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Reality Check

Posted by on January 13, 2012

Just in case you were thinking that our lives were all “rum drink wishes and wahoo dreams…

Last night the power went out here in Marsh Harbour and Sabrina and I dinghied out to JV in murky darkness under cover of a clouded sky, guided to JV by our super-bright LED anchor light.  (It’s cool, we know which boat is ours when we leave the dinghy dock by the light signature.)  I checked the deck, secured the dink, read a little bit and went to sleep.

Today is Friday the 13th, so I should have been prepared for a rude awakening; I originally thought that someone was shining a spotlight on our boat when I awoke at 4 a.m.?  Shortly thereafter I shook off the sleep and realized it was lightening.  It was still to the north of us, but it wouldn’t be long till we were hit with the storms that they had been predicting for the last couple days.  At about 4:10 I was watching from under the dodger when the front of the storm moved through, just enough wind to straighten all the boats on their anchor chain (maybe 15 knots), I wasn’t concerned about JV, but I kept looking upwind to make sure that no boats were dragging down on us.  One of our upwind neighbors drifted and then caught, I think he just had a long length of chain straightening on the harbor bottom.  The squall came on us fast and left us fast, I watched it till 5:00 and then crawled back in bed to get some sleep.

Our plan today was to catch the 10:30 ferry to Hope Town with my parents.  Sabrina woke up around 8:00, and I awoke about 8:15 to the sound of the Cruiser’s Net.  Sabrina informed me that we were out of propane, and after my night vigil I knew I needed coffee. (We heat water on the propane range to use in our Aeropress coffee maker.) I woke up, took a look outside at the clouds and realized we needed to fire up the engine to charge the batteries if we wanted to keep the freezer frozen. (Clouds mean that our solar won’t charge enough during the day.)

So I fired up the engine and started charging the batteries.  Shortly thereafter the circuit breaker blew on the engine ignition feed.  I reset it.  It blew again. I reset it.  It blew again.  Hmmmm…… This is the same problem I had with my dad while we were fishing.  I decided that the blowers were drawing too much power and I’ll need to rewire them to come straight off the batteries. But without the blowers on the alternator was overheating and wouldn’t charge.  Quite the conundrum, so I opened all the engine hatches and turned fans on the engine to try to keep it cool while I tried to keep us on our timeline for the ferry at 10:30.

Back to the propane, we carry two 10 lb.  tanks aboard, so when one runs out we know we are halfway through our propane.  So, no problem, I’d switch tanks, turn on a valve and hot coffee would help erase my morning adventures.  But there was a problem, the o-ring for our full tank was gone, and the o-ring for our empty tank was permanently affixed to the valve.  But luckily I had bought extra o-rings before we left Maryland!

Hmmm….now where were they?

When we departed a lot of spare parts, tools, fabric, epoxy, gel-coat, engine oil, cat food, etc. got stowed in the boat.  We TRIED to keep track of where it all went, but finding an o-ring this morning was a proverbial needle in a haystack.  On our 4th attempt at where they ABSOLUTELY HAD TO be, we found them!  Of course we had to rip apart half the boat – all while the engine is running – and don’t forget that all the engine access panels are removed to provide ventilation.

It’s noisy.  It’s hot.  I’m tired.

I install the o-ring, Sabrina makes coffee, I grab a shower, the batteries get a little charged, and I jump in the dink to make sure we can meet my parents in time to catch the ferry.  There’s a bunch of rainwater in the dink, so I use the hand bilge pump to pump it out really quick.  When I’m done I watch as the hose from the pump falls overboard and sinks to the bottom of Marsh Harbour.  Argh.  I figure we’re late enough and the hose will be safe laying on the bottom, we’ll get it tomorrow afternoon when the sun is shining, that’s the nice thing about crystal clear water.

Luckily after that rocky start to this Friday the 13th we had a wonderful day in Hope Town.  We made the 10:30 ferry, had a great lunch, and toured the town.  We ran into some other friends from Havre de Grace on the street and saw the lighthouse from afar.  Sabrina and I found a place to rent surfboards and we’ll be back to the harbor when the surf is breaking. All in all it was a nice way to spend the last full day in the Bahamas with my parents.

Then we got back to the dinghy dock to find the tide was out and the dink high and dry.  Enough was enough and Sabrina and I proceeded to do some window shopping in Marsh Harbour and enjoy happy hour at Snappa’s Grill and Chill.  We headed back at sunset after the tide had returned a little bit and we were able to push the dinghy into deep enough water to run back to JV.

We headed back into the resort tonight to meet up with my parents and enjoy an authentic “Rake n’ Scrape” at the resort by local musician “Brown Tip.”  While today wasn’t perfect, I can deal with these annoyances to enjoy experiencing this beautiful area. I’d much rather be losing sleep during a tropical rainstorm than shoveling snow during a blizzard at home. As I’ve jokingly taken to remarking to Sabrina when something goes awry, “It’s better in the Bahamas!”

4 Responses to Reality Check

  1. Candy

    I had no idea your day was *that* amazing! Thanks again for everything–we had a great time!

    • Brad

      I assume you made it back to Uncle Bill’s okay, glad you enjoyed your time here. It got cold today, so you experienced the best weather we had, we had a nice time too, hope Ohio isn’t too cold.

  2. Aunt Doris

    That was quite a Friday the thirteenth. You made it through with flying colors. I hope you know that I was kidding when I said you should keep a journal. Your posts on what is happening every day are really great and we are very much enjoying them. Take care. Hugs, Aunt Doris & Uncle Red

    • Brad

      My goal with the blog was to help keep track of what we did for us to look back on in the future, I’m glad that others can follow along. We’ll be safe as we continue along, hopefully we’ll see you this summer!

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