30/04/2010/9:48 am, Tahiti Beach
Despite all my reports of Troubles lately, the good times still far outweigh the bad and we continue to marvel at some of the experiences we've had.
We left Marsh Harbour on Wednesday to go over to Tahiti Beach for a couple of days. Because the tide was low, we couldn't get over the shallow banks to Hope Town and go down that way. Instead, we hoisted our sails and made use of the wind to take us down to Tavern Cay and around the end of Lubbers Quarters to a new-to-us anchorage. We just cruised along slowly, letting the wind blow away our fretfulness. With clear minds and happy hearts, the crews of Madcap and Solitaire joined Tessa and Jeff on Inamorata for Happy Hour. We enjoy the company of these new friends, and discovered that Jeff once worked at CFDR in Halifax/Dartmouth back in the early 80's. Now based in Annapolis, MD, they spend their non-sailing time as entertainers - mentalists - and we are begging them to do an Eastern Canada tour!
The six of us visited Cracker P's for lunch and discovered that Patrick, the owner, lives part of the year in Charlottetown, PEI - just across the Northumberland Strait from Nova Scotia. He has a good thing going here in Lubbers Quarters. We had one of the best Bahamian meals ever. The conch from their kitchen is stewed rather than deep fried and is served in a sweetish sauce. It was delicious and came with peas'n'rice, creamy coleslaw and grilled vegetables on the side.
We all met up with Mike and Kathy (Sapphire) over at Tahiti beach and spent a few hours wading through the shallow water, scooping up pretty, small shells and generally enjoying the sun, sand and some good laughs. Inamorata and Sapphire found some conch - once again we found only under-sized ones. This is a lovely curve of sand that juts out into some pretty shallow water - as discovered by the two boats that went aground there that morning. (Both floated off again as the tide rose several hours later)
On our way back to the boat, we stopped by our neighbours, m/v Sea Que II to say hello, and that was our best small world experience in a long time. On discovering that they are from Mobile, Alabama, we said, "Oh, we have a friend from Mobile. His last name is Echols", expecting maybe a "Yes, I think that's a name from there" or some other vague comment. Can you imagine our surprise and delight when Leslie replied, "Oh - you mean Uncle Mister from Vancouver?" It turns out that one of her best friends is our friend Frank's sister's daughter, Jessica. How about that??!! Of course we accepted Carol, Bill and Leslie's invitation to come aboard. Of course we had a fantastic time visiting them till the sun went down and it was time to go home.
It is just that kind of encounter that makes us so happy to be out here, exploring and discovering and being excited by what we find.
We topped off the evening with more good times aboard Solitaire as we engaged in fierce domino playing with Nancy, Jim, Tessa and Jeff.
We're flying our Nova Scotia flag most of the time now (along with our big red maple leaf of course) and we've been pleased to get waves and visits from passers by: Kim (Gaia II) from Jeddore and a fellow from Ship Harbour, and Bill (Acushla) headed back to Halifax. Small world - with lots of exploring to be done in it!
After a quick run back to Marsh Harbour, our next stop is Fisher's Bay on Great Guana Cay. The weather is supposed to be fabulous for the next week so we'll enjoy it as much as we can before heading back across the deep water. I wonder who we'll meet next?
29/04/2010/9:47 am, Marsh Harbour, Abacos
I have some wonderful tales to relate, but I might as well get the bad stuff over with first. (The pic at least is a happy one! Mike, Tessa, Kathy, Nancy and Jeff on the beach)
I remember that a posting or two ago, I talked about like attracting like, and being positive and all that sort of thing. Well, I am still concentrating on the positive, but I've come around to working with a different metaphor. Despite the focus on the positive, bad things have still been happening. So now I'm thinking that the pendulum has had a very long swing over to the negative side and we might as well make the best of it. Sooner or later, it just has to swing to the positive again because that's the way pendulums work.
