January 2, 2020
Today was a bit of a grab bag of things, but my dinghy and my new toy lead the day’s agenda.
Yesterday we departed Great Harbour Marina and stayed near Soldier Key. It was a great spot really, and could have stayed far longer, but we need to have Megan in Nassau by tomorrow night. While there we put the dinghy in the water to take Megan to the beach. The dinghy is getting old and has a few known problems. Some of those problems were corrected in North Palm Beach before Christmas with the help of Mike at Nautical Ventures. I drove the dinghy on the water from the shop back to the boat and it worked great.
Soldier Key has a beautiful beach and just like the advertisements, the beaches here have no one on them (no facilities either), so I put the dinghy in the water and started it up . . . it died. (Why me?! comes to mind now).
I got Megan to the beach but I could smell gas and the cause was not at all obvious. After arriving at the beach with Megan and letting her walk in, I headed back. I got about 30 feet and the motor died. When I took the cover off and tried to start the engine I saw fluid spraying everywhere. I assumed it was water. Boy was I wrong. As I found out later, one of the hoses between my fuel pump and the carbs had split in two and I was simply pouring gas onto the engine. I chose to paddle back to the boat (it was a long way).
We enjoyed a quiet evening at anchor, ate some good food, drank some good wine and in the back of my mind I was wondering what happened to my dinghy that, while not perfect, was running just fine the day before.
Around 11pm, I went outside with headlamp and flashlight and started searching for the problem and with the help of some lights, a mirror and some acrobatics with my fingers, found that split hose. A clean split, just before the fuel hose reached the carbs.
Today I shared my findings with Mike at Nautical Ventures and he was baffled, but informed me that I could get away with tearing the engine apart without needing a new set of gaskets etc. And so that is what I did.
We moved down the line of the Berry Islands to Little Whale Cay. It is a bit more open and a bit shallower, but still a nice place to anchor. There were no other boats anywhere near us and that gave us some space to bring out our various toys.
I spent an hour or so tearing the carbs off of the dinghy, fixing the hose and putting it all back together, while Megan was lounging on her blow up pink flamingo and Jinhee watched for sharks, worked on food, and probably answered work email too.
After lunch, I put the dinghy back in the water, tested it for 10 minutes and all was well, so we all piled in and headed for a beach. We got half way there and the same problem occurred. The smell of gas, the engine dies and fuel is spitting out all over the place. Uggh. We paddled back to the mother ship.
I lifted the dinghy again, stuck my mirror in the engine to look at the fuel hose . . . it split again!!!!!! WTF!
I have to thank Mike at Nautical Ventures for responding to all of my emails and helping me think through the problem here. The current feeling is that the hose has just degraded to the point where it can’t do its job and just splits apart. When I get to Nassau, I will find some new fuel hose and tear the engine down again. I haven’t torn apart a gas engine since I was 15, so I am bringing back memories now.
Before coming down on Christmas Day I finally decided to spring for a high quality drone to take photos of places we go with a vastly different perspective. The featured image (as well as the same image below) were taken with that drone. It is a really nice way to get perspective on the places we are visiting. I am still not a good photographer, but I will practice more and more and hopefully get some nice pictures and video in the coming year.
The drone we chose was the DJI Mavic Pro which has a Hasselblad camera, so I am expecting some pretty nice pictures from the device.
Tomorrow it is off to Nassau where we will tie up for at least a day and given the current forecast, probably three days to miss a bit of weather coming in on Sunday overnight.
Below is my first attempt to post a video from the drone. The production quality may improve . . . for now I am simply trying to figure out how to fly the drone and capture video. The rest will take time.