Swing Set

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

May 2013


Just When You Think Things Are Going Well

We left Rock Sound Harbour at 7:30 a.m. on Friday morning. The wind had let up, and there were a few clouds around, but the skies were not as threatening as the day before. We had a 40-mile run to Highbourne Cay, an island on the upper end of the Exumas. We'd been about an hour out, running in deep blue ocean a half-mile deep, and the steering started feeling "funny." Eventually, it was feeling not very funny at all. Our steering was failing us at a rapid rate, meaning we had a leak somewhere in the hydraulic system. We could have turned around and went to one of the marinas on the southern end of Eleuthera, but as I'd mentioned, a weather system was coming in and we didn't want to get stuck in southern Eleuthera for who knows how long. Better to be out in...

Posted at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Comments


Flexible Cruising Plans are the Key to Succcess

I barely got any sleep Monday night, as all I could think about was how I was going to successfully add hydraulic fluid to our steering mechanism without the proper equipment. The more I thought about finding what I needed in Rock Sound, the more pessimistic I became. At about 2 a.m., I went online and found out as much as I could about the job I needed to do, even watching a video on how to do it, and I went back to bed feeling a little more confident on being able to fix our steering. On Tuesday morning, I was up at daybreak sorting through my collection of hoses and fittings, seeing what I had that might serve my purpose. I did have an ample amount of hydraulic fluid that met the specifications of Sea Star, the manufacturer of the steering system on our Sea Ray, so it appeared...

Posted at 03:32 PM | Permalink | Comments


Governor's Harbour To Rock Sound

We couldn't decide whether to leave Alabaster Bay or not, because we liked the beach and we were well protected from the wind and swells coming into Eleuthera Sound from the southeast. But, we had lots of places we wanted to see and they pretty much have all been better than the last place, so by mid-afternoon on Saturday we made way for a short hop over to Governor's Harbour. One reason I was reluctant to enter Governor's Harbour was because everything I'd read about it said that holding was poor, being a slim layer of sand over hard rock, not leaving much for an anchor to grab. As we entered the harbor, there were five sailboats settled in, and they looked to be holding just fine. We picked a spot that wouldn't be intrusive to them, dropped the hook and...

Posted at 01:19 PM | Permalink | Comments


Cruising the Coast of Eleuthera

We missed Bandit on Tuesday when we went to Harbour Island, as he usually comes by the boat to collect our mooring fee. He was away piloting a boat through the Devil's Backbone. I called him on the radio and got his wife, or somebody, and told her we'd pay the next morning. So, early on Wednesday, Jock (Bandit) came by at 7:30 and we paid up for two nights on the ball and said our goodbyes. We went over to Ronald's Service and filled up with diesel at $5.96 per gallon. This is a cash price. Credit cards are hit with an extra 4 percent, plus VISA charges an extra 1 percent for transactions outside of the U.S. We learned that, particularly in the out islands, the Bahamas is a cash economy. A longtime ex-pat over here told us that the typical Bahamian doesn't...

Posted at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Comments


Harbour Island

We survived our first night on our mooring ball with nary a mishap, with nature or with the sailboat next to us. The view above is of Spanish Wells from our mooring ball. "Bandit" came by Monday morning to collect our $20 fee. His real name is Jock Morgan, and he is a local pilot and probably jack of all trades if he needs to be. I asked him how much he charges to pilot one's vessel through the perilous Devil's Backbone on over to Harbour Island. He smiled and said "A hunnerd dollars." I nodded in reply and only offered that we had some business to attend to before we could start thinking about a trip over to the famous Harbour Island and the town of Dunmore. We have no less than four printed guidebooks, or chartbooks, plus the advantage of...

Posted at 08:37 AM | Permalink | Comments


Spanish Wells

Just a quick note today. We left our anchorage just off of Lynard Cay this morning at 7:30 after a nice breakfast consisting of a corned beef hash omelet, toast and hot coffee. Big swells passing through the Little Harbour Cut, and they didn't let up once on our more than five-hour crossing past "Hole In the Wall" on the southern tip of Great Abaco and then on to Ridley Head, just on the northern tip of Eleuthera, a total of 51 miles. The waves were on our port quarter bow and fairly consistent, and we were only ringing the ships bell on every fourth one or so. We only passed one sailboat going the opposite way of us, but we saw three sailboats way off in the distance when we finally spotted land as we approached Eleuthera. We wanted to go on the hook, but...

Posted at 08:56 AM | Permalink | Comments


Hope Town and Pete's Pub

As soon as we left Harbour View Marina, I heard a distress call on VHF 16. A boat was sinking nearby, and there was a request for assistance. Even though the boat sinking was eight miles away, I decided to try to help once I cleared the harbor, but by time I got out to where I could put the boat on plane, there was already help on the scene and all vessels were told to "stand down." The person making the distress call was hard put to describe his location, initially making it hard for anyone to come to his aid. Things to remember. Our cruise over to Elbow Cay and Hope Town was a short one, only a few miles. Hope Town Harbour is small and mostly mooring balls. We anchored just outside on the harbor entrance, along with four or five other vessels. It was my birthday, and...

Posted at 08:37 AM | Permalink | Comments


Reflecting on One Year of Cruising

One year of living on the boat was celebrated on April 20, but we didn't leave St. Louis until May 8 of last year. It was my birthday, and what a way to celebrate a birthday! I'm now a year older, and I think I'm a bit wiser, as far as cruising and living on a boat goes, anyway. Rosie and I've faced a few challenges in the last year, but we've met them and have overcome them. We're in no worse health than we were a year ago, and the boat is no worse for wear, either. In fact, the boat runs better than it did a year ago. But it hasn't been without a lot of work. Rust is a constant issue, but much better and more expensive yachts share the same problem. It's said that stainless doesn't mean stainfree. Everything on the boat works as it...

Posted at 08:46 AM | Permalink | Comments


Harbour View Marina is Not a Bad Place to Wait

On Monday morning, after a quick breakfast, Rosie set to work scrubbing down the boat and I set off on my errands. My first stop was an outboard repair shop just down the road. They advertise generator repair, so it may have been possible for them to get the part I needed for our generator. I couldn't be helped there, but they suggested Marsh Harbour Boatyard, which is ultimately where I figured to wind up, but wanted to check on possible places on the way, which by my best guess, was about four miles, at least. I was to ask for Dennis...nobody but Dennis, period. NAPA auto parts was a dead end. The part number I supplied wasn't even in their system. This detail, I learned later, should not have been an indicator as to whether they could obtain the part, but I...

Posted at 03:13 PM | Permalink | Comments