Wednesday, 28 January 2015

THE WIFI is good today, so posting some extra pictures

sunset at Great Sale Cay

conch beach

Customs Lady

Tutti and Pat, Keltic Kat, from Nova Scotia

Randy and Carmen, Walkabout

Dave and Janine, SnowBird

the ocean

January 25 - 28, 2015

one of the beaches near by

the coconut men
and one lady …

finding a spot to attach our Bahamian dollar

there we are MODAKI  2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

I forgot to mention that our good friends from Walkabout, saw Joe and I returning to Modaki, they where a distance away from us, and they were in their dinghy.  They said that they knew it was us, by our life jackets.
We are the only people that wear them …. and to our family back home we will continue too …

We had a great walk with SnowBird, even though Dave got us lost, by taking all those sandy roads, to get to Coco Bay.  I did mention a sign a mile back that said Coco Bay 550 metres this way … as it turned out the ocean was too strong for us to safely snorkel, and Coco Bay too shallow and no reefs ….  But it was a good sweaty walk with great friends.

Back to our boats and I got the blog stuff ready to post, and there will only be one picture from now on and wording.  The wifi here is not strong enough to down load more pictures.  Joe got one diesel tank filled and one water tank … Diesel 5 gal was $25 plus marina service charge of $1.23 … water 5 US gal  $1.35

We had a pot luck get together with other boaters, and met up again with Tutti and Pat, from Nova Scotia….they are here on Keltic Kat, a Non Such, and they wintered the boat here last year. By the time we all finished chatting the sun was setting.

We waited on the next low to come … and it was much stronger.  We rented the golf cart again and headed to New Plymouth with SnowBird, but soon rushed back, the sky got very dark and the wind pipped up.  SnowBird was worried about their anchor and 5 minutes after they got aboard, the anchor started dragging.  They struggled to get the anchor up and catch a mooring ball, other boaters came to help them, during gusts over 35 knots and torrential rain.  The winds continued to howl all night long and shook us awake a few times.

When we where on our travels yesterday we picked up some coconuts, that had fallen and was still full of water (that is how you know they are still good). So off to the beach we all went with hammers, chisels, knives and screwdrivers.  A local man, just shook his head at us and he quickly showed up with a machete  and whack, whack, whack and the outer shell came off, hit the end of the inner coconut and the water was pouring out.  Joe and Dave still was working on theirs.  Later we had rum drinks aboard SnowBird with the water.  Now what to do with all the fresh pulp inside.

The 2nd low has finished now, around Noon, Wednesday and a 3rd is coming tonight, winds are now NW and it is just about impossible to make any passages, safely.  We also don't want to stir up our fuel tank.

We had another nice walk on the Ocean Beach and Coco Bay Beach, a packed lunch on a deserted dock.
Picked up 10 gal of water, and a nice fisherman gave us a few backs of Maui Maui, for supper.

Off to Green Turtle Club to post the blog  ……….

Sunday, 25 January 2015

January 22-23-24, 2015

January 22, 2015

We are up early to listen to Chris Parker at 6:30, and he was not on this morning, so we got ready for the next leg,… 57 nm and it took 11 hours … we need to check into customs
We motored for the first part of the trip, then when we got to Crab Cay, with a change of direction, we had both sails up and motor off for a few hours.

The motor ran well … we finally got the anchor down at Green Turtle Cay at 5:30, sunset.

January 23, 2015

We pumped up the dinghy and headed to shore to check into customs.  There was a sign on the door saying be back at 11:30, which changed to 1:30 to 2pm, Bahamian time, I guess.
We headed back to Modaki and proceeded to haul anchor and headed into White Sound a protected harbour.  We managed to get one of the last mooring balls available. Then to shore and rented a golf cart to head the 5 miles back to New Plymouth and customs.  We rented the cart for 4 hours, it was $35.00 plus $5.00 for gas.

We had lunch of cracked conch, with potato salad and cucumber salad, and headed back to customs, and waited and waited.  Finally the officer arrived and we filled out all the 4 pages of forms, paid our $150.00 cash, boat under 30 ft.  Over 30 ft it was $300.00, hopped in the golf cart and headed back to White Sound.

