2 Months in Deep River

It wasn’t all projects, donuts & oysters in Deep River, but lots of projects & donuts!

Many beautiful sunsets
A few storms blew through
In case the question ever comes up: How many police & rescue boats does it take to rein-in an underway runaway skiff caught on a mooring going around in circles: answer: 5
A visitor from the north! Covid regs finally allowed Benj to visit us from Vermont! We enjoyed spending a long weekend with him including a tranquil cruise north up the Connecticut River to East Haddam.
After 2 months in Deep River, it was time to enjoy & explore! Here’s the newly painted Old Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse all dressed up

Oh wait – we took a wrong turn & somehow ended up hauled out!  Yes, the dreaded haul-out, living “on-the-hard”, 14 hour days of hard labor & discomfort without A/C, etc., etc.  We tortured ourselves in May 2019 & our bottom paint was holding up well, however, we’ve had ongoing issues with our “running gear”.  This consists of our propeller, the shaft thru the hull with a cutlass bearing and a shaft seal finally connecting to the engine transmission.  In our case, one of the shaft seals (the red thingy in the photo way below) was leaking due to a

Re-installing the shaft – the brass colored collar is the new bronze cutlass bearing

common PDQ boat issue of shaft “whipping” at high speeds.  Some other PDQs have had an additional mid-bearing expoxyed in to help with this problem at a specialized boatyard in Florida for several thousands of dollars.  I figured, “how hard could it be?”  While it worked out o.k., every step had “issues”.

First, I was planning on having the boatyard in Mystic pull the propellers, as it takes specialized tools.  However, after an hour they gave up.  A specialist with special specialized equipment was required, but he was booked up for a week.  The yard called in a favor for him to show up at 5 AM the next morning (before his

The red arrow points to the additional mid-bearing expoxyed in. The red hose-like thing is the shaft seal which keeps the seawater out while allowing the shaft to spin

first already scheduled job).  Gulp … well … we were desperate.  In the end, he was able to squeeze us in at 8 PM that night before.  Gulp … there goes the budget!

It was time for me to get to work.  Remove the shafts & “tap out the cutlass bearings” – in theory.  In reality I had to blindly cut thru a bronze sleeve with a bare hacksaw blade & then very carefully pound them out!  2 1/2 hours later…!  The work continued late into the night.  Install the new cutlass bearings, epoxy in the new mid-bearings, install the new shaft seals, re-attach the shaft couplings to the shafts & transmissions. Ahhhh … the end was in sight! (Lori was starting to believe it too!)

Realizing that we never want to haul-out again, we thought … let’s just throw on a coat of bottom paint while we’re already hauled out rather than doing it a year or two.  Problems included that we have no time to order any paint & no car to pick it up.  Oh … but there is an Enterprise Car rental office 1/2 mile away.  Oh … it’s closed due to Covid!  Oh … we can Lyft further to Groton.  Oh … the Lyft driver wasn’t even wearing a mask!  On and on and on, but eventual success, back in the water with the running gear upgraded & a fresh coat of bottom paint, in only 2 1/2 days!

The final product!  Doesn’t look much different, but no leaks!

Now we are going to spend a few weeks out enjoying ourselves around New England.  We’ve cancelled our trip to Maine this year due to Covid, as technically if we stopped in Massachusetts on the way to Maine, we would have to undergo Covid testing or endure a 14-day quarantine.  So we will likely only go as far north as Newburyport, Massachusetts, which isn’t so bad as we really enjoyed our stay 2 years ago during the PDQ Lobsta Crawl flotilla.

We enjoyed a few clean-up & recovery days while anchored off the Mystic Seaport. This baby is the newly restored Mayflower II ready for her sail back to Plymouth, MA.

Project Time!

Ahhh … Springtime … back in Connecticut, thoughts of … boat projects!  All boats (especially 14 year-old ones) require lots of TLC.  The project list grows during the winter in the Bahamas as it’s impractical to even attempt to have boat parts shipped there.

This spring began with replacing an increasingly problematic charger/inverter.  Except while running our engines or with solar power, it is our only way to charge our batteries with shore or generator power.  Doesn’t look like much, but critical!It also inverts our 12 volt battery power to 120 volts to run various small appliances at anchor.  Of course, our new Magnum brand charger/inverter is a completely different size & shape, with wiring terminals at opposite locations.  Oh, did I mention it weights 45 pounds, is mounted upside down in a very small locker of Lori’s clothes?  Theoretically a 3 hour job, 4 mounting screws & a few wires, it took 13 hours, excluding a custom exhaust vent contraption using various Amazon parts, a fan & thermostat (when “cookin” – charging our batteries at up to 106 amps creates a lot of heat!).

Next on the list was servicing the fuel injectors of our diesel engines & generator.  For all we know, they’ve never been serviced.  My first fuel injector experience was a little unnerving, especially reading some articles warning that if you this or that incorrectly, you’ll destroy your $20,000 engine!  First removing them … could be easy or in some cases require a specialized $500+ extractor tool.  Prepping for surgery with “lap towels” soaked in “blood” (pink dyed diesel fuel), all went fairly well, sent them to the “lab” (diesel injection specialist) & waited.  A few days later, the call came “Bad news … tests came back positive for complete nozzle failure”.  Oh, well, except for the $1,500+ (cough, cough) cost, it was actually good news as the re-building with new nozzles should provide increased engine performance & make the entire ordeal worthwhile.  They were returned as-good-as-new, blister-packed & all.  The re-installation went fairly well … until one of the injector mounting plates fell down between parts of the engine.  4 hours later over 2 days, I declared defeat & had to order a replacement.

All these projects make you hungry … so off to the donuts!  We recently heard great things about a donut truck in Colchester, CT called Redneck Donuts.  While only open Friday – Sunday, they offer pre-ordering from their nightly list on Facebook.  Neither rain nor Covid could prevent us from driving 35 minutes to pick up some scrumptious donuts!  Well worth the drive!

 

Even Lori can’t live on donuts alone!  We saw in the news that fishermen & oyster folks in Connecticut were being devastated with restaurants barely operating, so we had to do something!  Off to Noank!  We enjoyed waterside lobster rolls at the famous Abbott’s Lobster.  But Mystic Oysters was our true destination!  Darn … only sold by the bag of 50 for just $30.00, freshly harvested that morning (well … that was the line the old guy sitting in the chair told us 🙂

Boy, were they good!  Even giving 1/2 to family, that still left 25 to shuck & enjoy over 2 nights.

It’s a wonder to watch workers at a raw bar shucking them sooo easily … after a while I began to use a hammer to “help” as I was taking way too long.  We paired our oysters with a Sheer Chardonnay wine from Stonington Vineyards, just a few miles away from Noank.  Perfect!

 

When not being my chief tool-fetcher, fellow donut & oyster eater, Lori herself has been very busy as well!  With her jewelry making in full gear & lots of Covid lockdown time available, she bit the “ohhh should I really do this?” bullet and set up an Etsy shop. With creative assistance from dear ones and much decision-making, CraftMadeIn was born on May 28. Will the rest be history? and do you want to be part of it? Check out her offerings and if you “tell two friends”, I’m sure she would be thrilled. Feel free to click the above link to her shop!