Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June 16, 2015 Brunswick, GA

Dave had set our chart plotter to show the distance remaining to our destination and estimate of time depending on how fast you are traveling.  So most of the night, it said we would be to Brunswick, GA around 10:00 am. 

When Dave woke up around 7:00, we decided we needed to change our angle so we wouldn’t sail right on past Brunswick.  That changed the wind to a broad reach and slowed us to 5 mph.  And the winds were decreasing to 7-10 mph.  That also changed our estimated time of arrival :(

About 11:00 am, we decided to start the engine again because there was no wind.  So Dave went back to the routine of stopping the engine and removing the mixed oil and adding clean oil.  The totals I mentioned yesterday include the oil he added and removed today.

At 1:50 pm we heard a “May Day” call on the VHF radio.  The boat announced that they were engulfed in flames.  The Coast Guard responded and the boat gave them their GPS coordinates and that there were 3 people on board in life jackets.  The next message said they were going in the water.  And then you didn’t hear from them again. 

They were about 100 miles off shore right out from Brunswick, GA near us.  There were 2 fishing boats in the area that headed to them right away.  And we listened to the USCG and the boats communicate.  A little after 2:00 the fishing boat said they saw the life boat or dinghy and it was empty.  And by 2:20 they picked up the 3 people.  The USCG asked the captain of the boat to talk to them on the radio.  They got the names of all the people on board.  It was a 95 ft Northcoast boat.  Someone later said it was a fishing boat.  They were from Jupiter, FL and on their way to New York.  The USCG asked the fishing boat to head towards Charleston, SC and a helicopter would pick up the rescued people.  The fisherman then told them that he was going back to where he was originally and they could come to him.  He gave them the latitude he was traveling on to meet them.  By 3:20 the helicopter met the boat and we listened to them giving instructions of lowering the coast guard person to the boat and he would explain the rescue process.  It was interesting, but also scary to listen to. 

By now we were heading into the channel to St Simons Sound Inlet which would take us to Brunswick.  We called the marina on our phone because we didn’t want to tie up the VHF radio.  We wanted to be sure they had a slip for us.  And we weren’t sure we would be there by 5:00. 

We saw our first pelicans back in the US.  Dave noted that we didn’t see any pelicans in the Bahamas.  Then he said “did they eat them all?  Maybe it’s a secret delicacy in the Bahamas.”

We made it to Brunswick Landing Marina by 5:00 and pulled into a slip on their transient dock, #1.  That’s where we were last winter because we didn’t plan to be there long.  On Wednesday, they would have an opening on dock #9 which is right by the Yacht Club house.  So it will be right by the showers and laundry, too. 

We decided to walk downtown to have pizza.  I don’t remember having pizza over the last 3 months.  And it felt good to go for a walk after 3.5 days on a boat.  We were pleasantly surprised on how rested we felt.  After a 24 hour sail, all we want to do is sleep right away.

The Customs and Border Protection office closed at 5:00.  And we have 24 hours to check back into the US.  So I left them a message with our information and we’ll call them in the morning.

We really liked coming right into Georgia and not traveling up the coast of Florida.  I think we would do this again and recommend it to others.  Our previous longest passage was 40 hours and about 180 miles across the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico.  This was close to 80 hours and about 370 miles.  We gave each other a good “pat on the back.”   

June 15, 2015 adrift at sea and pilot whales

Another slow uneventful evening.  About 5:00 am a freighter passed behind us within 2 miles.  I could hear his engines since we didn’t have our engine running.  That seemed close even though it was 2 miles away.  Afterwards, Dave told me I should have contacted the boat to be sure they were staying on that course.  If they had turned towards us, we wouldn’t have had time to get out of their way.  So you learn something new everyday. 

Dave woke up at 6:00.  After we had breakfast, he made the decision to run our engine since there was even less wind predicted for today.  At 6:30 am, he started the engine and ran it at 1000 rpm (we usually use close to 2000rpm).
taking down the spinnaker                  
halyard was stuck

we have never seen the ocean this flat
About every two hours we would stop the engine, let it cool, and Dave would check the oil level.  The engine holds 5 quarts of oil.  When it would get high, with the mix of diesel and oil, he would drain off 2 quarts of the diesel/oil mix and add 2 quarts of new oil to thicken it again.  He did this several times and added 2.5 gallons of oil total.  So he removed about 3 gallons of the mix.  If he didn’t do that, the mix would feed back into the engine and cause it to run full speed again causing the run away engine. 

