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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21 February 2018 | Blue Water Marina, Alicetown, Bimini, Bahamas
20 February 2018 | Blue Water Marina, Alicetown, Bimini, Bahamas
19 February 2018 | Alice Town, Bimini, Bahamas
18 February 2018 | Blue Water Marina, Alicetown, Bimini, Bahamas
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Recent Blog Posts
21 February 2018 | Blue Water Marina, Alicetown, Bimini, Bahamas

Pile of Conch Shells

February 21, 2018

20 February 2018 | Blue Water Marina, Alicetown, Bimini, Bahamas

Still Windy!

February 20, 2018

19 February 2018 | Alice Town, Bimini, Bahamas

Windy

February 19, 2018

18 February 2018 | Blue Water Marina, Alicetown, Bimini, Bahamas

Sea Glass Treasure

February 18, 2018

17 February 2018 | Bimini Sands Marina, South Bimini, Bahamas

Sunrise Over the Gulf Stream

February 16, 2018

17 February 2018 | Blue Water Marina, Alicetown, Bimini, Bahamas

Officially in the Bahamas

February 17, 2018

Pile of Conch Shells

21 February 2018 | Blue Water Marina, Alicetown, Bimini, Bahamas
Phyllis Atha/sunny, warm and windy
February 21, 2018
Blue Water Marina, Alicetown, North Bimini, Bahamas

This picture is of a pile of conch shells at the conch shack in Bailey Town, Bimini.
Did a few minor chores today. Charlie glued one of our handrails on the cabin top back together where it had split. He walked down to the fuel dock and filled the dinghy gas jug. Noticed on the way back that he was leaving a trail of gas. The old jug had a hole. Thankfully, it was toward the top. He made a patch out of a piece of t-shirt material and his favorite epoxy glue. It seems to be holding okay for right now. We will just have to watch and not fill it up past the hole, just in case the patch gives way. We worked together and replaced the shower mixer valve. Hopefully this one will be easier to control the temperature of the water. I made chicken marsala for dinner with squash and onions for a veggie. Pretty good dinner. Charlie couldn’t do anything wrong at Scrabble tonight. He whooped me pretty badly. The wind wound up again last night and continued to whistle all day today. This evening it has again slacked off just a bit, but forecast to continue blowing close to 20 for the next two days. Now that we have most of our chores done, Charlie is antsy to get out of the marina. We will probably stay until Saturday morning though since that is the soonest the wind is suppose to subside. Not sure we could get this old tub out of the slip with the wind blowing 20 and the tide running through. I will have to think up a few more chores to keep Charlie busy. Besides being windy, today was sunny and warm. Time to go take a long, hot shower.

Still Windy!

20 February 2018 | Blue Water Marina, Alicetown, Bimini, Bahamas
Phyllis Atha/sunny, warm and windy
February 20, 2018
Alicetown, North Bimini, Bahamas

The wind had died down just a bit by this morning. Still blowing, but not so hard that it was whistling through the shrouds. After breakfast we walked next door to the Seacrest Marina to rent a golf cart. We had arranged to get one at 9:30. For some reason he didn’t have one available that was working. He suggested we walk down and rent one from Ricky. Well, we found the golf carts parked, but couldn’t find anyone around. We were going back to Seacrest, when I suggested we ask in the office at Blue Water Marina where we are staying. They would rent us one, no problem. We rode north on the Kings Highway to Brown’s Hardware store and bought a plumbing fitting Charlie needed, but they didn’t have any hose. Just for the fun of it, we drove north on the island until we hit the entrance to the big resort up that way. Riding back, we cut up to the Queen’s Highway and followed it to the end, then back to the marina. Cost us $20 for the hour. The rate drops to $10 an hour after the first hour, but we had already driven from one end the other. We did stop at an automotive store on the way back, so Charlie could get an inline filter. This afternoon Charlie completed his fuel polishing and storage for the clean fuel. The first 4 gallon batch, he pumped into one bucket and then pour that through a t-shirt strapped onto the second bucket, then poured it into his holding tank/fuel tank. The second and third batch he put one leg of pantyhose on the end of the hose going into his first bucket which strained the fuel sufficiently to pour directly into the holding tank. He filled the 15 gallon holding/fuel tank fairly quickly. Then he started the engine to make sure everything was going to work okay. Hurray! Success. We let it run about an hour without any hiccups. I had noticed that the Engel wasn’t keeping everything frozen like it should. Charlie discovered when he got up before daylight that the lights were dim. The batteries had gotten very low. Oops. So, before I got up, he hooked us up to shore power. It costs $15 a day, so he thought he would pay for a day and boost up the batteries and run the boat on 110 for the day. I sat in the cockpit and read between spurts of helping Charlie with the fuel. No headache today. I was just being lazy. This evening we looked at all our weather sources online, and it looks like we will leave the marina Saturday and sail down to Gun Cay for the night. Sunday and Monday look like good days to cross the Banks. Wind will be calming and coming more from the southeast. Good sailing if it holds. The picture is of the Kings Highway going through Bailey Town a bit north of Alicetown.

