15/04/2010/11:20 am, Big Major's Spot, Exumas
Another short posting - I'll try to get more written if I stay here in the Yacht Club long enough!
The short story is:
Our new alternator and regulator and heavier wiring came in on the 3pm Watermaker flight on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Rich and Jim and Bruce put their heads and skills together and installed them.
On Wednesday night, we noticed that our anchor light wasn't on, and after checking out all the systems, we discovered that neither were our inverter, nav lights (at the top of the mast and part of the same unit as the anchor light), SSB (single side band), radio/stereo, and VHF. This is big trouble.
On Thursday, Rich and Jim checked everything out and sure enough, the inverter is toast, the other units are not working and may or may not be repairable. There must be a connection between the work on Tuesday but it has not as yet been discovered.
We reinstalled an old VHF that we carried as a backup so we have that working. By travelling with friends who will share the SSB data they get, and hanging other lights from the rails to act as anchor lights, and travelling in daytime when we don't need the nav lights, we will be able to proceed.
As of tonight, we just want to get back to the US, put the boat where it can have some work done and go home. I'm sure this despondent state will pass - we never stay in the dumps for long. But as the children's book says, it's been "A Terrible Horrible NoGood Very Bad Day"!!
More updates as I can get them to you, but as we travel north from here, it may be quite a while before we have internet access. So - consider that no news is good news!!
In the meantime, the water is still clear aqua-blue, the temperature is lovely, our fellow cruisers are fabulous, the wind is blowing 20 or so but not from the West. We are topped up with diesel and gas and water. The mailboat came and we'll get groceries on Friday. The cruising life is still good - just expensive and with a big learning curve at the moment!
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!