Wyvern's Wanderings

Vessel Name: Wyvern
Vessel Make/Model: 1977 Irwin Ketch
Hailing Port: El Jobean, Florida
Crew: Charlie and Phyllis Atha
About: After living aboard our 42' Irwin for almost 10 years, we sold her and bought a home in El Jobean, Florida. Bought a storm damaged 1996 Hunter 45 and have been working on it for the past 3 years. THEN we sold the Hunter and purchased the Irwin back. Feels like home!
Extra: Both Charlie and Phyllis are USCG licensed captains and ASA sailing instructors.
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24 April 2017 | Kidd Cove, Georgetown, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas
23 April 2017 | Red Shanks, Elizabeth Harbor, Great Exuma, Bahamas
22 April 2017 | Red Shanks, Elizabeth Harbor, Great Exuma, Bahamas
21 April 2017 | Red Shanks, Elizabeth Harbor, Great Exuma, Bahamas
20 April 2017 | Crab Cay, Elizabeth Harbor, Exumas, Bahamas
19 April 2017 | Crab Cay, Elizabeth Harbor, Exumas, Bahamas
18 April 2017 | Crab Cay, Elizabeth Harbor, Exumas, Bahamas
17 April 2017 | Crab Cay, Elizabeth Harbor, Exumas, Bahamas
16 April 2017 | Volleyball Beach, Stocking Island, Bahamas
15 April 2017 | Volleyball Beach, Stocking Island, Bahamas
14 April 2017 | Volleyball Beach, Stocking Island, Bahamas
13 April 2017 | Volleyball Beach, Stocking Island, Bahamas
12 April 2017 | Volleyball Beach, Stocking Island, Bahamas
11 April 2017 | Volleyball Beach, Stocking Island, Bahamas
10 April 2017 | Volleyball Beach, Stocking Island, Bahamas
09 April 2017 | Volleyball Beach, Stocking Island, Bahamas
08 April 2017 | Volleyball Beach, Stocking Island, Bahamas
07 April 2017 | Volleyball Beach, Stocking Island, Bahamas
06 April 2017 | Lee Stocking Island, Exuma Islands, Bahamas
05 April 2017 | Rudder Cay, Exuma Islands, Bahamas
Recent Blog Posts
24 April 2017 | Kidd Cove, Georgetown, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas

Oh! What a Beautiful Morning!

April 24, 2017 9:30 pm

23 April 2017 | Red Shanks, Elizabeth Harbor, Great Exuma, Bahamas

April 23, 2017 9:30 pm

22 April 2017 | Red Shanks, Elizabeth Harbor, Great Exuma, Bahamas

Relentless Wind

April 22, 2017 8:00 pm

21 April 2017 | Red Shanks, Elizabeth Harbor, Great Exuma, Bahamas

Dinghy Exploring

April 21, 2017 8:00 pm

20 April 2017 | Crab Cay, Elizabeth Harbor, Exumas, Bahamas

Crab Cay Bridge

April 20, 2017 8:00 pm

19 April 2017 | Crab Cay, Elizabeth Harbor, Exumas, Bahamas

Rainy Day and Wednesday

April 19, 2017 8:30 pm

Oh! What a Beautiful Morning!

24 April 2017 | Kidd Cove, Georgetown, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas
Sunny, warm and milder winds
April 24, 2017 9:30 pm
Kidd Cove, Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas

