We went to Disney World.
Pat and Fred had mentioned that they had never visited Disney World, but always wanted to. With our extra 3 days on the rental car, and with many stores closed on New Year’s Day, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity this presented and treat ourselves to Disney World. The weather was pleasant, cool and cloudy, but never producing more than a few sprinkles. The crowds were light by Disney standards, allowing us to see all the rides and sites that we wanted to without exhausting waits in lines. We stayed for the parade and fireworks at the end of the day and then followed the crowds out to our car and home. We didn’t get back until 2am, but we agreed it was worth it.
On the way to the park, we stopped at Krispy Kreme to give Pat and Fred another first. They had never visited a Krispy Kreme where they were making hot donuts. We stopped at the one in Kissimmee before we got to Disney, pulling in just as a fresh batch was coming off the line. It took us very little time to down a dozen between us. Mmm.. Mmm…
Reality hit like a ton of bricks the next day, when we realized how tired we were and how much we had to get done in one day, since the rental car was due back early the next morning.
We got a late start, but then headed up to Fort Pierce, where there was a consignment shop, Marine Connection Liquidators calling our names. One of the big finds for us was a canvas window, that Pat thought she could turn into a temporary windshield for us to protect us on ocean crossings. A panel with 3 “glass” panes incorporated into it was in the bin for only $10. Once Pat worked her magic on it, we had a very permanent-looking “temporary” windshield.
After a trip to Sam’s Club, we stopped at Wal-mart to pick up the prescriptions for our emergency medical supplies, Dave and Fred shopped for a new battery for Orion, and Pat and Cathy did the serious grocery shopping for the 3 months coming.
Unfortunately, it soon became clear that the car could not possibly hold the purchases from Sam’s Club, the consignment store, and the Wal-mart provisions. So, Dave and Fred lugged everything purchased so far back to the boat, with a plan to let Cathy and Pat finish shopping. The second load was as big as the first, filling the car to the brim again. We hauled everything to our boats, while Pat fixed dinner for all of us on Marianna, which we gratefully inhaled about 11:30pm after shoving our purchases into what open spaces we could find on Orion. Cathy was to discover several glaring omissions over the next few days that would require a 5 mile round trip bike ride to CVS to help fill the gap. The worry is what else is missing?
With the car returned, we were confined to the boat and now had to face the many projects waiting there.
Our engine was no longer reliably starting on the starter battery, which meant we were continuing to have problems with this system. Dave wanted to install a new starting battery and starter, but we continued to wonder about the root cause of the problems that keep recurring.
After discussing this extensively with Fred, Dave became convinced that the boat’s original battery charger was overcharging the starting battery, causing them to repeatedly “burn” out over the past 2 years. This was evidenced by the readings from the battery monitor and the excessive bubbling in the starting battery. He installed the new battery so that it was disconnected from the charger to prevent this from being a factor in the future. It is common for boats to have their starting batteries charged exclusively by the engine, which should be sufficient without the battery charger.
Next, again with Fred’s help, Dave replaced the rebuilt starter (installed in May) with a new Hitachi starter.
The combined changes caused the engine to start easily, as it hadn’t since the summer. The question is: how long will it last this time? It’s just one more chapter in the on-going saga about our electrical systems. While at Disney, Dave found one display he could relate to in this respect
Based on our engine hours, it was time for an oil change and, more significantly, a Racor fuel filter change. Dave managed to recruit Fred to help with the fuel filter change, which was messy and filled the engine room with diesel fumes. While doing this, they also replaced the Yanmar fuel filter as well. However, they were able to create a Racor fuel filter assembly with our newly acquired bowl, which will make future filter changes much easier.
3. Where does it go?
In between engine chores, Cathy was looking around for places to store the mountains of food and supplies purchased on Tuesday. This meant that all box packaging had to be stripped away, the interior bags labeled, the contents, location and expiration date recorded in the food inventory and the storage location found. We now have food everywhere. But for the most part, there isn’t any under foot, which causes us to wonder if we need to buy more . . .
Where to now?
We’ve been having some discussions about where we are headed next. We’ve read a bit about the Florida Keys, which are doable, although they can be shallow. We would have to take the “outside” route, which runs to the east between an outer reef and the islands. However, we discussed the possibility of crossing to the Bahamas with Pat and Fred, and came to realize that we could cross from Lake Worth (a day’s trip south of our location) to West End in the Bahamas during daylight. That discovery, plus the ability to cross in the company of another boat, made it appealing to head east to the Bahamas. We are now awaiting a weather window, where the winds are mostly south, to keep the Gulf Stream crossing calm. No matter our destination, in the spirit of our friends at Disney, we will continue to work to making this “the happiest cruise on earth”.
We still have a bit further to go however.