Archive for December, 2008

We’ve Moved…. Again

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

We’ve moved back to Green Turtle. W/ really wanted to see the Junkanoo. So we loaded up the boat and moved to Green Turtle (GT). By load the boat I mean, we stored stuff ready for the famous passage around Whale Cay. We can’t get to without going into the ocean… just bit and where the water mets the shore here can get rather hairy. Ships have been rolled coming in and going out this pass. The ocean bottom goes from 2,000+ meters to 8 meters inside a couple of kilometers.

Lazily we hauled both dinghys behind us and even left the engine on the inflatable. The all floated through ok as the winds were 10-15kts out of the E. So we motored the first part of the trip and then sailed the last half and anchored just off the Bluff House in the lee in the Sound. The next morning we’ll going into anchor in the sound.


What are Numbers Anyway?

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Yesterday we rented bicycles and rode around Treasure Cay. You too can have this view for only $799k USD! It is a gorgeous view but looking at it everyday would not not make the lot worth that much at least to us. Maybe if we had a couple of mill sitting around it would be another thing. Like any delicacies, when one indulges in constant consumption all the time they become rather; well, mundane.

As for other numbers, I got my glutes kicked rather hard today. W and I went to the tennis courts for the resort and met Rick T. We were hitting (W and I) and so I offered to play Rick. He went to get his racquet and I warmed up a little longer, felt a little smug; we’re in the islands how good will he be, and when Rick returned he and I warmed up.

Now I’ll whine a little. I didn’t like his game. He hit a flat ball on hard courts and had a wicked slice. The ball never bounced much. I’m use to playing on clay where balls sit up a little and seem to say “hit me”. Also he liked to RUN, even though he seemed to hobble as he walked along. Well, soon my smugness disappeared and I was soundly tromped 6-1,6-0. Not a whole lot of joy in that. My true saving grace was a saying from an old friend; “Winning is boring”. To tell the truth I wasn’t bored. Rick had played college tennis and taught tennis for 5 years after college.

So now I need to learn to play on hard courts, learn to not watch my opponent, and learn patience. Good Luck Dave! 🙂

Wishing all fair winds and aces to the tennis players out there.


Treasure Cay

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

We sailed yesterday from Marsh Harbor to Treasure Cay. An easy sail traveling 6-7 kts towing two dinghy’s and one with the engine down. But as usual, no matter how perfect the day; one random wave slapped the boat and threw spray in our face. Damn now we need to clean some salt off the boat. Remember – we live on this boat. It’s not just for fun.

We’re currently anchored in the harbor where by some design the Treasure Cay Resort charges even to anchor. That’s ok though since we have then the use of the resort, showeres -W/’s in love, tennis courts – we hope to play, laundry, etc.

Last night we went in to shower, W/ decided to stay and have some Pizza (yeah I had to be dragged to the event 🙂 ) and we met a visiting couple; get this, from Iowa. We’re almost amazed how many Iowans we met down here.

Oh, and before I forget, we bought a shorty wet suit for me from the dive shop; slightly small but it will work. For $20 I’ll suffer with the tight suit (It’s a little short- NOT too narrow if you get my drift) to stay warm. Water temp on the reef is about 22-23 degrees C. I can only last about 30 minutes before I start loosing to much temp diving in my trunks and a T.

Fair Winds


W/ Saw Santa Going Transcontinental !

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

Last night we were riding in the dinghy to a Christmas Eve dinner at Boat Harbor and W looks up. The sky out here in Abaco is clear like a high quality crystal goblet and even at times seems to shimmy and sparkle. She sees moving across the Northern sky 3 streaks of glitter traveling from Europe to the US. How blessed was she to get glimpse of his sleigh traveling transcontinental!

We had a very comfortable dinner with some friends and heard from the choir at a local school, a two group combo, and a very gifted solo singer (Her voice reminded us of Ella Fitzgerald) who charmed us with a few Christmas songs between her order and her food.

Arriving back to the boat the winds were abating and all is looking well for Christmas in paradise.



All Juiced Up But Nowhere We Want To Go

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

The boat pretty much has a full battery bank now. The wind is almost – howling. W/ would say it IS howling. Most likely 10 gusting to 25 kts. We’re a little ways behind a hill so the wind builds up like a football team lining up for a scrimmage and as the ball is hiked they charge forward. The wind tumbles down the hill.

