Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby bhead56 » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:49 pm

Sea Dawg,
Just wanted to send thanks for all the time you have spent posting about your trip. It has been a great read.
Scott
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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby Chris_in_Texas » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:22 pm

I 2nd that, as us land locked people that just drive around in circles with nowhere to go. :D
Thanks, Chris

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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby Sea Dawg » Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:00 pm

Thank you Chris and Scott for your kind words. I enjoy writing this stuff up because I enjoy the adventure and I get to re-live it when I re-tell the story.

Also, before I got a boat that could go places and before I lived near a body of water where the circles traveled could be fairly large, I lived the boating life through reading other peoples' blogs. I hope that these posts encourage others to get out there and go, or at least provide entertainment to those who cannot.
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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby Sea Dawg » Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:01 pm

Abacos 2014 – Day 13 – Transit to Abaco Yacht Services and Pod Repairs

Bettie and I had been to Green Turtle Cay before on an overnight during our first trip to the Bahamas on our old Sea Dawg in 2009. We had arrived there about 5 PM on the Day 3 of that adventure as we had run all of the way from St. Lucie with a stop at Spanish Cay to check –in (it is amazing how far you can go in a fast boat in good weather). We were meeting Walter and Terry there, who like this time, had flown over and rented a cottage. We had time to go to one beach and to spend the night in New Plymouth. But that initial visit had only wetted our interest. So we were excited to be going back.

In our original planning for the trip, we had thought that two nights at the Green Turtle Cay Club would give us time to hang out and enjoy the island of Green Turtle Cay. We had figured that we would get an early start out of Treasure Cay and basically have almost two full days to explore GTC. Well the late start on Day 12 and BZ having to spend the afternoon (once docked) replacing his steering head had pretty much cost us one day of exploring GTC. And now, with the hauling and repair of Sea Dawg looking to take a big bite out of the second day of our time on GTC, I did not know when we were going to have any exploring time.

It is either a testimony to our friendship, or an unspoken assessment by Jeremy of my ability to effect repairs on boats, that Jeremy, the captain of BZ said that he was going to take his one day of exploring of the island with his family that he could be doing and was going to instead spend it with Bettie and me as we ran Sea Dawg down to Abaco Yacht Services, got her hauled, made the repair and got her re-splashed. I would like to think that it was a testimony to our friendship, not the other…

You see, this was the perfect kind of repair for me. All I needed to do was unscrew some bolts, drop the plate, slather on some sealant, put some lock-tite on the bolts and bolt it all back together. Perfect! Easy! Stand back, I got this! And if I had to do it to the starboard side as well, it was going to be just as easy! So I told Jeremy that he should enjoy the time with his family and go exploring the island. I promised I would call him if things went sideways. But he just looked at me and didn’t say a thing, other than that he would feel better if he came and helped. That is friendship right? Not the other thing…

Then it dawned on me that maybe Jeremy needed the break from the estrogen filled atmosphere that seemed to surround BZ like LA on a bad smog day. Maybe he really wanted to be with me on Sea Dawg and just do some guy stuff for a little while. So the plan changed a little bit and we agreed that Walter would ride his golf cart over from New Plymouth to the boat yard with Terry and Terry and Bettie would take the cart and go into New Plymouth to look around and do some shopping while we got the boat squared away. Walter would then help Jeremy and I as we made the repairs to Sea Dawg.

The problem for all of this was timing, not tasks. The actual repair would only take about 30 minutes per pod. But the sealant (4200) needed time to cure. If we splashed too early and the sealant hadn’t set up then we would be back in the same boat (pun intended). The yard opened at 8AM but had a haul scheduled before mine at 9AM. They told me to be at the dock by 11AM to be hauled. Sea Dawg could only transit the Black Sound at mid to high tide and if my memory serves me correct, high tide that day was 11AM. So I didn’t know if they were telling me to wait until 11AM to allow them time to get the other vessel hauled and blocked, or if they were erring on the side of caution with regard to the water depth in Black Sound.

So the evening before, we had worked out the plan and decided to leave GTCC by 0900. Be at AYS by 0930, be ready to be hauled early if they could, but be on the hard no later than 1130. We decided to have Walter bring Terry and meet us at AYS by 1000 so that Bettie and Terry could go shopping and running around New Plymouth. Work the pods until 1300. Release Jeremy to his family for the remainder of the day. Figure out what we were going to do for the day and then plan to be back at the boat by 1530 so we could get her splashed by 1600 to insure that we didn’t get left high and dry by the yard team leaving early. We figured that 4-5 hours of cure time was going to have to be enough.

http://youtu.be/-LXSE1-lmTY

Here is the video showing our running Black Sound and our arrival and haul at Abaco Yacht Services. We got there at 0930 and they actually had us hauled by 1000 and blocked by 1030.



We were ahead of schedule. As I mentioned, in an earlier post, I started an entire separate topic on the repair forum back when the event occurred and updated that post with pictures, details and resolutions. But when we hauled Sea Dawg, in addition to the engine overheat issue that had to be addressed at the raw water grate, I found that I had significant loss of bottom paint on all metal surfaces (including the pods) and the dedicated IPS zincs were totally cooked. So the job list had just expanded significantly. So while Jeremy got to work on the raw water intake issue, I went to the shop store and bought a quart of bottom paint and a couple of brushes and went up on Sea Dawg and got the spare IPS zincs that I carry and got to work recoating the exposed metal and removing the cooked zincs and replacing them with the new zincs.

Here is a picture of some of the crew of BZ coming to check on Jeremy.

Day 13 The Crew Coming To Get The Captain.jpg


Walter and Terry drove up and Terry and Bettie took off to shop and Walter helped Jeremy with the raw water intake repair while I used the remaining bottom paint in the quart to touch up spots on the hull that needed it. At this point Bob, the captain of BV, showed up in BV. He checked on our status and as we were wrapping up the repair around noon, Bettie and Terry came back in the golf cart to check on us.

Bob said that he needed to do some provisioning and wanted to see New Plymouth, so we convinced him to let Bettie, Jeremy and me take BV back to GTCC while he went with Walter and Terry to New Plymouth to hit the stores for his supplies. Bettie and I agreed to meet Bob back at AYS at 1530. Bettie and I would then re-splash the boat and insure that the repairs to the raw water system were working.

Day 13 Sea Dawg Ready to Re-Splash.jpg


As you can see in the picture above, Sea Dawg was in the cradle and ready to re-splash at 1530. Once in the water, we fired up the starboard engine and had good water flow. We fired up the port engine and initially there was no water flow. I shut down the engine. Just then, Jeremy, who was out running around with his family texted and asked if we had splashed and what the status was. When I told him we had splashed but had no water in port engine raw water system, he texted back and asked if I was kidding. I would ask all of you to harken back to the first posts of this topic when BZ was constantly trying to “BerZerKeR” me. He thought I was doing the same to him. I said that I wasn’t but that I was going to try a few things.

So after checking the sea cocks and restarting the engine a second time and letting it run for a few seconds and finding that water was still not drawing, I decided to try priming the pump. So I pulled the glass top off of the sea strainer (which on VP D6s is between the raw water pump and the heat exchanger) and started pouring bottled water into the strainer to fill it up. After filling the strainer and replacing the glass top to the strainer, I fired the engine up and saw that water was flowing and the good news was that there were no exhaust gases mixed in with the flow.

Day 13 Resplashed but one minor problem.jpg


At that instant, Jeremy shows back up and I tell him what I have done and he says that the impeller should self prime, it should not need to be primed. I agreed but said that that was all I could figure to do. So we shut the engine down a couple of times and restarted it and we had good water flow. But, and this is one of the things I love about Jeremy, because it wasn’t “right” he was not satisfied to just let it go. Especially since we had a 160NM run ahead of us the next day.

So with an engine that was now starting to heat up, we agreed that we needed to change the raw water impeller as a precaution. So we shut the engine down, threw a blanket on it and Jeremy crawled into the engine room on top of the very warm engine and proceeded to spend an hour changing the impeller. Once he got the old impeller out, we examined it and two of the blades were 75% compromised at the hub from the impeller running dry when the exhaust gases had been ingested during the overheating episode. We figured that this was enough for it to not be able to maintain suction and so it would work when primed, but not when having to prime.

With a new impeller installed, Sea Dawg ran all of the way back to GTCC and docked for the night. Here is a video of our run up the White Sound.

http://youtu.be/90OOtEO6SbE

Jeremy went to enjoy the last hours of the day with his family at the beach and we treated the captain and crew of BZ and BV to a wonderful dinner at GTCC as thanks for all of their help in getting Sea Dawg ready for the start home.

