Sunday, June 30, 2013

Two months afloat

As we have celebrated two months of living on the boat it seems appropriate to update our travel blog.
While we haven't traveled far in miles, we have through milestones. Boats are proverbially "a work in progress" . Ours is no exception. 
For instance, the motor. It ran perfectly all the way down river, over two hundred miles without a hitch. Two weeks ago I was adjusting the idle at the dock and the fuel injector pump broke. Quit working. Nada. Zilch. There was nothing to do except purchase a rebuilt and install a " new" unit. Of course the yard would not give an estimate for repair costs so I opted to do the wrenching myself and only pay to have the mechanic set the timing which was 2 hours to stick a fuel pump into a waiting orifice. Not a bad gig for being a mechanic if you ask me. A small snafu on my part cost me a half day to remove the heat exchanger and install 2 little rubber bushings that I missed on the installation of the fuel injector. Yuck. What a PITA. Finished up the install today and the motor runs fine but now a leak has developed in an area I do not remember touching. Nonetheless, it had to be repaired. After 4 hours of dinking around with possible solutions and looking for the worst possible scenarios, a loose hose clamp turned out to be the culprit. This is typical of projects on this boat. One thing always displays another item that needs attention. We wonder when the maintenance will get to a "normal" state so it can be taken care of at our leisure, rather than another emergency operation. 
Karen is well along on her screen enclosure for the cockpit. Hope to wrap it up in the next day or two. The canopy for the main salon is working nicely to keep the boat in the shade.

Tomorrow we start our final round of improvements needed before we set sail.  We are going to reinforce our dinghy davits and mount a solar charging panel to keep up the batteries. The solar charger was mandated when we decided to replace our refrigeration unit. Making ice in the tropics seemed like a luxury at first glance but keeping food fresh for longer than a day meant we needed refrigeration. OK, cold beer did play a role in our decision. Certain creature comforts seem mandatory.

The weather patterns are our next concern. Three to four days to cross to Mexico would be better if we didn't run into excessively high winds or conversely as disappointing, no wind. We'll be keeping a close eye on weather over the next week or two. Watching for patterns. As far as preparing for the crossing, Karen is working on menus to serve at sea and I am finding places to stow our new life raft and rigging life jackets  with personal locator beacons (personal EPIRB'S for those in the know) and strobe lights. 

Here are an assortment of pictures taken from the marina. Every day brings a new palette of color and spectacular cloud formations. The last cloud photo is of an ominous looking storm cloud that consumed the remaining daylight and it did get very windy.
The seahorse sculpture is located in a park on the bluff in Fairhope.

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