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Swing Set

May 28, 201311:29 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Problem Solving In Nassau

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Our day had not gone so well, other than having fixed the windlass, so we just made up our minds to enjoy our dinners and not complain. "Yes, everything is fine," is what we said when our bartender asked how our food was. It's like when a man asks his wife how the sex is on their honeymoon...what's the use of her complaining at that point?

I watched a fella next to Rosie perusing the menu. He kept opening it, looking at it and then closing it again. I knew he didn't think the prices were to his liking, so I asked him if he had been there before.

Bruce, as our new acquaintance was named, had been there before over the several years he'd been coming to Nassau, but he hadn't eaten there. I told him not to order the chicken. We wound up having a great conversation with Bruce. He's from Connecticut, and he and his wife live all summer aboard their Grand Banks Europa, a boat that I admire but never dream to own. His boat runs a lower horsepower version of our engines, albeit as a single, so we traded technical information as much as his intake of martinis and our intake of Kaliks would allow. We stayed much too late, but had a good time in spite of a bill that would knock my socks off if I was wearing any.

My time at the dock here at Nassau Yacht Haven Marina was not entirely wasted. A dock is a good place to network, talking to owners of other boats and finding out who knows what.
I'd met the owner of a 450 Sea Ray that's docked two slips over from us. John Neely is a trauma surgeon here in Nassau and lives on his boat. He had lots of questions about some issues he was having with his Sea Ray, and I had questions about services that we might need in Nassau. He and George, his captain and mentor in matters of the boat, were very nice, and John offered as to how he was off on Monday, he could take me to a local battery and tire supplier who he'd done business with and I could get a price on new batteries for our house system. He said we'd meet around 9 a.m. on Monday to go visit Albert the mechanic, as he was needing some work done, too, and then we'd go to the battery store.

I called Albert the mechanic first thing Monday morning, as it wasn't Memorial Day in the Bahamas, and he said he'd be in his shop in about an hour. He knew John, and I told him we'd both be there by 10:30.

Meanwhile, John and I walked up to some closeby marine suppliers, where I bought some steering fluid and a filler hose for the Sea Star hydraulic steering system to replace the Rube Goldberg system that I'd previously devised. I learned that two local shops had seal kits for Sea Star steering systems, but no one had the one we needed for Swing Set.

John and I then walked over to Albert's shop. We'd just missed him by five minutes. One of his staff called him, and he promised to come by the dock at Yacht Haven to see both of us that afternoon when we got through with a job he was doing.

Instead of waiting like sausages for Albert to show up, John and I went to get his car and he drove me to the local battery and tire shop, so I could price some batteries.

The drive to the battery shop took us through downtown Nassau. Now, John is a trauma surgeon, but the drive through downtown Nassau made me think John was trying to garner some new customers, but one wouldn't think he'd be bucking to be one of them. Here it's right turns in front of you at the last moment that make you grip the seat. I'd describe the ride as being "hairy," and I've raced motorcycles for years.

At the battery store, John saw the owner, who greeted John with a "Hello Doctor." John introduced me as his friend Mike, and then the owner went to get his son to wait on me personally. I was shown the battery that they sold that met my specifications, and then quoted me a 30-percent off price that brought the total into the realm of something I would've paid in the U.S. Darren then took my credit card and said the batteries would be delivered, and if I had the old ones out, they would pick them up to dispose of. We agreed on a delivery two hours from then, and John drove back to the marina, where he had to get ready for work, having been called in on his day off. At least he or I wasn't to be the patient.

I pulled out the old batteries and set them on the dock. Soon after, our new batteries were delivered to our boat and the driver helped me get them into the cockpit. They weigh 70 pounds each. I felt the effects of that enterprise that evening.

I called Albert again. He promised to be at our boat by end of day. So, the time waiting for him was taken up by installing our five new AGM Group 31 batteries.

The skies darkened as we waited. We're docked on a main thoroughfare here on the dock, so we get lots of other boaters walking by. We talked to several of them and met some nice people. Since there was obviously some mechanical issues going on, we were approached by a couple of "mechanics" wanting to help us out on our steering issue. I held out for Albert. I asked these applicants how they'd feel if I'd scheduled them to come look at our boat and someone else was aboard giving us an estimate, or even working on our boat? They understood this logic and gave us a number to call if Albert didn't work out.

 We were still waiting as the skies got more threatening. When the rain starting pelting down, we retired to the salon. I still held out hope that Albert was going to show up.

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