A check of the weather for the next day showed that we were supposed to have storms in the AM on the Sea of Abaco, but the report for the Gulf Stream was good. But that is another post…

Bettie combined today’s run with a summary of the last couple of days and those pages of the log book can be found in the prior post.
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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby Sea Dawg » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:17 pm

Abacos 2014 – Day 14 – The Day of Storms

What is it with the weather and our crossing days? The forecast for the fourteenth day of our trip was AM thunderstorms on the Sea of Abaco, but the Gulf Stream was 1-2s with light winds out of the south and a chance of thunderstorms. So we figured that if the weather looked sketchy to begin with, we would stay put, but if the weather was good, we should have been able to make it all of the way to Ft. Pierce (about a 160NM run).

From the beginning we had West End as a divert port. West End is on the very northwest tip of Grand Bahama Island and has a stone breakwater with a 90 degree jog in the wall before entering the inner harbor. So it is a fairly secure harbor, once you are past the breakwaters. If we had to run to West End, it was about a 90 NM run from GTC, leaving a 70NM run to Ft. Pierce for the next day.

Sea Dawg had been able to fuel in her slip upon arrival back from Abaco Yacht Services on day 13 so other than taking on our new crew, getting ice and checking out, we were ready to go.

Walter and Terry had flown over from the US to make the run back with us. But Walter had had some surgery earlier in the year and his doctor had told him not to engage in any physical activity that would generate significant G Loads on his body for one year. Well we had bounced a lot on the run over, and I could not guarantee that we would not bounce on the way back, and so after hearing about the crossing that we had experienced coming over, Walter determined that caution was the better answer and decided to fly back to the US and await our arrival to run back with us on the more predictable waters of the US, where, if it even looked bouncy offshore, we could just run the ICW to keep it smooth.

Having made his decision, Walter had been on the phone and booked a flight back to the states. But Terry still wanted to make the run so Walter brought her over around 8AM. We got her bags on and stowed and said our goodbyes to Walter who would now have to go, get packed, grab a ferry to Great Abaco Island and a taxi from the ferry dock to Marsh Harbour airport.

BerZerKeR had not been able to fuel from her slip on day 13 because she was docked one slip too far away from the fuel pumps. So at 0730 on day 14, Jeremy had fired her engines up and moved her over to the fuel dock to be ready to take on fuel when Justin arrived and then check out when the office opened at 0800. I went and helped get BZ to the fuel dock. By 0830, BZ was fueled and checked out and had started the return trip home. At this point BV motored over from his condo dock and fueled and went up to the office to check out. Bettie, Terry and I went to the office to check out as well and we were all back in our boats and shoved off by 0915.

Things had started out pretty well for us. The weather actually was nice as you can see in the video below.

http://youtu.be/XwzNBDt_ScU

We were hopeful for a fun and smooth passage as you can see from the pictures below. BV was staying close right behind us since he was running solo and Bettie and Terry, being BFFs were looking forward to just having some time to visit and enjoy the adventure.

Day 14 A Beautiful Start.jpg


Day 14 the Crew.jpg


Well, the good times and the good weather didn’t last very long. This morning, BZ had only had about a 45 minute head start on us so we were within radio range by the time we turned the corner at Spanish Cay to get onto the Little Bahama Bank. When we made radio contact, BZ said that they had slowed down because there was a storm system on the bank moving south to north and they were waiting for the worst of it to pass before heading into the weather. As you can see from the course track below, we slowed down as well (dots getting closer together) to let the weather pass. But what you will probably note as well, this would not be the first storm we faced this day. This was a bit of a surprise because the weather report had talked about AM TSs for the Sea of Abaco, but nothing for the Little Bahama Bank!

Day 14 Track with bullets.jpg


Because of the problems with my radar overheating, I was not running with my radar on when the weather was clear, so I popped it on now that we were approaching the storm and saw what was making BZ wait. We decided to let the worst of that storm blow through and caught up to BerZerKeR just north of Fox Town and southeast of Great Sale Cay. Here is a video of BerZerKeR and Buena Vida as we exited the first storm and approached the second storm.

http://youtu.be/bW1GHTeuyIo

In the above video, you can see that BZ has a large American flag that was held in a long staff in a cockpit mounted rocket launcher. Eventually, in either the next storm, or the storm after that, the winds will get so high, that the flag will end up getting snatched out of the holder. Below is a picture looking off the stern of Sea Dawg as we move through the storm.

Day 14 Little Bahama Bank near Great Sale Cay.jpg


Below are a picture of Sea Dawg from BZ as we pass by Fox Town and a picture of BV taken from Sea Dawg as we pass Bob some lunch.

Day 14 Sea Dawg by Fox Town.jpg


Day 14 Buena Vida.jpg


After exiting the storm, we collected ourselves and ran south of Great Sale Cay in relatively good weather. The waters were still choppy from the storm that had just blown through but there was no rain and no lightning, so we considered ourselves lucky. Then BZ hails me on the radio and says that there is another big storm ahead of us moving across the bank and between us and Mangrove Cay.

A picture of it on BZ’s radar is below.

Day 14 Radar of Storm in LBB.jpg


Since there was really nowhere to run or hide, and since we were burning daylight as it was, we decided to keep moving. Luckily this storm was moving fast and according to BZ’s radar, there was nothing after it. Once we cleared the storm, we were getting close to Mangrove Cay and our decision point for whether to just go to West End and make the crossing on the next day or to run for Ft. Pierce. Mangrove Cay to West End is around 30NM and Mangrove Cay to Ft. Pierce is less than 100NM (I don’t have the charts in front of me as I am writing this). BZ’s was about eight miles behind us at this point but being 10 feet taller and having a Furuno radar gave him the edge in looking at the weather over the Gulf Stream, and at that point (2PM), the weather looked good for a crossing.

So BV and Sea Dawg started running towards Ft. Pierce. We had made it half way to Memory Rocks when BZ came up on the radio and said that his radar was picking up a big storm in the Gulf Stream that was moving fast and very big (20x40 miles) and we would get slammed by it as we crossed the stream, having done that on the way over, we were in no mood to do it again on the way back, so we agreed that discretion was the better part of valor and that we would all go to West End.

As you can see in the course track shown earlier in the post, we diverted and started moseying towards West End. I say moseying, because BZ was behind us and the channel from Mangrove Cay to Indian Rocks, though marked on the charts becomes very shallow and has several turns in it. I had the way points for the channel in my Garmin because I had taken Sea Dawg to West End before. BV had never been to West End and BZ had only been in a small boat, not in his current boat. So as we moved south, we ran about 5 miles an hour slower to give BZ a chance to catch up by cutting the corner.

While I was saying this, I turned to Terry, our new crew for the trip and told her that this was going to be great because we were going to be running in water that was often only 5 feet deep and she would be able to see star fish and all sorts of stuff as we ran along. Below is a picture from our first trip in 2009 showing what we were about to see even running at 30 knots…

Day 14 - What could have been on the Little Bahama Banks.jpg


Within about ten minutes though, BZ came on the radio and said that the storm was going to beat us into West End if we didn’t pour on the coal. So all three boats ran up to WOT. As our boats converged, you can see from the below two pictures, that the approaching storm was a monster. In the first picture, if you zoom, you will see a little white speck on the horizon. That was Sea Dawg running hard for the channel entrance. The second picture is zoomed in even further and shows Sea Dawg and BV running hard.

Day 14 The coming Storm as seen from BZ.jpg


Day 14 Trying to beat the storm.jpg


Below is the picture from BZ’s radar at 3:24PM. West End is the half a “T” on the left, the storm is on the right and Indian Rock was one of the little dots between West End and the Storm. Five minutes later we entered the 4NM long channel that would take us to the Indian Rocks waypoint and from there to the Atlantic Ocean. The entrance to West End is from the Atlantic waters. More about that later.

Day 14 Indian Rocks Radar.jpg


When we hit the channel, BZ was about 5 miles behind us. About a mile into the channel, the storm came up on us fast. In the picture below, you can see the cloud line in the sky behind the boat. You can also see that we were not going to be seeing any star fish in these seas…

Day 14 Running The Indian Rocks Channel web.jpg


The good news was that because of the reefs and rocks three miles in front of us, the wind, though furious, had not had a chance to build up any huge waves due to the limited fetch. So our challenge at that point was to stay in the narrow channel, pray that the wind was not blowing the water away and shallowing the depth out, pray that we didn’t run up on any smaller boats trying to run the channel, keep Bob in sight behind us, and pray that the storm hadn’t kicked the Atlantic up. Here are the satellite position marks of our time in the channel, you can see that we spent about 30 minutes in the channel (three dots) and another 30 minutes getting sea room once we were clear of the rocks.

