So Trevor dinghied across the harbor to get a Heli-Coil kit. We'd never used one before, but they're pretty cool. We also hauled the dinghy out of the water to do some fixing because it was leaking like a sieve in the back, and we were starting to lose air out of the pontoons. Not good. So it was a day of repairs. Work days are no fun. We managed to get the dinghy patched up (with a little hardware assistance from Jim, always there to help). The transom had a crack that was flexing and allowing water in and air out. So we bolted plywood on either side, along with rubber gaskets and a bucketload of silicone (magic stuff). When we put it back in the water the next day, it didn't leak! Woohoo! Right, back to the Heli-Coil. We had never used one before, but it seemed pretty straightforward.
1. Clean out the old threads. Ours were totally gone, so no problem here.
2. Use the tapping tool to make new threads for the coil. Not complicated, but kinda tricky. I ran into problems getting the thing to go in straight. By the time I realized it was crooked, it was already screwed up. Crap! (And a few other, more colorful words, to be sure.)
3. Insert Heli-Coil into tapped threads to make new threads that fit that old bolt perfectly. This is the easy part.
Like I said, I ran into problems with step 2. I made crooked threads. When we put the bleed nut back in, it leaked crazily. Nope hope for a good seal. Super major big crap! (etc.) The only option was to drill out the new Heli-Coil threads and start over. The part is trashed anyway, so what could it hurt? So Trevor drilled it out, being careful to make the damn hole straight. Then he used the tap and made new threads. Then put the new coil in. Alright, looks pretty good. Bleed nut goes back in. Fuel is pumped through the system. And it leaks more than when we started, but less than with the crooked threads. So I slapped on some plumbing tape, put the bleed nut back in, and repressurized the system. No leak. No leak? Hell yes, no leak!!! Happy dance time! After lots of stress, swearing, and a few tears, we had fixed the problem. This will get us back to the States, where we may or may not replace the part. We'll see how we feel about it when we get there.
The next day was spearfishing. And the day after that was our final resupplying in Georgetown. Then seafood dinner aboard Amata Marie. While we were enjoying our pre-dinner cocktails, a familiar sailboat came cruising by. It was Glenice! They were back from Long Island, only a day after they left. Turns out they had some engine trouble and didn't want to get stranded over there. So they came back. While the cause was unfortunate, we were so happy to see them! So we had a great dinner and delicious dessert with great friends again.
Right, so the next day (are we up to Thursday? I think it was Thursday.) we did our final final restocking in Georgetown. For real this time. Then we came back and went for a swim (it was hot!). We swam over to Glenice to make plans to hang out, since it was our last night together as one big, happy family. We all got together on shore for cocktails and some Chicken Foot dominoes. During the 3rd or 4th round, the light went away, but Jim brought some lights. So we played until way after everyone's bedtime. Great times! We were all sad to say goodbye.
Friday, we headed out from Georgetown. It was sad to leave. We knew we were finally headed toward home, even if it's a month until we get there. When we got outside to the sound, the waves were rolly, but nothing terrible. We had the main up and motorsailed up the coast. Every once in a while, a wave would knock us around, but otherwise it was a pretty nice day. We got to Adderly Cut while the tide was still coming out. With the opposing wind, it made for an exciting ride going in. It didn't look bad at first. We managed to stay out of the strongest current. By the time I realized how big the waves were, there was no turning back. Luckily, we were going with the waves. "Waves" being a 6-foot chop. It was spooky to look over and see a wave at eye level and the trough way down low a few feet ahead. Yikes! We managed to surf our way through the cut.
|The photo doesn't do it justice, except you can see the dinghy there above the anchor
Oh, and another note. Remember that day we sailed all day, no motor functioning at all? We sailed through Adderly Cut. Incoming tide. Much better. Even so, we are still super badass for sailing through it.
