|Cruising is sometimes called "boat maintenance in exotic places". |
We last crossed paths with the Bounty in Lake Worth Inlet.
After touring the area by dinghy on Monday, we upped anchor and motored over to Crown Bay Marina on Tuesday morning to load up with fuel and fresh water. Linda dropped some laundry off at the marina which has a wash and fold service, and I picked up some hardware from the chandlery. About an hour and a half later and nearly two tons heavier, we cast off and came back to the anchorage via Haulover Cut, a narrow but deep channel between St Thomas and Hassel Island, anchoring a bit closer to shore than before.
Facebook followers may recall our main engine start battery died a week or so ago, and since the generator start battery was the same age, I decided to replace both of them again after a call to Caribbean Battery, who met me at the Crown Bay dinghy dock. We wound up with the exact same battery made by Penn, just branded Deka instead of NAPA. To satisfy my curiosity, and not worried about ruining my already dead battery, I decided to remove the cell cap from this “maintenance free” battery. It popped right off, I didn’t even need a screwdriver. Of course, the water was low, as I expected. Now that I know I can get the caps off and back on without ruining the battery, I will do regular maintenance on the start batteries when I maintain my house batteries and hopefully the new ones will last longer.
We had been getting water in the bilge when motoring, and my troubleshooting led me to believe that it was coming from the PSS shaft seal. For the non-cruisers reading this, this is what allows the motor shaft to stick out the bottom of the boat and turn the propeller without seawater coming in around the shaft. A ceramic ring on a rubber bellows presses against a stainless ring attached to the shaft. I expected that due to wear, there wasn’t enough pressure anymore to keep the water out, but I was able to move the stainless ring about a quarter of an inch aft and increase the pressure, and so far no water.
Now that the bilge didn’t have a lot of seawater in it, I took the opportunity to pump out the last of it and wipe down the bilge, which should stay dry except for the little bit of rainwater that makes it down the mast. That in turn should help keep the boat sweet smelling. Changing the coolant and oil in the generator, and cleaning debris from the raw water strainers have rounded out the work in the last week. Linda has been cleaning and organizing our storage as well as baking for Thanksgiving. If we can get a few days without showers, we plan on some painting and varnishing before setting off to explore the rest of the US Virgins.