18:28.000N 77:55.000 W Montego Bay Jamai ca
Port Antonio – Errol Flynn Marina
I was going to have a new tank built in the back cabin for diesel that I could get to and ignore the original tank for now. This shouldn’t have taken long, but the logistics, parts and all the mess was too much to bear. Eric decided that he and Don could help me, after a check of what was needed the next day. The following day we rigged up a 20L jerry can on it’s side so the intake pipe was long enough – actually I had to cut a little off. Sealing the top, which was now on the side and the 4 holes in the top was the challenge. It took several hours, but by 11 we had it with the sealant setting. Engine intake and return, tank vent and the filler is a plumbed in siphon tube. This means that I can fill from the cockpit rather than take diesel indoors, which gets really messy. Everyone wanted to leave the next day, which was a bit of a rush, but by that evening I had 80 litres of fresh diesel, we had sorted our marina bills and got immigration and customs to do the paperwork. We needed a cruising permit for all stops along the North coast. The bureaucracy here never ceases to amaze me.
25 November 0600 I set off, the other 2 boats were right behind me, but radio reception was terrible. I found myself out in a very lively sea. I anchored in Oracabessa at 1330, 35 miles, a fast trip for me – but it was windy. The others had turned back and anchored in the bay the other side of the marina.
I had fresh water in the bilges, which I thought was the inspection hatch on the tank, but found it was more coming from the sight fitting. This hadn’t worked for years, but I had not noticed how badly it fitted. I had a good attempt at reattaching and sealing this.
26 November I didn’t think the other boats would want to be in the quiet bay for Thanksgiving. I expected them to take one look and carry on to Ocho Rios. They did stay in Oracabessa and found the restaurant at Golden Eye Resort, originally owned by Ian Fleming. I headed for Ocho Rios, 10 miles and anchored behind the reef. That night there was a huge storm, torrential rain, which more than filled the water tank, but thunder and lightning. Computer, Kindle, Sat phone, phones all went in the cooker, in the hope that it was a Faraday box, but I really didn’t want a lightning strike.
27 November The other boats turned up, but anchored in the bay, better for access to the town, but would have been horribly rolly if there was more bad weather. I topped up the batteries and was ready to go. I was where the tripper boats brought the snorkelers, I put my wetsuit on and went in, but did not see much.
28 November 0600 I set off. The throttle was new in Curacao and it did feel a little on and off sometimes, but I was not ready for what happened next. The throttle cable fell apart at the engine end. I managed to steer to the end of the reef and drop anchor right in the narrow channel, between the cruise liner tie up dolphins and a swimming beach, but it was early and nobody actually came past. Eric was taking up his anchor, but after screaming and gesticulation (from me) he left Pamela on their boat and came over in his dinghy. He was a star. How had the throttle fixing come undone as it screwed in and had to be undone so that we could turn it and screw it back together. I cannot say how upset I was, it is terrifying if the engine will not work. I only need it for in and out of harbours and dangerous situations, when I really do need it to work. I had run without the pre-filter for a short time on the last day to Jamaica, with really clean fuel, but I vowed I would change that filter when I got in. 1215 anchored in Discovery Bay - I couldn’t see any problem with the filter, but I changed it anyway. Clean filters, clean fuel, best I can do.
0525 and Eric was already out of the bay. The wind was not enough to sail, so I motor sailed and arrived in Montego Bay at 1330. There were 3 J boats racing and I was obviously in their way, but they were in the navigable channel and I was nursing the engine. The engine was still making fuel starvation noises and I think it is because the intake tube was at the lowest point, right on the bottom of the tank, so absolutely any muck would go straight to the tube, so I put blocks under the corner to tilt it the other way, hopefully that is all it needs. I wanted to go on the dock, but the Yacht Club did not answer the radio so I anchored, got a lift into the dock, checked in and stayed for dinner with the other 2 boats.
2 boats left and so I re-anchored and am happy not to be on the dock. I inflated the dinghy and in these calm waters it is easy enough to row in to the club.