Go Back   Cruiser Log World Cruising & Sailing Forums > Cruising Forums > The Poop Deck
Cruiser Wiki

Join Cruiser Log Today

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-22-2010, 06:34 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 20

Hello, all,

I introduced myself in the Tavern, the recommended place for a first post, and, depending on how far-flung your viewing habits might be, you may already know of us, so excuse any duplication of the following, which appeared a while ago. See the Tavern thread on Doctor Diesel for our log following this passage, if it's of interest...

Because this passage report is in three sections, I don't know the protocol here - some moderators prefer to have them concatenated; others are happy to see them individually, the better for those who may care to comment. So, I'll post them separately, and if needed, a mod can do the cat...

Marsh Harbour-Georgetown, 2/16-18/2010, Part I

Hi, all,

We left you after a large variety of both frustrating and rewarding refits

and upgrades accomplished by a massive buying trip to the US afforded by a

surprise visit to family over the holiday season.

Well equipped, we set about learning how to use our new chartplotter and GPS

combination, verified all the new installations, and set to waiting for a

good weather window.

Weather windows, particularly in the Caribbean, drive passage planning, as

going at one time versus another can make all the difference in your comfort

and safety levels. We'd expected to leave just after February arrived, but

one after another promising window slammed shut by the time it had arrived.

"By the time it had arrived" means that the forecast for a future time

turned against us. Either wind levels or direction, or, significantly, wave

height, caused us to wait for what looked like a better time in the future.

Unfortunately for our earlier arrival (than what actually happened), each

time the interval to that future time elapsed, 4 different times, we were


pumped up and ready to go in a day or two only to have Chris Parker, our

weather guru, in his daily morning forecasts, shoot us down.

In Marsh Harbour, we were blessed with three different open (available to

anyone) sites to which we could successfully connect our WiFi (internet

connection) system described in a prior log. The most reliable, in terms of

availability and data throughput (the amount of data directly determines how

long it takes to take a web page to load, for example), was 11 miles away,

and the other two were, respectively, by measurement on our charts, 6 and 8

miles away. Those who have struggled to find an available signal as they

travel can appreciate the magnitude of that achievement. We routinely get

the jaw-dropping routine when other cruisers ask if we can find internet,

as, even with some of the recently developed more sensitive antennas and

higher powered transmitters for WiFi, most can't exceed a couple of miles'


So, with generally good connectivity, we also took advantage of several

sites which could give us an advance look at wind and waves in our area.

Each time an approaching weather window bore closer, we'd scrutinize our

available sources. And, as above, each time, we'd disappointedly confirm

our suspicions with Chris.

Finally, the day arrived when the wind and waves were tolerable, and we got

ready to leave, confirming that conditions were tolerable for our passage

with Chris Parker. The sea state would be barely OK for Lydia, who, if she

had her druthers, would have lots of wind with no waves. However, out in

the open Atlantic ocean, there were lots of big swells left over from all

the fronts which had marched through, one after the other. None the less,

it was the best we'd find, so we took advantage of the opening and left.

First, however, we listened to the morning net as we were getting ready to


You'll recall that the morning net is akin to a party line, where traffic is

directed by an "operator" ("net control," in actual name). The first of the

segments on all the morning nets, wherever they may be, is weather, and this

was no exception. A specific to the Abacos, of which Marsh Harbour's island

is one, is the passage reports. With all the small islands between Marsh

Harbour's Great Abaco and the Atlantic, you can only get to open water in a

few places, called passages.

Our preferred passage would have been North Man-O-War, being the closest,

but it was a mess, not recommeded even for the freighters which serve Marsh

Harbour. We'd already made contingency plans for that, however, as the last

passage from Great Abaco, opposite Little Harbour, was sheltered in the

prevailing winds. Unfortunately for our departure timing, it required a

long, zig-zag, sail down the inside of the Sea of Abaco, on which more

later. Not a biggie, we had plenty of time in our scheduling, so we made for

the fuel dock to take on water, gasoline and diesel.

You'll recall that we made our first fuel filter change ever recently, made

easier by my dual-filter setup. When you remove a filter, of necessity, it

brings some fuel with it, and, to boot, this particular filter housing had

no fuel above the intake/output holes, located low in the housing. As the

housing has to be full of diesel fuel when you seal it, you have to get that

fuel from somewhere. Fortunately, my fuel polishing setup has valves at the

bottom of the fairly large tubes, and I took the old Gatorade bottle I keep

for such events, put it under the valve of the already-filtered

tube (there are two in series, the first being a larger media, taking out

the "big chunks"), and drained a bit into it. Over several times of small

drainings into the Gatorade bottle (didn't want to have leftovers!), I

filled that container, and sealed it up again.

So, off we go to start it, which takes a while, surprisingly, especially

since it's running off the other filter housing at this point (the one we

switched to when the first one finally clogged after more than 1000 hours).

Troubleshooting along, I have a look in the new housing, and, surprisingly,

it's low, too. Same song, different verse, I fill it up and go again. All

seems well enough. Meanwhile, though, to refill the tube in the polisher

I've taken some from, I run the polisher pump, sucking fuel through the two

filters in series. Hmmm. Seems to be taking a long time to get up to

pressure. However, it eventually does, and all seems well. All this was

done days before our departure, however...

Like so many things in our boating world, though, it's, again, "Not so fast,

Bucko!" We motor off our anchor to wend our way through the shallows

leading to the fuel dock, arriving a little after 7:30 when we think we'll

find them open. Somewhat to our surprise, when we hail them to announce our

arrival, nobody answers. Ah, well, no biggie, we can dock this 40,000 pound

behemoth anywhere, any-how, by ourselves, and we'll just tie up and wait.

However, and very fortunately for us, exactly as Lydia was about to put a

line over a piling, as I was reversing to bring in the stern, the engine

died. Well! That's a surprise. No problem, we'll just restart. No such

luck. We hurriedly throw a line over a piling, snub it, and Flying Pig

stops her forward movement. Good thing, too, cuz it's pretty crowded where

we are, and throwing out the anchor would not necessarily have prevented us

from finding another boat's part with one of ours!.

Anyway, the boat's secured, and, especially as nobody's bothered to answer,

I set about trying to find out why it is we're not running any more. An

inspection of the fuel filters reveals the one we're running on to be very

low, again. Much head scratching, and knowing that diesels run on fuel

suctioned to the high pressure pump, I conclude we must have a leak in the

intake line somewhere.

Much tracing and testing of connections later, we've found nothing

suspicious. Running the fuel polisher delivers a constant stream of

polished fuel back to the tank, so, as the polisher's supply lines are

shared with the engine, as are the return lines (diesels don't use all the

fuel pumped to each cylinder, and there's a return line for the unused

fuel). I concluded, after not having found any leaks, that the air in the

fuel polisher's canister must have found its way to the engine's filter

housing by suction. Out comes the gatorade bottle and we fill it up again.

But wait...

The engine starts again after bleeding (the process which gets the air out

of the lines to each cylinder), something I'm getting very proficient at

doing! Hokay, no problem. In the meantime, we've put out a call to ask if,

for some reason, Harbour View is closed, they not having responde to our

hails. Turns out they don't open until 9. As it's almost 9, we have a cup

of coffee and call them. Sure enough, they're there, and will be right out.

Out comes the attendant, but we've got ourselves on the wrong end of the

dock to allow the water hose to work. In the meantime, the wind has picked

up, and there's no way we'll walk it around. No problem, I'll do some

back-and-filling, required, by this time, as the wind's picked up and has us

pinned to the dock, to bring us back. Oops... The engine dies again.


We reluctantly let the attendant know that it will be a while until we can

figure out what's going on. Another round of fuel filter checking, and,

again, the housing is empty. WHAT'S GOING ON HERE??? Well, we won't find

out before we refill them, so I go, yet again, to the far side of the engine

room, fetch the Gatorade bottle, and prepare to refill the fuel canisters.

But wait! My T-Bar tightening handle is loose! I've forgotten to tighten

it up after the last fuel refills. That would certainly allow air to make

it to the filter housing, right? So, refill, and, this time, I remember to

tighten the handle on the polisher tube. Another bleeding sequence, and the

engine again starts. Having gotten all shipshape again, we call the

attendant, and attempt to back the boat up the dock. However, by this time

the wind has built even more, and, pinned to the dock, I can't get the stern

far enough out to make any headway, as our prop-walk pulls the stern back to

the dock, aided by the wind pushing against us. No problem, we'll go

around, and come in at the other end of the dock, he sez confidently.

We have about two boat-lengths past the end of the dock before we're in one

of the marina's slips. Except that it's occupied by a boat whose bow sticks

out substantially, and the wind will blow us down the aisle between the

marina slips. However, I edge off the dock, and, as soon as we're past

center, give a right-rudder hard throttle to push the stern out (but which

pushes the nose in and closer to the other boats!), and, as quickly as our

momentum will allow us to - by the time I'm finished with the first

reverse - I throw the rudder hard over left and hit reverse. That pulls our

stern to the right while we back. A couple of those forward-left,

back-right's and we were in position to continue our left turn out of the

space between the slips and return to the dock.

All went entirely uneventfully there, other than that we were pleased to see

that our relatively profligate use of water from our leaving our dock space

where we'd kept Flying Pig during our trip to the states, knowing we'd be

refilling soon, amounted to an average of only 5 gallons a day. When we

don't have ready access to water, our use would be far more conservative,

but, even so, we felt very happy that we'd managed on that little.

Well, I see our adventure has gone on (and on!), as usual, so, since we're

now fueled, gassed and watered, we'll leave you here.

See you next time - Stay Tuned...


Skip and crew

Morgan 461 #2

SV Flying Pig KI4MPC

See our galleries at www.justpickone.org/skip/gallery !

Follow us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheFlyingPigLog

and/or http://groups.google.com/group/flyingpiglog

"Believe me, my young friend, there is *nothing*-absolutely nothing-half so

much worth doing as simply messing, messing-about-in-boats; messing about in

boats-or *with* boats.

In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's

the charm of it.

Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your

destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get

anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in

particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and

you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not."

skipgundlach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2010, 06:35 PM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 20

Marsh Harbour-Georgetown, 2/16-18/2010, Part II

When we left you last, we'd just finished a harrowing experience at the fuel

docks in Marsh Harbour. That all ended well, of course (all of our

harrowing experiences do, you know) :{))

So, with all our tanks filled, off we go in a building breeze, leaving the

fuel dock several hours later than anticipated, at 11:30AM. With the wind

at 20 knots or greater, and with all the changes of direction needed, we

sailed on genoa alone. Avid followers of our log will recall the same route

taken with my son and his wife, going south in approximately the same

conditions. I'll shorten the story to say that we went through every point

of sail, from an extreme beat (wind at 30* or less on our bow) to a dead run

(wind right behind us). During our sail, we were on both tacks (a tack is

the side from which the wind is blowing - thus, we'd be either on a

starboard or port tack), with our heading changes including both tacks

(coming about into the wind) and jibes (changing direction downwind) during

our trip down to Little Harbour. It was a marvelous sail other than the

constant changes every few minutes. Most places in the Bahamas are

recommended for VPR, visual pilotage rules, where you want to be able to see

and read the water and the bottom, and we made the cut opposite Little

Harbour at 3:45PM, with ample light to see our way through to the Atlantic

Ocean. Off we go!

