Ft Lauderdale to Bahamas! - Sunday January 9th, 2021
As we begin our passage from the states back to the Virgin Islands it’s time to break out the old blog again. We left Fort Lauderdale Sunday, 9 January at about 9 AM and motored for about 15 hours to Great Harbor Cay in the Berry Islands of the Bahamas. It was an easy passage for the most part. Sort of. Seas started off about 3 to 6 feet with winds at about 5 - 10 knots, so we just motored the whole way. Then, seas fell off to about 1 to 3 feet just before sunset. Of course the trip was not without adventure. We stopped by Lauderdale marina to fuel up before leaving the States, planning to catch the 8 AM bridge opening at 17th St. Of course we were running a little bit late, and it took longer to fuel than anticipated, so our planned 8AM departure quickly became 830. Then, when we went to start the engines to leave the fuel dock... nothing! The boat had been sitting idle for about a week without starting the engines and the batteries had drained. We did a hot swap of the port battery (we knew the port battery was pretty much a goner, and we had a new one ready to go) and then started both engines with the parallel switch on so that both engines started off the brand new battery. The plan was for the new high performance alternators to charge both batteries as we ran the engines for the next few hours. We cast off the fuel dock, I hopped back aboard. We were just in the nick of time for the 9 AM bridge opening and we were off. We had an uneventful few hours and then in the early afternoon we started getting a battery alarm on both engines. At first the alarm was just a little chirp, and we (Sandy) were concerned but knowing we have a new battery in, not that worried (Dirk). The alarm continue to worsen over the course of the day. It got to the point that it was alarming incessantly and we (both) knew we had to do something! So Dirk climbed into the port engine compartment first to find that the breaker that runs from the alternator to the battery had tripped therefore the alternator was not charging the battery. He reset the breaker. It tripped again immediately, so no battery charging was going on. Just battery draining. Same deal on the starboard side. He reset the breaker and it was a no-go as well. The breaker tripped immediately. So now he had to think about what to do and how to get the batteries charging. At this point, the battery alarms are screeching since the voltage has dropped so low (8 volts...) and now we have entered the area where the off-duty cruise ships are holding at sea. So now we are underway, Dirk is climbing in the engine compartment
While I am handing him tools and dodging behemoth cruise ships. Fortunately he implemented a fix that worked, the battery started charging again, the alarms stopped sounding, and all was well at the end of the day. We arrived in the Berry islands about 1:30 AM Monday morning, checked into the Bahamas with our negative Covid tests and our health visas Monday afternoon and picked up a fresh conch salad right at the Government Dinghy dock. We will be working our way through the Bahamas as we head back to the Virgin Islands to start chartering in February. Can’t wait!