Saturday, January 31, 2015

Still in Marsh Harbour

We are still here.  It has been over a week and we are tired of this.  It has been windy with multiple fronts coming through and cold.  Yes, I said cold.  It has not been out of the 60's for a week.  I know, a lot of you would kill for temps in the 60's but this is the Bahamas, it is supposed to be warm.  The forecast is for another week of the same.  After two days of not getting off the boat we got out early on Wednesday to get the outboard to the repair shop before the winds started up again.  We got a call Thursday that is was fixed.  It took them some time but fortunately it ran for them like it had for me so they were able to see the problem.  After a number of attempts (new plugs, clean the carburetor, pressure test the fuel system) they sound the problem.  A small hole in the fuel pump letting air into the system.  They also found that it was overheating since the thermostat was rusted and not opening properly.  I didn't know it had a thermostat.  They did not have a replacement pump but sealed the hole with epoxy.  They advised replacing it as soon as possible but also said the epoxy will hold it for a long time.  We will see.

Thursday was relatively calm and Cori got out on the kayak to visit some other boats and go to shore to pick up some more provisions.  The forecast was for another front to come through and overnight it blew again.

Friday we pulled anchor and went to the fuel dock to top off the tank and get water.  We are on our last tank and the pump was having a hard time pulling it from the tank in the V-berth.  We have three tanks that hold a total of 170 gallons.  We last filled up New Years Day so we were due.  The fuel dock wanted $0.30 a gallon.  We decided to go over to one of the marinas for a couple of days that only charges $5 for all you want.  We filled the tanks and Cori gave the deck a good washing.  We will be leaving the dock on Sunday to anchor out again but now we have topped off the fuel, batteries and water.  I just need gas for the generator and outboards.

We have also been eating well with a trip to the Jib Room for rib night with Buck and Vickie and steak night with Jim, Barb, Craig and Dovie.  When we leave here if will be a while before we hit a restaurant again.  Unfortunately the forecast is for another week like we just had.

At least it isn't snowing.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Waiting out the wind

We are still in Marsh Harbour while the wind blows.  Yesterday it started blowing in the morning just as forecast and continued all day.  The anemometer was showing constant winds in the 20's with gusts into the 30's.  Needless to say we spent the day on the boat.  By late afternoon we had a quick rain squall pass through.  After the rain it felt like it had let up a little but it was just that the gusts had let up, it was still blowing in the 20's.  This time no one dragged their anchor.  For entertainment we watched a movie and had popcorn.  Friends on another boat loaned us a copy of American Sniper.

Today it is not as windy but still gusting into the 20's.  This is forecast to last through Wednesday.  For a project I am attempting to get the computer and single sideband radio to cooperate and download weather faxes.  I am having moderate success.

Our next big project is to get the Yamaha outboard to the shop to diagnose what is wrong.  It has started to act up again.  It will not make it to shore without cutting out, so far it restarts so we haven't had to row back yet.

As we keep telling each other "at least it isn't snowing."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Back to Marsh Harbour

We are back at Marsh Harbour.  The weather is going downhill so we are back to a protected anchorage.

We woke up Thursday morning with the wind blowing from the direction we had anticipated but the current was causing an uncomfortable rolling action.  We decided to move down the island to Fisher Bay.  On our way we were passed by a big powerboat very close and then got his big wake.  The boat went rolling and a variety of stuff below went flying.  Cori had just poured her coffee and it went everywhere.  Once anchored in Fisher Bay we went to town to check it out.  This is the home of the famous Nippers Bar.  We stopped by just to say we were there and then headed back to the boat.  For entertainment in the afternoon we went for a dinghy ride and then stopped to go snorkeling.  We were successful in finding four conch but only two keepers.  Back to the boat and settled in for a quiet evening.

Friday morning we organised the boat, cleaned the conch and then started our way to Marsh Harbour.  We sailed as much as we could since we were in no particular hurry.  It feels good to sail rather then motor from place to place.  Once in harbor we dropped anchor and settled in.  The weather forecast is calling for winds from SW to NW in the 20's so we needed a protected anchorage.  Most of the anchorages are protected from the east but when these fronts come across it switches to the west and we need to find shelter.

