04/07/2012, The Marina at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma
Last night we got a bit of the pre-frontal weather. There was quite a bit of rain, some lightning and thunder, and a bit of wind. A boat came into the marina today that was anchored about 10 miles north of here. The crew said they got blasted with wind last night. We knew there were going to be scattered squalls with up to 50 knots of wind; one of them must have come over them.
The day was not bad, scattered clouds and building wind, but neither in excess. Bud put on his diving gear and tightened the zinc he had loosened in preparation for pulling the transmission. While he was there he also installed a second zinc on the shaft and cleaned the waterline. He also cleaned the opening for our knot meter, although he said that didn't really have much of any growth on it, so maybe all the times the knot meter was reading about a knot less than our speed over ground we did have the current with us. We'll have to keep watching it.
This afternoon there is a line of clouds right across the marina from east to west. That might well be the front itself. If so, it's not too strong a front. The wind is supposed to turn to the northeast tonight and build to 20 knots with gusts to 25. We won't be able to get out this marina entrance until the wind and waves subside. The grocery store and bank near the marina are both closed, so our plan is to wait until Wednesday when the marina sends a shuttle to town and leave on Thursday.
I took Fuzzy out after dinner to walk him and try to get a picture of the front over us. I stopped on the dock, which has a cement surface. Just as I was lifting the camera up for a shot, Fuzzy reached the end of his leash and the camera was jerked out of my hand. It fell on its corner on the cement. It came on for a second, but then shut off for good. The front panel has pulled away from the camera slightly and I can't get it back together. That camera has been in my pocket for most of this journey, and I am very sad that I finally managed to kill it. Fortunately, my old Kodak is still functional and I even had a battery for it, so I got the picture after all. I'll miss the Cannon, though.
04/06/2012, The Marina at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma
This morning I went to the front desk at the marina and asked if they knew of anyone who did work underwater on props. The young man called his boss, Bob Smith. I explained to Mr. Smith what had happened and that Bud couldn't get the partially damaged prop off. He said he'd be down in about 45 minutes to see if he could help us.
Bud suggested I try to find information on the prop online and print it to show to the guy when he came. I was able to locate the removal instructions I'd found for Bud and printed them out.
Bob Smith brought an air compressor, hoses and regulator and some tools and came to our boat. Bud explained further what had happened. I went below after he went into the water to start. Not too long after I came out with the camera to get a photo of the proceedings (if anything was going to proceed). Bob already had the main part of the prop off! I took a photo as he was examining the diagram to determine how to remove the cone gear (that's his nephew on the cell phone behind Bud). At one point Bud asked me to look for an exploded diagram of the prop. I found one on the iPad under installation instructions.
Less than two hours later Bob had the old prop entirely off and our fixed 2-blade spare prop on. We didn't have a cotter pin long and thin enough to pin the nut on the new prop, but Bud was able to find another cruiser that had a couple. We traded them an internal pencil zinc for a generator. We had two spares and they we looking for one. It looked like ours was the same size.
After everything was done Bud and I started the engine with the replacement prop on. Bud put it in forward; the boat pulled against the lines, there was no terrible grinding noise. He tried reverse, then forward and then reverse again. We have no idea how much power the boat will have with this prop, but the transmission appears to be okay and we don't have to try to move the boat with no engine and we don't have to have it hauled!
Now we're just back to waiting on the weather.
04/05/2012, The Marina at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma
Bud went diving to take a look at things and remove the zinc from our prop shaft so we could pull the shaft back to remove the transmission. When he got down there he tried spinning the propeller by hand. He turned it about a half turn and then saw that the side of the Max Prop was blown apart and the gears for the feathering blades were exposed. So the Max Prop is totaled. If we're lucky, that's the source of the damage and not the transmission. He called the folks who were coming out tomorrow to remove the transmission to put a hold on that. They didn't have anyone who could remove a Max Prop under water, though.
Bud went back down later in the afternoon to try to pull the propeller off by himself. The zinc on the end was totally missing (so maybe we haven't solved that problem either) although the zinc on the shaft still looks okay. Only four of the six bolts at the end of the propeller were still there and he removed them. The feathering blades wouldn't move at all. He took a small sledgehammer down and managed to force them to fold. The bolts holding the sides of the gear case were all gone and that case is what he'd seen was partially open. However, things were so jammed inside he couldn't get the case to come the rest of the way apart. He tried to force a small, loose piece out; he tried to pry the case off with a heel bar. No luck.
We called the boatyard back to confirm that they could pull our boat out of the water if we get it there. They also said if we can sail it into the harbor they could come and tow us the rest of the way to their yard. So now we have to wait for a day when the wind and tides are right (sometime after Easter) and have the boat towed out of here and sail her back to Elizabeth Harbour with no engine. Not something either of us is looking forward to. All part of the experience I guess, but I don't like the anticipation.