To our surprise WALKABOUT was at anchor, Carman and Randy, we first met at Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia in Augusta 2014, and again Annapolis, Maryland, USA in October 2014 and now Green Turtle Cay January 2015.  They knew we where arriving soon and waited to see us again.

Another surprise SNOWBIRD came in to White Sound.  We travelled with them for 6 weeks October to December 2014. We had many stories to share with WALKABOUT and SNOWBIRD.

Laundry was needed to be done and we bit the bullet and paid $4.75 each wash and $4.65 each dry, in total we spent nearly $24 for 2 loads. They shower rooms where unlocked, so we now have ourselves, bedding and clothes all smelling nice.  LOL

We had our first of 3 lows pass thru today.  Winds gusting to 38 knots was recorded  in this protected anchorage, with torrential rain.  We sat these out on WALKABOUT, with MODAKI swinging on a mooring ball close by.

We had a pot luck supper on SNOWBIRD, with all the good laughs that brought us together a few months ago.

The wind died over night, but tonight Sunday the 2nd low with stronger winds is to pass thru, then the 3rd will hit on Tuesday- Wednesday.

We are in good spirits, but are worried about our fuel tank issues.  When the weather clears we will head off to March Harbour, there is a Yanmar Dealer and NAPA dealer there.

WALKABOUT left for Guana Cay and a pig roast, then to Marsh Harbour.

We are off to the beach with SNOWBIRD and our snorkelling gear.

January 21, 2015

January 21, 2105

By morning we got to see the beautiful clear water, with starfish and trigger fish below , all in 15 ft of water.
But it was hard to enjoy the beauty.

We blew out the fuel hose, no resistance, changed both filters again, only 16 hours on them, bld the lines and Modaki chugged back to life.  By 8am we called all 3 boats and said that we are running but don't exactly know what our problem is.

We all hauled anchor, with MISTRESS in the lead, then SANDERLING, MODAKI AND ALDERAAN following.

Little Bahama Banks is shallow, we are travelling in 10- 15 ft of water to Great Sale Cay for the night.
We can see the bottom of the ocean as clear as you can see your hand. So far we have seen a turtle, starfish and something big with 2 fins on its back.  Shark ??
2PM the motor is running good, all the hatches and 3 windows are open today, not a breathe of wind, only what we are making motoring 5.5 knots.

Joe polished all of our silverware, while I did watches … maybe a stress
reliever. .. we hung out clothes that needed dried.

I had my hand line, fishing, out but surveying what we are passing thru, sand and more sand, maybe 1 thousand acres with no grassy areas … , there was no fish to take the bait.

We made it to Great Sale Cay, 7 hours and 40 km … and not a sputter, we have been connecting the dots with what's happening to the motor etc. … we now believe we need to replace the fuel tank … maybe it is rusty inside and particles are clogging the lines.  Tomorrow we will put the engine to the test once again.

We had a swim off the boat, pork chops for supper and sat in the cockpit watching the stars.

January 20, 2015 crossing

sun rise at 7am

January 20, 2015
Oh my what an experience we are living, not what I'd hoped for … much better

We did our test drive for 2 hours to check out the fuel issue, had the U.S. Coast Guard on board for safety check, etc.  Got our selves and Modaki ready for another crossing to Bahamas.

On Monday we all moved down to the Lake Worth Inlet, maybe 10 - 12 boats, or more.  It was not easy to anchor amongst moored boats and anchored boats with the tide going out and the wind blowing the opposite direction .  We anchored near " MISTRESS", Brad and Maureen, Toronto and then realized it was too close, as we swung with the tide and wind, so we moved further away.  SANDERLING and ALDERAAN, went about 1 mile further south….. we all hauled anchor about the same time the next morning 6 AM, still dark, but lights from buildings on shore.  We all made it out of the inlet and off we went.  Modaki in the lead, about 7am it was getting light and the radar was not needed.  We had to radio a freighter to see if he wanted us to change course, but he said he would … and closer to the Little Bahamas we had to radio another freighter, he also changed direction to avoid a collision.

