Georgetown/Crab Cay

February 27 – March 8.

Red Shanks anchorage, another protected spot on the south side of Carb Cay away from all of the action.

Weeks before our arrival in Georgetown, I had been remarking to Greg how good I felt and how it was making such a difference this season compared to last. Days before we left Lee Stocking Island, though, I started feeling stress in my bones and joints. During the trip through Exuma Sound, on our way to Georgetown, my thoughts started turning to home, my friends, and being back in Cabbagetown. By the time we dropped the hook at Kidd’s Cove in Elizabeth Harbour, all of the little things that had been bugging me started to surface. The head smelled, the cockpit was uncomfortable, the floors were constantly dirty. Stress, homesickness, depression started to bear down on me like the weight of a sinking ship.

While in Georgetown we did some stocking up on supplies and availed ourselves of some of the entertainment and attractions, but in each of the anchorages we moored in (Kidd’s Cove, Sand Dollar Beach, Volleyball Beach) Blue Wing pitched and rolled. I felt exposed and suffocated at the same time and was extremely uncomfortable physically as well as mentally.

Some nasty fronts were headed our way and after one final choppy anchorage off of Volleyball Beach, we decided to take advantage of one of the small, but protected spots away from the main attractions. We moved to Crab Cay.

Crab Cay sits on the southwestern edge of Elizabeth Harbour, just off the shore of Great Exuma Island and southeast of the town of Georgetown. Some years ago development started on the cay for a marina village and resort, but halted after only a few buildings were erected, roads were put in, and much to our benefit, the small cove where the marina was to be built was dredged.

Our new anchorage was pleasant, cozy, not very crowded, and deep enough for us to tuck in close to shore. The cove was easy to access and we were still close enough to the Georgetown hot spots that it was no problem to motor back to Kidd’s Cove if we needed supplies or one of the beaches at Stocking Island if we wanted to take in an afternoon activity. Things were looking up, then we had real stroke of fortune and met Clark.

Our first morning at Crab Cay, Clark dropped by in his dinghy and introduced himself. As we talked about the usual sailing stuff we found out that not only had Clark built his own wind generator to take advantage of light winds, he was working on designing an auto pilot that could make corrections and predict when the boat was about to veer off course instead of reacting after the fact to deviations. I understood very little of the technical stuff he was talking about, but I did conclude that Clark was very smart and knew a lot about boats. Soon after we parted company I decided that Clark would be able to help us with a few things and I that I would bring him brownies the next day as a small bribe.

The Raymarine GPS is so much easier to use and to see. Luckily we had 40 feet of scrap wire the right size to power it. It took most of a day to run the wire and make all the watertight connections.

GPS

We had been having trouble throughout our trip with our Raytheon GPS mounted on the binnacle. Sometimes it would get a fix right away, sometimes you had to wait or reset it. The morning we left Lee Stocking Island we discovered that this GPS was no longer working at all. It couldn’t get a fix and wasn’t showing any satellites. Now, the GPS is a pretty important piece of equipment to suddenly not be working. Luckily we had a couple of backups, our Nexus tablet and a Raymarine GPS mounted on our nav station below deck, but unfortunately neither was convenient for the helmsperson to use. So in order to get to Georgetown, Greg used the GPS on the Nexus tablet and gave me (the helmsperson) a true compass heading. I looked at the magnetic compass at the binnacle and guessed at how I needed to diverge from the true heading to convert it to a magnetic heading. Greg waited for the GPS to register my direction and then told me if I needed to make a further adjustment. It worked, but it wasn’t ideal.

Clark made a speedy diagnosis of the problem. Our GPS antenna had become wet. There was no repairing it, but Clark had a spare he could sell us if we could determine we had that correct kind of connection.

Although we couldn’t use one of Clark’s spare antenna’s because we soon discovered that the back of our Raytheon GPS was put on with tamper proof screws that couldn’t be removed without a special tool, this information saved us loads of time trying to figure out what had gone wrong and how we would solve the problem.

We ended up moving the Raymarine GPS (with an undamaged internal antenna) up to the helm station. The Raymarine is a much nicer GPS, with a color display, so our problem actually turned out to be a benefit.

Clark follows Greg in his dinghy during Fever’s first motorized outing. This short run was successful, but we hadn’t gotten all the water out of the fuel line. The next day Greg drained gas from the carb into a clear container where it separated from the water. Then repeatedly poured gas into the tank, drained, and separated until all the water was gone.

Outboard

So, maybe you remember way back when, sometime in January, we told you that our pull cord for the outboard broke. We had replaced the pull cord, but the outboard still didn’t start. Clark thought we had water in the fuel and that the carburetor needed to be cleaned. He had a handy little tool on his boat to dip the carburetor in cleaner. After the dipping and few other adjustments, Fever (our dinghy) was finally motorized. With the extra power we were hopeful about not getting into any more hair raising rowing situations or having to be towed through the tunnel into Lake Victoria at Georgetown.

Greg likes his new workstation better than the cube he used to work in. Here he replaces the outboard’s pull cord (for the fourth time). In the top left our dishes dry in a mesh bag. In the center left Duwan’s solar shower water heats up.