Day 14 Indian Rocks Course.jpg


By the time we were two miles into the channel (and with two miles to go), I radioed BZ and told them not to even try it. If I felt like we could have safely turned around without grounding or hitting a rock or losing control in the very steep seas, I would have told Bob that we should go back and wait out the storm. BZ rogered my transmission. As the rain poured down, BV tucked in even closer. Here is a picture of BV about 75 feet behind us almost totally obscured by rain.

Abacos 2014 - Day 14 New Pic BV less than 100 ft behind Sea Dawg.jpg


Below is another video vignette for day 14. Terry had brought her iPad along for the trip and so was taking videos with it in addition to the videos I was taking from the helm on the VIRB. Some things to note in the first video taken with the iPad where Terry pans the cockpit area.

1) You will notice that there is a light blinking on the life ring. This light is a water activated light that is supposed to light up only when it is immersed in water. Even though that ring is placed in a location that is totally covered, there was so much wind and spray and rain, that the light had activated.

2) Notice the bar area. The baskets on the bar area are set on that sticky shelf mesh stuff and in four years of running Sea Dawg through all kinds of weather, those baskets had never moved and the contents had never spilled out.

3) Notice my radar, totally orange.

4) Notice the water pouring in through the center isinglass panel. It was snapped and velcroed, but the winds were so strong, they were just driving rain through the gaps. There were also rivers of water running down the cockpit sides from the slits under the windshield. You can also hear the wind as it was coming through the canvas on the VIRB segments of the video.

5) In the final segment of the video, we have slowed down as we were now in the narrowest portion of the channel and were approaching the reef line, Indian Rock and the Atlantic.

6) And regrettably, you can hear my wife's strangled reply to a question about BV. She was really scared and adventures are not supposed to be that scary.

http://youtu.be/U2xJESQgs2A

The other good news was that Bob was staying right behind us. The crew had also donned life jackets and Bettie was sitting with the ditch bag.

I really should have just left the VIRB going. I already had my hands full navigating and attempting to stay in the channel and keep Sea Dawg under control, so why did I turn it off? I actually did not know how much recording time was left on the camera and so I wanted to save some space to show our entrance into West End. That's right, I was still operating under the hope that if we could make it another ten minutes, we would be safely in West End. Well boy was I wrong, because about two minutes after I clicked off the VIRB, we hit the bad news.

The reason the seas were manageable to this point was that the reefs and rocks were knocking them down. In order to get into West End, you have to run off the Little Bahama Bank north of Indian Rock, run in the Atlantic south for a mile or so before entering the channel for West End. The waters of the Gulf Stream are in places over 4,000 feet deep, about a mile from the reef, they are still around 900 feet deep, then there is a wall where the water goes to 30 feet deep and then it hits the reefs and rocks where it goes to a couple of feet deep (or less). The channel at Indian Rocks was 5-8 feet deep. Well all that wind driven wave action had to do something and go somewhere and we found it at the mouth of the channel. In the last 100 yards as we approached Indian Rock, I saw the monsters we would have to take and shouted to the crew and got on the radio and shouted a warning to BV. When we hit the mouth of the channel, we were met by a very steep 10 foot wave. The good news is that Sea Dawg rode up at least half of it before taking green water over the bow.

The wave took us and totally greened out the windscreen. As we got past it, we saw the next one right behind it and it was also a monster. So we fought for sea room and were eventually able to get the waves down to 8 feet and eventually to 6 feet once we were in deep water. But the period was super short and the waves were very steep. It took BV and Sea Dawg twenty minutes to get a mile offshore and a mile downrange. We were fighting broaching the entire time and Sea Dawg was turned twice and the bar fell all over the place and the cabin door broke free again.

As we fought for sea room, Bettie was sitting on the back settee and took the following video with her iPhone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_utr0Saklw

We were really worried about BV as in these seas, even though she was less than 100 yards away, we would totally lose sight of her with each wave. I was on the radio letting BZ know that we had made it to deep water and describing the conditions and warning him not to try to join us when I heard a shout from the back of the boat and we saw some crazy sport fish blowing out past Indian Rocks. It was BZ. She then fought to join us offshore.

As we fought to keep our noses into the waves and keep an eye on BV, I had been working to contact Old Bahama Bay, the marina at West End. The entrance to West End is a very narrow (less than 200 feet wide) channel with 8 foot tall stone breakwaters on both channel sides. There is also an “L” turn in the breakwater to stop waves from making it into the inner harbor. My concern was that with the direction and size of the seas, that the channel would not be navigable. When I finally was able to raise them on the radio, the harbor mastered confirmed that the channel was closed, that waves were braking over the 8 foot breakwater and the waters in the channel were not safe. Below is a picture of the breakwaters and the channel (spoiler alert) when we were able to successfully get in to West End on day 16.

Day 14 West End Channel.jpg


Knowing that West End was closed, we got on the radio with BV and BZ to review options. These were hopefully storm generated waves and when the storm passed the waves might lay down. We had now been in the Atlantic in the 6+ foot waves for over 30 minutes and they had not layed down yet. I asked BV how he was doing being the vessel most at risk and asked if he could make any direction other than straight into the waves. He said if he timed it, he could head SW. I asked BZ how things were there and he said grim. Several members of his crew tended towards sea sickness and the cabin of BZ was at this point very wet from a leaking hatch and very pukey from some hurling crew.

When offered the opportunity of continuing to loiter with no guarantee of getting into West End or going somewhere else, they voted for somewhere else. Coupled with that was the fact that though the storm had passed, another was in the middle of the Gulf Stream heading towards us so loitering for longer than another hour would get us into more trouble, not less. So with the waves clocking around to the SSW and being what they were, south-ish was the only direction we could safely go with ports, we headed southeast towards Freeport.

Freeport is the largest port in the Bahamas. It is the commerce hub for all of the Bahamas and takes large freighters into its harbor in any weather, when we made the decision to start south, Freeport was the first divert location that could be safely navigated in the current sea state. There was a small fish camp about 7 miles south of West End, but the entrance to their harbor was going to be just as dangerous if not more so than trying to run West End. Further down around the corner of Grand Bahama Island were Xanadu at about 25NM and Lucaya at about 30NM. But not only was the distance an issue, the channel to Xanadu was only 100 feet wide and the breakwaters were lower than those at West End meaning that in these seas it was likely to be impassible. And Lucaya, though it had no break water except at the beach had a narrow dredged channel and would likely be impassible in the current seas.

So if Freeport had a marina, we were going to Freeport. Using the Garmin Marine Services page, I found that there was one “marina”, the Bradford Marine Grand Bahama. Since it was already 4:45PM and most marinas start closing up at 5PM, I called them on the cell phone because we were too far away for me to try to hail them on the VHF. They answered the phone and put me through to their dock master. When I said who we were and what we needed (dockage with power and water for three vessels a 25 footer, a 40 footer and a 44 footer), there was silence for a while and then he said that he could do it, that we should hail them on VHF when we were in the harbor. I told him that we were having to run slow due to the seas, he said they were a 24 hour a day operation and to hail them after we had cleared our entry with the harbor control…

Being a commercial port, all vessels were required to contact harbor control prior to entry to the harbor. So, after sharing all of this with BV and BZ, we set our course to Freeport which taking us SE put the seas on our starboard bows and at times starboard beams if we stared to broach. It was a very long hour for BV and Sea Dawg and a very long hour and a half for BZ. The rolling was a lot worse for the captain and admiral of BZ as they were making the run sitting 15 feet in the air. I just had to stand with my feet three feet in the air above sea level and it was tough. We still were having to re-secure the cabin door as now was the first time we had time to deal with it.

As we approached Freeport, I contacted harbor control and stated our vessel information and asked clearance for BV and I to enter the harbor, they asked us to hold as there was a large car carrier two miles offshore about to enter the harbor, just then one of the tugs accompanying the car carrier hailed harbor control and told him that we were way inside of them and to let us go through and so HC cleared us in but told us to mind the 5 MPH harbor speed limit but not to delay our transit.

