The Season That Wasn't
26 February 2013 | Riviera Beach Marina, West Palm Beach, Florida
The weather window that we were waiting for at Christmas never did materialize, so we opted to stay in Stuart. We went for dinghy rides, long walks, went to the movies and just relaxed and enjoyed spending our time together. All too soon, it was time for me to head back home to work. Wayne is going to stay in Stuart until my return mid-February.
During his time in Stuart, he was having trouble with starting the engine. After a call to the Indiantown Marina where they had done the maintenance work, it was determined that he should take the boat back there so that they could check things over. The starting battery decided to die about this point, so he had to go get a new one. It was about 7 years old, so we can't complain. At home they last longer, but in the hot south, their life is shortened. New battery installed, Wayne headed back to Indiantown. They discovered that there was a small crack in the new Racor filter that had been installed as well as a crack in one of the new fuel lines. Everything was replaced and Wayne was back in Stuart a couple of days later.
I arrived on the 17th of February and once again we were waiting for a weather window. We left Stuart on the 20th and headed for Peck Lake, enroute to Lake Worth which was to be our staging area for the crossing. While at Peck Lake, we met up with friends Rob and Susan off of Mandate (we had originally met them in Annapolis 3 years ago) and met a young couple (Reed and Naomi) who had just bought their boat and were headed to the Abacos as well. We decided to buddy boat together since it was their first time. We spent 2 days in Peck Lake enjoying the scenery and the fantastic beach and on the 22nd headed to Lake Worth in anticipation of crossing over to the Abacos on the 24th.
The gremlins that have been persistent this year on the boat decided to rear their ugly little troll like heads again and our fridge started to act up. We figured it was a voltage problem because the fridge would work fine on the generator or when the motor was running, but just not when on battery power alone. Then, as we were coming to Lake Worth, the smoke alarm sounded and we had some sort of smoke in the boat coming from the engine compartment. Nothing notable could be seen, although there seemed to be some dried salt water on a couple of the engine components. We figured it would be best to trouble shoot once we got to Lake Worth.
Saturday morning (the 23rd) we started looking around the engine to trouble shoot the smoke problem and discovered that the engine compartment was covered in black soot. Upon closer inspection, we found that the exhaust riser had broken (hence the water) and raw exhaust was filling the engine compartment coming into the boat. We called Eric at Indiantown Marina and he was kind enough to offer to come and look at it but we had to get it to a marina. We pulled up anchor and struck off for Riviera Beach Marina and met up with Eric. He took the broken piece off as well as a couple of other things and was gone again in about an hour. He'll be back likely in a couple of days to reinstall everything.
We missed our weather window and although there is a possibility of one again before I have to go back home on the 8th of March, we have reluctantly decided to head back to Indiantown and not go to the Abacos this year. Wayne figures that if he takes the boat back, he can get some jobs done that he was going to do later in the season and be home mid-April. I was planning on coming back to the boat at that time because it's our 25th wedding anniversary, but if he's home, that's just as good (well, not really - Canadian weather vs. Abacos weather - doesn't really compare).
So this is the season that wasn't, sort of. We did get some cruising in, although I can't really say that it was fun filled or relaxing. But the good news is that all the problems we discovered were where we had access to services and not in the middle of the gulf stream and of course, there is always next year. Here's to cruising!