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Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2023 17:52:00 GMT


Don't open coconuts floating on the water....

     Today Sam and I undertook to open one of the coconuts we found floating on the water. We could hear the liquid inside and figured it was good. After much fighting with it we got it opened. It was not as easy as in Belize with a machette. After getting the husk off I hit it with a large screwdriver several times till it cracked open. NASTY! all cottage cheese like and nasty smelling. Note to self: Coconuts floating in the mangroves could be years old.

     The last week was fairly slow. Several of our friends have left to go north and we will miss them till next season. I have picked up playing corn hole and I'm trying to be less of a hermit.

     We are trying to plan the next month and our hope is to be in Oriental by the middle of July. It is beginning to look like that is possible. The engine is coming along and we take the head to the machine shop tomorrow morning. The exhaust is being worked on and is going to be expensive but at least it will be complete. I have been working on other small projects like re-setting the front hatch and getting bolts and fittings together to mount the ladder on the starboard side as well as the port. In doing that we found that the starboard side stantions are bent. That is why it doesn't fit correctly. But I put an offset at the top bolt using a 1/2 inch drive 15mm socket. It looks like it was designed that way and works. Eventually we will need to heat up and re-bend those stantions straight.

     Mom's wrist is improving every day now and she can get on the boat by herself again. Hannah is stocking up and preparing for the trip north and we are trying to keep everything ship shape even though it appears that we are going to be here or another month. We're becoming fairly worried about storms and hurricane season. The locals say we should not worry so much. hmmmmm
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2023 13:21:00 GMT


The Tammiama Trail

     Yesterday we drove from Marathon to Ft. Myers to drop off the engine head at a machine shop recommended by Diesel Don. It was about 5 hours each way. I was sick, there's something going around the harbor, a 24 hour bug. So Hannah drove the entire way there. I drove about half the way back. The road was built originally in the 1920's. There were lots of air boat ride places and of course national parks. Along that entire 85 mile road through the everglades there were almost no gas stations. It's pretty remote. The scenery however was wonderful and mostly un spoiled. Through Hannah's Oakleys the greens were amazing. There is an Indian reservation there as well for the Miccosukee. The land alternates between marshes and grasslands dottet with pine trees widely spaced apart. Evidently the water has been rising because there are levies protecting the road. (perhaps the road is sinking? who knows) We saw lots of birds but no panthers or Gaters, except for a couple little ones that were dead by the road. The weather was nice and we could see for miles across the grasslands all the way to the horizon. There was an old radio station out there with a 4 square tower setup but we wern't sure if it was still operational or not. The towers didn't look too bad but the building looked abandoned. Cell service was bad. It was a welcome wilderness after the concrete jungles of Miami.

     Lamont's machine shop took the head and said it wouldn't be this week but probably next week before it's done. We were going to drive by US Metal Fabricators in Lauderdale but didn't have the time to make it before they closed so we came straight back.

     Yesterday at about 4am Sam dropped his phone off the stern of the boat. We were all pretty upset and figured he would need a new phone. It is supposed to be water proof (ip68) which is a bucket of fresh water for 15 min. It was also in a water proof case. So after 8 hours in 8 feet of salt water one of the diver couples in the harbor, Katie found it for us. Sam took it out of the case which had almost no water in it rinsed it off and put it in rice over night. This morning we turned it on and amazingly it turned on just fine with no problems. This caused a minor celebration on the boat. The case was an Otterbox Defender. So if you are looking for a good case for your phone we are all in with Otterbox.
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2023 02:45:00 GMT


Engine wireing on a hot day.

     Today Sam and I re-wired the engine harness labeling and making sure that everything was sealed properly. Many wires are coroded inside because they were never sealed properly. I will have to replace them eventually. For now everything has new terminals a new terminal block and labeled properly. It took us much longer than we thought to rebuild it. everything was just a little hard to reach. We also took the opportunity to clean out the engine pan again and got more water. Tonight Hannah made burritos and she's trying to cook the oatmeal for tomorrow in a thermos pan (thermal cooker).

     I'm doing much better and do not feel sick any more. I'm glad. But also my shoulder and my elbow hurts less. I think I've turned the corner and they are finally healing. It's been nearly a year. The chiropractor told me that if I didn't take it easy it wouldn't heal. But I couldn't take it easy there was just too much to do.

     On another note there was an evening radio net tonight about plans for hurricane season. Ryan on Intrepid ran the net. I'm not sure yet what our plan is but I hope we get the engine running before that happens. As of now, we only have two options: 1 sail off the ball and get away from the storm, 2 have someone tow us out of the harbor and sail to the hurricane hole at the shark river.

     The copper-nickle for the exhaust is on order and will be here in 5-7 days. Then they can start working on it.
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2023 02:10:00 GMT


Nothing happens on schedule.

     I guess this is just a status. The cylinder head is completed and we drove up to picke it up from Ft. Myers. Lomont's did a wonderful job and we have it all back together now but I'm waiting on new tappets and push rods. I have one cracked tappet and one bent push rod. But of course I didn't find that till the day I tried to clean up the block and put on the new head gasket. I checked with US Metal Fabricators and the parts were in Alabama as of Thursday afternoon. I hope they arrive Monday, The injectors tested bad and I need new tips to rebuild them so those are on order as well. On a good note it's a wonderful place to be stuck, but it's very hot now and muggy. Temprature in the boat is running in the high 80's every day.
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2023 03:44:00 GMT


Waiting on Exhaust.

     On Monday Sam and I put the engine back together. We finally received all the parts. I was waiting on tappets. So we spent about 10 hours re-assembling everything, rebuilding the injectors, setting the valves, painting parts, and cleaning everything up. So on Tuesday I changed the oil, put in new coolant and started it up. It took about 15 minutes to get the fuel system bled and then she started right up. I only ran the engine for about 30 sec because it was filling the cabin with exhaust but it runs! I was so glad. And it sounded really good. We had lost the intake filter system. I was really worried I would have to build one but we found it in the workshop we had been using. When we were adjusting the valves I wanted to be able to turn the engine without a pipe wrench on the splined main pully so I went to remove the front (secondary) pully. But the heads of all three bolts snapped off. When I finally go the pully off with a puller I found corosion between the spacer and the aluminum pully. It was about 1/2 mm thick and it put so much pressure on the bolts that the heads were just ready to pop off. It also made it really difficult to get the pully off and it bent. So I had to straighten it before cleaning it up and putting it back on. We also dropped parts in the bilge multiple times which took easily 2 hours of our time retrieving and finding missing parts that fell under the engine. All in all however now that it's running I'm very pleased. It feels good to have a reliable engine again.

     We are now waiting on our exhaust. The parts/pipe are in and it is actively being worked on but I'm not sure it's going to be done by the first. We will see. It's going to be beautiful and made from copper nickle it will last for another 50 years.

     Hannah and I are working to get the boat ready to sail so that when we get the exhaust installed we can be ready to leave. I had a really good dream about being underway again. It felt so good to be sailing again that it brought tears to our eyes.

     Sam has found a girlfriend and has spent the last several weeks with her every day. She has to leave on Friday so they are spending every waking moment together. It's going to be sad when she and us both have to leave.

     I havent been writing very much I know but not much is differnet day to day. I can't express how much we love the Keys and Marathon. This is the most wonderful boating community. I do hope we can return here again. We have made so many friends and seen so many really cool boats. If you're a cruiser this is the place to be. I don't think anything is quite like it. I really wasn't sure how much we would like the keys but now we are almost ready to make Florida our home.

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