We dinghied to the dock at Harbourside Marina in Marsh Harbour on Tuesday evening for Happy Hour with Nancy and Jim (Solitaire), Mike and Kathy (Sapphire), Jeff and Tessa (Inamorata) and Bev and Bob (Savage Son). After an evening of lively debate on a number of topics, we returned to the dinghy to find that it had floated under the dock and when the tide came up, it got stuck there. This happens to dinghies occasionally and we should have checked it more often, but on the early checks all was well and then we got involved in talking and ...
It was well and truly stuck, with our brand new outboard motor jammed under a stringer beneath the dock - the body of the motor on one side and the tiller on the other. The tide still had another hour to go up and the pressure was forcing the aforementioned Brand New Motor under water. We first tried deflating the dinghy and that helped but not enough. After much pushing and shoving and angst and with assistance from our fellow partiers, we got it out, but not without shearing off the kill button on the tiller. With no little red button there, we couldn't start it either. Bob towed us back to our boat that night, and Jim A towed Jim B to the dock the next morning to see if the fellow at Abaco Suzuki could fix it. We could have cried. For me, it was one more thing in a run of bad things. For Jim, it was like having a new car get scratched or dented. This was his lovely new outboard.
Anyway, the Abaco Suzuki guy couldn't find the right button for the Yamaha, but he did find something to rig up instead so we can start and stop it, and we'll get the proper part later.
The other repair Jim had to do was to our macerator pump - that pumps waste out of our holding tank. The old one didn't seem to be pumping and when he opened the service kit that he had bought and stored away for just such a time, he discovered that some of the parts weren't in the box. Of course there were no parts to be had, so he had to buy a whole new pump. While I did laundry, he did the repair. It seemed to go well but there was a lingering odour of eau de sewer on the boat for the next couple of days. We pumped out the tank and flushed out the bilge again and again. Finally, we pulled up the floor and examined all the fittings and hoses. We disconnected the vent (that involves me squeezing down into the stern locker and unfastening the hose that goes to the outside of the boat - because I fit there better than Jim does) and connected it all up again. Once it was all cleaned up, the smell was better but still not great. Surely if we keep putting bilge cleaner down the bilge and deodorizers in the holding tank, it will eventually disappear. That's one of the issues of living on a boat - the water, fuel and septic tanks are all right under our living space.
Jim took our SSB to Merlin's Electronics to see if maybe it could be repaired or at the very least find out what was wrong with it. He got the answer to that. It is fried and probably unfixable.
So I think that is it for this next installment of Our Troubles. We are no further ahead on solving the big WHY of all the electrical problems. That can wait till we're back in the states.
And so the pendulum swings.
27/04/2010/2:50 pm, Marsh Harbour, Abacos
We arrived at Lynyard Cay on Saturday evening after a perfectly lovely sail all the way from Royal Island - about 50 nautical miles. What a treat - sailing on a passage like that is definitely a bonus.
Our plan was to stay in that area a few days and then go up to Marsh Harbour but, as usual, Mother Nature had other plans for us. Another front was coming through - and that meant - "protection". So no visit to Pete's Pub, no shelling or beaning or sea glassing on the pretty beaches there. The upside was that we sailed in a fine breeze across the banks and up to Marsh harbour. Quite a few other boats had the same idea and the harbour is well populated.
We celebrated our reunion with friends at Happy Hour on the Harbourside marina dock.
Monday was storm day and we woke up to a huge blow going through about 7:30 am. The wind gusted to 40 kn or so - one boater said he saw 46. The rain poured and then half an hour later it was all over. We swung a little too close to another boat so we moved ourselves over to a nice deep hole just off the public dock beside Solitaire. I don't think we can get out of there again unless it is mid-tide or higher and I'm glad the tide was up when we went in! It rained off and on all day but the wind never howled at that speed again.
We'll probably leave here on Wednesday to check out a beach or two and then may come back in here, or may head north again. I'll fill in details next time!
Thanks for all your good wishes and commiseration regarding our Troubles. We are rebounding well!