Last night it started blowing. I checked the amps from the wind generator. The amp meter was bouncing around. There should have been a nice and steady movement of the analog needle. The amp hour meter would jump then settle at 0 again. It should be 5-10 amps and resting at about 2 with the wind we were getting. DAMN! So we tried a couple of things then furled the generator for the evening. Furling isn’t that hard physically but I kept thinking of all the power we weren’t collecting. To furl the generator we turn it sideways. I use a boat hook and grab a control line (I don’t want any body parts getting near the blade – it’s a propeller from a plane and it moves!) and turn it sideways till the energy is out of the blades. Once is slows way, way down to almost nil I grab it with my hand and put a line about it so it will not turn.

This am I awoke to our most important job. GET POWER! After breakfast I pulled off the blade and checked to see if the motor would turn with power applied to it. It turned. I concluded that I had a bad power cord connection. I pulled it apart and cleaned it. Hauled it back up (no it’s not a lot of work but everything is a pain when the winds blowing and it’s 18 degrees C out. I started the generator and still have the jumpy amp reading. Double Damn.

It has to be the connection, there was some corrosion in prongs so I conclude I need a new female adapter for 115 vac. That’s the adapter that it had initially been setup with. Into the dinghy I go into town to get a Bahamas priced adapter. While in town W/ runs the generator to replace the power in the batteries we should have gotten last night and to pull down the temp in the refrigerator and freezer. In town, I buy two; one to replace what’s on the power cord and a spare.

Down the generator comes again and I take it apart. I bring the power cord inside and cut the end off an put the new one on making sure I have the polarity correct for the wind generator. The hot wire runs through a diode to make sure power doesn’t flow back into the generator, only to the battery.

By this time an hour has passed and we’ve added some serious amp hours to the battery and pulled the refrigeration and freezer holding plates down about 7-10 degrees C.

Wired in now I put the generator back into service. Unfurl it and viola, she starts turning like a champ. I jump down below and check the amp meter. It’s still jumping at an amp or so and settles back at 0! A small variety of words enter my conscious thoughts but I’m too focused to let them escape into the physical world. Back, I go to furl the generator.

Now it has to be in the generator. I take it down, take the blade off, pull the motor out and bring it below. First I’ll check the brushes before I take the back of the generator off. I pull the first brush and out it comes in THREE pieces. Not good. I check the other one. It is in one piece. That’s good. If you’ve read some of the earlier blogs you’ll remember that I ordered a new motor in Marathon with brushes. They had sent that to my billing address. Thankfully they rectified most of the situation and had sent another motor to me in Marathon, without the extra brushes. Luckily,the brushes in the new motor fit the old motor. So I removed one from the new motor – put it in the old motor and put it all back together.

Then up she went. I unfurled it, she spun like mad in the wind. Jumping below I gave it a 99% shot at working and; whew, it did indeed put out the power it was too. Job done. Time to take a break, rest, read, and then run into town with W/ for her errands.

BTW: I will get a pic up of the brush but I don’t always have pictures when I write an entry into the blog, so if you want to see any of the details you’ll need to eventually look back in the logs. I’ve discovered that if I wait for the pics then the log will get way out of date.

Fair and Warm Winds. Cold winds inhale.


Back on da Hook, mon!

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

We’ve left the dock. We’re now 100% again with some minor scrapes and abrasion (on the dink). The projects we completed were: inflate and identify holes in the dinghy (we found one air leak, 2 leaks in the floor, and I patched 3 severely abraided areas on the other pontoon), patch air leaks and abraisions day one, patch floor from inside day two, do laundry, add locking lifting system to the dinghy day 3, and on day 4 we hauled out 200′ of anchor chain and painted fluorescent links every 25′ (one link represents 25′ so 3 links is 75′ – etc) and then stowed the chain. On day 5 w gave me a hair cut (yes I trust her; besides it will grow back; I think) and then we left the dock.

It feels much better at anchor even though we find the dock fun. Unlimited electricity (we pay for it), can walk the dock and talk to other boaters, getting into town is much easier; but all in all we like the movement of the boat at anchor and the 360 degree view of our little world.


Carribean Think!

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

So, this is how the philosophy was explained to me…
There are two thought processes here. One is called “Stealing” and the other “Thieft”. Stealing is bad, thieft is ok.

Stealing is when someone has something, say a tool, car, truck, etc but they only have one of them and it is needed for their survival. If you take what they need to survive then that is BAD.

Theift is when someone has more than they need. They may have two cars, two saws, two houses or in our case even two dinghies. The individual has none or their relative has none and they “need” one. So because it is not hurting the individual that one is theiving it from they can take it and feel justified because they have none and need it.

