Here is a copy of an e-mail I sent to a friend after we returned.
This trip was nothing but head-aces and bad luck, bad weather
First day we sailed down to MIA and anchored 100 yards North of the inlet, so as to get an early start for the crossing.
Next morning the engine
would not start.
Could not figure what the problem was, the darn thing did not even turn
Then opened up the injectors and found salt water
in # 3 cylinder.. Cleaned it out and did an oil change
, then motored back to FLL to find the problem.
Had Dermot and Mike crawl all over the engine
, but we found nothing wrong.
Topped off on fuel and water and went back to MIA next day, then crossed the day after.
Good crossing and all. Used Mike's GPS
, a Garming 196.
Spent the night at Weeches, and had cracked conch at Red Lion. Met 2 other CSY boats at Weeches.
Next day down to North Cat, anchored on the East side and crossed the banks next day, almost anyway, we spent the night 10 NM West of the NW Channel marker.
The day after to Bird Cay and anchored. (Just East of Chub)
Did an oil
and filter change there, then a couple on an anchored Cat came over and we did cheese and crackers and all that.
The womenfolk had wine and the menfolk rum
. Good evening.
Next day to Rose Island, quiet night.
Waking up @ Rose we noticed the water tank was empty..
Not good news.
The outside shower
had jammed in the open position and sprayed out all the fresh water while we were sleeping.
(I have procedures in place to avoid that, always turn breaker for pump off when we leave the boat or go to sleep, but this time we forgot, and this time the shower head
got stuck in the open position..)
We motored into Nassau
and got water @ Yacht Haven.
They only charged us $8.00 for a full tank, not bad, but the city water was not all that tasty.
Then the same morning to Allens Cay where we anchored for the night.
On to Hawksbill the next day.
So far we had been really lucky with the weather
, calm seas and light winds.
We were in Hawksbill for 2 days and did the beach thing and all.
Then some friends came and anchored and that night the weather turned bad.
was ok, 10 SSE, instead it turned 20 t0 25 SW.
Needless to say we were not protected from that direction and had a
miserable night with rain and thunder and wind
We decided to seek shelter and sailed / motored to Warderick Wells, our friends on the trawler
like the South Anchorage there. Took us about 3 hours of IFR sailing.
Quiet anchorage, but it rained every day.. We got some snorkeling in and
some dinners and drinks, but the weather sucked.
Got a phone
patch from Mike saying that the company needed me back and if I did not return, they were going to cut my pay.
(The screwed up my vacation
and moved it after I had left.)
Pissed me off, but I called my boss and told him to fix it.
The following day I got another call from Mike saying we had crashed an
airplane in RNG, Colombia
and the company could be shut down as a result. We started heading home on that note.
Sailed to Hawksbill and spent the night.
Next day the winded piped up and again with 20 to 25 from the South. We
poled out the jib
and sailed up to Allens Cay doing over 6 knots under the
.. Rain and nasty.
After we anchored in Allens, some local fishermen came by and sold us fresh conch. Susan cooked it, first time in her life, but it came out ok...Next time we will bring flour on the boat so we can cook 'em properly.
Took off for Rose next day and had okay crossing of the Yellow Banks, windy and rainy.
Anchored and continued up to Chub the day after, they were still dredging
the new channel there, the place is going to be a mega yeacht hangout, too big and fancy for us little guys anyway.
The following day we weighed anchor
for the banks around 6AM, early morning for this skipper
, windy and rainy as usual.
Crossed the banks in one go, 'bout 15 hours to Cat Cay.
Then a hurricane
had popped up in the Gulf of Mexico
, and that affected the Gulf stream
, so we had to wait a few days on crossing to Florida
Decided to anchor in Honeymoon the second day...Bad mistake.
We motorsailed the few miles to Honeymoon in South winds of about 20 knots,
A couple of other boats in the bay.
We anchored in the East end, but got some rolling action as the waves came from the West and the wind
from the South.
Decided to set out a line hooked to the anchor chain so as to weer the boat into the waves.
That worked out pretty good, we were comfortable, and after I dove on the anchor one last time, and checked the tide table, etc, we settled in with the first beer of the day and a fresh National Geografic magazine.
The depthsounder read about 8 feet. A minute or 2 later Susan noticed the depth sounder
read 5.4, or 1 inch under the keel
Huh, how could that happen? The tide sure as hell could not have gone out that fast.
(It did not register in my brain that we could have dragged anchor)
I went forward to take in some chain, but before I could get going, we hit
the bottom. (Rocks in grass)
Then we started pounding the bottom, then we got stuck and started laying over.
What the hell is going on here...?
It went so fast and by the time we got the engine started to muscle out of there, it was too late.
A power boat
with a 200 HP outboard
saw us and offered to help as I was swimming out a small anchor to try to kedge us off.
The powerboat guy got a line and powered up. after 30 seconds without us moving an inch, the line snapped and flew back on Rhapsody.
I gave 'em another and bigger line. (3 strand nylon dock
lines I have been
using for hurricanes)
The new line snapped under full power as well.
Could not belive my eyes, or ears......
I thanked the power boat
, but told him we are going to wait for hight tide.
In the meantime, Rhapsody was heeling over 30 degrees or more as we were hard aground.
I rowed out the big anchor and used that as a kedge in addittion to the
little anchor that was already in the bottom 40 feet of the bow. Planted the big one 50 feet in front of the bow.
That was all I could row in the wind and with the heavy chain trailing
Back on the boat and kept tension on boat anchors as we waited several hours for the tide to come back in.
Finally at 7PM we were just about up-right so we started the engine again and with full power and tension on the kedge anchors, we got off the bottom and re-anchored.
We were both exhausted at that time, so the beer tasted good.
The day after we crossed the gulf stream
and went up the river.
Bad timing hower as the tide was extremely low.
We hit the bottom really good in the New River, and could not get in the
canal right away.
The bottom of the canal was silted over with mud and debris and stuff. I
would go forward untill we stopped, then back up, build up some speed, get a little further, then do it again. Like plowing our way home.
Susan freaked out on those maneuvers and started bitching, but at this point I did not give a damn about anything, so we muscled our way all the way down the canal.
Turned the boat, but could not get to the dock
Used a winch
to get close enough to jump up on the dock, then as the tide came in, the boat got close enough so we could tie her up.
Strange trip, anything that could go wrong did, Murphy was aboard for sure.