07 June 2007

A day of contrasts

June 7, 2007

Provo to Ambergis Cays

After a couple of days of R&R in Provo we felt ready to be moving on. The weather forecast for crossing the Caicos Banks wasn’t ideal, but we figured that it was probably as good as it was going to get so we set off at daybreak towards Ambergis Cays, located on the eastern edge of the Caicos Banks. The trip there was one of the more uncomfortable days we’ve had on the water. The wind and a 4 foot chop was on the nose and we pounded into it for 10 hours straight, motorsailing. In addition, the Caicos Banks are absolutely littered with shallow coral heads, so we had to keep a close watch in order to swerve around them.

To make our day even more miserable, Boris, our trusty diesel engine, started having problems. We would be motoring along when all of a sudden the RPMs would fall and Boris would stall. Our guess was that we had air in the fuel lines from when we changed a fuel filter back in Acklins Island. Hans bled the fuel lines over and over again, but no improvement. Towards the end of the day, it got so bad (30 seconds of run time between stalls) that we decided to short-tack the last couple of miles into the anchorage. We wouldn’t have had time to short-tack the whole way there and get in before dark, which is why we were motorsailing.

Once we got the hook down we dinghied ashore in search for diesel. Our luck was about to change, at least temporarily. We landed the dinghy at a high-end tropical country club: the Turks & Caicos Sporting Club. Membership is $20,000 per month plus a membership fee of $100,000 and a requirement to own property on the island. For all this money you get the use of the gorgeous facilities, with infinity pool, gourmet chef, etc. etc. Although, you still have to pay for all of your meals! At any rate, when we arrived, the place was completely deserted. The only people there were Jess and Jamie, the bartender and pastry chef at the club. They invited us in, gave us cold drinks, food, and use of the showers at the club. It was by far the nicest shower either one of us has had in the past… who even knows! We even went for a swim in the infinity pool.

After this two-hour respite our day returned to its usual state when we got back to Whisper. We discovered that the problems we were having with Boris were due to dirty fuel, so we changed the fuel filters, which were clogged (a messy job). As soon as we can, we’ll have to pump out the dirty fuel and replace it with clean fuel.

To cap our day we spilled about a gallon of diesel fuel in one of the lockers and spent an hour and a half cleaning it up before going to bed, not quite as clean as before, by 10.30.