Saturday, January 30, 2021

Lake Worth: Another Leg Completed, Crew Change

We arrived here at Safe Harbor New Port Cove marina this afternoon where Kyndy left Intermezzo and I await new crew members Amy and Robin and a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream to The Bahamas. This marks the end of another leg of voyaging that began in Hilton Head on January 20th and covered 329 nautical miles.

 Our last few days on this leg began with our departure on Thursday from Fort Pierce on a very windy morning. The wind was blowing from the northeast in the mid-20's, with frequent gusts over 30 knots. Fortunately we were headed south, so the wind was at our backs and the constrained waters of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) limited waves to a moderate chop, also moving along with us.

We only had two minor incidents along the way. One of our cockpit cushions blew overboard in a big gust of wind. We used it as an opportunity for practicing man overboard recovery skills. I turned the boat around quickly and Kyndy took her position on the stern step as I maneuvered the boat in the windy conditions to bring us alongside the cushion. It was masterful teamwork and we had the cushion back on board less than five minutes after it went over the side.

The other incident involved a motor-barge coming from the other direction, hogging the narrow ICW channel. The big, ugly, rusty steel barge looked like it would leave a mark if it hit Intermezzo, so I edged out of the channel to to let the barge pass. It looked like I had sufficient water depth to continue on my way outside the channel as the barge passed, but suddenly the water shallowed to 5 feet, then 4 feet, then...bump, bump...Intermezzo's keels touched the soft bottom! I quickly applied power and turned towards the channel, hoping to be able to plow my way back into deeper water. Thankfully, that worked and we were back in business. In retrospect, I should have slowed to minimum steerage speed when I left the channel and just let the barge pass me, but at the time, the high winds and ugly, threatening barge motivated me to keep some speed on to make sure I could maneuver quickly if I needed to. Not a bad idea, but sometimes going more slowly is better.

We arrived at Peck Lake, on Hobe Sound and on the inside shore of Jupiter Island in the afternoon. The wind was still howling and there were about half a dozen boats in the anchorage. I found a spot to anchor in the middle of the boats that was deep enough and provided enough room for us to swing at anchor. The proximity of the other boats and the high winds required a precision anchor drop. It was a pretty tricky situation, bringing the boat to and stopping it in just the right spot, then dropping the anchor fast enough to get it on the bottom before the boat was blown off by the wind. We hit the jackpot on the first attempt. Even I was impressed with myself.

The anchor set really well, with extra chain paid out just in case. Despite the high winds all night, we spent a restful night in the relatively calm waters of the anchorage.

The winds had decreased some when we woke up on Friday morning. We let them continue diminishing and then took the dinghy to small beach with a path through the mangroves to the ocean. We enjoyed a run, picnic lunch and relaxing on the beach. The sun was bright and warmed the white sand, taking the chill away from the remaining breeze. In the shelter of a small vegetated sand berm, it was positively warm, bordering on hot. Very nice.

Later in the afternoon, we went on a dinghy safari through a couple of small channels through the mangroves. We saw a lot of herons, an osprey and other waterfowl but not the alligators or manatees I was hoping to see.

This morning we motored to Lake Worth, through developed waterfront land on each side of the channel, many luxurious homes and lots and lots of powerboats. Rude powerboats that could not care less about their large wakes and the danger of high speed weaving in and out of traffic. Really quite horrible.

We had to negotiate seven bascule (draw) bridges, the Hobe Sound Bridge, Jupiter Island Bridge, Jupiter Federal Bridge, Indiantown Road Bridge, Donald Ross Bridge, PGA Boulevard Bridge and, finally, the Parker Bridge to get to Lake Worth. All the bridge tenders were professional, efficient and courteous and we timed our arrivals so as to not have to hover long, waiting for the bridge to open. At the Donald Ross Bridge, a small power boat tried to squeeze alongside Intermezzo as we passed through the bridge opening, very impolitely and risking me having to choose between hitting him or my mast on the bridge. I can tell you which option I would have chosen. The bridge tender radioed me in sympathy, telling me, "You've got to watch those little powerboats; they own the waterway." Today, I wished Intermezzo had the ugly, rusty, steel hull like the barge from Thursday. 

There was some confusion as we approached the marina this afternoon as their phones and internet were out and we couldn't contact them to find out where to dock. I'm not sure why this outage also affected their ability to answer their radio, but they didn't. So we hovered and looked around until finally someone on the dock ran up to the marina office to get us some help.

