Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Repairs still ongoing

Today is Wed, Feb 27, and Jack is still working on High Spirits.

After the oil pump problem was solved, we noticed that the raw water pump was leaking. So they installed our spare pump but then noticed that the pipe carrying the water from the block to the pump was leaking.

It appears that in the past somebody noticed the leak and repaired it with some sticky stuff.
SO Jack took it back to his shop last night to clean it up and coat is with fiberglass.  Should be installed this morning.

The other job is to install a mechanical oil pump gauge. That will also be done today.

I have been watching House of Cards on Netflix. It is a 13 episode staring Kevin Stacy and Robin Wright. They play a big power couple in DC. 

So Joy took a picture of me.  Called it: WHAT JOE LIKES TO DO IN THE BAHAMAS.

Today we will have lunch at the Straw Hut, Tiki bar and just hang out this afternoon.

Have to fill the boat up with water and away we go tomorrow.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Boat Repairs

Jack and his helper, Damien, showed up at 9:45 am and started examining High Spirits.

After several tests, it was determined that our oil pump was not working and not providing any oil pressure.  They ended up taking off the fly wheel to get to the oil pump. Took it off, cleaned it out of some dirt, and put it back together.  They also used compressed air to shoot into the oil pan to blow out any stuff that was hung up in the strainer.

Put it back together fired it up and no problems.

They are coming back tomorrow to install our spare raw water pump, the current one has a leak, not where the gasket goes but at the back of the pump.  That should cut down on salt water dripping on the transmission system.

Also going to install a mechanic oil pressure gauge and check for diesel fuel leaks

Was a good day.  The biggest things we have to do next is when High Spirits is out the hard is to have the engine lifted, the oil pan taken down and it and the strainer cleaned.  That is a job for the yard to do since the engine will have to come up, and then realigned when put back on the motor mounts.

Damien, on the left, and Jack taking off our fly wheel. Damien is his nephew and learning the marine trade,  Jack has bad knees so he supplies the brain power and Damien the muscle power.

Blowing compressed air into the oil pan.  Seemed to work.


Fun in West End

Today is Monday, 2/25/13 and we are waiting for Jack the mechanic to come to High Spirits and fix our problem.  Two of our warning systems do not shut off after they run through test mode when you first turn on the engine. They are the oil pressure warning light and the horn on the coolant temperature alarm system.  We replaced the oil pressure sensor and checked to make sure they were not loose wires but still no solution. I can disconnect the temperature alarm system, but then it would not tell us if we overhead.

Our engine burns oil and we really need to know if we have pressure or a bad electrical issue.

Jack is bringing a mechanic pressure tester along with a oil pressure gauge to install.  Hopefully he will be here soon and not cost a fortune.

Having a good time here at Old Bahamas Bay resort on the West End of Grand Bahama Island.

At breakfast Joy meet Linda and Stephanie, two doctors on vacation, and we ended getting a ride from Stephanie to the "Catholic" church. Linda wanted to go and we tagged along.  When we got there we found out that it was the ":Anglican" church but we stayed for a 2 hour and 20 minute service.  As Doris told us last week in Bimini, the Anglican/Epis, church is "Catholic Lite"
"All the ritual, none of the guilt".

Joy, Stephanie, and Linda went out kayaking in the afternoon, then we had them over for dinner.
They are flying back to Florida today. They worked together for 5 years as Pediatric. Rehab Docs, and go on vacation together once a year or so.

Here are some pictures from the last couple of days.

On Saturday we used the resort bike's and rode down into the West End Settlement.  There we met Barry at his two stool street side bar and had a nice drink and spent time talking to him about life in West End. 

West End Settlement was  damaged by several hurricanes over the past 10 years including major flooding from Superstorm Sandy. Water was three feet deep in his building. They are a lot of buildings that are abandoned.  Currently there are two small grocery stores, one was almost totaling empty of products.

Conch salad stand across the street from Barry's bar, open on the weekend.

Some of the fellow boaters heading to the Abacos on Saturday night at the 5 pm party.

Joy, Stephanie, and Linda on High Spirits for dinner on Sunday, March 24, 2013.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Old Bahama Bay

What a wonderful day here at Old Bahama Bay resort on the West End of Grand Bahama Island.

This was a day to relax as you can tell by the pictures.  After breakfast we cleaned the boat inside and out.  You have to pay $15/day for water so we decided to fill up the water tank and use the hose to wash off the salt from yesterday's crossing.

Then off to the Tiki Bar for a nice lunch and Gombay Smash for Joy. Next relaxing on the beach, reading some good books and then relaxing at the pool as it started to cool down.

Check out the last picture.  It shows the size difference from our 39 ft sail boat and a 90 foot motor cruiser. This boat came from Sicily, I meet the older couple who own it. They had the boat shipped cross the Atlantic on a freighter.  Must have tons of bucks.  Wonder what he did for a living in Sicily?


Here is little High Spirits on the right and the large 90 Falcon on the left. What a difference.

