Chris here... Sunday was a day of rest. Kristen woke up in the morning and stated that she didn't want to work at all, and neither did I, so we pretty much had a lazy day. We dinghied all around the area and checked out a lot of the big houses (I don't know what we'd do with all that space!), fished a little and just kind of hung out.
The highlight of the day was when Kristen saw what looked like a disturbance across the top of the water, so we slowed down. What popped up? A manatee head! We were thrilled to finally see a manatee for real, even if it was just the top of its head. I had originally suggested that we just keep going, so I had to listen to Kristen tell me 100 times on the trip back "I sure am glad we slowed down and didn't listen to YOU!"
Monday morning we turned the generator on to charge the batteries and a huge puff of white smoke came out! Normally, white smoke means you either have some unburned diesel fuel in your exhaust or that you've blown a head gasket. When it kept going for 15 seconds I had the kids turn it off. We have a water separator on our exhaust. Normally, the "smoke" exhaust is mixed with the engine cooling water and ejected through a single exhaust outlet. This creates a lot of noise as the water splashes out, so I elected to get a separator for the two exhaust types. As a result, our dry exhaust comes out above the waterline, and the cooling water comes out below the waterline. I had the kids turn the generator back on and noticed that very little water was coming through the underwater exhaust.
We thought the through hull for the water intake was in the kid's closet, so out comes everything from their closet! Nope - no through hull. On the other hand, we did find our hammock which we've been looking for for a couple of weeks, along with our anchoring ball and a couple of other things we forgot about. Now, if I could just find the tip of my electric shaver which I haven't seen since Charleston! We tracked the through hull to another point in the boat, and it was fully open so that wasn't causing the water slowdown. There is a strainer for the water intake to prevent things like leaves, seaweed and other nasties from clogging the generator, but it too was fairly empty, containing only a couple of leaves and a feather (hopefully we didn't suck up a Pelican!). We figured something must be clogging the through hull and realized that we'd have to dive under the boat to check.
Now, Kristen wasn't so keen on diving. She swims much better than I do, so she's the one that does this stuff. People in the marina had been talking about the marine life, such as small sharks and alligators that are sometimes seen in the area, and others talked about rats and raccoons swimming to their mooring balls and climbing on. With all this in mind, we decided to hold off on diving for the day and to go get the rental car for Kristen's trip to the Orlando airport.
We got our car from the rental facility and proceeded to run lots of errands. We went to Macy's to get new shorts for me (I've lost close to 40lbs so far and am down almost two pant sizes - gotta love the cruiser's diet!). We also went to Sears to look for a vacuum food sealer. Apparently, bugs like weevils and roaches are common on cruising boats, so it's suggested that you microwave any grains you bring on board and then vacuum seal as much food as possible. Sears only had an expensive unit, so we headed to Loews to pick up boards and U-Bolts for securing our water and fuel jerrycans to the side of our boat. They didn't have the right U-Bolts, so we then headed to Home Depot, who also didn't have the right ones. From there we headed to Walmart to look for the food sealer, but they only had the expensive ones too. I then called West Marine to see if they had the U-Bolts, and they did, so we drove 12 miles to West where I found that they had exactly one bolt left. While I was searching around, Kristen did some grocery shopping, and then we headed to dinner at a great Japanese/Thai restaurant. We got back to the boat at around 8:30pm, at which point we had to load all of our stuff on our dinghy (25 shopping bags, 3 8' long boards and a bunch of other assorted items), go to Pelican, unload everything and put it away. Phew!!!! Yes, it was an exhausting day.
We then realized that we still had to fix the generator and Kristen had to get ready to head to New York. Someone at the marina suggested hooking our dinghy hand pump to the through hull hose and blowing air out of it. Hopefully this would dislodge anything caught in there. Kristen spent 20 minutes hooking everything up while I spent the time printing out DMV forms and filling them out in anticipation of her trip north (we still have to register our new dinghy). We then pumped and pumped and pumped the dinghy pump, hooked everything back up, turned on the generator, and voila - it worked! Thank goodness! I was a bit concerned about battery charging - we only have 3 alternative methods (Pelican's primary engine, a Honda 1000 generator and some solar panels). Well, the generator is the fastest method and uses the least fuel.
We went to sleep and everyone woke up early this morning to take Kristen to shore for her trip to Orlando and then on to New York. We missed her terribly already, even while we were still watching her pull away. As I write this, she's in the air and will hopefully land safely in an hour or so.
By the way, does anyone know the answer to this question... In order to register our dinghy in New York, we have to pay many hundreds of dollars of sales tax on it. We never plan on bringing it to New York, so there is no requirement to register it there. We need registration numbers for it though. Can we register it, as a non-resident, here in FL, pay very little sales tax on it and then get our registration numbers here? Any suggestions? We want to stay within the law, but we want to reduce our costs as much as possible.