The wind by this time is starting to moderate, and we set our course for

157*, hoping the wind would come further to our north, as it was nearly

directly behind us. Not only was it a bit strong for a spinnaker, we'd be

in darkness soon, and that's not the time to deal with having to take it

down suddenly - at least not without many crew. Our original plan had us

going through the two passages between Great Abaco and Eleuthera, but those,

too, were daylight-only exercises. We'd have arrived too early, and,

besides, I, at least, far prefer open water to having to worry about tides

(which create strong currents in these cuts) and worrying about coral heads

or sand bars. Accordingly, we headed outside, for the northeastern tip of

Eleuthera, after which we'd turn south.

Once we found how it was looking, we stopped and put up the main at 4:15PM.

We'd have preferred going wing-and-wing, with the Genoa out to one side and

the main out to the other, so we could have gone directly downwind, on

course for the northeastern tip of Eleuthera. In the lumpy, quartering

following seas, we didn't feel comfortable about poling out the genoa,

however, as, if we rolled far enough, we'd have the pole in the water,

unnecessarily stressing the rigging. Without that pole holding the sail out,

which would have helped even for our broad-reaching posture, the genoa

flapped and filled a lot, but we still made over 6 knots in 8-10 knots of

apparent wind, keeping the wind at 120* on our stern.

Unfortunately for us, the wind not only didn't turn, but instead backed a

bit, so, reluctantly, we adjusted our course to keep us on a broad reach

(wind approximately 120* on our stern), taking us much more southerly, at

165*. That course would require a later jibe to clear Eleuthera, but,

still, our dead-reckoning time of arrival would still put us at the entrance

to Georgetown early in the day. The wind started to die, and with only 4-14

knots of apparent wind, we frequently wallowed through 120* starboard to

150* port apparent wind direction. Fortunately, not only was the wind light,

but the rolls were quick enough, that we had only a couple of gentle jibes

of the main, which very quickly sorted themselves back out. Despite the

light winds, we made between 5.4 and 7 knots toward our destination.

Lydia went down for her first sleep after dinner, at 6:30, at which point

the already light winds got lighter and more fickle. With only 4-10 knots by

8PM, the boat rolled along, sails banging. Every time there was a gust to

(only) 14 knots, the boat stiffened up and our course stabilized. Conditions

other than the sea state in general were great, and I had terrific

propagation as I joined the Maritime Mobile (Ham radio) net at 7PM. The

wind, however, continued its flaky ways, and at 10PM I gave up and put in

10* further south to try to stabilize us somewhat, as our rolls were now

taking us through the full 120*Starboard-120*Port range. This was OK,

really, as we'd have to jibe it later, anyway, and the difference in

distance was still minimal in terms of the time to arrival in Georgetown.

Our estimated time of jibe would be 12:30-1AM. Despite the lowering and

flaky winds of 4-8 knots from many different directions, we still made 4-5

knots toward our destination (VMG, velocity made good).

We'd learned, much to our excitement, that our new chartplotter did what

we'd expected our other to do, which is to actually turn the boat toward the

next waypoint when we put in the "go to waypoint" command, rather than just

showing us the indicator arrows and the line we were to travel. Accordingly,

for the most part, Ray (the chartplotter) took over from Otto (the

autopilot), and we were left mostly to watch out for traffic. However, by

the shift change at 1AM, I'd taken to "driving" the boat with our autopilot

wheel (the thing which tells Otto what to do), moving as much as 30* at a

time, to cope with the wind shifts. The wind was shifting in velocity from

2-12 knots, and 45* in direction, with each (not necessarily at the same

time!) lasting no more than about 20 seconds.

Once Lydia was up, at 1AM, we jibed the boat to a course of 90*, and she

took over Otto's management while I went down to sleep. When I came up for

her relief at 4:30AM, conditions were much the same, and at 5AM, in about 2

seconds, I watched our wind indicator's dial go through a full 360* sweep!

Lydia reappeared at 7:30 after my listening to Chris at 6:30AM, being unable

to sleep with all the stern motion, and we had breakfast a little before

8AM. By this time, with all the autopilot activity (Otto and Ray are hungry

power-eaters) and full instruments, including radar, having been on for 24

hours, along with all the cranking we'd done in our many bleedings on

filter/air-leak expeditions, our batteries were down to 65%.

Our usual solution to low batteries is to start our Honda generator, putting

its output through our shore power outlet, feeding our charger, with the

generator sitting on the platform on the stern. However, that's not such a

good idea under way, as the platform isn't all that stable in these

conditions, so we reluctantly turned on the engine to take advantage of our

new high-output alternator. We hoped that some additional forward thrust

might help stabilize us, and were rewarded with not only lots of amps

flowing into our battery but a bit of stabilization as well as some increase

in speed.

As this is the end of the first full day, it seems like a good place to

stop, so I will :{))

Until next time, Stay Tuned :{))


Skip and Crew

Morgan 461 #2

SV Flying Pig KI4MPC

See our galleries at www.justpickone.org/skip/gallery !

Follow us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheFlyingPigLog

and/or http://groups.google.com/group/flyingpiglog

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you

didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail

away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore.

Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

Morgan 461 #2

SV Flying Pig KI4MPC

See our galleries at www.justpickone.org/skip/gallery !

Follow us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheFlyingPigLog

and/or http://groups.google.com/group/flyingpiglog

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you

didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail

away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore.

Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
skipgundlach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2010, 06:37 PM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 20

Marsh Harbour-Georgetown, 2/16-18/2010, Part III

When we left you last time, we'd just turned on the engine to replenish our

batteries and gain not only some speed but stability in the really horribly

fluky winds.

Ooops!! At 9AM, the engine stopped. WHAT's GOING ON???? Ah, well, the

water's not any fun here, so we will just have to go on like we were. Once

we arrive in our expected lee of Eleuthera's relative calm, along with some

more wind as forecast by Chris Parker, we should be more stable, and I can

go back to troubleshooting.

All this excitement and decision-making had taken less than a half-hour, and

I went down for my sleep at 9:30. However, I wasn't really tired, and

between all the boat motion and the motor and autopilot (Otto's motors are

right under our bed) noise I couldn't sleep, so got up. My rule is that if

I can't get to sleep in 30 minutes, I get up and do something useful.

That something useful, in this case, was, as the wind had gone a bit more

north, allowing close to a beam reach, to raise the staysail at 10AM. We

set our course for 90*, set the genoa, then the staysail and finally the

main to take advantage of our new tack while we enjoyed the ride. That done,

I went back to bed, getting an hour and a half nap, and returned topsides

shortly before noon. Chris' forecast had called for increasing and

stabilizing winds, so there was hope that the ride would improve so that

Lydia could get some sleep.

Meanwhile, there was this strange smell coming from the engine room, almost

like wood burning. However, close inspection revealed nothing of the sort,

other than a very pungent smell. I suspected the new alternator,

remembering my last new alternator I'd bought in Charleston having done the

same thing, and having been reassured by the vendor that it was entirely

normal for a new one to "cook" for a while, we just turned on the ventilator

fans and waited for it to "cure." And, in fact, when the engine stopped, I

went in the engine room and, like a good chemist, rather than sticking my

nose right over it, wafted air from over the alternator to my sniffer,

confirming that to be the source.

With the new course of sail, and another sail up to help stabilize the boat,

while we weren't wallowing quite so badly, we still rolled a bit, but our

speed increased. The increased stability was sufficient to allow Lydia to

get "some" sleep - 10 hours of it, as it turned out :{)) Meanwhile, our

speed increased with the wind, making mid-6 knots VMG in 14 knots of

apparent wind.

By 2PM, the wind piped a bit stronger. With 14-22 knots of apparent wind on

a broad reach, still, but having to curve slightly more north at 75* CMG

(course made good) to keep it broad, rather than behind us, we were now

making 7.4-8.5 knots with white water coming over the bow. Brilliant

sunlight made the splashing water sparkle as it landed on the dodger. Our

enclosure made us snug and dry in the cold weather, and we charged along.

Despite our slightly north of east point of travel, we were making excellent

time, and we were able to turn south toward the Exuma Sound, following the

east coast of Eleuthera, at 5:35 PM.

Yet another jibe, the staysail, being self-tending, on a boom, took care of

itself, as did the main, of course. However, with the staysail in the way,

I rolled in the genoa a bit, got the genoa through the slot, and let it out

again. Now, with all sails flying on a beam reach, we were fairly flying

along at 176*, making for the slot between Eleuthera and Little San

Salvador. We had only about 45 miles to go from our point well north of the

tip of the island, and in a few hours, we'd be in the lee of Eleuthera,

where I could go back to figuring out our engine's challenges.

Sure enough, by 7:30, as we crossed into the island's lee, not only did the

wind drop a bit, but the waves started to diminish as well. We saw 8-15

knots on our beam, making only 4.8-6.5 knots VMG in what was obviously a

very strong current. That was good, because our dead-reckoning, even these

speeds, would have us to the mouth of Elizabeth Harbour, Conch Cut, well

before dawn. Lydia got up a little before 10, and I took advantage of a

second hand to try to figure out our blasted engine challenges.

Once again, I go troubleshooting, and find the fuel filter housing's

somewhat low on fuel. Out comes the Gatorade bottle, same song, second

(well, 4th, 5th? - I lost count) verse. Fortunately, I've got a cheapie

(that is, it doesn't cost much - under $5) pushbutton starter jumper which

allows me to bleed and restart the engine easily, right there at the engine,

with the shutoff valve close to hand to stop it. This time, we watch


The engine bleeds easily and restarts without much hassle - but dies

relatively quickly, as we watch bubbles come out of the bottom of the filter

(there's a clear glass bottom on the housing so you can see what's in there,

including water, which we've never had), eventually starving the engine (we

THINK - as you'll see in a minute).

DANG! There must be a leak, somewhere. More checking, of every fitting,

again. However, this time, the fuel polisher pressures right up, so it's

not likley to be in the line from the tank. If not there, then down the

line - I find that the one going to the manual pump (the one used to bring

fuel to the pressure pump if the lines are empty) is loose - the fitting

goes around when I twist the hose. That fitting is where I hang the

overflow bottle for the coolant; each restart, I unhook it and pour the cup

or so of coolant which remains back into the heat exchanger. Apparently,

when I checked the fittings before, I didn't rotate so much as wiggle that

fitting, thus overlooking it. Well, DUH! Air's getting into the line, and

regardless of the integrity of the lines before that, air is infiltrating

the fuel as it goes into the engine.

A quick go with a 5/8" wrench, and that's secure. Fill the filter housings,

tighten the fuel polisher canister, start the polisher to make sure that

there's no air possible in the lines, and we're good to go. Bleed, start,

wait, rev, we let it run for 15 minutes while we watch the fuel filters. I

start and stop a couple of times and switch between filters each time. A

couple of bubbles which, after reflection, were merely the void in the feed

tube when I refilled the canister, make it out of the bottom of the filter

in both housings, after which all is clear. After all those exercises in

frustration, in the end, it was the loose fitting at the manual pump which

was responsible for our failures. I'd done the same twist-check on each

other fitting, but had presumed the failure was before the fuel filters,

rather than after them...

