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February 01, 2006

Back in the Exumas

Another month has slipped by without an entry. I am definitely loosing track of time and having more ‘senior moments”! Thankfully, some of you avid readers of the log remind me to do an update – thanks Paul!
After the last entry, we moved south to Stuart, FL and got a mooring at the Municipal Marina at $10 per night. This is a real bargain for this part of Florida and the marina is very nice and well run. It is also convenient to the old part of Stuart where there are nice restaurants, shops, etc. It is also convenient for shopping so we were able to do most of our Bahamas provisioning before we left to move to Ft Lauderdale, which we did by the 23rd of January. In between we went back to NJ on Fresh Creek business, Sue got to visit with Josh, we took care of some follow up medical stuff, and visited with Ethan and Caroline in Ft Lauderdale.
On the 24th we set out at 6:30 AM for the crossing and the weather was very calm (not enough wind to sail) so it was motoring all the way. It takes longer from Ft Lauderdale because of the extra distance (about 10 miles more) but we were up on the Great Bahama Bank just north of Bimini by about 4 PM.
As we were approaching the bank, we heard a lot of other boats doing a roll call check in and found out that Ron and Karen on Sea Dancer had organized an informal convoy of over 40 boats for the crossing and were just behind them. We (I) decided to join the convoy and continue overnight to Nassau rather than anchor out on the Bank. I’m glad that we did because the weather got worse late the next day and the boats that anchored out ran into bad conditions.
Our problem was a drop in oil pressure due to running out of oil – a very bad condition! I added oil and we continued on but had to add more as were approaching Nassau. I had bad thoughts of the engine finally giving up after its 8,000 hours of use but the short version is that my oil cooler had a small leak and the new oil filter I had just installed was defective and leaked. Fortunately I had a spare oil cooler that I installed and changing the oil filter (we always have many spare filters on board) the problem seems to be solved. I just hope that running the engine with low oil level has not done damage. Time will tell but in the mean time, all seems to be OK.
We got a slip at the Nassau Harbor Club where we have stayed before and spent four days there visiting with other boaters and waiting for the wind to shift to the west and north before heading southeast to the Exumas. While in Nassau, we did local provisioning and topped up with diesel fuel and water and went into town to sightsee and walk the streets. Sue wanted to go to a church where the local quilting club was having a show. It was fun and there were a lot of beautiful quilts there. We got to vote on our favorites in several categories. Photos will be on the web site.
We left Nassau on the 30th and arrived at Norman’s Cay by late afternoon. We had a nice get together cocktail hour on Sea Dancer that night and the next day went through the cut out into the Exuma Sound for a delightfully perfect day of sailing south to a mooring at Warderick Wells and the Exuma Park headquarters. As always there are many other cruising boats here to socialize with and it was good to see the Exuma Park staff again. Our plans for near term are uncertain (what else is new?) because of Fresh Creek business that may dictate a trip back to the US but as of this writing nothing is scheduled are we are free to just relax and enjoy the beautiful Bahamas scenery and weather. Today the weather is blue blue sky with a gentle breeze and 80 degrees. Ah yes, life is good ………

Posted by Dick at February 1, 2006 01:35 PM