Somewhere around 10:00 or 11:00, we hit the Gulf Stream as we were going north west.  So we turned north and noticed more speed.  We went from 5 mph to 7 mph.  At 1:30 pm, when we shut off the engine to check the oil, we were still moving 3 mph in the current.   By 6:30 pm, the wind was picking up and we were able to go back to only sails.  We had 7 knot winds and were moving 7 mph with the gulf stream.  So we were happy with that. 

About 7:00 pm, we spotted pilot whales.  They are a large species of dolphins.  They were playing in the water like dolphins, but we could tell they were larger.  Pretty soon they came up to our boat.  Since we had the engine off, we could hear them spouting near our bow.  So we both went up there and were able to get a couple good pictures of them.  Their noses are more square and they are about 20 feet long.  We felt fortunate to get to experience that.
 




We had meatloaf and a couscous and vegetable salad for dinner.  Then I went to bed early again.  That schedule has been working out.  This time I slept until 2:00 am Tuesday.  Dave would set his phone alarm for 15 minutes and lay down in the cockpit.  But he was glad to go to bed and slept until 7:00 am.  We had 15 knot winds and were traveling between 7 and 9 mph all night with clear skies and  beautiful stars. 

June 14, 2014 Bahamas to Georgia

Happy Anniversary to Don and Linda, my brother and sister-in-law!

 I slept until about 9:00 am.  Then I made breakfast for us.  I had made omelets in a muffin tin, too, so they only had to be heated.

The VHF radio seemed to have a lot of “Pan-Pan” traffic today.  That is when the USCG warns you of someone in danger and if you are in the area they could use your help.  There were two capsized boats each with 5 people, someone out of gas, and someone in the water.  And they keep repeating the message about every 20 minutes until all are safe.  

The winds had been “light and variable” all night and were even worse today.  Now I know why they say variable.  We wanted the wind to hit the boat at 120 degrees.  But it would swing from 60-180 degrees and barely move the boat in one direction.  Plus the spinnaker sail would lose wind, start to make rustling noise, and then fill with wind with a snap.  So that kept you awake. 

We turned the boat more to the west at times, instead of north west.  We were hoping to hit the Gulf Stream to help move us faster.  During the day, Dave was mostly at the helm with occasional naps.  He is that way if we are in a car, too.  I can usually find things to do, like meals or dishes.  But we both read or play games on our phones.  Especially since we didn’t have rough seas. 

About 5:00, Dave had to hail a cargo ship that was about 3 miles away, because it looked like we may cross paths.  And since we weren’t using our engine, we wanted him to be aware of us.  Our AIS gives us their boat name, so that is nice when you have to call them.  But Dave wasn’t sure if he pronounced it right- Ikan Jabuh.  They changed their course to avoid us, which was very nice.  We thought about how these pilots have to know the languages of the countries they have to travel to.  But someone told us later that all boat traffic uses English as a standard language. 

After this ship passed, we started heading north again to get the best wind.  Hearing another Pan Pan about a capsized boat, Dave thought we better start watching for boat debris in the water. 

I took an early nap again while Dave took the helm early evening.  This time I slept until 12:30  am. 

Obviously, our boat in not to the right proportion, but the cargo ship is in our danger zone and another will pass in front of us.  The cargo ship turned to starboard and crossed in front of us instead of coming towards us.
Here's how close he actually was

This is how it looked on our chart plotter

June 13, 2015 Leaving the Bahamas via the Abacos

Well, we made it back just fine.  I’ve been too busy to sit down at the computer.  So finally, here is our return adventure.

We wanted to feel rested when we left, so we didn’t set any alarms.  We left our anchorage about 10:30am.  We only ran the engine about 10 minutes, long enough to finish raising the anchor and to motor into the channel for Loggerhead Cut.  This cut leaves the Sea of Abaco and goes outside of the islands and reefs into the Atlantic Ocean.  We could have spent another day working our way north through islands, but we probably would have had to motor more.  And since we wanted to use our engine as little as possible, we just headed north west from there.  We estimated it would take us 2-3 days depending on the winds. 

Once we entered the channel, we were at a great angle to the wind to be able to shut off the engine and sail.  We had a couple dolphins give us a send off in the channel.  By about 11:30, we were outside of the islands moving about 5mph with our jib sail.  We had 2-3 ft swells hitting us on our side, so we were rolling side to side for a while. 

By about 3:00, we could hear our first United States Coast Guard announcements on the VHF radio.  There was some comfort in knowing we were within radio range of the USCG, but they have to make some routine announcements that can get kind of annoying after awhile. 

I was down below making a pasta salad for us to eat over then next couple days.  And I thought I could hear Dave out on the bow.  Sure enough, he was putting up the spinnaker sail.  He wanted to see if he could do it by himself.  Well, with no life jacket on, it would have been nice to know what he was doing.  At least I would have checked occasionally to see if he was still on board. MEN!

