March 8-March 26
Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida
Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida
I said in our last blog entry that we might not leave for 2 weeks after our month contract was up and it is now almost the end of those two weeks. Due to some needed repairs and the weather we have had to prolong our stay in Marathon.
After my brother Kevin left we started on a cleaning frenzy to get ready to head back towards home. It’s amazing how much dust and dirt finds its way into our home on the water. One would think that dust is a land borne problem. Aside from cleaning the inside we also needed to address the exterior and that included the sails and sail cover. When raising the main sail to get rid of mud dauber nests we discovered one of the attachment points that holds the sail to the mast had torn and another was ready to come off. The sail cover also needed to have some reinforcement grommets added. I found a local canvas shop to do those repairs but had to wait a week before they could start. I was fortunate enough to have friends on three other boats help me take the sail and cover off. I never would have been able to do it without the help of Bill, David and Fred. Once I took the sail and cover to the canvas shop I found out it would be at least a week before I could have them back.
During this waiting period Lynn and I volunteered to work at the local Seafood Festival. The festival is held on a weekend and sponsored by the local fishermen to raise money for scholarships. Lynn helped bread fish filets and I worked on the assembly line making up food platters. Last year there were over 24,000 attendees and this time by 6pm on the first day they had cooked over 2,000 lobsters and we found out that they ran out of food early in the afternoon of the second day. We both had fun helping and one of the benefits was all the seafood you could eat while working. I ate lobster, stone crab claws, oysters, and Mahi-Mahi until I thought I couldn’t eat another bite. The fishermen working with me on the line also provided a never ending supply of sodas and beer. If we are ever here during the festival we would volunteer again.
We also seemed to have developed an oil leak under the engine. I couldn’t find where it was coming from and cleaned the area underneath and the engine itself. Checking every day afterwards I never saw another drop. We took the boat out along the shore and ran it for about 2 hours and still saw no more leakage. I contacted a local diesel mechanic to see he if he had any ideas. It took several days for him to show up and after spending about 1 ½ hours checking every inch of the motor he could find nothing either. He did say that the engine appeared to be in great shape and that due to its age the oil could be from “blow by”. That would be caused by loose fitting piston rings. We put an additive in the fuel and the oil to help remedy this problem. Whether it will work or not remains to be seen. I’ll keep a close eye on the engine during our trip north.
Our refrigeration also decided to cause us a few problems. What can I say, it’s a boat and there’s always something that needs attention even when you think all is well. The compressor would start to run and then shut off. Start to run again and then shut off. This only happened when the batteries were in a minimal state of charge, 12.4V. I walked over to a company that works on refrigeration and talked with one of the technicians about our problem. He said that the cause most likely would be a loose or corroded ground wire. I came back to the boat and lo and behold found the ground connection to the control module pulled off in my hand with no force exerted. I replaced the connector and everything seems to be running well. As I have been completing tasks on our to-do list, Lynn keeps adding new ones. I really think she needs to find something else to do with her spare time!
For Lynn’s 65th birthday we had more fresh lobster tails on the grill and stone crab claws. We are sure going to miss all the seafood that we can get down here. Our friends Laura, Graeme, Bill and Terri called her in the evening from the Bahamas and sang Happy Birthday. She had a smile on her face for several days after that phone call and the ones from our sons.
One hot afternoon I put on my SCUBA tank and went to work cleaning the barnacles and growth that attached itself to the bottom of the boat during the time we’ve been in Florida. I took me almost an hour but the water temperature was perfect. It was a great way to cool off and get a little “diving” done to boot. I picked up my sails and cover the following day and Fred and David came back to help me put them back on. Bill had already left for their trip back home.
View of rain storm headed towards our boat
We are now just spending our time waiting for a decent weather window to leave. We need to be in the ocean for three separate days before we can get to a spot to travel inside on the ICW. Once on the Intracoastal Waterway we will be able to move north without worrying about the sea conditions. During this wait we did get our Income Tax return done and are glad to be getting something back for once. We miss our sons and daughter in-laws and especially our two grandsons. It’s nice to be able to receive pictures of them growing up and I, for one, am very happy I got an iPhone before we left on this trip.
Ryley with his new friend
River being cute
I hope we are able to leave on Saturday the 30th. We are spending entirely too much time online ordering stuff from Amazon and eBay!!! We even ordered a large supply of Chai Latte for Lynn’s morning fix. We will be traveling with Fred and Pat from Marianna at least as far as West Palm Beach. I hope my next blog entry will be from someplace in northern Florida.