We're tied up on a fixed concrete dock with timber fender piles. I much prefer floating docks, but I imagine they are too vulnerable to hurricanes and that many of the marinas predate that technology. I'm really glad I made some fender boards out of 1 x 6 pine that I purchased back in Portland, Maine. These boards hang down the side of the boat from lines at each end and span across our fenders to hold us off the pilings.

Kyndy cleaned up her side of the boat, started a load of laundry and then was off, a friend picking her up to drive her to Miami where she will catch a plane to Antigua to begin another sailing adventure. I enjoyed her company and she made the trip a much safer and better experience than if I'd done it alone. I think she learned a lot about sailing and living on a boat along the way. I hope she continues developing her skills and becomes the sailor she aspires to be.

Path from Peck Lake through mangroves to Jupiter Island beach

Jupiter Island beach

Colorful foilage among the mangroves
Between the mangroves on a dinghy safari

Crew Kyndy and Cap'n Steve

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Fort Pierce: Windy Cold Front

We enjoyed a warm sunny day yesterday, traveling from Melbourne to Fort Pierce, Florida. As the wind clocked westward, we were able to sail down the narrow Intracoastal Waterway channel under the jib for quite a few miles.

A cold front was approaching, so we anchored behind some mid-rise condos just south of the Fort Pierce inlet to block the wind. We enjoyed a pleasant evening and good night's rest, the wind not piping up until early this morning.

I debated sitting tight for the day, but the forecast winds are in the low 20's with gusts in the high 20's, which is within my comfort zone for traveling in these inland waters.

Our next stop is Peck Lake, off the inland shore of Jupiter Island. There is good access to the beach on the Atlantic side, so I figure if we get there this afternoon, we can spend the whole day tomorrow exploring, after the winds have dropped.

On Saturday, we complete our journey from Hilton Head Island and check into a marina in Palm Beach to make a crew change and begin preparations for Intermezzo's cruise to The Bahamas.

Sunset in Fort Pierce with a cold front on its way

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Melbourne, Florida: A Lock and Bridges

Intermezzo is anchored in Palm Harbor, a small cove off the Intracoastal Waterway just south of Melbourne, Florida.

We started the day off topping the fuel tanks off with diesel. We only burned 28 gallons the whole way from Hilton Head thanks to good winds for our coastal passage. 

From the fuel dock we headed west on the Canaveral Barge Canal, through a bascule bridge (drawbridge), then a lock, then another bascule bridge. The canal beyond the lock is quite nice, a narrow channel running through mangroves.  We saw a manatee rise to the surface to take a big breath of air before sinking down to resume grazing on aquatic plants.

We turned left when we exited the canal and headed south on the Indian River, a broad expanse of shallow water with a narrow dredged channel down the middle of it.  We had to pass under half a dozen fixed bridges along the way.  All purportedly had 65 feet of vertical clearance but notes on the chart indicated that one bridge, the Pineda Causeway bridge only had 63.5 feet clearance even when the air draft board reads 65 feet. That's as low a bridge as I'm willing to try passing under, so I was a bit nervous about making it through.

When we arrived at the Pineda bridge, the air draft board showed 65 feet clearance. I approached the bridge slowly, coming to a near stop to inch the top of the mast up to the soffit of the bridge. There was plenty of clearance, at least a foot above the VHF antenna, which is about 64 feet above the water. So, the air draft boards are pretty accurate, the comments on the chart, not so much, and my trepidation turned out to be for naught.

The day was sunny and warm, touching 80 degrees with a cooling headwind. The sky was almost white, with patches of the lightest blue. The water was coca-cola brown next to the boat, grey-blue beyond. I drove the boat in a a t-shirt, shorts and barefoot. Nice!

We continued southward until the sun began to set. I turned into towards Palm Harbor and felt my way over its narrow entrance, the water depth getting as shallow as 4.1 feet. Any less and Intermezzo's keels would have touched the bottom.

We're in a nice little anchorage, very protected and calm, The only negative is traffic noise from a road along the shore. Hopefully it subsides during the night.

Flock of white pelicans on the bank of the Canaveral Lock

The Canaveral Barge Canal

Sailing in shorts and barefoot. Yay!

Monday, January 25, 2021

Port Canaveral, Enjoying Warm

Finally, I'm warm.

I'm wearing shorts, t-shirt and barefoot. Warm at last. Thank god almighty, I'm warm at last.

