22 August 2011 | 42 1.33'N:7 40.81'E, Between France and Sardinia
03 August 2011 | Home in Indiana
02 May 2021 | 20 57.4'N:73 40.7'W, Matthew Town, Great Inagua, Bahamas
Fortunately the people here have been real open and welcoming. We have been in this port for 2 weeks as of yesterday. FedEx reported problems with their plane out of Miami and it caused a 2 day delay for our alternator plus rerouting. Their tracking shows it in Freeport since Friday afternoon.
We have been able to address some issues we have had with the boat. I was able to find and fix an elusive leak in the dingy that has haunted us since before we came from Europe. It�'s nice to wake in the morning and see the dinghy still full of air. I installed a stereo that we brought with us for this trip. It plays AM, FM, USB, SD cards, Bluetooth and maybe some other things. The old stereo was stolen while in Greece a few years ago and it is nice to have music again. I resealed a leaky window. I�'ve done other small projects but am down to polishing stainless which is one of my least favorite things to do.
It is interesting how time is counted in islands like Inagua. This remote island has Bahamas Air flights on Mondays and Fridays from Nassau. They have been counting the cruising boats every day and this year seems to be a good one. This island depends significantly on Morton Salt Co for their income. Approximately 70% of the work force is employed at the salt solar drying installation. The drying ponds are visible on our tracker satellite map just north of our position. Residents depend on the salt transport ship to bring supplies and things like cars to the island from Cape Canaveral. The mail boat comes about every 8 days from Nassau. This is a major event in the lives of the 900 residents. People order things from Nassau, the US including Amazon and other locations for delivery. The small grocery and convenience stores get to restock their shelves. People receive fresh vegetables, mattresses, refrigerators, air conditioners, and many other products.
Friday, one of the fishermen stopped by the boat and threw a beautiful red snapper on the deck. I fileted it and cooked both filets on the grill. We had fish for dinner twice and a fish sandwich for lunch.
FedEx tracking is currently showing our alternator in Freeport with delivery tomorrow. We�'re still not sure why they sent it to Freeport instead of Nassau. We shall see if it gets here.
Trouble in Paradise
22 April 2021 | 20 57.4'N:73 40.7'W, Matthew Town, Great Inagua, Bahamas
If you notice from our tracker we are still in Matthew Town. We took a tour of the island on Monday and when we came back, started the engine to charge up the batteries. The voltage jumped to 17+ and we started to smell something like wire insulation. After things calmed down I discovered we were not getting any charge from the alternator to the batteries. This is bad with all the electronics aboard including the electronic fuel injection system on the engine.
Tuesday we started searching for a replacement alternator and none was to be found in the Bahamas. I did find a dealer in Freeport willing to search for us. He finally came back today with one is available in Clearwater but it would be prohibitively expensive for them to purchase it for us. The alternator would need to be shipped to Freeport then shipped to Inagua. It might arrive next month at great expense. Ray advised me to purchase it myself and have it shipped directly.
I called the distributor in Clearwater and arranged the purchase. FedEx ships to their facility in Nassau. They walk it through customs and get it to a Bahamas Air flight to Inagua. Flights to here are Mondays and Fridays and I am not very optimistic about it making the Monday flight next week.
Its looking more and more that Inagua may be the only island we see this trip. As you can see we are safe in the harbor and the price is only $10 per night. We are taking the dinghy out to swim and may fish a little tomorrow. The tour guide has been stopping by every day to check on us. People have been great.
Voyage 2021 Day 4
17 April 2021 | 20 57.4'N:73 40.7'W, Matthew Town, Great Inagua, Bahamas
After about 50 hours of motoring we made it to Matthew Town at about 2:30. The total passage was 632 nm during 4 days 6 hours. We tied up and started thru the customs and immigration process. After the process was completed we were able to take the yellow quarantine flag down and replace it with the Bahamian flag. I also bought a SIM card so we can be in touch with the rest of the world. I understand Bahamas has installed antennae wherever there is a settlement and people congregate. We will see how it works.
Our Inmarsat satellite phone is useful for voice calls but hasn�'t worked for email and data usage since Thursday. I suppose I will be calling the provider on Monday using the Bahamian cell phone to find out what is going on. I have had this problem before and thought it was the fans we use causing interference so I have been turning them off. They also affect the SSB reception with a lot of noise.
We hope to get a tour of the island, Great Inagua, tomorrow. The Morton Salt Co has a huge evaporation pond here from which many tons of sea salt are shipped out each year. The island is also a giant rookery for flamingos.
We hope to spend some nights anchored at a couple deserted islands in the Jumentos Cays on our way to the Exuma chain. Spend some time swimming fishing and plain relaxing.
