Swing Set

Aug 28, 201308:34 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

We Wrap Up Our Bahamas Trip in Luxury

(page 2 of 3)

We read our books and tried to relax as a gentle rain pelted the decks. We listened to the thunder, but our boat was bucking from the rollers, and what could have been a pleasant afternoon was more like time spent in a washing machine, albeit on the “gentle cycle.” The rain kept up, but the winds subsided, so at 4 p.m. we pulled anchor again and made way for Allen’s Cay on a shallow water route. It was one we had transited before, so even with the poor visibility, I had breadcrumbs to follow on the Garmin from our previous path.

The only other vessel in the anchorage was an old scow that we saw there on the way down. Several locals live on the boat, and I assume they survived by fishing in the area and selling their catch to the restaurant at Highbourne Cay and to cruisers that are passing through. If they had hailed us, or come over, we might have asked about purchasing some lobster, but I decided to leave well enough alone and not invite trouble. Probably not fair on our part, but we all know about “better to be safe than sorry.”

Rosie piled up some leftovers in the convection oven, and I fired up the generator. Naturally, it was at this point that the cooling water for the generator refused to flow through the engine. I had mentioned that we were having some issues with our generator's raw-water flow, and we were on borrowed time as far as how long we would be able to use the generator. It appeared that time was up. I started an stopped the generator a few times, and then the raw water began flowing again.

My current theory is that two things may be going on: One is that we had been making water on our way up from Staniel Cay. The instructions for the installation of the watermaker suggest plumbing the watermaker by tying into an existing through-hull, and one suggestion was the supply to a generator. Fine. This worked great for about 10 months, but.... My though is that the raw-water impeller is failing, and when the impeller stops randomly in a “just so” position, I am pulling water from the raw-water pump via the watermaker, and the poor condition of the impeller may be preventing the pump from priming properly and getting water to flow, at least initially. I’m still not tearing the water pump apart until we get back to the States. We’ll eat sandwiches until then if we have to.

This small anchorage between Allen’s Cay and Leaf Cay was a lot calmer on our previous visit, and I don’t know why, but we had a restless night with the swells rolling into our anchorage. I was up at dawn, and ready to make our 30-mile run to Nassau.

A beautiful sunrise soon gave way to a clouded sky to our east, and rain chased us all the way into Nassau Harbor. We requested permission from Nassau Harbor Control to proceed to the Harbourview Marina for fuel and was granted it. We pulled up to the fuel dock in a stiff breeze and pumped 146 gallons of diesel into a thirsty Swing Set to the tune of $750.

I inquired about a slip for a night or two, but I had some reservations. The dockage at the Nassau Harbourview Marina is not very sheltered, and waves from the wind and vessels transiting Nassau Harbor were bouncing the boats around. When the attendant showed me the slip that he intended for us to stay in, I saw a blanket of sea plants of some kind covering it, and lots of plastic bags, bottles and other trash floating around among it. I told the attendant I wouldn’t be putting our boat in with all that garbage. I was having enough engine problems as it was without sucking seaweed and plastic bags into our intakes. As it was the only offering he had, we left, and had no idea what we were going to do.

It was another 34 miles to Chubb Cay in the Berry Islands, a layover that we pretty much need to make before heading the 82 miles west to South Bimini. We could make that trip, as it was only noon, but the winds were kicking up and a storm threatened. Rosie called Yacht Haven, the marina we stayed at when we were in Nassau three months ago. They had a slip, but it was not in a sheltered part of their harbor, plus we were going to be nearly alone at a dock in what is not considered to be a very savory area. I had a gut feeling to pass on staying at Yacht Haven, and I’ve learned to trust my instincts. I was heading for an anchorage on the west end of New Providence when it occurred to me to damn the cost and call the Atlantis Resort and Marina to see about slip availability.

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