Windy

19 February 2018 | Alice Town, Bimini, Bahamas
Phyllis Atha/Partly Cloudy and Windy
February 19, 2018
Alicetown, North Bimini, Bahamas

Awoke to the wind whisling through all the shrouds on the boats in the marina. Forecast to blow 15-18, but I agree with one of our neighboring sailors. Seems like it is blowing 20-25 knots. Most of the boaters have taken down their flags to save them from being shredded in the wind. At about 10:00, Charlie and I walked down to the tiny boat supply store down at Weech’s Marina to find it was closed. We have never been here when it was open, but I guess the crotchety old lady that owns it only opens when she gets around to it. We walked down again just before noon and she was open. However, she didn’t have anything Charlie wanted. He was looking for another VHF antenna. We can’t tell whether Troy Brown’s is working any better than our old one. He was also looking for plumbing parts for his makeshift fuel storage system, and she had none. We walked over the hill to the Snack Shack overlooking the beach. Charlie had a hamburger and a beer and I had conch fritters and a diet coke. Cost was about $15.00. Then we walked back to the boat. I took a break for a few hours. I woke up to a bad headache and it wouldn’t go away. I blamed it on the atmospheric pressure. Anyway, I got a chicken breast out of the freezer and used it as an ice pack and put it on the back of my head just above my neck. It helped so well, that I fell asleep. I got up without a headache and thawed out chicken breast for dinner. Yes, it was encased in a plastic bag. While I was sleeping, Charlie walked back down to the boat supply store thinking he would buy a fuel pump bulb, but refused to spend $64 for a good one and $52 for the cheaper one. He just wanted it for a spare in case we needed it if his electric fuel pumps or the macerator pump didn’t work. He also took the holding tank he removed and has been soaking and scrubbing for two days to the shower and rinsed it out well, as well as taking a shower himself. We have a half gallon drink jug and he has also been taking it with him each time he goes to the restroom/shower and fills it. He pours it into a plastice water jug. Yep, he’s stealing water. The marina charges 75 cents a gallon for water. Much higher than anywhere else we have checked. I went and took a long, hot shower and was instructed to take the water jug along. So, I am an accomplice! I backed out of cooking the chicken breast for dinner and fed Charlie boxed mac and cheese and a hot dog. The wind has blown all day. Howling. The whistling sounds like a chorus of teapots. With the wind from the east, the water is a bit choppy, especially during high tide when the shoals just east of the harbor have water over them. At low tide, they are dry and prevents the chop from building as much. Forecast calls for the same winds through Friday, so we will be staying here through then. Otherwise, it was warm and mostly sunny.

