Minor Maintenance and Major Playtime
I am sure most people think Frank does all of the boat work on LIB and I just reap the benefit of his efforts, but I do actually contribute. Case in point is changing the anodes on our engine propellers, which I did last week.
New zinc on the left and what was left of the old one on the right!
Anodes are dome shaped pieces, usually made of zinc, designed to be ‘sacrificial anodes’ that counteract galvanic corrosion between metals on the boat. Essentially, zinc will give up its’ electrons more quickly than other metals such as the bronze of the propeller or the stainless steel of the propeller shaft on the boat and therefore absorb the galvanic action of these metals. Zincs are there to protect our propellers and other metal pieces.
I zinc it’s missing on the left! New one installed on the right.
Anyway, we had checked our zinc anodes while traveling the ICW and they were in good shape (greater than 50%), but this week when we looked, they had eroded completely! So I donned mask, fins and a dive tank and replaced our anodes.
The point in telling you that is to prove that I am occasionally useful and to remind boaters out there to check their zincs periodically.
I completely forgot to share with you the fun we had with our Rally friends at Shroud Cay (pronounced “key”). We had read about a cool cut, like a small river, that you can take your dinghy through and move from the west side of the island to the east side.
One bright morning, we followed the cut to a breathtaking beach on the east side of Shroud Cay. There was nothing to do on this beach except enjoy the water, play in the sand and climb up a small hill for a birds eye view. We were happy to spend the better part of a day perfecting these activities! The pictures are better than words.
Crystal clear water of the cut on Shroud Cay
The water in the cut was so shallow and clear that I wanted to capture it with the GoPro. Unfortunately, the camera ran out of battery, but still photos will give you an idea of the view from our “car.”
Arriving at the east side of Shroud Cay
The “hills” aren’t very high, but the view is still great.
We left Shroud Cay and pointed north toward Spanish Wells in the Eleuthera Islands while our Rally buddies headed south. Our route to Spanish Wells required us to navigate through the Middle Ground, a section of the Bahama flats that is very shallow, probably 12 to 20 feet, and extends for miles. The water is clear enough to see through but it is dotted with coral reefs throughout the area and you must pay attention while navigating between the reefs.
As we motored, the wind was nearly non existent and the water was dead calm so it was hard to believe that predicted bad weather was driving our decision to move to Spanish Wells. In fact it was so calm when we were maneuvering through The Middle Grounds we decided to drop our anchor and snorkel a couple of the reefs.
What a great decision! These reefs were the most vibrant we have seen since we moved onto LIB. We did not see many fish, but we sure saw some lively and colorful coral. It was such a pleasure to see healthy reefs for a change! The pictures don’t do it justice but here they are. (Time to buy an underwater filter of some sort for my camera!)
Spanish Wells was a long trip from Shroud Cay, but it was definitely worth the effort. The Yacht Harbour Marina was rebuilt less than a year ago and the results are impressive. The docks are very secure and clean which was good since the weather did change and brought some strong winds and rain. The pool, restaurant, bathrooms, laundry room, etc are all first rate at Yacht Haven Marina. The dock master, Treadwell, is fabulous! He met us at the dock to catch lines and secure LIB and every day his attitude was upbeat and helpful. The office was exceedingly clean and the staff was very pleasant. We cannot recommend this marina highly enough!
The restaurant at Yacht Harbour Marina with the slips in the background.
As for the town, we first explored on our bikes, then we walked parts of it and finally we rented a golf cart. The town of Spanish Wells is amazingly homogenous. The houses were pretty uniform in size and we didn’t see an extremely wealthy or very poor areas. Plus the yards and homes were well tended and most had gardens.
A typical street in Spanish Wells.
Frank and I had read a lot about Harbour Island and specifically the pink sand beach there. But the two options for visiting Harbour Island from Spanish Wells were to take a ferry and stay for about 5 hours or hire a pilot to take LIB through a treacherous pass called The Devil’s Backbone. We compared cost and decided to hire a pilot.
Kristen and James at Pink Sand Beach
Then we invited our dock neighbors, Kristen and James on s/v Tatiana, to join us on LIB and spend two nights on Harbour Island.
Bandit is a super pilot and great guy!
We hired Bandit as our pilot and we were very glad we didn’t try to make the trip on our own. The water was churning and Bandit didn’t follow the chart at all. He followed a curvy track between breaking waves and hidden rocks that only an experienced driver would recognize. We were happy to have Bandit at the helm.
Bandit and his ancestors have lived on Eleuthera for generations and he had a ton of stories to share about his life on the island. I enjoyed learning about him and his various occupations which included farming 20 acres on Eleuthera.
The first day on Harbour Island we walked the town which didn’t take more than 2 hours at a casual pace.
Library on Harbour Island
MISSOURIANS where are you? Not one plate from The Show Me State!
I just liked this.
We saved the pink sand beach for our second day and Frank’s birthday! The four of us took a short tour of the area via golf cart then stopped at the beach. The pink tint is difficult to capture but you can see when on the beach. Pink Sand Beach is absolutely beautiful!
The weather was perfect for hanging on the beach, playing in the water and turning Frank into sand sculptures.
James and Kristen treated us to lunch at Sip Sip. It was fabulous!!!!
The birthday boy enjoying “Sky Juice” at Sip Sip.
We contacted Bandit to take us back to Spanish Wells and he arrived bearing gifts of sour limes from his farm and baked goods from his wife. The limes taste a bit like sour oranges to me and per Bandit’s recommendation we have used them to marinade meat. Yum!
Departing Spanish Wells for Harbour Island
On the way to Harbour Island
Frank and Cap as we sail through aquarium clear water.
Returning to Spanish Wells.
After leaving Bandit, Kristen and James in Spanish Wells, we headed south toward Royal Island where we could wait out the next predicted weather front in a secure anchorage but first we took a detour to a small spot near Egg Island, south of Royal Island.
We had read about a ship wreck off of Egg Island in the 1970s. A Lebanese freighter named the Arimoroa was on its’ way to Europe from South America when a fire started in the galley. The cargo was fertilizer and the fire spread so quickly that the captain had to head for the nearest visible island to get his crew to safety. No one was injured but the ship was lost and supposedly the wreck smoldered for three months.
As a result of the leaked cargo, the reefs were poisoned and destroyed as was the sea life in the area. However, the regrowth around the ship wreck is now a point of study for scientists from several schools in Florida which are trying to understand the drastic turnaround of this area. Today the area is well known for its’ abundant fish population and unusual number of grey angel fish, very large parrotfish and even stingrays.
Of course we wanted to try to dive this wreck even though the weather wasn’t really cooperative. We anchored near the dive site, dropped a grab line in case the current became difficult, then proceeded toward the wreck.
You can see it was murky even though we were in shallow water.
For the first time in my diving experience, I did not do well on this dive. The current was intimidating, the visibility was not great and I was a little disoriented. We dove for about 30 minutes and were only about 18 feet down, but I could not enjoy the dive. The little we could see around the wreck did show a LOT of fish and I would have loved to have a better day to enjoy snooping around.
We knew the day was not a good one for diving, but we wanted to see the wreck while we were in the area. Essentially we tried to force our activity when the weather wasn’t right. Hopefully we won’t make that mistake again.
Once we were safely back on LIB and I finished “feeding the fish,” we picked up anchor and quickly motored to Royal Island and the sedate anchorage it offered. I was really, really happy to enter the harbor where the water flattened out completely!
Sunset at Royal Island
Thankfully I felt better quickly and was able to enjoy a sundowner and the sunset before heading to bed early for a recuperative night of rest.