So, off we go, motor-sailing with the revolutions about the same as would be

resulting from a flat-water motoring speed to conserve fuel, while our

battery recharges heartily. The same alternator cooking smell persists,

though, so with both of our engine room's ventilator/extractors going, we're

eating up another 20 or so amps than we would have under sail alone. The new

alternator handles it with aplomb.

Little San Salvador arrives in due course and we alter our direction

slightly to point us at Conch Cut, 63 miles away on a course of 161*, a

broad reach. We're still looking like we'll be there very early, but don't

reduce sail on the possiblility that we'll find the wind dying on us. We'll

heave to if needed to allow us to enter the cut in the daylight. I go down

at 11PM for my sleep while Lydia enjoys the ride and her iPod shuffle's

music. The gentle slapping of the waves, the easy motion of the boat and

the slight chirping which Otto does put me right out. Ray is on duty so

Lydia doesn't have to drive, and, Lydia tells me later, the radar is quick

to point out the few pieces of traffic which are in the area.

I'm awakened at 3:30 by Lydia, who tells me that we're about 10 miles out

from Conch cut, having made our passage down the Exuma Sound, and that it's

time to heave to. I move the mainsail traveler stop to center, pull the

genoa very tight-sheeted in, and make a hard left. As the mainsail comes

around, I sheet it very hard, centering it. As it turned out, it would have

been well to move the stop further than center, as I wasn't able, without

using a winch (which I far prefer not to do - and, since I rarely ever do

stuff I don't want to, I didn't, then, either), to sheet the main fully

tight. However, the genoa is plastered against the inner stay and sheeted

back, forcing the nose to try to turn downwind, while the mainsail, not

being fully centered, and our rudder, hard over, tried to make us turn

upwind. The two offset each other, and we slid sideways while moving

forward slightly, making a nice slick behind us minimizing the waves and

making a very smooth, rise-and-fall motion versus the prior wallowing as the

swells went under us. By the time we're settled in, we're only 5 miles off

the marker to Conch Cut.

As a result of our main not being fully centered, our heaving to was not as

perfect as it might have been, and we jogged along at about 75-80* of

apparent wind, instead of the ideal 45-60*, moving 078* ENE at about 2.8

knots in 20 knots of wind. I stood watch while Lydia slept, and at a little

after 6AM, prepared to make my turn back into a sailing position.

Coming out of a hove-to position is no more difficult than turning the wheel

the other way, which allows the genoa to push the nose around to where the

wind fills it again. The main and staysail both flopped over to the sailing

position as well, and we were off and running on what would turn out to be a

close reach. The close reach was as a result of all of our eastward

movement during our hove-to travels, over 8 miles, and, with only, now,

about 10 miles to go, we would have to beat into the wind. As the wind had

picked up again during this time, our return to a sailing position resulted

in a rapid shift from a starboard list to a port list. BANG! CRASH!

Needless to say, this brings Lydia up on a run. However, it was pretty


Oops. Despite our usual vigilance in securing stuff, there had been a

couple of items in the salon which had been overlooked. One was the

"sailing drawer" - the place where light-duty repair stuff, like

self-amalgamating tape, sail thread and needles and the like, were kept. It

wound up against the opposite bulkhead. The other was Lydia's laptop, which

had been sitting on the salon seat, definitely not where we'd normally

secure it. When it landed, it broke the tip of her power supply cord, still

inserted, and left the end in the socket. The video camera's USB plug,

fortunately, was merely bent, and I was able to bend it back into


So, along we beat with wind at 15-20* apparent, still motorsailing.

However, with the wind speed and the very tight pinch, we're heeled a bit

much, so we roll in the Genoa, and proceed on main and staysail. We made

Conch Cut at a little after 8AM and began our threading through the coral

heads with some trepidation. However, we'd sailed that route last year

during the "fun race around Stocking Island" (the one where we finished not

only last but by some 2-3 hours later than the other latest arrival), and so

knew that it should be all right to trust the Explorer Charts' rhumb lines

from waypoint to waypoint.

Sure enough, Ray (for Raymarine, our chartplotter's maker) swiftly turned

the boat at each point, heading directly for the next, as I surveyed the

bottom, finding nothing at all of note. This is in stark contrast to our

last entry, in late 2008, where we were white-knuckling it from beginning to

end, not having our Explorer Charts' waypoints entered, and, instead, merely

making sure we didn't hit any of that dark blob stuff under us. So much so

that, should we find ourselves in a position to have to leave here in the

dark on our way back north, we'd be comfortable doing it by waypoint, GPS

positioning, and charts.

I'd promised Bob Stewart, the seller of the WiFi gear we use, that I'd

survey each of the 5 beaches on Stocking Island for available connection

points, so we got to get the tour before anchoring in front of Chat'n'Chill,

the local drink'n'eatery on the beach. We had the hook down at 9:30, and,

having had a very lumpy ride overall, with little sleep between us, we both

went down for a nap. 44 hours from starting out, we're here...

Well, as usual, there's more, but for now, we'll let it wait a bit.

Until next time, Stay Tuned!


Skip and crew, happy to be in Georgetown

Morgan 461 #2

SV Flying Pig KI4MPC

See our galleries at www.justpickone.org/skip/gallery !

Follow us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheFlyingPigLog

and/or http://groups.google.com/group/flyingpiglog

"And then again, when you sit at the helm of your little ship on a clear

night, and gaze at the countless stars overhead, and realize that you are

quite alone on a wide, wide sea, it is apt to occur to you that in the

general scheme of things you are merely an insignificant speck on the

surface of the ocean; and are not nearly so important or as self-sufficient

as you thought you were. Which is an exceedingly wholesome thought, and one

that may effect a permanent change in your deportment that will be greatly

appreciated by your friends."- James S. Pitkin
skipgundlach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2010, 06:54 PM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 20

George Town - Thompson Bay, Long Island, Exumas 3-14-10

When we left you, we were preparing to depart after several lovely weeks in

the Volleyball Beach area of Stocking Island, across from George Town. Our

weather window looked great, both to us, and to many other boats in the

harbor, as there were, eventually, over 20 boats which departed for Long

Island and other southerly points. We'd raised our dinghy which, very

conveniently, had most of the green stuff removed by the frequent trips to

the beach, stowed the engine and fuel tank, and secured all the other stuff

which might go sliding, the prior night.

As is our wont, we didn't hurry things, particularly since this was only a

31 mile trip, with winds favorable for direct rhumb lines between waypoints.

Accordingly, we were among the last to leave, having enjoyed the morning net

and a leisurely breakfast. And, true to form, we were the last to arrive in

Thompson Bay :{))

I'd suggested, on the morning VHF net, that boats enroute use channel 65 to

keep in touch. That proved to be useful, as the usual chatter on 68, the

hailing channel for George Town was still audible for most of the trip. With

the still-large number of boats in Elizabeth Sound, that made for the usual

busy gossip as boats there hailed each other and went to another working

channel, so not having to deal with that clutter was a benefit to the

cruisers under way.

The day dawned with nearly no wind, but things picked up a bit such that we

sailed off our 200' anchor rode at 8:45 in a nearly straight downwind run at

120* to our first turn out through the cut at the bottom of Stocking Island.

With our 8 knots of apparent wind on a 150* extremely broad reach, we were

making 5.6-6 knots, so the real wind was more like 13-14 knots. Perfect for

a relaxed day of sailing, in brilliant skies. Because of the rolling seas,

however, we stayed on mainsail only, because without the genoa poled out,

something we didn't want to bother with at the time, it would have flopped

more than it pulled us along.

Sure enough, we turned the corner, moving slightly east to 98* on the way to

North Channel Rocks, at 9:15, and improved our point of sail to help

minimize the rock and roll and yawing which always accompanies a downwind

run. For reasons we've yet to discover, for the first couple of legs, our

power seemed to have an intermittent interruption, as both our radios, GPS

and autopilot frequently "took a dump" - but came right up again. As

dependent (and very pleased, of course) as we've become on the chartplotter,

this was very disconcerting.

However, the channel south and southeast is well marked, so we weren't

concerned, other than to be scratching our heads over the behavior. As it

turned out, those were short-lived, and after that brief period of perhaps a

half-dozen such interruptions, everything stayed stable for the balance of

the trip. Given that we were at a strong net positive amps the entire way,

with battery voltage at 13.5V, this was further mystifying, as low voltage

should not have been a factor. Ah, well, another of those mysteries which

may never be solved, as, if it won't persist, it's very difficult to


Our next turn came promptly at 9:30, slightly upgrading our point of sail as

we turned slightly northeast to avoid the next hazard at PigeonCay. We

lost that advantage as we reached our next waypoint, as we headed 111* again

at 10AM, en route to the next waypoint, Hog Cay, which would allow us to go

nearly east. In the meantime, the forecasted 15-20 knots of wind went

a-glimmering, dying as we headed out. Hm... Could be a long day... Oops!

Forgot to set the SPOT - our personal locator transmitter. Turned that on;

you can see, up until about the 20th or so, the remainder of our track to

Long Island at tinurl.com/flyingpigspot...

As we'd entered the Atlantic Ocean, we had many rollers left over from the

last many fronts which had gone through, so our nearly downwind attitude

made, again, for some rock and roll. However, the wind improved slightly

(still very light!), so the genoa mostly stayed full as we made 5.5-6 knots

under an apparent wind of only 5 knots. If it weren't for all the rock and

roll, we'd have put up the spinnaker, but the apparent wind was too close to

our stern to make that work. If the genoa flopped, the spinnaker would have

surely flogged - not a happy thought for that very lightweight, huge sail.

The rolling and yawing made for apparent wind which crossed our stern, so we

prevented the main. For those unfamiliar with the term, that means we took

a block and tackle rig from the end of the boom to the cable on one of our

main shrouds' bases, making it such that the wind, if it got behind the sail

momentarily, couldn't produce a crash jibe - the sudden, unexpected, and

somewhat violent swap of the boom and sail from one side to the other. The

winds were light enough that it wouldn't have been hazardous, but we didn't

want to put up with it, so prevented the main.

The genoa continued to flop a bit, but mostly stayed full, adding drive in

the light airs as we proceeded at 119* true (vs magnetic, an offset which

varies each year, very slightly, but in any case is several degrees

different than true direction). Our course of travel was intended to clear

several shoal and reef areas, with the Explorer Chart (the "gold standard"

of Bahamas navigation) waypoints well beyond the last hazard.

Accordingly, as soon as we'd cleared the last little reef area north of Hog

Cay, we turned nearly east, to 106 magnetic, at 11:45. What a glorious day

to sail! We saw several boats, frustrated with the light winds, motoring by

us, and, with our grungy bottom, left over from Marsh Harbour, we knew we

would be slow, anyway. Thus it was no surprise that we were overtaken by

the last boats, one by one, and soon, there were none in view astern. Most

of the early-outs were nearly out of sight, and a few had chosen to go full

east, to get more wind, intending to go down the lee (normally - the wind

was into the inside of the island) of Long Island, hoping that their faster

speed east would make up for the downwind run near Long Island. As it turned

out later, it caused us to ALMOST not be the last ones in, as those boats

didn't achieve what they'd wanted.

That's because the wind continued to die, in defiance of the forecasts.