Sea Glass Treasure

18 February 2018 | Blue Water Marina, Alicetown, Bimini, Bahamas
Phyllis Atha/sunny, warm and windy
February 18, 2018
Blue Water Marina, North Bimini, Bahamas

Today was a treasure. The weather was perfect, that is other than for sailing east across the Banks. Sunny, blue sky and warm with a nice cooling breeze. The Lobster Guy, I don’t know his name, but that is how he refers to himself, came by the boat and we bought a dozen lobsters for $50. Don’t get too excited, they are fairly small. I managed to make room in the Engel freezer for most of them. Saved two out for dinner tonight. We did a few chores this morning. First, Charlie hauled me up the mizzen mast to put up Troy Brown’s antenna. Everything went pretty smoothly. Then Charlie and I cleaned out the original electric fuel pump and got it to pumping again. It had a gob of sludge in it. He then wired in the new electric fuel pump back in permanently, so it operates off a switch rather than with jumpers on a battery. Charlie had found an old water pump while searching lockers for other parts. It was not put together. It was in parts in a plastic bag. He tried to put it back together to see if it still worked, but the screws were so corroded that he finally gave up and threw it in the trash. We had a lunch of leftovers from the night before, then got ready to walk across the island to the beach. Not many good shells or other flotsom, but a great beach for seaglass. You can see my haul in the picture. We walked the beach from the Snack Shack up on the hill above the beach. Lots of activity up there today. Locals and tourists. We wandered north probably about a half mile. Stopped and had a cool drink and rested under some Casuarina trees on some rocks. The Queen’s Highway runs right next to the beach, up on a bit of a rise. Calling it the Queen’s Highway is a bit of exaggeration since it is really a one way road. Two cars can pass, barely. But, it is paved. There is also a King’s Highway and it runs on the east side of the island and goes through town and next to the marinas. It is the same size. In fact, it may be narrower than the Queen’s due to some of the buildings lying right next to the road. You have to be very careful when walking out of a building onto the road. Then sometimes a car will be parked next to one of the buildings. Anyway, back to the beach. After our break, Charlie opted to walk the Queen’s Highway back. I walked about a quarter of the way back on the beach, then joined him. We walked back down the hill through the Blue Water Resort. Saw absolutely no activity there. Back to the boat, we relaxed in the cockpit before fixing supper. The lobster was quite good. I managed not to overcook it. We went and took long hot showers after dinner. One big perk is being able to stand in the shower with the water running and not worrying about emptying the boat’s fresh water tank. The showers here are old, but clean and operable. An enjoyable day.

Sunrise Over the Gulf Stream

17 February 2018 | Bimini Sands Marina, South Bimini, Bahamas
Phyllis Atha/sunny and warm
February 16, 2018
Crosing the Gulf Stream from Rodriquez Key to Bimini, Bahamas

