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January 29, 2008

Alone again

We are now back to just the two of us. Terry left to return to Michigan and the cold weather yesterday. His wife Debbie has decided that she is ready to take a leave of absence and go cruising starting this summer so Terry now has a deadline to get Island Time ready! His three weeks aboard were a very pleasant period and he solved several major problems/projects on Courage.
Perhaps the most important is that he was able to figure out how to get the GPS to “talk” to my navigation computer and the MapTech software. In addition to getting the hard wiring right, he also deduced that we needed to run the software to have the MapTech software recognize the com port that talks to the GPS. How is that for telling you much more than you needed to know??? Anyhow, it now works and the symbol for the boat moves cross the chare as we travel over the water!
During Terry’s stay here in the Bahamas, we visited Manjack Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Great Guana Cay (twice), Man-O-War Cay, Hope Town, and of course, Marsh Harbor. We have seen about half a dozen Brewer Whitby 42’s or 12.8’s liker Island Time and Omega. These are obviously cruising boats owned by people who go cruising! Terry knows several of them and we either visited on their boats or talked with them on the VHF.
With Terry’s help, a number of boat projects have been completed. There are now shelves port and starboard in the engine room to store stuff that was just stacked in there. I have been tracking down the leak in the foredeck hatch that is right over where Sue sleeps and think I almost have it. We now need a good rain to test my work. There is another coat of teak oil on the decks and they look nice and the foredeck bench seat teak has a coat of oil on it. Today I am painting the new shelf in the engine room and installing a shelf on one of the forward closets per Sue’s request. I am in process of reworking the rain gutters I installed on the cabin roof and will now be able to catch rainwater to add to our water tank. I also straightened out some of the kluged up wiring in the guest head so it now looks professional and right.
Terry also helped by tracing some of the wiring to solve several mysteries about how Courage is wired. It is nice to know this as background for general maintenance and troubleshooting.
I changed out the engine V belt that had gotten worn by rubbing up against the pulley so we have a usable spare in place. I can now sleep easy knowing that the spare is in place if it is needed. Terry and I also scrubbed off the ICW brown “mustache” so Courage now looks much better from outside.
For some reason, we left the “look” bucket I made for Omega at Liz’s house, so I have made another one from an old bucket Terry found on the beach at Treasure Cay. They are very useful for seeing underwater to check if the anchor is set and to locate the coral and reefs without going overboard from the dinghy.
The weather has been chilly (all the way down to 60!) and windy (30+) with rain off and on over the last week but today is back to a warm gorgeous Bahamian day. Life is good.

Posted by Dick at 01:12 PM

January 20, 2008

Back in the Bahamas again

January 14, 2008
First of all, happy birthday to my son Richard! He is now definitely a 40 something guy with this one.
We are now anchored south of Manjack Cay in the Abacos after a successful and generally pleasant crossing. We left from Lake Worth (Palm Beach) at 7 AM on Friday the 11th and were up on the Little Bahama Bank nest Memory Rock by early afternoon. We continued on another 23 miles to Mangrove Cay where we anchored in the dark at 7 PM. The weather was clear and the warm wind was SW at 10-15 knots so conditions were very pleasant. The next day we continued east and anchored in the cut next to Carters Cay. There were about six local fishermen anchored there and they ran their generators all night with large spotlights on the water astern of their boats. With the price of fuel what it is, I don’t know why they do this unless they were spotlighting fish, or they need to the power for refrigeration for their catch. There is lots of current here and it is very shallow water coming into the anchorage. We bounced on the bottom getting into the cut but ended up anchored in 20 feet of water.
To back up a bit, Terry Temperly joined us on January 7th after dropping his wife Deb at the Ft Lauderdale airport so she could get home and back to work. Terry is one of those fortunate people who got a golden handshake from his employer (Dow Chemical) several years ago and can now spend his time doing what he wants! He owns a sister ship to our previous boat Omega named Island Time which is based in Michigan so it is on the hard for the winter. He volunteered to make the crossing and stay a while with us and his company is much appreciated.
Prior to leaving Stuart, and with the help of Terry and his car, we did our last minute and major provisioning runs. There is a Super Wal-Mart just down Routs 1 and we managed to donate almost $500 to them in exchange for 2 large shopping carts filled with stuff! We also changed the oil in the engine and gen set and topped up the water tank. My sister Milbrey and husband Walt visited us for a day. They drove over from Sarasota where they were doing a week in a time-share. We had visited with them last summer at their lovely home in Copake Falls, NY, up the Hudson River. They were aboard Omega several times over the years and we hope that they can visit on Courage at some time in the future.
Our cruising friend Mark Richter (Mark’s Mobile Marine/ trawler Winnie the Pooh) spent a day and a half aboard and installed a new 100 amp alternator and rewired the batteries so they can be used as a common bank. This allows them all to be charged from the engine and extends the battery capacity for the inverter. In addition to being easier on the batteries, to extends the time between charging. He also corrected the ground wiring I installed in the breaker panel. It is another big improvement and as usual Mark showed his knowledge, competence, and efficiency as an excellent guy to have do almost any type of boat improvements and repairs. I recommend him highly to all boaters (richter-pooh@rocketmail.com).
When we were approaching Manjack Cay, we heard our good friend Annie from the catamaran “Peace” on the radio and it turns out that they are anchored here at Manjack. We are now set to have them over fro breakfast this morning.
Terry and I have now installed the new rub rail on the Whaler so it is ready to launch. It will be towed while we are here in the Abacos so we don’t have to launch and retrieve it again for several months. It weighs 450 pounds and launching is a time consuming and challenging process of winching it off of the top of Courage, over the side and into the water. The fewer times we have to do it, the happier we are!

“In my time I have been personally acquainted with a great many dinghies, and I have never known one that could not get itself and its owner into a mass of trouble. Indeed, I have long suspected that all dinghies are inhabited by demons, each on a sort of combination of poltergeist, gremlin, and Fury, and that these take a personal delight in thinking up new sand fiendish situations.”
“Out-Island Doctor” Evans W. Cottman, page 189

Today we will check in with Bahamian customs at Green Turtle Cay and pay our $300 cruising/fishing permit. Since we will be here about three months it amounts to about $3 per day, which is a small price to pay for the pleasure of enjoying this beautiful country and friendly people.
My trip back to NJ for the Fresh Creek Board meeting has been postponed until March 14th. This worked out very well for me with the schedule we have for company aboard. I’ll try to get some recent pictures upon the web site soon. I notice that we take fewer photos than we used to, since we have been at place we have been before and don’t think to take a picture since we “already have one” from previous years. This is not good thinking and we need to take current pictures.

Posted by Dick at 08:04 PM