However, we were now on a broad reach for that leg as we headed for White

Cay Bank for about an 8-mile sail. Strangely, further out in the Atlantic,

the waves subsided notably, and you simply couldn't have asked for a better

sailing day, even if it wasn't very fast. As we always do, we put out our

fishing lines while we were under way, and despite the occasional bleep from

our fishfinder indicating fish at 4-6 feet, and our nearly ideal trolling

speed of 4-6 knots, nobody decided our lures looked inviting, or, perhaps,

they just weren't hungry. However, our cedar plug, the most reliable lure

for any variety we've caught, managed to accumulate several grass or seaweed

clumps, and, early on, a couple of pieces of plastic. Fortunately, the

plastic experiences were limited to relatively close to Little Exuma, the

island south of George Town...

The wind continued to die, but with the broad reach, our genoa stabilized to

the same side as the main, which we un-prevented, allowing us to sheet it in

a bit (bring the sail closer to the stern), and we were achieving 5.5 to 6.5

knots with only 5 knots of apparent wind on a very placid sea, perhaps 1-2'

light chop, with no rollers to slew us sideways. Ahhh... This is how

cruising SHOULD be!

Unfortunately, the wind continued to die, and by the time we'd reached our

final turn to the last waypoint outside Thompson Bay at 2:30, taking us back

on a downwind run, our blazing speed had dropped to all of 2 knots. So,

reluctantly, as, at this speed, we'd arrive after dark, with a promised

cocktail hour at one of our special friends' boat's likely finished by the

time we got there, we turned on the engine at 2:45.

Rolling up the genoa, we sheeted the main in tight at the center, the better

to stop rolling, we motored along for the last 10 miles. We were in open

ocean, so didn't expect anything, particularly since our fishfinder had been

quiet for most of the trip after our turn, but as we made our turn into

Thompson bay and prepared to drop the main, I suddenly remembered we still

had lines out. Oops! I'd hate to have those go in the prop, despite our

line cutter, so I had Lydia (she drives while I flake the sail) abate while

I reeled them in, about 5PM.

Surprise, the first line was very deep, and had a fair amount of resistance.

Hm. We must have a fish! Sure enough, a very tired barracuda appeared

alongside. Unfortunately, he'd managed to get inside of the other line, but

a few shakes, trying to escape the hook, allowed it to throw the other line.

As I reeled him in preparing to bring him aboard, Lydia reeled in the other

line, and all was well.

Once the gaff was inserted and re-tubed (there's a plastic tube which goes

over the end of the point for safety when it's not being used to fetch a

fish), we secured the gaff under the platform supports, letting him hang,

while we threw out the hook. We'd come well in to the harbour, for better

protection against wind and rollers, but still had a secure 8 feet or so

under us. Ironically, by that time, the wind had come up again, so

anchoring was our usual procedure of letting out enough rode to assure a

good point of attack on the anchor, letting it grab, and then successively

letting out about 10 feet each time, allowing the anchor to further set

before we asked it to take the entire load.

Given the shallow depth, a target of mine so that I could dive the bottom of

the boat and clean off all the accumulated wildlife during our time here, we

only needed 75' out. There's plenty of room here, so I could have put out

as much as I wanted without fear of imposing on anyone else, but this

amounted to a 6-1 scope at the anchor roller, and more at the water. With

the forecasts calling for dying winds, that was plenty, and when Lydia

backed down smartly after I'd set the snubber (the nylon line which

stretches, allowing the boat not to be shocked by wave action), we were

rewarded by a substantial change in angle and a curtsey from Flying Pig as

her nose was pulled down. The 75' marker stayed close to the surface,

giving us our comfortable angle of the chain.

As I'd expected, the cocktail hour was well under way, with 4 dinghies tied

off astern of our hosts, next to us. Since it would take us a while to drop

the dinghy and get it operational, we begged a ride, and were shortly aboard

Far Niente, home to Jay and Diana Howell. We were pleased to see our

friends from Veranda, Bill and Christy, who we've encountered in places as

far-flung as Sandy Hook, NJ, Annapolis, Sampson Cay Exumas and, now, here.

Also aboard were two other sets of cruisers we'd met at the laundromat in

George Town, and a great time was had by all.

As usual, the talk seemed to turn to internet connectivity, and one of the

boats, Savage Son, will have a visit from me soon to see if I can help him

get his RadioLab setup running. Another cruiser is helping him with a

sudden death of his computer, and yet another cruiser will be helping Jay

and Diana with a generator problem. This is classic cruiser behavior -

everyone helps everyone else. Generators were another source of discussion,

and, again, classic cruiser behavior, the generator problem will be

addressed by spare parts carried, but not needed, by a fellow cruiser. We

have several hundred pounds, probably, of such parts aboard for the same

sort of circumstances. Those parts are not even for gear we own - but we

know that someone will have a use for them.

However, while not related to that evening's discussion, I'm very comforted

by what my kids referred to, all the time they were growing up, and later,

as young adults, coming to me for something they needed, as "Dad's Hardware

Store" - a place to get nearly anything you'd need for common household

repairs. That concept has since been converted to "Skip's Chandlery" as I

took an unused space in the workbench area and installed 3 cabinets of 18

bins each, where you'll find nearly every commonly used screw and bolt,

along with their associated nuts, lock nuts, washers and fender washers.

Other of those bins are filled with electrical connectors, backing plates,

cabinet hardware, shims, and the like. Other major bins in the engine room,

about 6 cubic feet each, are filled with other spares and tools. It, and

the other many storage places aboard Flying Pig, all full of heavy stuff, is

the reason, most likely, that we draw 7' instead of the designed 6' :{))

We left Barry for when we arrived back at the boat, and I made short work of

filleting and skinning him (or her - I didn't bother to examine the insides

to see if the relatively full stern-side belly area was full of eggs) under

the aft spotlight. That allowed me to also (of necessity, done each time I

clean a fish there) scrub down the platform, my filleting/cleaning station.

I'd noted I'd been tracking a bit of dirt aboard, probably from the time I

helped another cruiser sharpen his drill bits. Actually, the sharpening

took place on the work bench, but I'd taken advantage of fetching out my

grinder to wire-wheel all the rust off some wrenches I'd not gotten to in

St. Petersburg during our refit. The rust and wire wheel bristle throw-off

had soiled the platform, and brushing just didn't get it in terms of

preventing tracking.

Once that was done, I'd taken them ashore in George Town, and applied the

special stainless steel spray paint we've had such great luck with on other

tools. I discovered on the trip down here that I'd forgotten the spare

snubber - a simple chain hook, which came with the boat - used on our second

anchor. It was severely rusted, dropping rust flakes on the deck under

where it hangs on our boom crutch supports. That will be one of the future

1-2-3s we do aboard, but, having stowed the grinder, I'll not attack that

just yet :{))

As it was very late, we didn't grill our dinner, particularly since, as

these occasions seem to do, we'd filled ourselves with everyone's appetizers

at the cocktail hour, we just checked the internet and headed to bed.

Internet here is very sparse, with only a few stations to choose from.

However, when there's a signal, it's great. Monday dawned slightly

overcast, and with Daylight Saving Time in effect, we slept later than

usual. That resulted in our missing the Chris Parker broadcast on the

weather, but we got a brief period of internet connectivity allowing us to

pull down some mail.

That went away very quickly, so, I set to my 1-2-3s, the first of which was

to see if the liberal application I'd done of PBBlaster (a rust and other

parts-seizure corrective) to the inside area of the Honda generator, where

the bolts for the feet come through, and had thoroughly rusted, had produced

any success. We'd broken two of the feet, due to aging of all things

vibrational, and the bolts were sticking out of the bottom. We'd solved the

problem of deck damage by puttng a board, wrapped in the type of

waffle-surfaced rubber common in boats' cabinets, to minimize sliding while

heeled, under those. However, being a hard surface, that produced a lot of

resonant noise inside the boat, and, in any case, I wanted to replace not

only those missing, but the two other feet, which I knew wouldn't be far

behind in their departure.

You may recall from one of the Marsh Harbour logs that we'd taken it to a

Honda repair place to solve a running problem, and, at the same time, see if

the feet could be removed, using those I'd sourced in our last trip ashore

for replacements. Stuck fast, it didn't happen, but the solution to the

problem is to liberally attack the corroded/rusted parts with something like

I'd used, and be patient.

My patience, enhanced by the number of times it had been run in the interim,

allowing the puddle I'd made in the little receiver over the "nuts"

(actually plates) to vibrate, helping work the stuff into the threads of the

rusted areas, was rewarded with the reluctant, but eventual, removal of all

4 bolts and installation of the new feet. I lightly oiled and reinserted

and removed the bolts, thus chasing off any rust from the threads both on

the bolts and receivers, and then carefully and thoroughly removed the

remaining oil from the bolts. Before installing the new feet, I applied the

temporary Loctite adhesive which would help prevent further rust-ups, and

another set of feet (which likely won't be needed for another several years,

based on the first set's lifespan) is on my next shopping list items for our

expected trip for Lydia's Grandson Fix.

Also while in George Town, during my on-air seminar on Honda generators, I'd

commented that an ideal vibration isolator would be some closed-cell foam.

One of the listeners offered some scraps he had, and we Gorilla Glued a pair

together, making an ample base for the generator. I was thrilled to NOT

hear the generator as we started it up to top off our batteries, and also to

realize that with that vibration damper, the feet would likely last even

longer than the first set. I wasn't thrilled to think that the last month

or so, when we didn't have the KISS wind generator, and we'd had lots of

wind, and thus likely would have had full batteries, not needing the boost,


As always, though, Cruising Is Boat Repairs in Exotic Locations. Thus, my

next 1-2-3 was to remove and inspect the bearings from the salvaged parts of

the KISS which went overboard in Marsh Harbour. They were fine, but,

preventatively, I regreased them and reinstalled them, ready for the new

housing and needed parts for its reinstallation. As we move south, and the

sun moves north, accompanied by the trade winds which should arrive soon,

perhaps the Honda will assume its normal storage condition :{))

So, thus chuffed with my success on two major nuisances on the yet-to-do

list accomplished, we again looked for internet connectivity. We were

pleased to find a strong connection with great data flow. Unfortunately,

that ruined the rest of our day, as we caught up on all the delayed internet

stuff we'd put off. Voice communications were great, too, so every other

plan we'd had for the day got ignored as Lydia spent most of the day on the

phone, having many conversations with family, and I got some of my sourcing

for the next round of parts ordering done. Before we knew it, dark had

fallen, and by 9:30, we gave up and went to bed :{))

We have yet to explore Long Island, and while in the area, we'll also visit

the Jumentos, widely held to be even more amazing for diving than the Abaco

locations we're so stunned by. It's also an area, being very remote, which

boasts fishing of every sort - piscene, shellfish, and crustacean are at

every turn - and we're anxiously looking forward to having our fill of

easily obtained dinners.

Long-time readers may recall that last year, as the "season" was winding

down, we encountered a new arrival to George Town who commented that he'd

spent the entire winter there, spending only $500 the entire time, as his

food supply was no further than a jump off the boat, supplemented with the

dry goods he'd brought with him. We won't be here that long, but we surely

do look forward to being able to duplicate the experience. Friends here

confirm those reports, so I may, in fact, be able to get my first lobster -

and with any luck, many more.

