05/08/2011, End of the Bahamas
April 24th, 2011 Easter Sunday
During the last few weeks I have noticed a little water under our engine. It was never very much but was something that deserved watching. On our trip around the Whale, with the engine on for only about 45 minutes, there was noticeably more water in the large fiberglass tray under our engine. After checking things out in Green Turtle, it was clear that the water was salty and that it was coming out of the lower bleed hole on the sea water pump. This bleed hole is there so that when the internal seal at that end of the pump is damaged (or wears out) it leaks there instead of back on the shaft where the bearings are located. Anyway, I knew I had all the parts to rebuild the pump, and today was the day.
After reading the manual three times I began the search for the parts necessary to rebuild the thing. A shaft, two sets of bearings, a seal, a replacement drive tang that bolts on the end of the cam- shaft, a new impeller and a number of gaskets. I found a sack of rebuild parts with the invoice inside. It included everything but the seal .... which was very weird. It was the most likely part to fail. Why would I not have purchased it along with everything else. That wasn't the only problem, after looking at the engine I found that it was likely that I would have to take off two hoses that had been there a long time in order to remove the pump. We could operate with a leaky pump but these were pre-formed radiator hoses that I couldn't replace if I happened to wreck one in the process of removal.
It was time to stop to reconsider our options... so I jumped in the dinghy and ran over to "Fine Lion" for a break. We could probably return to Marsh Harbor and order parts....or we could assume that the pump would last another 50 hours which would get us up to Charleston where parts would much less of a problem. We usually sail most of the time on passages but 50 hours of engine time was the worst case scenario. I still couldn't believe that I didn't order the seals. I had two spare shafts and three gaskets... why hadn't I purchased a seal.
While talking to Steve It dawned on me that there was no reason that I couldn't install an electric pump to replace that mechanical one... at least long enough to make the trip back to the States. I had three back up pumps that had flow rates high enough to cool the fresh water. Why not just take out the impeller, so it wouldn't burn up, and run the water in and out to the electric pump. I could wire it in to the fuel pump which is right there and it would run when the ignition was on.
With that in mind I returned to the boat with a backup plan and searched again for the missing seal. I found two spares in a tiny envelope which must be why I didn't bother to purchase any new ones. It was time to dive in. Using lots of boiling water on the ends of the radiator hoses, I was able to remove them without damage. The pump came out easily... I found the seal to be worn out and leaking and the shaft worn on the drive end. With the new parts in hand I began the process of pressing the bearings on the shaft without a press. It was a pain but after an hour both were in place and ready to slide back in the engine. In about an hour everything was pack in place and it was time for a test.... the engine would't start. I had changed primary fuel filters the day before and so after bleeding them, tried again. It started but sounded bad and wouldn't run over 700 rpms. We turned it off.
I opened a beer and sat down in the cockpit with greasy hands and black fingernails. What could be happening? Something was lurking at the edge of my mind but I just couldn't get a grip on it. What could be happening? Why were there three rear gaskets on the invoice when it only took one? I had extra spare parts for the rebuild but the invoice clearly had no seals (because I had two already) and three rear gaskets. I was clearly ordering the parts that I needed. With about one sip of warm beer left, I remembered that four years ago I replaced the circulating or "fresh" water pump in Spa Creek, Annapolis. We were moored next "Second Wind" another Bayfield 40, and Ken her captain stopped by to supervise my efforts. Ken knew the Westerbeke inside and out and in the process of checking my work mentioned that if one pump was worn the other might be as well and that I should at least have the parts on hand to rebuild the thing. He also mentioned something about the gaskets. That sometimes on a rebuild more than one was needed so that the impeller wouldn't be pinned against the face plate.
It all made sense. The pump is driven by a tang on the end of the cam shaft. It drives the pump shaft, with bearings, seal and then impeller. There is a cap on the end to keep the water in.... if the new shaft and tang were just a little longer than the old one, (or not tourqued exactly right) then the impeller would be jammed against the cam and the engine would bog down dramatically.
With my beer empty, I went back down, tore everything apart again and added a second gasket between the pump and the engine. It was faster the second time but still took a while to get everything back in place.... time for another test.
This time the engine started right up and sounded normal. Kathy ran it up to 2000 rpms and back down a couple of times while I looked for leaks.... Everything seemed ok.
