Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Swing Set Gets An Organ Transplant

  We had the engine room hatches open on the salon for Steve, the mechanic from Key West Engines, when he got to the boat on Thursday morning of the 10th of January. He pulled off the turbo chargers, the aftercoolers, and some other bits and pieces, the names of I know not. Even I could see that the turbo chargers were showing signs of wear on the inside. Corrosion on the insides of the housings was evident, and some flaking was obvious. According to Steve, just the condensation on the inside of the housings will cause the corrosion over time. When the turbos don't work at full efficiency, the aftercoolers get gummed up, and problems multiply. The diagnosis was for new turbo charger housings and a solvent bath for the aftercoolers, after which they were to receive a coat of paint. Years of 280 degree temperatures had flaked the paint off of them, hidden by the heat shields. By mid-morning, Swing Set was missing some vital parts and we were to await a call from Celeste at Key West Engines as to a price for the turbo housings.
  We were on Duvall Street on Friday afternoon when Celeste called and had a price for the housings. She couldn't believe the low price she had found on the Internet, and I had done some searching too, and agreed that if the price held up, it would mean some savings for us. I told her to go ahead and order the parts. She said she would, and then would call me when the parts came in so she could schedule the work.

  While our boat was out of commission, we spent some more time exploring Key West. One morning we went to Harpoon Harry's for breakfast. Liked it. We went to the Schooner Wharf for another visit. We arrived less than five minutes before happy hour started, and the waiter failed to give us a heads up. We thought happy hour started at 4P.M., but it started at 5P.M. instead. Beers are about half the price at happy hour. Don't you think a good waiter would have said to wait five minutes? We do. It cost him, tip wise.
  We also took advantage of our location to order a few items from, some things we tried to find locally but couldn't. One item was some suspenders. What? Yes, suspenders, to not only hold up my heavy weight belt when I use the Hookahmax, but also to attach my air hose so it doesn't keep trying to pull out of my mouth. I also ordered a set of stainless steel putty knives to scrape barnacles, two inline air filters for the Hookamax,  a sewing awl, a de-humidifier to set on the counter in the salon, some earplugs to use when swimming, (for us and Holly, they'll fit us all), a SSB radio receiver to get weather reports in the Bahamas, and a big case of potty pads. I ordered some other stuff too, but you don't have to know everything. With no sales tax and free shipping, ordering online is great for travelers like us.
  On Saturday, we were at a local bar and a couple comes in and sets down next to us. They said we looked familiar, and it turned out we had met them years ago in Chicago, and we had many mutual acquaintances. We had planned to meet up with them later that evening, but Rosie started missing Holly, so we went back to the boat and stayed in for the evening. Just as well.
  We've been meeting folks at the dock here at A-B too. One couple in a 50 foot Sea Ray from Chattanooga wound up knowing Kirk and Jeannie, the folks that took care of us when we passed through on Lake Chickamauga, on the Tennesee River. The world getting is smaller all the time. Mike and Angie on the Sea Ray invited us over to their boat to watch the NFL playoffs on Sunday. For the second game, we all went up to the Rumbarrell, just up on Front Street. We had a great time but paid for it on Monday morning.

  Holly joined us while we lounged around on Monday. I eventually did a few minor chores once we started stirring after noon. It's hard to stay inside the boat when the weather is so gorgeous. Lows and highs both in the 70's. Perfect for sleeping and no air conditioning needed.
  We had gotten a message on Facebook that some friends from the river were going to be in town on the coming weekend, and we got a call from Doug and Jeanne Harmon. Doug and Jeanne were on their way down from Tampa in their motor home and said that we'd see them by Wednesday, and to plan on going lobster fishing on Thursday. We can't wait.

  At sunrise this morning I was wondering when we would get a call from Key West Engine. At about 8 o'clock I was looking for my phone when it started ringing. I had left it outside and it took me a minute to find it, and when I answered, Celeste was on the line and wondered if Steve could come and put our engines back together. Great! I pulled up the salon carpet and got the hatches open.
  While I was waiting, one of the crew members on a neighboring boat asked if we had any rice. Triple Net is an 80 foot Hatteras Cockpit Motor Yacht just a few slips down. We had met one of the three crew members onboard during our stay here, and Spanos Harding, one of them, was making a dish for later and ran out of rice. This was a favor we could easily comply with, I only had to ask if he wanted Minute Rice or regular. Triple Net is going to the Bahamas and will be there at the same time as us. Spanos gave us his phone number and told us to call if we needed anything, and he also dispensed some good advice regarding our firearms when we go through Immigration. I had somewhat planned to check in at Gun Cay, and he said that was a good place to check in. They would probably go on to Nassau, but that distance is a bit ambitious for us. We want to ease into the island chain.

  Sailboat races are being held in Key West this weekend and The Galleon is starting to fill up with not only sailboats, but other large yachts. One very large one is anchored out in the harbor. Connie, another boat neighbor, called me out this morning to take a look. I took a picture of it. No, it's not the obvious one, but it's the large one framed by the mast and the forward doohicky on the boat centered in the photo. I am not a sailor.

  The docks seem to stay full here at A-B. The owner never lowers his price in the offseason, preferring to "maintain the quality of the brand of A-B". It runs in opposition of the other marinas here in Key West Bight, but it must work. The marina is spotlessly clean and the employees are "bend over backward" helpful. This place is on our list to spend the summer months, and maybe some fall ones too, if we have any money left after we pay for our engine work and return from our planned trip to the Bahamas. But we never know, the next place we go may be the place we like the best.

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