Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 1 of the Return - Our Luck Knows No Bounds

January 12, 2010
GSCM, Green Spring Cove, FL

Fresh off the plane at Jacksonville our bags were expelled by a creaking baggage machine in short order.

Our rental car was ready although it stank of cigarettes and disinfectant.

The rental agent offered us a local map which we declined because as we explained to her "we drove up here and are just going to follow our tracks home".

Walking to the car park we enjoyed a warm (early 50's Farenheit) late afternoon sun.

Immediately we hit the Interstate we realized we did not have a clue where to go. What road would take us to Green Cove Springs. All the road markers gave only the ramp number and road name served by that ramp. No sign to tell us "this road to Green Cove Springs".

We decided Americans are reluctant to put City names on their Interstate highyways to prevent invading communists or muslim suicide bombers from finding their way around with any facility.

Incredible luck saw us guess the correct off ramp. I recommend invading communists rent their attack vehicles from Enterprise and take the map option.

Arriving at the marina after dark we realized the warmth we had enjoyed was a temporary boon offered on a limited time only basis by our old friend Sol. Now I do not want to exaggerate how cold it was last night but this morning we drove by a local KFC and a flock of chickens was at the door demanding to be let in.

Tonight temperatures are forecast in the 27 degree range (-3 C for those of you who are mathematically disinclined or too lazy to hit the convert button on their calculator).

We walked quickly to our dinghy which we had left tied to the mid pier dinghy dock. It was there!!!

No water needed to be bailed out despite the dinghy sitting in the open for a month. The outboard caught on the third pull. The lock we used to secured the dinghy was free moving not frozen with corrosion.

On Meredith everything was tight and dry. Nothing out of order. Nothing. The seacocks which I had closed a month earlier opened easily with no binding whatsoever.

Our batteries, which had been left on and paralleled to max out capacity for the bilge pump were sitting at 11.50 volts not bad after a month.

The diesel would not start but this was due to the low voltage. Our gas generator, the venerable Honda started on the second pull and in 20 minutes we had enough juice stored in the batteries to start the Beta and get some real charging going. Try doing that with a solar panel at 9 p.m.

Then the magnitude of our luck began to make itself known. We manually activated the bilge pump to see how much water was in the bilge. THE BILGE PUMP WAS TURNED OFF. Our Meredith sat for an entire month and somehow despite all our closing checklists, double checked we turned the bilge pump off before we left. What the hell is wrong with us? This is unimaginable. I am in shock.

Then the question comes: What drained the batteries from 12.75 to 11.5 volts if all electrical was disconnected?

Now there is an interesting question. If all the electrical was disconnected what drew down my batteries?

Another critical problem in an area in which I have only the merest glimmer of understanding. And it must be solved.

Guess I am back on the boat.

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