Thursday, January 23, 2014

Breaking away

Posted by Scot.  Written Jan. 1, 2014

2013-12-29 14.37.08
Sand Dollar Beach in Georgetown.  Our last anchorage there before finally getting away.
Note:  After almost three weeks without internet access sufficient to post a blog, we are back in business.  Sorry for our absence.  For those who wondered, we are all well and are currently in Jamaica.  But that is getting ahead of the story.  We’ll pick up back where we left off…

After almost 6 weeks in Georgetown, we have finally managed to tear ourselves free.  It is amazing how hard it was to break away.  The siren’s call of a secure anchorage with a built in cruiser’s community was hard to ignore.  I guess that is why so many people make Georgetown their permanent winter home.  Add to that the promise of at least several days of upwind, into-the-sea sailing, and leaving Georgetown is a difficult thing to do.

We never intended to stay nearly as long as we did.  Our first three weeks were filled with visits from my parents, and then my trip back to Alberta to work.  We followed that up with what we thought would be some routine boat maintenance.  Unfortunately, that led us to order some new parts for the boat, including a replacement hub for our Outback power system, and a new macerator pump for our starboard head.  It’s funny, we could easily have gotten by without either one, but the delivery times said 3-5 days on the websites when we ordered, so we figured we would go ahead and get them.  With customs, Christmas, and the apparent difficulties of getting parts on a flight from Nassau to Georgetown, though, it took more than two weeks to get them both.

A boat from Owen Sound, near where my Dad grew up.  We stopped by and met the really nice people on board, who were in Georgetown for the winter.
There are quite a few Windsongs out there.  This one was a big cat.
It has been nice to have our Outback power system display fully functional again.  Now we can go back to tracking every ampere of juice we put into, or take out of, our batteries.
That broken prong in the Cat 5 connector is what was causing our problem.
The new toilet pump, which was the last part to arrive, has turned out to just be a spare.  While we were waiting for the new one, I ended up completely dismantling the old one, and putting in a new seal, which we happened to have on the boat (thanks Gene and Kat!).  So now the old one is working just fine, and I haven’t gone to the effort of putting in the new one.

The rest of our time in Georgetown was spent getting to know the cruising community.  The morning “cruiser’s net”, a VHF roundup of the day’s activities, became Sara’s new “favorite TV show”.  Listening to all the cruiser’s announcements about volleyball games, potluck dinners, church group meetings and dinghy raftups was a solid daily dose of entertainment.  We even used it to ask for help with some minor issues on the boat a couple of times, and sure enough, both times we had responses right away.  People loaned us their tools and expertise without a second thought.

Having fun with friends in Georgetown.
We also kept up with our daily trips to East beach, the grocery store, and town to run all the errands we could while we had easy access to everything.  A two mile dinghy ride into town across wavy seas makes running errands a bit more challenging, and it wasn’t hard to fill the days.  With Christmas and Junkanoo keeping us put a few days longer, the six weeks flew by.

Alexander pumping up the dinghy to get us ready to go across the bay for laundry day.
Anyway, two days ago we finally made the break, pushing eastward into wind and waves to spend the night at the exposed Hog Cay Cut.  We had a bouncy night there, then at first light and high tide we pushed our way through the shallow cut with a couple of feet to spare under our keels.  We spent yesterday straight into the wind again, this time ending up in Dollar Harbour, which is where we are as I write this.

Watching for shallow water as we make an early morning pass through the Hog Cay Cut.

This is an amazing spot.  It is a marshy wetland , consisting of a deep spot for anchoring in the middle of drying mud tidal flats all around.  It, too, has a remarkably shallow entrance, and coming in yesterday at low tide left just a few inches under our boat.  Despite being exposed to the wind, it is wonderfully flat and calm, being protected from the waves by its shallow entrance. 

Dollar Harbour at high tide.  The mud flats get a lot closer to the boat at low tide.
We spent the afternoon exploring, then had a low key New Year’s eve party.  We played “Rezilotions”, a game Katie invented involving a trivial pursuit board and a review of any resolutions we might be considering.  The winner got the first piece of cake.  This was followed by a screening of the Sound of Music.  Classic musicals are becoming a part of our family New Year’s Eve tradition.  Sara and I were asleep long before midnight.  Now, the sun is just rising, and we are watching the tide to make sure we leave here with a bit more water under us than we arrived with.

Sunrise over Dollar Harbour.

Happy New Year to all our friends and family reading our blog.  We hope the New Year brings you happiness, health, and peace.


  1. Wow, just wow. What a life you are all living. I'm so incredible glad for you, and proud of your initiative to just commit to this adventure. Scot, I had no idea that you were so capable to fix mechanical issues. If the Sellars family goes on an adventure, we'll put you on speed dial. Thank you for sharing your adventure on the blog.

  2. Thanks Gin. Yes, I am constantly surprising myself (not to mention my wife) with what I have managed to work on on this boat. Necessity has truly been the mother, in more ways than one. I'd be glad to help out on any adventure the Sellars family wants to go on. (Want to buy a boat? I know a good one that will be for sale in the spring ;-)).