Swing Set

Feb 22, 201308:00 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

We Emerge Victorious, For Now

(page 2 of 2)

I took some 400-grit emery cloth and shined up the yaw and evened out the grooves. I cleaned everything with trusty WD-40 and put everything back together. We had enough wind to get the blades spinning, and they started up. Within a few seconds, the brakes came on and I knew my repair had failed. Depression set in.

Bo at Primus Wind Energy had given me the phone number of E Marine, based in Ft. Lauderdale, and I called them to discuss our options. I talked to Andrew, and he was very helpful. We obtained an RMA number and were instructed to send the unit to them when we got to Marathon. They were backed-up due to some difficulty getting parts from Primus, but they would do everything they could to get the wind generator fixed for us. As I got off the phone with him, I began contemplating sending the unit to them and then cruising up to Fort Lauderdale on our way to The Bahamas to retrieve the unit after the repair.

But I couldn't get the issue off of my mind. My bosses at the beer factory use to call it "obsessing," but I'd call it being fixated on a problem. My tenacity in regard to solving a problem is vexing to Rosie, as is a problem is also vexing to me, but I usually get results.

For no concrete reason, I decided to switch off the circuit breaker on the wind generator, and then switch it back on. I already had turned the unit off with the supplied inline power switch. Now get this: The wind generator started spinning, and stayed spinning! The power disconnect did something good to the circuit board after having it apart. Maybe it had to "reset." Hell, I don't know. We kept watch on it all day, anticipating for it to fail again. I wasn't about to start celebrating yet.

We watched another gorgeous sunset and waited for dark. As the light faded, the little indicator light on the body of the wind generator glowed like it is supposed to when all is well. Each time I got up during the night, I went out to view the light. By morning, I was convinced that cleaning the yaw was the solution to our problem, and my revelation about the contact of the brushes remaining constant was an interesting concept, shared by Andrew at E Marine, when I called him to tell him I wouldn't be sending our wind generator to them for repair. This time, at least. But, of course, my phone call to announce our success was sure to jinx us. I plan on adjusting the yaw on the starboard generator about 1/8 of a turn in order to ward off a similar occurrence on that unit. So far, three days later, we're still making electricity with the port generator.

We got up yesterday, left Holly to guard the boat and took the dinghy to Dolphin Marina to dump some trash and fill up our water jugs with potable water. The people there were really nice, and Jennifer at the gas dock dutifully accepted our 70 cents in payment for the seven gallons of water we took away. I offered two bucks, but she would have none of it. I did manage to leave the extra 30 cents from my dollar bill. No one can say I don't tip.

We also got directions over to Keys Sea Center, up a canal over on Big Pine Key, where we intended on having breakfast at Big Pine Restaurant. We were directed over to a nice cozy tie-up at the dock and were told there were "no worries" about us docking there as long as we needed to, in order to visit the restaurant and get some supplies. They couldn't have been more accommodating.

We walked just a short distance to the restaurant and had a wonderful breakfast, plus got walking directions to nearby stores. On our walk to Walgreens, we saw key deer and roosters roaming about. We turned our heads to avoid seeing an already limping key deer cross the busy U.S. 1 roadway, but luckily for it, the deer made its way into the protection of the woods along the highway.

We loaded up our West Marine cart and pulled it back to the dinghy. Holly was glad to see us once we got back to the boat, and as Rosie was stocking the larder with our new supplies, I noticed a business card on our transom door. I called the number of the person who left the card and met Linda Vanaman, a local captain who stopped by because she had noticed our boat in the harbor now for a number of days. Linda offered to drive us to the store if we needed to go, but since we had just returned from there, her and I spent about an hour talking about entry into The Bahamas and pertinent information in that regard. She had some great insight into the matter, plus visiting with a pet, because she had done the trip nearly 20 times. I added her blog site to our list of websites that are our favorites, if you want to take a look at her blog site.

Yesterday was a very nice day. Boaters had started coming in to Picnic Island. The dinghy was already in the water, so we put a few Bud Lights in the cooler and went to join the party. We immediately met two couples: a local couple and their friends visiting from Springfield, Ill. We asked the couple from Springfield if they knew Jim and Kathy Dickerson from there, and the one woman had worked with Kathy years ago! We've known Jim and Kathy for over 20 years, having met them on a cruise and then running into them everywhere else we went. The local couple, the Flatterys, promised to meet up with us again over the upcoming weekend and also gave us their number if we needed anything while in the area. How nice is that?

When those four left, we met another couple who were locals, and they had a big Laborador retriever that Holly found a reason to bark incessantly at. They also turned out to be very nice and were going to come back for the weekend party at Picnic Island. I guess we'll stay for a few more days. The man did ask me if I was a "diver" or a "fisherman," and I replied that I was neither. Just a boater. I felt like a complete failure.

A big sailboat came in to share our anchorage last night and helped us admire another sunset. We fired up the grill and made some chicken for dinner. As I was taking the last piece of chicken off of the grill, I used too much torque and the grill slid off of the cast iron skillet and right "into the drink." (My brother and his new wife will get a kick out of my use of the term "into the drink.")

Now I have a mission for the day, which is to retrieve the grill and clean the "hair" off the sides of the hull. It's been a month since I scraped barnacles. The barnacles are being kept at bay, but the algae has taken a liking to Swing Set's bottom. A quick wipe with an abrasive pad will dispense with the algae in no time.

Not sure what else is in store for us today, but it will probably involved a visit to the beach with the dinghy. There may be some icy cold Bud Lights in our future, too, but I can't promise anything. At least we don't have snow.

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