Saturday we got up and fixed a batch of biscuits with three of them filled with cheddar cheese.  Cheese biscuits are popular in North Carolina and I have gotten very fond of them.  After that I took the propane tank to shore to be refilled.  Back at the boat the wind was picking up, gusting into the mid 20's.  There are a lot of boats here and as usual when the wind picks up like this someone drags.  First it was a catamaran that broke loose from its  mooring and went into a boat at the marina then the boat in front of us started dragging.  We didn't get the fenders out quick enough and got bumped.  It continued on past until it's anchor caught again.  The owners are in New Zealand and the fellow that is watching it got it re-anchored.  In the meantime we moved to stay away from it.  Of course he moved it right next to us so we get to keep an eye on it again.The generator is running, the batteries are just about topped off and the water heater is full of hot water.  We are just going to spend the day on the boat and watch the others and the weather.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bakers Bay, Great Guana Cay

We spent a quiet night at anchor off of Man O War Cay.  In the morning we made a trip into town to buy a couple of cans of juice since it is less expensive than at Marsh Harbor.  After that we had a great sail back to Marsh Harbor because the forecast was calling for southwest winds overnight and there is no other harbor that is protected from winds from that direction in this area.  We ran a couple of errands in town and then stopped at Bubbles for a visit with Craig and Dovie.  After that we settled down for a quiet night.

We left Marsh Harbor in the morning and motored up to Bakers Bay on Great Guana Cay.  We bypassed this area earlier and wanted to come back to check it out.  We went to shore and found that beaches on both the Abaco Sea and the Atlantic side are beautiful but without any shells.  We took the dinghy across to Spoil Cay and hit the jackpot.  There were shells everywhere.  We motored around the island checking out a couple of other smaller beaches and then headed back to the boat for a relaxing afternoon and evening.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Back to Man O War

We spent Sunday riding the bikes again, checking out the north end of the island.  At lunch time we headed back to the boat for lunch and then took the dinghy out of the harbor and watched the sailing club race their Sunfish sailboats.  It was a great time, we anchored near one of the marks and watched the boats sail around it in rather choppy seas with plenty of wind.  Afterwards we loaned the bikes to a couple of other sailors and relaxed.  Sunday night was "date night" with a nice dinner at one of the resorts featuring prime rib.

Today, Monday, we were up early getting the boat ready to head out.  We motored upwind to Marsh Harbor, meeting our friends on Temptation and Victoria Gay on their way to Hopetown.  We anchored and got ready to bring the generator to the shop.  Before loading it up in the dinghy I decided to try it one more time.  It started and continued to run.  We pulled anchor and headed out to Man O War Cay.  This time the wind was favorable and we had a nice sail.  There is no room to anchor in the harbor with all of the mooring balls so we chose to anchor out about mid-island.  The dinghy was launched and we headed off to a couple of the beaches we hadn't been to during our earlier stay.  Not a productive shell day but Cori did get some seaglass..  A quick trip into town to see if anyone was selling any conch (none) and then back to the boat to relax and watch the sunset.

We plan on staying here for another day then back to Marsh Harbor to pick up a couple of things and then off somewhere again.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


We enjoyed our two days in Man-O-War Cay.  We got a couple of projects taken care of and gave the batteries a real good charge.  We wandered pretty much every part of the town and checked out all of the shops.  It is interesting that this is a “dry’ island so there are no bars and no alcohol served on the island.  The Albury family has been making boats here forever and still does.  The doors are open on their shops so we got to see a number of their boats being built.  The one beach we walked was a bust as far as shells but it was a beautiful beach with waves breaking on the offshore reef.  There are several more good beaches at the other end of the island but we didn't make it there.  We wanted to move up there and anchor for a couple more days but the winds were going to shift and it would not have been a good anchorage.  We decided to make the trip to Hopetown on Elbow Cay.  First we went aground getting to the entrance.  Once again I am happy to have 90 horses and a reversing prop.  It took some doing but we got free and headed out.  This time we had a favorable wind to put out the headsail and sail there, all of five miles.