By the way, tomorrow we are headed up to the Abacos and several small cays where there is no WIFI or ability to post a blog.  Will return when we get to Green Turtle Cay Club in a couple of days


Last Day in Bimini

Tuesday, Feb 19 was our last day in Bimini.  So we lowered the dinghy and with Tammy and Jerrell, Barb and George, we headed up the channel to visit Bimini Bay Resort. This is a mega million dollar complex that is now owned by a company in Malaysia.

It was pretty empty but we had a good time. Got to wonder around the pool, had a small lunch, beer cost $8.05 a bottle, so needless to say we did not have any.   Talked to one of the staff personnel, she took the group photo. This is not the high season for Bimini. The high season here is Spring/Summer fishing season for big ocean fish and bone fishing in the shallows.  So that is why the rates go
up in April to June time period compared to the current rates.

Afterwards back to a big game of dominoes, only did the even numbers as we did not start until after 3 pm.

Photos of Tuesday

Joy, Barbara, Tammy
Tammy, Jerell, Joy, Joe, Barb, and George

The fountain at the entrance to Bimini Bay


Early Wed morning at 6:45 am we left Bimini Blue Water and headed out into the ocean and north to West End. Staying at Old Bahama Bay marina at the West End of Grand Bahamas Island. It was a 60 plus mile over the ocean. Got in at 4:45, tied up and do the paper work on Thursday.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Bimini Shark Lab

The highlight today was a trip to the Bimini Shark Lab on South Bimini. After a five minute water taxi ride from North to South Bimini we took the bus to the Shark Lab.

The shark lab was founded in the 1990s by Doctor Dean Gruber of the University of Miami in Miami Florida to study sharks.  Specifically lemon sharks who are native to Bimini.  We had a presentation by Ms. Lauran Brewster of England.  Lauran is a PhD candidate from University of Hull  in Hull, England. There are three principal investigators working in the shark lab along with interns and volunteers.  It takes 18 people to do everything every day.

Lauran's research is measuring movement of lemon sharks using tri-axially accelerometers.  The loggers are attached to the sharks and can record 90 points of data per second. They have to capture the shark to download the data.

Here are some pictures of us at the shark lab.

Joy on the right listening to Lauran

Lauran holding one of the juvenile lemon sharks.  When you turn the shark upside down they mellow out and stop their sideways movements.

Upclose view of a 1.5 year old lemon shark.

The weather looks good for leaving on Wednesday to head over to West End and Old Bahama Bay marina.  Need to call them tomorrow for a 2 day reservation. Then we are headed up into the Abacos.


Sunday, February 17, 2013


Today is Sunday, Feb 17, 2103. We are in Bimini Blue Water Marina in North Bimini.
Lot of fun stuff is going on and we have been doing things with a group of about 10 other boaters.  Most of them are heading south to the Exumas, 2 boats are headed back to the States, and High Spirits is headed to the Abacos.

Today we went to church at Holy Name Church that has a visiting retired priest from Canada, originally from Poland, not too far from Krakow. 

After church we returned to the boat, via Nate's Bakery.  Picked up some coconut rolls which are great.
Then off to Stuart's Conch Salad Shack, about 2 mile walk on the bay side of North Bimini.
Went with 10 other boaters, had a great time and here are some pictures.
Joe, Fabian, and Joy.  Fabian, also is known as Black Tarzan as a kid
Piles of chopped conch, onion, tomato, and green peppers.  The making of conch salad.
The finished product.
This unfortunate boater ended up on the rocks.  Big storm waves.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Arrival in North Bimini

Today is Valentine's Day, Feb 14 and our second day in North Bimini.

We left Marathon at 3 pm on Tuesday, Feb 12.  Three boats left together, High Spirits, Southern Cross and Bout Time. All are roughly the same length so have the almost same boat speed so we travelled in a tight group for 19.5 hours

Southern Cross ( Bob and Carol) have an AIS transmitter and receiver units while High Spirits and Bout Time just have AIS receivers. This way the large freighters could see Southern Cross while all of us could see the large freighters. Worked out well, when there was a possible collision issue.  Southern Cross would call the freighters and tell them that there were three boats travelling in a tight group.

The freighters would change course and everything worked out.  Supposed to be two other boats with us but we do not know if they left Marathon and where they were finally headed.

Yesterday was recovery day on North Bimini. We are staying at Bimini Blue Water Marina. It is a nice place, not too fancy and not too expensive. Cost is $1/ft and metered electricity. Metered electricity usually works in our favor on sail boats as we do not have AC or high power products.  Water is expensive, reverse osmosis at $.60/gallon but it tastes much better than water in Nassau so we will fill up before we leave.

Went to Batelco, Bahamas phone company, to get anew number and time purchase for our old Bahamas phone. 

Went out to dinner at a local fast food restaurant and Joy had conch fritters and fried conch for dinner. The six of us had a great time. Stopped afterwards at the reopend Bar at the End of the World. Was closed the last time we were here but now open.

Today is work on the boat day for fuel and walk around town this afternoon.

Our camera chip device broke down, but one of our fellow sailors told me how to load the camera chip directly into the computer.