About 4:00, I took the helm to let Dave take a nap.  After updating charts, our chart plotter is reading our speed in miles per hour and our other instruments that clock the wind show it in Knots.  So if you read both speeds in one sentence, that it why.  We had an 8-10 knot east wind on a starboard broad reach going 7 mph.  That’s what a spinnaker is made for. 

We had dinner and enjoyed the evening and sunset together.  I had made meatloaf in muffin tins yesterday so it would be easier to serve while under way.  We have done 3 hour watches in the past and are really tired after 24 hours because you never get a good rest.  So we thought we would try 4 hour watches this time.  I took a nap about 8:30.  At 9:30, Dave wanted to run the generator for an hour and said I could start my 4 hour watch after that.  Since we aren’t running the engine, we needed to run the generator to charge batteries to make it through the night.  We are using our chart plotter, the auto pilot, navigation lights, the VHF radio, besides running our refrigerator/freezer, fans and lights and charge phones. 

Next thing I know, it’s 11:30 pm.  I should have started my watch at 10:00 pm.  So I was well rested and started my 4 hour watch.  Dave was fine, so he let me sleep.  He said he saw a boat on the radar, but then it disappeared.  So he thought it might have been a submarine. 

It was a beautiful evening with clear skies and lots of stars.  I remember around 4:00 yawning and looking at the clock.  When I yawned again, 1 minute had gone by.  The next yawn was only 2 minutes.  So I thought I was done for.  But then I got my second wind.  I had no trouble staying awake.  There was boat traffic to watch, always making sure we weren’t going to cross the path of a big cargo ship.  And I pray the rosary when I am by myself at night. 



Dave woke up about 5:30 am and I went to bed.  Like ships passing in the night.

This is our chart plotter showing us at the Abacos and our autopilot set on Georgia.  Sorry it's blurry, the boat was moving.

This shows the chart plotter zoomed in on the northern Bahamas

our prettyspinnaker

this is the view on my garmin app on my phone

fine dining on this cruise

beautiful sunset, as always



Friday, June 12, 2015

June 12 2015 Great Guana Cay

We started this discussion last night, but came to the decision this morning to head back to the states.

First Dave called Marsh Harbor Boat Yard to talk to the mechanic.  Dave believes we are “making oil” again by having diesel leak into the oil.  This is what caused the "run away".  And until the fuel injector pump is fixed, it will continue.  So he suggested Dave rig a by pass for the extra “blow by” like he had done before we made it to the boat yard.  This will also allow him to pump out the excess diesel/oil mix and add oil if needed.  Plus we will try to run the engine only if needed.

The weather forecast calls for good weather to cross back to the states between now and Wednesday.  We hope to leave the Bahamas and take 2-3 days to go straight back to Georgia.  If we head directly to the Florida coast, we might have to motor  up the ICW to get to Georgia.  Since we don't want to run the motor, we'll sail right to Georgia.  That's the plan anyway.  And we have to be north of Florida by July 15 for insurance reasons. 

So we moved back near Hopetown.  I went into town for a few provisions while Dave started getting the boat ready to leave.  Then we sailed to Baker’s Bay on Great Guana Cay.  We had dinner and ran the water maker.  Just when our tanks were close to being full, the breaker switch flipped off.   Dave didn’t want to dig into this tonight.  And we won’t need it again until we are back.  He said he “stuck it with a sharp stick until it started working again.”  Which means he pulsed the pump on and off until it started working right.  It behaved long enough to finish the fresh water flush and the pickling.  There is a new pump in our future. 

I remember thinking when we started cruising that we had bought everything we’d needed and could just go sailing.  Our friend, Richard, laughed when I said that.  Now I know why. 

this is how the gas truck gets to each island

June 11, 2015 Junkanoo party on Elbow Cay

This morning one of our sapodillas was ripe enough to eat.  So I took a picture to share with you.  It is very sweet and almost grainy and crystal like in texture.  Dave wants to figure out something to cook with them.  He mentioned adding them to sweet potatoes.  I thought that would be too sweet since they are sweet already.  And he said “oh yah, like nobody ever adds brown sugar and marshmallows to sweet potatoes.”  I guess he’s right.  So we’ll see. 
full sapodilla on the bottom, half before and after eating it, seed in middle, oreo on top for size comparison. I think one side was bruised where it hit the ground

Now that we are free to be away from the boatyard and back on our own schedule, we started projects again today.  I started with laundry and cleaning the heads while Dave started scrubbing the boat.  He cleaned the fenders and dock lines and tucked them away.  Don’t plan to be at a dock until we’re back in the US. 