So, today, while I got some gasoline and dumped the garbage, Lydia walked

the ocean side, a hike of nearly an hour over some "interesting" terrain,

once you left the roads, hoping to find more sea beans - hamburger and heart

beans in particular, with some friends from Windara, another boat we met in

George Town. Much to her disappointment and disgust, it was absolutely

filled with trash, and not the first bean. However, report of the mother

lode entice her to the Jumentos. The weather, fortunately, was perfect -

low 80s, brilliant, and flat seas made for a lovely hike, unspoiled by golf

clubs ("Golf is a lovely walk, spoiled"), even if the beach was


So, we'll leave you as we head for the water for our salt-water showers, and

future adventures in Long Island.

Until next time, Stay Tuned!


Skip and crew

Morgan 461 #2

SV Flying Pig KI4MPC

See our galleries at www.justpickone.org/skip/gallery !

Follow us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheFlyingPigLog

and/or http://groups.google.com/group/flyingpiglog

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to

make it come true. You may have to work for it however."


"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in

its hand

(Richard Bach)
skipgundlach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2010, 11:09 PM   #5
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 20

My apologies if this is a duplication, but I promised the folks over in the Tavern that I'd post some stuff on the Bahamas - and, I thought I did, and saw them in the list, but maybe I dreamed it :{))

So, here's some commentary on Georgetown, and, later, the story of our trip from Marsh Harbour to Georgetown...

Hooked on George Town! 2-18/3-14/10

We left you having arrived after a bit of a lumpy, but exhilarating, 44-hour

ride from Marsh Harbour, Abaco to George Town, Exumas. We anchored in about

12 feet of water, putting out our usual 7-1 scope. As we have a 5' rise

over the waterline to the bow roller, the critical point of measure then

being about 17' (12' depth plus 5' rise), that meant that we put out 125' of

chain. Our actual practice is to stretch the line and count chain in the

water, so that 125' was a bit of overkill, as the catenary (the shape of the

stretched chain due to the weight resulting in a curve rather than a

straight line) put well over 100' in the water as opposed to the needed 84

feet. So, effectively, we had more like an 8-1 scope, always comforting.

Being somewhat tired after a little-sleep (due to the exaggerated motion of

the boat on most of the way over) passage, after being secure in our

anchorage, we headed to bed for a welcome nap. Surprisingly, we slept like

the dead for 4 hours :{)) After our nap, we got up and surveyed the

situation, which was very much more settled than our trip outside.

Reassured, we had our Zone Bar lunch as we always do, finding it a filling

and diet-happy, low-calorie, complete-nutrition meal. Afterward, enjoying

the settled conditions, we put out the dinghy and headed to shore.

A stop into Chat'n'Chill, the famous drink-and-eatery on Stocking Island,

the barrier island outside Great Exuma, home of George Town, revealed that

Kendall, the guy behind the bar, remembered Flying Pig well, and, in

particular, asked after Lydia's mother, who'd been with us for 6 months last

year, including our entire time in George Town (well, technically, a week in

Monument Beach, and the rest of the time at Volleyball Beach, on Stocking

Island). Later enounters with nearly any boat's crew which had been here

last year also generated questions as to whether Louise was with us again

this year. Obviously, she was a great hit with all she encountered!

Once we'd made the rounds of those we recognized, Lydia settled into reading

on the beach, and I again hit the volleyball courts. KB (for Kenneth

Bowles), the owner of Chat'n'Chill, graciously provides a host of amenities

for visiting cruisers and other vacationing folks who may come from hotels

here or on Great Exuma Island. His only qualification for the use of all

the amenities is that you buy your drinks and food from him, rather than

cart it in like picnic-bent folks might usually do.

As his marvelous burgers are only $4, ditto the grilled chicken sandwiches

and the $3 hot dogs, along with a large meal (meaning entrée and sides) menu

being similarly affordable, that's a very small price to pay for the


"What amenities?" you may well ask, if you've not had the pleasure before.

Well, there's the hundred or so beach chairs that get taken up each evening,

and then set out again in the morning, after the beaches and the walkways

have been groomed by his staff. Then there's all the (VERY hefty, being made

from 2x6 and 4x4 pressure treaded lumber) picnic tables and benches, many

with large folding umbrellas. If that's not enough, there are three

immaculately groomed and maintained sand volleyball courts, with many balls

available (those are stuck in the top of the signboard which announces

cruiser-related events) if one of the cruisers hasn't brought their personal

favorite ball. In the event of too much of a crowd, there are two overflow

courts as well.

Of morbid interest to cruisers, the posts for the volleyball courts are made

from sections of masts, no doubt from dismasted boats, set far into the sand

so as to be entirely stable against the very-tight pulls needed to keep the

(also supplied by K nets firm and straight. And, in case you're not into

physically-oriented activities as such, he also hosts the Beach Church (an

organized church run by and for cruisers every Sunday morning), providing

seating for the over-100 (and usually closer to 150) weekly attendees. I

got my singing fix by being part of the choir and, this year, also part of

"Opening Night" - the beginning of the 2-week cruiser's regatta activities -

where I and a couple of dozen other folks accompanied a singer in Barry

Manilow's "One Voice." Unfortunately, despite there having been about 8

other male voices, time and events conspired against me and those who showed

an interest in doing some Barbershopping (very close harmony in a quartet),

and we never were able to get a group together for that...

When there's not something going on directly at the volleyball courts, or on

the tables for the beach church, there's Bocce, basket weaving (don't

laugh - the local materials make for some VERY beautiful and functional

baskets, including some which are watertight), Scrabble, and, on the

beaches, classes and seminars galore. All hosted, free to cruisers and

townspeople alike, by our benefactor KB.

Anyway, I digress, as the thought of the volleyball courts got me

sidetracked. Many who have never been here deprecatingly describe George

Town (the experience, not the actual town) as summer camp for geriatrics or

seniors (the bulk of cruisers are, shall we say, "mature"). While that's

true in the event you want to become part of the many organized and regular

happenings, it's also entirely easy to be totally alone in an island

environment, enjoying the other beaches, birdwatching walks, nature walks,

the ocean side, accessible by many paths from the Elizabeth Harbour (the

water between Stocking Island and Great Exuma) side, and on and on. So, if

the "reputation" of George Town puts you off, be sure to talk to those who

have actually been here. It's anything you'd want in a remote island, but

easily accessible to town for the airport, groceries, parts, supplies, and

local events (of which there are also many) in addition to all the

activities on Volleyball beach.

Included in those activities is YogaLates, a combination of yoga and

pilates. Last year, yoga was held, by an experienced cruiser, on Sand

Dollar Beach, about a mile south of Volleyball Beach, but this year's

sessions were done right out in front of us. This year's instructor has a

studio in which she has taught for many years in her home in Toronto, so she

really put us through our paces. By "our" I include myself, never having had

the first bit of yoga in my life, and Lydia, a regular last year. She had

told me that it was a good workout, and my experience this year proved her


Those of you who've followed us regularly recall that Lydia and I both lost

a substantial amount of weight during our refit in Saint Simons Island last

summer, thanks to the prodigious effort expended and the blistering heat.

Wanting to make sure it stayed off, I decided that I'd get even more

excercise than I usually do here (more on that later), and went off to learn

how to be a pretzel (or so I thought).

Surprise, yoga isn't about twisting yourself into knots, but mostly

stretching and passive-resistance type of exercise, done at a pace which

elevates the heart rate and tones the muscles. The pilates part is a bit

more strenuous, but I welcomed the opportunity to become somewhat less of a

computer-chair potato than I might have otherwise have been. So, over the

last month, depending on availability (some days were not held either due to

weather or conflict with the instructor), I've put myself through 20 or more

sessions and am more flexible for the experience.

My major exercise, however, comes on the volleyball court. Volleyball here

at Stocking Island is very relaxed - in fact, it's called "fun volleyball."

There are 9 to a team, no overhand serves or spikes, and all ages and both

sexes, from 15 up, are invited and encouraged to play. Needless to say,

there are widely varying skill levels in any game, and with 9 to the court,

nobody has to be all that energetic in getting to the ball if they don't

want to. In fact, to prevent collisions, most are a bit reticent to move

outside their "position" - which makes for a fair number of untouched balls.

Of course, you get the level of exercise you wish, and I made sure I worked

up a good sweat each day.

However, it's fun, as the label describes, and chatter on the court is

another reason sometimes balls don't get returned. It's also the reason that

one is required to send the ball to the other side during a serve change by

throwing it UNDER the net. Over the net, you're likely to bonk someone who's

not paying attention :{)) One (well, two, really) other difference from

"regulation" volleyball is that the poles (masts, recall, lovely big

flat-sided ovals) are considered players. Thus, if a ball hits a pole, it's

still in play; if it was intended as a return but wide, and the rebound puts

it in the other-side court, it's in play. If YOU hit the ball, and it comes

back to you, you can play it again, as it's come off another "player," just

as if someone had set it to you. The net, however, isn't a player, so, if

it goes into the net when you hit it during a return, someone else has to

play it before you can hit it again. There have been some exchanges where

the ball alternates off the net for many repetitions before someone finally

gets it high and back enough for someone to return it properly. Which brings

me to the other major differences in fun volleyball and regulation


On a serve, the returning team has to hit it at least once before the

return. And, as long as it doesn't hit the ground, it can be played for as

many hits as it takes to either return or fail-to-return the ball. Now, I

readily accept that if you're a serious volleyball player, this doesn't

sound much like the game you play - and, of course it isn't. Not to


For the hard-chargers, there are two more courts where it's 4-on-4, and all

the normal rules apply. Overhand serves, spikes, and a bump-set-spike

return is the norm, with a maximum of 3 hits on the return. With sand as the

base, getting a good pushoff for a dive is tough, but the sand is forgiving

on the landing :{))

Last year, Lydia swam to and from Volleyball Beach, as seen in the news

pictures which featured our boat at anchor, with her head visible as she

returned to the boat, about halfway there. Once again, regular readers of

our log know that picture showed up as a result of a search-and-rescue

mission launched by the USCG when it appeared we might be missing, and the

resultant news coverage of that event. Of course, that wasn't the case, and

as soon as our SPOT (tinyurl.com/FlyingPigSpot, if you'd care to follow us

when we're on the move) signal returned, the search was called off, but we

sure did "enjoy" a lot of notoriety (if we weren't already notorious

enough!) during that period. Anyway, back to the story, this year has been

the coldest winter that anyone in the Bahamas can remember, and there's not

been the first swim for either of us.

For much of the time here, we slept under blankets, and, on the normally

sunny and hot volleyball courts, there were frequent occasions where the

players wore full sweats. The fronts marched through with great regularity,

but little rain, so most of the vessels in the harbor are salt encrusted

from the lack of fresh water coming from the sky. Those regular fronts

caused us to reanchor several times, in order to allow the appropriate scope

for the wind direction. Those boats less hardy than we decamped to the town

side of the harbor to gain some protection from the wind and waves, only to

return in a couple of days, again, which made for much adjusting of scope so

as to not run into the "crowds" (on which, more, later) which redeveloped

each time.