April 25th, 2011
We worked on odd jobs and read most of the day but in the afternoon headed into the mangroves and worked our way north to a place that we have found conch in the past. In less than an hour we had nine and Steve and Kim had three. A few of ours were small and we culled a bit but the ones we kept will do well in our freezer.
April 26th, 2011
Still in Manjack. In the morning the folks from "Adanaco", Steve and Judy, stopped by on their way to the beach and introduced themselves. From Canada, we have seen them a number of times this winter but have never actually met. Anyway they proved to be very friendly and as luck would have it, were in need of a few conch shells to make horns when they returned home. With conch to shells to spare, once we got them cleaned, they were in luck.
After lunch we went ashore with harsh chemicals to clean not only conch but our dinghy that seem to be growing a respectable vegetable garden on its hull. With some scrubbing, and acid, Kathy worked on the tubes and fiberglass while Steve, Kim and I attacked the conch. In remarkable time we had the nine conch reduce to hand sized slabs of meat and a dinghy cleaner that it has been all winter.
Judy and Steve from "Adanaco" showed up and after a nice chat left with a number of shells. Judy was fired up... Steve, not so much.
April 27th - 29th
We sailed north today...downwind wing on wing for half the day and later on a good beam reach to an anchorage inside Angelfish Point. There is good protection and with unsettled weather forecast for a few days, it seemed a perfect spot. Neither of us had been here before and we'd have some time to explore. In truth, after a couple of days and some great thunderstorms there wasn't all that much to see. We found miles of tiny rock islands... very similar to those in the North Channel, and lots of grassy shallow water. For some reason there were hundreds of sea turtles.
April 30th, 2011
We left in the morning and had a spirited sail to Great Sail Cay which was about 50 miles to our west. The wind was about 25 knots all day and we made good time arriving in the afternoon behind the island for a little protection. Chris and Karen from "Synergy" arrived a little later along with about 20 other boats before nightfall. After checking and rechecking the weather, we all decided that we'd leave for the States in the morning even though it looked like we'd have lots of wind once again.
We always have flowers.
05/08/2011, Abacos, Bahamas
April 17th, 2011
After a late breakfast we headed to shore at Great Guana Cay around 11. We wandered around the area for a while before heading to Nippers on the other side of the island for lunch. Sunday is pig-roast day and there is always a crowd. Chris was the only one who had the buffet, but we all had lunch and "people watched" for an hour or two before wandering back to the dinghy.
Back on the boat we weighed anchor and motor sailed back to Marsh Harbor to be in place to send Sam and Chris back to chilly Michigan early in the morning.
April 18th, 2011
Most of the bags had been packed the evening before but we were all up early for coffee and some breakfast. Steve and Kim came over around 6:15 to load up the luggage and the five of us dinghied to shore to find the taxi that Steve had called the evening before.
We were sad to see them leave but I think that both Sam and Chris enjoyed themselves.
The remainder of our day was spent getting the boat back to its normal two person existence and a trip to the grocery store for some provisioning. Later in the afternoon we went ashore to purchase laundry tokens and stopped for a beer at Snappa's before returning for the evening.
April 19th, 2011
Our morning was spent working. I dropped Kathy off at one of the Marinas to do laundry while I headed across the harbor to jerry can fuel and water. It took longer than it should but many times that seems to the rule rather than the exception here in the Bahamas. By the time I was finished, it was time to pick up Kathy. We put things away and after lunch made another trip to the store to make our last major purchases for the season. On our return, we made a run to the Jib Room for another twenty gallons of water which filled our tank with some to spare. We were ready to hit the road.
April 20th, 2011
Steve and Kim needed the morning for one last trip to the Grocery. But before lunch we were on our way to Treasure Cay which is about 12 miles to the north. It was a gentle down wind sail. I poled out the jib and prevented the main and for most of the trip sailed wing on wing. The last 5 miles was a little quicker after setting the last leg up for a reach. The small anchorage was quite full but after a few minutes of checking things out, we finally squeezed in between a couple of boats that we have met along the way.
We dinghied to the marina, tied up, and walked across the point to one of the nicest beaches in the Bahamas. The sand looks and feels like white flour under your feet. It was too hot to be in the sun so the four of us found a picnic table in the shade and four cold beers. At $6 a piece we sipped slowly.... watching folks cook themselves on the beach. We decided that beers on board were cheaper and returned for one more and some dinner.