We pulled into Hopetown harbor to get a mooring ball, anchoring is not allowed, and were directed to one by friends on Solstice from Turtle Cay.  We took the dinghy to shore and started wandering the town.  It is small with only a couple of hundred permanent residents.  The streets are narrow and there is a lot of golf cart traffic with only a few cars.  It is similar to New Plymouth and Man-O-War, and nothing like being in Marsh Harbor.  It has a similar history having been settled by Loyalists after the Revolutionary war.  A highpoint for me walking around was seeing a breadfruit tree.  My only knowledge of breadfruit is reading and watching Mutiny On the Bounty.  The reason Capt. Bligh was in Tahiti was to gather breadfruit plants to be planted in the Caribbean and Bahamian Islands as a food supply for the settlers.  This particular tree was from his second voyage in 1791-1793.  This is a real old tree.

On Friday we got together with several other cruisers and walked to Papa Nastys BBQ.  It was about a mile walk I am told but I think they are lying to me.  It was worth the walk.  Some of the best barbecue we have ever had.  We have plans to go back for the brisket.  We have heard that Papa Nasty is from Minnesota so we need to find out where in Minnesota.  In the evening we went to shore for a social with a group of cruisers that is put on by one of the bars.  Not a lie was told by anyone.  Sailors are extremely honest when they are drinking.

Saturday the sun was out in the morning and we went over to the lighthouse to check it out.  It was built in 1865 and still uses kerosene to power the light and the original clockwork to turn it.  Every hour and a half the light-keepers have to wind the mechanism to keep it turning at night.  It is a spectacular view.  After walking around town some more and visiting the shops we rented bicycles and headed out to see the rest of the island.  The hills are not big, but they are long and I haven’t been on a bike since I had my knee worked on.  First thing back at the boat was a couple of ibuprofen and a nap.  We still have the bikes for Sunday.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


We are at Man-O-War Cay.

Yesterday was a holiday in the Bahamas and most everything was closed.  It was a nice day with sun in the morning but showers in the afternoon and evening.  We spent a little time in town but otherwise just hung out on the boat making plans.

This morning we went back to town to talk to Kevin at Island Boy Tackle and Marine.  We got caught in the rain on the way back.  We decided it was time to get out of Dodge.  We loaded the outboard and the dinghy and pulled the anchor in the rain and headed off for Man-O-War Cay.  It is only about fifteen miles away.  Soon after getting here the rain quit.  We got checked into the marina, got plugged in to charge the batteries and headed to the showers.  The first HOT showers since Christmas.  Heavenly!!!!  Since it was not raining we decided to take a quick walk around town.  It is a small village with a long history of shipbuilding and they are still building boats.  We will explore it more in the next couple of days.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


We have refrigeration!!  The attempt to get a part locally did not play out and one was ordered from the states.  It was overnighted to somewhere in Florida then sent to Marsh Harbor.  Saturday afternoon we got a call from Sean that he had the part and would be over later.  We are anchored just off of Marsh Harbor Marina and that is our closest dinghy dock.  I would pick him up there when he called again.  The weather was not as nice since the afternoon rain showers had started up.  When he arrived, we motored back to the boat and in five minutes the part was installed and the compressor was compressing sending Freon to cool everything down.  We had been using ice to keep the fridge cold but keeping meat frozen was the problem.  Without the generosity of Busk and Vickie loaning us there Engel cooler/freezer everything would have spoiled.  Sean told us about steak night at the Jib Room at the marina.  It sounded good so we decided to go.  He said he would be there with his family and some friends.  We went ashore and joined them for dinner.  While we were visiting with some other cruisers the hostess stopped and gave us our credit card back telling us that “Sean had picked up our bill”.  He had charged us the cost of the part and his labor.  I am sure the dinners cost him more than we paid him in labor.  Something else we will have to pay forward.  The islands are filled with the most amazing people.

On the other hand the generator is still a problem.  It ran fine for the two hours I ran it on Friday.  I started it Saturday morning and it ran for several seconds and quit.  Everything I tried did not help.  The shop was closed for the weekend and the service man is going to be gone for the next week.  I went to shore to buy some spark plugs since the ones we bought in Florida were the wrong ones.  On the way back I walked past the shop and the door was open.  He wasn't open for business, just getting ready for his trip.  I explained the problem and he gave me a couple of things to try.  Of course, they did not work and he was not answering the phone.  It will have to wait until later or another location.

