Thursday, June 30, 2011

Check-in/OK message from Second Chance SPOT Messenger

Second Chance
GPS location Date/Time:06/30/2011 18:10:19 EDT

Message:Living the dream !
All is well.

Click the link below to see where I am located.

If the above link does not work, try this link:,-82.87161&ll=24.62515,-82.87161&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Second Chance

You have received this message because Second Chance has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Every day is an Adventure. Share Yours.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Check-in/OK message from Second Chance SPOT Messenger

Second Chance
GPS location Date/Time:06/29/2011 14:33:31 EDT

Message:Living the dream !
All is well.

Click the link below to see where I am located.

If the above link does not work, try this link:,-82.16821&ll=24.56194,-82.16821&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Second Chance

You have received this message because Second Chance has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Every day is an Adventure. Share Yours.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday - June 28 - Anniversary

It started out overcast and cooler than it has been which was a very welcome change.  I got the mail run done early and out of the way.  The packages showed up by mid afternoon so everything was going according to plan.
We rode our bikes down to Duval for our last night in town for our anniversary dinner but the sun had come out and the humidity was high so we opted for a taxi to take us to Outback.  The same restaurant we actually celebrated our 1st anniversary at, just a different location.  After dinner we did some last minute shopping at Publix and came back to the boat.  Just after arriving back on the dock, the power went out.  Not just the power on the boat, or the dock, but the island.  It was a bit weird but it came back on about 15 minutes later and all is well.

The boat is ready, the crew is ready and the weather is favorable so we will be departing Key West tomorrow morning.  There will be no internet for at least a week but I will try to post a "check in" message daily.

Also, the cell phone will not work after tomorrow so leave messages on the boat phone if you need to contact us or call us on Skype once we get internet back.

The next chapter in the adventure begins !!

Monday 6/27

Monday was a really good day.  Hot as usual but we got alot of things done preparing for departure.  I changed the exhaust on the generator which made it a lot quieter.  Basically I redirected the exhaust so the sound wouldn't bounce between the hulls and now it will bother who ever happens to be behind us.  Beth did laundry and cleaned up the boat.  I made the bike ride to Home Depot and had the most successful shopping trip yet on this island.  I actually got everything I needed. 

We invited J & J over for dinner and I prepared pork chops. Cooking such a meal aboard the boat was a bit of a challenge but everything turned out very well.  We discussed our departure plans and as long as the tracking is accurate, we will be leaving on Wednesday.  Once we leave we will be out of touch for about a week as we make our way to Mexico.  Also, when we leave Key West, there are no more provisions until we get to Mexico.  We plan to sail to the Marquesas Keys, then on to the Dry Tortugas, then we will make the big hop over to Isla Mujeres, Mexico with one other possible stop along the way.  The GPS tracking should work most of the time but we will not have any way to check, no internet, no cell phones.

We will celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary Tuesday and be more than ready to depart Key West.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Friday ~ Saturday ~ Sunday

I managed to get a few chores done today, fortunately the list is growing small which means our departure from the US is growing nearer.  With our anniversary on Tuesday, we hope to leave Wednesday provided our last package comes in.
We went out Friday night for a supposed Improv Comedy show only to find that the poster I read advertising it was old and they didn't have the show anymore.  We rode around the Mallory Square area and then opted for Chinese food for dinner

Saturday started out overcast but cleared quickly, and when it cleared, it got hot.  I got a few supplies to work on the damage caused by Briar Patch and worked on fixing that.  I wasn't feeling so great so we pretty much laid around most of the day.  Beth straightened up the boat and then proceeded to give the dogs a trim.  She had done it about two months ago but they needed it again.  We had  a nice dinner and relaxed with TV.

Sunday. We packed up the dogs in the trailer and headed off for the beach.  To our surprise, The Key West beach is NO DOGS ALLOWED.  It also smelled really bad.  There were tons of sea grass washed up on the beach and rotting.  We did a drive by tour and found a real treat, Dairy Queen.  Beth, I and the dogs enjoyed a tasty treat.  After that we headed back to the air conditioning of the boat to cool off and relax.

