FROM THE LOG # 6

November 15 to 23, 2002
Stuart, FL. to Nassau, The Bahamas

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(Click on a photo for a larger version)

After almost 2 weeks of major provisioning and outfitting in Stuart we were finally ready to move on. As we did not know when would be the next time we had the opportunity to buy almost anything, and at reasonable prices, we filled all available spaces in the yacht and then crammed in some more. We also filled the freezer once again with meat, in spite of our bad experiences from earlier times (check the Freezer Blues – this link is still under construction). Just to give an idea of the differences in prices between Florida and Bahamas: consider that you can buy a can of beer in Florida for less than 40 cents, while we have paid up to 2,50$ in the Abacos, even for a local Kalik! In Nassau you can find a beer for around 1,50$ a can.

Prime location on the ICW

We also had our Danforth compass serviced and repaired by a compass adjuster, the mizzen staysail mended, new lifelines, added new stanchion poles for the solar panels et cetera. Finally we invested heavily in a major upgrade of our audio and video entertainment equipment and last but not least purchased and installed a modem for the HF SSB radio and subscribed to SailMail. We now have the facilities aboard for sending and receiving email, anywhere, anytime – as soon as we learn how to use the system! For details on all these gadgets, check the appropriate section of the page “The Yacht” by clicking here (opens in new window, which you can close when you continue with the log) .

Birthday

The weather was unstable and there was no suitable window in sight for a crossing of the Golf Stream for the next couple of days. Therefore we only made a short distance the first day along the ICW towards Lake Worth inlet, anchoring at Peck Lake, a convenient and sheltered spot where we have stayed twice before.

Thereafter we stayed for two nights anchored in North Lake Worth, only about 5 miles north of the inlet. When the National Weather Service prediction indicated a brief window for the next day (and no new one in sight for a week) we moved down to the anchorage at (East) Palm Beach, just inside the Forth Worth Inlet, staging our departure for early next morning.

All night and at dawn there was considerable thunder and lightning in the sky over the ocean to the west and south west, but gradually after our departure at 6 it seemed to dissipate. Again the winds were too light for sailing except during a few squalls when they suddenly rose to between 20 and 30 knots, just to calm down again a couple of minutes later when the clouds had passed.

We cleared in, as usual, with customs and immigration at the office in Old Bahama Bay Marina at West End, Grand Bahama.

West End, Grand Bahama island

Next day we had the good fortune of northerly winds, just as last time we were heading south from West End. And just as then, we again experienced problems with the freezer/fridge unit – immediately after crossing over from Florida and all the refrigeration repair facilities over there – and again with the freezer filled with meat. This time I was finally able to fix the problem myself, bypassing the oil pressure and high pressure switches.

Having overcome the fridge problem we untied the dock lines and took up the course towards Nassau. The sailing was magnificent; it was long ago since the last time we had winds that made sailing possible for 17 hours. The night was clear with an almost full moon and I enjoyed it so much that I only slept for an hour during the whole night. As usual, when approaching Nassau, the area was dense with cruising ships that illuminated the surroundings. We saw at least five before daybreak.

The sail was not uneventful, however. On the contrary, we encountered a near catastrophe. When the wind died around 10 in the morning I started the engine, put the gear into forward and raised the revs. Maybe 10 minutes later we detected a burning smell and when Malla opened the engine room door there was a cloud of thick smoke. I immediately discovered a red glow in the dark and realized that I had forgotten to release the hydraulic disc brake that keeps the propeller shaft from turning when the engine is not running. It was the disc that now had heated and glowed like a log fire.

We were lucky, there was no fire and after the disc had cooled my inspection did not reveal any damage. Fortunately, the automatic fire extinguisher in the engine room did not engage, which would have created a mess. On the other hand, maybe it should have .... We felt the burnt smell in our nostrils still the next day.

 The foldig bikes gave us much joy,
as here in downtown Nassau.

 Sea planes land among the yachts in Nassau harbour.
Atlantis hotel in the background

We anchored outside Crocodiles Restaurant in Nassau Harbour. It was the 23 of November and we had 5 days to prepare for receiving our guests from Finland. Which was good, because there were still a lot of pending projects to be taken care of before we could accommodate anybody else aboard. One of those was to create space in the guest cabin. During the past months it had developed into a storage area.


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