Then he started on a project that has been on the list since we bought the boat.  He started cleaning the woodwork on our toe rail and then will put a finish product on the teak.  I remember when we were back in Alabama and wanted to start cruising.  I took our list of major projects and marked “BW” next to the ones we could do once we were in “blue water”.  Well here we are and about ready to return.  He realized after scrubbing the woodwork that a coating was put on over the varnish.  Probably a quick fix to make it look nice to sell.  So he thought he better scrape that off.  He got about 1/3 of the boat done.  Part way through, I realized the chips were landing on our hatch screens and smaller pieces were coming through.  So I had to close them while I finished cleaning :(

While it was high tide, we decided to move the boat.  At low tide we touched bottom.  We could feel it bumping.  And the helm wheel would move, which meant the rudder was also touching bottom.  Dave had moved it from side to side to try to dig a trench for the rudder as it was touching only lightly.  He also took the dinghy off of the davits and that lifted us inches.

I talked Dave into moving the boat about 2 miles south near a marina that was having a Goombay Celebration tonight.  Goombay is a drink special in the Bahamas.  I heard it announced on the VHF radio this morning on the Cruiser’s net.  I called Sea Spray marina for the details.  They have dinner starting at 6:00, live “rake and scrape” band starting at 7:30 (Bahamian rhythm band).  Then at 9:00 they have a Junkanoo Run Out.  I believe that’s what she called it.  I had to ask her 3 times.  And them explain what that is.  There is a band and dancers in costume that parade through the deck area. 

The dinner was buffet style with choice of one, two or three meats for different prices.  I had the chicken and Dave had the chicken, fish and BBQ ribs.  I picked the wrong one.  The chicken was dry.  The band had fun dance music, but nothing we recognized.  And the Junkanoo parade was fun to see.  Our guide book says that “Junkanoo is a festival parade of brightly costumed revelers making lively music in the streets originated in the Bahamas by way of Africa.  Over the years it has developed into a competitive event in Nassau with costumes, floats and music from rhythm instruments.  Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are the big events and start after dark and goes until morning."  So this is a small group from Marsh Harbor that parades locally.  We actually heard them on shore back in Marsh Harbor from our boat one night. 

Dave could care less if we had seen them or not.  I have come to the conclusion that if I want to see the world, Dave will take me there, but I will have to see it by myself or with friends and family.  I’m sure I will have plenty of offers after people read this. 


leaving our boat for dinner

fish and chicken on the grill

buffet line

outdoor seating along the dock

band and "dance floor"

Junkanoo parade.  I have videos but need to figure out how to put them on my blog 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

June 10, 2015 engine decisions

We had a slow start this morning.  Should have cut off the adult beverages sooner last night.  We moved the boat back into the boatyard, but the engine had to cool before they could work on it. 

We weren’t picking up their wifi at the boat today.  So I packed up the laptop and a lawn chair and went up by their office to spend time on the computer.  While I was there, we had a heavy rain shower with lightning.  So they waited until early afternoon to start working on our boat.

Dexter put in the new fuel injector, but we still weren’t getting the RPM’s that we should.  He checked with Dennis, the main engine mechanic and came back.  He tested some things further.  The compression was good.  So that is a good sign that there aren’t cracks or major damage.  Then he checked the fuel injector pump.  He figured that the injector pump wasn’t getting fuel to the #2 piston.  So he replaced our fuel injector, because that wasn’t the problem.  And they said they would keep the new one and not charge us, unless we wanted it as a spare, which we didn’t. 
fuel injector that was actually good and replaced
it was nice to watch someone else work on the boat, even tho we were paying him

Fuel inflector pumps aren’t worked on in a boatyard.  They can remove it and send it to the states to be rebuilt or for a new one.  OR we can run the motor as it is and deal with it back in the states.  Evidently, we’ve been running the motor like this for a long time.  So we elected to make that decision in the states.  Especially because it could take 3 weeks to be done here and our time here is getting short. 

We settled our bill and took off for Elbow Cay.  They really apologized for not being able to fix our problem.  But we were fine.  We fixed the original problem of the lift pump.  And we will monitor our oil level to be sure that problem doesn’t return from a different source.  And they figured out why our engine isn’t running at the normal level.  I can relate it to dentistry.  You start with a cavity, place a filling, then the tooth is weak and still bothers the patient, so you place a crown.  Then it’s too much for the nerve to handle, it dies, and you do a root canal.  You start with the simple solution and sometimes it needs more attention.  Our only regret was waiting for that part for a week and it wasn’t needed.  I don’t know if further tests could have been done at the beginning.  They still charged us labor and called it “trouble shooting”.  Which helped us pinpoint the problem, so that was fair.