Intermezzo is in a slip at the Port Canaveral Yacht Club, a nice little marina that hosts transient boats when they have space.

We entered the Port Canaveral Channel at sunrise on Sunday morning. The passage from Doboy Sound, Georgia was one of the best ocean passages I've experienced. Favorable winds, relatively calm seas. Intermezzo wanted to bound along much faster than I would allow, it was like keeping a race horse reined in.

(I posted via satellite en route. You can follow along starting here.)

We were treated to a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral shortly after arriving at the marina on Sunday morning, one of Elon Musk's SpaceX rockets putting a satellite into orbit. The rocket looked like a tiny rod with a bright flame coming out, leaving a white trail behind it. The sound of the rocket lagged its image, a deep roar from way behind it.

Our timing for eating dinner on the waterfront was fortuitous, as the first stage of the rocket was being towed by a tug back to its base on a barge.  The boosters of these rockets land autonomously on the barge out at sea to be reused for another launch. Quite amazing technology, a lot different than the old days of the space program when the boosters would just fall into the sea to sink.

Today I slept in, then spent the day doing chores, laundry and boat cleaning. I also planned out the remaining days of our passage to Lake Worth. Kyndy helped with the cleaning and made a run on the bike to the grocery store to pick up bread, avocados and wine, which we are running low on.

Tomorrow Kyndy gets COVID tested for her follow-on crewing trip to Antigua and then we push off to continue southward inside on the Intracoastal Waterway. The wind and weather is not good for going outside along the coast. A cold front bringing "stronger winds and hazardous boating conditions" is forecast for Thursday. Looking at the winds, I think these words are for smaller boats than Intermezzo, but we'll be sure to have a snug anchorage to wait out weather if we need to.

We'll likely arrive at Lake Worth on January 30. We'll take a slip in a marina there to facilitate switching of crews. Kyndy will be leaving, Amy and Robin will by joining. Then, once we're cleared for COVID and the boat is re-provisioned, we're off to The Bahamas.

Sunrise as we enter the Port Canaveral Channel after two days at sea

The booster rocket landed on this barge out at sea by itself. Amazing!


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Port Canaveral, Arrived Safe

We arrived at Port Canaveral Yacht Club at 0830 this morning and spent the day resting, getting some exercise, taking showers, enjoying a meal out and catching up on sleep. Which is what I'm going to do again now.

I'll post a wrap up of our pssage from Georgia tomorrow.

Good night.

Approaching Port Canaveral, It’s Warm!

24 January 2021 03:45
28 32.7N 080 20.9W
Approaching Port Canaveral Channel

The wind shifted to the east, blowing strong, around 21:00 last night which required unfurling the jib so we could sail on a close reach. That pulled the boat speed way up, so when we reached the first waypoint for our approach to the Port Canaveral channel entrance, we dropped the main sail to sail on just the jib.

Now we've turned to head southwest and are moving along at a sedate pace on rolly beam swells. We should enter the port somewhere around 08:30 this morning, perfect timing for getting our slip in the marina.

It's warm!

I'm wearing just a light fleece sweater and cracked open one of the salon hatches because it was feeling stuffy and I'm still wearing long underwear. The Gulf Stream is only about 30 miles offshore and it isa an amazing source of atmospheric heat in this part of the world. Very grateful for it.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

En Route to Port Canaveral, Sailing Too Fast

23 January 2021 11:00
29 49.4N 80 41.7W
Passing St. Augustine, Florida

The wind piped up around 03:00 last night and we started sailing at a good clip. Too good, in fact. The wind was blowing 17-plus knots and we were bolting along on a broad reach at over 6 knots under jib and a reefed main sail. At that speed, we would arrive at Port Canaveral around 23:00, way too early.

So, I furled the jib and sailed under just the reefed main. That pulled our speed down to a bit over 5 knots, just about right for arriving at dawn. Later, the wind dropped a little to help with our arrival timing.

A pod of dolphins visited twice while I was on watch, playing in the bow wave. I entertained myself and I hope, them, by flashing a light on them when the surfaced next to the helm. The light revealed their sleek grey bodies and their white underbellies as the twisted to look up at the light. Dolphins' bright eyes and slightly upward curved beaks always make them look like they are smiling to me.

Kyndy stood her first night watch. She did very well, experiencing the displeasure that all sailors do of having to get out of a warm bunk and out into the elements and alert after just a few hours sleep.

