Where Have All the Cruisers Gone?
30 January 2011 | Rock Sound, Eleuthera
Beth / 70's!
We tore ourselves away from the park on Saturday morning at 7:30. Because of the way the shoals stretch out from Warderick Wells, it took us an hour to motor out from Emerald Rock, around the shallow water, back in again at the top of the cay, past the entrance to the north mooring field, past the rocks marking Warderick Cut and out into the Sound.
We had been a little worried about the wind direction for this trip, but it worked out well enough. The wind was stronger than predicted - of course - and we were too close to the wind to use a headsail, but neither were we pounding into waves. Everything is relative!
Jim and I were laying bets on how many boats would be here. Because of the lower numbers of boats we have been seeing all along the way, I predicted 6 or less. Because there were a dozen when we were here 3 years ago, Jim predicted more than 6. We kept rubbing our eyes as we came around the point because we could see no masts AT ALL. In fact, we could make out no boats at all. It was only as we got closer, that we could distinguish one motor vessel lying off the waterfront by the dinghy wharf. In this huge harbour, there were just 2 little boats last night, and the motor vessel (Ocean Dancer, I think) left this morning.
I should let you know that Jim got our GPS working again while we were at the park. Here is the tech talk for the techies! He trouble shot the "Seatalk Failure" message, and discovered that when he removed one of the Seatalk connector plugs for the instrument displays, he no longer had the error message and the auto pilot and GPS/chartplotter functioned normally. We no longer had a readout for the instruments (depth, windspeed/direction and speed over ground). He tried reattaching that connector plug to the instruments, and removed another Seatalk plug to the remote control which we don't use anyway. Now everything works except the radar and the remote. The remote doesn't matter, and the radar is not needed at the moment. He thinks there is a short somewhere, and will continue to work at getting the radar functional - before we need it for a night crossing somewhere!
It has been said many times that cruising is just another word for repairing your boat in exotic places. So here is our next little tale...
I motored gently in close to shore in Rock Sound, gave Jim the signal to drop the anchor in just the perfect place. Then as I shifted to reverse to back up and allow the chain to play out, the little lever just wiggled up without any tension ... as in loose ... as in no connection to anything ... as in broken!!!! I couldn't believe it. Good thing it was a good spot on the first try because we weren't moving anywhere else.
We have heard stories of so many troubles lately - Cypraea's transmission cutting out at Great Sale Cay and needing to be towed all the way to Green Turtle Cay where they were waiting for a new one; Slow Dancin's truly astonishing string of incidents - fallen spreader, lost propellor, failure of alternator, regulator and who knows what else; Solitaire's electrical failure and generator problems that sent them hightailing it back to Nassau on Friday. We have just dealt with the GPS thing, and now this??!!
Jim has had his head in both the engine compartment and his books, and he has tracked the remote clutch control and discovered that he can manually shift gears by moving the lever where it is attached to the transmission down in the engine cubbyhole. But still nada up in the cockpit. The plate on the binnacle is screwed on so tightly that he can't unscrew it to get a look at the cable there, despite lubricant and finally banging the screws with a hammer.
It is Sunday and things are closed here. If we can't get it fixed ourselves, we'll go to town on Monday morning and see if there is a mechanic who can do it. (And I sure hope we also find a password to the Dingle Motors wifi that shows up so I can post all this!) If neither of these things take place, we'll go to the beach!
Once again, as I have said over and over and over again. We are so lucky. Our bad things happen when we are safe and in places where there is help. We are securely anchored off the waterfront of a real town. The sun is shining. The wind is gentle and we will not have to move to another anchorage for some time. Our friends fly into Governor's Harbour on Friday, and we are already here on the island.
That's my cheery take on it. The other part of me says, "Geesh!!! (or a few other more colourful words) Why can't we get through a week without something going wrong!" Jim nods, sighs loudly, and echoes that thought as he sticks his head back into the engine cubbyhole behind the companionway steps.