David recalled that one of his colleagues lives in Miami, so we invited them to join us on the boat for an afternoon. We met them at the yacht club, then headed back out into the bay to anchor for some swimming. We had a lovely afternoon and then headed back to our dock at the Yacht Club for the evening.
We were arriving after hours at the dock (in absolutely no wind and no current), so there was nobody to hand a line to. I made a bit of a stupid decision and climbed over the railing to jump off to the dock. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite make it to the dock and ended up hanging from the dock trying unsuccessfully to swing my legs up. I had my lifejacket on, which made it difficult and eventually I slipped off the dock and into the water. Luckily, this was a fixed height dock that was very high above the water, so I ended up under the dock and not crushed between the dock and the boat. David heard me splash in (I was wearing my headset) and put the boat into neutral. A few seconds after I submerged and came back up to the surface, I was momentarily confused as a whooshing sound started…it was my lifejacket auto-inflating. I managed to swim back to the boat – keeping both my prescription sunglasses and headset on, while also still hanging on to the dock line (I wasn’t going to let that get caught in the props again!!). With the lifejacket inflated around me, David had to come down to the swim step and haul me aboard. I immediately jumped back into gear and we safely docked the boat. Luckily I escaped injury-free, with just a few scrapes on my leg. I guess we gave David’s colleague and her husband a good show!
Later that evening, after the adrenaline had worn off, David and I went for dinner up at the Yacht Club, where we had a great meal. Afterwards, David started preparations for the water maker install by spending the entire night removing the old water maker.
The next day, he installed all the components of the new watermaker (we didn’t need to be hauled this time, since there was already a through-hull from the previous water maker). Unfortunately, after we turned it on, it started it’s initial cycle and then stopped and would not be restarted :(. Chatting on the phone with Spectra we learned we needed to go through their very slow warranty process before they would give us any kind of replacement parts, or a new unit. This would mean that we’d need to be careful with our water consumption while in the Bahamas with Matthew, which isn’t the end of the world with our 200gal water tank; we were just a little disappointed that it didn’t work out of the box – now the second time this had happened to us with Spectra watermakers!
David had also just figured out where the level gauge for the fresh water tank was, which had been giving us issues since we bought the boat. In an effort to adjust the gauge to fix it, he broke it completely, so we now had no water gauge at all, while water-conserving in the Bahamas. When it rains, it pours.
Meanwhile, we made plans to leave Key Biscayne and headed north to an anchorage between Miami and Ft Lauderdale. We had posted the old water maker on a cruisers forum for free if someone wanted to try to resurrect it instead of us just throwing it out. We found a taker and a couple arrived by dingy to collect all the pieces. We invited them back over for drinks after work and had a lovely evening with them later!
Along with the watermaker, we’d also ordered a liferaft for the boat. They’re basically set up to automatically deploy if the boat goes under water, or you can manually deploy it easily if you’re going down and need to abandon ship. Between that and a waterproof bugout case of stuff that we’d set up, if we had something go wrong off shore or deep in the Bahamas, we’d have a few days of supplies and satellite communication to get rescued, nestled into our liferaft bobbing around in the ocean.
We had made our marina reservation in Ft Lauderdale for Wed through Sat, with the hope of a weather window for heading to the Bahamas. Since we’d made plans in advance, we were able to direct a batch of packages to the marina which arrived just as we did. We’d been holding packages for a month with us being on the move constantly without plans, so there was quite a lot of stuff.
We had rented another car in Ft Lauderdale, primarily to arrange for a storage unit to stash our liquor collection, since we read that we could only take one bottle per person of alcohol into the Bahamas. This was lucky because David was able to use it to drive the broken water maker engine back to Miami to start the warranty repair process. The next few days passed in a blur of working, and final travel coordination including arranging for COVID tests for travel.
Matthew arrived late on Thursday and since we’d been watching the weather all week, we made a game-day decision to head out on Friday instead of Saturday as planned due to heavy winds and waves over 6ft predicted later in the weekend. I had to last-minute take the day off on Friday, but we really didn’t want to miss that weather window.
We woke up at sunrise on Friday morning, hoping for smooth sailing for our crossing.