Another Cold Front

The cold fronts have moved though here it seems on a 5-7 day cycle. When I’m whining about it being only 60 degrees out, I just look at the phone pics our friends in Maryland send us showing how much snow they got. The wind that comes with the front though, has been a problem. I chose not to go up the mast yesterday and will not go up today. Just don’t feel comfortable up there when it’s blowing 20-25 mph. So what do you do when you can’t get to a project? Pull out the list and pick another one…

And that’s what I did. Decided to work inside and install the new vhf radio. Sounds so simple huh? The problem is my understanding of electrical systems is fairly basic and when things get complicated frustration sets in. Fortunately, the install was pretty straight forward. Here’s what a “simple” radio install looks like….P1010234


That’s another project on the list. Clean up the wiring! The finished product turned out ok I think. The old radio is above the new one. For now it will stay in place because it looks better than having a hole there. Still have to get my MMSI number and program it in the radio. After I get the chartplotter wiring ran I’ll connect the radio to the gps. It’s a safety feature in that when you press the “distress” button your gps location goes out with the distress signal. Here is the radio installed…P1010243

With that completed it’s on to the next project, rebuilding and cleaning the carb on the outboard. El Camino came with a Yamaha outboard and an Avon dinghy. The Avon was in such bad shape I cut it up and trashed it. The Yamaha was a mystery. It hadn’t been ran in 7 years and looked like it may have been stored outside. I knew that Yamaha built a great 15 horse motor, but when it started on less than ten pulls I was amazed! All I did was gas it up, never changed plugs or anything else. We took it for a few test runs and it did have problems at high speed and low speed running. It was a given that the carb needed going through. So a carb kit was ordered as well as new fuel pump diaphragms. With all the kits here now, it was time to get started..

I have a really nice stand for outboard motors that allows you to work on them in a comfortable position. Only problem is that it’s in storage. So here’s the redneck version of the stand…P1010237P1010238

Ya gotta make do with what ya have. Once the cover was off you can see the motor looks brand new…P1010239

The carb was dead simple to remove. Two bolts and two screws and it’s off. The carb itself is also simple. Here are the guts, the only thing not in the pic is the pilot screw…P1010242

The carb looked fairly clean with no varnish buildup and only one jet was partially clogged. The fuel pump diaphragms had no holes but looked to my eye to be slightly stretched. Blew carb cleaner though all the orifices and jets then put her back together…In the first pic you can see the fuel pump and the diaphragms, second pic, all together….P1010241

Reinstalled the carb and took her for a test run. Wow, what a difference! It was a little rough out so didn’t open her up all the way but I could tell she was running much,much better. The slow speed running was incredible. I could get the dinghy down to a crawl. The slow speed is important to us because when we go exploring we like to just slowly make our way along the bank and observe what nature has to offer. And now I feel I can trust the Yamaha to take us places and get us back.

So, two more projects off the list and only a few more days before we leave here. That’s a good thing because as nice as this place is, we’re chompin’ at the bit to go. I can see the look in Michele’s eyes. They’re lookin’ south!

Until then…..





Up The Mast Again…

Hope everyone had a wonderful Chrismas! For us, Christmas was different this year since, of course, we’re no longer “home”. The nice part about being here at Christmas was the absence of all the stress of last-minute shopping, long lines with crazy people, Baltimore traffic and Christmas craziness in general. The bad part about being here is that our families are not. We really missed the kids and grandkids and I’m sure they missed us too. We did get to do some major Skyping and that helped a bunch.

On Christmas Day Ralph and Wendy invited us to have dinner with them. Ralph and Wendy are cruisers as well and we have become good friends. They are a wealth of information and just easy to be around. It worked out perfect since they are away from family and so were we. The turkey was delicious and the conversation was varied and interesting. Perfect!

Crossing off boat projects at a pretty good pace now. All the running rigging is now sorted out. None of the reefing lines were attached to the mainsail so that had to be  addressed. The strap that connects the clew to the boom was off so that had to be reattached. The genoa is up and furled and now I’m satisfied with the rigging. By the way, I thought I would have to replace all the running rigging on the boat. It had been left out in the elements or stored outside in line bags. They were all stiff and covered in mold/ mildew and just plain dirty. I took one of the reefing lines and thought, what the heck, maybe I can clean it. If I ruin it I was going to replace it anyways. So I got out a five gallon bucket and filled it a little more than halfway, put the line in it with about a quarter cup of laundry detergent and maybe a half a cup of bleach. Took a plunger and agitated the water for a few minutes and then just let it sit. Whenever I would go by the bucket I would plunge a few times. I let it sit overnight and in the morning dumped the water out and was amazed at the difference! The line was almost like new. I filled the bucket with clean water and then used the plunger again to help rinse out the soap and bleach. Did this a couple of times and then let the line sit in the bucket with water the rest of the day. At the end of the day I emptied that water and bit down on the line in order to taste any remaining detergent or bleach and I didn’t taste either. This told me the line was rinsed throughly. When I saw the results I started on the rest of the lines. Here is a pic of the reefing lines and the halyard which were really nasty looking in the beginning…P1010232