Up at 3:30 and ready to raise anchor at 4:00 this morning. Charlie talked to Freed Spirit and they were also up and ready to go. They were going out the reef at Molasses Reef and we were going out north of Molasses Reef, just off of John Pennecamp State Park. We each had previous experience with our respective routes which made is more comfortable navigating the reef in the dark. We talked with them once we were both outside the reef. Freed Spirit transmits an AIS signal, so we could see where they were on the GPS map. They started out about 5 miles behind us. I had laid down in the cockpit thinking of sleeping a bit when Charlie asked if I wanted to see the sun rise. Since I very rarely see the sun rise I rose up and took a picture to mark the occasion. About 20 miles out, the engine quit! By experience, we knew the problem was in the fuel system. We just had to find where and what the problem was. No real wind, and from the east, so we sailed/drifted northward while Charlie investigated. We tried turning on the electric fuel pump to help the engine fuel pump, but it would not work. Charlie took the electric fuel pump out and discovered a yucky, jelly substance clogging the hose. He dug and blew and wiped until he got the fuel line cleared, and put in the spare electric fuel pump. Off we go again, but not for long. It was clogged again, and clogged the new electric fuel pump. So, he cleaned the hose out again, and took the fittings off the fuel pump and cleaned them out. He had me steal the fuel line and bulb off the dinghy engine. I thought I was going to have to pump fuel to the engine. Not quite. He had me pump fuel out of the tank into a gallon jug. The jug was a 409 container that I poured the 409 into one of my drink containers. More on that later. He put the fuel line and the return fuel line into the gallon jug and we were off running again. In the meantime, we have lost the 3 miles of southing we had accumulated earlier in the day. Rather than run a rhumb line directly to Bimini, we stay south and run easterly until we hit the Gulf Stream which carries us north on the current. Hope that makes sense. Anyway, we lost that 3 miles and about 2 hours of traveling time. But, we are off running again. We just had to pump fuel out of the tank into another gallon jug to replenish our new one gallon fuel tank. This second jug was an oil jug. Thankfully I had two quart milk jugs that I had frozen and used and not refrozen. Charlie put the oil in those. We have also used my big stew pot, several dish rags, lots of paper towels and other misc. stuff getting this accomplished. There were hoses running out of hatches and back in, lockers open and cushions all disarrayed to get at tools, tools everywhere and diesel smears wherever one of us put down a foot or a hand. Over this time period, Freed Spirit was now 5 miles ahead of us. I put out the jib and sheeted it in tight and gained half a knot, just to have to pull it back in when the wind would shift or die. I think we did this 3 times. We did gradually gain on Freed Spirit throughout the afternoon. About 5 miles outside of Bimini, we quickly caught up with them. They were dead in the water. Also engine problems. We hovered around in case we had a part or an idea that would help them. First, they had a squeeze bulb in the system that had pin hole leaks allowing air to get into the fuel system. Diesels don’t like air. Geri first tried to tape the bulb up with some kind of emergency tape. That didn’t work. Charlie suggested finding a nipple and removing the bulb. So, we are looking at our plumbing supplies for a nipple, but not really knowing his hose size. Geri found a nipple and replaced the bulb with the nipple. It would run a bit at idle, but would quit again. By this time the sun is getting low in the sky. Charlie opted to drop our dinghy, put the bulb and hoses I had stole off of it back on the outboard engine. He went over to hip tow them in (tying the dinghy to the side of their sailboat and propelling them for 5 miles at about 3 knots. Otherwise, they would have been out there all night or had to have a tow boat come get them. I was to follow them in, in our boat. At first I was to slowly follow. Charlie would get them secure and then come back out to help me get in and secure. Geri and Niamh (pronounced Knee=If) were going into Bimini Sands Marina on South Bimini. Soon, it was apparent that dark would catch us. So, now I was to follow them into the marina and we would just get a slip there for the night. A bit higher priced marina than we would normally choose, but circumstances made it the prudent decision. I was out of my comfort zone going into a narrow channel and into a marina by myself. But, I prevailed! Motored through the channel and was delighted to see that the marina had a large turning basin where I was able to idle and hover until they tied up Freed Spirit and motioned me into the next slip. I had the fore thought to get the docking lines out of the lazarette, but did not have them tied to the boat. I slowly glided into the slip, thankful that the condos were blocking any wind and there was no current. Finally, got tied up. Took me a while to wind down after that. We had peanut butter and honey sandwiches for dinner. Just something to fill the tummy. I have to retract the last Wanderings. Charlie found several TV stations from Miami coming in. He watched a bit of the Olympics before crashing. I walked down to the office area where I could pick up a wifi signal and sent a post on Facebook to let everyone know we were safe and sound. And Goodnight.

Officially in the Bahamas

17 February 2018 | Blue Water Marina, Alicetown, Bimini, Bahamas
Phyllis/Gorgeous - sunny, warm and nice breeze
February 17, 2018
Alicetown, North Bimini, Bahamas