We'd been blessed to be close to shore, including one instance, when the

wind was in the right direction, where we could nearly have stepped ashore

from our transom's platform. That's because the lovely beach out in front

of Chat'n'Chill extends into the water only a few feet past the low-water

mark, after which it falls off very directly to about 12 feet deep. Our

final reanchor was this morning, as we had lots of scope out when the wind

was parallel to the beach, but the wind directly toward the beach, as it was

forecast to move later in the morning, would have required us to shorten

scope to avoid the possibility of our rudder finding that shelf, not a happy


As there were rather high winds forecast for the day, including some nasty

squalls possible, I didn't feel comfortable with the only-125' which would

have resulted from our shortening our rode sufficiently to avoid contact

with the beach. Accordingly, we moved very far out (for us - there's a few

other boats out this far), anchoring in about 20' of water. Because of the

available swing room, and my preference for not having to deal with any

potential for reanchoring in nasty conditions, we put out 200 feet this

time. As the wind was already close to 20 knots, with my intended eventual

scope, we were able to pay out substantial line in each segment. (I anchor

by letting the anchor bite, and then letting out segments which allow the

line to tug firmly on each segment, gently digging the anchor further with

each yank). With 200 feet as the eventual destination, I let about 25 feet

out each time after the first 50, and was rewarded with a very substantial

jerk on the bow (no, not ME!) as we started going sideways to the wind and

the slack caught up, straightening us again. Secure in our position and

scope, I came below to write this :{))

Back to the anchorage and the harbor, for all that description of "crowds,"

this year, with only a mid-200 count, has been lighter than last year's 327,

which was lighter than the typical 500 boats in Elizabeth Harbour in past

peak years, and, as well, there has been little of the excitement of

dragging anchors as there was last year. In fact, aside from one boat which

had a mooring line (as opposed to an anchor line) break today, I'm not aware

of any dragging incidents this year. By comparison, last year had frequent

bursts of activity as the cruising community sprang into action in their

dinghies to fend off boats which were dragging down on another, or to grab

another anchor to kedge out some extra security on a boat which had come

adrift with nobody aboard (HEY!! I resemble that remark! [Flying Pig and

the boat behind us both did that while we were ashore during one of the

sudden wind shifts which allowed slack chain to gain momentum, and the

anchor pull out]), or just generally lend a hand to others in distress.

That was my only experience with dragging here, but last year I jumped in my

dinghy a couple of times to assist others, and, in a reanchoring nailbiter,

as the moving boat started to slide toward another, I and another dinghy

jumped out and played tugboat for the singlehander who was struggling to

simultaneously get his anchor up by hand (bless our windlass!) and avoid the

other boat's rode, shoving him sideways away from the other's rode until he

was clear. All was well in a couple of minutes, but the experience is very

typical of the cruiser community here. None of us knew the other, but it

was instant-reaction to a viewed potentially difficult situation, followed

by a wave and a thank-you, as everyone returned to what they'd been doing 5

minutes before...

As there were plenty of periods of high winds this year, I suspect that part

of it may be that with the smaller boat population, folks felt comfortable

with putting out more scope, a great deterrent to dragging anchor in any

conditions. Certainly, last year, we were lucky to have 75' out in 10-12'

of water. As I type this, we have an approaching front with boats which are

currently in it reporting 40 knots, so we're very glad for our extended

scope. I popped upstairs to look at our chartplotter, which we turned on,

with the track enabled, and, after the event, we had a huge pile of

higgledy-pigglety marks followed by a nearly straight line to the SSE as the

wind shifted. Fortunately, the bulk of the squall passed us by, resulting

in only a high of just over 30 knots of wind (35MPH) and a very small

shower. That slight wetting helped with the exterior salt, but didn't

really wash it off :{/) Fortunately, as it turned out later, there was a

slight drizzle for most of the afternoon, and we're well rinsed!

You'll recall that our wind generator took flight in Marsh Harbour, only to

be retrieved and stripped to useful parts before returning the balance to

the sea bed. As usual, we've continued our boat 1-2-3's (the name for

regular and continuing chores aboard given by a dear friend of ours from St.

Pete, now in the Dominican Republic), and verifying those parts as suitable

for reuse, we're about to order the needed housing and bearings to restore

our wind generator to its place on the arch pole.

After fishing a plastic part out of the power-plug hole in Lydia's laptop, I

also managed to return the plastic parts, thanks to SuperGlue, to a usable

condition. Once that was finished, I cut away the power cord's hard

rubber housing until I could get to the point of being able to, first,

superglue the plastic interior to the remainder in the cord-end, and then

solder the barrel portion to the electrical ground on the power supply.

Success! It's fragile, no longer having the reinforcing hard rubber around

it, but ok to power her up until we go, again, for the month of July, to the

states to give Lydia her grandson fix and for me to visit with my kids and

grandkids. When I'm ashore, I'll, again, order boat parts and spares, shop

for replenishments in our food stores, and find another properly-sized

barrel connector with a pigtail to splice on to the power supply line, thus

making her barrel-end secure.

Other boat chores happened, as well, of course, but those were the most

critical. I also did a repeat of my on-beach seminar on Wireless

Communications for Cruisers, attended by about 60 folks, of whom a

half-dozen were new owners of the same setup I have, a result of having

attended last year's seminars. As was the case last year, data throughput

has been spotty, due to the available bandwidth provided for all the users

in the harbor and ashore not equipped with their own satellite reception

services. However, unlike last year, other than the last week of our stay

in '09, we've been entirely free in our connections, enjoying the unusual

reach of our system.

I also did a repeat of my on-air seminar on the Honda eu2000i generators so

popular among cruisers, but bedeviled by what I can only assume is a

make-standard-parts-fit-non-standar-applications policy at Honda which has

nearly every 2000 eventually break their starter pull-cord due to a non-fair

exit in the rewind mechanism. Fixing that (well, making do on a relatively

permanent basis - there's no fix without boring into the crankcase and

relocating the mounting bolts) is very simple, but getting to the part

isn't! As I'd done a great deal of phoning around to distributors, I

eventually was able to find a service company who had a tech willing to walk

me through the procedure, which I shared. It's tedious, but not difficult.

That on-air session also included many tweaks I'd learned from the Honda2000

mailing list on yahoogroups (go to groups.yahoo.com and search for

Honda2000). Fortunately for those who came last year and took notes, even

though they'd not yet had the problem, they (as several ashore had told me)

were able to repair their broken cords successfully. Better yet, for the

future, NonLinear, a boat here in the harbor, recorded the session, and has

put it up on the cruiseheimers web site. As I'm not familiar with that

group, I don't have a link for you, but if you'd like to hear that session,

it's available there on a wave file.

Today we're winding down as we prepare to go to Long Island for a visit

there. As usual, weather dominates our planning, and, as has been the case

throughout our recent travels, our departure date kept being pushed back.

Other than the persistent cold weather, we've enjoyed our time here, and

helping other cruisers with our second outboard (we didn't launch the

PortaBote this year since we didn't have guests), one for a day while they

worked out a fuel problem on theirs, and the other for 10 days while they

had guests aboard and an engineless second dinghy, along with passing along

hard-earned (by making mistakes, usually!) tips to cruisers who'd not yet

encountered some of the challenges we've overcome..

We'll continue our saga with our log on our trip to Long Island and

environs, but for now, we'll leave you, content and exterior-shampooed.

Until next time, Stay Tuned!


Skip and crew

Morgan 461 #2

SV Flying Pig KI4MPC

See our galleries at www.justpickone.org/skip/gallery !

Follow us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheFlyingPigLog

and/or http://groups.google.com/group/flyingpiglog

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to

make it come true. You may have to work for it however."


"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in

its hand

(Richard Bach)

Morgan 461 #2

SV Flying Pig KI4MPC

See our galleries at www.justpickone.org/skip/gallery !

Follow us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheFlyingPigLog

and/or http://groups.google.com/group/flyingpiglog

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you

didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail

away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore.

Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
skipgundlach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2010, 02:55 AM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 20

Cruising is... Long Island, Exumas Bahamas 3/14-4/1/10

Hi, again,

When we'd last seen each other we'd just pulled into Long Island's Thompson

Bay after landing a Barracuda. Following a lovely sundowner aboard a

friend's boat, populated by even more friends (who we knew from prior

anchorages) by the time we'd begged a ride there. Shortly after we got back

to our boat, again via the courtesy of one of the guests aboard the other

boat, Barry (the 'cuda) succumbed to the donation of his two large filets.

Of course, we checked our mail and other internet interests before we went

to bed, this being yet another place where we succeeded while others were

frustrated. However, there are several places ashore where you can go and

log on for the price of a beer or Coke, so it's not like other cruisers are

locked out...

Long Island was named by some sailor who said he didn't want to leave, but,

instead, stay a long time. However, it is, actually, a long island, about

60 miles, in fact, very sparsely populated over its beautiful length.

Additionally, it was one of Columbus' stops - claimed to be the first "New

World" landfall, whether truly so, or not, which gives it a bit of even-more

special cachet in these beautiful waters.

Our first couple of days were spent relaxing and enjoying the peaceful

anchorage. Contrary to our fears generated by looking at the charts,

Thompson Bay, and, as you'll see later, the Salt Pond area of the anchorage,

we found ample depth to accommodate our 7-1 draft. Well, technically, we

don't really know our draft for sure, as the couple of times we've done

measurements, the sea floor wasn't perfectly flat, so it was a best-guess

extrapolation from the amount of room under the keel and the depth of the

water at the waterline.

If we ever get to a really flat seabed, with low enough water to make the

measurement more meaningful, we'll do a new measurement under the keel, and

then drop the line at many places around the boat to get a more accurate

reading. However, all the horror stories of how we couldn't possibly "do"

the Bahamas in our deep draft boat are pure hooey. Generally speaking, it

doesn't matter if you draw 3' or 8', if you push your envelope, so to speak,

you'd touch from time to time. And, for sure, we've spoken to many shoal

draft (under 4.5', generally speaking, is a "shoal draft" boat) cruisers who

have touched, not only in the Bahamas, but elsewhere. The trick is, of

course, not to run headlong onto a really big flat space of rock which

normally would be dry at low tide! (Original readers, and those who have

bothered to go to the yahoogroups link in my signature line and go to the

beginning know that's what we did right out of the box...)

Anyway, despite the boat being built with a DWL (design water line) at 6'

over the bottom of the keel, we consider ourselves a 7' draft boat. Indeed,

like many cruisers, including at least once before we purchased the boat,

the waterline has been raised on Flying Pig. During our wreck refit/rehab,

we covered our prior bootstripe with bottom paint, made a new "reveal

stripe" (a 1" section over the top of the bottom paint, and a new bootstripe

(a contrasting color of wider size, in our case, 4" in Morgan Blue).

Despite that, the reveal stripe is stained from salt water critters, and

when we next refit, we'll repaint and raise the bottom paint yet again.

Which brings us to the title...

Cruising is boat repairs/maintenance in exotic locations... This stop was

no exception, as we quickly developed a set of "1-2-3's" - our daily

maintenance and fix-em-up jobs which keep at least in time with, if not

ahead of, the curve so we don't have to spend months in a yard to remedy our


My first chore was to fix whatever had befallen our wind indicator, as it

suddenly showed dead - no direction, and no speed, along with no number in

the speed LCD display. Out comes the multimeter, and I determined that the

unit was getting power, so I went looking at that same connection between

the mast base and the two display units we had. Long-time readers will

recall that it had received some soldering attention from our electrician

friend on another boat when we were in Miami last winter. Sure enough, there

were several broken solder joints, along with one pin on the 20-pin


Ah, well, another day in paradise. Unsoldering the matching broken-pin one,

and preparing to move it to a new location (there were several open pins

available), another couple of joints failed. In the end, I wound up doing

about half of the total connections again and, sure enough, the displays

came to life. The display in the cockpit required alignment, as it had

wandered from its prior setting. As the direction indicator is servo motor

driven, there's a pretty simple adjustment on the back of the unit which

allowed us to mate up to the reading in the display at the navigation

station, and all was well, again, with that unit. We had another list of

things we wanted to do, but first, we wanted to do some touring.