It was not a comfortable ride across the gulf stream.  The wind was to have gone south east from the east and this did not happen at all.  The seas and wind on the nose, made for 3 - 4 - 6 ft seas.
We had planned on going to WestEnd to check in, but after some advise from Mark on Down Island, we all picked up speed and headed for Memory Rock and the Little Bahama Banks.

Around 4:15 pm Modaki 's motor started to sputter again. It was too late to alter course for WestEnd.  We radioed SANDERLING about our issues and they powered back and stayed along side.  once again we sputtered our way along for another 2 hours, just hoping to get onto the banks and off the main channel for the night.
Joe and I worked for a few hours visually checking everything, but we needed sleep.
The swells on the bank slowly settled down over night.
A 12 1/2 hour crossing and 63 km

Sunday, 18 January 2015

January 14 - 17, 2015 break down, US Coast Guard

Joe changing one of the fuel filters

both of them look like brand new, and they are

TowBoatUS giving us a tow

MODAKI going above hull speed

finishing up the paper work

our 12 miles out to the ocean and back

Alderaan and Sanderling crew

buying water for 30 cents a litre at Publix

fire on shore

crack in the fuel line … this is probably the issue all along

US Coast Guard after our boarding … 

we had no violations

January 14, 2015

When you anchor within 200 ft of the ICW you are awakened at daylight by all the monster tall fishing boats heading out to sea.  Time to get up and hold down what ever we left on the table last night. Soon we started to change the fuel filters, the first one was not dirty but we found a few very small crystals. Then changing the small filter it looked brand new, both of them where changed and had only 12 engine hours on them.  Then we worked for about 1 1/2 hours bleeding the lines and nothing was working..

Our friends that had to turn around and head back radioed us to see how we made out., not good.   A decision was made to call TowBoatUS, within 20 minutes we where hooked up and Joe was raising the anchor.  The tiller tied down securely and off we went in tow.

Monitoring Channel 11, we where checked on a few times to confirm everything was ok. Modaki went well above hull speed, but she was not complaining at all.
Joe remarked that maybe some bottom growth will be washed off. (our speed meter is not working again).

Before noon we dropped our anchor, then the tow lines, just a few 100 ft from where we left some 18 hours earlier. The wind was from the north and we dug in well.
We googled to find a Yanmar dealer, and one was about 2 miles away, so we ordered parts.

The wind overnight was so strong and whistling and howling it reminded us of a snow storm.  Thinking of our family and friends back home.

We had a great happy hour with Bob and Diane (Sanderling) and Mark and Anne (Alderaan). With lots of laughs, which made us all feel better after all our mishaps in the last 24 hours.

January 16, 2015

Sanderling, rented a car and offered to take Joe and I to pick up our parts.  With a quick walk back, we installed them.  Joe also found a crack in a fuel line and he repaired that too.
Tomorrow we take MODAKI for a test drive to see how everything works.

We received some very sad news yesterday, Joe's ex-boss and good friend, Dave Taylor, owner of Lands and Forests Consulting, passed away suddenly, he was only 63 years.  We are in total shock on this news.  Thinking of Susan and family back in Chesley, Ontario

January 17, 2015

our engine test drive down to the Lake Worth Inlet and back went without a sputter, but we sputtered a bit the
U.S. Coast Guard pulled us over and boarded
they checked our passports, boat registration, safety gear, made sure that we had a holding tank and it was locked, checked out the engine, asked when we entered U.S., and what the next step was etc etc.
We had no violations, and we have the paper work to prove it too.

Once back to our usual anchoring spot we headed to town to get diesel. Joe was wanting fish and chips for supper, so we picked that up at Publix and back out to the boat for a quiet evening aboard.

