03 April 2017 | Thompson Bay
Free at last.... That was how we felt when we finished our sea trial after the engine rebuild and we prepared to leave Nassau. "Not so fast"said the Fates. We were four hours out of Palm Cay when the engine alarm went on. Not only that but we had water over the floorboards! The bilge pump quickly clogged with gunk so Bill started bailing. When he couldn't keep up with the incoming water, he called for assistance on the radio. We were only about five miles from shore and about eight miles from two popular anchorages. We heard responses from three boats. Within 40 minutes two young men from Tenacious motored up in their rib with a gasoline pump. By this time Bill had discovered the source of the water... A water intake hose had come loose, so our only issue was getting rid of the water already in the boat. Within a half an hour we were dry and sent the crew back to their boat. Bill's Irish ancestors' eyes must have been smiling down on us this St Patrick's Day!
The rest of the trip southward was thankfully uneventful. We had following seas and wind off the nose for a change. We discovered several new anchorages to explore along the way and did a revisit to Black Point so Bill could get a haircut from Ida at the laundromat. That's they way they do it in the Bahamas!
Our plans had to change, getting to Puerto Rico on an enjoyable sail was no longer within our time constraints. Based on wind and weather predictions we headed south quickly to get to Georgetown, the last big settlement in the Exuma chain. We did it in six days of sunny skies and glorious seas. We anchored in Red Shanks, a very well protected anchorage south of the main channel and town of Georgetown. Kim and Brett on Kitty Hawk were anchored just outside the entrance to Lake Victoria as were Betty and Darrel on Majicka. It was a half hour dinghy ride to town, sometimes a very wet one, but worth it for the lovely bay we had found. At most, there were ten boats with us there.
We visited a boat yard near the anchorage and have made the decision to leave Whisper there for the summer season. The yard features tie downs for high winds security. The price was right and it puts us in a great spot to resume travels in the fall.
Having that issue out of the way, we teamed up with Kitty Hawk to explore the islands to the south and east. We sailed into Thompson Bay Long Island on March 31st and promptly wondered why we spent so much time in Georgetown. (Oh I forgot to mention the circulating water pump died while we were at Red Shanks so we had to wait for parts to be flown in....again). It is less crowded, more protected and much more Bahamian than GTown. We hope to rent a van to tour the island on Thursday (worlds second largest Blue Hole is on our list).
We intend to go to Conception Island and Cat Cay before we return to GTown for the Family Regatta featuring the Bahamian sloops. We hope to haul out the first of May.
That is the plan...... And we know better than to cast our plans in concrete!