Where we at

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Don Pedro to Longboat Key, marina (home!)

Russ determined the issue with the engine was electrical. He believed he isolated the problem and fixed it. As we normally do, we got an early start, hoping today would be short and without trouble. 

It would also end this year's journey. Hard to fathom -- we went to Maine.

The anchor came up nice and clean and we started northward. Right off we met a couple of very energetic dolphins who leaped out of the water. I took it as a "welcome home" type of thing.

Leaping duo of dolphins!
There are little towns on this section of ICW, which means lots of slow zones. We did see a manatee, which made slowing more amicable. Waking someone's home deck is one thing. Harming one of those lumbering and aloof creatures is another. 

Early morning migration. Huge flock, 
all traveling single file.

White pelicans. Many eating dead fish.
We got 2 hours into the voyage when the engines lulled again. Drat! Russ did have a theory. While underway he started playing with some electronics. Eventually, he could interrupt the engine on demand -- he isolated the problem. A loose wire, wouldn't you know. He fixed it with some electrical tape, and ordered a replacement part. Always something with boating.

After that we had no engine issues. As Red Green said, "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." Lucky for me Russ is both.

Sarasota in the distance.
Almost back!
As we cruised both of us started coughing. Neither of us felt sick, but our throats burned, our eyes itched, and we could smell it. Red Tide. Some dead fish were scattered around. It had a physical affect on both of us.

We got in before noon and pumped out before docking inQuest in her slip for the season. 

Later that day Amazon delivered the coffee. Huzzah!

Another touring year behind us, and another ton of projects ahead of us. Such is boat life.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Franklin Lock to Don Pedro, anchor

We spent 2 nights at the lock because of weather. After a good 4 day run from St. Augustine our luck ran out. And, given those long days we were happy to sit around and do nothing. The small park had an anchorage, which we felt more comfortable doing than hanging on the dolphins, unsure of how windy it would really be. We move early Thursday morning, dropped an anchor, then did nothing the rest of the day.

Today was still to be windy but much less than they'd predicted a couple of days ago. While Franklin was excellent protection we decided to go. We are running low on some critical supplies, due to an oversight in the stock room. Coffee. We're running out of coffee!

Within a couple of hours we were slowly moving through the ravaged city of Ft. Myers. It's been a little over a month since hurricane Ian but cleanup is going to take years; boats still on land, marinas closed, and blue tarped houses dot the shores. Just heartbreaking.

I have no words.

The east wind was on our stern all the way to the gulf. At that point you turn northward up the coast. We knew there'd be 1 body of water that could be choppy, Gasparilla Bay. As we neared it the water did get a little lumpy but the playful dolphins had us entertained.

That's when I noticed it first. The boat just -- for lack of a better word -- lulled. Humming along fine, then we slowed for a moment as the engine noise dies out, then back to humming. I ignored it the first time, thinking Russ did something at the helm (avoid a crab pot or whatever). Then it happened again. Then again. While watching the RPMs of the engines, the port side, set at 2300, would suddenly drop to 1600 or less, then start back up again.

From the anchorage. There have always been 
derelict boats, but these were clearly loved.
Russ's first thought was clogged fuel filters. We turned off the port engine and ran on the starboard only while Russ inspected (yep, filthy!) then replaced the 2 fuel filters. At this point we were at the worst of the water, which wasn't terrible, but a little lumpy and made moreso by the lack of movement.

Once done we fired up the engine again and... it happened again. And again. And again. I shut it down and with only our starboard engine we looked for a nearby anchorage. I'm not the mechanic of the boat but I heard words muttered like "fuel solenoid" and "lose ground" so I'm hoping we'll have a fix.

Otherwise, our short day tomorrow to Longboat will be rather long. And rather slow.

But we will get to Longboat Key. We need coffee!!!