Andante's Sailing Blog

May 2014

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May 1, 2014 Fast Ferry "Bohengy" to Harbour Island from Spanish Wells
It is possible to take one's boat from Spanish Wells to Harbour Island. One way is to go the long way around the north end of Eleuthera and enter the bay on the west side of Harbour Isalnd from the Atlantic Ocean. Once inside it is a shallow route to Dunmore Town. The other way is through the Devil's Backbone, a system of reefs. It is recommended that one hire a guide to use the Devil's Backbone route. The third alternative is to take the fast ferry. The ferry is an exhilarating ride.
Remember Captain George of the Lady Marie who I met in the Jumentos? His wife runs the Sealife office that manages supply boat and ferry traffic through the harbor. The Bohengy is coming into port.
Leaving Spanish Wells behind. On the ferry we met a young woman who is a sixth generation resident of Dunmore Town on Harbour Island. She said it was always a thrill to ride the fast ferry through the Devil's Backbone. This is a view of the mooring field from the deck of the Bohengy.

Arriving at the dock in Dunmore Town. Most of the boats in here are megayachts.

This picture is out of sequence. The Bohengy is at the dock waiting for the supply boat to pull away from the dock and pass out of the harbour to the west so that we can go east. The mooring field is in the distance.
A tent set up for a wedding on the pink sand beach. The truth is that the sand is much pinker further south at French Leave Beach.
This is the view being painted the watercolor artist being chatted up by Dana who is standing at the right of the picture.
A couple of modest cottages in Dunmore Town.
A couple of murals to be found in Dunmore Town. The one on the left is part of the street sign for an upscale restaurant.
Are these fellows lining up for something in particular?

Back at Rock Sound Krazy Lady and I collected a large number of sponges on the beach. If we had brought them along to sell in Dunmore Town we could have paid for more than a few restaurant meals.

In 2001 Christopher and I came through here in the company of Ocean Explorer (Wendy and Johnson Fortenbaugh with their two sons). We posed on these same steps.

Ann and Dana.

Me and Ann.

A windvane. Remember I photographed two in Governor's Harbor.

These trees have been drowned by the encrosching salt water. In the picture on the right you can see a few people chasing bonefish out on the tidal flats. Bonefish are supposed to be a great challenge for fly fisherman.
May 2, 2014 Friday Photo shoot around Spanish Wells
When I was in Spanish Wells in 2001 I was really impressed by all the wall murals on the homes. This season I made a special effort to go around and photograph as many as I could find. The inescapable conclusion is that many of them have been painted over. The explanation offered by a local is that with time and house maintenance it was too much trouble to keep up the murals. In addition, the man who had done most of them had moved away. Below you'll find the murals that I was able to locate. The first pair of pictures are Ron's Seafood on the waterfront. These were done by one of the employees. The story is that he is giving his home the same treatment. His wife has agreed to this in order to keep him off the street and tomcatting around during his free time. Nowadays the town seems to be moving toward putting water features in the yard. By the time I realized this transformation it was too late to go back and create a photographic chronical.
Bet you'd never guess that the school mascot is the bulldog.
This picture is typical of those that graced many of the Spanish Wells homes when I was here in 2001. Those murals that I found this year tend to be more whimsical.
Now we go from the sublime, an outside woodburning oven from years past, to the ridiculous.
May 3, 2014 Saturday Spanish Wells

Changed oil and oil filter. Changed primary and secondary fuel filters. Homemade Pizza cooked on the grill.

May 4, 2014 Sunday Spanish Wells

Dinghy ride around Spanish Wells harbour, cribbage, and sitting out rain that finally came. For hurricanes a safe place to put your boat is tied up in the mangroves. Could this motor yacht have been here since Hrricane Sandy? The photo on the right is a little resort at the west end of the harbor. Given the shallow water i can't imagine that many visiting yachts make it up here. Mayb during the summer months when there are more sportfishing boats in the islands this little resort gets more traffic.

May 5, 2014 Monday Spanish Wells to Royal Island

On arrival who should be in the anchorage but Daryl and Annie on "No Rehearsal." I met them here in December 2012. In between they have been through the eastern Caribbean to Granada to sit out the hurricane season.

Spent the afternoon exploring[loring ruins of the estate built by an American many decades ago. The island is currently under development with planned marina and many lots in the sub-division.

. What remains today is the concrete foundation of the buildings which are now overgrown with trees and vines, absolutely beautiful in its own way. After tying up the dinghy to what remains of the dock there (a couple of concrete blocks and metal rebar) you climb up the hill to the house. The entire front of the plantation was terraced, and rose bushes still grow there today. We explored all of the estate and found many places where very decorative and intricate tiles still remain. We found the old kitchen with its big hearth and the remains of a guest quarters with its own bathroom and fireplace- very neat. Our favorite area we found was an outdoor covered patio which opened up to a beautiful view of the bay. Wayne and Dana also visited the ruins and Dana has a nice essay posted on her web site Galley Wench. Before turning to the ruins let me start you out with a few butterfly pictures.

