Boot Key Harbor, Marathon FL
Posted by Bill
After a 2 week wait we finally got a mooring ball. The waiting list is now 38 boats…crazy! We have had a couple of weeks of great weather after getting the mooring. Figures…you have the nasty stuff at anchor and good weather on the secure mooring ball. But life has been pretty good. Hi temps in the upper 70s and low 80s and for the most part sunny days! We feel for the people up north. Life has been hell for them weather wise.
Speaking of weather. We had a couple day window of some really nice weather forecast and Tricia’s sister Diane and her husband Mark were RVing with a spot 40 miles north of us in Siesta Key. We decided to go up and anchor off of the RV park and spend a few days with them. We kept our mooring paid up so we could return to it. We had a great time partying with Mark and Di and the RV park is really nice there. Then that night the wind kicked up out of the north and we got soaked trying to dinghy back to the boat. After checking the forecast, it looked like it was going to continue to be rough and we reluctantly decided to head back to the protection of Boot Key Harbor the next day. The forecast was wrong and just as we got to Marathon the wind died and the weather was fantastic for the next day….we were pissed. That’s how it goes….
In the mean time we have been dealing with dinghy engine issues. The day after we get back to Boot Key we are heading out in the dinghy to see the manatees at the end of the channel and the dinghy engine makes this whoop, whoop, whoop sound. Not something I have ever heard before. Further experimentation shows that it only happens above 1/3 throttle and in forward gear only. I talk to Matt and we call our known outboard engine resources here and in Southport. They suggest replacing the water pump components and see if that fixes it. I find a water pump kit in walking distance and pick one up. I have never dealt with the lower unit of an outboard where this is installed, but Matt has, and he pretty much did the work for me as I helped and learned. As it turned out, the impeller was in bad shape so good that we replaced all of that. After a test drive we get the same result, plus, the faster you rev the engine, the slower you go. Ahhhhh….a spun prop. Propellers for outboard motors have a rubber bushing between the prop and the prop shaft on the motor, protecting the lower unit from running aground. When you do go aground, the bushing is sheared and the prop shaft just spins without the prop following it. I don’t recall going aground, but it is what it is. So, I can’t find a prop locally, so we order off the internet with 2 day delivery. Our dinghy is the only way to shore and fortunately we can go just above idle speed and the prop will bite. We go painfully slow for a couple of days and install the new prop when it arrives. Now all is good! Just glad that didn’t happen in the Bahamas!
We are waiting for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas, and I think we finally have one. We leave Marathon Friday, jump to Islamorada, then to Anglefish Creek, and cross to Bimini on Sunday. There I will buy a BTC sim card for my phone and we can continue the blog in the Bahamas.