I think we have both had enough of Key West so as soon as our package arrives, providing the weather is good, we will depart for points south.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday ( 6-23)

Wow, do I ever miss broadband.  It has taken the better part of the day to upload the wedding videos to the website so they stream.  BTW, if you have never seen it, at least watch the Wedding Video.  Its not many people that have such a unique processional.

I fixed the 50A to 30A shore power adapter today and by the time I finished that, it was too hot to do much else so Beth and I relaxed, she worked on the rug while I napped.  This evening we rode our bikes to the store for groceries but more importantly, we went to dinner at McDonalds.  We were both craving some proper sweet tea and Beth wanted fries. There are several things that we will miss but an equal amount of things we won't miss.
After all, Mexico has McDonalds. 

Wednesday June 22

It was another scorching day.  While the actual temperature may not be that high, the "feels like" temperature is killer.  Supposedly, the high was 87 degrees F ( 30.5 C ) but the "feels like" temp is 98 degrees F ( 36.6 C ).  There was little wind at the dock which just made it miserable to be outside.  So, we pretty much stayed in today.  Beth worked on her rug and I updated the gallery photos, worked on re-posting the wedding videos and did some computer work.
Prior to all that, J & J left the dock to head up the keys for a few days until conditions are right for our little group to make the jump to Mexico.  They called after about 30 minutes after they left to let me know that they had been running the engine pretty hard and no overheating.  Proven success on the overheating issue.  That was very welcome news as neither of us want engine trouble on the way to Mexico.

I straightened out the snorkel gear and put all the lifelines in place while Beth worked on the rug.  We turned the boat around at the dock so most of the wakes left by the inconsiderate boaters ( mainly commercial ) would be taken better bow first.  All in all a quiet day and evening.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Monday & Tuesday ( June 20/21 )

Monday was a beautiful day.  I ran some errands in the morning then  J and I worked on the boat trying to get the overheating issue figured out.  The thermostat was removed and it seemed to work ok at the dock.  We planned a sunset sail to test things out.
I got the tool room straightened out and the parts for Beth front wheel installed.  Other than being hot, things went pretty well.  We all departed the dock just after 6 pm for our sunset sail.  We had just passed Mallory Square when the overheat sensor sounded.  The engine was quickly shut off and it was indeed hot.  J put up the sails and we had a nice sail, arriving back at the dock right at sunset.

The overheating issue was perplexing but we all decided chinese food was the plan while we pondered the possibilities.  The food was good and just a short walk from the dock.

Tuesday started off working on J & J's boat.  It was time to get the engine issue figured out.  Everyone we talked to suggested things we had already tried.  It was all leading up to a heat exchanger issue as the amount of water passing through just wasn't enough to keep the engine cool.  We started working on the output from the heat exchanger and found where one of the hoses was cut too short and clamped badly which created a small leak which was leaving salt residue on the engine.  While this wasn't the problem, it needed correcting.  While we were getting parts to repair that, J had called one of the experts to come out and troubleshoot.  Paxton arrived and was very friendly and knowledgeable.  He quickly came to the conclusion that the raw water inlet hose was the wrong type and was compressing when the suction from the pump got higher as the RPM's got higher.  He suggested changing that hose as well as adding a loop vent to the output side of the heat exchanger as well as pulling the prop vent off the initial supply instead of the output.  He was surprised that the installer had not done this as it was just a sloppy install.  The original installation was by some yacht company up in New Orleans, LA.  I will get the name and pass it on to make sure no one else uses them as apparently they take short cuts and do not perform professional installations.  J and I went shopping for all the parts we would need to install the new hoses, the loop vent and make connections the right way.  Some of the original fittings were original to the boat and went from 5/8" to 1/2" on the inlet side.  We refitted everything with 3/4" fittings which would give a much better supply.  After about an hour of shopping, and 2 hours of installation, we were replacing the final hose from the thru hull to the strainer which appeared to have not been replaced when the new engine was installed when we found the fitting packed with gunk.  After replacing this hose and upgrading the fittings to 3/4", we had a positive flow to the strainer.  Everything was tightened and finally the engine started.  We checked everything for leaks and most importantly, the water flow from the exhaust.  She was pouring water from the exhaust like a hose.  Finally, we were convinced we have solved the issue.

