Friday, December 29, 2006

Monday 25th December

Bird Rock
Crooked Island

22 50.7 N
74 21.6 W


Despite our conversation the night before, Gerry was up at 0700hrs and tearing apart the nav. station, he’d decided to do the belt right here and now! So here we were on Christmas morning, not a present to be seen but the whole of the salon looked like a million children had unwrapped presents and discarded them, we had every tool imaginable out and spread around the salon, bits kept coming out of the nav. station and being handed off to me to find a temporary home for them. Then the wind kicked in – it started to gust and then settled into a steady 23knot blow which caused a swell which rocked our boat. We now had both pitching and rolling – what fun! Gerry put out a swell bridle and winched us around to face the swell which helped however we were still trying to get the gen set out of the nav. station – BAD TIMING GERRY! I must add that to get the gen set into the nav. station originally we had to remove the door and it’s frame, something we had only just remembered. So off came the door and frame which was handed to me to find somewhere to put it! I made chocolate mousse and brownies in between stashing bits as Christmas day was turning into a BAH HUMBUG situation and we needed something to make it festive. OK so we had the door and frame off, the chart table taken to pieces (it was very easy thanks to Steve’s handiwork), the block and tackle suspended from the hatch and dangling into the nav. station, Gerry on the floor hooking it up and guiding it whilst I had to haul the wretched thing up (did I mention that I hurt my back just over a week ago hauling a docking line in?). No matter, with Gerry yelling instructions I just hauled away and managed to suspend the engine whilst he guided it onto my floor rug – to make it easier to slide out of the nav. station of course! We slid it out into the last remaining square of space in the salon and then Gerry muttered a few obscene words – it wasn’t going to be as simple as he had hoped (doh – what was he thinking? Anyone could have told him it wouldn’t be simple). Once the back of the gen set was visible it became very quickly apparent that the frame to which the engine is bolted had fractured through at a weld spot. This may have been caused by the belt being loose and vibrating the engine or it may have just been a weak weld which gave out and caused the belt to become loose. Either way it was not going to be a job that Gerry could fix as we do not have welding equipment on the boat (I’m not sure why we don’t as we seem to have just about everything else that Home Depot & Lowe’s sell!). An agonizing discussion followed - we needed to get to a marina where there was at least a welder available, the nearest one to us was probably going to be over 100nm away at the Turks and Caicos Islands – at best a long sail and at the rate we have been bashing into the weather an extremely long and painful trip. It couldn’t be avoided, we had to get the gen set fixed so we decided to set out at dawn the next day and head towards a marina. It was a memorable Christmas day to say the least – no tree, no lights, no cards, no presents, no phone line, no internet, no family or friends around and back to limiting the use of all power as the gen set was out of operation (at least we had rum!). We salvaged what we could of the day by Bar-b-queing a couple of Bahamian lobsters that we had bought especially for Christmas. Just as we were about to sit down and eat Abigail managed to call us on the satellite phone which was a lovely surprise. We didn’t talk for long as we know how expensive it is but is was good just to hear from her. Just as the sun set a very large luxury cruiser (stink boat) came into the anchorage and dropped anchor, we were still winched into the swell with the bridle and riding quite well so it took them a while to realize that they were going to be pitching and rolling around all night – and you should have seen the roll they had, I know for a fact that they can’t have been happy! After rearranging the gen set “bits” for safe traveling we went to bed planning on an early start the next day to try and make some headway whilst the night lee still existed.



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