Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fuel Spill Mangrove Cay, Bahamas

Turns out we were not out of the clear.  Last you heard we were fueling up and leaving West End headed into the Little Bahama Bank.  We made it to Mangrove Cay 23 miles Northeast anchored there and spent the night.  Woke up to the faint smell of fuel and an almost empty 55 gallon tank.  When we left West End we filled the tank which only needed 15 gallons and motor sailed the 23 miles to Mangrove Cay.  This would have only used a few gallons.  Confused and not sure if we were siphoned we decided to take the cover off the tank and flip the tank over.

Hmmmmmmmm seems this could be the problem.  Sorry to all the little fishes below us  55gallons of fuel literally down the drain.  Dan and Preston had cleaned around the tank in Fort Pierce before we even hit the water and it was very gunky and smelled like fuel for a few days after they cleaned it.  We didn't feel the need to unhook all the fuel lines and ground wires because it was still half full of fuel.  Now sitting in the middle of nowhere with an empty fuel tank we feel otherwise.  Good thing this boat was made for sailing and not motoring!

Back to Grand Bahama island we go.  Freeport to be exact, a huge import city where we will be able to A: have our tank welded and reinforced or B: order in a new tank.  For novice sailors we were cooking yesterday against the wind going an average of 8 knots.  We were even keeling over in our 18'-3" beam catamaran.  I was too nervous to let the boys go any faster, but we were all grinning ear to ear.  Nothing like flying across the ocean in silence.  The closer we got to the deep seas of the Atlantic the rougher it got and of course the sun was setting right as we were approaching the thin channel out of the bank.  We decided not to try and cross the 6 foot shallow channel at night and anchored in the rough seas all night.  Our anchor held very well and our GPS fix stayed the same throughout the night. That doesn't mean we all weren't up 77 times checking it.  Not that we could sleep anyway as the waves slammed into the bottom of the boat.  


  1. Loving your blog and all the amazing pictures! You three are quite the troopers! I am sorry to hear you have had a few things to work through, but I imagine the journey will be that much more amazing! I hope you are able to get everything repaired and be on your way. Hope you had an amazing Christmas. It looks absoultely beautiful. Hang in there!!!

  2. Keep on keepin' on!

    "Challenges only make us learn and grow. Enjoy the journey" -G. Smith

  3. Chalk it all up to ADVENTURE!!! Bummer about the fuel tank, but at least you are in a very beautiful place. Sending better luck your way!!

  4. Sounds like the "Jalapeno" almost became the "Habanero"!

  5. Well, at least fuel is cheap, errrrrrrr...... I'm glad you have a couple strong young men to fix the problems. I actually don't think Preston is having fun unless there is a problem to solve.

    1. We found out the other day that fuel is about the same price that it is in the US, because there are no sales taxes in the Bahamas. However we went to the grocery store today and discovered a totally different story. Things here are about 3X the price compared to back home. A tub of sour cream is $5.49, a pack of 8 tortillas is $3.99, milk is $3.99 for a half gallon, and a 2 liter of Coke is $3.29! We just hope that once we are in more remote areas, and are away from larger cities things will be cheaper. But yeah, we are having fun solving problems, and troubleshooting things every day.

  6. What he said!! Nate was always quick to "dubs"something that needed fixing

  7. This is fascinating. Keep on posting so I can follow your adventure.

    Jeff Barnes

  8. You're quite right about the advantage of having a boat that's made for sailing. Glad that you all made it in safely but sorry to hear of the high prices. That puts your pocket under a little more strain than you had anticipated.

    I don't know if the prices will drop too dramatically as you get further away from the city. The Bahamas is not known for cheap prices. They import quite a lot of stuff and they charge for that. Hope you enjoy your stay nonetheless.