Abacos 2014 - Day 14 New Pic Entering Freeport ahead of freighter.jpg


Abacos 2014 - Day 14 New Pic BV Entering Freeport ahead of freighter.jpg


BZ, being a couple of miles behind us, had listened to our exchange with harbor control and as he approached, he contacted harbor control, they told him to wait as well, but Jeremy stated that he had sick kids on board and asked to go ahead and pass through and HC approved his entry ahead of the car carrier as well. Once BZ was in the channel, they slowed to the 5 MPH limit and immediately HC hailed them and told them to keep the throttle down and clear the channel so they didn’t get squished by the car carrier.

As we turned out of the harbor and into the industrial canal where Bradford Marine was located, all I kept saying to myself was “any port in a storm”. You see, Bradford Marine is a commercial boatyard, not a marina. They had two 150+ foot megayachts at a huge dock being outfitted, another 150+ foot mega- sailing yacht in a dry dock and scores of commercial and high end vessels on the hard in various repair states. And thankfully, in the corner, by a 100 foot metal barge, was a 90 foot long floating dock with two 50 amp power connectors and one water nozzle. We docked at 6:10PM. Two hours after hitting the wall of water at Indian Rock. It was time to find some way to feed the crews and sort out the messes on the various boats. That was best done with a double strength Sea Dawg anti-scurvy potion.

The log pages appear below.

Log Day 14 - Page 1.jpg


Log Day 14 - Page 2.jpg
Last edited by Sea Dawg on Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:27 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby Texdoc8953 » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:11 pm

Wow!
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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby Sea Dawg » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:33 pm

Abacos 2014 – Day 14 – The Aftermath

Bradford Marine is located on an industrial canal that was dug south from the main harbor. One side of the canal had a large spoils area of crushed coral and limestone. On the near side of the canal was a ten foot wall carved out of the limestone. On top of that was a road and back from that was another elevation of about 8-10 feet. Beyond that was the boatyard to our south and the entire tank farm for the Bahamas to our south west. The winds were still ripping, but being so far down in the ditch, we could not feel them, Only BZ’s courtesy flag and a small American flag flying from the tops of his outriggers could be seen. And they were whipping!

The winds brought a constant stench of the sulfurous emissions from the tank farm. I just kept saying to myself and everybody else “any port in a storm”. As we approached the dock at Bradford Marine, we found a security guard and a dock hand waiting to take our lines. The challenge was that we had over a hundred feet of boats that needed to fit on a dock that appeared to be in some disrepair and was less than ninety feet long. I went ahead and pulled Sea Dawg in and up as far as we could on the dock with my bow overhanging the gap between the end of the dock and the limestone wall.

It turned out that although there were two power pedestals on the floating dock, the power to them wasn’t working (according to the dock hand) so we had to run our power cable up to a junction box with open wires hanging from it. Seeing the open/frayed wires, rusted box, and general disrepair of the wiring, I simply noted where the main breaker was and handed my power cable to the dock hand to actually make the connection. Any port in a storm.

Once I had power up on Sea Dawg, BZ was approaching to dock. BV had already docked at the far end of the dock to allow BZ to dock stern towards Sea Dawg so that he could get power to the main box as well. So we went and got BZ docked and he masterfully pulled in with less than a foot of clearance between our swim platforms and his bow pulpit overhanging BV’s engine. I handed BZ's power cable to the dock hand and he hooked BZ up to power and then, being after their quitting time, the dock hand left.

The security guard let us know where the bathrooms and showers were (about a half a mile away across the yard) and that there was no place around to eat but that a Dominos would deliver pizza if we wanted that. He also told us how to contact him and then left as well.

There were two power pedestals on the dock and though the power was not working (according to the dock hand), we hoped that the water was. BZ only has 70 gallons of tankage for fresh water and with 8 people, they would burn through it fast. Sea Dawg has 120 gallons of tankage for fresh water but we had another problem that I was not going to bore you with earlier in the post but which now became fairly important.

Sea Dawg’s fresh water pump had failed on Day 8 of the adventure. There have been posts on this and other forums talking about the inadvisability of leaving a boat hooked up to city water as a plumbing failure could sink the boat. In addition to that risk of sinking when hooked to city water, water that just sits in a tank, even if conditioned will eventually go bad, so as a general rule, on Sea Dawg, we always run our fresh water from the tank. This meant that on each day of our adventure, one of the morning chores (in addition to removing trash and getting ice) was to fill the fresh water tank. We would normally try to do this after the admiral had taken her shower, or if it was a hair washing day, we would normally do it before and after the admiral took her shower.

So on Day 8, when half way through her shower, the admiral informed me that there was no water, I checked the tank level (it showed half a tank), then checked the breaker (it was on and not tripped), then checked another faucet (and found no water), then went and topped off the water tank (just to insure that the tank gauge wasn’t broken) and then still finding no water, went into the engine room and crawled over to the pump with a light and saw a small stream of water squirting out of the pump.

Knowing that that tiny stream could not be the 5GPM flow that was supposed to be what the pump could put out but being of the mind that “if it leaks, plug it”, I went and started pulling out all of my tool boxes to get at my JB Weld. Jeremy on BZ, seeing what I was doing and being a naturally curious fellow, came over to inquire what was going on. When I explained the situation to him while holding the light in one hand and the JB Weld in the other, he just gave me “the look”. So I handed him the light and he crawled in and said that the stream was coming out of the junction between the pump and the motor. He said that likely meant that water had actually gotten into the motor and that the motor was toast which is why it was not turning on. So plugging the leak wouldn’t help, I needed to replace the pump.

So I put my JB Weld away to wait for another leak on another day. I then looked at trying to source a replacement pump while in the Abacos, but it appeared that the model number of pump on my boat (a 2010 build!) was no longer made and I did not want to buy the wrong thing and end up with the hassle that Jeremy had had with Customs and everything. So staring that day, we just remained hooked up to marina water all of the time. This only created problems when we were running the boat and one of the ladies needed to use the facilities. So we kept a gallon jug of water for that purpose and I simply used Sea Dawg’s third head located on the back of the swim platform.

Well it was time to hook up water. The captain and crew of BZ had had a much worse time than either BV or Sea Dawg (more on that later) so I went to help BZ get all situated (now that I had a scurvy prevention potion safely in hand). I took BZ’s water hose to the power pole near his bow and noticed that though the spigot was metal, the supply line was PVC. So I knew that I had to be gentle when turning the handle to insure that I didn’t bust it off. Once it was connected, Jeremy was able to start hosing all of the salt off of BZ. This was therapy for him. I had already offered him a scurvy prevention potion but he needed time to process what had happened so I left him to his cleaning.

I then took Sea Dawg’s water hose to the power pole near our bow and noticed that the spigot at the bottom of the pole was metal and so was the supply pipe. “No worries about breaking this spigot off”, I thought as a lined up the metal rim of Sea Dawg’s water hose with the spigot. As I touched metal to metal, there was a sharp burning and numbing sensation that shot all of the way up my arm. The hose flew out of my hand and I saw stars for quite a few seconds. Reflecting on the general condition of the electrical wiring running from the junction box to the dock wiring, I had no confidence that we weren’t surrounded by a total electrical hazard waiting to happen. But with the facility staff gone for the night, we simply shared the water hose with BZ and got on with it. Any port in a storm.

While Jeremy was therapeutically hosing BZ down, Lesley had been in touch with her sister in the states who was on the computer working to get all of the crew of BZ home by air. As I mentioned earlier, several members of the crew of BZ were prone to sea sickness and our adventure had actually turned into terror for some of them as they were getting tossed around in the cabin. Between BZ and Sea Dawg, we had brought many bottles of Taittingers Champagne and had opened them as events warranted to celebrate various landfalls. We had one left which we had planned to break out once back in the states. Now seemed like the better time to pop that cork.

Abacos 2014 - Day 14 New Pic Safely at Doc.jpg


Later, once there was no more salt on BZ, Jeremy came over and told me what had happened to them when they ran the channel at Indian Rocks. On BZ, when Jeremy is standing at the helm, his eye level is about 18 feet above BZ’s waterline. As you can also see from videos that you have watched of BZ, she has a finer bow entry than Sea Dawg which means that she will cut through waves before rising. Well when they were approaching the wall of water that had hit Sea Dawg, Jeremy said that he was staring at the top of the wave from where he was standing and though BZ started to rise, the bow did more cutting than rising and they took a huge wall of green water over the bow which sprung one of their hatches and staggered the boat and all on her.

