Friday, February 3, 2017

Nassau (1)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

As we headed towards Nassau on New Providence Island, some of the taller buildings finally came into view.
Land Ho!
Soon, we were about to enter the busy Nassau harbor.  A quick VHF call to harbor control was required in order to obtain permission to enter, which was granted,  The gigantic outline of the Atlantis resort and casino, and several cruise ships, could be plainly seen even before we has actually entered the harbor.
Disney, Carnaval, and Royal Caribbean
Harbor Entrance Lighthouse
The Disney Dream...

...with onboard water flume ride!

 Once past the craziness of the cruise ship district, and the over-the-top glitz of Atlantis on Paradise island, the true nature of Nassau began to emerge.  Battered docks with decrepid buildings lined the harbor.  The contrast between the haves and the have-nots is enormous. Our marina, the Nassau Harbour Club Marina and Hotel, showed signs of past greatness, but now is a shadow of its former self.  The resturant is closed and the building is used for storage.  And all but one block of hotel rooms appear to be closed and non-operational.  But there is some hope.  The current owners seem to be actively renovating it bit by bit.  The pool and the surronding area is clean and maintained, and the open block of rooms seem to be updated.  And every day, workers are hauling water-damaged materials out of the lower level of the old resturant building.  But there are not many of them, and progress is slow.

Once situated in our slip, we attacked the holding tank problem.  First, we had to move stuff around.  Storage is at a premium on our boat, and we end up piling up a lot of stuff in the V-berth during the day, and moving it to the dining area in the main salon every evening so we can sleep in the V-berth.  Now, we not only had to move out all the stuff, but also had to pull out the cushions and the three (!) layers of memory foam that we have added to make sleeping comfortable, in order to reach the access panel. The foam and cushions went up on deck to air out, making us look like a gypsy wagon!

I make no appologies that this section has no photos.  Had I taken any, they would have made you ill!  If you have a weak stomach, you should just skip this section entirely.

Since the holding tank was filled right up to the deck pumpout plate, we first needed to relieve some of the pressure before opening any hoses or the access port.  The only thing I had aboard that would be useful was a small hand-powered transfer pump, intended to move fuel from one container to another (a Harbor Freight special!).  We got the pump and inserted its pickup hose as far down the deck pumpout as it would go, and pumped out what we could reach.  This was sucessful in getting the level down to just below the access port, so we could open it without having a geyser of nastiness fountain up.

Next, we used the hand transfer pump  through the access port to move the contents of the tank into a 5 gallon bucket.  Bill hauled the bucket ashore and disposed of it in the marina's toilets.  We had to repeat this 4 times to get the tank mostly empty.  It was one of the nastiest jobs I've ever done.  Even after an enormous amount of bleach-based cleaner, and a shower afterwards, I still feel unclean.

The 40-year-old Jabsco Y-valve was then removed and disassembled, which showed that the internal plastic shutter assembly was sheared off at the shaft and unrepairable. It appears to have been that way for the seven years we've owned the boat!

We scoured the Island of New Providence for parts, and managed to locate a new Jabsco Y-valve, but it was much larger than the original, and had the ports in different positions and pointed in different directions. Back out again to look for hose, elbows, and hose clamps to cobble up a way to fit a square peg into a round hole (so to speak). Eventually, after a full day's labor, we had something workable, although it has an undesireable low spot in it when switched to the holding tank position. Still, it has us back in working order for now.

Nassau, outside of the cruise ship district downtown, is a depressing and uncomfortable place. Bars on windows and doors everywhere, and most stores require you to be buzzed in, and have security guards at the door. The constant reminder of the high level of crime is unnerving.

We'll be glad to finish provisioning up here and be bound for the Exumas in a few days.

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