11/22/2012, Marathon Boat Yard
Here it is, Thanksgiving and we are safely on the wall at the Marathon Boat Yard. We arrived here yesterday, but I'm getting ahead of myself here. When I last wrote, we were anchored in Pelican Bay and were planning on leaving on Sunday morning for our next anchorage somewhere around Sanibel Island. We left rather late and arrived at Sanibel around 4:30 and decided to hook up around a nice beach. It stayed nice for about 3 hours and then the wind kicked up and sure enough, we were rockin and rollin on beam seas. If you are familiar, I don't need to say any more, however, if you aren't, it's not the best way to get rest on a boat!! You have to use a lot of muscles just to stay where you are and, so, you don't get much rest.
We had finally had enough and decided to head down to our next anchorage, somewhere around Indian Key Inlet in the Ten Thousand Islands. I got the mileage mixed up in my calculations and we ended up getting there around 5:30. This wouldn't be a bad thing, except the wind was howling, and we didn't want to anchor around the inlet because the crabbers leave out of there and they are big, noisy boats and at this point we have dodged so many crab pots that we really don't like that !
but I do like what they produce , God Bless em. We drove on further south to find an anchorage with some shelter from the wind. Now it's pitch black outside with about a half moon glowing on the water and the stars were incredible. (if I could only enjoy them, I get a little tense sailing at night) Did I mention that we still had our main sail up? Well Dave goes out on deck, I'm steering, the wind is howling, the boat is rockin, Dave's grabbin the boom for balance, I'm worried that he'll go overboard.....CRAP!!! This is the part of sailing I'm not too fond of!! We got her done though....
Dave finally got to a place behind a little Island called Pavilion Key. The seas were all kicked up, however, they were rolling in on the nose, not the beam, so it was going to be a better night, not perfect, but better. We rocked to and fro and did get some sleep. Wouldn't you know it, somewhere around 5 in the morning, we got the beam seas again. We are outta here!!! We headed for the Little Shark River, where we know it will be calm inside, even if it's roarin outside!!
Did I mention that during the day light hours of travel we did have some very pleasant winds for sailing and have hardly used any fuel!! We pulled into Little Shark River around 2:30 or 3:00 and headed for the anchorage and just like we thought, it was beautifully calm even with the winds blowing like mad!! Dave says "let's just take a little tour of the pond and find our place to anchor. No other boats were anchored here but there was one other sail boat around the corner from us. Just as we are slowing down to get ready to lower the anchor, Dave had put the motor in neutral, he heard a clink and then the motor just stopped dead!! Just like that!! We hurried and dropped the anchor before the wind drove us aground, with that done, we started to wonder what had happened to the motor. Dave fiddled with it for a while and decided not to try to turn it over again since he suspected that a part or some parts had broken and fallen into some gears and caused them to stop. He didn't want to cause any more damage, he can fix anything, but he's not a diesel mechanic, and we didn't have those kinds of spare parts on board anyway.
We decided to call Boat US and get some assistance, we have membership with them. Did I mention that the Little Shark River is out in the middle of blankety blank Egypt? Both of our cell phones had no service. We grab the VHF and call on 16 to try to get in touch with the Coast Guard. We call, and call and call and call.....they aren't hearing us.......oh no!!! I get on the SSB turn to the distress channel and send out a pan pan....vessle in distress........no response.....what???? At intervals over the next hour or so, we continue to try to reach someone, anyone on the radios. Just then, Dave saw a trawler coming into the Little Shark River and we hail him on 16 through the VHF, he answers and we ask him to try to reach Boat US for us when he leaves. We were hoping he was leaving the next day and he was, we gave him our information and he said he would call as soon as he got outside and out from behind the land that was blocking our signal. He said it would most likely be mid morning before he could reach anyone. I got to say this fella was not excited one bit bout helping us .
. We were in a safe location, had plenty of food and water, we weren't panicking.......yet!!! (me, I mean, Dave was calm as a cucumber!!)