BZ made it out and had made it to Freeport, but a vacation had almost turned into a tragedy and they would need time to process what had happened. So while Lesley worked with her sister to get tickets for everyone to fly home, we determined that the best thing to do would be to take the security guard’s recommendation and order from Domino’s. We did, they delivered and we ate, cleaned up, helped the crew of BZ pack up and waited out the storm. Any port in a storm.

I have since that day wondered what we could have done differently. I feel guilty for trying to go to Ft. Pierce and ever since then have regretted just not immediately turning for West End once we got to Mangrove Cay. But the weather looking out to the Gulf Stream looked great from Mangrove Cay. I finally asked BZ to send me his satellite positions for the afternoon of Day 14 of our adventure and analyzed the position and time data and came up with the following ifs:

1) If Sea Dawg and BV had not loitered waiting for BZ at Mangrove Cay to have a little pow-wow and to have him take a radar view of the Gulf Stream to make a go/no-go decision for Ft. Pierce
2) And if we had all decided to run directly for West End
3) And if Sea Dawg and BV did not dally at the entrance to the four mile channel to Indian Rocks waiting to run it with BZ.
4) Then Sea Dawg and BV would have been at Indian Rocks about forty minutes earlier than we ended up hitting it. That means we might have beat the storm into West End by minutes. But BZ would have gotten to Indian Rocks more than 20 minutes after that and would have been slammed in the channel and separated from us as they would not have been able to get into West End.

BZ chose to run the channel, even though I called him on the radio and told him not to try it as I could not see any of the water queues necessary to run the channel and was running blind using GPS only. BZ did this because he did not want to separate the team (or maybe he thought I was trying to BerZerKeR him). Having looked at the data, I am now at peace that our decision to try for Ft. Pierce, though it ended up forcing all of us to run Indian Rocks in the storm, kept us together. And if we had not diverted in the face of that storm and had tried to run for Ft. Pierce, another part of the storm (it was twenty miles deep and forty miles long) would have caught us at Memory Rocks where it is just as shallow and there are just as many rocks and reefs, and the wall is just as close offshore, so the waves would probably have been just as bad.

It took us working as a team to figure out that Freeport was the best of many bad choices and I am glad we did not break up the team. Below is BZ’s satellite positions for the afternoon of Day 14.

Day 14 BZ Satellite Track.jpg
Last edited by Sea Dawg on Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby timp4411 » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:12 pm

As TexDoc8953 stated right before this post... WOW !

Sounds like you all were lucky to have made it thru this last run without some catastrophic event. No boats were swamped or sunk and more, important... no one was injured.

The shock you got when you went to hook up your hose could have became a real serious medical emergency.

I read about your adventure with some envy... until.... I come to those hair raising moments.

At least you had an ample amount of that magic potion and now have another eye-ball popping story to tell.

I find myself wondering.... "What Next?".

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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby Sea Dawg » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:05 pm

timp4411 wrote:As TexDoc8953 stated right before this post... WOW !

Sounds like you all were lucky to have made it thru this last run without some catastrophic event. No boats were swamped or sunk and more, important... no one was injured.


We were blessed beyond measure. Any mechanical failure or poor seamanship as we hit the wall of water would have been the loss of the vessel and significant risk to the crew. I was really relieved that the captains of both BZ and BV have years of running boats in offshore situations under their belts.

Should we have even been in that situation? It is difficult to know. Being just short of West End, it made sense to try and we were in the channel before the storm hit. So if I had had the same access to the information that I had at that time, I would probably make the same decision again. We did not know that the storm would collapse on us like that. As I mentioned earlier, now that I have access to additional data (BZ's satellite positions), I no longer regret the delay before attempting to divert. And knowing what we know from those people that we talked to once we finally made it to West End on Day 16 of our adventure (another spoiler alert), the storm never let up. It was just wave after wave of storms rolling through.

And once we got offshore and BZ's radar saw the next storm coming, then we were even more certain that trying to hunker down and anchor on the LBB would have meant a couple of days of blowing. BV was not set up for that type of scenario. The only option that we have unknowns on was trying to run through the storms to Ft. Pierce after all. Once we had transitioned from the LBB to the Gulf Stream, the waves would probably have been just as bad and would have been beam seas for us trying to run to Ft. Pierce. The only direction we could run was into the waves and that would have taken us more towards Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. But even if we had done that, BZ saw the next storm coming. How would that have affected us? And finally, we were only able to make 5NMPH in those waves, that would have meant a 10+ hour run if the seas didn't lay down and BV, running solo could not have safely done that and all of us were burning fuel at a crazy rate running so slow and doing so much up and down for every little bit forward. We would not have had the tankage or the stamina for a crossing that night.

The only sure thing would have been to never have left the dock at GTCC. But since the weather report never indicated that we should stay put, there was no reason not to go.


timp4411 wrote:The shock you got when you went to hook up your hose could have became a real serious medical emergency.

I read about your adventure with some envy... until.... I come to those hair raising moments.

At least you had an ample amount of that magic potion and now have another eye-ball popping story to tell.

I find myself wondering.... "What Next?".

Regards.


I never can remember if it is the amps or the volts that will kill you but I am thankful for the fact that even though it was quite a pop, it was not a deadly one. I did have some tremendous numbness in that arm for the next day or so. The next morning, I spoke with the office staff about the issue. They never sent anybody down while we were there, but hopefully they eventually fixed it.

Not wanting to stop anyone from reading the remaining posts, but I do want to assure all of you that the excitement is over. I had wanted to extend our trip and spend extra time in the Bahamas, I just never planned to spend it on an industrial canal downwind from a POL farm.

But you see, we were still 500 miles from home. Our boats were low on fuel. We were stuck in a place with no facilities waiting for a break in the weather. The Captain and crew of BZ had seen the beast and it was big. The crew was going home by air, but the captain and admiral had not decided what to do at that instant. If someone had come up and offered to buy BZ from them, they probably would have sold her and gotten on the plane the next day with their kids. We still had to get Sea Dawg home. So the adventure had to continue for Sea Dawg.

The thing that makes these adventures possible and enjoyable is that I have some great friends and though sometimes the adventure turns into something else, we find that we can rely on each other and that makes the time spent together a blessing.
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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby strick » Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:53 pm

What a wonderful read. Thank you so much for sharing with us all.
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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby firecadet613 » Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:12 pm

And I sit here glued to my seat...
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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby PowerOfTwo » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:07 pm

amazing story - I love reading about the adventures of Sea Dawg and co.

It's the amps which kill, anything over 100ma or so can be lethal, but the reason you don't die when you touch a 9v battery (which can easily generate an amp or two) is the voltage is not enough to "overcome" the resistance of your skin.

However, the higher the voltage, the more able the electricity is able to overcome that resistance, which is why with dry hands 110v will give you a fright, 240v will knock you on your behind.

put a 9v battery directly on someones heart and they will go into cardiac arrest - after all - how big do you think a pacemaker battery is?
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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby Sea Dawg » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:56 pm

Abacos 2014 – Day 15 – Any Port in a Storm

The winds continued to howl overnight as we slept. The captain of BV, not having usable sleeping quarters on BV anymore bunked on the settee in Sea Dawg’s salon. We love Bob, the captain of BV, but he is a big time snorer. If you don’t get to sleep before him, then you will not get to sleep. But luckily exhaustion took its toll on all of the Sea Dawg crew and eventually we all slept.

Lesley’s sister back in the states had been working through the evening of the 14th to get tickets for all of the crew of BZ. Jeremy and Lesley planned to stay, but all of the girls and Josh would be flying home via Miami. So BZ was a buzz of activity starting a little before 7AM as they had a cab set up for 8AM to take them to the airport. For some of the crew, this had not only been their first time in the Abacos, it had also been their first time cheating death at Indian Rocks, and now it would also be their first time cheating death flying on one of the little puddle jumpers running from Freeport to Miami. The weather was still marginal with high winds and storms moving across the sky. What a great day for flying!

Here is the crew of BZ as they get ready to head to the airport.

Abacos 2014 - Day 15 New Pic BZ Crew Ready to fly out.jpg


So the entire family went to the airport to insure that there would be no problems with immigration. I mentioned that any problems wouldn’t be in the Bahamas, it would be in the US (six one way tickets, four last names, four under age…).

Jeremy and Lesley came back after taking the kids to the airport with 15 bags of ice and a loaf of bread. I was actually surprised that they had come back as there was an even money chance that I would have gotten a text message from them saying that they were getting on the plane with the kids and the keys for BZ were under the cushion, could I just run her home for them.

