Monday, April 18, 2016

Another Day (or Two) in Paradise

Our pump arrived!  At 10:30 on Saturday I get the call that our replacement raw water pump for the generator was delivered to the shop. I hop in the dinghy, go to shore, make the death-defying crossing of the Overseas Highway (US-1) on foot and retrieve the pump.  The shiny new lump of bronze and stainless steel was a mere $350 and shipping was another $72, but we now had the pump. One more crossing of the highway, back into the dinghy, and the pump was at the boat and ready to be installed.

I install the drive gear onto the pump, add a little dish soap to the impeller to act as lubricant until water makes it to the now dry raw water lines, and bolt it back onto the generator's motor.  Hook the hoses up, complete an oil change, and the generator was finally ready to go again.  I'm happy to report that the generator is once again alive and cooling water flows from the exhaust and no oil or water is flowing from anywhere else.  Batteries are now capable of being fully charged (the inverter/charger running off of the generator is far more efficient and does a much more complete job of charging than the drive motor alternators).  As a celebration, we even ran the air conditioner that evening while the batteries were topped off.

This morning we sleep in.  No big tasks for the day and the wind is howling outside. We get up and make ourselves a nice breakfast.  Using the stove in the boat is much more palatable when there is a strong wind outside to sweep the hot air out of the boat.  Eggs, bacon, and fried potatoes.  As we are cleaning up, we notice a small sailboat had anchored fairly close in front of us.  Not all that close, but where there hadn't been a boat just a short time earlier.  We load the dogs into the dinghy and take them to shore for a little time on terra firma.

About an hour later we are on our way back to the boat when we notice that the small sailboat was now only about 15 to 20 feet away from us.  Oh crap, this boat is dragging anchor! No wonder we didn't see them arrive.  We quickly get the dogs on the boat and go over to see if anyone was on board.  Of course, no one was there.  Only a brokerage sign was found indicating that this boat was for sale.  We go back to our boat, get out a couple of fenders to try and fend off the boat if need be, and call the number on the sign.  The broker said they would call the owner, but that didn't really help us with the fact this boat is inching closer to us.

Way too close for comfort

We decide first order of business was to get our boat out of harms way, so we carefully pull up anchor and move upwind of the anchor dragger.  Fortunately there was some free space that was recently vacated by a trawler so we had the room.  Once the anchor was reset, I hopped back into the dinghy to see what I could do.  I checked to see if there was more rode that could be deployed but it appeared to be cleated at the very bitter end.  Best we could tell, the boats anchor seemed to reset and hadn't moved from it's resting spot that was feet from our original anchor position.

I head back to our boat and find the owner had tried to call and left a message.  I called him back and he let us know that he had called a friend in the area to come check on the boat since he was in Philadelphia.  I told him I couldn't promise anything, but at the moment the anchor seems to have reset. While I was talking with him, his friends arrived on scene, boarded his boat and found an anchor and some rode hiding in a locker, and deployed it as a second anchor to hopefully help keep his boat from going walkabout again. All I can say is I'm glad I'm upwind of him now.  Hopefully no other unattended boats will decide they need to come pay us a visit.

After the morning excitement, we decided to go to shore and take a bike ride to see what else was in the area.  Fortunately there is a decent bike path that runs along the highway and makes for a safer ride than if we were on the street.  We visited a couple shops, grabbed a bite to eat and had a nice afternoon. Upon return we found our boat right where we left it (the Mantus anchor has been very reliable for us in a variety of conditions thus far) and fortunately the dragging boat stayed put as well.

No idea what the plan is for tomorrow...and I think I like it that way.  I just hope that we can forgo dragging boats and emergency repairs and of one sort or another for a while.


  1. Replies
    1. Yeah, if it weren't for swinging, the boat with the dragging anchor would have just slid right next to a car parking lot. But, add swing, and we were outta there. Fortunately the boat doesn't seem to be dragging any further...guess it just really liked our original spot. That's OK though...we seem to have a bit better internet where we are now (although it still disconnects regularly).

  2. Hi Mike,
    Amazing to hear how all the batteries in boat needed replacing within a 2 month period. Did you go with regular flooded or maintenance-free for the starter batteries?
    Did you keep the old generator pump for possible future self-repair or is the self-repair getting a little old by now?
    How are the non-marine folding bikes holding up?
    Hope you enjoy the Keys, they have a lot to offer. I understand some places have a lot of somewhat derelict boats anchored or ones for sale-be careful where you anchor.- been to Keys many times by land and RV camped or rented houses. Did the swimming with dolphins thing 20yrs ago with my daughter
    Doug In VT

    1. Yeah, I was surprised the batteries all went at about the same time. Guess whoever does the batteries for West Marine has a really good idea of how long the warranty lasts. The new starting batteries are regular flooded batteries as well. I figure, even though they have more maintenance, they are more forgiving of charging irregularities...and...well...given my recent luck.

      Yes, we are keeping the old pump and I may try my hand at rebuilding it at some point. Would have tried doing it here, except that time is limited for us and we need to rack up some fun in a hurry before we go insane.

      We are right next door to the Dolphin Adventure, but don't really like the whole rescuing animals to make them show attractions thing. Pennekamp park is also nearby and with the wind blowing like it is, we may just go do the tourist thing over there instead of trying to take the boat around.