Swing Set

May 28, 201311:29 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Problem Solving In Nassau

(page 3 of 3)

It was after 7 p.m. when I finally closed the blinds and gave up on Albert showing. It was similar to when people turn off the porch lights on Halloween because, even though there may be more trick or treaters out there, they should've shown up by then. My optimistic side gave Albert the benefit of the doubt, blaming the weather on his failure to show, but a phone call would've been appropriate. My pessimistic side decided to find another mechanic.

I'd also put a feeler out about our GFI tripping problem. Our friend, Darryll Weil, back in St. Louis suggested that I install the desktop computer plug with an adapter that would eliminate the ground plug from the receptacle. I found an adapter on the boat and tried it. Worked like a champ. One more issue resolved.

This morning, Tuesday after Memorial Day, the U.S. was open for business again, and I hit the ground running. I sent an email to Sea Star, telling them to expect a phone call once they got their day going. I also browsed the Internet for suppliers of Sea Star products for availability of the seal kit. I also read some technical reports of replacing the seals on our cylinder and started having second thoughts.

Some people found some difficulty in replacing the seals, and actually found that cylinders were getting ruined in the process of rebuilding them. Rosie and I talked, and we decided to take a new tactic. We decided to order a whole new hydraulic cylinder for our steering system, and a seal kit to possibly repair the old cylinder once it was swapped out with the new one, in order to have a spare on hand. A good plan.

When I called Sea Star Solutions, I was told that I'd have to call West Marine or another supplier to obtain items from their company, as they were wholesale only. Thank you very much.

I was placed on hold no less than three times when I called my MarineMax dealer in Lake of the Ozarks, normally my go-to MarineMax parts dealer. (Morgan has always been very helpful.) But I wanted to get something shipped today, so I had no patience for waiting for a return call after leaving a voicemail.

I called MarineMax of Miami and was put on hold again before my call went to voicemail.

I called MarineMax of Fort Lauderdale and hit pay dirt. Anthony in parts understood our plight and was more than willing to help, and he knew the ins and outs of shipping to the Bahamas. He only asked that I hold tight until he found out if he could obtain the items we needed. Once he agreed to not leave me hanging, I promised to wait for his return call.

About a half hour later, the phone rang. I expected it to be Anthony from Fort Lauderdale, but it was Morgan from Lake of the Ozarks MarineMax. No sooner than I began to explain to Morgan that I had something going with MarineMax of Fort Lauderdale, my phone beeped to tell me that Anthony was calling back. I had to let Morgan go.

Anthony said he would have our parts in hand within the hour. I got a price, and we traded information over the phone, with expectations of backing up everything via email. I had to send our cruising permit to him anyway, so we traded email addresses.

Rosie and I then went on a walk to find a hardware store. I still wanted to find a bolt to use as an impeller puller, plus we wanted lunch.

We walked towards the downtown area. Not a good idea. There isn't much in the way of sidewalks here in Nassau. A pedestrian is taking their life in their hands walking along the streets. Rosie later told me that our walk made her nervous. I told her that our walk made me petrified. Not only that, we didn't find anything we wanted and it started seriously raining once we got as far from the boat as we were willing to walk.

We returned closer to the marina in one piece and decided to have lunch at Nassau Stadium, a local place off the beaten path that is owned by the cousin of John, our doctor friend. We stepped into Nassau Stadium, and the few customers in there were having breakfast and it was already noon. We asked when lunch was served and was told it wouldn't be for another half hour. We were about to leave when the owner said that we could order "snacks."

"What are snacks?"

"Chicken, fries and slaw, or conch, fries and slaw, like that," we were told.

"That would be great," we said, and ordered a conch snack and a fried chicken snack. Me and my fried chicken.

It took a half hour, but our food came out. Rosie's order of a conch snack was piled high with cracked conch and a small salad instead of slaw. The plate was piled high with fries too. My chicken wouldn't have won any prizes at the state fair for size, but it still beat anything I'd been served outside of the chicken plate in Governor's Harbour. I got a nice salad, too. Our only complaint was that we could've used the grease from our fries on our steering system, but they were hot and there was plenty of catsup. Our bill was only $21, which included a grape soda and a Goombay Punch. A pretty good deal, and we couldn't even finish all of it.

As I paid, I saw a photo of a boxer behind the bar and asked the owner if the boxer was him. He said he wasn't a boxer, but a promoter. He went on to add that he'd promoted one of Ali's last fights that was held in the Bahamas. My dad's first cousin, Classy Freddie Blassie, knew Ali, so I asked if he'd ever heard of Freddie Blassie. He said he had. He threw in a decent imitation of "The Greatest," and we promised to return before we left Nassau.

Rosie and I were glad to get back to the boat, having dodged water puddles and vehicles. We retired to our favorite places on the boat; me on the sofa and Rosie at the dinette, where we read our books and I grabbed a nap with Holly on my lap.

After my nap, Rosie and I did some recon on our steering system and determined that, even after tightening a suspected possible leak source, we did indeed have a leak on the cylinder and still didn't have anyone lined up to swap out the new one coming with the present one. Rosie made an attempt to tighten one of the bleed valves on the cylinder, and that experience made me realize that if our marriage was going to survive, I better find a small person knowledgeable with a wrench that could swap out our steering cylinder. I decided to go on a fact finding mission. I left Rosie on the boat and set out on foot.

I inquired at several places, and even went to Albert's shop, but the door was locked. That was his last chance. I was mulling over my options as I entered the guarded gate to Yacht Haven, and then I met one of the staff here that I'd previously spoken to about our need for a mechanic. Howard, a young fella who had worked in Marsh Harbour, and knew Troy, the owner of Harbour View Marina, said he had a semi-retired uncle who was a more-than-capable mechanic, and so he got him on the phone.

I spoke to Howard's uncle Don, and he understood what we needed. He told me to call him when the parts came in and he would not only swap out our steering cylinder, he would rebuild the old one with the seal kit we were getting. Sweet.

I returned to the boat, and Rosie said she'd gotten an email from MarineMax of Fort Lauderdale and our parts were on the way. Next day via FedEx was going to be $175, but this would allow our parts to be installed by the weekend even if "overnight" turned into "over two nights."

We have to stay here in Nassau, but no one is leaving anyway. Not only has it been raining nonstop, but the wind is predicted to gust over 30 miles per hour the rest of the week. Even the big sport fisher boats are staying put. Most of us are setting our sights for Monday to leave. It's OK here, but it's still a city atmosphere and the rent here isn't exactly cheap. We really want to get back to the Exumas with a healthy boat.

It's hard to believe I've been retired two years and here we are in Nassau, having been away for over a year from our friends and family back in St. Louis, and other places too. Don't think for a minute that we didn't think of everyone over the holiday weekend. Ours was not so special, but we still hoped that everyone we hold dear to us were able to enjoy themselves.

Add your comment:
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed