Thursday, April 30, 2009

Last Days in Atlantis

Martin and I are enjoying our last few days at Atlantis. It's practically deserted here compared to earlier in the month. The weather is also much cloudier and cooler - perfect temp actually! We spent yesterday doing what most tourists do here - lounging at the pool, reading a book and drinking a couple of Miami Vices. It was a lovely afternoon and so exhausting we both needed naps afterward! It was a little too cool to play in the water but maybe tomorrow...

We had some dissapointing news yesterday - our friend Richard will not be at Staniel Cay mid-month. We're both sad that we won't be meeting up with him. We do have a reservation at the marina though and there is a dive shop there. So, hopefully we'll be able to do some scuba diving - I can't wait!

We're leaving on Saturday when the weather will be fairly calm. I'm a excited and a bit nervous for the next 6 weeks - it's going to be so different! We'll be traveling through the Exumas until mid-June. We should have internet at Staniel Cay and in the south at Georgetown but in between we'll be on the hook and much more isolated than we've experienced so far. I have notes from another cruisers blog (the Lena Bea) that I've printed out to look at. Funny, they were here at Atlantis 1 night while we were gone! They are our size so they may have even been docked right next to us. It would have been fun to meet them since I've been following their blog this winter...

As for our blogging, we'll keep writing blogs and taking pictures and will post up chunks when we can.

Oh, and I just found this pic on my camera and had to post it - he's just too cute and I thought I took a pretty decent picture :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Returned from a great visit home

Martin and I had a wonderful time back home. We got to visit with friends and catch up on various appointments (luckily, Martin, and I, had mundane dental appointments ;-)

I wasn't nearly as good at taking pictures over our time at home but I did manage a couple and posted them to the pic of the day. Of course, several are of my "fur-kids". Bean is doing great and George is no longer angry at me. Ghislaine and I had to work at figuring out how to best pill Bean with the evil foaming-at-the-mouth pill she needs once a day. I think we figured it out but oh the trauma/drama! George has a bit of a hip gimp, I think it's arthritis, but he's his very happy, playful self and is totally in love with his new Mom!

We arrived back at the boat yesterday afternoon. Lucky is in good shape with only 1 slight mishap. One of the stern ties that went under the boat rubbed itself right in two. I guess it had been very windy here. A neighbor came by and took the tie off and reworked it for us so Lucky wasn't moving around too much. We thanked him with a bottle of red wine...I Knew there was a reason we have to keep well stocked in alcohol ;)

It feels a bit weird to be back. Just as I was a bit reluctant to head home because life was so comfy on the boat, once I got home, I got quite comfortable with friends and cats... Now we're back in sunshine and blue water. It's a bit of a readjustment to the quiet and solitude. Atlantis is relatively deserted compared to before we left. We were told this is a slow period following spring break. It's very nice and will give us the opportunity to get in some serious water rides without long lines before we head out!

We've extended our slip rental through Saturday (they had been booked after the 29th but had cancellations). It's very windy this week with calm expected toward week's end and hey, we thought we'd try to hold out so we could have a calm passage to Allen's Cay. We'll be going right back to where we visited with my Mom. We have a pic of the boats anchored out next to the iguanas...that's where we plan to go next.

For the next few days we'll enjoy Atlantis, do a bit of grocery shopping and stocking up and get ready to head out on the next leg of the journey...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Homeward Bound

We're leaving for California in a few hours.  We should be home tonight.  When we planned this trip, we included going back home 2 or 3 times to catch up with mail/appointments/friends/cats.

Steph went home last month, but I haven't been back since we left in January.  It's going to be nice to have all the comforts of home fora while.  I'm looking forward to unlimited hot water showers and playing with some of my toys (zoom, zoom).

I doubt we'll be posting while we're home.  Unless, that is, you'd like to hear all about my dental appointment?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Week Gone By Too Quickly (long post!)

We have had so much fun this week! Wednesday was our chill-out day since we knew Thursday and Friday would be action-packed. We enjoyed lounging on the boat and reading. We checked out the Green Parrot bar and grill next door at the Hurricane Hole Marina and caught a gorgeous sunset while introducing Mom to Martin's favorite drink: the Miami Vice aka Pain In The Ass.

Thursday we went out with Stuarts Cove on a snorkel excursion. The bus came at 8:00am to take us to the opposite end of the island. We snorkeled 3 sites. The first was Mom's favorite - the reef dive. She has a good eye too and pointed out a lion fish in the reef. This is an invasive, non-native fish that is wreaking havic as it pushes out native species. They are amazingly pretty (and poisonous! We saw a lot of yellow-tail snapper, sergeant majors, blue tang and parrot fish. The second site was a bit less exciting but it was interesting to see a small plane wreck. Then we went to see the sharks. The site is over a large ship wreck, about 40 (I think) feet below. They put out a line and you get in and hold on. You're instructed not to kick and splash or make any loud noises. The yellow-tail snapper swarm around you (as they do at all the sites) because they know they'll get fed. There were several, at least 7, large reef sharks swimming below. They stayed down at the bottom for the most part while we floated above. After you get out, they feed the yellow-tail snapper and the fun begins. These fish, about 10-12 inches long, swarm around and splash and go crazy. This attracks the sharks that come up from below and eat the snapper. That's when you get why you're not supposed to splash and yell - yikes! It was really cool! We were all very proud that we were able to get into the water and glad that we did - they are amazing creatures. The day was fantastic and we found ourselves back at the boat early afternoon. We spent the rest of day warming up (the water was COLD) and chilling out.

Friday was Mom's birthday and our Powerboat Adventure day. We headed out at 8:30am on a fast speedboat. We left for Allen Cay, about 30 miles SW of Nassau. Allen Cay is known for its iguana ("Bahamian Dragons") We were given 20 minutes and several grapes. You go onto the beach where dozens of iguana are waiting, and you feed them. I loved these guys and couldn't help but post way too many pictures of them. Then we took a quick trip over to Ship Channel Cay which is owned by the Powerboat people. They have a nice facility there where they serve you lunch and there's an all day open bar. We discovered another tasty tropical drink called "Mango Madness". They had the afternoon packed with activities that you could participate in.

The highlight for sure was the stingray feeding. You line up in a row on your knees so the water is up to about your hips or waist. They give you strips of raw fish that you hold between your fore and middle fingers. When the stingray swims close you put your hand in the water palm down and the stingray swims over your hand and sucks the fish up. It's AWESOME! The rays are pretty big, about 3 feet wide and gentle. They brush against you and feel like soft rubber. One kind of swam up and sucked on my leg! Kind of scary and very cool. They don't suck very hard - no hickey :)

Next was the shark feeding. They take the wahoo (fish) scraps (from our lunch) and thread them on a rope. They throw them out and the sharks come in and eat them. They grab the rope and it looks like they are "shark wrangling". This is mostly for the benefit of the video they shoot but it also pulls the sharks up into 2 feet deep water and you see them very close up. There were a couple of nurse sharks, several reef sharks and a very large lemon shark.

Then we did a drift snorkel. The current is very strong between the 2 cays there so you enter the water and then drift down to the end. You have to kick pretty hard to get out of the current and to the island before the current runs into the sea. The snorkel was pretty but you move really quickly so you don't see as many fish. Of course you Do see lots of sharks because they just got fed and a few are still hanging around. We were actually closer to sharks on this snorkel than the day before!

Afterward, we had lunch and hung out on the beach. We got to see the island pig, Stoner and the goats that live on the cay. They had a nature walk after lunch but we opted to chill out and read on the beach. Then we headed home. It was such a great day! And we got a video of the afternoon that is awesome - showing us feeding the stingray and snorkeling... I was really happy that Mom got to see a bit of the Exumas and the more "natural" parts of the Bahamas as well as the busy urban area here at Paradise Island/New Providence Island. We took a lot of pictures - up on the pic of the day.

An added benefit was that we also got to see the passage to Allen Cay and the anchorages there. This is exactly where we'll be going when we get back from our visit home - yay - now we know to bring grapes :)

Saturday was a sad day because Mom left in the morning. The airport here was insane since it was the end of spring break for kids and a holiday as well. Thankfully, Mom got home no problem. My only regret is that the week went by way too fast and I wish Mom could have stayed much longer...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my Mom's birthday! We're having a wonderful time (week) celebrating. Today, we fed stingrays, snorkeled with sharks and laid on the beach with pigs... We have it all documented in the pic of day :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Visiting with Mom

My Mom arrived Sunday. I went and got her at the airport which is on the other side of New Providence Island. It was a nice cab ride - I got to see a lot of the island and learned a lot from talking with the cab driver.

Since it was early afternoon we decided to jump right in and start out by taking a tour of Atlantis with bathing suits on - Martin and I felt that a ride on The Rapids would be a good intro for her :) Then we just chilled out together with sangria a great dinner that Martin cooked.
Yesterday we set out to see Atlantis again. We toured the whole park, rode The Rapids and another scary ride involving an intertube and blind drop in a tube tunnel. We checked out the ponds and aquariums. It was a long day in the heat and sun. Somehow Mom's intertube managed to flip in a rapid and she had to swim it. The rides also take a toll on your butt - the low point in the tube... Poor Mom, in less than 24 hours we managed to get her all bruised up and exhausted!

We knew the weather was turning today so we planned to visit Nassau figuring it would be better to walk the city in cooler weather. We were so lucky - it poured early this morning and then the rain held off all day. The water ferry was quite an experience with the big waves in the harbor. We decided to take a regular taxi back! We toured the city, checked out the Queen's staircase (cut into rock by slaves in the 18th century) and the ruins of Fort Fincastle. We found a great Greek restaurant and then went to the Straw Market and bought some beach towels.
It was a great afternoon to chill out and stay in so Mom and I watched Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Now the bread is baking and smells soooo good in here. I think we'll have a quiet night in.

We have lots planned for the end of the week as the weather clears. On Thursday we have a snorkel trip scheduled. You snorkel in 3 locations - a reef, a wreck and then, if you want, with sharks. Mom and I may watch the 3rd site from the boat :) On Friday we're going to the Exumas on an excursion. Originally we had hoped to go and anchor out for a couple of nights with Mom in the northern Exumas but after discussing it, Martin and I decided it wasn't the best plan. The seas and winds are too high today and tomorrow, we don't know where we're going and we're worried that an anchorage may be to rockn' rolly for my Mom who doesn't have sea legs like we do... So we're going with a local tour group on a day trip. We'll get to feed the Bahamian iguanas and snorkel. Mom will also get to see the more remote areas which are much more common to the Bahamas than the city here.

Ah, the bread is done...

Atlantis at Paradise Island

Greetings from Atlantis... The Atlantis resort is located on Paradise Island which is just a bridge away from New Providence Island and the Bahamian capital, Nassau. Wow, this place is incredible! I've put up some pictures of the complex here and I'll be putting up more over the next few days. We've been here now for about 5 days. It took us 3 just to get around the resort without a map! If you look at the website, you can see more of it. It's amazing and HUGE. There are over 9 pools, more than 20 restaurants, 5 hotels I think (different buildings), a casino and several water rides. Most impressive, however, are the aquariums. They have sharks, manta rays, sting rays, groupers, all sorts of reef fish. I've put a few pics up of these as well. There are dolphins here but I have issues with captive dolphins so we haven't checked that facility out. It's ridiculously expensive and absolutely gorgeous...

The marina here holds about 60 ships, mostly sized for megayachts. Until yesterday we were, by far, the smallest boat here. Dang! Another similar Tiara came in yesterday along with a 38 foot Silverton so now it feels more "normal" on our dock :)

We are docked at the far end of the marina so we have a nice walk to get to the main area and it's quieter being away from the action. The facilities are beautiful though our slip is a bit rockn' rolly from the boats passing in the harbor and the dingies flying through the channel.

The first couple of days here Martin and I just wandered around. We made sure to wear our bathing suits so we could dunk in on a water ride when it got too hot. It was really warm here, unusually so from what some locals have told us, up in the mid-90s. We tried to be good, but we're both pink and peeling all ready!

Paradise Island is about 7 miles long and quite narrow. Most of the island is divided into private chunks - resorts where you need ID to get (like Atlantis). It's a bit of a Disney Land-type place. A fantasy vacation land... I don't think any Bahamians live on the Island.

We also walked over the big bridge to New Providence Island a couple of times to check things out on East Bay Street. We found several boating stores (looking for water maker supplies/chemicals - no luck there), found a grocery store and bought a Bahamian pay-as-you-go cell phone. You know we're not far from home - we passed Starbucks and Kentucky Fried Chicken on our walk. We had a great lunch (you could pick out your fish from that morning's catch) at the Poop Deck restaurant.

The buildings and streets in Nassau are a bit run down but the buildings have all been painted pretty pastel colors. It's not a place to bike so we're keeping to our feet. Half the cars are right-side/half left-side steering and driving is on the left. There's a ton of traffic and it's crazy! All the Bahamians that we've met have been really friendly. It's customary here to greet everyone very politely with "hello, how are you today?" I think it's considered quite rude not to greet people everyone you meet.

On Sunday my Mom arrived. It's GREAT having her here! That is deserving of another post, however, and we are about to enjoy this cool, gray afternoon with a movie... I'll be back soon...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Watermaking 101

Since we arrived in Bimini last Sunday, water at the dock has stopped being free.  There's a meter at the dock and we're charged for every gallon we use.  In Bimini Bay Resort the charge was 65c / gallon, which can add up pretty quickly.  Here at Atlantis, its 25c / gallon.  With an average daily use of 30 gallons, this adds up pretty quickly.  That's before any boat washdowns as well!  So it was time to use the water maker in earnest for the first time.  We'd used it a couple of times at both anchorages, but we didn't really need to.  We could have managed if we waited.  Not so in the Bahamas.

When I turned the water maker on in Bimini, I got a "Replace pre-filter" error on the control panel pretty quickly.  That was only the start of the problems.  I'll go through the sorry tale in my next post, but for the problems to make sense, I'm going to give a little insight into how a water maker works.  For the uninterested, here's the elevator car summary:  Water makers take salt water and push it through a filter, removing everything but the water.  What's left is pretty pure drinking water.

Those of you who wish to continue riding up with me to conference room, please stay.  For the rest of you, I believe "TGIF" is just about to start down the hall.  Save me a cold one!

The water maker we have is a Spectra Newport Mk II.  There are several brands of water maker that are highly regarded out there and Spectra is one of them.  I chose Spectra as they're a local company, based in San Raphael, just north of San Francisco.  All the comments about water makers agreed on one thing.  Get the highest capacity one you can.  You'll need to run it less.  After measuring all the spaces in the engine bay, the Newport Mk II was the largest I could easily fit.  At 17 gallons / hour with an average current draw of 15 - 20 amps, it was plenty for our needs.

Through hulls

The first thing a water maker needs is access to raw water.  Raw water is the stuff the boat floats in and is obtained by sucking it up through a hole in the hull.  Of course, you don't just go putting holes in boats.  Not without sinking them, anyway.  Into the hole goes a fitting called a through-hull.  This has a ball-valve in it that can be closed if the hose attached inside the boat comes off (or springs a leak).  I didn't want to put a new hole in the boat, so decided to tap into an existing raw water line.  I chose one of the air conditioner raw water intakes.  You can see the new hose I put in below, it's the clear hose with a white spiral.  There was a black hose originally.  You can still see the original hose for the other A/C raw water pump.  On the upper right, you can see the raw water washdown pump through hull.  This through hull is a smaller diameter and not large enough for the water maker's needs.  In the middle of the clear hose you can see the bronze fitting that goes to the water maker.  Note all the double hose clamps.  Very important when you're dealing with hose connections below the waterline.

Raw water strainers

From the through hull, the raw water passes through a strainer.  This is a very coarse filter that stops the big stuff from going any further.  Not much in the strainer, despite 30 hours of running.  You can see the strainers for the A/C raw water just above and to either side of the water maker strainer.  The one on the left is labeled "ARG-750-P".  Directly down stream are the two A/C raw water pumps.  raw water pumps should always be downstream of the strainers.

Boost pump

The first water maker pump is the boost pump.  It's job is to move the raw water through the strainer and the two pre-filters and to the feed pump.  It needs to be placed below the water line.  The waterline, by the way, is about where that big white conduit above the boost pump is.  The yellow switch allows me to change the mode of the boost pump.  In the left position, marked "run", the pump takes water from the through hull.  You can see the clear hose from the strainer attached on the upper left.  When switched to "service", the pump takes water from the fitting on the right.  This allows me to run chemicals through the system when cleaning or storing.  You attach a standard hose to the fitting and lead it into a bucket containing the chemicals.  I'll get into this in my next post.  The middle position, "off", isolates the pump and allows me to remove hoses and filters without water coming in through the through hull.  I usually close the through hull ass well.  The raw water is pumped into the clear hose with a red stripe and sent to the feed pump.

Feed pump module

This is the electronic heart of the water maker.  Not only does it contain the feed pump - the large pump that ups the water pressure to around 100 psi - but it also contains the gizmos that determine whether the water is drinkable or not.  First things first, though, and the raw water passes through the pre-filters.  These are two filters similar to your car's air filter, that remove particulate matter from the raw water.  The water enters on the right - you can see the other end of the hose coming form the boost pump - passes through a 20 micron filter and then a 5 micron filter.  At this point nothing larger than 5 microns across is going any further.  A micron is 0.00004 inches.  By comparison, the diameter of the finest human hair is around 17 microns.  One of the many things the water maker measures is the pressure drop across the pre-filters.  If this is too high then the water maker stops and I have to replace them.  The filters are made of some kind of plastic and can be easily washed using my raw water washdown hose.  From the feed pump, the now pressurized water is sent to the clark pump and membrane.

Membrane and Clark pump

Here's where all the real work is done.  The final filter that turns clear salt water into clear drinking water.  The black tube with "Spectra" on the side contains a semipermeable membrane filter.  This is the ultra fine filter that allows water through but prevents the salt from passing.  This is known as reverse osmosis and requires pressures in excess of 350 psi for salt water.  This is where the Clark pump comes in.  The Clark pump is a pressure intensifier.  Using a sort of leverage system, it uses ~90% of the feed water to increase the pressure of the remaining 10% to the 1000 psi required to force the water through the membrane.  The water forced through the membrane returns to the feed pump module for testing.  The remainder is discharged overboard.  If the water has been desalinated enough, less than 750 parts-per-million of salt, it's sent to the fresh water tanks.  Otherwise it goes back to the membrane with more water from the feed pump.  You can see the discharge hose leading off to the left.  This can be removed and another hose attached that leads into a bucket when servicing.  By putting both the discharge hose and the service hose into the same bucket, a closed loop is formed that allows the same liquid to be circulated through the whole system.  This is how it can be cleaned or stored.  I'm not quite sure why, but the membrane filter gets slowly better at filtering out the salt, so there's always a little lag before fresh water is being made.

Collection point for discharge

Here's a nice picture showing you where all the raw water taken into the system eventually ends up.  It's either drinkable, in which case it goes through the blue tube from the feed pump module into the fresh water tank, or it's not, in which case it goes overboard.  The large cylinder with all the tubes is a collection vessel that allows drainage from all over the back of the boat to go out of one hole in the back of the boat.  The clear tube on the lower right of it is the discharge tube from the membrane filter.

Carbon filter

After the water maker has finished running, there's one last task to be done.  A fresh water flush takes place.  Sea water has organisms living in it.  Sitting at the bottom of the marine food chain, these organisms allow for the amazing variety of life in the sea.  If left to themselves and absent the presence of their natural predators - say, if in a nice water maker - they grow.  Voraciously.  So to minimize this growth, the water maker replaces all the water in the system with fresh water.  Water it's just made.  9 gallons of it.  So you can see why a larger water maker is better.  With smaller water makers, you need to run it for over an hour just to make the water its going to use during the flush.  In our case it's the first 30 minutes of water production.  The membrane has one deadly enemy.  Chlorine.  Even the small quantities found in normal tap water will destroy the membrane in a few minutes.  To protect the membrane, all the fresh water goes through a carbon filter to remove the chlorine.  This filter needs to be replaced every 6 months, hence the date of replacement on the filter case.

Fresh water pumps

These three pumps are the fresh water pumps for Lucky.  The two nearest provide pressurized fresh water to all the taps and showers in the boat.  When I moved them here (they were originally where the membrane and clark pump are now) I added a third that is used only for the fresh water flush.  Thus way I can turn off the fresh water in the boat, relieving the pressure in all those hoses, while still leaving pressure for the fresh water flush.  It minimizes the number of potential leaks in the pressurized system when we leave Lucky for any period of time.  When Lucky was trucked across the States, only the water maker and this third pump where on.  All other systems had been turned off.  As delivered, the water maker is programmed for a flush every 5 days.  As it turned out, this isn't long enough.  When I went to use the system in Bimini, I discovered significant biological fouling in the pre-filters which had spread to the membrane as well.  This has caused issues with quality I'll go into in my next post.  I need to do something, but in the meantime I've reduced the period of fresh water flushes to 3 days.  When we leave for home, I'm going to fill the system with a growth inhibiting storage chemical to prevent this from happening while we're away.

So that's it.  Fresh water making as I understand it.  The system works well and is easy to operate but, as I have come to discover, it does require more maintenance than the documentation states.  Feel free to add any additional information you have in the comments.

Updated route

I've updated our route in Google Maps to include our passage to Nassau.  When I see it on a map like this, I realize just how far we came from Bimini.  Yowzars!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Bean Update - She's doing great!

I've had a few people ask me about Bean's health so I thought I post a quick note. Bean had a vet appointment today and Ghislaine says that the staff are just thrilled and still amazed at her recovery. The little miracle cat! Her heart is stable and she will continue with her heart meds. I really can't express just how grateful I am to Ghislaine for taking such wonderful care of my sweet Bean! :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


We are at the Atlantis Marina in Nassau.  Its quite the place and we'll be sure to blog about it soon.  Stephanie's started calling it Fantasy Island.

We left Fort Lauderdale Sunday and passaged 50 miles to Bimini.  Today we left Bimini and passaged over 130 miles to Nassau.  Both trips were quite the adventure.

From Fort Lauderdale to Bimini, we travelled south west across the gulf stream.  Crossing the stream can be a non-event or it can be a fatal mistake.  Our crossing was somewhere in between.  Conditions were forecast to be 2 - 4' building to 4 - 6' which were higher than we hoped for but seemed reasonable.  Well, we certainly know better now, don't we?  Optimistically, we (OK, I) felt that if we left early enough, we'd be across before any building started to take place.  Hah!  Even though we left at dawn, we hit 2 - 4' almost immediately outside the channel.  By the time we were in the Gulf Stream - 15 miles off shore - we were in 4 - 6' waves with the occasional 7 footer to rattle our fillings.  It was choppy and we were going into the wind, which meant slamming into the waves head on.  It's hard to judge wave size, but their effect is more important.  For our crossing, a 4' wave meant a splash of water on the windscreen.  A 6' wave was water over the roof and a 7' wave was water everywhere!

We made it to Bimini, but the boat took a beating.  We had a few cupboards pop their doors and the door handle to the forward cabin fell off.  Clearing customs and immigration was very easy and we got a 12 month cruising permit.  So we're set for the whole year!

Today we left for Nassau.  We knew this was going to be a long trip.  130 miles at cruise is over 6 hours.  Leaving Bimini and heading north along it's west side was easy going.  We rounded North Rock and entered the bank.  Once we cleared from the lea of Bimini we had head seas of 2 - 4' chop.  Not especially comfortable, but we are pretty used to this by now and cruised along.  While crossing the Bahama bank to the Northwest Channel, we didn't see many boats but we did hear them.  One exchange is worth noting.  We were about 6 miles from the channel when we over heard a powercat going east talking to a sailboat going west about conditions in The Tongue of the Ocean.  The Tongue of the Ocean is this stretch of water in the middle of the Bahamas that goes as deep as 9,500 feet!  The normal entry into the Tongue when heading east is through the Northwest Channel, a relatively narrow - about 5 miles - gap between the rocks of Andros to the south and the shallows of The Berry Islands to the north.  Conditions change dramatically when you leave shallow water of 20' and enter the deep stuff.  The sailboat reported 6 - 8' swells with a 1' wind chop on top.  Steph and I looked at each other.  We hadn't got a backup plan - shoot for Chub Cay perhaps?  The cats were talking about threading down to Andros and looking for an anchorage that would shelter them from the SW wind.  They already had at least one sea sick passenger aboard and weren't having a good time of it, having dropped their speed down to 6 knots to try to lessen the bumping.  I got on the radio and established that we were ahead of them by about 6 miles.  I told them we were going to poke our nose out and would hail them to let them know the conditions.  So we entered the Tongue.  I was expecting the NW Channel to be bad, but was pleasantly surprised by the relative calm.  We entered the Tongue and conditions were pretty much as the sail boat had reported.  There was 6 - 8' seas.  They were rollers but spaced closely together - about 8 - 10 seconds apart - with a little chop on top.  Having the waves so close together meant I needed to reduce speed down to 12 knots.  That two hours to go suddenly became three and a half!  I got back on the radio and reported to the power cats.  I'm not sure what they decided to do.  We, on the other hand, decided to press on.  We chose our closest approach to Chub Cay as our "go/no-go" point.  That would be in an hour.  By the time we got there we had been able to up the speed to 15 knots and decided to press on.  It was not comfortable, though better than Sunday's experience.  Lucky handled things better down below as well.  Either that or we're better at battening down.  we lost a clock, a ceiling panel and one of the restraining bolts for the life raft.  Not too bad and I see a use for that blue Loctite I got in Fort Lauderdale.

As we approached Nassau Harbor conditions improved and we could both breathe a sigh of relief.  You need to get clearance to enter the harbor, so I hailed Harbor Control and gave them our details.  One slight hiccup occurred when I was asked for Lucky's documentation number, which was in a folder under the bed in the cabin behind the door whose handle hadn't been put on yet, which had slammed shut and now couldn't be opened. Doh! Fortunately I remembered about putting the number on the floor of the engine room, so could look through the hatch and call off the numbers. Needless to say, the handle is now back on the door!

Tomorrow we're going to refuel, fix the few things that need it and explore Atlantis.  Friday we may go into town in search of a cheap, pre-pay Bahamian cell phone.  We may even pick up some more baked chips for Steph since she's been mourning the crushed bags since Sunday.