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Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.

Last weeks weather window slammed itself shut. Out of the 3 days minimum we needed there was 1 good day. We could have done the Mona Passage, but then be stuck in the DR. Rather be stuck here. Then there was problem two.

The outboard motor for the dinghy took ill. The newer motors no longer have shear pins to protect the prop and all. They now have a splined hub in the prop to protect it. Between the spline gear and the prop itself is a strong peace of rubber that is made to give up at a certain torque. Like when you hit something. So now instead of a $.25 shear pin, you get to buy a new $80 prop. Such a deal.

The motor still operates…, kind of. You can go almost at starting speed. More then likely at shifting speed. I am happy. That is a hair faster then rowing. We are about ¼ a mile from the dinghy dock. That would be a long row. We have a RIB inflatable dinghy. They are designed to be driven by a motor. They are very efficient when driven by a motor. They were not meant to be rowed. The oars are telescopic so they fit IN the dinghy. Very efficient. When in use they will collapse, as in break, if you put any degree of effort into rowing. That is assuming the oar locks do not rip off the dinghy. A common problem.

Prop education. If you are a distributer of this motor, you have access to the standard prop that is provided with the motor. If not a distributer you get option 2. The good news is that all motors are standardized on the shaft size. They also provide a variety of prop sizes that will give you a trade off between speed and power. None of which is quite like the original. I went for speed. We will see if that works.

Now we are in Puerto Rico. As the islands go, a pretty sophisticated place. We called the supplier and they have a prop in stock. Shock! We ordered the new one on Wednesday. It comes from San Juan. That is about a 2 hour drive. Should be here maybe Friday. But we are on an island Mon. Well at least by Saturday. Nah. Monday? It’s Presidents Day. Tuesday. That is tomorrow. I sure hope so.

As for the weather. Our weather man suggests we find someplace closer to go. That means the DR. Been there, done that. We stayed in 2 very nice expensive resort marinas. In the DR you stay someplace. And you pay fees. If you go from point “A” to point “B”, you pay fees again. You get the idea.

One consolation about being here is it is full of Manatees. The bay has a 5 mph speed limit. No problem. I wish I could go 5 mph. Where we are anchored is a favorite feeding area for a pod of these creatures. They feed about breakfast time. We finish eating and have our coffee in the cockpit and watch them surface to breath. They disappear around noon and come back about 3 in the afternoon. I have no idea what they do or go when not feeding by us. The locals know about this area and when out in there boats come over to see if any manatees are around. The mate has come to the conclusion that manatee watching becomes boring pretty quick.

OK, you want pictures, check the Facebook page. Now do not get to excided. This is raw nature at its best. You not looking at something at the aquarium. These creatures can and do go wherever and whenever they want. Therefore you will see some noses, some backs and some tails. Sometimes they will lay just under the surface and keep there nose up to breath. They then look like a brown sandbar in the water. They are gray in color, but our water is cloudy and they are difficult to see. The closest one has got to the boat is about 40 feet. That is ok. I do not think I want one of these several ton animals bumping into my rudder.

I try to please. You get pictures of something in the water that is not a big yacht.

By the look of the long range forecast, we will probably be here.



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