We settled down and had dinner, we were both so darned tired after two nights of lousy sleep, and it was hard to think. After dinner and dishes were done we were going to chill out and get a good nights' sleep (finally). At about 9 or 9:30, David decided to try the radio again, since sometimes you can get reception at night more so in the daylight hours. He starts calling "United States Coast Guard, United States Coast Guard, this is sailing vessel Choctaw Brave, this is sailing vessel Choctaw Brave" and does this for about 10 minutes, over and over again. Then we hear a faint "Choctaw Brave, this is the United States Coast Guard" telling us to switch to channel 22A for passing traffic. (that means so we can talk to each other) Our prayers were answered!! The Coast Guard was going to notify Boat US for us and call us back. They called back and after discussing where we came from, where we were going and what not, it was decided that Boat US would come out to us from Marathon (which is where we were headed) and tow us into Marathon. Let's see, it was either tow us to Marathon or tow us home. At this point we are about 140 miles from home and only about 35 from Marathon, that's a no brainer!! To Marathon we go... The Trawler " El Eon" or some name sounding like comes steaming out the river early and initially I thought he would stop and re- hash the specifics , not a chance ......... just as I had thought , no interest . I raised him on the vhf as he showed me his stern and informed him I had made contact with boat us, over .. thanks..
No Worries , the situation is bout to change for the better.
Boat US got here at about 8:45 the next morning, got us hooked up and began the long trek to Marathon. We got here at about 4 in the afternoon. Friday, tomorrow, a mechanic will be assessing the problem and hopefully it can be fixed in short manner and we can continue on. We were planning on being here for a week or two anyway. The weather has not been the best, but it has been do-able. So that's the update at this point. We have had to deal with a lot of Gremlins, with this last one being the biggie! Let's see, the microwave doesn't work, our Davis light doesn't work, the shower pump needs a fuse holder, and now the motor!! Luckily all these things can be fixed and we are in a great place to get them done. Plus the convenience of having a nice long hot shower and doing laundry without having to use the dinghy to get to shore! So there are pluses and some good will come out of this, I am sure.
I still want to go forward, but it does seem as though there have been a lot of obstacles trying to get us to change our mind and just go home or that things just aren't going our way, maybe it's a sign that we shouldn't go??? Don't say that, not yet!! We have always gotten things done, and this, too, will get done and we shall persevere!! Until next time folks!! And Happy Thanksgiving!!! Boy are we thankful!! You should know, that this part of the blog is all my perspective, Dave has a few different points that I am sure he will share when he's not so busy working on his "honey doo list"
Day 2 was spent regenerating. I fixed the throw pillows I made, we took the dinghy down and Dave rowed Jack in for a potty run and a little play time. When he got back, he set up our BBQ so we could have a good meal. Dave decided to run the generator for a while to charge up the batteries since it was overcast most of the day and the solar panels are as efficient when that happens. He goes to fire it up and it won't start!! So down in the engine room he goes to check it out. It appeared that it wasn't getting any gas. He messed around with it for a while and decided to leave it until tomorrow. NOT!! He tried cleaning off a few things, then he tried to start it again, and again, and again, and again......wait, what was that, it's going to start, it started!!! YEAH!! That was a huge relief!! Runs great now!!
Well with the generator on, I can use the microwave to heat up some rice for dinner. No I can't, either I've forgotten how to use the darn thing, or it's broken!! The lights go on and the clock is working, but we can't get the darn thing to work!! So my handy man starts at it again to see if he can remedy the problem, to keep it short, he can't. We will have to see someone about it. We got through dinner and ate well, called it a day and had a great nights sleep.
Saturday is a beaautiful day, sunny and a light breeze. Dave took Jack in for his run and now is taking a shower at the part shower facility while I write this. We will be leaving here in the morning and stopping somewhere around Sanibel. Hopefull for a nice anchorage, until then folks......have a great day!!
11/17/2012, Cayo Costa Island
Did I mention we were dog tired??? Well, we decided to get ready to hit the hay, so I'm getting things out to change into bed clothes and Dave asked me something and I stepped out of our stateroom and the door slammed shut. Now this wouldn't be a bad thing, except the door lock button was on!! So we are locked out of where we can sleep and where all our clothing is. Dave gets his handy screwdriver out and tries to remedy the problem. He takes the handle off and what's left is a very tiny hole and you can't see where the lock button is to try to move it. So Dave could have a better understanding of the door lock, he moves to the aft stateroom and starts fiddling with this door handle, Did you see this coming?? He locked that door with us on the outside as well!! All of his tools, well most of the good ones are in that stateroom.
