Day 90, Year 10: Passage to FL, Day 10—Dinghy Motors That Work
Date: Thursday, January 8, 2015
Weather: Sunny, Wind NW 30-40, Calming to NE 20, Temp in the 60’s F
Latitude: 28 21.167 N
Longitude: 080 13.236 W
Location: Anchored Off Lee Wenner Park, Cocoa
Miles Traveled: 11.2 Nautical Miles

Woohoo!!! We once again have a ‘one pull’ Yamaha dinghy motor that works and Lee and Lynda have a brand new Lehr propane dinghy motor that should definitely work. I told Lynda and Bruce at The Boat Shop in Cocoa that we will forever be indebted to them for getting Ethel running again. When we bought this dinghy motor in Malaysia I named it Ethel after my Aunt Ethel that will turn 100 next September. She is still going strong and I don’t think she has ever had an illness worse than the common cold. She is amazing. And it was my hope that by naming our dinghy motor after her, it would also be amazing. And it has been, except for the fact that it desperately needed a thorough carburetor cleaning. Lynda at The Boat Shop made the arrangements and Bruce did the work. In fact, when Mark rowed the long distance from the anchorage to shore this morning in steady 20-30 knot winds, Bruce just happened to be at the launch ramp working on another boat. He took the cue from the fact that Mark was rowing in such terrible weather and immediately said to us, “You must be the folks that need your engine worked on.” We nodded and he told us to get the motor off the dinghy and that he would take it to the shop and get to work on it after he finished his work on the boat sitting in the launch ramp. He helped Mark carry the engine over to his truck and then Mark and I walked through the little village of historic Cocoa and on down the highway to his shop. After filling out paperwork for Lynda authorizing the work, we walked across the street to hop on a city bus.

Our bus trip to the planetarium at a local community college didn’t go as smoothly as planned, but it was an adventure. We got on the bus and it took us to the transfer station where we had to catch another bus to the college. We explained to the driver where we wanted to go and she said she didn’t think she went there. Strange. The first bus driver told us exactly what to do and assured us that the #6 would take us to our destination. There was a long line of people waiting to get on, so we got off and went to the bus station office to inquire. There we found out that we should have taken that bus, but now we would have to wait for the next one. The waiting wouldn’t have been so bad except for the wind. It was just as windy inland as it was out on the water. We finally got to the college, now Eastern Florida State College and not Brevard Community College as we had read on the web last night. We had hoped to eat there at the student center, but it was closed, as was the entire college. They are still on break. We didn’t figure that into our planning, but we continued to walk on to the Planetarium & Observatory. It was also closed, but we were able to get into the lobby and see some of the displays. By now, Mark was starving, so we headed back across campus to catch the bus back to where we had come from. There was a gas station across the street from the campus and we got a couple of bananas and some cheese sticks to tide us over. The bus was late, but in the meantime we got a call from Lynda at The Boat Shop. All the engine needed was a good carburetor cleaning and it was good to go. We were ecstatic, especially since parts for this foreign-made engine are hard to come by. The bus trip back went much more smoothly. Bruce demonstrated to us that the engine was running and then we helped put it in the back of his pick-up. He took us back to the launch ramp and we were off and running. It felt so, so, so good to be in the dinghy with that motor running again. When you live on a sailboat on anchor or on a mooring, your dinghy and dinghy motor are what allows you to freely come and go to shore. Rowing is fine if the weather is settled and there is no current and you don’t have to go very far. But most of the time the weather is not settled and there is always current to contend with and often we do want to go far. So we are thankful, thankful, thankful that we have our transportation back.

We got back to Windbird and had a late lunch. Lee’s new motor was supposed to arrive sometime between 3 and 4 o’clock, but it ended up to be 5 o’clock. But it did arrive. Lee and Mark went back to shore to get it and on the way they crossed paths with a young man trying to row a metal fishing boat out to his boat (way beyond ours) with only one paddle. The wind was still blowing about 20 knots. As I watched, I was thinking he was never going to get his boat with only one paddle. About that time, I guess Mark thought the same thing as I saw him turn the dinghy around and come back to tow the guy to his boat. It felt so good to just watch him have the ability to do this kind of thing again. I love my dinghy and motor! Mark and Lee had to wait a while on shore, but before the sun went down they were back at Sea Turtle getting the new engine hoisted onto their dinghy motor mount. So today was all about dinghies and I know both Windbird and Sea Turtle are happy to have their dinghy motors in working condition once again. Now we just have to get Sea Turtle’s inflatable successfully patched.

One last thing . . . a bit about the weather. The 30 to 40 knot North winds during the night were stronger than we expected. But we did expect strong N winds, just not 40 knots! We had anchored behind the causeway wall thinking there would be very little fetch and that the wind would not be able to build up big waves. Wrong. Just before 2 am I got up to check on things as we were being bounced around by the waves. Our anchor was holding tight despite the strong winds, so I went back to bed. Evidently a few minutes later Mark got up and spent most of the rest of the night in the cockpit wrapped in a polar fleece blanket. It got down to 40 degrees F last night and that felt downright chilly. He came back to bed at some point, but morning came too quickly. The good thing was that the wind had settled a bit, so we were able to up anchor and take off without the strong winds. But Mark wasn’t going to take off without bringing the Mr. Heater propane stove up into the cockpit to warm things up a bit. We haven’t needed to use it since we arrived at Cumberland Island, but it did feel good this morning. However, it didn’t take long for the sun to take over, so we turned off Mr. Heater. At some point on the way to Cocoa, the wind returned with a vengeance. But as I write this log, it seems very calm outside. Hopefully we’ll get a good night’s sleep.

150108 Day 90 Passage to Florida–Day 10, Titusville to Cocoa
Day 91, Year 10: Passage to FL, Day 11—Cocoa to Vero Beach
Day 89, Year 10: Passage to FL, Day 9—Daytona to Titusville