It's mostly cloudy, with patches of blue sky peeking out between strata clouds. The sea color ranges from a grey-blue steel to a rich dark blue where the sun is shining on it. We are sailing under reefed main and jib, making a nice 5.5 knots.

It's almost warm! The sunlight streaming into the salon is very uplifting and encouraging. Today should be a good one for sailing.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Enroute to Port Canaveral, Rainy Start and a Minor Hiccup

22 Jan 2021 18:00
31 9.82N
081 7.7W
Passing St. Simons Island, Georgia. 12 nm off coast

We woke up to dreary rain this morning but I used the time to orient Kyndy various safety gear and procedures on Intermezzo for coastal sailing. I also made a big pot of vegetable soup- onions, garlic, carrots, celery, parsnips and turnips- good to have on hand in the galley for chilly temperatures.

After preparing Intermezzo for the ocean, we weighed anchor in Back River around 12:30 this afternoon. As we departed the anchorage, Kyndy noticed the tachometer for the port engine wasn't working and alerted me. The battery warning light was also lit. Bummer.

I took a quick look at the engine while Kyndy held the boat on station and noticed that one of the small signal wires coming from the alternator was broken. Fortunately, we had plenty of time to stop and fix it, so we dropped anchor again and I set to work on the repair.

First I looked at the starboard engine to make sure I knew where the broken wire needed to be connected. Pretty straightforward, it shared a plug connector with another wire. I got out my tools, found a new connector, cutoff the old connector, stripped the two wires, stuck them in the new connector, crimped it and started the engine to test it. Yay! Success. Total elapsed time, less than 45 minutes, anchor up to anchor up, again.

We left the Back River and headed into Doboy Sound and out its inlet. Dreary, grey, rain, chilly, very light wind, fairly calm seas.

We're now motoring on one engine, a bit slower than normal to time our arrival at Port Canaveral during daylight hours. The rain has stopped and the evening sky shows signs of promise of clearing. It is damp and chilly though. The vegetable soup is appreciated.

We'll likely motor until about midnight when the wind is supposed to start building and we can hopefully start sailing.

Tomorrow's weather continues to look promising- fair skies, decent, favorable winds and light to moderate swells.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Doboy Sound, Long Day

We motored 50 nautical miles (nm) through the sinuous Intracoastal Waterway today, a long eight hours under grey skies and through a chilly headwind.  We traveled through wide open spaces, along rivers wide and narrow and across broad sounds. Had it been a sunny day and warmer, it would have been glorious yet, even in less pleasant weather, the mostly uninhabited estuary landscape had a subdued magnificence.

The diesel engines continued to sing a lovely song to my ears today. I'm not sure why they sound so good. Perhaps the colder air temperatures are to their liking. Perhaps the worn bearings of the coolant pump I replaced were singing out of key, ruining their past chorus. I don't know and I'm not normally a fan of machinery noises, but I've enjoyed their steady throbbing hum over the past couple of days.

We are anchored on Back River, a short, small tidal tributary of the Doboy Sound. We're again surrounded by water and marshland with a stand of trees nearby, home to many cormorants, pelicans, terns, egrets, and a few bottlenose dolphins. The water surface is smooth and calm, but the current is swift as the tide changes. We'll swing 180 degrees on our anchor through the night.

Tomorrow we head out on the ocean, assuming the weather forecast doesn't change, heading to Port Canaveral, about 180 nm south.  We'll weigh anchor around noon, head out Doboy Inlet and turn right for a straight shot down the coast. At normal cruising speed it would take us about 36 hours to get to the Canaveral Harbor Channel, but that would mean arriving at night, in the wee hours of the morning. Instead, we'll sail the boat slowly to time our arrival for sunrise on Sunday.

Favorable westerly and northerly winds are forecast for tomorrow, though they will likely be too light for sailing, and it supposed to rain most of the day, which will be miserable start. However, the winds are forecast to build to a nice 10 to 15 knots on Saturday, with sunny skies. Good weather should continue through Sunday. Seas should be comfortable, with long period waves in the 2 to 4 foot range.

Tomorrow morning, I'll orient Kyndy to offshore sailing aspects of crewing on Intermezzo, prepare the boat for an ocean passage, and make a hearty vegetable soup-stew for the trip.

It will be nice to be out on open water after all these miles of navigating confined channels through inland waterways. I'm looking forward to making some good distance and getting to Florida and warmer temperatures.

