Our Big Adventure

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Looking back while leaving Hope Town harbor.

Today was eventful. Much of it was great, and we learned some lessons from the rest. We left the beautiful Hope Town harbor at for an anchorage at Sandy Cay that Active Captain names “Snorkeling”. We dropped anchor around noon with one other boat, a sailing cat, a few thousand feet away.

Of course no one can anchor near a living reef, but since divers want to do just that the government has provided mooring buoys fixed to the sandy areas just off the reef. You must be less than 24’ long to use them, so I dropped the dinghy and went out around to the other side of the reef and tied up.

One of the better places I’ve been to. A great variety of fish, some very colorful, in 4’ to 20’ of very clear water. The reef was different than I have seen, with lots of bright yellow colors. An underwater camera would have been nice to help me describe this, but I’ve never gotten very good underwater photos when I’ve tried before. The descriptions about it do say it is the best in at least the northern Bahamas, maybe the best in all.

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Light house lit by kerosene. Floating on mercury, falling weights rotate it. Tried turning it when up there. Effortless.

The area I tied the dinghy up was pretty rolly with swells coming in from a nearby wide inlet to the Atlantic. Those swells reached the big boat as well, so it was rocking around (our stabilizers don’t do much unless the boat is moving) while I was raising dinghy back to the sundeck roof. Trying to ease nearly 1000 lbs. of dinghy back onto its chocks while it is waving around was way harder than I anticipated. I’m lucky I got it done without injury to the dinghy or me. Dropping it was not as difficult. Next time when in rolly seas we’ll just tow the dinghy back to a calmer place before trying to raise it back up.

Boats are wonderful things but can be pretty frustrating. When we got to our Sandy Cay anchorage and stopped the engines, I heard the water pump running. We weren’t using water so I switched off the pump breakers. When I checked the water tank it was dead empty. We left Hope Town with enough water to last us 2 or 3 weeks! Apparently we sprung a leak, and the water pressure pump happily pumped all our water out to – where? Another fine feature of all of these pumps is that when the water supply runs dry they free run until they burn themselves up. Fortunately I heard them running and shut them down before that happened.

I checked all the sinks, washer, dishwasher, shower, etc. found nothing wet and all faucets turned off. I looked into the bilge (the automatic pump is currently broken, got to fix that too) and found no water there. I had to either go into the bilge or through a drain overboard and it seemed to do neither.

We had planned to return north after seeing the reef anyway, so we set course for Marsh Harbor, the big town (6000!) of Abacos. We could most likely find help there, and did finally learn that a fitting for the washer hot water supply had come loose. It dumped into the rear bilge, which is completely sealed off from the central bilge under the engine room, and was efficiently pumped overboard by the automatic bilge pump there. That one still worked.

Anyway, we’re in Marsh Harbor, where we originally did not plan to come. We can leave by tomorrow, and so have not lost much time in our quest to get back to the US. We’ll do a minor resupply and check out Maxwell’s supermarket tomorrow morning. We can sail out before noon.

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