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Friday, April 14, 2017

"Man is Born to Trouble"

Carl engulfed with exhaust at back end of ferry
Yet man” (and woman) “is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” Job 5:7

Okay, that IS a bit overly dramatic, but the other title for this post would have been “The Winter of Our Discontent” or possibly, “The Winter that Sucked Heartily.”
How small Northern Star looks in the slip next to  the 108' luxury yacht

Oh, I know—it could have all been SO much worse, as we have been reminded so many times.  When the lightning hit, it could have put a hole in the hull of our boat and we might have lost everything to the deep.  Or, we could have been injured.  It COULD have happened in a more remote location such that we could’t have reached anyone to help us.  And it could have rained down fireballs from heaven too, but NONE of those things happened, so really, we were lucky, at least by those measures.  Sympathy is not to be expected when one is “stuck” in a pleasant climate while nearly everyone we know in the Midwest is wearing parkas. 
Northern Star's "home" at Harbor View Marina for 59 days

From February 2nd to April 3rd Northern Star sat in a slip at HarborView Marina in Marsh Harbor; we were hooked up to shore power because the boat wasn’t able to convert engine power or solar power into useable energy to run our refrigeration, lights and more importantly, our 8 agm batteries would have been destroyed. So, I made bags while Carl dealt with all the details of boat repairs.  
Bag making kept me busy

He ordered the parts from all over the U.S. to be shipped to Abaco Freight in West Palm Beach, and then once there, had them flown by Cherokee Air to Marsh Harbor, in the Abacos, Bahamas.  Our boat Insurance, IMIS paid for a large portion of the $20,000 in repairs and the $3,000 slip fees. We would have not been in a marina, but rather, at anchor, were it not for the lightning damage.  We swallowed our hefty insurance deductible and tried not to chastise ourselves for our decision to choose a high deductible.

Northern Star under sail
Repairs were completed on April 1st (no foolin’) and we left the dock for the first time in 59 days.   Our water maker still doesn’t work, however, and there is water seeping into the bilge, ostensibly from that. and part of our charging system has a temporary fix. But, over all, the boat is in working order. 

View from Lighthouse
We whooped when we backed out of the slip for the first time again.  It was so exciting!  (In truth, it was me that did the whooping.)  Our third set of boat guests were with us at that time, and were the only ones of our six winter guests that did get to sail with us a bit in the Bahamas this winter. 

Ferries connect the islands to one another
 During our previous boat guests’ visits, our mobility was dependent upon our feet and a ferry that left Marsh Harbor from a harbor 1.5 miles away.  
Man o' War Cay, known for its' boat building

The ferries took us to the islands of Man o’ War, and Elbow Cay a couple of times while our friends were visiting.  

We managed to snorkel with each couple at least once although not where we had wanted to take them.  We saw one of the couples off with a professional dive instructor so they could see a truly spectacular  reef.  
Green Emerald Hummingbird

And, our last guests arranged for a day of bird-watching with a guide, which I was fortunate enough to experience too.  Carl was not so lucky.  Instead of bird-watching with us he was, take a wild guess………fixing an electrical glitch on the boat once again with the electrician.

Hub of the electronics on Northern Star
Our first day away from the dock we sailed to a place called Tahiti Beach on the south end of Elbow Cay.  That was where we discovered that our electric windlass did not work. (We had not checked to make sure the windlass worked after the lightning event. We hadn’t anchored after that). 
Our 65# Mantus anchor with 200' chain

The windlass dropped our 65# Mantus anchor and 10’ of chain and then stopped. We sent our guests ashore in the dinghy to beautiful Tahiti Beach while Carl and I spent the entire afternoon moving stuff from anchor locker to bed, to cabin and back to anchor locker after Carl figured out how to fix the problems.  I looked longingly at the distant beach from our anchorage.  Another beautiful day, taken up with boat repairs. Sigh.  
Tahiti Beach in foreground.  Our boat on horizon

As of yesterday morning, we are back in a marina slip again.  This time it’s because of me.  The hamstring and hip-area pain that I have been experiencing since ~April 1st has progressively worsened.  I went to the doctor in Marsh Harbor on Monday from our boat at anchor.  I have found that most seated positions are excruciatingly painful, and sitting in the dinghy happens to be at the top of that list. 
Normally, getting in and out of a dinghy is not a problem

Some cruising friends are also at anchor nearby and they helped Carl move the boat.  Being in a marina means that I can get off the boat without the agony of a dinghy ride. So here I sit on a chaise lounge under a breadfruit tree at Mangoes Marina with a pain medicine and a muscle relaxant to help me rest. 
Racing Curly-tails

The noteworthy events of my day thus far have been the two breadfruits that fell from the tree narrowly missing my leg and then my head, and the two curly-tailed lizards that just ran across the boardwalk in front of me. 
Breadfruit Trees in the Bahamas.

We are glad that we took out insurance for just this sort of medical situation.  DAN or (Divers Alert Network) is an evacuation policy that originally was designed for divers injured while out of the country.  It has expanded and is available to cruisers traveling outside the U.S.  It’s a relatively inexpensive policy and will fly an injured or ill person to the nearest major medical facility if the situation warrants and there is no comparable medical service locally.  We have been in contact with DAN by phone and email.  They have authorized transport to West Palm Beach, FL or to Nassau, Bahamas for a CT or MRI, neither of which are available here in Marsh Harbor.  

A green breadfruit
The level of pain has diminished a little since Monday’s doctor visit, however, and so I have chosen to NOT be flown out for further tests in the U.S., at least not yet.  That option still remains if the pain worsens again.  Meanwhile, I am on the lookout for falling breadfruit and racing curly-tails.  


Deb said...

So sorry to hear about your hip pain. I do my go exercises every morning before I even get out of bed. I thought living on the boat would make it better but it's actually gotten a little worse. Hope you're able to recuperate quickly.

SV Kintala

Jim Leppala said...

The best to you, back's and hips are the worst. You will get past this