But after the excitement of going through the cut, all was well. We tied up to a mooring ball at Lee Stocking Island. It was nice to motor onto it instead of trying to sail on like last time we were there. Amata Marie arrived shortly after us. We had a delicious dinner of mahi mahi and cero mackerel that Jim and Tim (Nancy and Jim's son) had caught on the way up. So good! Trevor dropped a hook in the water when we got back to the boat, just to see what he could catch. And you know what? He caught this!
|Trevor's fish! A whopper!
The next morning (we're up to Saturday now), Amata Marie left, and we went to work. Like I said before, the research center doesn't have much funding, so we offered to help them out with some volunteer work. We spent about 3 hours doing trail maintenance. Snipping away at plants that were trying to take over the trails. It was hot, exhausting, and backbreaking work. But afterward, we went for a swim at coconut beach. It was gorgeous, and we had the beach all to ourselves! Once we got back to the boat and cleaned up, we didn't do much the rest of the day. Relaxation is kinda nice, too, you know. :)
Sunday, we went to work again. This time, we were on palm frond duty. We went around the research center, tugging down dead palm fronds and picking up ones that had already fallen to the ground. They didn't give us a ladder or machetes, so we didn't get all of them, just the ones we could reach and that were ready to let go. We also picked up fallen coconuts. Not a bad way to spend a morning.
After lunch, I wanted to do some snorkeling, so we took the dinghy (and the speargun, since it was more than 1/2 mile from the research center) over to Tug & Barge rocks. We anchored in sand and swam over to the coral. Pretty coral heads, right next to shore, and coral growing on the side of the island itself. Lots of fish swimming around. Trevor spotted a lionfish. I've been hoping to kill a few lionfish since I heard they were in the Bahamas. Invasive and voracious, they don't belong here. So I took a breath, dove down, and took a shot. Missed. Hey, those things move fast when they want to. I dove again. Direct hit! But not hard enough, it slipped off and swam away. When it came back again, I hit it harder and right in the side. Success! Okay, so I have this squirming fish with venomous spines ready to stab me if I touch them and put me in excruciating pain. Now what? I tried bashing its head on the rocks to kill it. No luck. We swam it back to the dinghy and scooted it down the spear. Then Trevor unscrewed the tip and slid the fish off the pole with a towel. Sweet! Now we can go hunting for more. We swam all the way around the tiny island, Trevor occasionally shooting at a passing fish. It was a neat place to snorkel. Lots of fish and little coral heads all over.
After a little while, I noticed the clouds were getting darker. Time to head back to the boat. We were about a mile from the mooring field, so I put the hammer down and raced to beat the rain to the boat. Nope. We were about halfway there when we saw the rain get to the boat. Oh well, at least it's fresh water. The wind chopped up the waves a little bit, but we've been in worse. Onward, to the boat! As we got there, the rain tapered off. Of course. We had left the windows open, but at least we closed the hatch over the bed. So we had a few damp spots, but nothing serious. I decided it was time to clean the fish. I donned 2 pairs of gloves, just to be safe, and dug in. I'm not very good at cleaning fish. No one has ever taught me how to fillet. So I'm still learning. The fish didn't yield much meat. But still! My first lion fish!
|My first lion fish! Not so scary once they're dead.
|It's bigger than it looks.
Eventually, we made it back to Rudder Cut Cay. This was the place where I had spotted a lion fish a few weeks before. I was ready to get that sucker! But I waited until I was sure Trevor wouldn't die from taking expired migraine meds before I left him alone on the boat. First, I checked out the cave on the other side of the hill. It was pretty cool. It went farther in than our cave, but had a sandy floor with no coral. It did have 3 holes in the roof, one of which seemed to have a cactus growing around it.
|Cactus over a cave hole on Rudder Cut Cay.
Went back to the boat and cleaned up. Then cleaned the fish. I was better at it this time. And we had lion fish for dinner. Whoa! So delicious! I mean, really really good! They're a lot of work to kill (if they have good hidey holes) and clean, and they don't have much meat on them. But boy are they tasty! Oh, and a shark (maybe a lemon shark) showed up to munch on the morsels I tossed overboard. Definitely wasn't a nurse shark. Cool! First lemon shark!
|My second lion fish.