Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Already 17 December...

Sea Story Time:

There I was;

I am remembering a visit to Rum Key Bahamas, back in May 2000. Warm breezes and a great couple of days.

We were on a six day sail from Roosey Roads, Puerto Rico. Intended to stop in Matthewtown, Great Inagua, but it didn't work out. Made the turn north and headed to the nearest fuel and water.

Thing was, we did not have an operating bilge pump and out trusty Perkins 4108 diesel was pissing oil. I was tired and not thinking as methodically as I might. I put a plastic bag around the offending leak point and kept rebuilding the bilge pump. Morning came and we saw the island in the distance.

I turned up the volume on the vhf and heard the following:

"Rum Cay (pronounced 'key') marina this is Sailing vessel *****"

"This is Rum Cay, come back"

"Rum Cay, we need to come in and get a dock for the night and refuel"

"Sailing vessel ****, wait. We have a VIP inbound from the air strip and it will be awhile before we can have you at the fuel dock"

That sounded reasonable to me. But there was more. Wait for the snickers...

"Rum Cay, we have been sailing all night! We are tired and can't wait. We need to come in!"

At this point, Lynne and I are in stitches. "... sailing all night!!!"

Oh. The humanity!

"Sailing vessel ****, understood. You have to wait until the dock is free. Stand by on this channel and we will get back to you. Rum Cay standing by...."

Wow. After that little exchange, with both voices sounding a little miffed, I wisely decided to wait until we were within a mile, or two of the harbor. Naturally, we are having a hearty laugh about those poor souls who have sailed all night. After the six days we spent underway, we were feeling a little shagged!

I watched a pickup truck advance from what looked like the far end of the island and a group of passengers embark on a 60 ft sport fisher. The radio comes alive, right after the sporty gets underway.

"Sailing Vessel ****, Rum Cay. We are ready for you to make your approach."

Petulantly, the reply comes back;

"Rum Cay, don't bother. We are anchored."


This is when your story teller picks up the mike, and arrogantly jumps in; Imagine a perfectly modulated radio voice....

"Rum Cay, Rum Cay.... Sailing Vessel Wildebeest 3, with you from the South. Request fuel stop and if you can, a dock, at your convenience... over"

Spousal Unit was howling...!

"Wildebeest, this is Rum Cay. We seemed to have lost contact with the other boat... we are ready to take you both immediately."

This is when the other boat comes back again, with the repeat of their last. Oh, much loud laughter was had on our boat!

We then proceeded to follow explicitly, all turn instructions from the dockmaster. It was like making a instrument landing approach. The water was so shallow, with coral heads on each side, we wended our way through the shoals to the dock.

We arrived without hitting anything (see post below, on that issue...) and began refueling and rewatering. The dock master was less than enthused about the other boat. In fact, he said that he planned on having a little chat with them about their manners...

Turns out that the VIP in question was a famous NASCAR driver. The Dockmaster asked if we were interested in meeting him. I said I recognized the name, but no. We did not want to bother this person who was obviously there for the fishing. The dockmaster gave me a weird look. I reiterated that this Dale guy had no idea who we were and probably would prefer his privacy.

So we get invited to the big barbecue scheduled for that evening. I was standing around the pit with some huge fellows who pronounced 'out' like 'oat'. They were NHL players. I have no idea who they were, but it was a great evening with boating and fishing being the topic of conversation. But we did ask if Mark Messier would be kind enough to sign our chart of Rum Cay for the niece and nephews. Nice fellow and all the players were very much a pleasure to dine with. Even if I have no idea who they were!

Back to the pump and oil issue. I tightened up some fittings on the engine and slowed the oil leak. This would need a new part and we would not be able to acquire said part at Rum Cay. The bilge pump was shot. I am not keen on sailing 600 miles with out a way to dewater the boat. But, since I was well rested... a couple of ideas emerged.

How many pumps are on a regular boat?

At least four. 1. Bilge (Inop.) 2. Icebox drain pump 3. Engine coolant pick up pump (This one will dewater an entire boat in moments! Disconnect the inlet hose from the seacock and let it suck the bilge dry! Only do this in great emergency, though. It will foul by picking up the detritus which will break the impeller) Finally 4. Shower bilge pump.

What? A shower bilge pump? Why yes. Cut a section of garden hose, place the hose on the barb and dangle a bit into the bilge and Presto! New manual bilge pump. Got us home.

End Sea Story mode.

Below are a couple of photos. As Jimmy once sang, ..."I used to rule my world, from a pay phone..."
Wildebeest is the small looking sailboat. It was 43 feet long.

Time flies when one is having fun!

Back to current events:

Had the VHF radios replaced. Got those new ones that connect to the GPS and allow the authorities to know where one is when one hits the distress button. If I were paranoid, I would imagine that the radio sends out a digital signal identifying where the Barco may happen to be, at any particular moment.

Good info to have handy, if a barco was carrying a load of fertilizer and diesel. Got plenty of diesel. Prolly have plenty of fertilizer, if you count the bull excrement spewing forth from the Captain. I'm just not feeling very explosive today.

Our boat maintenance staff have also brought Barco to the 1990's with the replacement of the tape deck with a CD player. Fortunately, there is a little auxiliary connector for a Ipod, or whatever. The skipper and crew haven't arrived in the noughts, either.

T-minus a week before x-mas. Peking Duck and bubbly are scheduled for dinner. Bring a bottle and come on by.

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