I’m not saying this is one hundred percent correct but it is how it was explained to me by someone that has worked in the community for 8 years.

We have two dinghy’s; one a hard for ports and to carry on the boat when we travel off shore, the other is our new one and a soft dinghy that we will hopefully use as a dive platform and be able to get to the reef safely, that is if we keep it long enough and the water gets warm enough. When we leave the dock Sat the dinghy will be well locked up! We’ll do our best to keep it and should it be “thiefed” again we’ll likely move our location to the US for the rest of the winter – Somewhere maybe around Georgia; we’ve never been there before.

Fair Winds



Monday, December 15th, 2008

I awoke this morning to a calm. I slept well and actually rose at around 7 am. Checking the boat over I looked over the stern for our dinghys and saw only one. “Wendy, our inflatable is GONE! I yelled. Immediately I hopped into our hard dinghy and rowed over to a fellow cruisers boat. I noticed his companionway had been opened up so I told him; Bill, our quandry and he threw some clothes on and we went looking, and looking, and looking.

The good thing about Marsh Harbor is that it is basically land locked. Anything floating free and being blown by the wind will arrive at a shore. In this case it should be the western shore.

Bill and I went along the western shore for about a mile and a half. We went dead down wind a little on both sides of where we think she went. No luck. ]

I can’t believe our Abaco Cruise will be over this early. I’m not staying in the Bahamas without a good diving platform and I’m not coming back to the Bahamas if I have to go to the state and buy a new one.

We get back to the boat just in time for the Abaco Cruisers Net. We break into the net – after all it is about Cruisers helping cruisers and describe the situation. Immediately after I hop back into Bill’s dinghy to go to Rainbow Boat Rentals. I was going to rent a 20′ boat to go up the coast to find the dinghy. As I’m traveling across the Bay; Peter on Grace yells out “They found your dinghy”. A tow reported seeing it up on the shore just past the little Cays.

So I hop into Peter’s inflatable and we run out to where it is to be. Can’t find it. Look on both sides of the bay by where we thought it was to be. Back to the boat.

There we again break into the net to try to contact the tug boat captain and find out where he saw it. Success in contacting him but where he says he saw it we found an old dinghy (not ours on the shore). About this time Kevin from Puffin comes by in a hard bottom dinghy that has more range. So we take off again.

We travel up the coast about as far as I could imagine it would be; in waves about 60 cm, and then veer in towards shore. As we close I see a Bahamian standing on the shore and as we get closer it looks like an inflatable with grey chaps by him. We found the dinghy but no engine.:(

We talk to him. As Kevin begins to ask him questions I go and look into his truck parked near by. No engine. He hasn’t seen any engine. He was just trying to move the dinghy up on the beach for protection. (The two front floor boards are removed and water is sloshing around in the dinghy.) If you ask me he was trying to take it apart to haul it off.

So now we have a dinghy and no engine. Remember the dinghy was new and the engine I had just purchased 3 weeks earlier in Green Turtle. We look nearby in the woods. It can’t have gone far if we just timed it right.

We found it was in a newly developing park and one of the restrooms was locked w/ no one in it. We checked the other rest room and the engine wasn’t there. The window was partly opened so we were able to reach in and open it some more thinking it would be in there for safe keeping for someone to pick it up later. No engine.

I look around more in the woods and an individual from Ace Hardware drives up and immediately begins to turn around and leave. I hail him and we talk to him. No; he hasn’t seen anyone with an engine but he would watch for someone. There is nothing in his truck for delivery and there is nothing there for him to pick up; unless the engine is still around.

About 10 minutes later a man on a bicycle appears. We ask him about the engine and he said “I hid it in the woods so no one would theft it”. He showed me where and in I go while Kevin engages him in conversation. I can’t find it. I’m getting a little agitated. I come out and Leroy comes in to show us where. The engine and the fuel tank is sitting about 150′ back into the woods. We carry it out and set it by the dinghy.

I tell Leroy how grateful I am that he was honest and I want to reward that honesty but I don’t have any money. We discuss where to meet so I can reward him and agree by the Union dock (Public Dock) in the town in a couple of hours.

We put the engine in Kevins boat, tie a bridle to my dinghy and tow it to the Jib Room ( a great cruisers marina in Marsh Harbor).

On the way we call Patty at the Blue Dolphin head of the Cruisers Net and she calls the Police to inform them of the recovery.