You might also ask, “why were we buying ice when we were at a marina?”. Well that is actually a very astute question, but as I mentioned earlier, Bradford Marine, wasn’t a marina, it was (and is) a shipyard. So though they had a floating dock, which with the 6 foot tides was a blessing, they pretty much had nothing else that we could use (unless we were wanting to outfit a megayacht). Here are some pictures of our little fleet at that dock.

Day 15 The Dock.jpg


Day 15 - Any Port in a Storm - 100 ft of boats on a 90 ft dock.jpg


Jeremy and Lesley joined us as we made a wonderful breakfast out of the last of our bacon and the eggs that had survived Indian Rocks.

Abacos 2014 - Day 15 New Pic Sea Dawg Frying last of bacon.jpg


We also had several left over baked potatoes that had been in the fridge for a few days that would need to be thrown away or cooked in the cup of bacon drippings that had been generated during that morning’s fry fest. So fortified with a farmer’s breakfast, we set out to take stock of the day.

The night before when we had arrived, the security guard had given us the wifi code and said that wifi was free, but being so far away from the admin building and being down in the hole, we couldn’t get a signal. So several frustrated teenage girls had spent the evening before sitting up on the hill above the boats swatting mosquitoes and staying connected to their world. Well we needed the internet now. All three boats were part of the US Customs and Border Patrol Small Vessel Reporting System, and though our government can’t seem to stop…

Never mind.

Wow, I was about to hijack my own thread!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. All three vessels were part of the SVRS which requires that we file on-line float plans. Well we had done that on Day 14 and those float plans were pretty well shot. So we needed to amend or cancel the float plans and get new ones up. The problem was we didn’t yet have a plan.

The winds were still very strong. As you can see in the pictures below, BZ’s flags on the ends of her outriggers were just whipping. Add to this the fact that we were having thunderstorms with a fair amount of lightning rolling through every couple of hours, we did not know when there was going to be a good weather window. So the captains did an inventory of knowns and unknowns and decided we needed some additional content in the “known” column before we could put a plan together. So we headed up to the office to check in.

Day 15 - Any Port in a Storm - 2nd view.jpg


The offices were opulent! But then again, an owner coming to check on his megayacht would expect no less. We however, were a motley looking crew coming in. So we found a big TV on the weather channel (Freeport edition) and luxuriated in the AC while we filled out the paper work. We inquired about important stuff like rates ($1/foot per day) which was great, electricity wasn’t bad either and water (even electrified water) was a flat rate as well. So all in all, not bad for the Bahamas, but then again, all we were getting was a dock. Any port in a storm. So we all signed up for a day of dockage and said that we would be trying to figure out if we were going to be able to leave that day if a weather window presented itself. We asked about fuel and they said that they did not have a fuel dock. We would have to contract with a fueling company and they normally only sold in tanker truck volumes (1,000 gallon or more). Any port in a storm.

BZ needed 300 gallons, I needed 200 gallons and Bob needed 100 gallons, but he needed gas. So we were out of luck. Our planning options just had a major ‘known” column filled in. Whenever we left, it would need to be relatively close by as none of us had adequate reserves to run all of the way to the US with what we had left in our tanks after bogging for two hours hovering off of West End and making it to Freeport on Day 14. That meant either West End, Xanadu or Lucaya. And since West End was the only port going in the right direction, it meant that whenever we could run, we would be running to West End. So being ever optimistic and compliant with our wonderful government, we all dutifully updated our float plans showing interim stops at Freeport and West End on our way to Ft. Pierce, but only moving our arrival date into Ft. Pierce one day to Day 15 from Day 14.

Before we left the office, we asked the receptionist if they could call the Old Bahama Bay folks and see if the channel had opened back up. We might be willing to accept a bumpy hour if we knew that at the end of it we would be able to run the channel and get into West End. But though she could get through to the office, she could never get connected to the dock master. So she offered to keep trying.

As we left the office to head back down to the boats, we overheard a couple of guys talking about the weather. One man was very grizzled looking and the other very well dressed. At this point, having already cheated death, we were hungry for any knowledge about what was happening on the water as it was actually sunny at that instant and was it only my perception or had the winds calmed just a tad? So we asked the gents if either of them knew what the conditions were like offshore and the older man looked at us and said, “I just talked to the harbor pilots and they said ‘the seas are for shit’” and then he paused and said “I believe that is a nautical term”. The more well dressed man turned to us and asked us if we were with the three boats. We introduced ourselves and he said that he had a computer with a web site bookmarked with the local wind reporting and forecasting page.

So we went to his office and it turns out that he was the head yacht broker for the yard. Just as Jeremy was ready to mention something about BZ, the guy asked us which one of us was the guy with the Parker. Bob, the captain of BV, said that was him and the guy asked what it was like running the Gulf Stream in the Parker and seemed very interested in that boat as it is perfect for what many people want in the Bahamas, small, single outboard, shallow draft with a small cabin to handle seas over the bow. I think that if Bob had hung out another little while, he might have had BV sold. But we left before Jeremy could turn the conversation to BZ being available…

So we went back to the boats and related our stories and weather dependent plan and spent the afternoon waiting for the weather to change and to find out if West End had opened back up. At 4PM, with winds that appeared to have let up a little bit, we went back up to the office, but finding that they could still not get through to Old Bahama Bay, we realized that we would be there a second night. So we paid for that night in advance and that is when the surprises started. You see they charged us for assistance in docking, which had been rendered but which I had already compensated the dock hand and security staff handsomely for staying after hours to get us situated. Then they had charged BV for water and power (he got those charges removed as he had not been staying on his boat). But we also all were charged a $65 per boat port fee for entering Freeport and having to interact with Harbor Control. So much for the port being “free”… Any port in a storm.

So we updated our SVRS float plans showing a new arrival date in Ft. Pierce on Day 16 and went back and decided to get dressed up and go out to a nice dinner. Below is a picture of the captain and crew of Sea Dawg as we got ready to go to dinner.

Day 15 - Sea Dawg Crew.jpg


We went to a restaurant that was right at the harbor entrance where they fed the sharks every hour. The food was good and the shark show was fascinating.

Day 15 Feeding Time.jpg


And if you look out at the water in the picture below, you will see that the seas look like they had laid down some. They were probably mixed twos inshore now so they could be that bad offshore? Could they?

Day 15 - The Survivors.jpg


I asked the admirals if they were ready to mount up and the answer was a resounding “no”. So we headed back to the boats and as the sun set, we reflected on the old saying:

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.

Day 15 - Red Sky at Night.jpg


We prayed that there would not be a red sky in the morning as the rest of the saying is:

Red sky in morn, sailors take warn!

The boats did not move so there were no log book pages.
Last edited by Sea Dawg on Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby Sea Dawg » Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:08 pm

Abacos 2014 – Day 15 – More on the Dock

One of the challenges I have when writing in this forum after I have taken a trip is that I don’t always know in real time, what will become pertinent and important to talk about so often, either the VIRB isn’t recording, or pictures aren’t being taken to illustrate the point to be made in the post. The deplorable condition of the power and wiring on the floating dock at Bradford Marine is a perfect example.

I have looked through all of the pictures taken by BZ, Terry and my wife to see if any show a close up of the loose and frayed wires laying on the dock. The pictures below are all cropped and zoomed from other shots to try to give you some idea of what the standard of engineering can often be found in the Bahamas.

Day 15 B Power from back.jpg


The floating dock has two fixed power pedestals with both 30AMP and 50AMP single phase service (sort of standard). Of course the power to the poles was not working (except through the water pipe). You can see one of the poles up by BZ’s bow in the picture above. And you can see the other pole, with the unused electrified water spigot amidships to Sea Dawg in the picture below. What you will also see in the picture below is the shore side service terminating in a junction box fixed to the dock support pole and then the dock junction box taking the shore power in and dangling a 100AMP service connector as well as a jumble of wires wrapped around the base of the pole that probably at one time led under the dock to the 30 and 50 AMP service in the fixed power pedestals. If a boat requiring 100AMP service was using the dock, they would just run power to the hanging connector. But when little boats like ours needed power, since the pedestals didn’t work, they jury rigged a splitter on a metal wheel hub base that you can see in the picture which had two 50 AMP connectors coming out of it.

Day 15 B Power 3.jpg


Sea Dawg and BZ connected to this temporary service for our two days at the dock.

Here is an overzoomed view from another perspective.