Batteries

We wanted to do something special for Clark to thank him for his help. He had a friend, Karen, coming for a visit, so we invited the two of them for dinner and a little guitar pickin’ on Blue Wing. After the appetizers we went below to eat some hot off the grill pizza. It was dark by then, so I switched on our battery-powered lantern. Clark wanted to know why we weren’t using the cabin lights. I was delighted to tell him, because I knew he would have answers to questions I have been asking for months.

I pointed to the number on our battery gauge and explained that we didn’t let the number go below 12.50 (it had been at 12.50 for the last few hours) and once it does we turn the fridge off and use flash lights to see at night. Clark set us straight on this one with much talk about batteries, how they were constructed, how they worked, etc. I understood a little, and resolved to learn more, but most important, we got a new number – one that lets us run the fridge all night and use the cabin lights when it gets dark – 12.20.

The next day I felt the sinking ship become buoyant once more. Some of the stress I had been carrying melted away and I felt good again. We had a GPS, a dinghy with an outboard, and we no longer had to worry about food spoiling because we had to shut the refrigerator off at night.

Even the dolphins love it in Crab Cay. This boater and his dog were checking out the anchorage, considering moving over before the storm.

We dinghied through these mangroves between Crab Cay and Little Crab Cay to get to the wreck off of Crab Cay.

The wreck Exuma Pride lies off the northern shore of Crab Cay. She was an ‘unofficial’ mailboat put into service by local businessmen. One night she mysteriously slipped her mooring and ended up here.

We heard about lots of excitement in the other anchorages on the VHF during this storm, dragging anchors, escaped dinghies and such, but in Crab Cay we had no such worries.

Clark’s sloop, Temptress. You can see his homemade wind generator in front of his mast on the bow of his boat. The seven foot blade span allows it to operate efficiently in light winds.

Crab Cay, looking out towards Elizabeth Harbor, at sun up as we headed out to Long Island, Bahamas.

6 thoughts on “Georgetown/Crab Cay

  1. John McDonough said:

    Regarding water in your gas: In the Antarctic moisture would condense into ice in the gas tanks of the vehicles and then cause either hard starting or kill the engine right when you needed power.

    The solution then was to add about a quart of alcohol (we used isopropyl) to the gas tank, which was probably about 14 gallons. The water dissolves in the alcohol and the alcohol feeds through with the gas and adds a few more BTUs to the engine, but nothing noticeable.

    This fix was brought to you by the mechanics from the University of Wisconsin who serviced all the civilian vehicles at McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. They also added oil immersion heaters to the oil pans and heater tape to the batteries, but I don’t think you’ll need those fixes in the Caribbean.

    Keep on Cruising!

    John

  2. Steinar Warland said:

    I have noticed that you have a photo of MV EXUMA PRIDE ex MV HJELMELANDSFJORD as a wreck on your website. MV EXUMA PRIDE was formerly called MV HJELMELANDSFJORD, and registered in Stavanger. Since my father was captain on MV HJELMELANDSFJORD between 1959 and 1977, I am very interested in information and/or photos of what is left of the ship/boat. When is the photo of the wreck, which can be seen on your website, shot/taken? Is it possible to get a photo of the wreck, if there is anything left of it, as it is today? All photos of MV EXUMA PRIDE, is of interest. Is there anyone else I can contact regarding MV EXUMA PRIDE ex MV HJELMELANDSFJORD?
    Sincerely Steinar Warland, Stavanger, Norway.

    • Duwan said:

      Thanks for your comment Steinar! I have sent you an email with more pictures.

      • Steinar Warland said:

        Good evening Duwan!

        Thanks for the pictures that you sent. It was sad images of such a fine boat, but everything is broken down by time.
        Sending you some pictures, to your e-mailadress, of the boat it was new and forward until it was sold in 1978

        Sincerely Steinar

  3. Just came across this when looking for info on the ship that wrecked by Crab Cay. Great story.

  4. Steinar Warland said:

    INFORMATION REGARDING MV “EXUMA PRIDE”
    I have found some photos of MV “EXUMA PRIDE” ex MV “HJELMELANDSFJORD” as a wreck, taken/shot on Crab Cay.
    MV “EXUMA PRIDE” was earlier called MV “HJELMELANDSFJORD” and registered in Stavanger / Norway, and sold to Exuma Marine Transportation Service Ltd by Mr. Kermit Rolle in 1979. The boat was put in service between Nassau and Georgetown.
    Since my father was captain on MV “HJELMELANDSFJORD” between 1959 and 1977, I am very interested in photos an information regarding MV “EXUMA PRIDE” ex MV “HJELMELANDSFJORD”
    I am attaching some photos of the boat as new in 1949, docked in Miami in 1979, and as a wreck by Crab Cay in March 2013
    Is there anyone who can help me to find photos of the boat when it went in service between Nassau and Georgetown, and photos of what is left of EXUMA PRIDE at the end of 2016? All information about MV “EXUMA PRIDE” is of interest.
    Is there anyone else I can contact regarding MV “EXUMA PRIDE” ex MV “HJELMELANDSFJORD”?

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