The good news is that we can manipulate the door latch from the outside of the aft cabin. Dave got it open fairly eassy. The bad news is that we can't do that same thing with the forward cabin as it has really fine trim that obscures the door latch and we don't want to break the door, it's all teak ....geez! So Dave proceeds to take apart the aft cabin door lock to see how it works, it's kind of baffling since the lock button needs to be pushed with some pressure to lock!! We can't for the life of us figure out how the door lock button was pushed down!! Gremlins!! To make a long story a little shorter, he finally got it worked out and wham, the door was opened. Whew!! Beddy by here we come.
Day 2 was spent relaxing, I had to fix the 4 throw pillows I made, the tape I used didn't hold so I sewed them up, One project done. Dave set up the bbq so we could have a good meal. We let the dinghy down and took Jack in for a potty run and a little play time. He got back and we thought that we would start up the generator and charge the batteries since it was overcast all day and that makes our solar panels not as effective. The generator wouldn't start!! CRAP!! Down in the engine room Dave goes to try and fix the problem. It wasn't getting any gas!!
11/17/2012, Cayo Costa Island
Well we made it to Pelican Bay around 5 pm on Thursday, got anchored and were so tired that we weren't thinking straight. We got all settled in and began checking things out and rearranging things more to our liking. It's been a while since we were on the boat so we are also trying to get aclimated and remembering everything we do while sailing. We decided to have something easy for dinner so I opened a couple of cans of Clam Chowder and we muched out!!
Now after going through some of the things on board, we are discovering that we have, indeed, forgotten some things!! Also, we have found that we forgot to check if some of the things that we use still worked!! Important things like our Davis Light that we use for an anchoring light since it's so much brighter and uses less energy!! We also use puck lights all over and some of them didn't work even with new batteries, so that goes on the shopping list. As well as some Tapito Hot sauce, which we only have 8 bottles at home!!! Our scissors on board are just awful and can barely cut air, we left the sharpener at home!! Another list item!! I forgot our special tenderizer for meats and conch, another list item.
That's just the beginning!! Now, since we were dog tired, we decided to get some sleep and deal with more tomorrow.
Well Folks, here we are again just about loaded up and ready to depart for another adventure in the Bahamas. We've been working feverishly for weeks, getting ready and now it's here. Funny how is creeps on you so fast. We are both extremely tired and sore from all the lifting and toting, and Dave has been making sure everything is in great working order.
We plan to sail out to Pelican Bay at Cayo Costa, a barrier Island not too far from here to get our sea legs on, and then we will make our trek down to Marathon. We will most likely anchor by the Shark River, or there abouts, and somewhere else between here and the River. We will be by-passing San Carlos Bay and go directly down to Cape Romano and anchor in there somewhere. It may be a few days before we update the blog, probably not until we get to Marathon.
With the boat having new interior cushions and curtains, new solar sheets, every thing looks brand new and real sharp. We are hoping and praying for a pleasant trip with little to no incidents. You know the kind, the kind that give you a bit of a scare??? That's what I'm talking about!! Pray for good weather everyone. And do leave comments if you have the notion!!
Hooked er up in Black Sound , Green Turtle Cay for the last time 3/17 for a 5 day visit before departing and heading back to America. The 18th had the moon about 41,000 miles closer to the earth so the tides were magnified .
Comment from Lynda: On the way there, again, we could see the bottom so clear and we saw starfish and a big (at least 10 feet long) bull shark just swimming along right past us. We also encountered a pod of bottle nose dolphin playing with the bow of our boat......very cool!! Turtles were also poking their heads up every now and again!!
Black sound showed some ocean bottom it had not revealed in some time .
Kevin pictured below , dockmaster / Other Shore Club and lead guitar for the Gully Roosters once the #1 band in the Bahamas was pleased to see us again, as we him .
We had ventured over to his waterfront home that he had built some 20 years ago with rewritable cd's in hand that I had bought for him at Marsh Harbour as some of the music that I had bought from him would not track in our player due to poor quality cd's.
After that we ate some Conch and burgers at 2 Shorty's, his two very short sisters hole in the wall food shack . Great food at a reasonable price.