Day 15 B Power Pole.jpg


Luckily, all of this hazard was localized to one end of the dock and we told all of the kids to stay away from it and to not touch the water or fall in. Like I said in a prior post, I told the office staff about the hazard and the shock I took from the water spigot, and they said that they would have someone look at it, but they never came by when we were there.
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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby Sea Dawg » Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:16 pm

Abacos 2014 – Day 16 – To West End and Beyond?

As we planned into the evening on Day 15, we determined that since the winds had died down, and the waves should have died down, then if we got up at the crack of dawn and were gone with the first light, then we could run to West End, fuel up there and then get across the Gulf Stream to Ft. Pierce, get checked in, and start running north. What a plan! All we needed was the weather to cooperate and the courage to get back in the saddle.

Day 16 on our original float plan was the day that we were supposed to be back in Savannah. Instead, we were 340 miles as the crow flies and a hundred miles further away from Savannah (when adjusting for necessary routing as none of us were boating using a crow). We all rose with the dawn and down in our sheltered canal, the water was calm. BZ’s flags were flying and lazily flapping, but not with anything near the fervent nature of the last two days. We convened a brief captain’s meeting, and having checked out the night before, agreed to give it a shot.

I took a wooden stick and flipped off the breaker to shore power at the junction box while BZ fired up his engines and gen set and we started the dance of getting BZ off the dock. BZ cleared with Harbor Control and exited the canal and entered the harbor and she was soon followed by BV and Sea Dawg.

Below is the video taken of our departure from the Bradford Canal and our transiting of Freeport Harbor and (spoiler alert) the entry of BV and BZ into West End.

http://youtu.be/HCS_GDw0WWA

As you can see from the picture below, we were hopeful that a rainbow would be a sign of good things to come for our trip.

Day 16 Rainbow.jpg


As we got offshore though, the seas proved to be building the closer we got to West End. BZ was running about a half mile further offshore from where Sea Dawg was running and as we passed her, you can see from the pictures below that we were in mixed 4 footers with a beam roll and some serious spray.

Day 16 BZ Running to West End.jpg


Day 16 BZ and the Building Storm.jpg


So because of the waves, and the fact that when we lined up to enter West End channel, they would be on our stern corner, I went ahead and asked the crew to put on life jackets. BZ was doing some serious rolling in these seas and he was concerned about getting his butt caught by a wave as they tried to make the turn for the channel, so I said that Sea Dawg would run first and would give him a running commentary on any wave action as we turned for the channel and entered the breakwater. Because I was concentrating so much on the navigation requirements, I forgot to turn the VIRB on to document our running the channel. Due to the wind shadow created by the land mass, the waters leading up to the channel entrance were actually quite tame and all three boats entered the channel without issue. Here are pictures of BV and BZ as they enter the channel at West End.

Day 16 BV Entering West End.jpg


Day 16 BZ Entering West End.jpg


Our plan was to fuel up and make a go/no-go decision about running for Ft. Pierce. The seas were continuing to build and as you see in the above pictures, there was a storm just offshore. That storm came howling in while we were fueling. Add to that the fact that this was a Friday and a large number of center console boats (the kind with four 300HP motors hanging off the back and eight guys looking like they had just been through a hurricane or were coming off a three day bender) had started to arrive from Florida and said that the early hours of the crossing had not been bad but that the last ten miles had been rough due to the storms and that there were more storms following the one overhead. So the admirals, hearing all of this made the no-go decision and as each boat fueled up, we checked in to wait out the weather.

Old Bahama Bay was a mad house. There were boats there that had been there for days waiting for a weather window to cross to the states and there were boats piling in from the states. We secured our slips and then watched the chaos thankful that we were safely in slips. Everyone that saw us coming in asked us how the weather was. When we told them we had only run from Freeport, they looked at us like we were crazy for wanting to stay in Freeport. We then had to tell the story of trying to get into West End on Day 14 and everyone who had been there just shook their heads when we mentioned that it was between 4PM-5PM. They collectively spoke of the storm that came through and talked about some kayakers who had been washed out on the Little Bahama Banks by the wind and waves during the storm. One of the boats that found us was the Tiara that we had seen at Hutchinson Island and Spanish Cay. They were eager to get home and asked if we were going to run the weather. We said no.

Sea Dawg has been to West End before. The last time was in 2011 when we were still required by the Bahamian government to check out of the country. The captain and Admiral of BZ had been with us on that trip in a 25’ center console so their stop was a fuel, restroom and check-out stop. This was the first time that we were actually staying.

We plan to add Old Bahama Bay to the list of go to places in the future. Though a little pricey, they have a nice beach, pool and tiki bar and the wall and the reefs of the bank offer some great fishing and snorkeling close by.

Day 16 Tiki Hut at West End.jpg


Day 16 Beach at West End.jpg


The weather was spotty through the day as storms continued to roll through. Below is a picture of Sea Dawg and BZ at the dock.

Day 16 Sea Dawg and BZ Docked at West End.jpg


But the weather broke by mid afternoon and we had fresh caught seafood for dinner and hung out at the beach, tiki bar and pool as we prepared for the run the next day.

The scenes depicted in the following pictures did not necessarily happen and though this may seem like proof that the weather had finally cleared, the admirals said it hadn't as you can tell by those nasty looking clouds in the sunset below and if you don't believe the admirals then please don't believe your lying eyes when you see the following classified photos.

Abacos 2014 - Day 16 New Pic The Picture that never was.jpg


Abacos 2014 - Day 16 New Pic The Picture that never was of Terry.jpg


Abacos 2014 - Day 16 New Pic The Picture that never was of BV and BZ.jpg


Abacos 2014 - Day 16 New Pic The Picture that never was Bettie and Cary.jpg


Abacos 2014 - Day 16 New Pic The Picture that never was Sunset.jpg


Below is the course track for the day.

Day 16 Track.jpg


We ran the boat so the log pages also appear below.

Log Day 16 - Page 1.jpg


Log Day 16 - Page 2.jpg
Last edited by Sea Dawg on Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby Sea Dawg » Wed Sep 17, 2014 3:43 pm

Abacos 2014 – Day 17 – Crossing Back

Wow! What a difference a day makes! Though the weather had actually broken on the afternoon of Day 16 and many boats had started to clear out of West End and head back to the states, the Admirals had spoken and we had stayed. Our reward for our caution was a beautiful afternoon at West End, but the price to be paid was a blood oath to let no one know that the weather had improved.

You can understand that after having the life scared out of them and then spending two nights and a day sniffing petroleum farm fumes while doing nothing but waiting for a weather break, the admirals thought that since we had paid for slips at West End, we might as well use them. And as a good captain, I never argue with the admiral when it comes to spending more time in the sun with a beverage at hand.

But what this meant was that we had to get moving as Day 17 was a Saturday and all of us were due back at work on Monday. We had two days to run what we normally run in two and a half days (three days if you are BZ) so we needed perfect weather and boy did we get it! As you can see from the pictures below, we were greeted with bright and sunny skies, with innocent and puffy white clouds and flat calm seas.

Day 17 Leaving West End.jpg


Day 17 Leaving West End 2.jpg


The plan was for all of us to be gone as soon as we could check out. We were already all fueled up, all we needed to do was pay for our night of dockage and get going. Two of the three captains went to the office to check out while the crews made the boats ready to depart. By 0800, BerZerKeR was warmed up and I helped her reduced crew get her out of her slip and started on her journey home. I went back to Sea Dawg and started her engines and got her warming up. At that point Bob was getting ready to go and check out. I offered to help him get BV out of her slip and he could go over and tie up near the office so he could just jump in and go when he checked out. He thought that was a good idea and after completing his morning constitutional and getting his contacts in, fired up his engine and I got him untied and on his way.

By this time, Bettie, who was having to slum as a mere deck hand on our reduced crew, was at the bow getting eaten alive by biting gnats (we call them “no-see-ums” in Savannah) and Terry was at the stern waiting for the signal to release lines so we could get going as well. Due to Bettie’s predicament, we went ahead and immediately departed to save Bettie from the gnats and to slowly work our way offshore while waiting for BV to check out. The video below shows our departure from Wet End. You can see BV on the face dock as we turn into the fairway. The video shows a long segment of the West End channels and breakwaters as I neglected to film any of them when we were running in on Day 16. The video also shows the view from BZ as she starts her run that day and a casual mention of the troubles at Indian Rocks on day 14.

http://youtu.be/K25VrYXZhq8

While we waited for BV to check out and follow, we ran a ways offshore and dumped the holding tank as it had not been dumped for three days due to the sitting at docks and rough seas.