They met us by the Jib room and take a statement advising me not to give the guy any reward till after they confirm what was going on. They ask me to help and I agree.

Wendy and I went to meet the engine-finding Bahamian at the Union Dock. The Constable advised us to call him when the “guy” was there and he would come by. He said not to pay him anything but to stall. A fellow cruiser took a picture of “Leroy” and I shaking hands. (Yes I now know his name). Wendy went into Rainbow Boat Rentals to supposedly get change so I could give him some money. She called the Constable.

When the Constable arrived he confirmed that this was one of the three gentleman that had shown up gave him some statement about his rights. After talking to him for a few minutes he loaded his bicycle into the trunk and took the Leroy away.

We now have everything back. The dinghy has a hole in it. We’ll need to patch it. We’ll get a lock. We’re quite saddened that stealing has too been an export of the US. We’d cruised 25 years ago all thoughout this area and no one had really heard anything of any stealing. In the last 4 years it is being discussed all to frequently.

And to Jack and anyone else; no, we’re not giving up cruising because of something like this. But we’ll be much more cautious in Paradise. Remember; the difference between adventure and adversity is attitude.

Fair Winds


Not Everything is a Crisis

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

I know some reading might wonder actually why we’re here. Seems like I post mostly the crisis, adventure, and “I can’t believe it – HOLY SHIT” stuff.

We have our new car. Yeah, no real wheels but on a boat we call the prop a wheel so it does have one. This is the same size inflatable we had on our last boat but the company made some stuff (tubes) bigger and they no longer have a wooden floor so we have the Al floor. It may be too big, maybe I should have gotten the 10 foot one but we’ll see. They are kind of disposable as they have a life of about 10 years in the tropics. We bought a 15 hp Yamaha engine that W can almost easily start and the ride has been pimped up with what’s called dinghy chaps. They are canvas covers that protect the side from abuse and the Sun.

Sometimes we get to enjoy Sunsets and Sunrises. Well; I get the sunrises as W likes to remain warm and cozy below. This one was the morning we left Green Turtle Cay and is taken over the town of New Plymouth. We made our way from there to Marsh Harbor where we’re hanging out now, waiting for the current cold front to move through and enjoying all there is to offer here.

Last night we attended an Art show with a silent auction for the American Cancer Society. We didn’t buy any art but did pick up a dinner for 2 at the Boat Harbor Marina for Christmas Eve. We spent some time with a Boat Friend – Artist we knew from 25 years ago; Donny Wood, who is now one of Abaco’s resident artists. It was a great time and we met some other residents and looked at some art pieces.

Then aside from the sunsets, adventures and time hanging out there is boat work. The other day I cleaned out both engine strainers and changed the oil in the generator. This is from the strainer on the salt water manifold that feeds the generator, the salt water at the sink (which we haven’t yet used) and the aft head. The generator had 100 hours on, don’t know how many hours the head was used 🙂 but I was amazed at how full of “stuff” from the ocean it was.

May your strainer always be clean.
Fair Winds


Aground in Marsh Harbor

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Yep, 12 midnight I awoke to no movement of the boat. We draw about 1.7 meters. Not really a big deal. It’s a soft bottom here so I decided to stay through the spring tides. 12 Noon (about) aground again, maybe 2-4 cm shy of enough water. So what. 12:30 am aground again. This time though I stayed awake. A new boat moved in close to us (30 meters away) and if we stayed aground as the wind switched and the other boat swung on their anchor we could end up entwined in boat lust. We choose which boats our boat cavorts with, I know not the American way but it’s our boat and our way. So boat lust with any neighbor is not something we approve of. So awake I lay in the cockpit watching. Eventually we started bobbing again (floating and barely stuck) and finally the bow swung though the wind and we were free of the bottom. The tide had come up about 25 cm, 45 minutes after dead low. So back to my dream I went.

About 45 minutes later I awoke again to the boat acting weird. I looked and we were broadside to the wind. (Not good). What was wrong? We took a gust 25kts and the boat healed over and we heard a clunk on the keel and then what sounded like we were dragging across chain. Free again and we’re now facing W. Damn – I wonder if we scraped off some of the paint and what ever we were against on the bottom dug into the gel? Well, we’ll find out when I get into the water. But not today; after all it is a cold front we’re sitting through.

After the morning net for Abaco we moved into deeper water. Hopefully here we won’t drag over any un used mooring chains and hopefully we won’t sit on the bottom. Hopefully. 🙂

Fair Winds