Another shot…P1010233

Before they were cleaned it was hard to pick up on the colors in the lines. So if you have lines that are nasty, but in good shape otherwise, give cleaning a try.

Went back up the mast yesterday, this time making it all the way to the top so I could see the anchor light and antennae. Pulled out the anchor light to take with me to match up with a new one. The antennae connector was beyond repair so it looks like I’ll have to replace the old connector with a new one. I’ll try the kind you crimp on because I’m not sure it would practical or safe to try and solder one on at the top of the mast. Here’s a shot of the anchor light and the bad connector….P1010213



I thought this was a cool pic because you can see my shadow at the top…P1010208

A couple of views from the top….P1010210





Just a Nice Sunday

And that’s what is was today, a nice Sunday. Visited another church today and really enjoyed the service and the friendly people who also attended. We rode our bikes to church and that always gets some attention when we pull up and park them. Notice I said our bikes. The owner of Holidaze Boat rental, they’re right next to us in the marina, offered us the use of his truck in order to make a large supply run. I took the opportunity to return two folding bikes we bought when we first got here. The bikes were just too small to be of any practical use and we knew we would never use them. So I took them back and got these instead. Here we are back from church and the farmers market… P1010204

This was the first trip of any length and the bikes worked out well. They aren’t too small as to be slow and wobbly and they’re not too big as to make stowage a problem. My seat was a little hard though, or maybe my butt is just too soft, either way I think I need a new seat. Earlier Michele had Gidget ridin’ a round in the basket. That dog sure gets lots of attention!

Earlier I mentioned that the owner of the boat rental place let us use his truck. So far I’m amazed at the generosity and kindness of folks we have met since we have started this adventure. More than once have we been offered a car to use or a place to stay when the nights got cold here. So I’m sitting here wondering what’s changed? Are the people down here different and more friendly and willing to lend a hand? Are we different somehow since leaving the rat race? Or could it be back home since we had no need for someone to loan us a car or provide a place to stay when it’s cold, that no one did. But what about the overall friendliness? Are folks more guarded in a large city? Comments are welcome on this one…

Back to today…Ralph and Wendy stopped by, they are cruisers who are looking for their next boat. Had a great time trading stories and information about cruising and boats in general. They will be back tonight to join us in touring the decorated houses that are on the canals here. I’ll try to get some pics if I can.

I do want to take the time to thank all those who follow along and welcome the new visitors from around the globe!

Don’t forget to use the subscribe feature in order to receive an email when a new blog is posted. And as always comments are very welcome and appreciated! If you have any questions about what we do or how we do it or suggestions, they are welcome as well. Let’s make this a two-way street….

Until then……

And The Work Goes On

Boat work, that is. Wednesday the fridge guy came back with the new controller for the refrigerator and the freezer ( they’re separate units). He installed the controller and discovered one of the compressors for the freezer was not working. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal except he’s going on vacation and won’t be back until after we have left here. So the plan is to have him meet us when we get to Ft. Myers Beach on January 5th. Here he is working on the units…..P1010179And this is one of three compressors that live in that small space. The new controller is inside the box with the fuses on top….P1010181Since we have two cold plates and two compressors the freezer is still usable even with one compressor gone.

Thursday was spent working on the port engine. If you remember there was a fuel delivery problem on the way here from Pine Island. Since I replaced the fuel filter and still had high pressure on the filter gauge there had to be a blockage somewhere between the filter and the tank. I started removing fuel lines one at a time and blowing through them in order to find out which one was blocked or restricted. When I got to the fuel bulb I knew I had a problem….P1010193

When I tried to blow though, no dice. I suspected a stuck check valve and was right…P1010195

Old one on the left and new one on the right. The bulb is used to prime the filter housing when you change filters. Here’s the housing…P1010192

And the Volvo diesel which normally just purrs like a kitten…P1010194

As I was working on the fuel problem I discovered where Gidgette hangs out on the boat…P1010200

Come visit, we’ll find a place for you to hang out too!

Until then…….