I told Dave last night that if I wasn’t writing this blog, would I have as much interest?  Or would I just blow it off and say “you deal with it”?  I really am learning a lot about engines and the boat in general because of this blog.  And a friend commented to me that she has learned so much reading my blog. 

What I found strange was when Cheryl came to visit.  I would start to tell her a story about something that happened.  But then I would stop myself and say “oh, you probably read about it in my blog”.  But she was kind or polite enough to say “yah, but I want to hear you tell about it anyway.”  True friend. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

June 8-9, 2015 Customs and Immigration Marsh Harbor

Monday.  Happy Birthday to my brother, Don and my brother-in-law, Jim!!

We were told my the Immigrations office to come back this week to extend our travel visas past June 15.  They said just come back with all the paperwork.   So Dave took off by taxi to do that.  Once he was there, he found out I had to be there, too.  He visited with a guy in the waiting room and he ended up giving him a ride halfway back.  When we first arrived, he did all the paperwork without me present.  I guess you need to plan for the unexpected.

So we had Rinssor take us back close to 1:00, figuring they closed from 12-1:00.  it went smoothly and they gave us another 90 days.  Actually we only need about 2 more weeks, but you never know. 

Afterwards, we decided to walk to a little “take away” stand for lunch.  They are little drive up food stands with no indoor seating.  The closest one didn’t have any tables outside.  So we went around the corner to a little pub looking type of place.  It had an outside deck.  Inside  was a counter with about 8 seats with a bar.  It was air conditioned, so we decided to eat inside.  Dave called it our “immersion lunch”.  He had coconut cracked conch and fries.  i had steamed snapper with plantain, coleslaw and peas and rice.  This was the real deal.  It took forever for out food, so you know it was made as it was ordered.  I had two whole snapper with their heads about 8 inches long.  It was cooked in a light tomato and onion seasoning.  There were 2 TV screens.  One had a CSI type of show and then Duck Dynasty.  The other had music playing REALLY loud that the barmaid/waitress was selecting.  I think it was actually the music you hear when a car drives by booming, hip-hop with some choice words.  And everyone had to talk over the music.  All the other patrons were locals.  It felt like a neighborhood hangout, but we were welcome to be a part of it all. 

We decided to walk back to the boatyard, which was about a mile.  But it was mostly downhill to the water.  Our engine part didn’t arrive today and may not be here until Wednesday.  Since it was really hot back at the boat, we decided to move the boat just outside of the boatyard for a better breeze.  We were also able to make water and take showers on the stern of the boat.
walking down to the boatyard
Dave opening the gate to the boatyard, home for a week now

Tuesday
Lazy day on the water.  We did wash a load of towels.  They were mostly dry when a thunderstorm came rolling through.  We brought them in, ran a line and used fans to let them finish drying.  It reminded me of my childhood.  Before we had a dryer, my mother would hang our laundry in the basement with fans in the winter time in SD. 

We found out about 3:00 that our part was here.  But we didn’t need to come back into the boatyard until the morning.  Good thing, because we would have been moving the boat right when that thunderstorm hit.

We had a popcorn and movie night.

June 6-7, 2015 Marsh Harbor computer day


Saturday
We made bread again today.  And it keeps improving each time.  Or we just like home made bread, no matter what it tastes like.
We succeeded at hanging out at the boat yard another day  just doing little odd jobs and using the free wifi.

Sunday
We had Rinssor pick me up for church and Dave went along to use a good wifi connection  in town.  So he dropped me off first.  Then he took Dave to the building where I had my massage.  Tricia, my massage therapist, said we could return and use here wifi connection, or the one for the realtor downstairs.  They both have good connections and no one would be using it on the weekend.  She had given us both of their passwords. 

So after church, I had Rinssor pick me up and take me to Dave.  Before leaving church, I visited with some volunteers that were here for a week from Vero Beach, FL.  They were here to do some maintenance work on a school called ECC-Every Child Counts.  I told them I would announce that they were here and could use help over the VHF radio on the cruiser’s net in the morning.  And since we visited with the priest last week after mass in Hope Town, he remembered me and said hello.  Just when I am feeling like this is my community, we are going to leave.  But there’s always next year.