Charlie was up early. Ideas on how to clean our yucky fuel racing through his head. By the time I got up, he had the front waste holding tank removed. He is going to clean it out and use it as a tank for fuel as he cleans it using sieves of t-shirts or some other fabric in buckets. He is going to use our spare maserator pump (normally used to pump toilet waste out of the holding tank overboard when we are out at sea) to pump the dirty fuel from the tank into the sieve. He was starting to dig through his plumbing parts stash to find the fittings to reduce the size down from 1 ½ to the 5/8ths so it will fit in the opening and also the size of hose we have on hand. Besides all this, he did the dishes left from yesterday. He took a break and fixed breakfast. At about 9:00 Geri and Niamh were ready to head up to the office and check in and then get a taxi to the airport to check in with customs and immigration. One perk of being in South Bimini where the airport is. The customs and immigration office in Alicetown is closed on weekends, though they are on call on weekends. I rode the taxi with Geri and Charlie to the airport just to sightsee. Check in went smoothly. I had downloaded the forms before we left the states, so I had them all filled out except the pink immigration cards. They were quick to fill out. Turned out the taxi was $10 per person there and back. There wasn’t much to see, so I regretted spending the money. But, now I know what is on South Bimini. Geri gave Charlie $20 to cover the cost of dinghy gas to tow them in and a 5 gallon blue jug. Blue is normally for water, but it will hold diesel and will be much better than the gallon jug. Charlie went to the fuel dock and bought 5 gallons of diesel to use to get us up to North Bimini and a start on our diesel cleaning batch. Just after lunch, we bade farewell for now to Geri and Niamh, untied the boat and headed up the channel to Bluewater Marina in Alicetown, North Bimini. We thought about anchoring out, but since we need parts, we thought being at the marina would be much more convenient. Plus, they have wifi and hot showers. On the way into the slip, the wind caught our bow and widened our turn and we missed the slip. We ended up on the seawall. Thankfully, there was a blank space where there was no little boats tied up. JR, the dockmaster, got a small boat and towed our bow around so we could get into the slip. A couple other boaters caught lines and helped us get into the slip. JR is a sweetie. He always seems to be upbeat and didn’t get the least frazzled. We went up to the office and checked in and got the wifi password. Batelco isn’t open until Monday, but I had read that one of the stores in town sold SIM cards. Sure enough, they did! I now have a Bahamian telephone number, 1-242-473-2813. My plan gives me 15G of data, 1000 minutes of calls to the US and free text for $30. It only lasts 15 days, but the data is suppose to roll over. We’ll see. We stopped at the grocery store and bought some Joy liquid. Somehow I missed getting backstock for that. Plus, we have a lot of diesel cleaning to do. They didn’t have Dawn, which I prefer. While we were in the grocery store, Charlie asked where we might buy a VHF antenna. Troy Brown, a local, said he had one he had put on his taxi new before the vehicle quit. He would sell it. We walked across the island with him to his home. The antenna must have sat there a while. It didn’t look new, but we gave Brownie, his nickname, $20 and a promise of another $20 if it worked. A new one, if we could find one on Bimini would be much more expensive. When we got back to the boat, I put my new SIM card in the phone and purchased my phone plan. At first, when I dialed the *205# to purchase my plan, it came up with a message of “no available menu”. After a few minutes of retrying, I called the number on my card. She said the number had been changed to *203#. My phone is now up and running. Yahoo! Then I hooked up and set up my wifi booster antenna. That went smoothly and we can now get wifi from the marina on the boat. Yahoo, again! I am a happy camper! For the rest of the afternoon we sat in the cockpit and talked with Vincent and Ronnie on Corporate Sail Out, in the slip next to us. We had talked to them while we were in Marathon about crossing to the Bahamas. They were going to do an overnnighter from Marathon. We weren’t. They left yesterday at 4:00 in the afternoon and arrived about noon today. Just a coincidence we ended up in the slip next to them. No work planned for tomorrow since it is Sunday and Bimini shuts down on Sunday. We need various parts to complete Charlie’s design to clean the diesel fuel. Maybe I’ll go to the beach on the ocean/east side of the island. Oh, Charlie has already went snorkeling. He was cleaning his “new” VHF antenna and oiling it to get the cable end off. He laid it propped up on the lifeline on the side deck so the oil would run down into the threads. Somehow, in a matter of a few minutes, it went overboard. Luckily we are in Bahamian waters. He could see it on the bottom under the boat. He retrieved it, rinsed it in fresh water and oiled it again. Hopefully it is sealed and no water got inside. All in all, a productive and good day. I’m a tired, happy camper.

Wyvern's Photos - Main
3 Photos
Created 12 December 2010
Our 1996 Hunter 45
9 Photos
Created 12 December 2010