Swing Set

Apr 27, 201308:27 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

A Couple of Stops and Then Green Turtle Cay

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By nightfall, we'd been joined by a dozen other boats, all sailboats, except one. We had a very calm night and decided to leave first thing in the morning, but we had a glitch. When I went to start the starboard engine, it wouldn't start. The port engine and the generator are on a dedicated battery and the port engine cranked right up. I used the jumper switch to start the other engine. I know our house bank of batteries are on borrowed time. Normally, we run the genset for a couple of hours in the morning to bring everything back up, but on the previous night, we'd had no wind, and since we were leaving right away, there was no reason to run the generator. This is the same scenario we had on the morning we left for Bimini. We now will have to ratchet up our power management a little.

As we cruised to Green Turtle Cay, we ran the watermaker, the generator and the wind generators. We fully intended to arrive with charged batteries and a good supply of water in case we anchored in either White Sound or Black Sound, places where I'd suspect the water supply to be questionable.

Upon arriving at New Plymouth, an old English settlement on Green Turtle Cay, we decided to set anchor just west of the government dock, outside of either of the two harbors, and we're glad we did. We later took the dinghy into both harbors and didn't find the views as nice as we had outside. Several other boats must have decided the same thing, as we were joined by a few other boats throughout the day.

The harbor for New Plymouth is separate from White or Black Sound, and is pictured above. There's a very nice dinghy dock for the public, and we tied up to it and dumped some trash in a nice, big, stainless-steel dumpster right on the dock. We walked into town and were impressed with the clean concrete streets and tidy painted homes.

The town has been in existence since the 1800s. There are two hardware stores and three small grocery stores, and several restaurants and few bars. We made note of one of them and decided to come back later. One of the bars, I mean. We did buy a few things from Sid's, what we thought to be the best-stocked grocery store.

Back at the boat, I decided to run the generator for a couple of hours, because we would be gone to dinner, the time we'd usually run the gen while we cooked. The generator refused to start.

The truest thing about a diesel engine is that it has to get fuel. Well, any engine is like that, but diesels are relatively simple in that fuel flow is the usual cause of an engine not starting. The one thing I know how to do is change a fuel filter. I hadn't changed the Racor filter since last August, so even if it wasn't the cause, it sure wouldn't hurt. Trouble is, I thought I had two extra filters for the smaller Racor unit on the generator, but I was down to our last one.

After the filter change, the generator still wouldn't start. While operating the preheater, I noticed that the fuel flow solenoid wasn't activating, so I gave it a little nudge while holding the preheater on. The solenoid clicked into place, and the engine started right up. I still wasn't sure of the root cause of our generator not starting, but one thing I knew was that I was out of spare filters, the easiest thing to fix.

Later, we went to Sundowners for some beers and dinner. On our way into the dock, we stopped and talked to the German couple who we'd met in South Bimini and were about to head back to Florida. It was nice to see them again.

Once we arrived at Sundowners and had ordered two Kalik's, I got to talking to the owner, and I asked him who might have some Racor filter elements. He asked another patron at the bar the same question, the patron got on the phone to his brother-in-law, and a short time later, a fella pulled up in his golf cart, long hair, dirty T-shirt, no shoes, but with two Racor filter elements for our Racor 500 fuel filter. The price was high, but gladly paid, along with a tip and a beer for George, the owner of Roberts Marina in Black Sound. That was service.

We had a nice time at Sundowners. They have free WiFi, so I tried to call my dad. Magic Jack may be free, but the connection was horrible. I'm glad we kept a small roaming plan with AT&T.

This morning, I went to start the generator again and it wouldn't start. I gave the fuel flow solenoid another kick in the ribs, and the engine fired right up. We ran the generator for a couple of hours while we had breakfast and did some route planning for our trip south. I shut down the generator and did some diagnostics on the fuel flow solenoid. I was getting proper voltage at the solenoid once the preheater was activated, just like it's supposed to, so the problem isn't a bad connection to the solenoid. I did some random activation of the preheater, and the solenoid did activate sporadically, so it will work, just not dependably. Our mission has become to either get this solenoid fixed, or buy a new one, and Marsh Harbor is the place to do either.

Rosie and I went back into New Plymouth for lunch and to pick up anything we might have missed at the grocery. In Black Sound, we stopped to talk to a sailor that was familiar with the area, and he suggested Marsh Harbor Boat Yard for our generator repair, and also suggested an electrician in Marsh Harbor who probably could fix the solenoid. Bill Raynor was full of other useful information, and we were glad we stopped to talk with him. One thing he told us was to check our passports to make sure the amount of time on them was stamped 180 days, like our cruising permit is. We did check later and all was fine.

Once leaving Green Turtle Cay heading south, cruisers need to either pass through "The Whale," a cut out to the ocean, and come back in again a few miles south at the Loggerhead Channel, or take an inside passage through "Don't Rock Channel," a shallow and treacherous route. The outside route seems to be the no-brainer approach, but breaking surf makes the Whale Cut even more treacherous than the twisty Don't Rock Channel. Bill Raynor told us that we should have no problem going through Don't Rock, especially at high tide, so we're giving it a shot tomorrow. We'll let you know how it goes.

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