Thursday June 3 2010
I know I’ve been lax about updating the blog, but hey we’re retired and enjoying the beaches of Pensacola.
We arrived last Sunday afternoon and once the anchor was down we went ashore for a drink and dinner then an early bed time. Here is a view of the beach from the boat.
Monday being Memorial was to be a day of relaxation. We went ashore walked around went swimming in the gulf and generally just took it easy. Memorial Day on Pensacola Beach happened to be a ‘Pride’ weekend – for the women. Lots and lots of woman out and about, some really cute and some who I wouldn’t dare argue with – all paired up and holding hands. (Not there is anything wrong with that.) At one bar a guy was hitting on a group of three ladies, but getting nowhere, I guess he hadn’t seen the ‘Pride’ signs.
Tuesday was to be work day. I needed to replace the fuel lift pump and before I could start that I needed to get to the store to buy some gasket material. The plan was to get up early rent a bicycle and head into Gulf Breeze (the closest place with stores) and get the gasket stuff and also hit the grocery store. But this plan never came together. There was only one other boat anchored out and as we were slowly getting our act together there was a knock on the boat – it was the guy anchored with us.
The gentleman’s name is Bruce Bingham who is hopping and skipping through life and just happen to land next us. There are those who have kissed the Blarney stone and those who have taken a bite out of it, Bruce is one of the latter. We spent a couple of hours listening as he told us one funny story after another. Anyone who has been sailing for awhile may think the name Bruce Bingham sounds familiar, well he was the artist/writer of the Cruising Worlds Workbench articles. He has also written several books including the Sailor’s Sketchbook and a compilation of the Cruising World Workbench articles as well as designing boats like the Flicka 20 and the Fantasia 35.
By the time we got done visiting Roberta and I decided it was too late to rent bikes and run our errands so we just kicked back and relaxed. Later in the day Bruce dropped by again to say that tomorrow (Wednesday) he was going to take his boat over to Gulf Breeze for fuel and shopping and asked us if there was anything he could pick up for us. I didn’t want to burden him with our shopping so asked if we could ride over with him. Bruce thought that was a fine idea and the plan was set.
Wednesday we are up bright and early for the ride to the Santa Rosa Yacht Club. No problems and we’re back at the boat by noon. Now to the more pressing problem of changing the engine lift pump.
For all you Perkins 4-154 motor owners out there let me say this; you cannot change the lift pump without removing the oil cooler – one of the fuel line fittings is behind the cooler. For anyone without easy access to the lower right side of the engine I recommend this approach to changing the pump. Find someone down on his luck sole even one with minimal mechanical abilities and see if you can’t talk him into doing it for you at a fixed price. You can even show him how easy it will be. If the engine was out of the boat on a stand it’s a simple matter of removing 4 bolts and loosening 2 hose claps to get the oil cooler out of the way and 2 nuts and 2 screw in hose connections to remove the lift pump.
With the engine in the boat things become a little more complicated as you need to lay on your stomach either on the engine or alongside it and using the sense of touch or a mirror find and remove the bolts. In this position I found putting things together far more difficult than taking it apart because now you also have to line up the bolt holes for the oil cooler and somehow find a way to hold the nuts behind the mounting plate. Under the lessons learned heading, before replacing the oil cooler, pressure check the lift pump to make sure it’s not leaking, otherwise you may need to remove the cooler again to tighten things up.
As I was working on the lift pump Roberta was my helper and at one point commented about the condition of one of the exhaust hoses. It was definitely past its prime and had to be replaced. The hose is 11” long and goes from the exhaust elbow on the back of the engine to the muffler. The hose is 1 7/8” wire reinforced hose and there is a slight bend in it going from the engine to the muffler – replacing this is not going to be fun I thought, and I was right. Now the engine is all back together and running fine – for the moment.
Since Bruce was nice enough to play taxi driver we invited him over for dinner where we had a very pleasant evening of one story after another – great time.
There are 3 swans that we seen swimming around the area. They are well feed and have absolutely no fear of humans. We first saw them near the sandy beach in the first picture. This is a picture of the that was taken while we were stopped in Gulf Breeze – about 2 miles from the first sighting.
It’s Thursday and we are ready to get on the road – all we need is fuel, water and weather. Right now it’s raining and the winds are from the wrong direction so we hope to get the fuel/water issue taken care of later today and the head out tomorrow when the winds will be more favorable. The oil is starting to close in on Pensacola so we are anxious to get going again.
Our next destination we’re not sure of. It will be somewhere between Clearwater and Ft Myers FL, we’ll let you know as soon as we decide which probable won’t be until Saturday.