Monday, May 27, 2013

Birthdays and bottoming out

Hope Town Lighthouse before the rains came.
On my (Jen's) birthday, we had an eventful day. They say bad things come in threes.

In the morning, we headed over the Sandy Cay to see whether the conditions were good for diving. It was too choppy and chilly so we anchored near a beach to have some lunch. As we were anchoring Matt said in his calm way, "We have a problem." The port engine was running but not doing anything to move the boat.  Luckily the anchor went down without issue and we went to investigate.  We had read stories about boats who's props had fallen off and had just gotten through resolving issues with the starboard side transmission, so we were fearing the worst as we opened the engine room hatch.  We quickly saw that the propeller shaft had decoupled from the port engine transmission.  Not good, but (relatively) easily fixable.  Matt spent the next hour or so re-bolting the shaft to the transmission- using locktite on the bolts to insure it didn't happen again. After that, we were good to go.

We headed back towards Hope Town and were having a great time with the brisk winds. A couple of times we saw 9 knots, which for us is pretty fast. We had a little friendly competition with Halcyon. This is Matt "winning".

Unfortunately, as we got closer to Hope Town we heard one noise (there are several of course) you don't ever want to hear on a boat. We had gotten too shallow and the boat momentarily scraped and bounced along the bottom. In hindsight, we realized that we had mistaken a poorly marked safe water buoy for a harbor channel marker. The shoal wasn't shown on the charts, though. 

Five minutes after finding the bottom we thought things were back to normal but then the jib started flapping wildly.  What now?  Spinning the winch offered no resistance and we saw the sheet had simply parted about 5 inches from where it was tied to the sail.  Fortunately, we were ready to bring the jib in anyway and we quickly furled it.  We're not certain why the sheet failed, but for now we reversed the line and retied it to the jib.  It came with the boat so we're not certain how old it is. We will probably have to replace it at some point.

After we anchored, Matt dove to assess the damage and found a chunk of missing resin from our keel that told us we must have hit some rock as well as sand. With it's shallow waters, this kind of thing is one of the main dangers you face in the clear waters in the Bahamas. Sigh. Hopefully this is a lesson learned that we will not repeat. Matt will be diving later to put in a temporary repair with epoxy until our next haul out. Fortunately, it is solid fiberglass down there, so no structural damage was done..

That evening we anchored near Hope Town and took a quick climb up the Hope Town lighthouse. It is a working lighthouse that is powered by kerosene.

That evening, as the rain started, we had a great dinner with Halcyon and dessert was a delicious chocolate birthday cake that Matt threw together in between repairs. Thanks Brit and Sandy!

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