Saturday, March 28, 2015

" When the Cat's Away...

...The husband will play!" After a two hour flight skirting around numerous thunderstorms in a seven seater plane, I arrived in Daytona. Not long afterward I received this photo:

I'm not sure where the water bike came from, or who owns it, but I've always wanted one. Is this a present for me? Seriously Dave, you are supposed to be putting all the toys AWAY! ;-)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Season Finale

We took one more outback safari to take advantage the calm weather before heading back to Daytona (I am actually leaving tomorrow, and Dave will follow a week later after all his meetings are done).

This time we went north to Water Cays, about halfway to Treasure Cay on the mainland Abaco side. There were several backwater creeks that we explored and we have never seen so many turtles, plus a couple of small sharks. It was almost like a nursery. Unfortunately they were all so fast, I couldn't get any photos. It sure was pretty though

Water Cays is where the 1974 film "Day of the Dolphin" was filmed and this is all that remains of the set...
We also went through many of these pilings, which I presume had fence between them. We haven't figured out if it was where the dolphins were penned in or if someone had a turtle or conch 'crawl' (containment area) at some point. 

This overturned  loader was a strange sight in the water, complete with tracks.

We found the remnants of this bridge and passed under it, following the tidal flow.

Someone had dropped old tires in the water, perhaps to entice lobsters.

Somewhere in this photo is probably a turtle or two. :-)

We explored this area several years ago, when we still had the Logic Riot on the back of New Horizon. We couldn't go very far, due to the tide, and we have wanted to get back there with the kayaks ever since. This was the perfect day to do it. Now it's time to pack and get back to the real world!

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Technical Side, By Technical Guru Dave

The Lighthouse Marina is an amazing place to call home. Actually, it is a lot like being at home. Here are some technical highlights of  this self contained microcosm. This is the watermaker/pump room. Sea water is pumped from a borehole in the limestone and through three high pressure membranes at 800 PSI.

Most of our freshwater is caught on the expansive roofs. We are in the dry season now and the 2,800 gallon-per-day R/O unit keeps up with the demand. It is powered by a 5 h.p. 220v motor.

Fiberglass pressure tanks work well here, as galvanized ones rust out much too soon. This system provides water to the dock and our apartment, the store and the shop. 

This is the generator building. The gen-set is a 100 kw unit, powered by a Perkins 4-236 turbo-diesel. This is only used as a stand-by. There is a power grid and the power comes from approx. 30 miles away, on the mainland, generated by massive diesel generators.  It comes to the islands on 18,000 volt cables, laid over the shallow sandbanks. Electricity is about 38 cents per KWH here. It is less than 10 cents per KWH in Florida. Power goes out regularly here in Abaco.

This is the control panel where we start and stop the engine, and monitor the vital gauges. This machinery is vital during hurricane season and the whole property always has power.

The generator has a closed circuit cooling system, just like a car, radiator and all. There is intake and exhaust ductwork to direct the cooling air out of the building. In the old days, a generator would use a 55 gallon drum filled with discarded conch shells as a muffler!

The power distribution system is all manually switched. Here are some of the big master switchboxes. When there is an interruption, we fire up the generator and manually re-direct 8 circuits to keep the entire property energized. Even Carol knows how to do this.

 Here is the mechanical shop. This is where all of the dry repairs are done, mostly to outboard motors. It is very well equipped. The right tools and spare parts are very hard to come by here.

The shop is organized much like my own. Everything has a purpose and very little is discarded. Much improvising has to be done and you need stuff to work with. There is plenty of ''stuff''. I keep a good relationship with the owners and the work crew, so I can use anything I might need, in addition to my own work area.

This is the ice factory. Ice is a hot commodity here. It costs $5.00 for 8 lbs. The ice maker runs 24/7.

Here is the tank farm. There are two 8,500 gas tanks and one 8,500 diesel tank. During the busy season, these get filled every two weeks by a shallow-draft fuel tanker that comes from Nassau. Our fuel is imported from Venezuela and processed in Curacao. The gas is ethanol free and costs $4.73 a  gallon this week.  They don't have corn here to cut it with!! The tanker is 180 ft.long and also delivers propane from two tanks on its deck.

