Saturday, April 07, 2007

Georgetown to Turks & Caicos

On the 11th we left Gaviota, along with Carlos, and headed towards the Dominican Republic with a very close eye on the weather.

Day 1 saw us in Conception Cay after a very exhilarating broad reach at 7-8 kts. Snorkeled in the afternoon searching fo lobster but, the reefs were dead due to bleaching!! The locals used to squirt bleach in the holes to drive out any lobster hiding in there. However, bleach killed all coral it came in contact with. This practice has been banned but many reefs still show the damage.

Next day was a short sail , 20 miles, on to Rum Cay and a chicken dinner ashore. The locals warned of mosquitoes at sunset but, foolishly we thought our bug spray would protect us. Not so, we found ourselves running for our lives as hundreds of voracious, huge, black, marsh mozzies prceeded to feast on any unprotected flesh. Even at high speed in the dinghy we still a fight on our hands. We were flying into them on the bay!!!

Day 3 off to Samana Cay on an overnight sail. Got caught in a nasty low pressure system and change course for Acklins Island instead. At the time Carlos, S/V Chantico, was ahead of us at night and we kept an eye on his masthead tricolour. However, at one point we saw his starboard light, the the port light, then stern light, etc. This whent on for a while so we started calling him on the radio to see if all was well. He didn't answer right away and we assumed the worst. Maybe he had fallen overboard and the boat was turning around on it's own! As we got closer he finally came on the radio and said he'd been fighting a very large tuna and disengaged the windvane accidentally. So the boat is sailing on it's own but he's not going to lose the fish. Well eventually he lost it, reset the windvane and we continued on. No longer beating to windward we increased speed and had a safe entry, through a narrow opening, into Atwood Harbour.

What a lovely place! Almost 360 degree protection, no civilization, and an abundance of huge lobsters inside the reef. Carlos and I caught several and had lobster meat marinating in the fridge for the next few days.

The 16th we sailed towards the island of Providencia in the “Turks & Caicos” Archipelago. Unfortunately the wind and tide were closer on the nose as we approached and speed slowed considerably. We decided to pull in to the NW corner of Mayaguana and take a break for the evening. Caught some small grouper off the boat and had a fryup with lobster on the side. Yum Yum!!!

Next day saw us motorsailing as wind and tide were not cooperating and progress was very slow. The other choice was to get pushed down towards Cuba instead. I hindsight that might have been the better option. A few miles off Providencia the motor quit with what sounded like air entering the fuel line. Meri held course as close as possible to the west end of the island, and shelter, while I tried to find the leak and bleed the system. NO LUCK.

After several tacks and an eternity at slow speed we made it into the lee of the island and out of the 2.5kt current where we sailed in towards a beautiful beach and anchored for the night. In the morning I got the engine running but still couldn’t find the air leak. A huge dive boat on a mooring behind us offered fuel – during our sail it was very rough and we thought that maybe the rolling was depriving the fuel pickup in the tank – and even gave us some beer, ice and, sodas. Such nice folks who wouldn’t accept payment either.

Next day we motored slowly to the “Turtle Bay Marina” and stayed for a few days to sort out the problem. It turned out to be a piece of wood that would get sucked up into the fuel pickup. Hence, causing a blockage and pulling air from wherever the pump found a week point. After the engine shut down it would flow back down the pipe into the tank. I found it by pulling apart the fuel line and removing the inspection plate on the tank. Cheeky little sod!!!!!

We spent some time checking out the Turks and Caicos before leaving. Quite a wealthy group of Islands under British protection/sovereignty ?? Very pretty but quite expensive.


Post a Comment

<< Home