Sunday, July 23, 2017

Summer in Baltimore - 2017

Jul 19 thru Jul 23

--Blogpost written by Bob

We hooked up our new HF receiver (except for the chassis ground wire) today, July 19,  and gave it a test run.

Our new Alinco DX R8T high-frequency receiver
placed in the navigation station.

During the day when I first tried using the new high-frequency receiver, we couldn't get many stations but later in the same evening it was alive with stations from all over the world.  In a way, having this new HF receiver is like going back in time since I always had shortwave receivers when I was young.  Of course, the new radio is much more advanced than anything I had back then--this radio has five modes of reception: AM, FM, USB, LSB, CWL and CWU and the dial is digital (not analog like my old radios).


Thursday morning (July 20) was spent in Annapolis running errands.  In the afternoon, we hooked up the chassis ground wire for the new HF receiver--I'm not sure if connecting the chassis ground wire made any improvement or not but the receiver is working great in any case.  We put all the contents back in the starboard cockpit locker.  It's nice to have things back in order again!

This was our fourth day on our low-carb Atkins diet and the first day I craved carbs but I stayed within my daily carb goal.


Friday, July 21, was our fifth day on the Atkins low-carb diet and we were both feeling tired and hungry most of the day.  (Excuse me while I go eat a piece of cardboard that is beginning to look very tasty!)   We read a little more on how to curb our hunger on the diet and will be implementing some of the hunger-curbing ideas as we go along.

I met with U.S. Customs and Border Protection this morning in Baltimore to have my interview for the Small Vessel Reporting System.  The interview was short and sweet and I passed.  However, I found out that Maggie needs to go through a similar interview (and they wouldn't do the interview with her today because she didn't have an established appointment).  The Small Vessel Reporting System allows us to travel between the U.S. and the Bahamas without showing up in person to clear back into the U.S.--we can simply check back in by telephone.  (When we recently returned to Fort Pierce from the Bahamas we simply continued northward up the ICW to Vero Beach and then called to check in only to find out that we had to rent a car and drive down to Fort Pierce and check in personally, all within 24 hours of our arrival in U.S. waters.)

Just before going to bed for the night I noticed the red light on the bilge switch panel which indicates that the bilge pump is operating.  So, I waited a few moments to make sure it would shut off--it didn't.  I opened the floor panel just above the bilge pump and observed the pump running (no water in the bilge though) and the float switch in the "down" position.  I pulled the float switch into the "up" position (which normally turns the pump on) and the pump shut off.  Clearly, the bilge float switch was malfunctioning but up until now, I haven't seen one fail in this manner.  I turned the bilge pump system off and went to bed.  I'll deal with it tomorrow morning.


Fortunately, I keep a spare float switch on board--they have been failing on an annual basis, usually at the most inconvenient time.  So, on Saturday morning, July 22, I tackled the bilge switch problem by replacing the float switch.  This involves pulling up the large section of floor in the galley (after removing 24 screws).  A long time ago I made a plastic mounting bracket for the float switch--it makes it a little easier to replace the switch when it fails.  The smelly black slime that resides in the bilge is all over everything: the pump, the float switch, the mounting bracket, and the wiring.  (The reason I'm describing this situation in such detail is so that readers understand that cruising is not all boat drinks and sunsets like most of this blog might suggest.)

I removed the plastic mounting bracket and then removed the float switch (with its wiring) from the bracket.  Then I attached the new float switch and wiring.

Installing the bracket with the new float switch attached.

We cleaned the bilge after all the wiring was completed.  The large red
and black cables in the above photo run from the windlass
in the bow to the battery banks astern.  The hose on
the right that simply ends in the bilge is the
condensation drain line from our A/C.

The entire replacement took about an hour but the bilge smell will be on my hands for about a week. 


Sunday, July 23, is the day just before our vacation begins--a vacation from retirement.  It will be a driving vacation.  The places we will be visiting include Freeport, Camden, Rockland, Bar Harbor (and Acadia National Park), Lubec (the easternmost town in the U.S.), and Saint John in the Canadian province of New Brunswick.  We will be going on a whale-watching tour out of Lubec, Maine.  We will also be visiting with friends (Tom & Karen who recently moved from Annapolis) in Rockland.

We will continue our blog while we are on vacation...stay tuned!

Thanks for following our blog!

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