A very windy night last night. I think it probably blew up close to 30 kts at least until about 2:00. But, Oh what a beautiful morning. The wind had settled around 15 kts, maybe a bit lower. The water was barely choppy. We did the usual, Charlie listened to Chris Parker’s weather, then we listened to the Georgetown Cruisers Net on the VHF, and had breakfast. About 10:00 Caprice and Wyvern weighed anchor and headed to Kidd Cove at Georgetown. We were here by 11:00. We both dinghied into town. Jack needed to check on his outboard part and we needed to get the address to have our steering cylinder sent too, so it would make it to Georgetown. First, it is sent to a shipping company in Fort Lauderdale, then sent to Forbes, which assists with customs. They take care of getting our cruiser’s discount on the customs duty. Normally it is 35 percent, but with the discount, it is only 7.5 percent. But, naturally they take a fee for the processing. After Forbes, we walked down to a restaurant that we haven’t visited before called Mel’s. It caters more to the locals. Everyone but me got the BBQ chicken, I order a hamburger. Wrong thing to do. The chicken was served almost immediately. My burger took 30 minutes. They didn’t serve beer at Mel’s, so Jack suggested we walk down to Two Turtles and have a cold drink. About the time the drinks were finished, it was time to walk back down to Exuma Market and meet Jack and Kris’ son and buddy who were coming in a taxi from the airport. Charlie and Jack stopped at Top to Bottom, Charlie to get fluid for the steering system. Jack just tagged along. Kris and I went to the market and bought a few things we needed. Nice that Charlie made it fairly quickly, because I needed him to carry two cases of coke to the dinghy. They don’t let their carts out of the store. We didn’t bring enough soft drinks. Otherwise, I mainly got fresh stuff, milk, bread, veggies and butter. Charlie and I carried our groceries to the dinghy, and then filled our water jugs at the dinghy dock, then dinghied over to the Texaco dinghy dock to get 5 gallons of dinghy gas. We went back to the regular dinghy dock and tied up, so we could go up and say hello to Paul and Pat when they arrived. After greeting Paul and Pat, we dinghied back to the boat. Unloaded everything, which is a chore. Lifting 5 gallon jugs of water from the dinghy to the deck of the boat, which is Charlie’s job, isn’t getting any easier. We put all the groceries away, poured the water into the tank and took a well deserved break. Charlie then got on the computer to order the steering cylinder. I had found one that was $450. That was the cheapest he could find. So, he called and ordered it. Since we now have more fluid, Charlie worked at getting the air out of the hydraulic lines going to the steering wheel. The autopilot which is down with the steering cylinder was getting enough fluid to work adequately, but the steering wheel was still quite sloppy. He put in more fluid and added pressure to the system with our bike pump. The steering wheel is now almost back to normal. Other than checking the fluid and the pressure every time we go somewhere, the steering is working adequately until we received the new one. We should get a shipping number tomorrow to let us know when it should arrive in Fort Lauderdale. Then it will be the Wednesday after that when it will ship to Georgetown. Charlie anchored Wyvern right up close and throughout the day, we watched as the Bahamian sailing boats arrived and anchored around us. The big national regatta starts Wednesday and the boats are beginning to arrive in mass. Normally they are hauled on small freighters (mail boats) because they are coming from all over the Bahamas. The traditional style of the old fishing boats is adhered to. They have 5 different classes or sizes. The sails on these boats are huge for the size of the boat. The boom hangs quite a ways behind the stern of the boat. Red Stripe, the bigger size Bahamian boat that anchored next to us is from Blackpoint. But, we have a number of them anchored around. I’m hoping we get to watch some of the races.

23 April 2017 | Red Shanks, Elizabeth Harbor, Great Exuma, Bahamas
Windy, windy, cloudy and warm
April 23, 2017 9:30 pm
Red Shanks, Elizabeth Harbor, Exumas, Bahamas

