Nov. 24: Since we celebrated my birthday Russia style with vodka, it seemed we should celebrate Thanksgiving Bahamian style with cracked conch, peas and rice, and coleslaw. All this and more at the Poop Deck in Nassau.
So, how did we get here so fast? High winds and high seas made crossing the Gulf Stream impossible. Rather than sit in Florida waiting for a weather window, we hopped a plane and came to Nassau. Well, not quite that easy. What to do? Wednesday morning we woke up with a plan. Call a travel agent, see if we could book a flight (we did), hire a cab to take us from Melbourne to Orlando (no, I won’t tell you the cost), book a Jet Blue flight (no, I won’t tell you that cost either), wait out a four hour delay and finally arrive Nassau at 7:00pm last night. Our real destination was to be Andros, but that meant taking the fast ferry from Nassau to Fresh Creek on Andros and it only runs certain days-Wednesday not being one of them. So, before we left Orlando, we booked the British Colonial Hotel in Nassau. A grand old hotel that is now a Hilton. Good that it has been restored. It’s such a landmark.
Now, to back up a bit. Our two-day trip down the waterway from Daytona Beach to Melbourne was eventful, but not beyond our (make that Ed’s) ability to repair all that needed to be done. First, the morning leaving Daytona, when Ed started the engine, before I untied the dock lines, the engine keep stalling and he discovered the mechanic who had serviced the engine had not bled the fuel lines. This repair took an hour but was successful and we made good time to Titusville where Ed had to change the engine oil since the mechanic had not done that either! So much for paying for someone else to do the work.
Day 2. Titusville to Melbourne. A shorter run of 40.6 miles. Good thing. About 9:00 we discovered the bilge pump was running about 1/3 of the time. Not a good thing. For you non-boaters, that means we are taking on water-somewhere, somehow. Ed first assumed it was the cutlass bearing. I took the helm and he opened the compartment where it is to tighten it. Nope, the bearing was dry but the aqua-sea lift muffler was leaking. Now, I didn’t know what that was either, but here’s the deal. The engine noise is muffled by sea water which then spurts out the back of the boat, but ours was spurting salt water into the bilge. No, we were not in danger of sinking anytime soon, but it had to be repaired or replaced before it got any worse.
I was able to read the name of the manufacturer and phone number on this thing, Ed made a call and the guy suggested sending it to them and they would repair it. Ed explained we were on the water even as they spoke so that was not an option. Next suggestion, JB Weld, a step better than duct tape which we had already tried. The duct tape did slow it down some, enough that we could finish our day and Ed removed the muffler at the dock in Melbourne. By the way, we do think that is fixed, Wednesday morning while I am working on our plan B to get to the Bahamas, Ed reattached the muffler and ran the engine at the dock, no leaking. We had slathered it with JB Weld.
Now, tomorrow we will take the fast ferry to Andros. This is important exploration for our second novel, Night Watch. Andros plays an important role and this is one island we actually know very little about. It is huge, as big as Puerto Rico, but it is not on most cruising routes. The west coast is uninhabitable and is a maze of wetlands and mud flats. The east side (toward Nassau) is surrounded by a barrier reef with very few breaks to get a boat through. The one marina in Fresh Creek has a current running 6 knots so is difficult to dock unless you plan this maneuver at slack tide. See why sailors don’t go there? The history of Andros includes, witch craft, pirates and drug runners. Perfect for the setting of a novel. There is a lot more I can tell you, but let that wait until we get there and see for ourselves. But, I’ll tell you this, watch out for the Chickcharnies with their powerful mischief-making.
tomorrow from Andros,
Jan and Ed