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Monday, November 18, 2013

The Don



Today I find myself on Don Pedro Island State park. It's one of those Florida jewels that can only be reached by boat. There's a narrow shallow channel through the mangroves that looks like it'll dead end any moment. Instead it opens up into a small bay. There are some decent small boat docks, a nice picnic pavilion, restrooms and a beach shower. The park is a very narrow barrier island. With the gulf waves at my back I can see my boat on the ICW side.

We had a short trip down from an interesting anchorage near Stump Pass. The Coast Guard does not recommend this pass to the Gulf unless you have current local knowledge. My lovely wife and I had stopped at Stump Pass Marina and Restaurant for the mandatory cheeseburger in Paradise. It had been a long day of motoring against the wind, plus the normal hassle with bridges. We chanced the Stump Pass anchorage as we were ready to call it a day.

With keel and rudder raised, we inched our way past wadding birds until we hit deep enough water to drop the hook. We had some interesting neighbors. There was a Canadian boat in close to the spoil island. I had no idea how he found enough water to slip in there. A couple boats looked like long term live aboards, tucked away from casual view. Then were a couple of recent wrecks to make the whole scene look like something out of a movie.

My lovely wife spotted her first manatee of the trip there. Pods of dolphins frolicked around the boats. Lots of sea birds. A blue heron spent the night perched on my kayak. Much to my surprise he didn't leave a nasty parting gift, so he was welcome.

Electrical problems have plagued me this trip. Problems that don't show up after a week appear in week three. My inverter crapped out on me again. Since I sleep with a cpap I need it for my machine to run. Unfortunately, I bought a cheap inverter that plugs into a cigarette outlet. I know that's not the most reliable connection, so I had two completely separately wired outlets. One has failed completely. The other stopped working last night as corrosion had worked its evil ways. Of course, it took a while today to find the problem. Its working again, but I'm not sure for how much longer.

As soon as I have the opportunity, the inverter will be replaced with a better one that's hardwired directly to the battery. Enough is enough.

It's been said that cruising is boat repair in exotic locations. Sometimes that's just what it is.

Don't feel to bad for me, as my happiness to hassle ratio is well in the plus column.



-Sixbears

14 comments:

  1. Sounds like an interesting spot to anchor. Enjoy.

    Like you, SWMBO and I both rely on CPAP machines to make it through the night. From failed warranty discussions with several providers, it appears no manufacturer will warranty a unit if relied upon to supply CPAPs due to the extreme variation in the load between inhalations and exhalations (as much as a 20 amp load range, despite background draw by the humidifier). With the constant cycling, the inverter bellies up in no time. Best we've found is to use twice the capacity needed for adequate reserve (750 where ordinary loads will let you get by with 400 amps, for instance).Direct battery connection with greater than adequate cables -- all but the cheapest units will artificially limit a cigar lighter connection to a 10 amp draw. Daily mechanical recharging via generator-driven 40 amp charger as we watch the boob tube in the evening. And still we anticipate replacing inverters on an annual basis. Next time we replace a CPAP it will be a 12 volt direct unit. Beware Respironics and others wanting 19.4 volts...

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    1. We stopped at a marina. Their service department will have a new inverter for me this afternoon. Also some heavy duty cigarette plugs, as so many gizmos plug into them.

      Thanks for the good info.

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  2. Hate to hear about problems, but glad you're enjoying yourself. Could the Canadian have come in at high tide?

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    1. He must have, but high tide in that area is only about a foot.

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  3. Anyone would take on your problems to be in your position right now. Keep on making memories.

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    1. It doesn't cost much to do things the way I do. More people could if they really wanted to.

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  4. Enjoying reading about your trip. If you get a chance to post a couple of photographs it would be lovely. Stay safe.

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  5. Despite the problems it sounds like a wonderful trip so far!

    Good continued travels, my friend!

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    1. Glad I'm here. Hope we can keep on keeping on.

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  6. Glad to hear the trip is going well except for some needed solar power. I'm sure you will have that corrected soon. Enjoy every minute on the water, it's a lot better than shoveling snow :-)

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    1. This morning my lovely wife pointed out there are no bugs back home. Of course, they all froze to death, as might I. :)

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  7. Like Dizzy said I would love to have your problems. I'm enjoying following along on the trip. Thanks for taking us along!

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