April 21st, 2011
After a trip into town in the morning, we weighed anchor and motored to Bakers Bay. Bakers Bay is located at the north end of Great Guana Cay and used to be a place that curisers loved. The beach goes on forever and it is reasonably well protected. During the last few years the area has been developed into a resort complete with golf course and a huge... but empty marina. We dinghied in to the Marina in the late afternoon and checked out its growth since our last visit and found very little. Most everyone ... residents and cruisers alike are not really happy with the place and won't be sorry to see it fail.
April 22, 2011
After wasting time as we do in the morning, we weighed anchor before noon and traversed the Whale Cay passage. There is a point, about half way up, where the Sea of Abaco is so shallow that most boats have to pass through a cut to the Atlantic, make about a three mile run, and then return to shallow water. When the wind is out of the northeast and swells are breaking on the shallows, it is impassable... today however was easy with three foot swells and a little chop. We motored out but then had enough of an angle that we could sail back in and then on up to Green Turtle Cay where we anchored.
In the afternoon we dinghied in to Pineapples (another bar restaurant with a pool) for happy hour and then returned for dinner on board.
April 23, 2011
In the morning I dinghied in to White Sound and purchased fuel to top off our tank and 20 gallons of water which filled that as well. Moving a little further northward, we sailed slowly up to Manjack Cay for the evening. With crummy weather in the offing, we anchored off Crab Cay just south of Manjack, and had great protection from the south and east. It was squally in the afternoon and "Sapphire" got a good rinse. Winds were never a problem.
Sam and Chris on the Atlantic
04/16/2011, Hope Town, Elbow Cay, Bahamas
April 7-16, 2011
We left Hope Town as planned and made our way to Marsh Harbor to do some provisioning and to be ready to pick up Sam, our youngest daughter, and Chris. They were right on time and the taxi dropped them off at Snappas' where we had dinner. We had some lively conversations that evening and stayed up a bit late. Ah well, it was good to have them here.
The next morning we took a quick tour through town and went to the grocery store for some last minutes things. The new grocery store is open in Marsh Harbor and it is huge! It rivals any good U.S grocery store. The produce was lovely and fresh and the shelves were full.
Then we were off to see the Abacos. We decided to go out North Man O War cut and fish down in the ocean. We sailed and motor-sailed and Chris hauled in a Mahi Mahi on a hand line. Fish for dinner! We had fish tacos the first night-so good with fresh fish. We anchored off Lynyard Cay, which has a few private homes on it, but not much else.
The next morning after a nice quiche, we hiked a path over to the ocean side and had a nice walk. We found some sea glass, but not much else. Then we were off to Pete's Pub (http://www.petespubandgallery.com/) in Little Harbor for some refreshments. It is about a 5 mile dinghy ride and we can't get the dinghy up on plane (to go fast) with four people in the dinghy, so Sam rode with Kim and Steve from "Fine Lion". We got a little wet on the ride over, but the ride back was fine. We finished up with a delicious dinner of lobster alfredo and a salad.
The next day we waited for low tide and headed out around 11 a.m. to check out some beaches and look for conch. We found a nice shell and a sea biscuit, but not much else. We had a little picnic lunch on a beach and headed back to get the boat ready to move north for Tahiti Beach. We dropped anchor and got organized for dinner. We had a nice boiled dinner of corned beef and cabbage and vegetables.
The next morning Mike mixed up some lobster salad and I got some pita bread ready for another picnic lunch on the beach. We packed up and wandered all around Tahiti Beach at low tide when there is lots of sand. We also hunted for conch, but only saw small ones. When we had had enough sun, we dinghied over to Cracker P's for some refreshments, always a fun spot on Lubbers Quarters (http://www.crackerps.com/). Then it was back to the boat to ready the boat for the short trip into Hope Town to grab and mooring ball and to cook a nice Mahi dinner.
Today we wandered all around Hope Town and shopped a bit. We had lunch and shopped some more. We picked up a few things at the grocery store and came back to relax for a bit. We are now getting the boat ready to move up to Great Guana Cay to be there for Nipper's pig roast tomorrow. (http://www.nippersbar.com/)