Damn the Pesky Weed......
After our experience with emptying our water tanks, we managed to sail across to St Lucia. As we approached the pitons the wind dropped and we had to switch the engine on. Penny was in the galley and called up to Chris that the engine sounded different. Hard to describe the noise – started off with a thumping sound that seemed to change to the sound of water rushing under the boat. The noise was not coming from the engine which seemed to be behaving normally, but seemed to be from under the boat. The sound continued as we motored in the lea of St Lucia. We turned into Rodney Bay and slowed up, speeded up went round in circles, reversed and over time the sound disappeared. We anchored in the bay and dived under the boat, but everything appeared normal.
When we set off from Rodney Bay to go to The Saints we motored out of the bay – no odd noises. We managed to sail across to Martinique and about 2/3 of the way along Martinique before losing the wind. Put the engine on and the sound returned. When we picked up a buoy in The Saints we again dived under the boat but nothing seemed to there.
We continued on to Antigua and picked up a buoy just outside the marina. After checking in with customs and immigration Chris went off to the boatyard to get some advice about the noise and to find an electrician to come and check our batteries.
The man at A1 Marine thought the anode on the sail drive may be lose, so we checked that but it seemed to be OK. But there was some weed caught around the top of the sail drive and the rudder. We went out to sea to test it again – no noise. But we will have the sail drive checked when the boat comes out of the water next week.
Talking to fellow sailors, everyone is commenting on the amount of Sargassum weed that is around, plus tales of strange noises under boats!
We had our batteries tested and fortunately they are all fine. We will check them again in the BVIs before we set off for the Bahamas. We hope we don’t have to change them as the batteries we currently have are not sold out here, and the ones that are here are bigger so we would have to do some adaptations! Problems for another day.