There are three above-ground water tanks. Each tank hold 44,000 gallons. They have never been completely full. They empty into a 6,000 gallon cistern, under our house, and pumped from there. Right now, we are down to our last few thousand gallons. The above ground tanks are empty. Water is 38 cents a gallon here. Water is sold to visiting yachts and the charterboat fleet. The marina will easily go through a thousand gallons per day.

The boats are handled by this marine forklift. It will lift approx. 8 tons. The longest boats are over 30 feet. This machine is in high demand daily and never sleeps. The property is expansive and I ride around on my bicycle. It is adjacent to a large unimproved tract of land with excellent walking trails and expansive water frontage. There are hummingbirds and free-ranging chickens among other things.

This is the new covered rack. It is home to 42 boats, up to about 28 feet. There are two levels, originally designed to be three, but never built, as to not impede on the majestic lighthouse in the next yard over. The massive roof is part of the water catchment system. The yard can store nearly 200 boats.

BASRA has just acquired this used 25ft. PARKER with twin Yamaha 200's. It will act as the new marine ambulance for rescues and emergencies. We have excellent emergency services here.

 This tug/barge combo brought emergency gasoline rations when the marina sold more fuel than could be supplied by the normal source. The owners are very conscientious to always have an adequate supply. This waterborne tanker truck brought 11,000 gallons from the mainland a couple days ago.

The marina never sleeps and is a major hub for all waterborne activities here. The ''TREEHOUSE'' is on the second level, above all of the action. It is a great place to watch the goings-on and have our privacy, all at the same time. Did I mention that this dock is also a scheduled ferry stop?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dave's 'Girl' Friends

We just had a Ladies Sunfish Regatta off of Nathan's Beach. It's been a couple of years since they've had this race, but the eight women skippers had a great time.
Dave even got to start the race around the Parrot Cays with a shot from this family heirloom cannon that one of the members let us borrow.

 A new trophy was made up and awarded, in honor of 86 year old tenacious Di, who continues to sail in the race. In fact she came in second!
Dave with his protege Doris who won, and my famous cookies...

The new award was a secret to Di, and she certainly was surprised.

Just another day in our diverse lives here in Hope Town.

Footnote: If you wonder what I do besides take photos of all the events with Dave, check out . A lot of my time is taken up being webmaster of this site. I try to get all the news and photos on asap and sometimes it's almost like 'streaming live'!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Looking Ahead

Dave raced on the Abaco Rage on Wednesday and the wind was so light that they were barely moving. Of course with that huge mainsail, they did well. In fact they won the race!

While they were ghosting along, the skipper and past skipper told Dave that the skippers do two year stints. Stafford did it for two years when Dave first started getting involved with the Rage, and for the past two years Richard has been doing it. That's when they informed Dave that it will be HIS turn to be the skipper for the next two years!

Dave has been crew chief, getting everyone lined up for each race, and he has also had experience being on the mainsheet, being bowman, and timing the start of the races. He has also done one race as skipper. This is the next progression and it certainly will be quite a responsibility and yet such an honor!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Sound Of Silence

Hope Town is so busy at this time of year. There certainly is a lot to watch from our front porch, but the noise gets to us sometimes. We decided to head to the outback on Safari with our kayaks in the boat. We ended up down south by the abandoned sailboat, and it was a perfect place to explore.

There wasn't a breath of wind, as we went in and out of the bays and around all the iron coral rock formations.

The only sounds we heard were birds in the trees and the swoosh of our paddles.

Yes, we really are floating!

With water so clear, who needs a mask and snorkel?

We continued our safari on down to Little Harbour, where it wasn't quite so deserted. Since it was calm out, I think half of Hope Town had gone down to Pete's Pub. 

We went off on our own though and headed towards the caves where the Johnston family lived when they first arrived many years ago.

There were turtles surfacing everywhere as we headed out the harbor and around Tom Curry Point to The Bight of Old Robinson. There was just a slight swell coming in from the ocean and it made it fun to surf the waves. We wouldn't want to land here though...

On the other side of the point there were only a couple of beautiful houses and some very shallow water outside the dredged channel. 

All was bliss and we skirted the shoreline in the skiff, all the way back to Hope Town. This was one of the best outings we have had all season.