Tuesday now looks like a weather window for a day time crossing to WestEnd, Abacos, Bahamas

There will be no more night crossing if we can avoid it.

to be continued ……

Thursday, 15 January 2015

January 12/13, 2015

making some food ahead for the passage, a port roast, ready to BBQ

mashed potatoes for supper, with some of the port chops and curry chicken for the next day in the Bahamas

Joe doing the cooking … winds are dying and all looks good to leave at 3:30 pm

off we go down to the Lake Worth inlet … little did we know we would be back at just about this exact spot, some  6 hours later

what there is for anchoring is full of liveaboards, and abandoned boats

next is some cruise ships

this boat looked like it was either being loaded or unloaded from a trip across the ocean

the dredger blocking most of the frontage to another anchorage

Jerry on " PIPER "

now PIPER, below a wave

all looks good, it was a bit lumpy

off we go to the Bahamas … maybe not

January 12, 2015
Finally I got to wifi and posted the last few days adventures, and for most of you you are as bored as we are … we need to get moving.

We found out today that "Black Hawk" got caught in a strong currant on the Chesapeake Bay and hit the bridge, dropping the mast and shredding the sails and taking out part of the bridge rail.  This happened around 4am leaving the Bay. No one seriously injured.  Black Hawk was in Owen Sound Harbour for months near the boat launch, Joe and I me him at Annapolis, this cruising year at our Canadian Get together.

Once back from shore we packed the dinghy and had a great visit from Persuasion, Mike and Mary Ellen Taylor, from Ottawa area.

making food for the passage

we both had to cancel or suspend our phones and iPad , because once we cross and leave US there is no coverage for us ….
with these plans   …. 

January 13, 2015

we are up early listening to Chris Parker on the SSB again for the last minute crossing weather info.
Most boaters made the last minute run to Publix (groceries ) and water.

The crossing to WestEnd or Memory Rock will take us 10 hours averaging 5 knots, which we will passage in the dark.  Crossing the Gulf Stream, on a "S" pattern due to the gulf stream. Then we will see how the weather is and will either go into WestEnd  (dockage) in the dark, or pass thru Memory Rock, 3am, into Little Bahama. Banks, getting light now to Man Grove Cay, Great Sail Cay, Green Turtle Cay … to check into customs

So off we all went about 10 of us … one of the Women, who sail, organized a radio contact with all of the boat names , so we could keep in contact with each other … Smart Woman … we all did not know each other, but now we do by VHF

The North East wind was 6 - 8 knots and seas 4 feet on the front quarter at about 10 seconds.  It was roll and rough and more than Chris Parker and Marine VHF called for. (isn't this always the way)
wasn't the word going around DONT CROSS WITH any NORTH
wind ?

About 10 miles out our motor started to sputter and loose power. We gave it a few minutes and it happened again.

Earlier " Sanderling " had to turn back because of GPS failure.  His buddy boat " Alderaan ", headed back too guide him into the entrance at Lake Worth and another 5 miles to the anchorage.

" Piper ", sailing with us said he would stay back, while we changed the fuel filters and bleed the line … but we decided  it was too choppy and WHAT IF ??? … we said thanks, Piper, but please go on ….

so at 12 km out from Florida  we turned back, it was heart breaking , but the right move, we sputtered and motor/sailed back to the inlet in the darkness … 

we furled the foresail before the inlet and kept the main up, we sent a couple of security to warn of our approach.  Once inside Lake Worth inlet, we had to avoid small fishing boats with no lights, get confused with the land and inlet lights.  We brought down the main, then another security came on the VHF, a tug was coming towards us pulling a submerged submarine, yes , submarine…  it was  500  feet or more  long.  We radioed back telling of our not working engine issues and was told not to worry just stay close to Peanut Island, as we approached each other our depth sounder said 6 ft .. we radioed again and submarine tug said come more to his port and we would be okay   (later we thought he is pulling a submarine under water, so his water is deep), this area we passed thru is only about 50 ft wide 
Once past his lights our eyes had to adjust to the darkness once again, it is now 9pm …
watching the chart plotter with our previous passage 5 hours before  and the iPad for back up, Joe yelled to STB now, out of the dark was a red ICW marker, it is not lite … think red markers to right (ICW markers are always red to land, green to ocean), we are going inland….. (later we found out our other 2 returning boaters nearly hit the exact same marker)

Next we heard on the VHF, is "Alderaan " calling TowBoatUS because they ran aground, while they are leading " Sanderling " to the anchorage.

