On Saturday, we picked up our repaired generator and departed our friends’ dock the next day, headed for West Palm and a possible weather window to cross to the islands. The weather guru, Chris Parker on Bel Ami, had said that it might be the last opening before the end of the year.
Murray made preparations on deck while I baked some muffins, hard-boiled some eggs and made our dinner in advance. Due to the limited length of the window, we decided to head straight to Great Harbour Cay, in the Berry Islands. This would entail a departure around 10 or 11 am out of West Palm Beach.
At 11 am we hauled anchor and I started to head for the inlet. But, my way was blocked by “The Bounty”, a very large replica of the original square-rigger. It was making a turn in the channel and took up all of the space! I made about three circles before finding space to pass him on ” two whistles” or his starboard side. Then, with the way clear, we headed for the inlet and set sail for the Bahamas.
It was very warm with a wind blowing from the north east. That was funny, as it was forecast to be SOUTH east! But, off we headed, flying full sail but with the motor chugging along as well. Down belowdecks, Murray got the watermaker fired up. The last thing that we hadn’t tried out before our departure.
After a half hour, Murray brought me a measuring cup and asked me to take a taste. It was salty! Maybe it hadn’t run long enough yet. We tasted the water every 5 minutes for another hour, still finding the salt taste. It seemed to be diminishing but we couldn’t be sure.
Eventually at ten miles out, we turned around to head back. If we needed a new membrane, it would cost 50% more with the duties in the Bahamas. And 50% of a thousand dollars could be quite a sum. We continued to run the watermaker and taste the product water. By now, I couldn’t be if I was tasting salt or if it was just my imagination. We do have a TDS meter ( total dissolved solids ) but it didn’t seem to want to work.
Not wanting to give up yet, we sailed south of the inlet, continuing to taste the water. Finally we had to concede that it was not improving. It was time to give up.
As we headed back to the anchorage, I got out my “Dollar Store” phone and made calls, first to the manufacturer. Their response was that membranes usually last 5 to 8 years and we had had these for 12 years. If we could get internet access, we could order from them for $340 each, and, oh by the way, remember that the PUR 80 needs two of those membranes. Yes, we did know that. Our marina was next on the list of calls, to see if Ports Supply could get us a better price.
Today we moved the boat to North Lake Worth anchorage, in the rain, got on-line and order two membranes for Katadyn, to be delivered to a local marina that agreed to receive them for us. The parcel should arrive in 3 to 5 business days and then we will commence watching for another of those elusive weather windows.
The on-going saga of our continuing problems aboard Windswept IV. Oh well, the sun will shine and we have still more friends nearby to visit. Life is good.
Hugs to all,
Heather & Murray