It was mid afternoon by the time we concluded and Beth and I went to the pool for celebratory drinks and lunch.  The pool water was very warm and not really refreshing but the drinks were good.  The pool is located at Dante's which is a resturant/bar.  It was still quite hot so we didn't stay too long before we returned to the boat.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Saturday & Sunday

Saturday I headed out early to go to "Fixed Gears", the local bike shop that I had contacted on Monday to get new tires for the bikes.  Supposedly they were ordered and would be in on Wednesday, then Thursday, then Friday.  I had not heard from them so I rode down to their store.  The tires had not come in so I got my deposit back and went riding around the island for a different bike shop.  I came across "The Bike Shop" on Truman and they were most helpful.  They had tires in stock and since I was buying 4, they gave me a reasonable deal.
I returned to the dock with the new tires, not an easy feat riding a bike carrying 4 tires.  I spent the remainder of the morning working on changing tires but just after noon, Beth got up and progress on the tires was suspended for a nap.  I finished the tires and all adjustments by early evening and Beth and I relaxed watching some TV after dinner.  Another glorious sunset.

Sunday J and I worked on the power issue on his boat.  The hardest part was figuring out what had been done and why.  They have a Heart Freedom inverter and a NextGen generator.  Once I figured out how everything was wired and why, reading a couple of manuals,  the issue they were having became apparent.  The generator was producing 140 volts and the inverter was cutting out.  After reading the generator manual on how to adjust the voltage, it was discovered that there was a loose bolt on the throttle assembly and it was the wrong bolt as well.  After changing the bolt and making a minor adjustment everything was tested and worked perfectly off shore power as well as the generator.

Beth and I decided that since it was overcast and not broiling hot we would take the bike tour of Key West.
We toured Mallory Square, the shops, and all over.  We stopped at Denny's for a snack and then headed back to meet J & J at the Commodore for happy hour.

Pictures from around Key West  ( Remember, clicking on a picture gives you a larger picture )

Oh look, a chicken

After returning from our trip, we had a light dinner and took the babies out for ice cream.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 17 - Friday

Friday was a really productive day. I double checked the shower sump repairs and everything there was good, no more water in the hull.  I got the SSB/GPS interface installed and got the starboard aft berth cleaned out.  While cleaning the berth, I flushed the fresh water system and got the wash down pump working.  The wash down pump feeds a hose in the cockpit with either raw water or fresh water.  It seems the pressure switch had gotten stuck so it was a pretty easy fix.  Now Beth can hose off the dogs in the cockpit instead of hauling wet dogs through the boat to the shower.  I also got the scuba tank checked out and filled with air as well as fitting a new BC to it.  The BC was something that never got replaced after the house fire so the expense was justified.
Divers Direct has a location on the island so I actually got better pricing than I found online.  Now we are scuba equipped and I will introduce Beth to scuba and hopefully she can get certified once we get south.

J&J returned to the dock this morning from their mooring out at Sand Key but the engine overheating issue was still there as well as a generator issue.  Boats always have issues and after all BOAT stand for Bring On Another Thousand.  We discussed possibilities and will work on things over the weekend.  The big deal of the day was that we were all going out.  Friday Night in Key West !  Debbie who is also docked here joined us on our night out.  She is from Gulfport, Fl.

We all decided to go to Amigo's Mexican restaurant for dinner.  It is a very nice open air type place with supposedly authentic mexican food.  The food was average but the slogan on their cups, shirts, menu's and posted all over is quite good.
Once you've ruined your reputation, you can live quite freely

We had discussed going to 801 for the drag show or going to Hog's Breath Bar for an Improv show.

J, J, Beth, John, and Debbie at the 801 Club
We chose the 801 club.  Below are pictures from the club.

Can you believe that they are Drag Queens?

