We’re starting to get in a bit of a rhythm now that we have a few weeks under us. And while some things have become routine (turning on/off propane, knowing when to fill our water tanks, running through our pre-start check list), each day never fails to bring something new. Here's some things that happened the last week or so.
We lost control of the boat.
After a long day (10+ hours cruising) crossing Lake Okeechobee, the largest lake in Florida, we pulled into Indiantown Marina--one of the few places to stop when traveling between Florida's coasts. We were pulling into our slip and suddenly Tim can’t shift gears. The boat would only go into neutral or reverse, which was not great since we needed to go forward. We weren’t sure what to do. We decided to turn off the engine and luckily there wasn’t a strong wind, so we had a short minute to try to come up with a game plan. Let’s drop the anchor! No, would take too much time. Let’s drop the dinghy! Not enough time for that. Luckily we travelled with another boat that had already pulled in so we were able to toss him a line, and slowly was pulled up against another boat and head right into a slip behind them on the fuel dock.
Not, our intended spot, but it worked, and no boats were damaged. Best part is, while we thought it would be an expensive fix and we would have to wait a few days for a mechanic, we found out we only had to tighten a couple screws and the shifting was fixed. (Thanks Mike for the tip).
Our batteries should have been replaced 4 years ago.
With a few days underneath us and a new battery monitor installed (measures how much energy is going in/out of our batteries), we realized they weren’t charging when the engine ran (which they should). So we called a Volvo mechanic in Port St. Lucie and they told us after sending them some pictures, our batteries were 7 years old and should have been replaced probably 4 years ago. “You are on borrowed time,” they said and didn’t have time to replace our batteries. We had a few days due to waiting out some storms, so we decided to rent a car (thank you credit card points) and replace the batteries ourselves. It took about 12 hours total, so not as easy of a fix (especially as each battery is 60-80 pounds), but glad we did it before we were forced to.
Saw the SpaceX launch at Cape Canaveral
We were so close (relative to never being close to Kennedy Space Center) to see the space launch, we didn't want to miss it. But we had to haul about 80 miles (9-10 hours cruising) to make it in time and anchor out over night. Having already done one long day (70 miles) a few days before, and with brand spanking new batteries that seemed to be working as they should, we decided to go for it and anchor out by the launch. It was a windy, rocky night, but did not disappoint.
Tested the limits of our dinghy.
After the SpaceX launch, we travelled to New Smyrna Beach for a few days to enjoy the area. We took our dingy out to cruise canals winding around mangroves to check out JB’s Fish Camp restaurant. We bottomed out once, measured depth with our paddle, turned around halfway through to get more gas, and almost ran into oyster bars, but overall a great ding day.
Ventured into middle of Florida to check out a natural spring
Little did we know, some of Florida’s prettiest waters are inland and we didn’t want to miss it before we left the state. So we rented a car and headed to one of many of the state’s natural springs, Silver Glen Springs, for the afternoon. Water was crystal clear, could see schools of fish, turkeys (or some kind of bird) were flying around, and place was popping with people picnicking and enjoying a day outside. Recommend!