Sunday is windy with intermittent showers so we are just taking it easy and kicking back.  I ran the engine to charge the batteries in the morning since the batteries were lower then I liked.  We are looking at charts and making plans for next week.  We are tired of just sitting in this harbor waiting on weather.

Friday, January 9, 2015


It has been windy, now as sailors we are not supposed to complain about the wind but too much is still too much.  It all started Wednesday evening, a front was moving into the area and with it a lot of wind.  It blew all night in the 25-30+ knot range.  I got up several times during the night to check that we had not started to drag our anchor or that anyone near to us had.  Everything was fine.  After sunrise it was easier to watch but the wind continued.  It was too rough to take the dinghy to shore so we just stayed on the boat,  In the afternoon it dropped into the 15-20 knot range but we had intermittent showers.  By evening it was settling into the 10-15 range.

This morning dawned with partly cloudy skies and light wind, the front had moved on.  We received a call from the Honda shop that the generator was ready and I went ashore to get it.  Once on the boat it was hooked up and it was time to charge the batteries.  They were getting low and running the engine for a couple of hours didn't do much to charge them.  With the last couple of days overcast the solar panels were not helping.  The generator runs great, the next problem is the charger.  We have a 100 amp charger and when the batteries are low and the generator kicks in the charger wants to pull more amps then the generator can put out and it shuts down.  I was at the point of going out to buy a different lower power charger when I was given a phone number of "the guy" that could solve my problem.  His advice was to lower the charge percent on the charger.  After several Google searches I bit the bullet and made a call to tech support, a paid call from here in the Bahamas.  The tech walked me through the steps and the problem was solved with a $10 phone call.  The generator has been running for two hours and it has barely made a dent in charging the batteries.  I will have to start again tomorrow, no one wants to hear a generator all evening.

The part for the refrigerator did not show up.  They couldn't get one off of another boat and had to order one from the States.  He promised that it would be here later today or Saturday for sure.  When I asked if he worked on Saturdays he said no, but could come out to install it anyway.  We will see, we are in the islands and they are on island time.

We just keep telling each other "at least it isn't snowing."

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Marsh Harbor 2

We are still in Marsh Harbor.  It is forecast to get windy the next couple of days and everyone seems to be heading in here to stay safe.  It is interesting to watch them come in and head into our corner of the harbor or to pull anchor and move over to get into the shadow of the land.  We have partly cloudy skies now instead of clear like we have had previously.  Yesterday and today we got showers in the afternoon. Today while we were coming back in the dingy from picking up our refilled propane tank and yesterday just as Cori headed out in her kayak to try some fishing.  All she got was wet but reported seeing a lot of turtles.  Yesterday we made a run into town to find out where to drop off the propane tank to be refilled, stopped at the telephone office to try to solve a phone problem and talked to the Honda repairman about our generator.  After lunch with our friends Buck and Vickie we brought the generator in for service.  It stopped running last time I was recharging the batteries and will not restart.  I tried everything I knew so now it is time for the experts, he hopes to have it done before the weekend since he will be gone next week.  I also got the name of and made contact with the refrigeration guy.  He made it out to the boat today to try to solve the problem.  The refrigerator has been giving us intermittent starting problems and now will not start.  We have resorted to ice to keep it cold and Buck and Vickie loaned us their Engel cooler/freezer to freeze the ice packs we have onboard.  Tomorrow he hopes to have the part we need, he is going to take it off of a boat he just repaired and replace it before they arrive next week after he gets a new one sent in from the states.

Today I tried fixing a coolant leak but it just wouldn't cooperate with me.  There is a threaded plug in the coolant reservoir that has started to leak, Every time I tried to seal it it continued to leak.  I got frustrated and decided the plug didn't serve a purpose and sealed it up with epoxy.  That should teach it.  I'll find out in the morning if it works.

