We had been in Hopetown before and really liked it. It has the big lighthouse that is one of only two hand-lighted lighthouses in the world. In fact, my original John Everett painting has the Hopetown lighthouse prominently featured. We arrived at the Hopetown Inn and Marina on Friday the 13th and called Richard from Cook’s Marine Services. He said he would be by the following day. So we spent the balance of Thursday ashore in Hopetown looking around. We only went into the northern half of the town, where we checked out some gift shops and … Oh, there happened to be a restaurant/bar that we also decided to check out! We had beer and some homemade potato chips (which were very, very good). While we were eating, we saw Al and Michelle, the folks from Kindred Spirit. That we had originally met on the ICW in Georgetown, SC – outside of the Rice Museum as a matter of fact and saw them again later in Vero Beach where we had Thanksgiving. We like Al and Michelle because they keep their AIS system on almost all the time – and we know when we are getting close to them. They had initially intended to head all the way down to the Exumas, but have changed their minds and decided to stay on a mooring at Hopetown. And … who can blame them? It is a lovely location.
Richard, our repairman, called to let us know he couldn’t be there until the following morning, so we took part of the second day in Hopetown to explore the southern half of the town. We walked across the island and spent a half-hour or so strolling on the Atlantic Beach. It was beautiful as always. We also discovered a new restaurant on the Atlantic side. We certainly haven’t been to all of the restaurants in Hopetown, of course, but I thought we knew where most of them were; of this one, though, I hadn’t even heard. I guess we‘ll have to try it out next time!
On Saturday, Richard finally came, spent maybe fifteen minutes on the generator, and had it running again (just so you know, the story is not over – stay tuned). He charged us $20. I mean I couldn’t give him $20. He had taken time out of his schedule and had come across the harbor to visit the boat. I was expecting to pay him at least $100. But, since he only expected $10, I gave him $40. He was happy, I was happy, all God’s children were happy … until the generator broke down again the following day.
We also saw SeaSparrow. We seemed to be going the same places. However, they were now on their way south to the Exumas and beyond. They are a fun couple and I hope we see them again.
There was one other event that occurred on Saturday the 14th. Army lost to Navy (AGAIN … FOR THE 12th YEAR IN A ROW!) It wasn’t a surprise in that the previous week Army had lost to Hawaii, which had a 0-11 record until they played the cadets. I know many of you think it is funny. To me, it is not. Can you imagine any of the great generals allowing one of his subordinates to lose battle after battle … without being fired? Can you imagine the losing spirit being built into the Corps of Cadets – or at least those cadets who played on the football team? Well, there was one positive outcome that derived from our scrubbing by Navy. West Point FINALLY fired its coach.
On to more pleasant things. The generator was repaired, so we decided to set out for Great Guana, about an hour-and-a-half away. The wind was blowing at 15-20 MPH, from the SW and we only had a little protection so we huddled into the shore as closely as we dared, found a sandy spot and dropped the anchor. The boat drifted backwards a little, then, wham – Bertha grabbed the bottom and we suddenly stopped. Yessss! This is how it is supposed to work! Over time the wind clocked around – just like the forecasts said it would we only had a little protection from the wind, so we had more and more protection as time went on. By the morning, the island was blocking most of the heavy wind.
The reason we wanted to go to Guana was because the (in)famous restaurant/bar “Nippers” was having one of its Sunday Pig Roasts. We had heard a lot about them, but had never been to one. So we went to Great Guana, anchored and ate pig. They had roast pork, barbecued pork, macaroni and cheese, xxx and a few other things. Needless to say I spent my time on mac and cheese and the two types of pork. Actually, it was surprisingly good – but very expensive. Though it was all you could eat, it was $24 per person, and that was without the semi-mandatory drink!
Monday morning when we tried to turn on the generator to bring up the dinghy – you guessed it – the generator wouldn’t work. We were going to anchor in Marsh Harbor for a coup-le of days, but in light of the generator-from-hell we decided we would go to the marina at Marsh and get someone to fix it once and for all. When we got there, we called Richard (who had repaired it in Marsh Harbor) to see if he could recommend anyone. He told us that he had some errands to run at Marsh Harbor and he could come look at it on Tuesday if we wanted him to. That was great – or so we thought. Actually, he told us late on Tuesday that he wouldn’t be able to show up after all, that it would be Wednesday. On Wednesday we left three messages for him, but didn’t hear anything back. On Thursday AM we finally got a call that said he would be over in a few minutes. On Thursday he looked at it and basically decided he didn’t know what was wrong with it. AAARRRGGHHH! He wasted so much of our time!
Earlier in the week, we had re-connected with Kathy, from August Sun. Her husband, Martin, was back in the States wrapping things up from his former job. Martin, it turns out, used to be a Marine Engineer. He was to large ships, in other words, what Scotty was to the Starship Enterprise. He used to fix big diesel engines for a living. Although I really don’t like asking fellow cruisers for help on a project, Martin volunteered to take a look at our generator. I explained the symptoms – as I had for each of the THREE different repairmen who had worked on it previously – and I told him what each of them had done. He nodded his head and said (in a classic Australian accent) “Did you change the filter in the lift pump?” I looked at him with my classic dumb look … “Lift pump?” I asked. ”Filter?”
He then asked, “Well does your generator have a lift pump?”
“Lift Pump?” I asked. “I dunno.” We got out the manual and sure enough, there was a lift pump and filter right next to the fuel filter. He got down next to the generator and looked … sure enough the lift pump filter said, “Change every 200 hours.” Since I didn’t even know there was a lift pump in the generator – or that it had a filter – I was pretty sure it hadn’t been changed recently. Moreover, as it happens, we had a couple of extra lift pump filters in our spare parts container. Martin changed the filter and … voila … we haven’t had a generator problem since (knock on wood). So, if you ever visit the boat and, sitting in my captain’s chair, I burst out with, “Martin, I need more power!” You will know I am just trying to emulate James T. Kirk, of the Starship Enterprise, calling for power from Mr. Scott, his Chief Engineer.
Ok, besides getting the generator fixed, we did two other things of note. First, we cleaned the boat. I mean we really cleaned her inside and out. We needed to; after a couple of weeks in the sea air, she needed a good scrubbing. We also cleaned her inside. We used wood polish on our wooden bulkheads and “Barkeeper’s Helper” on all the stainless. In short, we have a very, very clean boat.
The second thing we did was to re-provision. Now this is more complicated than it should be because we are going from running a boat with two persons on board to a boat with seven persons aboard; a boat with 60+ year old people to a boat with two 18 year olds, one 14 year old and two 40-ish year old people. Guess what … we all eat and drink differently.