Saturday, January 21, 2012


The signs posted throughout the Bahamas are a good source of entertainment.  There does not seem to be much regulation, but usually they are kept to a small scale.
There is an actual Bocce Ball field (Bahamian style) that sees some activity.  Usually the players are fortified by Strawberry Monkey Rum drinks.

Some of the commercial signs are quite nice.  This place had great coffee and quiche.
Others are less formal:

But, their food and drinks were still good.
As the sign indicates, this place had fallen on hard times:
Too bad we missed it.
Some of the signs are very official looking:
Even if enforcement is somewhat lacking.
We wondered what some bicyclist had done to prompt this sign in front of the police station.

This sign was still hanging in January.  Maybe they mean next October.  It’s island time, mon.
In many places, this is about as close as you get to a street sign.
And, if you think a corner needs a stop sign, put one up.
Plaques honoring event and people are very popular in the Bahamas.
Signs that have gone missing in the U.S. end up in the Bahamas.
Some signs could be simpler, i.e., we are open on Tuesday from 10 – 2.
And, other signs could be more sensitive.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Our Neighbor

Trade Wind
This yacht certainly is a head turner.  Click here for her history.
The crew dropped the rowing dinghy, and one of the crew did a little reconnoitering.

Later, the crew decked out in matching blue blazers and white hats rowed by going to dinner

Slow Down

After five days in Marsh Harbour, we moved over to Hope Town on Elbow Cay.  Hope Town is one of our favorite places.  It is very picturesque with all of the neatly kept cottages and landscaping:
This is Pollie’s favorite:
It has a resort that lets cruiser use the pool and amenities as long as you buy lunch or a couple of beers.

It has great beaches:
The harbor entrance can be a little skinny on water, so it is best to attempt at high tide.
At first the mooring field seems a little crowded, but there is room for everyone.
Once here, it is best to do what the bumper sticker suggests:
Actually, I was waiting for Pollie to finish photographing an old cemetery.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Broken Bolt

Cruising is defined as “boat maintenance in exotic places” (without the benefit of available parts).  Motivator is no exception; however I attempt to reduce the number of breakdowns by being fastidious about preventive maintenance.  I also consider myself to be a fairly descent mechanic because in my more masochistic days I drove and worked on English cars.

Q: Why do Englishmen drink warm beer?
A:  Because they have Lucas refrigerators.

If you laughed at that, you have owned an English car.

The small generator’s diesel engine had reached 500 hours and the operator’s manual called for the head to be re-torqued and the valve lash to be adjusted.  The manual also stated that the bolts attaching the rocker arms to the head should be torqued to 80-85 pounds.  That seemed like a lot to me, but the engineers should know best, right?  No, I snapped off the center bolt leaving just enough sticking out for extraction using finesse and vise-grips.  Next step, find a replacement bolt.

We are anchored in White Sound, so we jumped in the dinghy and sped over to Settlement Creek where the historic town of New Plymouth is located only to find the whole town was closed for lunch.  So we had lunch.  New Plymouth, like many of the islands in the northern Bahamas was settled by Loyalists.  Loyalists were the fine citizens loyal to the King of England that were persecuted and driven out of the New World by insurgents during the Revolutionary War.  I share that with you so that you will understand that we are dealing with large, blond white people that share the same surname in many cases.  Located in New Plymouth are the New Plymouth Hardware and Roberts Hardware and Marine.  Surely, one of those establishments will have a selection of metric bolts where I can find a suitable replacement until I can find one with the correct hardness rating (7), wrong.  Neither establishment carried metric bolts, but they did suggest we try Abaco Yacht Services Shipyard (AYSS) in Black Sound.

Back in the dinghy, we zip around the corner to Black Sound and find AYSS.  The nice lady that we saw having lunch at Harvey’s Island Grill, informed us that they too did not carry a metric bolt selection, but suggested we check with Roberts Marine (RM) across the sound.  A quick dinghy ride brought us to RM where we found a gentleman sitting in a boat with his laptop attached to an Evinrude outboard engine.  He explained that he only worked on Evinrudes and they use SAE bolts.  “The day Evinrude switches to metric is the day I quit working on them.”  He went on to explain the history of Evinrude outboards and how the current manufacturer was killing his business.  Seems you have to have a computer and proprietary software to diagnose problems with the engines and the local fishermen were not keen on anything they cannot fix themselves.  Finally, he got around to explaining that Charlie was the go-to guy for anything besides Evinrudes.  Charley however was a free agent.  With his long blond hair, bare feet, and flat bottom skiff he sped around Green Turtle Cay fixing all sorts of boats.  Currently, Charley was rumored to be fixing Aquarella over at AYSS.