I tried polishing my two remaining hamburger beans today by way of distraction. They are incredibly hard. I used 100-grit sandpaper to start, then a course, then fine sanding sponge, then 600-grit, and ended with 1200-grit. I decided to take before and after photos, but not until I'd done mine. So I took one photo of mine polished and Tracy's unpolished, and then a photo of both of them polished. I put those in the gallery. Bud suggested a rock tumbler might work on the sea beans and I might wait and try that for all the heart beans I have. It took quite a while to do just these two beans and I'm still not satisfied with them. Anyway, it gave me something else to do besides worry about how to get the boat fixed.
04/04/2012, The Marina at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma
This morning was the nadir of our cruising life so far.
Yesterday Bud was still feeling ill. He ate a little, but could only stay up for a few hours at a time. I spent the morning e-filing our taxes. Never a pleasant task. Jamie and Adler are gone; we miss them. We have no more visitors to look forward to this season. I went and visited with Ed and Karin aboard Passages for a bit. Bud was able to walk over in the late afternoon and say good-bye. They left this morning and are going back to St. Mary's, GA, as the weather allows.
We'd decided that we would try to move on at least a little bit ourselves. We've been in the George Town area for quite a while. We wanted to go up and visit the folks we met from the Perry Marine Center on Lee Stocking Island. It's only about 16 miles total, so a reasonable undertaking for two people on the mend. I had a bad night, a relapse of sorts. I took ibuprofen at 3 AM for my sore throat and achy muscles, but was feeling well enough for the short trip by morning.
We took down the awning, I cleaned up the boat, we stowed the electric coffeepot. We put away the electric cord, topped off the water and settled our bill here. Bud topped off the Racor and checked the engine oil. We were ready to go. Bud started the engine while I was down below to turn the fuel supply back on (we always shut it off now, hoping to minimize air in the system). But Bud forgot one important part of his routine. He always checks the gearshift lever to make sure the engine's in neutral and the throttle to make sure it's at idle. He didn't. Adler had been playing with the levers. The engine won't start in gear, but it started in neutral, started racing and fell into gear before Bud could react. There was a horrible noise from the transmission as Bud switched the engine off. He started the engine again in neutral at idle speed and it came on just fine. Our neighbor came to help us cast off the lines, but as the last lines were loosed and Bud put the transmission in reverse the horrible noise returned. We tied back up. We tried it again just a bit with Bud below and me at the controls. It makes the horrible grinding noise in both forward and reverse.
By this afternoon we were resigned to being here a while longer. I finally reached someone from ZF transmissions, and we found someone on the island to pull the transmission on Friday. (I thank Joe, on Onward, for his online cruising guide to the Bahamas with listings of local people with phone numbers!) We think the transmission will have to be shipped to Florida for evaluation and repair or replacement. It has 150 hours of operation on it. We spent way more than we'd hoped or planned on repairs and upgrades last summer and now we're faced with another major repair. But we are safe and this is a very nice and reasonable marina. We will be fine.
04/02/2012, The Marina at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma
We actually got a lot done today before Jamie and Adler had to leave. Jamie gave both Bud and me haircuts. She had to do Bud first, because he wasn't going to be able to stay vertical for long. He's still not feeling well at all. By 8:45 the haircuts were done, Adler was in a lightweight short set that Jamie was going to let him swim in and the three of us were off to the beach. We played in the water for about an hour. Then Jamie left to gather their stuff up for their shower. Adler and I got to stay and play for another five minutes, and then we left. I dropped Adler off at the showers with Jamie and got my stuff and came back and I took a shower. We were all clean and she was packed and ready by the time the taxi came to get us at 11:00. Bud was able to walk over to the cab and carry the car seat for Jamie. I rode with her to the airport. She actually didn't need my help, the cab dropped her off right in front of the door to go in, and the check in counter was probably 20 steps from the door, but it gave me a few more minutes to enjoy being with them. Then they were off and I came back alone.
I did two loads of wash and a big load of dishes. Happily Ed and Karin from Passages are here, so it doesn't feel quite as lonely. They came in this morning. Bud is feeling a little better but has still been lying down all day. And it's very, very quiet.
04/01/2012, The Marina at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma
We had planned today as a quiet day; we didn't realize quite how quiet it would be. We thought we'd just take Adler swimming at the beach here. Adler never made it off the boat until after supper. He was just exhausted from his week of fun and sun. He watched videos and took a looong nap.
Bud is sick. He spent the whole day in his berth and didn't eat anything except some dry toast towards the end of the day.
The rest of us did have a nice supper. I cooked for once. I grilled steaks and we had micro waved potatoes (not baked, too hot to bake) and fresh broccoli and sautéed mushrooms.
After supper Jamie, Adler and I went in to the nice clubhouse here. Adler and I played jacks on the floor of the poolroom. Adler tosses the ball with one hand and grabs a jack with the other, while the ball bounces across the room. Not exactly the rules, but he was having fun. Jamie took a picture with her iPhone; I put it in the gallery.
We came back to the boat and ate pudding and Adler watched more videos until he went to bed. He didn't get to do anything to take advantage of the water and the weather, but he really needed the break.