sound.   No problem.  There were about 12 boats anchored along the long beach.  3 were mega yachts and one had a huge slide off of the top into the water.  Looked like it was more for adults than for kids.  Dave thought 20 year olds in bikinis would love it.