Can you hear me now?
It was becoming a familiar refrain: “Orion, you are barely readable.” Or worse yet, silence in response to a hail from our VHF radio. At first, we just chalked it up to background noise or operator error, but it was becoming harder to ignore that we were having a more serious problem. We started dashing down to the nav station whenever we realized we weren’t transmitting from the helm. Since that mike consistently got through, we realized the problem was inside the remote mike at the helm. The remote mike received clearly, but nothing was getting out anymore.
While our handheld could be used as a temporary replacement, it was not going to be a long-term solution. The batteries died too quickly, and the power was too low. We contacted Standard Horizon, the manufacturer of our primary radio to see if they could help with the remote mike. They said to ship the mike to them for evaluation and repair. For a fixed fee, they would replace the chip, if it turned out to be the problem, and return it.
Within a couple of weeks, we had our remote mike back at the helm and were actually being heard when we transmitted. It gives a whole new meaning to the Verizon slogan.
Clean and Shiny
Once Orion’s topsides had been waxed, Cathy turned her attention to the stainless steel. The painter’s tape had protected it during the Cetol application to the gunwales, but had left a residue in places that needed to be removed. The stainless steel polish removed the gunk and left it gleaming – if only for a while.
It’s been well over a year since we had any anxiety about Orion starting reliably when we turned the key. That has changed a little in the past month or so. On 2 occasions, we have tried to start her up, only to have her quickly sputter off and then refuse to start again. We had seen this once before, but it was years ago, during our first summer up in Edgewater. The solution then – and now – was to bleed the fuel line on the engine. However, given the recurrence of the problem in such a short time, we decided to change the on-engine fuel filter to determine if this might be a contributor as well. Since it was clean, we ruled that out, but are theorizing that the soaring temperatures while we are away from the boat created a vacuum within the fuel line. We’ll keep monitoring the situation to see if this theory holds true.
Do you see what I see?
While leaving Vero Beach this past Spring, Cathy was using the binoculars early on a damp morning to verify the path of an oncoming barge. She quickly realized that the white blur that she saw as she looked into the distance was not an intense fog outside, but rather inside the binoculars. We were later to discover that this set of binoculars was not waterproof and probably not the best to use for the boat. Since they were purchased at West Marine, we took them back to see if there was any warranty left. There was enough to get us a discount on a new pair that gives us much greater visibility, even though the rating (7 x 50) is the same.
Between the foggy binoculars being replaced and Cathy’s eyeglass prescription being updated, the possibilities are great for new sights to be seen as head out again this fall.
We had a great time introducing our grandson to the wonders of the ocean as we gathered with Cathy’s family at Sunset Beach for a week. It’s been a while since we’ve built so many sandcastles or dodged so many waves. Although Droz seemed to be full of energy at day’s end, Grandpa and Grandma were not quite so lively, but we all enjoyed ourselves.
We plan to spend another month in Hampton, which will make this the longest stay in one place for Orion since we moved aboard. It’s been nice begin close enough to family to visit, and we’ve continued to enjoy our friends on the dock at Joy’s Marina.