After about 45 minutes, we were joined by BV and started our run across the Gulf Stream at 0915. What a beautiful day to be on the water! We could not raise BZ on the radio which meant that they had either sunk or gotten a huge head start on us and so we set the autopilot and settled in for a three hour crossing (according to the Garmin chart plotter). Below is a picture of the Captain and the Admiral working hard to make the crossing.

Day 17 The Captain and Admiral.jpg


In the video below, you can see that the Admiral and Captain on BerZerKeR were also working hard during the crossing. The video also shows Sea Dawg and BV catching up and passing BZ. This happened about half way to Ft. Pierce.

http://youtu.be/jXnG1uN0KIk

Here are pictures showing our passing of BZ as well.

Day 17 Sea Dawg in the Gulf Stream.jpg


Day 17 Sea Dawg in the Gulf Stream 2.jpg


Day 17 Sea Dawg in Gulf Stream 3.jpg


Day 17 BV in Gulf Stream.jpg


Day 17 BV and Sea Dawg in Gulf Stream.jpg


Day 17 BV and BZ in Gulf Stream.jpg



As we approached Ft. Pierce, we were now about an hour ahead of BZ. BV decided to stop at some fishing spots and fish until BZ caught up. Sea Dawg went ahead and ran on into Ft. Pierce. We arrived right at noon at the channel entrance. Below is a video showing us approaching the Ft. Pierce Inlet. It is a pretty boring video.

http://youtu.be/ES84ZtbyLsU

The reason we were running ahead is that Walter, Terry’s husband, had been hanging out in South Florida waiting for us to make the crossing (remember, he had decided to fly from Marsh Harbor on Day 14) so we thought he was waiting to link up with us and run home on Sea Dawg, but in reality, he was waiting to gather up Terry and drive her back to Savannah before we could put her life in any more danger. So we ran to Harbortown Marina and docked and proceeded to fuel up (best prices of entire trip!!!) and to contact CBP on the SVRS line to try to check in. We fueled up while on hold with the government and after about 45 minutes, had successfully checked in.

Walter arrived at the marina and some tearful goodbyes were said and Bettie and I prepared to run as a team the rest of the way to Savannah. After clearing customs and immigration we waited to hear what was going to happen with BZ and BV. It was now 1PM and we had BZ in radio range and were trying to formulate a plan. We had another seven and a half hours of daylight left and if we stayed inside, could easily make it at BZ’s slower speed as far as Titusville or maybe even New Smyrna Beach by a little after dark. But BZ and BV still had to get in, get cleared and get fueled.

As the captain and admiral of BZ had been entering the inlet and computing the time and distance and speed equation for BZ, they kept coming up with not enough hours to make it all of the way back to Savannah before dark on Sunday. They also failed to notice that all of the other boats in the inlet were running with no wake, and finally they failed to notice that they blew right by the Ft. Pierce USCG station while they were on the phone determining if there was a slip at Ft. Pierce City Marina. They didn’t fail to notice the blue lights and siren that soon were in their wake.

So taking into account the hour that would be required to fuel and check in as they calculated their projected run times, they now had to add a boarding and inspection which made the equation add up to a big “can’t do it”. Luckily no citation was given but the decision was now made by circumstance and they were going to have to dock BZ and leave her for a few weeks. So they started getting on the phone to try to source a one way rental car for immediate pick up, a slip for a few weeks, and were on the radio trying to get BV to follow them to the City Marina to get fuel.

They did not know of the tragedy that had befallen Sea Dawg as we had lost the last of our crew and would now be having to run without anyone in the second cabin. So once they had docked, and finding no available rental cars, but also now finding that there was an open cabin on Sea Dawg, the plan was hatched for us to carry them home.

So Sea Dawg ran down to the City Marina and docked near BZ and we started carrying tons of stuff from BZ to Sea Dawg as BZ was going to be shut down for several weeks and some things were perishable (mixers), something things were desirable (clothes) and some things were necessary (rum). While we were doing this, BV was checking in with CBP, fueling up (body and boat), and being brought up to speed on the new plan. It was a great day offshore and so we discussed making a speed run offshore around Cape Canaveral and back inshore at Ponce Inlet. Though we had no slips reserved, we figured that we could show up at Inlet Harbor Marina (it was only a Saturday night) or if not there, we could go on up to Daytona Beach on the ICW and dock at AquaMarina.

As you can see from the course track below, we had a great run. We left City Marina at Ft. Pierce at 3PM and covered a lot of water and were in striking distance to make it to Savannah easily the next day if the weather held.

Day 17 Track.jpg



In the below video, you can see that we had a wonderful run offshore, having to dodge behind a cruise ship about 10 miles off of Port Canaveral, having to run Ponce Inlet in the gathering gloom of dusk and with a storm that had recently passed through and finally, docking after dark at AquaMarina.

http://youtu.be/01QCmcHYrEc

As we passed by Inlet Harbor Marina, it was rocking (being a Saturday night) and the docks were totally overrun with boats. But we had already decided to go to AquaMarina as there is a Chart House Restaurant on property and being my wife’s and my 34th anniversary…

The boats moved a lot and due to the crew change, the admiral decided we needed two sets of log book entries for this day. I never argue with the admiral about the keeping of the log. Especially on our anniversary! The pages appear below:

Log Day 17 - Page 1.jpg


Log Day 17 - Page 2.jpg


Log Day 17 - Page 3.jpg


Log Day 17 - Page 4.jpg
Last edited by Sea Dawg on Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby Sea Dawg » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:08 pm

Abacos 2014 – Day 18 – Homecoming

Our run this day would be a little under 200 miles if we had to stay inside and somewhere around 175 if we were going to be able to run offshore. Since we had already run 10 miles up the Halifax River to get to Daytona, we decided not to back track but set off from AquaMarina and pointed Sea Dawg and BV’s bows North. We would be on the ICW in a variety of no wake zones and having to slow down to pass other vessels, but the expectation was that if the Atlantic was anything like it was on Day 17, then we would be able to run once we went off shore at St. Augustine Inlet.

Day 18 Track.jpg


As you can see from the course track above, that is exactly what we were able to do. It took us three hours to run the 40 or so miles from Daytona to St. Augustine but then once we got offshore, we were able to just let Sea Dawg run. The waves were 2s with a 3 footer mixed in and these built through the afternoon, but with the wind at our back, both Sea Dawg and BV just ran up the back of each wave and down the front. Below is a video of us running St. Augustine Inlet and a few snippets as we approached Wassaw Sound (the entrance to Sea Dawg’s home marina).

http://youtu.be/CKQp-gWetS4

Because the Captain and Admiral of BZ were on the trip, I left the running of Sea Dawg to Jeremy when I had important jobs like keeping Bettie from getting sun burned. You would have thought that we would have had more time for pictures, having so many people on the boat, but like with most of our adventures, the last day was a mix of sadness, exhaustion, and wondering what the world was going to do to us once we re-entered.

BV stopped about an hour south of where we turned in so that he could do some fishing. We thanked him for his comradery and texted his wife his last position and intent so that she would know what he was up to.

Sea Dawg docked at 5:45 PM on Sunday, July 20, 2014.

As I sit writing this in an airport waiting to fly home, I wish that the adventure was still going…

But there is always 2015. Where will Sea Dawg and her stalwart crew and friends go next? Hint: The will need to be rum, sun, blue water, and an excuse to make the Admiral wear her pink bikini!

The boat ran so here are the final log book pages of our 2014 adventure.

Abacos 2014 - Log Day 18 Page 1.jpg


Abacos 2014 - Log Day 18 Page 2.jpg
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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby Sea Dawg » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:44 pm

Dear Readers,

I am sorry to do this to you, but my wife just changed out phones and in harvesting all of the pictures from her phone, I found pictures and video that add depth to the context of the above adventure. I have updated photos and some text in days 2, 14, 14 aftermath, 15, and 16. I have also added the last day. I will try to collect all new photos in a post here at the end later but have to go and get on a plane now.

Also, there is a video showing the seas after Indian Rocks. it is in Day 14 chronologically in line.

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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby timp4411 » Thu Oct 02, 2014 9:05 pm

Sea Dawg.

I wanted to thank you again for all of your great posts and the stories and experiences. as well as the pics and videos of your trip.

I feel like I've had another vacation on a boat this year. :D

I'm looking forward to your next trip and the telling of the tale of that cruise.

Regards, Tim
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Re: Adventures of Sea Dawg - Sea of Abaco 2014

Postby kdubya » Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:59 pm

This has been a fun and informative read. This is the sort of boating I hope to do someday! Thank you for all the photos and video.
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