We'd spoken with some friends in Georgetown who had been to Long Island just

before they headed north, and got some of the lay of the land and

recommendations. As we did in Marsh Harbour, we rented a car with another

cruiser couple and went sightseeing. The lovely folks at Long Island Breeze,

a resort with a dinghy dock, apartments, pool, laundry facilities and

showers, along with free internet, were kind enough to direct us to some map

brochures and guide booklets, on the entryway table, and then sit down with

us and point out the exact locations of some of the more notable places to


Not wanting this to turn into a travelogue, I'll try to just highlight our

experience. With such a long island (we put just over 150 miles on the car

in a full day), there's a lot of blank space in between attractions. And,

since, particularly, due to Thompson Bay being near the top of the island,

it would take a long time to reach the bottom, we started there. That's

because, if we missed something we wanted to see, we'd not have to drive all

the way down to the end to do it on the next leg.

We'd arranged with Fox Auto, one of many rental places on the island, to

pick up our car at 1PM. That would allow us to stay out late if we wanted

to, going again in the morning, and returning the car mid-day. That worked

out well, in the end. All the way to the bottom, where we took our lunches

to eat, was about 40 miles. We were rewarded with a beautiful beach, nearly

isolated other than another couple who'd come for the same purpose (lunch),

and nobody in sight for the couple of miles we hiked south on the deserted

beach, picking up more shells than we could carry without using our Crocks

(soft rubber/plastic shoes, if you've been out of touch, which seem all the

rage these days) for buckets.

From there we constantly moved north. We'd been alerted to a fixture on the

island, Goat Pond Bar, run by the same woman who opened it in 1946, but it

was closed, so we worked our way up to Clarence Town, a shipping and marina

center with a nice anchorage for those coming from the "ocean" side. Every

few miles was punctuated by another sign announcing another village, and we

were surprised to see that several had their own police departments. I'm

not sure what they police, as from everything we've heard, crime is

virtually nonexistent on the island.

After a quick tour of the waterfront area, we visited two churches

constructed by Father Jerome, an architect in his earlier life, and built

before he did his retirement home, the Hermitage, on Cat Island. These

churches, unlike his home, were built to more conventional scale (he was a

very short man and his home reflected his stature). One of them had two

spires, with ladder-type staircases to the top. The view from there is

stunning, and worth the very close quarters and nearly vertical climb. In

the same town there was a very curious home, fenced, with "Private, Keep

Out" signs posted. It looked more like a museum or perhaps another

multi-ethnic church, but it, too, was impressive.

Everywhere on the island is spotlessly clean, including the beaches, which

were devoid of the typical debris from ships and shipwrecks. It's obvious

that the islanders take great pride in their home, because all that stuff

had to be hauled off by someone...

The highlight of the afternoon was Deans Blue Hole, the deepest blue hole in

the world, at 660 feet deep. Unlike the blue hole in Marsh Harbour,

however, this one was all salt water, and right at the edge of the land.

It's the home of free diving championships, where someone takes a really

deep breath, and swims as deeply as he or she can before coming back to the

surface. Just before we left, practices for the next championship were

being held there. However, our visit was before then, and we eagerly went

in the water.

It's set in a very unusual way, with cliffs on the land side (the better for

high-diving displays), circling around for about half its perimeter, with

the rest sand. On the sea side, it's totally the flats - not more than knee

deep, for hundreds of yards. However, walk toward the blue hole, and

eventually the sand starts to drop off relatively sharply, making it nearly

impossible to stop sliding toward the deep.

We'd been warned, so to speak, to bring along our snorkeling gear, but, much

to my chagrin after getting in, our bag we'd gotten as a promotion from

Delta for signing up for Amex cards wouldn't hold our flippers, so we left

them on the boat. I'd sorely wished for them and my weights which give me

nearly neutral buoyancy, because the ledge of the coral and limestone was

deep enough (about 20') that without them, I couldn't get down to experience

the vertical walls of the hole. At that, it was an awe-inspiring


As the day was getting late, we missed the caves and the museum on the way

back up, but we did find the famous Max' bar and grill, where we had dinner

shortly before sunset. As it was over 20 miles back to where we'd left our

dinghies, we set out for home, deciding to meet the next morning early and

head north. If there was time, we'd come back for the caves and museum,

both highly recommended by other cruisers who'd done them.

And, lest one believe that you have to rent a car to see the island, the

Bahamas are still very hitch hiker friendly. We heard from some other

cruisers who had chosen that way of exploration that the locals will often

clue you into spots not noted on any of the tourist materials, so, should

you find yourself here (or anywhere other than, perhaps, Nassau), don't

hesitate to just stick out your thumb. Here, as everywhere else we've been,

cruisers are more than welcomed, and folks go out of their way to help you.

Case in point was my time last year in Georgetown, where I hitch hiked to

the airport, 20 miles out, twice, in the course of sending and retrieving my

computer for an upgrade...

Anyway, our driver dropped us at our dinghies, 1.6 miles from where he left

the car, which was right next to a beach where we'd had our first

bonfire/happy hour shortly after we arrived there. We met up there for the

ride back to our boats anchored nearby, returned to our respective boats,

and went to sleep, invigorated and impressed with what we'd seen so far.

Morning broke, and we headed north. There were a couple of diving spots

noted on our materials, one famous for all the Eagle Rays, but after going

rather a long way to get to the first, we found that the surf was crashing

onto the very sharp rocks where we'd have to get in. That, plus the breaking

waves over the reefs dissuaded us from swimming that day! However, as one

of them was very close to the Stella Maris resort, we peeked in there to see

what it was like.

It's huge, spread out over hundreds of acres, and obviously host to many

business meetings, as we saw lots of folks looking like they were doing just

that. The very helpful gal at the reception desk provided us with a

large-scale map of the far north end of the island, and we set out, again,

for more explorations.

The further north we went, the more sparse it got, but there was another

resort we wanted to explore, along with another snorkeling spot, which, due

to its being on the lee side of the island, had more promise. The road down

to the end of Cape Santa Maria was long and bumpy, but we never did find the

snorkeling spot we'd wanted to. However, the resort was impressive,

including several free-standing homes which had been built on the road into


As the day was proceeding rapidly, and we were already nearly there, we

elected to go to the Columbus Monument at the northern tip of the island.

The road is horrible, and according to a cruiser at a happy hour on the

beach a couple of days ago, was even closed for a while, but we made it down

there. On the way, we saw a truck who'd passed us on the other

long-and-horrible road down the cape. They'd had several fly fishing rods

lashed over the hood, and, sure enough, we saw them out flats-fishing,

presumably for bonefish, the taking of which is renowned in these parts.

Continuing until we got to the base of the monument, we also saw another

familiar vehicle and faces, some folks who'd been at the Blue Hole with us

the previous day. They were here for the lobstering possible at the base of

the hill on which the monument sat. I learned why, after I made the


The climb up is described as "arduous" but it didn't compare to, say, hiking

to the top of Chitzen Itza, in Mexico, but it did have a chain to hang on to

if you felt you needed it. I sort of galloped up there on the smooth-rock

side, but on the way down, concerned for some slippage of the loose stones

on the steep hill, I did let the chain slide through my hand.

Once to the top, I admired the monument, and the view, but the real treat

was to follow a little path and step over the warning ropes to go to the

edge of a sheer cliff overlooking a cutout in the limestone. Waves crashed

into the channel cut into the rock, ending at a cave, where it boomed back

out again. However, on the far side of that channel, separated by a narrow,

sharp, ridge, was where the lobstering was. To the ocean side, there was a

large reef just under the breaking waves. Those waves didn't make it into

the large area of reefs - covering the cove - where I could well believe

that many lobster might have been hiding.

So far, we have yet to see more than one lobster, and that one was in a

protected area last year. The lobster season ended yesterday in the

Bahamas, so we'll not be able to take any for a few months. However,

friends of ours returning from our next area of exploration reported a

freezer full after a couple of weeks. We'll have more to say about those

areas in a bit and in future logs, but before we leave the Bahamas, we hope

to be experienced lobster hunters :{))

After making our way back down the hill and out the tortuous road, it was

late enough that we passed on getting lunch in the area, and instead hurried

back to turn in the car on a timely basis. Our driver (we've given up cars,

so have no insurance to fall back on, so our other couple were the

"responsible party" for our excursion) dropped us at another landmark,

Thompson Bay Resort, home of Trifena, the owner lauded for her special

cooking and atmosphere there.

While he was taking the car back, soon to be delivered back there by the

rental company, we wandered in to see what it was like, neither of us having

been here before. Trifena doesn't cook other than by schedule, and,

sometimes, based on what she has available. Recall that everywhere in the

Bahamas requires everything to be brought in, sometimes by circuitous route

of air, boat, small boat, car or golf cart, and then hand-carried to the

establishment. She intially said she wasn't open, but came out nearly

immediately, asking if we'd be ok with wings, conch, grouper and the

Bahamian specialty of Mac'n'Cheese (which isn't at all like most of us are

accustomed to, but instead a baked concoction which is cut into rectangular

pieces a couple of inches tall, totally firm, rather than the spoonfuls

typical of American restaurants), along with a lobster salad. Well, Duh!

Of course!

So, she set to cooking while we explored the restaurant, including her

amazing shell displays. After we'd enjoyed the veritable feast (which

another three diners also got shortly after we'd started - good thing she

decided to open!), I drooled over a large triton (or, maybe a whelk) shell

which I'd seen, in Georgetown, made into a horn of the same ilk as a conch

horn - but much more decorative and unusual. Because it had a chip out of

the pointy end, as well as one unnoticed by me until later, on the foot, I

was able to get it at a bargain.

As it was still afternoon, I wasted no time in hurrying back to the boat,

getting out my grinder and metal cutting blade and, sitting on the platform

at the back of the boat, quickly cut off the end to the size appropriate to

make a mouthpiece. Inside to the workbench, I got out the Dremel tool with

a carbide tip and removed the interior structure to allow it to be smooth

inside as well as at the rim. The moment of truth came as I put it to my

lips and sought out the resonant frequency for the shell. I was rewarded

with a rich bariton sound, and the upper harmonic of a trumpet. Thus armed,

I now can take part in the nightly ritual of Bahamian cruisers of saluting

the sunset with a horn made from a shell :{))

Well, as the title suggests, there was still work to do, including some

fairly urgent stuff. You'll recall that my KISS wind generator took flight

in Marsh Harbour. While I was able to salvage the most important parts, I'm

still missing a new housing and various other small parts needed to start

over on a new installation. One of the tasks was to determine whether the

bearings were suitable for re-use. To do that I basically had to

disassemble the bearings, and, once done, if satisfied with their state,

regrease them. While it could be done on the shaft, doing it off and in my

hand would be a great deal easier. So, I visited a fellow cruiser and

borrowed a special tool which allowed me to remove them. In fact, they were

ok, and, once regreased, were back on the spindle from which they came.