So here are some pictures of North Bimini

Joy, Tammy and Carol and two other ladies that I did not meet.  We had a pool/cocktail party on Valentine's Day, Feb 14.  Pool had just opened up

Joe, Joy, Tammy, Jerrell, Barbara and George  all at the government waiting for the high speed cruise boat to come in. 

More later, looks like we will be here until Wed, Feb 20.  Squalls and high winds tomorrow, Sunday, Feb 17


Saturday, February 9, 2013


Dell and Jean left us on Friday morning to catch their flight to Nassau for a 5 day hotel vacation.
Had a great time with them.  Here is a picture of Dell taking a fishing hook that got caught on the jib reefing line.

After they left Joy decided to go fishing.  After a stop at the bait store to get some frozen shrimp she was off in the dinghy out to the start of the 7 mile bridge.  Steve Franko says that is where they are biting.  So off she went in the dinghy.

Joy came back 2 hours later with 4 fish for dinner, including a mutton snapper.  Here is a video

And a picture of the results

Today is get ready to leave day. Have to food shop, fill the boat up with diesel, water and gas for the dinghy, and wash clothes tomorrow.  Also tonight is another evening of great music at the Tiki Hut.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Gone Fishing

Dell and Jean Rogers arrived Monday afternoon from Cleveland, Ohio. They are on a 3 week road trip celebrating Jean's retirement from the Wade Park VA hospital. Actually she stopped working in the Fall, but this is the first major road trip since then.

Today they went fishing with Joy on the Marathon Lady, a 74 foot fishing boat.  Caught about 14 fish, all small but hopefully tasty as we are having them for dinner.

A video that Joy took

Getting ready to play Mexican Train, a form of dominoes. Takes about 3 hours to play one game.  A good afternoon drinking time game.

Weather does not look that great for heading out to the Bahamas for the next week or so.  We have paid for a month.  This is a great place to stay and just relax.  Have a few small boat projects to do to get ready.  Mostly get food on the boat. Rogers have a car, so we are going grocery shopping tomorrow


ps  They clean the fish for you for a $1.

Another video from Joy

Monday, February 4, 2013


Well it was Saturday night and the Marina was swinging to the sounds of some fabulous musicians.

Every Sat night, Gary Diamond has arranged for local musicians to sit and jam under the Tiki Hut.  We have some seriously talented people staying here at the City Marina.

Gary is in his 70s and is still playing professionally back home in the Spring, Summer and Fall.
He plays a Yamaha keyboard and has a great voice.

Valerie is on a 60 plus foot Fleming cruiser and jams with her husband Ray.  She sings about 5 songs a night and has a very nice alto voice.

Here is a picture of Gayle and Don, not the Hromys but another Gayle and Don.

They are staying here in Marathon for the winter. 

One of the best musicians is Ken Parson, sister of Kathy Parsons who we sailed with two years ago. In fact Kathy and Bill led the group out of Marathon over to Bimini. Key lives in Houston, TX where he was an audio  engineer, musicians, composer and a lot of other aspects of the music business. He plays a fabulous piano/keyboard.

Here is a group shoot of the Boot Key Jammers

And here is a picture of the local conga line working its way through the crowd

Back of head shots, but that is Joy in white, Barb in blue and Bob behind Barb.

Saturday night is great fun and it is free.


ps  Superbowl update - congrats to the Frankos, winning third quarter and final score in their Superbowl party in Banana Bay. We got to spend time with them on Sunday, but did not win any money.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Marathon, Fl

Today is Saturday, Feb 2, and it has turned out to be a nice day of  sunny weather and a chance to work on the boat.  Went out to breakfast with Steve and Linda Franko at the Stuffed Pig.  Stuffed Pig is only open for breakfast and lunch, and the Fankos only go out for breakfast.  It has great hashbrowns  with mushrooms.

Steve and Linda ride their bikes down, we just walk across the highway.

After breakfast Joy and I walked over to the hospital as they were having a health fair and clinic. Lots of people signed up for free physicals put on by medical students at the University of Miami Medical School. Since I just had a checkup in December, we just wanted to find out what was happening. Linda has a automatic blood pressure device on their boat, so Joy is going to have her pressure taken tomorrow(if we remember)

Boot Key Harbor is the official name of the mooring field. Wanted to include a picture of the bike rack where everybody has to park their bike, must be 200 bikes in the rack area, plus there is a smaller rack area along the dock area.

The next picture is the inner dinghy dock or as I call it the laundry/shower dinghy dock as they are right at this dockage area. There is an outer dinghy dock at the end of the marina buildings where we go if we are just going into the lounge for a while

This dock only has space for about 10 boats, however one of them is 70 feet long or so.
Tonight being Saturday, it is music, dancing and singing night at the Tiki Hut. Heading to shore shortly with some food for dinner so we can get good seats. Have to take the chairs.
Right now Joy is cleaning out the front V berth as Dell and Jean Rogers are coming for 4 days starting on Monday afternoon. Should be a great time, including a trip to Key West.