Dave was able to down load new software for the chart plotter.  Then he updated the charts on an sd card to take back to the chart plotter.  And he updated apps on our computer, iPad and phones.  He did this on a second story balcony overlooking the bay with a nice breeze.  It took about 2 1/2 hours.  It was really nice to have a good, fast connection to get all of that done.  He has used poor connections for the chart plotter in the past and it would leave out whole sections of the map.  Found that out the hard way back in the states on the ICW.  We do have other backups.   
tough morning updating computers, etc
view of Marsh Harbor

Then we walked about a block to a second story restaurant that also overlooked the bay.  We enjoyed a great lunch.  Dave had their roast lamb special.  And I had their Jamaican Paella made with mussels, chicken and sausage.
this was a band loading their gear on a ferry to go to another island for a festival this afternoon.  and our son Pete complains about moving and setting up gear

We had Rinssor pick us up to go back to the boatyard.  It was really hot there.  So I walked down to a little beach area and went for a swim.  Another couple is here, Dan and Marcia.  Marcia joined me for awhile.   We just sat in the water and chatted.  Then after showering, we joined the guys at their boat.  The boatyard had a shower outside that we would use wearing our swimsuits.  Keeps the humidity down in the boat. 

Dan, Dave, and Peter, the security man were visiting in the shade.  Peter let us climb up onto a catamaran and check it out.  I forgot how spacious they are.  We have chartered them in the British Virgin Islands. 

Then Peter got a phone call from his wife asking him to bring home a few sapodillas.  So we found out there was a sapodilla tree on the property.  So we all walked over there.  Peter found a long PVC pipe and started whacking at them piƱata style.  We ended up with 6 of them.  Dan has been coming to the Bahamas about 20 years and had never seen them.  We first had them in Georgetown.  There was one that was ripe enough to eat, so they had a chance to try it right away.  The others will have to ripen for awhile.  It is similar to a kiwi, a little larger, and much sweeter. 
sapodilla tree, I'll add a picture of the fruit when we eat it after it ripens
We sat telling stories for quite awhile.  Marcia even made me a Bloody Mary.  Come to find out, they have been married and divorced twice and are giving it another try.  And Dan has been married 7 times.  He has a captain’s license and they used to captain and chef on 100 foot yachts.  Made lots of money, but put in lots of hours.  I think we finally met someone with more stories than Dave.

This reminded me of a Zac Brown song:
Knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze blowing wind through my hair
Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise there's a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise

Friday, June 5, 2015

June 5, 2015 Bahamian Labor Day

Friday was a holiday in the Bahamas, their Labor Day.  So things were quiet around here.  I spent a lot of time using their wifi to get caught up on e-mails, Facebook and my blog.  And it wasn't too bad on my neck.  Between yesterday and today, Dave finished up some little projects.  He changed the oil in the transmission.  And he finished zip tying some loose wires around the alternator.  We are  hoping the predicted rain will hit us.  We will scrub the deck using rain water if it does.  Or at least Dave will.  I am going to use this neck stain as long as possible to get out of any physical work :)

We spent some time visiting with another couple that are stranded here, too.  Their boat is “on the hard”.  So they are above ground, not in the water, like us.  Dave, Dan and the security guard visited much longer.   Dan had more stories than Dave, if you can believe that.  But Dave wanted to talk to Pete more about the Bahamas.  Dave is skilled at interrupting conversations, ask Don Perdue who once told Dave to “shut the f+++ up”. (Richard’s Dad)

Peter, the security guard, is from Nassau.  He said it is like a war zone there now.  My friend Cheryl just sent me an article about how the crime rate in the Bahamas is worse than NYC or Chicago.  And I believe all the problems are in Nassau.  We didn’t care for it, but we didn’t go to Atlantis and the casinos where the big money is.  We were slumming it. 

June 4, 2015 day in Marsh Harbor

We had a rap on the boat at 8:00 this morning.  I was just making coffee and found out that the boat yard wanted us to move our boat so they could get another boat to their lift along the wall we were tied up to.  Their motor didn’t work at all.  So we moved our boat to another wall and back again all with in about an hour or less.  Well, throwing lines and pushing off of pilings didn’t help my neck. 

We lined up Rinsssor, the taxi man, to pick us up for my appointment.  Dave went along to run errands.  We had time to have a nice lunch at Wally’s before my 1:00 appointment.  Wally’s is across the street from the docks.  They advertise fine dining, and it was very good.  But while we were eating, Dave noticed a rat run across their front yard.  It’s the islands.  We were a couple miles away from the harbor that we usually would anchor in.  Otherwise we could have walked from the dinghy dock. 

Tricia, the massage therapist, was very helpful in giving us ways to get free phone service to the states through our computer, which we will set up for next year.  She even offered to let us come to her place and do updates on our charts using her wifi.  Updating charts use a lot of our data.  And if we are at a restaurant with free wifi, it is really slow.  So Dave may do that this weekend.  She is a boater and understands the wifi situation. 

Dave said it must have been delivery day to the island.  Everywhere he went, he had to break into cases that has just been delivered to get what he needed.