I sorely miss having had that for the last couple of months, as the wind has

been pretty consistent. Our solar panels have done a great job of keeping

our batteries topped up during the day, but we've had to run our Honda

eu2000i generator to replace the 100-300 amp hours per day that the KISS

would have been producing in this time. However, all in due time. The

parts are on the way to George Town, where, when we return there, I'll

reinstall them and the unit.

Oh, ya... The Honda... Salt air and constant vibration aren't very kind to

the rubber feet which help isolate the noise from whatever surface you put

it on, and two of the 4 had failed. When I did my on-radio seminar on

replacing the pull cord on these machines (a design error which causes

nearly all of the regularly used machines to break the pull cord

eventually), I also covered some tweaks for the machine. One of them

suggested that when it was apart, you apply stuck-stuff relieving juice

(PBBlaster, e.g.) to all the interior bolt ends for the feet to make it

easier for the day when you have to change them. Having taken my own

suggestion, after about a week of soaking and vibrating, the bolts did,

indeed, come out, and I put in my new feet I'd ordered during the great rush

over the winter visit to the states. No more shielding wood under the raw

bolts, I also was able to use the closed-cell foam someone gave me after

that on-air seminar, and she's now a gentle purr when running. Once the

KISS is installed, we may well not have to run it at all, a wonderful


The bearings and the Honda feet were the most critical after I'd finished

the wind indicator repair, but much still awaited us. Our Sea Dog pelican

hooks for our gates (the open parts in the guard rails around the boat) were

not secure, not designed, it turns out, for that application, frequently

opening due to a passing control line or other jarring. Finding the sort of

pelican hooks (go through a hole, and back onto itself, thus looking like a

pelican with his beak down) which could be used on a chain was challenging,

but I finally worked with a company to provide turnbuckle ends which had the

same threads as their pelican hooks. Those are on the way as I type, and, a

bonus, very little more than the Sea Dog versions. That's made even more

urgent by the departure, one by dropping, and one by force, of two of the 6

we have (upper and lower gates for three entries), in both cases caused by

missing security rings on a pin which held it in place, along with the

chain. So, we'll have to buy some more stainless steel chain, as well...

However, one of the chief targets of our anchorage was the charted depths

presumed to allow us to settle to the bottom at low tide, the better to have

the boat stand still while I scrubbed the bottom. In the time we've spent

in fecund waters, nearly a year counting our refit in Saint Simons Island

last summer, the fall and early winter in Marsh Harbour, and to a lesser

extent, in St. Augustine's harbor before coming to the Bahamas, we'd

developed a meadow under our boat.

Fortunately, unlike some boats, it wasn't a reef, as it was nearly all very

light grassy stuff, but there sure was a lot of it. After determining that

the place we first anchored, where the chart showed "only" 7 feet at low

tide, we moved quite a bit more north, toward the hook which provides the

shelter in Thompson Bay. After a couple of hours spent chasing, or running

away from, the boat, as the winds pushed her around, exhausting me without

much progress, we picked up the hook and moved a half-mile south.

The charts all show this as having, optimistically, 6 feet, more like 4 or

5, but we motored slowly at close to a low tide for as much as we dared,

fearing we'd run into some ledge (all sand, but, none the less, it was shown

as WAY too shallow for us here), finally dropping the hook opposite what

looked like something ET might have crash-landed in. Despite our persistence

in moving further and further into shallow water, we didn't touch, let alone

go aground, until nearly the full moon, when the tidal range is its largest.

As the low tide wasn't much use to me if I couldn't see, however, I had to

go during the middle of the day during mid-tide, when the range was

smaller, meaning that the keel touched only briefly. However, our location

was well protected, and the boat's movement wasn't so much as to wear me

out. Plus, it did actually touch, therefore not move, for a brief period of

time. So, over the course of 4 days, I managed to clean every underwater

inch of our boat.

As I mentioned, it was more like a meadow than a reef, so most of it yielded

fairly readily to a long-handled deck brush. Weighted down with extra

weights, which allowed me to stand or kneel on the bottom and not float up,

and protected by my wetsuit from becoming chilled, I was able to stay under

for several hours each time. What small barnacles there were, few and far

between, yielded readily to the plastic back of the brush.

Our bottom paint is designed to slough off, allowing the copper component,

the thing which discourages stuff from growing on it, to renew. So, in my

scrubbing, I was also creating clouds of bottom paint which would have

otherwise very slowly worn off while we were under way. When we painted our

bottom, we put several coats on in what we called our marker color, with a

like number of coats of the visible color. With all our scrubbing, our

marker color is starting to show in many places.

That's a heads-up for an upcoming bottom job. The first layer has lasted us

3 years, so we're confident that job won't have to be done immediately, but

it does serve as a warning. While I was underneath polishing, Lydia was on

top, also polishing. Stainless steel, in a marine environment, unless it's

very unusual or perhaps has chrome instead of nickel mixed in, is merely

stains-less. Rust spots will still show, and, as those who've been with us

from the beginning know, in particular, I'm unhappy with our arch builder,

on many levels. The stainless there requires much more work than our

railings, for example, which I fabricated myself.

Much worse, however, was that during the polishing process, Lydia uncovered

a broken weld on the top section of the arch. It's just one of the

stiffening members, on which we usually hang ropes, but if that one failed,

others might be close behind. As unhappy as I have been with the builder,

I've considered, but only briefly, for reasons to be seen shortly, removing

it and having modifications done to stiffen it up. This weld failure,

however, brought it to a head.

My reluctance to remove and remodel the arch is chiefly because I'd have to

unwire all the stuff which is up there, a huge task involving tearing apart

much of the interior of the boat, or, perhaps, not at all my normal anal way

of approaching such stuff, cutting them all and then splicing or doing

junction blocks for reconnection after the work was done. The weld break

was on one of the legs with most of the wires running down it. No way to

weld it without running the risk of damaging them, so I'd have to unwire it,


That led to thoughts of a total remodel, or, perhaps, even starting over, on

the arch. Doing it in the boonies, where we are, would be chancy at best,

and doing it in the States, never mind the thought of having to go back

there, anyway, would be VERY expensive. However, one of our sisterships has

had multiple refits in Cartagena, some of which included stainless steel

work. He'd been very satisfied with the end result, and it was very

economical, to boot.

So, let's have a look at his pictures, which I have not only in my hard

drive, but in some cases, can be seen in the Morgan 46 info gallery in my

overall gallery (see the link in the signature). Hm. His hard top looks

pretty good, too, and review of his pictures showed that it must have been

done there as well, because when he started, it was a bimini over the


Many emails later, I had the full skinny on his rehabs there. Prices were

astoundingly low, albeit with materials being substantially more expensive,

to wit: his hard top, with full enclosure and VERY stout support (designed

to be able to walk on it), cost 40% of the bimini and enclosure which came

with our boat, new at the time, 6 years ago. A day's skilled labor was at

the same rate as an hour of a helper during our refit, so expensive

materials' costs were quickly assuaged by the relatively tiny.cost of


Well... That put a very different perspective on our plans. As it stands

now, we expect to do our Bahamas thing as planned, but make our way to

Columbia very soon, perhaps in just over a year. There we'll redo the

bottom paint, have a hard top bimini and enclosure done (one of our

long-term goals, anyway), and see about either rebuilding or starting over

with our arch. We're very excited about the thought, particularly since

I've been angry about my arch from the first time I set foot on it after it

was installed, and with the exciting thought of a hard top bimini and

enclosure which will allow us to add much more solar power to our setup

adding impetus, we can't wait.

Our electrical installer, svhotwire.com, who did the KISS and Solar

installations, in his forethought, has provided us with a controller capable

of handling 60 amps of solar power to the battery. As we see as much as 25

amps with the setup we have now, our new hardtop will make that an easy

goal. A typical day in the tropics with our added capacity may well produce

several hundred amp-hours a day of battery replenishment. Once in the

trades, our KISS wind generator will typically add another 100-500 amp-hours

per day, and we should easily be free of running the Honda for anything

other than heavy duty power tools, or during an extended no-wind, all-rain,

period. In fact, we may be forced to use the microwave instead of the

propane, watch movies, run both computers, and otherwise behave like

decadent powerboaters in order to avoid overcharging our batteries :{))

So, with slick bottom, and shiny stainless, set off by Lydia's further

working on all the topsides teak, we look great, and should go a great deal

faster through the water. So, of course, we're about to head to where

there's nobody to look at it :{)) We're leaving tomorrow for the Jumentos

and Ragged Island (http://www.tageo.com/index-e-bf-v-18-d-m2198055.htm),

where, except for one very small settlement on the bottom island, there

isn't a soul to be seen other than someone else on a boat.

We've been looking forward to visiting this area ever since we encountered a

cruiser last year in Georgetown who reported, due to the totally available

fishing, that he'd spent only $500 for the entire winter. Other of our

friends report that trolling behind your dinghy is about as hard as it gets

to catch fish, and, since I'm entirely comfortable with diving, picking up

conch will be easy. The only thing we'll miss is the lobster. Ah, well,

early down here on the way south next fall, and we'll have that, too. And,

we're looking forward to the isolation and the great shelling and Lydia's

obsession with finding both hamburger and heart beans, the better to make

more jewelry, both of which are said to be easily found, unlike her so-far

experience of MAYBE finding one or two. One of our friends brought back

more than 300 heart beans and more than 100 hamburger beans from a couple of

weeks there, so, it's hopeful. But, we'll be in the boondocks, for sure.

Accordingly, we'll also be out of range for any internet connectivity. We

have to confess to having been spoiled in the last many months, never very

far from our email and even voice communications with our family and friends

ashore and afloat. However, for the next couple to three or more weeks,

we'll be totally unavailable other than on Single Side Band or Ham radio


Thus, while there may be comments or responses to this post, we'll not see

them for quite some time. Therefore, you're not being ignored if I don't

respond :{)) While we're gone, you'll be able to track our progress when

we're not at anchor by clicking on tinyurl.com/FlyingPigSpot, our SPOT

personal gps transmitter page which allows you to see up to a week's worth

of our travels. Those of you on my log list directly will get updates

forwarded through that list from our Ham email link to my son; if you're not

on the list and would like to be, you can join by clicking the yahoogroup

link below.

Until next time, Stay Tuned


Skip and Crew

Morgan 461 #2

SV Flying Pig KI4MPC

See our galleries at www.justpickone.org/skip/gallery !

Follow us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheFlyingPigLog

and/or http://groups.google.com/group/flyingpiglog

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to

make it come true. You may have to work for it however."


"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in

its hand

(Richard Bach)

Morgan 461 #2

SV Flying Pig KI4MPC

See our galleries at www.justpickone.org/skip/gallery !

Follow us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheFlyingPigLog

and/or http://groups.google.com/group/flyingpiglog

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you

didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail

away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore.

Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
skipgundlach is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cruising Wiki Page: Cruising Blogs And Narratives Lighthouse Cruising & Sailing Wiki Discussion 1 03-27-2008 12:14 PM
S/v Flying Colors Dissapearance May 7 Off Hatteras seanseamour Overdue & Distress Reports 3 06-17-2007 05:47 AM

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

RV & Travel Trailer Communities

Our RV & Travel Trailer sites encompasses virtually all types of Recreational Vehicles, from brand-specific to general RV communities.

» More about our RV Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

All times are GMT. The time now is 07:43 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0