Well, the chain Charlie laid on deck hooked to the secondary anchor he just dropped by the bow of the boat did pull off a bit last night and it did make a big noise. Luckily, we weren’t in bed yet. But, we were not dragging, we had just swung on the primary anchor and the bow pulled away from where Charlie had dropped the secondary anchor. After breakfast this morning, Charlie wanted to take the Wyvern about a mile and a half, out to the entrance to Red Shanks. He wanted to explore the caves on the shoreline. We left Caprice, because Jack and Kris were getting their boat ready for their son and his buddy. The steering was still very sloppy. So, when we anchored, we started looking at the hydraulic system again. We narrowed down where it is loosing fluid. Sadly, it is not a connection or a hole in a line, each of which we might be able to fix ourselves. The problem turned out to be a leak where the shaft goes in and out of the hydraulic cylinder. We will try to call Hynautics tomorrow. They were very helpful the last time we needed assistance with another part. Maybe they will have a rebuilt one on the shelf. I priced new ones and the cheapest is $500. Charlie also rigged up an emergency tiller system, just in case. He can put an adjustable wrench on the top of the shaft and use it to turn the rudder by hand. Not the greatest system, because he is under the bed in the aft cabin. Can’t see out, so I would have to tell him which way to steer and how much. We also fixed a recovery system to catch the leaking fluid. We don’t know how much it is actually leaking, but if it is substantial, we don’t want to run out of fluid. We will buy some more tomorrow when we go into Georgetown. As long as we keep fluid at the correct level, it works for now. I’m a bit concerned if the seal completely blows out and won’t hold any fluid, thus not work at all. Time for lunch, then we took an hour or so off and dinghied up the coastline. There are two large caves along the rocky shore. One is actually an arch since the back of the cave, caved in. You can walk through it and up onto the hillside. However, we didn’t try to go ashore at either one because the water was too choppy to take the dinghy in too close because of the sharp rocks. Charlie did find a small cove with mangroves on two sides and a smoother rocky beach he could walk up on. He went for a walk and I stayed in the dinghy. Didn’t look like much to see and you did have to walk on the rocks. No beach. Plus, I was lazy. He found a huge conch shell. An older one and it had been cracked to get the meat out, but still pretty. He also brought back a large piece of driftwood. Really cool and he brought it just because he knew I like that stuff. We carried it back to the Wyvern on the dinghy. Carefully, because it had some sharp points. I experimented with dinner. I found a recipe for cabbage roll casserole and just happened to have all the ingredients on the boat. It turned out well and tasted good. The cabbage wasn’t cooked quite as much as I would like. A half recipe made enough for three meals, so two are in the freezer for easy lunch or dinners later. The wind blew all night and all day today. Today, the velocity was 20 and up. Jack said they clocked 28 kts pretty consistently this afternoon. Charlie offered to take the Wyvern back over by Caprice and I took him up on the offer. Where we were anchored for the day seemed to get a bit rougher and rolly. We are back in our old spot and the water is calmer. The wind is still blowing!

Relentless Wind

22 April 2017 | Red Shanks, Elizabeth Harbor, Great Exuma, Bahamas
Windy, overcast, warm and windy
April 22, 2017 8:00 pm
Red Shanks, Elizabeth Harbor, Exumas, Bahamas

Just at dark last night, the wind started gusting a lot. I turned on the GPS to check our position against what it was when we first anchored. It looked like we had drug the anchor a bit. Charlie came up and looked and decided to take some precautions, just in case. First, he let out some more anchor chain, then he dropped the second anchor off the bow. He stretched the anchor chain for the second anchor out on the deck, so if we drug, the second anchor would pull the anchor chain off the deck. Besides making a hellacious noise, it would put cause more resistence, even if the second anchor didn’t grab the weight of the anchor and chain would help. We watched the GPS for for while and decided we were not dragging. I went ahead and set the Drag Queen app on my phone which uses the GPS in my phone. You can set it for any specific number of feet, and if you move over that amount, it sets off an alarm. We did fine all night. This morning, the wind seemed to be a bit less, but that didn’t last long. The wind blew 20+ kts all day long. That doesn’t make you want to get out in the dinghy to explore. As long as you are going downwind, it isn’t bad, but any other direction, you are going to get splashed if not soaked. Snorkeling isn’t an option either, because the water is choppy and in the shallow water like here, the sand is all stirred up and the visibility is poor. The best snorkeling is usually in a bit deeper water and it is much choppier out there right now. Soooo, we stayed on the boat all day. Usually, Charlie keeps us so active that I wish for a day to just sit on the boat. Watch for what you wish for. I read, tried to doze off, read some more, etc. I finally admitted that I was getting bored. Charlie played computer poker, solitaire and read a bit. I decided to fry fish for dinner, so we invited Jack and Kris. Kris brought potato salad and we had a very tasty dinner. Nice to have someone to visit with. Their boat isn’t but a 100 feet or so from ours, but they braved the wind and choppy waters to dinghy over. We are forecast to possibly get squalls tonight which will add a bit more wind to what we already have. Tuesday, I’m waiting for Tuesday. The winds are suppose to be down to 10-15 kts. Picture is of yesterday’s dinghy adventure with Jack and Kris in their dinghy.