Elegant, understated home on a remote island along the Doboy Sound, Georgia

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Skidaway Narrows: Intermezzo Sails Again

 It's good to be on the move again, after 13 days in a marina.

Intermezzo is anchored in the Skidaway Narrows, about seven miles south of Savannnah, Georgia. This is an area of winding creeks through marshlands, patches of pine trees and occasional stands of palms. It was a nice, clear sunny day getting here, breezy and chilly most of the day but we ended with a warm-ish afternoon. We saw lots bird life and several dolphins along the way, including a mom and baby who cruised by the boat this evening.

I'm sailing with new crew, Kyndy, who signed on via the CrewSeekers website. She's a physical therapist from Boone, North Carolina who sailed a lot 20 years ago and wants to get back into it, possibly buying a boat for when she retires. Kyndy will sail with me on this leg to Florida, where we will have a crew switch for The Bahamas.

The boat is feeling good- clean, organized and the engines running sweetly. It's nice to sailing again.

We'll be winding our way along the Intracoastal Waterway for a couple days, then I'm hoping to head out into the ocean and do an overnight passage to Port Canaveral if the weather cooperates. It's looking pretty good for the weekend.

Sunset in the Skidaway Narrows

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Hilton Head Island: Busy Days, Impressions, Wrapping Things Up

I've been here on Hilton Head Island now ten days, mostly busy with boat projects but also having some limited opportunities to get acquainted with the place. Now I'm wrapping things up, getting ready to depart on January 20 to sail south to Florida.

First a summary of the boat projects.

I replaced both the raw water and coolant pumps on the port engine. Both were leaking from their shaft seals. The raw water pump was a quick job. The coolant pump should have been, but the pump re-builder left out a bolt and I didn't discover it until coolant started spewing out of the bolt hole. Unfortunately, the only way to get a bolt in the hole was to remove the pump and its hose fittings and install it again. In other words, do the job twice. I will be informing the pump re-builder, an otherwise very talented and responsive guy, of his oversight. 

The big project I wanted to do was an upgrade to the engine charging system, installation of new, better alternators and a sophisticated external voltage regulator that will charge the batteries like they should be charged, as opposed to how the current alternators try to just shove electrons into them continuously. Unfortunately, the voltage regulators got shipped out late and, by the time I received them, I didn't have enough time left to tackle the project. However, I was able to layout the job and I now have a pretty good understanding of how I'll approach it when I do have time to do it.

I re-sealed the starboard hull-deck joint, again. Rainwater was leaking into the head compartment (bathroom), again. I though I had fixed this last summer, but apparently I didn't. I think I got things sealed up well enough for the time being. Sometime in the future, I'll repair it once-and-for-all by using epoxy rather than caulk to permanently fix one of the few defects in Intermezzo's build.

I finally mounted the inverter remote control at the electrical panel where I can get to it easily. It has been dangling around under the galley sink since I installed the inverter back in the summer of 2015. It looks so nice in its proper place.

I also culled through and catalogued all the stuff in the lockers. I have quite a bit of stuff to donate to people who need it more than I do in The Bahamas or Mexico.

Okay, so that's all the boat projects. On to other stuff.

I'd say my most significant action was executing the "Booking Note" and making the first payment for shipping Intermezzo back to La Paz in March. I contracted with Peters & May to transport the boat via ship. My "loading window" is between March 15 and 31. I chose Peters & May because they have a lot of experience shipping Leopard catamarans, were recommended by the Leopard broker who sold me Intermezzo, whom I trust, and, my technical questions were answered by none other than Peters & May's CEO! I'm excited about getting Intermezzo back to the Sea of Cortez and hope I made the right choice. I'll post updates as the shipping process unfolds.

Finally, I've had a chance to explore a little bit of Hilton Head Island.

Intermezzo is berthed in Skull Creek Marina which is on the west side at the north end of the island, within the Hilton Head Plantation gated community. It is pretty remote from the main development and commercial centers of the island. The local community is an enclave for, shall we say, "the privileged", complete with golf course, country club, armed private security and highly restrictive, aggressively enforced homeowner covenants, conditions and restrictions. Not the sort of place I would choose to live in, but I can understand the attraction to others.

What I really like about the place is that they left lots of mature trees standing when they developed the residential areas of the community. These big trees, draped with Spanish moss, provide a shady canopy and natural habitat for birds and other wildlife. The woodland is interspersed with natural and man-made creeks and ponds. Between the woodland and shoreline are marshes and wetlands.  You can get everywhere by bike and foot trails, no need to drive.  Aside from the sterile, artificial golf course in the middle of it all, it is a very pretty, very quiet, very natural place to be.

