It has been awhile since our last post, mainly because we haven’t gone anywhere with the boat since the last post. A few days before we arrived here at the Dinner Key Mooring Field, we were having intermittent trouble starting the main engine. It seemed very odd since the starter motor and solenoid were replaced brand new last Fall in September.
At any rate, I removed the starter motor and solenoid after we got here and took it to an electrical rebuild shop in Fort Lauderdale to get the assembly tested. The starter motor tested just fine and upon inspection inside the motor, it looked brand new. The solenoid, however, was suspect. The stud that the main battery cable was attached to was slightly loose and I inadvertently stripped the stud when I installed the new unit last September. So, to play it safe I had the shop install a new solenoid. I was very careful not to strip the stud this time and not to over tighten the nut. After all that, the engine would still not start. I could start it using a screwdriver to short out the battery cable to the trigger line on the solenoid. This meant there is nothing wrong with the starter motor nor the solenoid.
There is a relay after the ignition switch that was suspect, so I had it bench tested as well and it tested fine. There remained only two possible issues left to test. It could either be the wire from the ignition switch to the solenoid is not delivering enough voltage to the solenoid for it to work properly, or it could be the ignition switch itself.
I ran a new wire from the ignition switch to the solenoid – and the engine still would not start using the key in the ignition. I also checked the continuity of the existing wire that runs from the switch to the solenoid and it tested fine. So, by the process of elimination, I narrowed it down to a faulty ignition switch.
Last Monday, I ordered a new ignition switch from Hunter Owners in California and it arrived today (Friday), but they shipped the wrong part number. I have since re-ordered the right part number on Amazon and it will be here in 2 days. Once we get that problem resolved, then service the engine (oil change and new fuel filters), we plan on heading to the Bahamas for a month or so. We will likely be leaving sometime later next week after everything else gets done.
Even though we won’t be here at the Dinner Key Mooring Field for about a month, we will still keep paying our monthly lease for the mooring ball. If we don’t keep paying for it, it may not be available when we return to Dinner Key. The mooring field tends to completely fill up by the end of December. Boats are still arriving here daily from up north. In fact, a 45′ Hunter sailboat (originally from Toronto) just arrived here 3 days ago and is on a mooring ball next to us. They didn’t travel here from Toronto because they keep their boat in the USA.
Last year, at this time, the mooring field was completely filled up. The folks that run the marina claim that since last winter was so windy, it deterred some of the usual snow birds to return to Dinner Key for this winter. The drawback to this mooring field is it very exposed to winds from the North, Northeast, East and Southeast. We are on Biscayne Bay (not the ocean) however, we are on the west side of the Bay which makes for a lot of fetch (open water) so the waves can build and make the mooring field very ‘bumpy’ especially once the winds are over 20 knots. See picture below of ‘On Purpose’ on the mooring ball with the Miami skyline in the background.
‘On Purpose’ on Mooring Ball #139 in the Dinner Key Mooring Facility
The weather here has been very warm – much warmer than normal temperatures for this time of year. The daytime temperatures are in the mid to high 80’s F and very humid – which is more like the temperatures in the summertime for South Florida. Don’t get me wrong – no complaints here as we are aware that most of North America is currently in a deep freeze. A very strong high pressure system to the north is keeping any of that cold air mass from making its way into Florida.
Below are a few pictures of the marina here.
Dinner Key Marina Office Building
The Dinghy Dock where We Tie Up Our Dinghy When We Come To Shore
Overlooking The Dinner Key Marina From The Office Building – Second Floor
There are 600 boats in the marina and another 100 boats out in the mooring field. The marina provides a shuttle service every day on the hour so boat owners can come to shore without needing to take their dinghy to shore. The shuttle service is included in the mooring lease. They also provide waste tank pump outs twice a week by having a pump out boat come to the boats in the mooring field – also included in the lease fee. The only reason we bring the boat to the marina is to fill up our 3 water tanks.
And finally, below is a picture of the local crocodile sun bathing on a rock.
Crocodile Living Near the Marina