"At least oars don't break down!" a fellow boater called to us as we rowed past him in our dinghy here in the Boot Key Harbor mooring field a couple of days ago.
And why were we rowing? Because our newly repaired dinghy motor refused to start, that's why.
One of our neighbors checking things out
I guess this is the low I was worrying about after experiencing the high of surviving the nasty front that blew in the night before.
What a confluence of events we've experienced in the last couple of days.
When we arrived in Boot Key Harbor I was thrilled that Hans signed us up for a week long stay. I'm a bit of a wet blanket and I like the feeling of stability one gets with putting down roots for more than one day. After that I'm usually ready to leave and move on to our next adventure.
The day before our week long commitment here was to end, we made huge plans to finish up some loose ends. We would get up early and walk to Publix and Winn-Dixie for a huge provisioning run and then hire a taxi (it's like 5 dollars) back to the dock. I would get a load of laundry done along with both of us getting much needed showers, Hans would clean up our engine rooms, we would hoist the dinghy and motor into their respective resting places aboard the Knotty Cat, and the next day we would be off to the next anchorage before we blasted off to the Bahamas.
I woke up on Wednesday morning to Hans saying, "I've decided we're going to stay another week." I was thrilled as I love it here in Marathon, and then I thought maybe he was playing a cruel April Fool's joke on me. But he wasn't. He'd been following the weather and realized the week ahead weather forecast wasn't favorable at all for crossing to the Bahamas and all we'd do was sit in an anchorage using up all our water and food stores. And that's not fun.
After listening to the morning cruiser's net on channel 68 we decided to take Wilbur to the Hillbilly Diner (a new floating breakfast enterprise) where the owner promised bacon flavored treats to all furry friends. "Yaaaay!" Wilbur exclaimed, and we jumped into the dinghy. Only the outboard wouldn't start.
Even though we gave the motor several rests just in case we'd flooded it, it never did start and our plans quickly eroded. Wilbur did not get a bacony treat, laundry didn't get done (it's still piling up), a provisioning run was out of the question, but Phil, who happens to be on the boat right beside us, heard me complaining about our problem after we'd rowed* ashore, and offered his expertise. C'mon over! we exclaimed. And he did. BTW, Wilbur is not a fan of rowing; he wants to get to shore 'now' and half way through our slog to the dock he tried to get out and tow us.
*I realize there are a lot of cruisers who don't have outboards and they row everywhere (and they're in fantastic shape too!) but as long as we have an outboard we'd like for it to work.
Over the next few hours Phil and Hans systematically tore that bugger to pieces. Hoses, spark plugs, wires, you name it, that motor got the deluxe spa treatment (In my 50 plus years on this earth I've yet to receive this kind of attention). To me, the motor was starting to take on a smug kind of aura and she still refused to start. The next day on the cruiser's net our problem was made public and we received a lot of good info, yet our motor continued to remain mute. Hans finally gave up and started calling various enterprises and we were dismayed to find their repair schedules were over a week out. And then we found Alex from Sea Tek (who lives not far from us in the mooring field). Within a half hour of our S.O.S., Alex arrived and promptly got down to business. It was obvious that he knew what he was doing and after a few ministrations to our outboard, it fired up like it hadn't a problem in the world.
We were stunned as Alex really did nothing more than point out that a couple of wires Hans had cut had been unnecessary and then he scrubbed the spark plugs with a wire brush. That's it.
So, I think we have a bit of sibling rivalry going on here. The Knotty Cat has been gifted with all kinds of bling lately and even though the outboard (the Knotty Dog) did get her carburetor rebuilt back in January, this wasn't good enough. And while I'm sure it gave her a heady feeling to hold all of us hostage for a couple of days she knew she couldn't pull a fast one over on Alex.
Alex takes care of business
We were quite happy (Wilbur even more so) to finally motor over to the dinghy dock and Hans hiked to West Marine and bought even more stuff for her highness.
I only hope she's satisfied for the time being.
Just as I went to hit the publish button on this, Hans emerged from the starboard engine room and reported to me that the transmission oil plug fell apart in his hand and the dip stick is now stuck in place.
Daddy, will we ever get to the Bahamas?