I've enjoyed running and biking in the evenings, even though the weather has been mostly overcast and always pretty chilly. I've kept my rental car to run errands to stores located off the plantation, ,although I've found everything I've needed- groceries, hardware, post office, pharmarcy, bank- within five miles of the marina. If it were warmer and drier, my bike would have sufficed.

Today I did laundry, took care of "paperwork" and cleaned up the boat. Tomorrow I go grocery shopping, mail out my leaking pumps for rebuilding and return the rental car. Tuesday, crew arrives. Wednesday we set sail.

Though I wish the weather had been sunnier and warmer (and that my engine charging parts had arrived on time), my stay here has been productive, pleasant and peaceful.

I'm definitely ready to get Intermezzo moving again!

Bike trail on the Hilton Head Plantation

Beach at Dolphin Head, north end of Hilton Head Island

Tree growing bent sideways- not sure why

Egrets roosting at dusk


Saturday, January 9, 2021

Hilton Head Island: Back On the Boat, Diesel Cleanup

I returned to Intermezzo on Thursday, flying from San Francisco to Hilton Head and arriving late at night. 

Flying is probably my greatest COVID exposure risk, but I am pretty careful, double-masking, disinfecting surfaces, maximizing aircraft airflow from overhead to floor, washing my hands frequently and, most importantly not eating, which requires unmasking. I want to acknowledge Delta Airlines for continuing to keep middle seats unoccupied, unlike other airlines which fill all their seats if they can. It might not make that big a difference risk-wise, but it feels more comfortable to not be shoulder-to-shoulder with a stranger for six hours.

The boat was in good shape when I arrived. Lisa did a beautiful job cleaning before she departed. The only problem was a strong odor of diesel fuel. I attributed this to my overfilling the starboard fuel tank, which typically generates a slight, temporary odor in the past. I figured the stronger odor was from the boat sitting unventilated  for six weeks.

Yesterday I stocked the boat up with groceries, unpacked and got myself sorted. Despite having left all the hatches and the sliding door open for a good part of the day, the strong diesel odor remained. Bummer. The weather was damp, cold and grey which didn't help my mood. A dolphin swimming and feeding around the boat did, though.

The weather fortunately cleared up today and this morning I lifted the floorboards to inspect the bilge. To my dismay, there was quite a bit of diesel fuel puddled in the bilge. No wonder the boat stank.

The fuel tank is located under my berth, so I hauled the mattress outside to air out and then accessed the fuel tank compartment. Traces of diesel were present around the fuel gauge sender unit and a threaded plug at the top of the tank. Overfilling the tank pressurized it a bit and fuel seeped through the seals of the sender and plug, ran down the side of the tank and made its way into the bilge.

My first step was to relieve the pressure in the tank by draining some fuel from it. Fortunately, there is a drain valve at the bottom of the tank and it wasn't too difficult or messy to extract a few gallons of fuel. I then carefully removed the suspect plug to make sure that the fuel level was below the top of the tank. It was, barely. I figure that the fuel in the filler hose resulted in about two feet of static head pressure in the tank, or about 1 psi. Doesn't seem like much, but it was enough to push about two quarts of fuel through the leaking seals over six weeks.

I re-sealed the plug, tightened down the sender unit screws, and then set about to cleaning up the mess. I wanted to avoid discharging diesel into the water, so I used paper towels and a de-greaser solution to mop up the diesel, disposing of the used paper towels in an oily waste receptacle. It took most of the afternoon to decontaminate the bilges, but when I was done, the diesel stench in the boat was gone, thank goodness.

I'm going to stay here in Hilton Head until January 20 to tackle a long list of boat projects, including an upgrade to the engine charging system. That will be an interesting and challenging project, but I'm worried that I won't have enough time to tackle it, as shipping of two essential components has been delayed. It will be a disappointment if I don't get to it, but I have many, many other projects that I can choose to work on until the missing parts arrive.

On the 20th, I continue moving the boat south. I'm heading for Lake Worth, Florida (near Palm Beach), which will be the jumping off point for The Bahamas. I'm planning on cruising there for the month of February and then heading to Port Everglades (near Fort Lauderdale) to prepare Intermezzo for the return to La Paz, via ship, in mid-March. 

Diesel in the bilge