12/04/2010/2:14 pm, Staniel Cay, Exumas
Just a quick update -
Rich (New Horizons) and Bruce (Reflections) helped Jim - or should I say Bruce and Jim helped Rich - do some diagnostics on our alternator. The situation is not good. We need a new regulator and maybe an alternator.
The good news is that Bruce had a contact - East Coast Battery in Fort Lauderdale - and when Jim called them, they said yes - they can supply them and yes they will get them on a Watermakers Flight to Staniel Cay - hopefully tomorrow - if not, on Wed.
The other good news is that the wind that holds us here over the next few days also keeps the wind generator spinning so we are not in trouble energy-wise.
The bad news is that Staniel Cay has no diesel or gas at the moment so we can't buy more for the Honda generator, or replenish the fuel we used up on the Long Slog. (Could this situation have anything to do with the dozen gas guzzling mega yachts in the area right now??) Good news is that both are available at Sampson Cay - a few miles north.
With luck we will still have mechanical/electrical friends in the area when the part comes in.
We think it is time to head home - before anything else happens!
We'll be spending the next few days in Big Majors Spot or else back in Little Bay (Black Point) while we wait for the expected 30 knot NE winds to pass through. Then we'll be moving north to the Abacos and back to the US. More details on the timing and destination as they become clear to us!
This pic is of Stephen and Jim operating on the SSB!
10/04/2010/5:06 pm, Black Point Settlement, Exumas
The forecasts all call for some very windy weather coming and from the NE. That means our original plan to go from here back to Long Island wasn't the best idea. We
have met several boaters who knew of routes on the banks and Bruce (Reflection) is one of them. He and Marilyn have travelled that way before and we decided to use Friday to follow their route and get ourselves north. Otherwise, it would be a week before we could leave the Jumentos, and even though we're not nearly finished exploring here, it was probably time for us to leave for this year.
Despite my expectations of having lots of internet contact in Ragged Island, it didn't turn out that way at all. So - you will find many new postings that are just going up today. I'm sitting in the lovely breezy porch of DeShaMon in Black Point with a stomach filled with delicious conch pizza. I've been doing some writing all along, and now it's time to get you all caught up.
We left Buenavista Cay at 0300 hours on Friday. (That's 3am! and yes it was dark.) The route we'd cover before dawn was free of coral heads with water deep enough for us to cross. During the afternoon, we kept a sharp lookout for heads and dodged around a few of them. It was hot. There was no wind. It was a long trip - over 100 nautical miles. It was not exactly a happy day on the water for people who really really like to travel under sail power. Add to that, there is a problem with our alternator. The engine is putting no charge into the batteries - a fact we discovered at 3 am. We have been well charged from the wind generator and we have run the engine very very little lately and have not noticed any problem till the wind died. Jim had this new problem in the back of his mind all day, but with some examination of connections, advice from fellow cruisers and some excellent books, we're pretty sure he can take care of it. In the meantime, we turned off the fridge, didn't charge up the computers, and stressed a wee bit over it!
We averaged about 6 miles per hour and pulled into Little Bay - just around the corner from Black Point at about 10 pm, tired and with ears ringing. We used more fuel on this trip than in the last month - or maybe longer.
However - the good side to this tale of woe - and there is ALWAYS a good side - is that we discovered Katmandu and Star of the Sea are in Big Majors Spot waiting for the front to go through, Reflection and Dot's Way are here in Black Point. I did laundry and have finally gotten on the internet. The most out of the blue surprise is that Moon River is also in Big Major's Spot! Jennifer and Gratton were our shed mates for a while at Iroquois boat yard in Iroquois, Ontario before we left on our 2007 trip. We met up with them in Baddeck, Cape Breton, NS that summer but have not seen them since so it seems that the extra windy weather, the long slog up here and the generator trouble that will keep us near here are also responsible for us being able to link up with these old friends.
The long slog made for a tiring day but put us in a good place!
08/04/2010/5:03 pm, Buenavista Cay, Jumentos
Once we left Hog Cay we found ourselves moving at a rapid pace back up the chain of islands. Our initial thought had been to to move slowly, but "weather" looms and it seemed better to make one day visits.
We had the engine on for a total of about 10 minutes and enjoyed a beautiful sail the rest of the 2 hour trip. Raccoon is beautiful! We stopped at a lovely beach, immediately dinghied ashore to snorkel and swim and explore. There is a sweet little cove with a sand bar curving around the point. We snorkeled all through the area but didn't see any live conch so we contented ourselves with looking at fish and enjoying the exercise in crystal clear warm water. There were some brilliant blue fish that we haven't seen in other areas, along with the usual assortment of other pretty ones. (How can I possibly be so dismissive of these gorgeous fish?!)
We used our fast motor to zoom up to the north end of the cay to see the blue hole before racing back to clean ourselves up and join Reflection and Dot's Way at Happy Hour hosted by Joanne and Frank on Fantasy Island. It was a treat to meet these folks who have travelled in Guatamala and Belize - planned destinations for us. Joanne's pictures and enthusiastic recommendations have whetted our appetites for it even more than before.
We'd love to have stayed here a few more days, but we had a window for travelling from Buenavista Cay north on Friday so we moved up there on Thursday morning. That was another lovely long beach where we could have spent more time. On the way down, we'd hidden out from a front at the bottom end of Buenavista, between it and Low Water Harbour Cay - a perfect little hideout by the way - but at the time we were immobile and couldn't go exploring. Together with Dot's Way and Reflection, we walked across the cay to the beach on the far side but found no shells or sea beans. back on the west side, we walked the long beach from south to north, thoroughly exercising our calf muscles. The sandy beach was either soft and flat or hard and sloped depending on where we walked. We chatted with Avery who is staying with his father, Edward, at the house on the beach. They have a little pen of goats and sheep, some chickens clucking around, and bonfires going in the back yard. Avery told us they are trying to clear some land and grow peanuts, and that one day he'd like to have a little bar there for cruisers. Another Pete's Pub maybe? Edward was off fishing, and at dusk we watched him row back from his fishing grounds. That was a long row and he is an older man!
Once again we watched some beautiful fish and lovely blue fan coral on the coral head near us. I saw a shark resting under a ledge and I fluttered myself backwards pretty quickly. It was probably a nurse shark, and it was not a bit interested in me so I decided to leave it that way!
We didn't get to see Double Breasted Cay or Johnson's Cay or to linger at these two beautiful places - but we'll be back!
This is our departure point from the Jumentos, and from here on we'll be headed mainly north so we celebrated with a long-saved bottle of iced cider wine from Quebec and reflected fondly on our time here as we watched our final Jumentos sunset in the cockpit.