This photo of the ruins predates my visits to Royal Island. You can sea the terraces running down to the harbor. Apparently at one time the terraces were planted in roses.
The back side of the main structure seen in the photo above this one. The kitchen

A bathroom. There is an interesting solution to the hot water problem. You can see it in the detail of the photo to the right.

If you look in the fireplace you can see a network of pipes. These go through the left side of the fireplace into the hot water heater to its left.

The bar and patio that overlooks the harbor.

Another bathroom attached to some of the outbuildings.

The ballroom. Great for entertaining a 100 of your best friends.

On the north shore of Royal Island one can find what must have been a swimming pool. You can see the cut to let sea water in and out. There must have been a ladder for bathers to climb in and out. And I am sure that the walls of the pool must have been surfaced with something that made them smoot to the touch bu which has since been eroded away.

This is all that remains of an artificial small boat harbor and beach. Most of the sand has been washed away and the break waters broken down by storm surge.

And now we come to the modern era. A company owned by Roger Staubach and Jack Nicklaus envisioned a marina and golf community on the island. They abandoned the project in 2008. There are signs that a new vision of the project is being resurrected.

Want to buy a lot in the planned subdivision?

While these are waterfront properties they all have iron bound rocky shorelines. Very uninviting.

The current developers have built this overlook so that prospective buyers can view Spanish Wells and the Atlantic to the northeast.



May 6, 2014 Tuesday Royal Island to Little Harbor in the Abacos: ABORTED
When I got up to go I was aground. I didn't get off until 10 AM. Since the wind was so light I decided to postpone departure until tomorrow. The Explorer charts are a little off in the northeast corner of the anchorage. It could be due to shifting sand in the intervening years since the last soundings. In my location I should have had a bit more than 6 feet of water at low tide.
May 7, 2014 Wednesday Royal Island to Lynyrd Cay
Broad reach around west end of Royal Island. Beam reach in 9-13 knots apparent the rest of the day. Averaged 5.8 knots over the ground for the day. The seas were confused enough in Northeast Providence Channel were confused enough that I could not use the autopilot. Those who left Royal Island yesterday had to motorsail the entire trip.
May 8, 2014 Thursday Lynyrd Cay to Marsh Harbour
A wonderful sailing day on the Sea of Abaco. Used every point of sail on the trip.
May 09, 2014 - May 14, 2014 Marsh Harbour

During this period I spent my time on the usual tasks: H2O, grocery shopping, fuel, laundry, washing the salt off the boat.

Spent one day in Hope Town.

Wolfgang flies in to crew on the trip back to Florida. The plan is to sail stright through from Great Sale to Fernandina Beach. Plans and commitments to airlines have to be made before one knows how the weather will evolve. There is a threatening tropical wave with strong NE winds to be followed by a collapse of the wind for a week or more. Given the forecast it is unlikely that we can sail all the way to Fernandina.

May 15, 2014 Thursday Marsh Harbour to Red Bay
Nice broad reach to an isolated spot on the east coast of Great Abaco. Took a couple of tries to find a sandy spot to put down the anchor.
May 16, 2014 Friday Red Bay through the Whale to Black Sound, Green Turtle Cay
Another great sailing day. Tied up at Donnie's Boat Rental dock for the passage of the tropical wave. Donny's dock has no amenities: no water, no electricity, no bathhouse, but the price is right. Walk in town with a stop at Emily's Blue Bee for her Goombay Smash.
May 17, 2014 Saturday New Plymouth
Walk in town and cart rental to drive up to the north end of Green Turtle Cay.
May 18, 2014 Sunday Black Sound to Manjack Cay
A total of six miles. Took Krazy Lady's dinghy into the mangroves where we came across many young sea turtles. Along the way back to the boats we passed by Crab Cay. This could be the home of the next pig beach to rival Big Major Spot in the Abacos.
May 19, 2014 Monday Manjack Cay to Great Sale Cay
The wind today was 14-17 knots NE true all day. Beam Reach to another Crab Cay, broad reach on starboard tack to Little Sale, broad reach on port tack down to entrance to Great Sale anchorage. Average speed on the day 6.7 knots. If we had known the wind would be more moderate than predicted we would have advanced the schedule a day and been able sail straight through to Fernandina.
May 20 - May 21, 2014 Great Sale Cay to Cape Canaveral

To give battery bank 1 a full charge we motorsailed for the first 1 1/2 hours. Great sailing across the Little Bahama Bank, good sailing until 0130 on 05/21/2014 when we had to start motor sailing. Eventually we had to bring down the sails as they were hindering more than helping. All-in-all this was a pretty easy crossing. Those who waited another day had to motor the entire 158 miles.

After clearing customs we went on a pub crawl to celebrate being back in the US.

Ann really got into the scene at the Fishlipss Bar and Restaurant, so we made the acompanying promotional video on the right.