J & J left after the first show but Debbie, Beth and I stayed for the 2nd show.  We left about 1 am and made our way back to the dock.

June 16 - Thursday

Thursday should have been a lazy day but the port hull was full of water and things like that demand attention. It seems that the shower drain wasn't doing it's job. Unfortunately, the shower sump is located between access panels in the port hull and it takes about 1/2 hour just to get to it. I decided while I was working on it to replace the hoses that went from the shower drain to the sump as well as actually fix the problem. After taking everything apart, checking its operation, replacing the hoses and putting it back in, I ran the shower for about 10 min and it promptly filled up. The sump is supposed to be automatic and it wasn't. The manual override worked. After removing it a second time, it was an intermittent float switch. Fortunately West Marine is just across the street and had the exact replacement part. I changed that out and spent another 1/2 hour putting it back in, tightening all the hoses and making the electrical connections. I ran the shower for about 1/2 hour and watched as it pumped exactly like it was supposed to. I took the opportunity to add a high water alarm to each hull.
Beth made spaghetti and we relaxed in the evening.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 14~15 Snorkel trip

Tuesday was another warm day with little breeze.  Beth wasn't feeling well so she slept late and hung around on the boat most of the day.  J&J were having an issue with the water supply on their boat so I offered to give them a hand.  We needed some parts so we took a cab ride up to Home Depot.  While there, J bought a portable air conditioner for their boat as I picked up a few needed items to complete my chore list as well as a new pocket camera since Casio wanted more to repair the old one than I paid for the new one which is better.  We got the water situation straightened out and their new A/C was working well.  Beth was feeling better so we went out to eat at the Raw Bar located on the dock.

Wednesday was the day we chose to visit Sand Key and snorkel.  We waited until afternoon to leave the dock so all the commercial snorkel trips would be leaving the area.  Sand Key is supposed to be one of the best spots around Key West to snorkel.  We went by the fuel dock to top off the fuel tanks and pump out the holding tank and we were off.  Sand Key is located about 8 miles south so a short boat ride.

Leaving the Key West Bight marina

Resorts toward Mallory Square
Mallory Square from the water side
A visiting British naval vessel

J&J were out of the marina ahead of us but stopped just off Key West as their engine began to overheat.  We rafted up next to them and J cleaned some sea grass out of the filter and checked everything else out.  The sea grass didn't seem to be so much that it would cause the issue but that was the only thing we found.  With the engine started, J dove in to check the inlet and exhaust.  It seemed to be running ok so we started again.  Maybe a mile later, the engine began to overheat again.  We took the water pump apart to check the impeller, checked the oil and everything else but never really determined what the issue was.  We started again and didn't have any more issues so maybe something we did helped. 
Mahalo Nui - J & J's boat

We arrived at the mooring ball and as this was our first time picking up a mooring ball, it could have gotten interesting but after a couple of tries, we were securely attached to the ball.
Attached to the mooring ball at Sand Key

Crystal Clear water.  This is about 20 ft deep.
We suited up for snorkling and Beth got her underwater camcorder/camera ready.

We saw lots of different fish, coral and stuff.  I took the opportunity to inspect the bottom of the boat to make sure there wasn't any issues with our groundings.  The paint was scuffed in a few places, mainly on the rudders but nothing major.  A couple of more months and it will be ready for a bottom job which hopefully I can get done south of the border. After about an hour, Beth saw a shark
     ( supposedly in the last picture ) and didn't want to swim anymore.  We rafted up with J&J and were treated to a nice curry chicken salad snack.  Catie was quite interested in the little fish that were hanging around the stern of the boat, so interested that she actually fell in trying to play with them. It was getting late so we headed back in while J&J stayed moored for the night. 

We came by Mallory Square on the way back and took pictures of the people that come out, every evening, to watch the sunset and enjoy the "circus".  Many of them were taking pictures of us so I am sure "Second Chance" made it into alot of tourist photos.

We were treated to a lovely sunset on the trip back to the marina.

We docked without incident and hooked everything back up.  By that time it was 10 pm so we had a light dinner and turned in.