Voyage 2021 Day 3
16 April 2021 | 18 51.4'N:74 34.2'W, Windward Passage
Our second 24 hour period had us travelling 169nm averaging 6.8 kn. We kept up this pace thru the morning but during the afternoon the wind started backing off. We started motor sailing at around 5:30 pm and by nightfall motoring without sails. We anticipate motoring the distance thru the Windward Passage after which 10knot easterlies are expected.
We rounded the Cape Dame Marie of Haiti around daybreak this morning. We have encountered many more ships going both directions. We assume they are passing thru between the US east coast and Panama.
As we were coming up the Carib Sea we encountered many large patches of Sargasso weed. This is the stuff you see on the Fl beaches all the time. There is an area in the middle of the Atlantic dubbed the Sargasso Sea. I have seen documentaries about the area which has its own eco system. There are certain kinds of shrimp and crabs living in the weed that other larger fish feed on. I also understand you wouldn�'t want to cut across that part of the ocean because of its density.
We are trying to maintain a pace that will allow us to enter Matthew Town on Great Inagua Island tomorrow afternoon. From there we will island hop up the Bahamas chain to reach Stuart.
14 April 2021 | 14 30'N:71 40'W, Caribbean Sea
We left Aruba yesterday after clearing out of Customs and Immigrations. We have been working on preparation for several weeks and we are now underway. We plan to arrive at Matthew Town in the Bahamas on Saturday spending about 2-1/2 weeks anchoring a lot. Then we go to Stuart to visit family. Finally we plan to go offshore to Morehead City, from there we take the ICW to the Chesapeake Bay. We are very much looking forward to having the boat 15 minutes from the house �- another first.
I am always surprised at how much wear and tear happens on a boat in storage. The main winches had both frozen up and the chartplotter is not working as designed. It all seemed to start with the automatic software and firmware updates that came during March. The touch screen remains locked, the fishfinder can�'t find the transducer and the old chartplotter I was using for GPS input can�'t find satellites. We are living with the non-touch screen, I will be relying on our old depth sounder, and I attached the VHF radio for the GPS inputs.so the chartplotter is keeping our position on the charts and helping with navigation.
Most of yesterday we were moving in the right direction at or greater than hull speed. This was with 2 reefs in the main, the jib and no mizzen. We hit a new 24 hour record for Neverland by covering 159NM from when we left the customs dock. The trade winds are great to sail in although they create a lot of wind chop. The chop is very similar to the short square wave we find in the bay, only bigger. Monica is starting to get over the sea sickness she suffers at the beginning of each voyage.
The wind has come down to around 15 kn so we are both able to relax more. The forecast looks like it will pick up again this afternoon and tonight.
Arrival in Aruba
22 December 2019 | 12 30.5'N:70 01.8'W, Oranjestad, Aruba
We rounded the southern point of Aruba about an hour before sunrise and worked our way up the west coast. The timing was pretty good because you don�'t want to enter strange ports during the night. Typically one must pass through the reef surrounding the island and they are not always marked very well.
As we were headed for the pass we were hit with another squall. The winds picked up as the visibility decreased. We were already under a partial jib only so didn�'t need to reduce sail. We sailed away from the island for about a half hour as the squall passed. As the weather cleared we headed in to the port where we were supposed to check in with customs and immigration. Since nothing was marked we didn�'t know where to dock the boat to find the offices. So we motored the 4 miles to Oranjestad to see what it looked like. The port authority hailed us on the VHF and directed us back to Haven Barcadera to do the clearance formalities.
We motored back down to the port and upon approaching the dock for the customs we ran aground. We hailed the port authority and he called the coast guard. By the time they showed up we had worked the boat off the bottom and managed to tie up to the bulkhead. We found the offices and checked in without any further issues.
Then we started looking for a place to anchor the boat. The trade winds were blowing 15-22kts today so it made reading the water difficult. The island is surrounded by a barrier reef. Between the reef and the island there is a channel but there is also a lot of shallow water. There are few marked channels except for commercial traffic so one depends on �"reading�" the water for depth. This is something we haven�'t had to experience until now. The anchorage we wanted to use would have us crossing a flat that the cruising guide said would have 6 feet of water if you picked the right trail. We ended up anchoring at a different location in front of a beach near the end of the airport runway. And by the way, the Danforth anchor didn�'t hold in the loose mud and weeds so we grabbed a mooring.
This year we covered 5000 nautical miles since we left Alicante, Spain at the end of September. We used the engine for less than 250 hours. During the ARC+ crossings the engine was used only for battery charging and not propulsion. We confirmed once again that our old boat is a capable cruiser and will get us to our destination safely. We were sometimes awestruck with the things we witnessed along the way. We made a lot of new friends from different parts of the world with a common goal of crossing an ocean in a small boat. I praise the World Cruising Club for their organization and support as we prepared for and made the crossing.