A Travellerspoint blog

Nassau's Not So Bad

overcast 75 °F

We really don't want to be here. Nothing against Nassau, per se, it's just that we like the remoteness and tranquility of the out islands. We lived in the Chicago area for about 30 years and if we wanted to be cheek to jowl with several million of our neighbors we would not have moved to the mountains, 45 minutes from the nearest grocery store. Only about 250,000 people live on New Providence Island, some 7 miles by 20 miles, smaller than Singapore. But after being in places where the population is measured in dozens, this seems like the Big City. The Big City, of course, has its uses and, today, we did use it. Carol and I are incompatible by personality by totally compatible by values and many inclinations. On the way to Nassau we started a list of things to do when we arrived. Having blown off Tuesday afternoon and evening in favor of pizza and sloth, on Wednesday we got going. New batteries for the AM/FM radio remote; buy a copy of the third Stieg Larsson book.

One of the niggling problems has been with the outboard motor fuel line; the fuel tank end won't come off and the O/B motor end won't stay on. So, today, while walking about, we saw that there is a Mercury O/B motor dealer on East Bay Street, the brand that we have. We explained the issues to a knowledgeable man who filled up a bag with parts that he said would correct the problems. It's a miracle! I built a new fuel line from the parts and they all fit, as promised. No more sudden stops because the fuel line fell off the motor and the motor then ran itself dry. This is a good thing.

The other dinghy issue we discovered was that our dinghy anchor line was too short. Bruce, who spent four years cruising the Bahamas, told us that we needed a 50-ft. dinghy anchor line. We had about 30-ft. and he was closer to right than we were. So, after a few stops, we gathered the stuff to make a new anchor line to go with the new, cheap Danforth anchor we bought. I spent the afternoon splicing 3/8-in. line to put together a rig of more than 40-ft. which, we hope and believe will suffice, despite Bruce's admonition for a little more. Working with 3-ply line is one of the only true sailorly things that I can do. I have not yet learned to work with braided and double braided line; I have watched it being done, but that was not enough for me to be able to replicate the splices.

Once again, my job was to clean the cockpit. It was pretty thick and when I lifted the mats I discovered that there was a small colony of rare and reclusive marine marmots living there. They had been thriving on spilled cereal and other food detritus from meals taken in the cockpit.

We are about half way through with fueling, needing only to refill the jerry cans. And, surprise of surprises ... the new anchor windlass arrived at the marina office on Wednesday, at about 3 pm, having been ordered on Monday at 10 am. This was an international shipment, after all. Peter gave us some advice on how to avoid the duties that could have been charged; presenting FedEx with the right paperwork saved us several hundred dollars, and Carol did not even demand a night out based on the savings, although she did hint that she really would like a night at the Atlantis Casino and Hotel. My response was that we could do that but only if she agreed to carry her things to the hotel in a pillow case, which may actually be the only luggage that we have on the boat.

And to make the day end just perfectly, we have an appointment with and installer for Friday morning. Edwin (Eddie) M. worked on our boat about two years ago and we were able to secure his help again for this project. Dudley, the dockmaster for the Nassau Harbour Club Marina, is his cousin and rousted him, him being Edwin, to accept the work. Dudley, it seems, is also related to everyone in the Bahamas, having roots in the Black Point Community on Great Guana Cay where we spent several days and, probably, will again. Our geographical connection is that Dudley lived for a while in Charleston, SC, and, while there, dated a woman in Greensboro, NC, before moving back to the Bahamas. So, we have a bit of North Carolina in common; it's thin, but it works.

On Thursday, another work day, for me, at least, while Carol was playing at being a Steel Magnolia at the beauty parlor. When I had earlier checked the zinc on the shaft there was nothing there ... completely gone after having been installed in Ft. Lauderdale, when the new propeller was put on, maybe seven weeks ago. That seems to be too short a time for such a large zinc. I had asked a local guy about the water in the harbour and he said that it would be cleanest when the tide was flowing out, bringing in clean water from the east. Seemed reasonable. So on goes the wet suit; this time I decided to use the weight belt too, which I had not used when trying to clean the bottom at Great Guana Cay. Nature has not provided me with a lot of built in flotation so it seemed strange that I would be so buoyant in the wet suit but, there must be a lot of air in there so the extra dozen pounds or so made a big difference. I was very close to neutral weight in the water. Big difference, much easier. Putting on the new zinc was a pretty easy thing to do, taking only a few minutes under the boat. It was the first time I had installed one of these on the propeller shaft. Cleaning the bottom was more problematic. The normally clear water was turbid; the clouds blocked the sun; I don't have vision corrected goggles so visibility was pretty poor. The job got done, mostly, but I doubt that I did it well so, I will probably have the opportunity to learn from this when I do it again and again. When I got out of the water I was able to see an oil slick on the water, something Carol had been able to smell, like someone had dumped a load of diesel fuel to the east. I don't think that I swallowed any water but I was concerned about stomach issues which have, so far, not come to pass.

The promise from Lewmar was that the new windlass will be a direct replacement for the old one. I did a quick visual inspection of the new unit and this has a good chance of being true. The supplied gypsy, 002, is correct and will fit our 5/16 chain. The hole alignment and size looks the same. The switches and circuit breakers seem identical.

This is the top side of the unit. The forward/top part is missing the cover and several parts that I removed to get the unit semi-functional.


There is even more stuff on the inside of the boat, in the forward cabin.


Of course, this is a boat; there is always a premium on working space. Carol agreed to remove much of the landslide of stuff blocking access but doing more would have resulted in a mutiny.


Success looks like this, all shiny and new. It took about six hours, more or less, to remove the old one and get the new one installed. My two concerns were (1) that the old windlass had been embedded in 5200 sealant/adhesive, in essence, welded to the fiberglass. This was, fortunately, not the case; the prior installer had used only sealant. And (2) that the holes were not of the right size and orientation. This also turned out not to be an issue. The new one dropped into and bolted into all of the old holes perfectly. The only change was in a wiring block, a different arrangement than the old one. When Eddie had finished he broached the issue of us selling him the old windlass for his boat. We settled on cash and the old unit which seemed like a good deal to us since we had no good idea where to store the old one for the next few months. It seems that Lewmar had learned some things along the way: no plastic parts on this guy.


After several weeks of, almost, Edenic weather the past few days have been more ordinary. There has been a stalled front right over New Providence Island with the attendant clouds, rain and cooler temperatures. The rain was nice, after a fashion. When the boat gets sailed hard and close to the wind there is always a lot of salt water spray that settles all over, especially on the strata-glass in the canvas surround. Every morning when we get up the strata-glass is covered with water droplets and the first thought is that it just rained. Wrong answer! In the cooler temperatures at night the salt absorbs water from the atmosphere creating the droplets. In the heat of the day the water then evaporates. An interesting cycle.

A couple of days ago a rather large, 52-ft., motor vessel moored across the dock from us. They're nice people and invited us over for drinks and we got to see how the other half lives. Very well, indeed. Their galley is larger than our cabin. The boat was built in mainland China and all the visible work seems very nicely done.

We are, again, waiting for weather. Tomorrow, Sunday, is going to be very breezy so we may not leave until Monday which will be a little less breezy but still brisk. Tuesday would be better but we have been too long at the dock and we are ready to get underway again.

Posted by sailziveli 19:12 Archived in Bahamas Tagged boating bahamas

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