Back at the boat, we decided to go for a dinghy ride to get out of the boat yard.  It was pretty calm, so not too rough on my neck.  If felt much better, but still needs a little recuperation time. 
this is a mangrove jelly fish when it is swimming on the surface.  all the others I have seen were sitting on the ocean floor

June 3, 2014 wasted day

I woke with a strained muscle in my neck.  I used to get treated regularly when I was working because of the position I always sat in to work.  I was hoping that would just go away after I retired, but those muscles have memories.  I used a heat pack on my neck and took a couple naps.  I was most comfortable laying down.  It would actually spasm at times. I e-mailed a massage therapist in Marsh Harbor for and appointment.  I was given her name a couple weeks ago when this started.   And she will see me tomorrow!  Yeah!!Today at the boat yard, we saw a truck pull up to a boat with rolls of siding in the back of the truck.  Two guys were running a machine that cut the siding to length, put the crease in it for the fold to help it hang.  Then they loaded the pieces of siding into a fishing boat to go to another island.  No wonder things take so long to get done in the islands.
About 6:00 Dave asked if it was 5:00.  Me: no it’s almost 6:00.  Dave: Wonderful!  I’ve wasted almost the whole day and was worried I wouldn’t make it!

We were expecting an inch of rain today, so we didn’t want to start anything outside.  But it never hit here. 
this is the truck with the siding and the boat to deliver it

June 2, 2015 more engine problems

We were up early and ready for Dennis and Dexter by 8:00.  It was closer to 9 by the time they arrived.  They tested the oil again and then had Dave run the engine.  Dennis thought it sounded strange and the RPM’s were’t going as high as they should.  We agreed on the RPM’s.  So he tested the fuel injectors to each piston and one was bad.  Who knows how long we have been running the engine on 3 pistons. 

Dennis checked the surrounding islands and couldn’t find a fuel injector for our engine close by.  So it will have to be ordered from the States and probably won’t be here until Monday. 

We can stay here in the boatyard for free as long as we don’t need electricity, which we don’t.  And the weather forecast is calling for a lot of rain through the weekend.  So we may as well stay here and work on some things.  We’ll be more protected if the winds pick up, too.  We just don’t have as nice of a breeze coming into the boat.  But we have fans.  It has been in the low 80’s, but will be a little cooler with the rain. 

The Mercury outboard was back together and the carburetor was rebuilt all except one gasket.  Right now it looks like it will be 3 weeks to get that part, which we won’t wait for.  They are checking into getting it sooner.  It runs and we  have the 2.5 HP Lehr as a back up.  So we won’t wait if it’s not here  by Monday.

I spent some time up near their office updating some apps on my phone.  Dave putzed as usual.

June 1, 2015 Marsh Harbor Boat Yard

Welcome Hurricane Season!  It officially starts today.  Our insurance wants us north of Florida July 15- November 1.  So I usually think of that as hurricane season.  Our life is dictated by the winds.

We contacted Marsh Harbor Boat Yard-MHBY-at 8:00 this morning via VHF radio.  They said their engine mechanic would be able to look at our engine first thing in the morning and that we should come into their boatyard today.  Yippee!!   It is about 5 nm away. 

By about 9:30 Dave started bringing up the chain and anchor by hand.  He didn’t have to physically pull it up.  He had a device to ratchet the chain through the windlass by hand.  Dave had added this just for cases like this where the engine wasn’t running, or if the windlass was broken.  It worked great because it held the chain in place as it was brought up.  We had brought out the main sail, so once the anchor was free, I was able to sail out of the anchorage.  We had a few boats to go through, but nothing too close.  There was an eerie quietness leaving by sail. 
Dave ratcheting the anchor and chain onto the boat

We had “light and variable” winds this morning.  That means about 3-6mph.  We also put out the jenny sail.  So we averaged about 2.5 knots.  “Slow boat to Marsh Harbor”.   About 11:30, we were about a half mile out of their channel entrance.  We called ahead to warn them that we would use the engine coming in, but may have to shut it off if it starts running hard again.   They gave us directions as to where to tie up and said they would have 3 people on the dock to help us. 

We had taken down the main sail earlier.  As we turned into the channel, the jenny helped give us enough power to continue on without the engine.  Dave went out on deck to help throw the lines to the dock hands.  And I brought the boat up to the dock at the helm.  Dave said the guys on the dock were complimenting me on bringing in the boat and how I brought in the jenny sail.  Dave said “I know, I have a good one there.”

