Friday, August 19, 2011

Home away from home... away from home.

Stuart and Sunset Bay.

So this morning, rested and nursing a few bumps, scrapes, and bruises, we're all enjoying the comforts and conveniences of being back in the USA.
Mel had pizza delivered last night, Radar got to see his buddies, Clyde and Bob, and I had the idea of driving our truck up the street to a grocery store for milk... then a liquor store for whatever I wanted. (not just Rum or Kalik)
Oh, the comforts of home.

Over the last few months, we've intentionally stayed away from TV news and all that goes with that. Our internet surfing has been no deeper into current events than the hyped up headlines of the news sites that made us cringe and look for something more entertaining and enlightening, such as Skype, tech stuff, and boat stuff. Stuff that actually had an affect on our lifestyle.
Yes, for three months we've had the luxury of living a wonderfully carefree existence. Of course we did a little work, but we did it island style. (When in the island, do as the islanders; as if you have a choice. If you haven't, everyone who dreams of doing business in the islands should read Don't stop the Carnival by Herman Wouk....)

And now... we're back.
We flip on the TV to catch up on what's happening and BAM!
The whole world is collapsing. Not just the USA, now the whole world is on the brink of financial destruction, the Arab Spring has been extended into summer, London is burning; in America, The Tea Party types are lost somewhere down the rabbit hole,  and with all this going on, our President has the audacity to go on vacation at about the same time other American families do. (Hope he and his family have a nice time, we've always wanted to go to Martha's Vineyard. Heard it's beautiful) About the only positive thing we've heard is the authorities finally let those three young fellows go free in my hometown of West Memphis, Arkansas. It's a crime they lost their youth. It's more of a crime the investigation into who did this stopped when it did. (Props to those who never gave up.)
Added on 8-28-11... Article from Memphis Commercial Appeal

But we look outside and it all looks just as when we left. We don't get it. So we turn off the news, eat our hot delivered pizza, take pleasure in the fact that the boat is notta rockin, relax, and watch a mindless, but mildly humorous, sitcom on TV.
Ignorance IS bliss.

On leaving the Exumas and Compass Cay:
The rest on page 2.

 It was hard to do, but we finally untied the dock lines and waved goodbye to Tuck, Jamal, and Preston. Backing away from the dock the nurse sharks actually seemed to swim out to say their farewells. (I'm sure they were hoping for a scrap of fish. but it's a nice fantasy anyway.) It's always hard to leave home; this time it was especially painful.
But, paradise will be home again some day soon.

Next stop was Norman's Cay to anchor offshore and go to MacDuff's for one of their famous dinners. The famous dinner turned into a famous Cheese Burger because they had nothing else. The service was not especially warm, as the owner/manager/waiter seems to have gone to the school of the "Soup Nazi", but it's his restaurant, and the burger was good.

After dinner, with the sun going down, we meandered down the path to the beach where we had anchored the Albury. Then the mosquitoes hit. I mean they hit hard, We were literally covered by the blood suckers as we ran to the boat and jumped in for escape to and the safety of Istaboa that was anchored a half mile offshore.

We secured the Albury with a chain as we could no longer enjoy the security of life in the domain of Tucker Rolle.
In the distance we could see lightning, but wrote it off as heat lightning. We were wrong. Soon the winds picked up and the rain started. As usual at anchor, I didn't sleep well that night.

Red skies at morn...
At morning's first light the rains and storms were still doing their thing, but we prepared to get underway just the same. We had a window before the weather really got bad and it was go now or wait in Nassau for a few days. We wanted to go and we did.
Then as we were easing over the shallows at Norman's the weather relented a bit and the sun made an attempt to come out. Seeing a double rainbow should be a good omen, shouldn't it?

And we did have an uneventful run all the way past Nassau, New Providence Island, and the remainder of daylight.

 Kinda gray, but relatively flat seas.

As we made way to New Providence Channel and deeper water things did change; as it got darker, it became a bit snotty. Then a bit snottier.
Of course when at sea and in the dark one imagines the seas to be larger than what they are, but it did get pretty lumpy. With pulling the Albury an extra level of stress was added, and the only way we had to see the little boat was a tiny flashing red LED light we had attached to the T-Top. When we would be rolled by a large wave we would occasionally remark, "That was a big one, is the Albury still there?" and that little red LED would still be flashing, indicating she was still afloat and upright.
Then, it got really ugly... my bad... a really bad my bad.
In the most jarring and rolling seas of the night, with me alone at the helm, our one and only engine sputtered then stopped.  There were a few seconds of silence...  then all hell broke loose.
I quickly realized what had happened. I'd switched to one of our small tanks in order to level the boat and forgot to later switch back to one with more fuel. Simply put, we ran out fuel. One of dumbest mistakes I have ever made on a boat.
With no main engine, the stabilizers quit functioning and the boat started thrashing violently from side to side in the turbulent seas, things not tied down were also. Stuff like Ipads, and cameras, even knives from the knife block were flying from one side of the cabin to the other. It truly was chaos.
I ran down to the engine room to switch to another tank, but that was not enough. You have to prime a diesel engine before it will crank. Meaning you must stop all things diesel and that means our little wing engine that was keeping us head up into the seas had to be shut down. Things were going to get much worse before they could get better.
Long story short... After about 15 minutes we got our main engine and stabilizers back, other than a few cuts and bruises... and a traumatized little dog, we survived. It could have been worse, much worse, and it almost was.

As day broke we could see that the waves were much higher than had been predicted. Looking back at the little Albury?  She was still there with that little red light still blinking. There were times that I could see her bow submerge completely under a wave,  only to see it pop right back up. Amazing! She's a good little boat.

So... sometimes it's not all smooth sailing and rum drinks. Usually, we have uneventful crossings in and out of the reality of the States and our life in the islands . This trip added a little texture to the memoir of our times at sea.
But at the end of the day, (don't you hate when that's said) we were able to laugh and say in retrospect...
"Next time, we will pay more attention to switching fuel tanks."

It's good to be back.




  1. WOW! What a story, I'm glad you guys made it through with out any harm, I sure hope Radar is ok :)

  2. So glad you are safe and sound! We are watching Irene and very concerned for all of our Bahamian friends ... Jim and Kim emailed yesterday that they might be headed for Cave Cay today but have not heard anything further. Hope you are battening down your hatches too! Thinking of you both .. Carol, Marv and Autumn

  3. So glad you are all safe and sound after your trip back! We are watching Irene and are very concerned for all of our Bahamian friends .. Jim and Kim e-mailed yesterday and were thinking of heading for Cave Cay .. Have not heard anything back but sure they must be busy getting ready! We hope you are battening down your hatches too and we are thinking of you .. Lots of empty slips here at Legacy if you want to come over!
    Marv, Carol and Autumn