*Note from Lynda* Kevin has 8 sisters and 5 brothers!!! Imagine that?!
We loaded up on some frozen conch at Curry's food store , Potatoes , onions and tomatoes from Sid's Grocery , strolled in and out of the settlement each day with dinner for the grill.
Green Turtle had been without fuel for several days when we arrived , 2 day's later the tanker arrived and filled the tanks at 2 marinas , before that the island was very quiet as not to many boats or golf carts were operating . We dinked down to White Sound and had lunch at The Green Turtle Club Marina , a beautiful property with a lovely interior that is for sale and slowly goin out of business due to the financial meltdown. Lynda's comment: The decor inside was worthy of a few pictures to share!!
We liked Green Turtle very much as it was so layback and the settlement so quaint with wonderful souls working in there shops and stores ,.
Our accomodations were simple , a mooring ball with our name on it , a marina with several ladders to tie up at , fuel and water , hot showers , a grill ,waterside pool and beach with a view of The Sea of Abaco ., and a 30 minute walk to the Atlantic side beach.
The owner Babs her daughter Sarah , and of course Kevin treated us like we had known one another in another lifetime. There were 3 other dogs running around and Jack had the run of the place with no worries .
If you go to the Abacos spend some of your time here !
Were gonna miss Green Turtle Cay !
I tossed the pennant into the sound and got underway around 7:30 with a incoming tide and just enough water to pass through the cut .
Kevin was on the dock , we said goodbye and Lynda snapped the shot .
I gave him my email and I hope to here from him .
We cleared the cut headed out into the Abaco Sea turned to starboard and headed for Great Sale Cay the first of two stops prior to arriving back in our country .
Later that day we arrived Great Sale Cay , last of 12 boats , a mix of sailboats and trawlers dotted the interior of the island, a huge anchorage with protection from all but west and south and a premier location to view the sunset .
Up with the sun and off to Mangrove Cay and finally West End , Grand Bahama after 11 hours .
Had been listening to the young lady at Bimini Bay Marina through-out the day and was looking forward to arriving as there was a great deal of radio traffic indicating the marina would be filling up with boats west and east bound.
Bahama Bay is ideally located with no competition for miles and the only anchorage being poor .
So knowing that we would be among the last arrivals I called the Marina on 16 and was assured there would be a slip for us , no worries .
We pulled up to the fuel dock at 6:30 and was given C10 , a nice slip close to the end of the dock .
We spent 3 nights there waiting for a window , a weather window which would ultimately be Saturday .
While there we cleaned the brave , went to lunch , rested , showered and met some other cruisers heading to and from the Bahamas .
Among the standouts was a fine fella , Jerry who came in a day after us on his 74' Viking sportfishing boat .
Along with Jerry were his brother in law Randy and crew members , Capt. Tucker and Crew Mate Austin .
Jerry allowed Lynda to tour the boat and later Lynda gave me the tour .
A incredible machine , with 5000 HP , all the comforts of home which he paid a handsome 6 million to obtain . 31 knot cruising speed , 3000 gallon fuel capacity with approx. 500 to 1000 mile range .
Jerry is the founder/ owner of 5 Guys Burger and Fries , a 25 year effort now 800 restaurants strong .
Jerry and his crew were a breath of fresh air from the usually arrogant , heavy drinking, sportfishing jerkwads with to much money and often very little respect for other mariners .
Saturday at 5am we were preparing for a 6am departure out into a west southwest wind that had been blowin all night and greated us with a punch in the face as we exited the marina .
We took a large breaking wave on the beam and Lynda took a dive across the cockpit , I increased power turned her nose into the sea and we were off to Lake Worth / Palm Beach , Florida .
Lynda's fall was scary , she fell hard , screaming on her way down , her coffee cup breaking into many pieces and the searchlight she had been operating flying about the cockpit .
Lynda was ok , Thank God !, the light was ok too.
The wind direction was opposite the forecast , yet it all worked out and 11 hours later we were hookin her up in the northeast corner of Lake Worth , a very busy place on the weekends as we would witness .
Young men and woman partying big time on Peanut Island , pretty nice setting .
We had to stay till Monday to check in with U.S. Customs and as it would turn out a much better time to head south on the ICW, avoiding the weekend madness.