After collecting our wits, we went up to the office to see how to proceed.  Loretta was very helpful.  She said Dennis, the engine mechanic, had a cancellation that afternoon and should be able to look at our boat today.  So we were glad we headed over here right away.  The outboard motor mechanic was there, too, John.  Dave visited with him a little about the problems we were having and he knew it was the carburetor.  So we decided to let him look at ours while we were here. 

Dennis listened to our story and checked things out for himself.  He thought that there was only one way for diesel to get into the oil and that was the lift pump.  They had one in stock, so they recommended changing that, no rebuild kit was available.  Dennis even called his Yanmar company man to see if they knew of any other possible condition and they didn’t.  So we went ahead with exchanging the part.  Dave then changed the oil himself and kept the old pump to rebuild and have as a spare.

In the meantime, someone came by to get the Mercury outboard.  They decided it would be difficult to lift it off, so they took the dinghy to their shop.  Of course, the fuel bulb wouldn’t hold pressure.  So the guy rowed the boat across the boat yard basin. 

Dennis came back to run the motor and check the oil, etc.  He wants to go on a sea trial in the morning with us to check everything out. 

We took advantage of their free wifi and spent some time on the computer tonight.



trying to eyeball the entrance to the boat yard

sailing through their entrance channel

dock hands helping stop the boat and tie it up

May 21 and May 27-28, 2015

I just noticed that these two posts were in my drafts.  I was able to post the one for May 27-28, but somehow, the May 21 post was deleted.  Here's what I remember of that day.

We were anchored north of Marsh Harbor, but motored into the harbor to take our son to the airport.  He spent the morning packing.  Then we all went to Snappa's, a restaurant on the shore, for a late lunch/early dinner before he had to leave for Nassau.

When we arrived at Snappa's, there were about 5 young women sitting outside on the dock hanging their legs over the side.  Dave quickly named them the "dinghy girls".  After we tied up and ordered our meals, we went outside for a photo of the three of us.  We asked them to take the photo.  Then we started a conversation about how they had never been in a dinghy.  So Dave took a couple of them around the harbor and by our boat.  They were form Colorado and had rented a home for the week.

Rinssor the taxi man picked up Pete to take him to the airport.  We really enjoyed having him on the boat with us.  It is nice to see him relax.  It reminds me of a Zac Brown song "all your worries, you can drop them in the deep ocean. But you gotta get away to where the boat leaves from."

Dave, Mary, Peter

Dave and the dinghy girls

May 27-28, 2015 Matt Lowe Cay

 Wednesday, Dave decided to give his pulled muscle a break.  So no heavy work today.  We did a lot of things on the computer and Dave did a lot of reading.  Always learning something new about sailing, or reinforcing what he does know. 

We made bread again, and it is improving each time.  We may have to buy more flour before leaving the boat this summer.  And we have been paying $4-5 per loaf in the Bahamas.  They are American brands, so you wonder where it is made and how long it took to get on the shelf here. 

Thursday, we needed to make water.  Even if we weren’t low, it’s good to run it every few days to keep the lines clean.  So we decided to go outside of the harbor again.  There is a small island called Matt Lowe’s Cay a ways beyond where we anchored last time to make water.  It will protect us from the NE wind better.  It is a beautiful anchorage in front of a beach. 

Since we were making water, we decided to do more laundry.  Earlier this week it was 2 days of sheets and towels (remember that if you are company in the future).  Today it was clothing.  I prefer to hang my underwear out here instead of in the harbor where boats are much closer :)

Before starting the generator and water maker, Dave always checks the raw water screens.  They are always full of reeds and grass. 

Dave raised the furler fair leads to bring the furling line higher (the line that rolls up and unrolls the furler).  They were running along the jerry cans of fuel on the deck and he was worried about them wearing through. 

Dave worked on the outboard.  When he went back into the carburetor, he checked the drain for the fuel bowl in the carburetor and it had real fine grit in it.  Once that was cleaned, it ran fine.  But with adding fuel, it stopped again.  So he thinks the problem is coming from dirty fuel.  Now we need to figure out how to get rid of that gas and clean out the tank and jerry cans.  Finding the source of the problem doesn’t automatically solve the problem.

I enjoyed snorkeling around our boat and  found 4 conch!  Dave cleaned them by breaking into the shell, cutting them loose and pulling them out of the shell, which isn’t always easy.  Then he has to skin them.   While they were in a bucket, they would stick their “eyes” out of the shell.  Interesting.  We plan to make our own conch salad once we pick up a few things at the grocery store.


Dave testing the outboard motor while I do laundry
working on the outboard AGAIN

conch I found snorkeling

either we scooped up this little fellow with the sea water, or he was inside one of the conch

the "eyes' peaking out of the shell

The "eyes' were on the end of the two "feelers"

going after another one

before skinning

after skinning