Today was pretty much of a lay day. Maybe not for Lulu who made a batch of cinnamon rolls for our nephew, Thomas. But I certainly didn't get much of anything done. We knew that Thomas was coming over from San Luis Obispo for a visit but we weren't sure exactly when. I didn't want to get all dirty working in the engine room and then have to clean up quickly to take the dinghy ashore to meet up with him. At least that's my excuse.
Lulu got the boat ready for company and I helped her out by working on her crossword puzzle so she wouldn't have that to deal with as well as baking cinnamon rolls and straightening things up. I know, I know, taking on someone else's crossword puzzle is a big responsibility but, damn it, someone had to do it.
Finally, thomas called and said he was just now leaving SLO and he was bringing his girlfriend, Lindsey, with him. A little before I figured they'd be arriving, I fired up the ol' Nissan and headed ashore. The motor still has to be babied and it died a couple of times along the way, but eventually I got there. In this case, "there" is a ladder running up the side of the Avila Beach Pier. You can't land your dinghy in the surf (nor do I want to, at least until the water is warm) because there is a "No Boats" line protecting the swimmers and surfers from the boats. There's a special protocol for tying your dinghy up but I didn't have enough line to do it right so I just tied the painter to the ladder. I wouldn't have even known about the ladder if it hadn't been for the fact that I watched a guy from the only other sailboat anchored here ride his dingy in and that's where he tied up. It's a long climb up and you'd want to be sure to bring backpacks and ropes if you intended to get much in the way of groceries. Not that there is much in the way of groceries in Avila.
Once Thomas got it sorted out as to which of the three docks he was to meet us on, he made his way over. The three of us made our way down the ladder and motored back out to Siempre Sabado. Again, the motor quit once or twice along the way.
Once back aboard, we gave Thomas and Lindsey the grand tour of the boat. That must have taken a good minute or two. Then Lulu opened up the fresh-baked cinnamon rolls and they dug in. Thomas has always been Lulu's greatest fan when it comes to cinnamon rolls so, of course, she feels obligated to make him some whenever she sees him. We visited in the cockpit for awhile and then decided it was time to go ashore where we'd treat them to lunch. So, all four of us piled into the dink. It's rated at 3 persons or 485 lbs. We were probably a little overweight but couldn't have been by much. Besides, it's just one ride since the kids would be heading home after lunch. Again I fired up the motor and headed ashore.
Well, as expected, the motor died. I restarted it. It ran a few yards and died again. Repeat once more. WTF? Checked the gas tank and guess what. That's right, all that old gasoline had finally been burned up (how's that for putting a positive spin on running out of gas?). So, we rowed back to the mothership, I made up a fresh batch of 2-stroke gas and filled the tank. This time she fired right up. And, wonder of wonders, she actually kept on running once I took the choke all the way off. She ran like a dream all the way to the ladder. We tied off and one-by-one made our way up to the pier.
We strolled around town a little looking for some lunch. Avila looks like it was built by Universal Studios as a set for a "cute coastal village". There were a few restaurants, a couple souvenir shops and "The Avila Mercantile - Groceries and Delicatessen". It might be a deli but, we have a larger stock of groceries on Siempre Sabado than they had in their store. We did manage to deplete their stock of limes when we bought the only 3 they had.
We ate lunch at a little pizza place and then it was time for Thomas and Lindsey to head back home and get busy with their homework. Lulu and I strolled a little more but the wind was kicking up and the sun was behind a cloud so it was getting a wee bit chilly for our tastes. Walked back out on Avila Pier, descended the ladder and headed home. This time, with fresh gas, the Nissan never died even once.
Now we're back aboard and it's getting on towards evening. As they used to say at the City of Lewiston (ID) wastewater treatment plant: "Didn't get much done today but we'll give 'em hell tomorrow".
So here's my plan for tomorrow. I already wrote some of this in e-mails and responses to comments so you may experience a little deja vu.
I'm going to take every ground connection apart, from the engine block all the way back to the batteries. I'll clean and reassemble each connection and then spray them with anti-corrosion stuff. Once that's done, just like magic, all my starting issues will be solved. At least I hope so. I do have a spare starter that I can install if necessary as well. One of the really great things about the internet is that I can post something like my DC issues and then a bunch of cooler heads, some with a lot more knowledge than I, can sit back and dispassionately analyze the problem and suggest a solution. Then I can look at these suggestions and, if I see a common thread, I've got somewhere to start towards a solution. The common thread this time was a BAD GROUND. So that's where I'm going to start. But that's tomorrow.
Right now there's a feeding frenzy going on outside the boat. Pelicans are dive-bombing fish and, when they surface with a gullet full, the seagulls are all over them trying to get a taste. Very noisy. I love watching the pelicans dive. I don't see how they even see the fish but they do. Then they poise themselves right above their target and then drop straight down, head first into the drink. Very cool to watch. And, of course, before the frenzy was over, the sea lions showed up and added their acrobatics to the mix. Lindsey, you'd have loved watching this show.
It was pretty cloudy most of the day and the sun is getting ready to set. We still have about a 13 amp-hour deficit on our house battery bank. If it's still cloudy tomorrow, I might have to drag out the Honda again and top things off. Actually, since I'll be in the engine room most of the day, and when I do that I remove the generator so I'll have more room, I might as well run it since it'll be on deck anyway.
So, wish me success on tomorrow's project. Once the engine is up and running again, I still have to figure out how the (presumably) transmission oil escaped and what I can do about it. If it needs new seals, I'll probably have to remove it and take it to a transmission shop. The technical manual doesn't even acknowledge that there are seals and certainly doesn't provide any drawings or part numbers for them.