May 22, 2014 Canaveral to New Smyrna

We got up early to catch the last opening of the bascule bridge before rush hour. But we were stuck waiting an hour for the next bridge closed for rush hour. Went up the waterway since there was predicted to be no wind at all. Did a little motorsailing. On departure Wolfgang and I sang Happy Birthday to Ann on Krazy Lady. As we turned out of the Barge Canal into the ICW we tried to convince Ann that we arranged the missile launch on the occasion of her birthday. The below clip tracks the contrail of the rocket:








Appropriate to May we had to endure swarms of these oversexed love flies.


May 23, 2014 New Smyrna to St Augustine

Went out the Ponce Inlet to motorsail up the coast and avoid the many opening bridges. Below is a photo of the distinctive lighthouse at Ponce inlet.

Ann put her dinghy in the water so we all went in for showers and then headed to the American Legion Post for a $12.95 lobster dinner.

In recent years there has been considerable debate in Florida about anchoring rights. On one side are the cruisers. On the extreme of the other side are waterfront property owners that believe that they have an inalienable right to a view of the water that does not include boats. Somewhere in the middle are folks that believe that the real problem is permanently moored, nearly derelict boats. The legislative so,lution has been to encourage municipalities to turn anchorages into mooring fields. St Augustine is one manifestation of this implementation. There are pluses and minuses to the mooring fields in St Augustine. On the plus side you can safely fit more boats into a small area. On the downside, it is nearly impossible to find a safe place to anchor for free. My own reaction, as I have been up and down the ICW, is that the derelict boat problem is far from being solved. That said, At Augustine is a great stop. In the photos below are some of the ships that can be seen under the watchful eye of the old Spanish fort.





May 24, 2014 Saturday St Augustine to Fernandina Beach
Started out motorsailing. In the early AM we had a land breeze that boosted us to 7 knots over the ground. Once it died we just motored until the wind swung around to a sea breeze and we could motorsail gain. About 12 miles from Fernandina the engine died. With less than half a tank and the heel of the boat the fuel pickup tube was above the fuel level. Fortunately the wind had filled in enough that we were able to sail into the harbour off Fernandina Harbour Marina where we anchored to work on getting the engine running again. Once we had it running to our satisfaction we headed into the marina. Just after turning into the fairway the engine sputtered and died. I opened the throttle all the way, it started, I put in in gear, it psuttered so i pushed up the RPMs, surging the boat forward again, only to have the Engine die. No reverse, no brakes. Yikes. Got a line to the dockhand, but he had to let it drop due to our speed. We drifted up to an open t-dock, then walked the boat around so that it would no block the channel. Pretty damn scary.
May 25, 2014 Sunday Fernandina Beach

Tried again to get the engine running. No Luck. Called Wayne York, the diesel guru here. He can't and won't come until Tuesday; can't complain, it is after all Memorial Day weekend. Grocery shopping and running around trying to find someone that carries my Brown-Dahl fuel filters. Laundry. Up the mast to see if there is a loose wire for the masthead navigation lights; no luck.

Like St Augustine, Fernandina Beach has been occupied by the Spanish, the British, the Americans and both sides during the Civil War. There really is nothing more than mounded soil where the orignal settlements were located. Nowadays we rely on roadside historic markers to tell us about our heritage.



May 26, 2014 Monday Fernandina Beach, Memorial Day
Just hanging around.
May 27, 2014 Tuesday Fernandina Beach

Robert, who works for Wayne, traced the fuel problem to the pick-up tube. When he got back from the shop he told me there is a screen in the interior of the tube that was clogged with lots of gunk. He got cleaned up. When everything was put back together and the engine running Franky noticed that the fuel-water separator bowl was accumulating air. Sure enough, when a flashlight was shined on it we could see bubbles rising from the drain valve at the bottom. Robert tried to find a replacement bowl for this antique. No luck, so tomorrow he will put in a new Racor filter, which is what nearly everyone is using nowadays.

Meanwhile, over the last couple of seasons my rudder has been developing a shudder cum flutter. My suspicion was that the busings in the rudder tube needed replacing, so I posted a query to the Yahoo Caliber owners' group. In response I got a call from George McCreary, the owner of Caliber Yachts. His recommendation was to not come to hasty conclusions but to tighten the four bolts holding the upper bearing plate to a shelf built under the helmsman's seat. Once I got in there I found that two of the bolts went through rotten wood. My temporary solution has been to use stainless steel bar stock under the shelf running longitudinally tying the bolts fore and aft in pairs. The bar stock is long enough to lay on solid wood.

The Fernandina Harbor Marina has a long face dock and fuel dock combination. On any given visit I have seen interesting boats tied up there. Below are two shots that illustrate that we don't all share the same tastes. In the first row are photos of Sycara IV. With her clipper bow and fantail stern she is supposed to be reminiscent of the yachts built for the wealthy in the first decades of the twentieth century. She is flying the flag of a small island nation in the south Pacific. There must be distinct tax advantages since I have seen innumerable large boats flying this flag.

In the second row are two pictures of Da Rose out of south Florida. She clearly is meant to evoke the modern era. When I walked by she was refueling after the one day trip up from Ft Lauderdale. At 30 knots she burns 20 gallons of fuel per hour!



May 28, 2014 Wednesday Fernandina Beach
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