In case you haven't noticed, if you double click on any picture it enlarges so that you can actually see something!
Part of our planning for this voyage has been a book by Bruce Van Sant called "The Thornless Path to the Windwards". This is a play on the usual description of our route as the "Thorny Path". As many of you know, at this time of year the trade winds start to ramp up out of the east and, of course, that is our primary direction. So, under normal conditions this could be a challenging ride. Van Sant has theories about "lee sailing", etc. which he feels can make the passage easier. He also recommends an itinerary of anchorages to keep everybody safe. He also recommends a lot of overnight passage making.
Thus far, some of his suggestions have been helpful. We left Water World on Friday, 01/14/11 intending to anchor that night at Rio San Juan which is one of his recommendations. Unfortunately, we found the anchorage untenable and in attempting to get back out to sea in fairly heavy swells, we hit bottom and could hear one of the props churn some sand and gravel. To
you non-boaters: rest assured that this is not serious and will happen periodically if you go boating often enough! So much for Van Sants recommendation!
At this point, our only option was to continue on to Samana which meant an overnight passage. Though we prefer not to do it, we had done it before and the sea and wind conditions were good. Terry is very aware of the various sounds emanating from his boat and he shortly noticed a vibration from the starboard (right) engine. After experimenting with different speeds, etc. it seemed logical that the grounding had damaged the propeller a bit. Again, this is not serious but since we had plenty of time to make Samana, we elected to shut down the starboard engine and use only the port. This reduce our speed from 7+ knots to about 5 knots. So, we settled in to uneventful passage. However, just after dawn as we were withing about 10 miles of our destination, the port (left) engine started an unusual vibration and ultimately the engine would die as we tried putting it in gear! Terry suspected a problem with the transmission which early on in the voyage had shown
some fluid loss.
Our only choice was to shut down the port engine and run slowly on the starboard engine knowing that if it had further issues, we would be dead in the water. But, again, we were in no real danger. We were within striking distance of our marina, it was daylight and we were riding gently down wind. It just seemed a little hairy at the time! To add to our frustration, we could not get anyone to respond to our calls on the radio! I guess it was Sunday morning and everyone was at church. We ultimately limped our way into the harbor at Santa Barbara de Samana and dropped the anchor.
We were finally able to rouse someone on the radio and were warmly met by a whole boatload (literally) of Customs, Immigration, Navy and their helpers. The leader of this gang, Rafael, was an "agent" who, in this part of the world, is someone who smooths the way and helps you wend your way thru the vagaries of an undeveloped country. He brought a young diver with him who immediately checked out the props while Terry dealt with the officials. The diver found
the most amazing tangle of rope, palm fronds and other flotsam wrapped around BOTH props!! This is good news in the sense that it turns out that there is no serious damage to props, shafts, transmissions, etc. The diver spent about two hours clearing the debris and we were finally on our way up the bay to Puerto Bahia Marina.
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