Marsh Harbor is a bit different then our stay in New Plymouth.  First off, Marsh Harbor is the third largest city in the Bahamas.  There are a lot of cars with everyone in a hurry.  In New Plymouth there were more golf carts then cars and no-one was in a hurry.  There is a lot more shopping opportunities but we don't need anything other then the cabbage and milk we bought at the grocery store..  There is also a KFC and a Subway.

Hopefully we will have a good weather forecast, the generator and the refrigerator will be fixed and we can head out to less populated islands next week.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Marsh Harbor

We made it to Marsh Harbor today, the "hub" of the Abacos.  We had a nice trip, the Whale Channel was fairly calm, 1-2 foot swells.  We even got to sail about a third of the way until we turned into the wind.  The high point for Cori is that she finally caught a fish, actually one and a half (see photo of half) of some species of Mackerel.  We just had half of it for dinner and she is promising me the rest for breakfast - mackerel eggs benedict.  This living on a boat is tough.  We had planned on several stops before coming to Marsh Harbor but there are a couple of things that need to be looked into.  The refrigerator is acting up, and the Honda generator quit unexpectedly the other day and will not restart.  Hopefully we can have both checked out while we are here.  There is also a weather front forecast to be coming through in the next few days with winds expected in the 20's and 30;s.  This is a nice protected anchorage so we will sit it out here.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Lazy Weekend

We have been hanging out at anchor at White Sound in Turtle Cay  We got here on Friday and didn't even drop the dinghy in the water.  I just kicked back with a book and Cori went into cleaning mode.  Saturday we launched the dinghy and the small outboard to go to shore and check out Coco Bay beach.  The tide was up and there were no shells for Cori.  We cut across  to Atlantic beach for the walk back.    We were back in time to listen to the Birmingham Bowl.  East Carolina was playing and since many of our friends attended there we have an interest in the game.  Unfortunately they didn't win, but it was a good game.  XM radio is our main entertainment.  Today (Sunday) Cori went to the marina to do some laundry and I stayed aboard to charge batteries.  After that it was a dinghy ride to shore and a cold one sitting watching the water and visiting with strangers.  Cori picked up several coconuts and tonight will be another coconut husking project.  Fresh coconut and coconut water is a treat.

Tomorrow we plan on moving South if the weather is good and the seas at  the Whale channel  are cooperative.  This involves a short trip out into the ocean and then back into the Sea of Abaco.

Friday, January 2, 2015


Yesterday was New Years Day and we celebrated with the island at their annual Junkanoo.  From the Internet: Junkanoo is a street parade with music, dance and costumes in many towns across The Bahamas.  It was fabulous.  The parade is short, but the parade route is not.  We moved twice to see it three times then joined in and followed to the end.  I will be posting pictures and a video later.  There are several components. First are the dancers in their costumes and face paint,  The youngest was 4 years old.  Then there are the bells, cowbells shaken in rhythm, lots of bells, real loud.  Then the drums, everything from small 6 inch drums played by little boys to 55 gallon drums cut down with a skin stretched across it and played with your hands like playing the bongos.  The combination of the bells and drums in rhythm just makes you want to dance.  The streets are lined with vendors selling souvenirs, food and drinks.  The rum drinks are strong and sweet and the food we tasted was great.  After the festivities we went back to the boat to get ready for dinner.  We had been invited out for a prime rib dinner at one of our new friends (anyone with prime rib is my friend).

Friday 1/2/2015
We got up earl;y to check the weather and get the boat ready to move.  We are planning to move on further south along the chain of islands and needed the weather forecast.  It was a maybe.  Our next stop is south of a channel called the Whale, named for the closest island.  The whale is an opening out to the ocean that we have to go through to get around a shallow area.  Sometimes the channel is very calm and sometimes it has what is called a "rage" which is a lot of big breaking waves.  Today's forecast was for 3-5 foot swells.  It was nothing that we couldn't handle, especially that they were not breaking seas but we decided not to go and get beat-up unnecessarily.  Monday looks like a better day.  What the heck, we are not on a schedule.  We moved from the dock up to White Sound where there is more room to anchor and better holding.  The forecast for the weekend is for winds 10-20 so we want the anchor well set.  After that it was a quiet day aboard getting some small projects done (by Cori) and I finished another book.