Thinking we had come to the end of the line, we returned to the dingy for the ride back to the boat and our broken generator.  But, on the way out of Black Sound, Pollie spots the boat Aquarella with a flat bottom skiff tied next to it.  Not believing our luck, we slowly motor up to the two ladies sitting on the bow of the boat and ask if they have seen Charley.  After explaining that Charley was in high demand and that we would have to get in line, they reluctantly pointed out Charley who was working on yet another boat.  We approached Charley and explained our predicament.  In a “folksy way,” Charley acknowledged our pain, and said that our request was not too demanding, but did not know when he could get to tracking down a bolt for us.  He however suggested that we return to AYSS and ask for Stewie to remove a bolt from one of the old Yamaha engines, because they are metric.

Back at AYSS, the nice lady from the restaurant paged Stewie by yelling out the back door.  Within minutes Stewie was able to find the correct diameter and length bolt with a hardness rating of 8!  When I asked how much I owed the nice lady said no charge.

It is celebration time.  Around the corner from Black Sound we tied the dinghy to a dock and went to Pineapples for their famous Rum Runner. 

The generator is now purring away and boat maintenance in exotic places can be entertaining.

Great Sale Cay

At first light we departed West End, Grand Bahama Island for Great Sale Cay.  It was important to leave at high tide because the water entering the Little Bahama Bank near Barracuda Shoal can be a little “skinny.”

Once on the Bank, the biggest wave we saw all day was our wake.

The combination of still water and a slight haze obscuring the horizon created a surreal environment.

At Great Sale Cay we broke out the hookah and cleaned the New River scum line from the side, did some bottom cleaning and checked the zincs.  The breathing system worked well, our only problem is that we are both floaters and need more weight to get down.

The moonrise over the calm water made for some interesting reflections.  This boat, a Nauticat, started to anchor next to us, but did not like the sound of the compressor on the hookah so it moved away.  Usually I have to play a heavy metal CD to give us elbow room – just kidding.

By sundown, there were a total of 8 boats in the anchorage.  Last spring when we were returning to the U.S. there were close to 40 boats in the anchorage.

The next morning, as the moonset, we pulled anchor and headed for Green Turtle Cay.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Conch Salad

One of our favorite Bahamian dishes is conch salad.  Here is the recipe:
Ingredients: Procure 3 fresh raw conchs (suggest trading a local 2 Bud Lights for the conch), 2 large tomatoes, 1 ½ onions, cucumber, large green pepper, lime juice, and crushed red pepper (to taste).
Directions: Dice all of the ingredients into ¼” size pieces.  Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl, conch first.  Pour lime juice over ingredients ensuring that the conch is saturated.  Mix ingredients, let set a few minutes, and serve.  The raw conch is “cooked” by the lime juice like seviche.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


After a few weeks watching the ego show put on by the mega yachts on the New River it was time to move on.

We moved from our slip on the New River to a staging anchorage at Lake Sylvia for the night then took off at first light leaving Ft. Lauderdale in our wake.

The crossing was uneventful; calm seas and no wind.   About six hours later we saw land again.

Ah, it is great to back in the Bahamas.  Note the tallest structure is the Bahamian Telecommunication tower.
After what Pollie described as, “a masterful job of docking,” we cleared customs and immigration in record time.  Then it was time to pull down the quarantine flag and replace it with the Bahamian courtesy flag.

Now it is time to cook the lobster I purchase for $5.00 per tail and the conch for 2 beers.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Preparing To Cross

MOTIVATOR is currently tied to the wall along the New River in Ft. Lauderdale.  Our location is right in the center of the action.  We are near Ft. Lauderdale’s commercial center:

And, one of their main tourist attractions, the river walk near Las Olas Blvd.
Many of the boats were decorated for Christmas
Our neighbors include this 2 ½ foot iguana that lives in a nearby tree:

And, reportedly Dan Marino owns one of the condos across the street.

While here, we have been provisioning and taking care of most items on the to-do list.

You know you are in trouble when the fuel truck comes to you.

We probably would have crossed to the Bahamas after Christmas and before New Years, but we were invited to join other cruisers for a New Year’s party at the New River Castle and the Izzy R.

The gang on the Izzy R
Brian and fiancé
Diane & Steven – Aurora
Jeff & Izzy – Izzy-R (Izzy is taking the picture)
Pollie & Mo – Motivator
Kathy & Mark – Carina