Charters, Sailing

Charter #2 – Florida’s gulf coast

Almost immediately upon returning from our awesome-mind-blowing-super-cool-fun charter in the BVIs, we booked the same trip for the next year!  In the meantime we had no intentions of waiting a full year to charter again, so we quickly put together another trip with some folks from the sailing club.

A friend in the club had found a great deal to charter a 32′ Island Packet out of Ft. Meyers, on the gulf coast of Florida.  Much more convenient than getting to the BVIs as well!  While not as luxurious as the 46′ catamaran we were on in the BVIs, we had a great time on the little boat – the only drawback was that even with our shallow draft (3′), the water was so skinny that we had to stay in marked channels most of the time.  Oh well.

On our second-to-last day, I discovered that a problem with our alternator had lead us to believe that the batteries were charging, when in fact they weren’t.  Of course since we assumed the batteries were being charged when the engine was running, we were running the 12v fridge system and other power-hungry systems this whole time.  We anchored out that evening, and when we awoke the next morning, *both* batteries were dead.  Fortunately the engine had decompression levers, and with them open, there was just enough battery juice to turn it over.  As the engine turned I shut the levers in quick succession and the Diesel sputtered to life.  So at least we could motor, but we still had no battery charging capability so we couldn’t shut off the engine for fear of it not starting again. We had a decent motor-sail nonetheless, and decided to pull into the only marina that had a slip vacant that night, in order to charge our batteries off shore power. We wanted to avoid this particular marina, as it was known for being extremely pricey (it was attached to a fancy resort), but it was the only option.  As it turned out, when we got there they were running a special, so I think we only wound up paying $1.50/foot.  In addition, being late December, many (most?) of the boats in the marina were completely decked out in Christmas lights.  It was wild!  Turned out to be a fortunate accident after all…


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