Saturday, April 12, 2014 New development! Last night, 1/2 hour after we came back from taking Auggie to shore, the inverter started beeping alerting Bob that the batteries were low. He opened the engine compartment to find smoke. His first thought was that something was wrong with the blowers which were running because we were using the generator for power. He threw off the breaker switches , but could still hear a motor running. Moving with lightning speed (and making me very nervous), he did more investigating. With closer investigation, he discovered the pump was running that controlled the lift carrying the dinghy. It had been running for at least 1/2 hour, maybe more, since we got back from shore. The constant running caused it to overheat and melt the plastic hydraulic oil connector on the front of the pump. A gallon of hydraulic oil leaked all over the starboard side of the engine room. Thank goodness hydraulic oil isn’t flammable, but it does cause a lot of smoke and odor. A gallon doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you apply it a 1/16 of an inch thick over the surfaces, it creates quite a huge mess. Bob spend a couple of hours last night and this morning cleaning up the mess. Unfortunately, this means that we can’t use the dinghy or lift, which is only 3/4 of the way up, until it gets fixed. Fortunately, we were on the boat when this happened. It could have started a fire. Unfortunately, we can’t anchor out because we need it to take Auggie to shore. Fortunately, we’re near Stuart where Davis and Davis can come and fix it today (They are leaving for CT Monday) and they have the part in stock. (If you remember, this is where we had the remote control replaced by Davis and Davis on our way here.)
Surprisingly, we had a wonderful night’s sleep–well, I did. I think Bob woke early because he wanted to finish cleaning up the oily mess. Even with the dredging equipment operating all night, the winds calmed off and we didn’t hear a thing! We got up, made our plans for today as to where we would meet Davis and Davis, and left the anchorage about 8:45. It was a sunny, warm day, but still breezy. It was early enough that there weren’t a lot of boats on the move yet. We passed Stuart inlet (which was pretty calm this morning) to see this Ocean Sportfish, just like our old boat, heading out to sea.
The St. Lucie River was calm and we had a chance to test whether or not we could run at a faster speed on plane. We wanted to see how it affected the dinghy on the lift. It was fine, so that’s another problem averted. I didn’t want to cross Lake Okeechobee at a slow speed, especially if the conditions were a little rough. We had to wait 20 minutes for the Old Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart to clear of walkers on the Cystic Fibrosis walk and open, before we could continue on. We stopped to fuel up in Stuart and that should be enough to get us to Ft. Myers. While we fueled up, we were entertained by a dolphin who had caught a fish in his mouth and kept throwing it into the air. We motored slowly up to the St. Lucie lock where we had to wait for other boats to exit. We could see the water pouring out of the lock as they lowered the water level for the boats traveling east.
We entered the lock and rose 13′ to exit the other side. We motored one mile further to River Forest Yachting Center where we would meet Davis and Davis and spend the night.
We entered the protected channel and tied up along the wall about 1:00.
Auggie got a chance to run around loose on the grassy area, which he loved. Davis and Davis arrived about 5:00 and started working on replacing the pump and remote control.
They’re thinking that the remote control malfunctioned causing the pump to run continuously. They worked for about an hour and a half, much of that time spent cleaning up the oil (which they didn’t have to do, but that’s the kind of men they are). Auggie and I took a walk and just hung out around the area while they worked and Bob supervised the work. About 6:00 they finished and hopefully we can finish our trip without any more major mishaps. Davis and Davis are only the installers and not the producers of the parts, so they left without charging us. Since they felt that the part was defective, they will get their compensation from the Freedom Lift Company. Bob and I relaxed with a drink before dinner and then he did the grilling. We took Auggie for his walk and let him run free again. He just loves that and is really good about staying close by. We’ll all sleep better tonight!