Remember in earlier blogs I said you can not transit the ICW in the dark … well we had to do it so we could find an area to anchor.

at this point MODAKI was only going 2 knots, and this was too fast for us in the darkness, we checked out the first anchorage with the dredger in the entrance, that was impossible, too deep and too many boats, next two anchorages had 1/2 sunken boats, abandoned boats, boats with no anchor lights on, it was impossible to anchor there.
we went under the A1A bridge and it got even darker, going north.

Joe found an area on Navionics on the  iPad that had a 10 ft depth, other areas are 1 - 5 ft, just off the channel
our motor is struggling a lot now, we just need another 5 minutes please … 
Just as we got to the area that we could leave the channel, a black boat, with black clothed people, with no lights came at us at high speed,  from no where, we thought they where going to TBone us
, and at the last minute they turned in the opposite direction we where going. 
well my heart sputtered just like the motor, Joe was speechless ,
now that we have talked to some other US boaters they said they are Govt' Boys, Drug Busters, … they must of had night vision glasses to miss us.

now back to us, the motor is not feeling well at all, we both said another 5 minutes … 

we got to the beginning of the depth we wanted and we had to drop the anchor, the wind hooked us … might I add here …anchor is Rocna, and all chain …. the wind built and we sat parallel to the ICW

It was 10:30 and we where burnt out and stressed out, not even hungry or thirsty 

So we did not cross to the BAHAMAS, our main goal of  this adventure and now we have to fix Modaki's engine/fuel/what ever our issue is ..

p.s. we now realize we need to un-cancel and un-suspend 
our phones and iPad … we may not leave for a while  … oh no

Monday, 12 January 2015

January 9 - 12, 2015 North Lake Worth

Banyan Tree

these are amazing

thanks Sue, the cockpit light is fantastic

Joe working on the laundry

and hung out, with the jack lines installed for our crossing to the Bahamas

Tow Boat US , came to help this boat get away from a dragging yacht … no one is on the dragging boat and other sailors, boarded it and put out a second anchor that was on the bow
this boat's anchor was under the dragging boat

our friends on a boat from Australia, was feeding the seagulls … there must of been 200 gulls, oh my !!

taking time to sew the bimini back up, after 5 years the threads are falling apart in the sun

sewing 6 layers of sunbrella is tough … using the cutting board to push the needle thru

January 9 - 12, 2015

Right now everyday is running into each other, we are anxious to cross the gulf stream, but these low's keep coming with strong North and NE winds.

We have bought everything from West Marine that we need, but  still go just about everyday to get water.  A couple of days ago we left the boat with 4 - 1gal jugs and came back with only 3.  Somehow I managed to leave one on the sandy beach dinghy dock, the next day we found it and it had been opened and used, so off we went to buy another jug.  We have been catching up on our laundry, doing clothes one day and sheets the next day, and using our precious fresh water.

Yesterday I had an awful scare, we where heading off to a sailor's get together at a Pizza place, and I couldn't find my camera. Oh the thoughts that goes thru ones mind. We tore the boat apart, looked in our coat pockets, backpacks, and every corner. The evening before we visited another Canadian boat from Quebec. "GIVA", so I was sure that I left it there, but they had moved into a near by marina.  Still feeling sick about this we got the dinghy ready to take to town. Joe had to fill up the outboard, and what did he happen to find up at the mast, yup camera.  Lucky for me it did  not rain overnight, and there was no dew either.

We had a great sailor's greet and get together. Got more water and back to the boat just before a squall hit.

As it turns out our first chance to cross the Stream is now Tues at noon or Wed after midnight, there  will be squalls with Thunderstorms, before that with high north east winds.  Tomorrow morning after Chris Parker gives the word on the weather and crossing we will decide.

This morning we reconnected with Mike and MaryEllen Taylor on PERSUASION, they came into the anchorage last night. We first met at the Canadian get together in Annapolis, when we where there for the boat show, back in October. They are off to town today getting supplies and hope to cross with us.  HOOT HOOT

Well that is it for now, once we do cross it will take us a few days or a week to get organized with 3G and wifi …. we will buy a pay as you go phone, get a SIM card for the IPAD, and only be able to do the blog when we have wifi.

heading to town, for water and wifi, to post this
to be continued ……