Today is Sunday the 12th but here is more info on Launch day yesterday after 4 days of:
- A half day of driving up and back to North Eleuthera Airport to get the rest of our stuff. We had to pay a bit of duty but not too bad. Seeing Jim in the back seat surrounded by kite boards and other stuff was hilarious not to mention that the exhaust system except the tail pipe fell off on the way north!
- Planning and prioritizing repairs
- Setting up a “work table” on Andy’s truck (under repairs) using the slide out berth from in the boat (aka Paul’s bed)
- Assessing damage to hull by tapping for soft spots, digging them out with a knife, chisel and a hammer
- Knowing you’ve reached the end of the soggy bits of the core when the colour is no longer black and squishy!
- Grinding out damaged areas including holes and thin cracks all on the port side
- Filling holes with high density foam, fibreglass and epoxy; sanding, sanding, sanding
- Learning to manage the sun and the heat whilst doing all of this work. Lunch at the cottage and short siesta worked great for preventing total exhaustion. Lots of hydration too.
- Washing and cleaning whatever things from the boat that we could at the cottage (our rental house called Blue Ocean) such as scrubbing the exterior cockpit cushions which had gone moldy; washing the interior cushions which are in pretty good shape; cleaning the plastic dodger windows; and inspecting and cleaning the basically new mainsail which we laid out on Miss Pat’s lovely patio. By the way, our hosts Pat and Peter have been wonderful! Pat is a builder. She told me “if men can do it, I can do it too.” She built the concrete patio wall after a big storm threatened the cottage. Now it is much safer from the surge. Good on ya Pat! Peter met us at the airport when we flew in with our rental Jeep and took some of our stuff in his pickup. He’s a retired British Naval helicopter pilot.
- Combing the island by phone for a gas tank and a few light bulbs for the mast: Frankie came through for us on the Gas Tank! Frankie you’re an angel! No luck yet on the bulbs though Trevor Pinder from Pinder’s in Deep Creek to the south happened to be in Rock Sound so he took one of the blown bulbs to see if he had any back at his place. Still waiting to hear back. He comes highly recommended.
- Making many trips to the AID hardware store for various bits and pieces. Nice folks there, super helpful. It’s got a little bit of everything there so we found most of what we needed.
- Making many trips to the Market grocery store next to AID to stock up on food. The liquor store is next door in the plaza and at the far end is the auto parts store. Many of the cruisers dinghy to Wild Orchid then hang a left and walk north a bit to these stores.
- Watching cruisers dinghy in to in front of Andy’s or across the street at the Homecoming place to get Free Freshwater! It’s town water which I believe is R.O. Water (Reverse Osmosis which is a desalination process). Free water is a bit hard to find in the Bahamas.
- Entertaining our first cruising friends aboard: Suky and JoAnne from S/V Shambala! Nice to meet another of my
- Cleaning the grimey surfaces on and in the boat as it had been sitting for seven months. But she is beautiful now.
- Checking all of the electrical and plumbing. Figured out the freshwater and black water tanks (thanks to all who sent advice); the head is a manual flush into the blackwater tank or overboard and also has a deck fitting for a pump out. Freshwater tank has been disinfected, cleaned, rinsed etc. Not sure if the Watermaker will work but we are going to carry freshwater in jugs etc. Too. The Watermaker is a Katadyn Power series 40E and we’ve been reading the manual that Carleen downloaded. The membrane that is the big prefilter needed some TLC but it looks pretty good now. Even if it’s iffy to drink, we’ll be able to wash in it. We got the proper cleaners for the various systems and will try not to do harm to the sea life too.
- Checking 12 Volt electrical: nav system, pumps , lights, etc – cabin lights all work, two forward fans work in v berth, fan we brought for Paul works, galley fan doesn’t (yet), pumps all work (under the sink for water pressure); the two solar panels have been on all of this time trickle charging the two batteries which check out ok. Inverter? Not sure, can’t remember right now. The little Engel fridge might be fried not sure. Hope not. Guys will work on it more tonight
- Doing a final inspection of hull, patches, mast, rigging, etc. Before launch. Jim said “I remembered to put the plug in!!!” 😜
- Storing away most of the gear onto the boat except some clothes and food in preparation for the launch
- Craning the boat onto the trailer! Carleen was away on an errand so couldn’t get pics (dang) but it was lifted with 4 deck rings for that purpose over the truck, spun around and gently-placed on Andy’s big powerboat trailer. He got his powerboat going (it too was being repaired) enough to put it in the water to free up his trailer for us! So nice.
- Then hauled the boat through town to the launch ramp near the airport. I think he may have built he ramp with some of his machinery. The side of the ramp was littered with conch shells, some pretty small so some locals (not commercial conch fishermen who only keep the big ones) just left the shells after taking the meat. Andy wasn’t happy and said he’d have to bring the excavator down to clean it all up. The ramp was just scraped off limestone. The pickup wasn’t four wheel drive so the tires spun a bit and the trailer tongue got stuck on the grade for a bit but once I moved my lard butt to the stern of the boat, it went into the water just fine!
- Tying to the tiny dock with the land edge being full of jagged edges: it was kind of scary as extreme low tide hit dye to the full moon. No problems Mon as Jim put an anchor out to port to hold us off the dock and the offshore breeze helped too. The two teenaged guys helped to fend off as well. Thanks Brendan (he’s in the black shirt, wants to be a math teacher) and Tavio (likes Art especially doing realistic drawing).
- Watching Andy crane the mast over onto the boat once we went back to his place with pickup and trailer. (Got the paddleboard and the last of our stuff….the screecher – our big light wind sail that is on a roller curler on the bowsprit). Trucker Paul had a pretty careful eye on all of these proceedings but was especially nervous with the mast installation. But Andy, Jim, Frankie, and Paul all worked as a great team to get the mast up and everything rigged. So happy!
- Hearing the new-to-us Honda 9.9hp purr like a kitten on start up.
- Watching young AJ work the controls on the crane to bring the hook back into its travelling position and pull the trucks legs up
- Saying “see ya at the beach by Andy’s” to Jim and Paul along with the four kids: Andy’s eldest Angelique- a grahic artist who studied at the Savannah College of Art, her little brother AJ – Andy Jr. who is 9, and the two twelfth graders Brendan and Tavio. The kids helped to show the guys how to get back through the shallows. They told me that there is a big hammerhead shark that hangs around the dock and the mangroves there. There are also two big trawlers spiderwebbed into the mangroves just behind a wreck of a small cruising trimaran. It was holed during a hurricane some time ago.
- Watching the crew motor over to the beach where I went to pick them up in our dinghy (it is an Achilles with an inflatable bottom and a brand new 2.5hp Yamaha.). Jim hopped on the paddleboard and met me halfway. He hooked on and I learned that running with a board on the side is pretty crazy! 😂
- Ferrying the kids back to shore and howling with Brendan as he thought the water was “freezin’ mon”. Jim took AJ on the board and though he didn’t want to at first, he was coaxed into paddling too. Nice kids, always polite and say “Yes, Ma’am or no Ma’am.”
- Deciding to anchor off the cottage. Jim set the big new 33 lb Rocna anchor. His comment about that was “that anchor is freaking huge!”
Finally celebrated with some cold beverages at the end of a very long day! Videos coming…
Excellent photos Carleen !