Hi y’all. Yes, it’s been a couple months since the last post and I once again find myself uttering apologies all around. When we sit for a while in one place, I do find it difficult to write about the daily grind, the boat work and the Chronicles of Jet. Actually, I find it difficult to believe that’s what you want to read about.
We’ve been working like mad, our noses to the grindstone trying to make the summer as financially productive as possible and that’s not very romantic. But it does help pad the cruising fund. On that note, if you don’t know about Mel’s blog Saving to Sail, you should drop by and check out her posts on making extra income each month. She’s got some great tips and has been killing it with her nautical jewelry and other side hustles.
We are usually on the Chesapeake Bay by now enjoying a Spring Cove Punch by the pool with our bay friends that we’ve missed over the winter. That said, we are not there. After a nice sail out of Lauderdale with tons of shark sightings, we noticed something weird with our batteries. Our monitor was giving us some strange numbers so we fired up the engine and got the volt meter out. After starting the engine, we noticed very unusual smells coming from the engine bay. Not really electrical and not really oily-diesely but not normal. Lots of unexplained heat as well but not coming from the engine. The temp gauge was a little higher than normal but not alarmingly high. Needless to say we shut her down and sailed on.
The sail from Fort Lauderdale to St. Simons inlet is only about 3 days and we were a couple into it when we noticed this. In fact, we were right of the coast of St. Augustine. Yep… again. Those of you who’ve been following along with Vacilando know that if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen off the coast of St. Augustine. This will make three times we’ve had issues off the coast of St. Augustine and had to divert in.
At this point, we noticed our batteries dropped to a dangerously low 57% and that’s never happened! So I fired up the engine again to charge the batteries, and Mel and I got busy troubleshooting pronto. She noticed that when we were running the engine, we seemed to be depleting our batteries rather than charging them, so that led me to believe our alternator was shot. Upon inspection, I found a weird wire hanging (hiding) behind the anti-freeze overflow reservoir. It was the positive stud off the back of our alternator! The whole area where the bolt was on the alternator had broken clean off!
No wonder things got so hot. No wonder we had negative voltage and it’s no wonder we didn’t have a FIRE! Sheesh. Thank God we found it and shut it down. We turned off all unnecessary equipment which was everything. Our solar panel started kicking ass and within a couple hours we were back up to 12.4 volts (which is still dead but climbing). We radioed Sea Tow and bobbed our way towards the safe water mark for a pick up and tow into that old familiar inlet. Only this time, none of our usual marinas in St. Augustine would accept a vessel under tow. Believe that! New policy.
But one did and we’ll be forever grateful. The Conch House Marina is awesome! If breaking down in St. Augustine can be considered kismet, at least we landed in a new and special place. One we’ll be returning to under our own power of course. We loved it… but a couple of days later, with a new alternator installed, we left. We had to… kooky hurricane insurance guidelines. Gotta be out of the state by June 1… Fuera!
We decided to stay somewhere we’ve never been and tied our lines to a cool place in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Morningstar Marina at Golden Isles… Sounds like a Henry Fonda movie, “On Golden Isles.”
It’s a cool place. Very reasonable with nice docks and wicked current. And I mean wicked. We had a rousing 4th of July storm that derailed our crab fest and instead left us tending every last line we owned until well after dark as Vacilando bucked and jerked on the dock as the dock started breaking apart. No lie… we were about twenty-feet from where the dock split in half. As Mel and I strongly considered grabbing our laptops, important personal records, insurance papers, Jet and abandoning ship, V held fast and the storm abated as quickly as it rose.
Completely off the subject but a relevant update none the less, Melody is leaving her job of 9 years to begin a new chapter in the editorial department for a prominent author! She not only stepped outside her comfort zone this year, but leapt out! This job affords her more money and more freedom and should let us get to the islands this year. Seems every year we plan to jump over, we endure a catastrophic event and this year, we aren’t letting anything get in the way.
Now that South Florida is well in the rear view, we have a few plates spinning as we try to plan our fast approaching wedding… Yep, we’re getting hitched and after several stressful conversations about how to include all of our family and friends from across the planet, we’re rethinking the entire plan. Again. Don’t be surprised if we just sneak off in the middle of the night, with the moon and fireflies as our witnesses and make it official. Should that happen, we’ll find a way to have a few parties in a few locales so we can celebrate with everyone we love and miss.
So there you have it! A little about a lot. We are enjoying all that this area has to offer and as the summer flies by we are grateful for everything we have. It’s an amazing journey every day and it can change in the blink of an eye or the thickness of a butterflies wing for that matter. So we treasure every moment and even though I’m not posting as much during this down time, I’ll try to do better. I’ll delve further into the little things that posses so much magic and try to put it into words. But I think everyone reading this blog over the years possesses a very strong “dreamer” muscle and I’m pretty certain it’s not getting too terribly out of shape.
Much love friends. Be well and have a great, great day!