Dinghy Exploring

21 April 2017 | Red Shanks, Elizabeth Harbor, Great Exuma, Bahamas
Partly cloudy, Warm and Windy
April 21, 2017 8:00 pm
Red Shanks, Elizabeth Harbor, Exumas Bahamas

We are on the move again. After breakfast, we weighed anchor and motored south around Crab Cay to the Red Shanks anchoring area. This area is very shallow, so you watch your charts and your depth finder. There are several deeper holes that you can anchor in if you can get over the shallower water to them. We were within 100 yards of where we wanted to anchor and we lost steering on the Wyvern. We have hydraulic steering and knew right away that the hydraulic reservoir was probably low. But, first we had to deal with the boat drifting toward a shallow shoal. Charlie put out the anchor, but we ran aground before it caught. Nothing else to do but check the fluid. He filled the reservoir and I exercised the wheel, turning it back and forth to get the fluid through. I started getting some feeling in the wheel, so we were able to turn to port and get off the shoal and pick up the anchor. Only problem is I couldn’t turn to starboard. Down goes the anchor again. This time it caught in time. I exercised the wheel some more and Charlie went below and did something. Anyway, it started working well again. We pulled up next to Caprice who had already anchored. Charlie found a leak at a hose connection. Not sure if we can fix it until we get home. Guess we will carry a bunch of fluid with us for now. AND check the reservoir regularly. The reason we didn’t realize we had a problem earlier is because we were using the autopilot to steer. It doesn’t take as much fluid because it is down by the steering quadrant. The wheel in the cockpit has all that extra line leading up to it and back down. But, the fluid finally got so low that it wasn’t enough for the autopilot. Turning it off didn’t help because the wheel didn’t have any fluid either. We made it off the shoal and were able to anchor, found the problem and know what to watch for if we can’t get it fixed. We talked to Jack and Kris and decided we needed a break before embarking on our dinghy adventure. After lunch, we loaded into the dinghies and circumnavigated the Red Shanks bay. We found Conch Shell Beach, a tiny beach between the rocks that is decorated with painted conch shells. Painting conch shells is something bored cruisers do when they are confined to the boat because of weather, or just have nothing else to do. Charlie keeps us going enough that we don’t get bored. Cute idea though. We saw several shallow caves in the rock shoreline and then ran across 4 sunken boats. One had nothing but framework left, another was just the skin of the hull, another was a smaller, homemade catamaran with a hole in one hull and the last one was a fair size monohull in pretty poor shape. But, we did have to check them out. We then dinghied up to the bridge we saw on shore yesterday. Just as impressive from the water. Our main goal was to find the Crab Cay Crevasse Blue Hole. I had my chart program up on my phone, so we found it easily enough, plus the water is a darker blue where the hole is . We couldn’t really see anything because the water is so stirred up from all the wind and chop. We just checked it out with the look bucket. The water around the blue hole is about 15 feet deep and the blue hole is suppose to be about 95 feet deep. We will come back with Jack and Kris’ son, Paul because they will probably want to dive on it. Maybe the water will clear up before then. We dinghied back to the boats. Jack and Kris stopped by Wyvern and had a cold beer and an early sundowner. I fixed chicken with BBQ sauce and potato/squash/onion side dish. I beat Charlie at Scrabble by 6 points. It was a tight game the whole time. Yes, the wind is still blowing. It was forecast to lie down a bit today and it really hasn’t. Tomorrow, same forecast. We are all lusting after 5-10 kts. We really don’t care which direction, just a gentle breeze.

Crab Cay Bridge

20 April 2017 | Crab Cay, Elizabeth Harbor, Exumas, Bahamas
Sunny, warm and windy
April 20, 2017 8:00 pm
Crab Cay, Elizabeth Harbor, Exumas, Bahamas

French toast and bacon for breakfast! About 10:30 Charlie and I dinghied over and picked up Jack and Kris for our daily walk ashore. This time we walked to the north on the road that leads to the bridge over to Great Exuma and Georgetown. Most of the walk, was just that, a walk down the road with brush on each side, but we did see several holes dug beside the road where huge conduit was laid for the underground electrical. Guess there were to be junctions where the holes exposed the ends of the conduit. A bunch of money has been invested in this island to have it just sit. We walked on down and found a nice gazebo on a beach and a rock walled sidewalk going up a tiny hill. The walls were over head high and spiraled around and up. Once at the top, you turn the last corner and there is a toilet there. Interesting. We could now see the bridge and it is a work of art. It wasn’t built for only utility. It was built to make an impression. We sat at the gazebo and had a cold drink before walking back across the island. I think we have walked about all the roads on Crab Cay. We dinghied back and spent the rest of the day on the boat. After lunch, Charlie took a nap and then watched a movie. I scrubbed the rust off the stainless lifeline stanchions. Stainless isn‘t suppose to rust easily, but it does rust. I cleaned all the stanchions, but didn‘t get to the bow pulpit or the stern pulpit. Always another day. The ones I did look pretty and shiny, but they need some wax or something on them to protect them a bit. Maybe I can find some wax at the store. Will be higher cost than the states, but cheap, if it prevents the rust and I don‘t have to scrub them so soon. We had the last of the frozen leftover chili for dinner. Weather today was sunny and warm. The wind, you guessed it, is still blowing 15 to 18 kts. Down a bit from last night and yesterday. Forecast to lie down a bit more tomorrow. A nice day or two before we are forecast to get squally weather again as a front moves through. On our walk, we all agreed that we would move tomorrow. Not far, just on the other side of Crab Cay in an area they call Red Shanks.

Rainy Day and Wednesday

19 April 2017 | Crab Cay, Elizabeth Harbor, Exumas, Bahamas
Overcast, rainy and windy
April 19, 2017 8:30 pm
Crab Cay, Elizabeth Harbor, Exumas, Bahamas

We awoke to a cloudy sky, though at first the clouds were high and benign. Jack called this morning and said Kris had made fresh biscuits and they were going to bring some over and we would have a morning Captains meeting. No earth shattering decisions to make. We did decide to go to the beach around the north point of our bay at 11:30. We were indecisive at first whether to dinghy around or just go ashore and walk the road to the beach. Since the wind had come up a bit in the previous hour, we decided to walk, rather than get soaked going around the point in the choppy water (water was choppy once we got out of our little protected anchoring cove. Just as we landed, a sprinkle started. Charlie and I again neglected to close the hatches. Guess we don’t learn our lessons too quickly. We decided it was just a short sprinkle and wasn’t worth going back to the boat to close everything up. We had a nice walk on the beach. Charlie found a small whole crab skeleton and Jack found a small dried up starfish which he gave to Charlie. I think Kris would have liked it, but Jack made an executive decision. That can be dangerous. We sat down to take a break and Jack pointed out the dark clouds coming our way. We walked back to the dinghy in a pretty good shower. The rain and wind was a bit cool. We all got pretty soaked, but hey, it was fresh water. When we got back to the boat, we closed the hatches and put down the cockpit panels. Our bed had a wet spot about 8 inches in diameter, so I had to pin up the sheet and mattress pad so they could dry. Not too bad. Charlie and I spent the afternoon in the cockpit reading. Charlie is beginning to get cabin fever, even though we have been out walking or in the dinghy everyday. He is ready to move on to new surroundings. Jack invited us over to Caprice for sundowners which we eagerly accepted. Jack may get his outboard parts tomorrow or Thursday. He is getting excited. Weather today was mostly overcast and a bit cool out in the wind. The wind was blowing 17 to 23 throughout the day. We did have two or three small showers. Enough to rinse the salt off the boat. Guess what made it stop. Yep. We opened the water fill on deck. Works every time. Forecast is for the winds to abate just a bit for Thursday and Friday. By Sunday or Monday (they haven’t nailed the forecast down yet) we have a front coming through which will make the winds clock south, west and north. We will have to gather for a Captains meeting to decide where to ride out the change in winds when the forecast is firmed up. Monday, Jack and Kris’ son, Paul, and his buddy arrive, so we would like to be in Kidd Cove then. Closer to dinghy in to pick them up.
Wyvern's Photos - Main
3 Photos
Created 12 December 2010
Our 1996 Hunter 45
9 Photos
Created 12 December 2010