On the boat project side...
The starter supplied by the Evil Giant (Amazon) did not fit. I stared at it for a couple of days (just like I have stared at an Ace trying to make it a Deuce), and then went wandering around Marathon. I wound up at the local Yanmar parts house where I inquired as to the availability of a new Hitachi starter like the one I pulled off the engine. It was not in stock, but could be had for the princely sum of around $800.00. Further wanderings led me to the other Yanmar dealer in town, run by a guy named Chico. Chico quoted me roughly the same number, but had a starter (aftermarket) in stock that would work (he assured me). The problem I had was that the starter he handed me looked like a toy compared to the one I pulled off my 30 year old engine. The price, however, was right at $220.00. As I was talking to Chico, Anthony (another cruiser we met, who limped into the harbor and had Chico do some work on his Yanmar) came into the office and bought an oil filter. He then offered me a ride back to the marina on his dinghy, as I was walking. I gladly accepted and left to mull things over.
After thinking about and researching the matter overnight, I came to the conclusion that improvements in magnets and other technology during the last thirty years have indeed resulted in smaller frame motors perfectly capable of spinning my diesel fast enough to start it. After purchasing and installing the starter, a week later it is still performing flawlessly. The Evil Giant, after I returned the starter I bought from them, looked upon it favorably and gave me full credit (less my cost to ship it back). All in all, I'm happy with that. Having slayed the starter dragon, I went on to a few other things that have been nagging me.
I pulled off the inspection ports on the port and starboard water tanks (after fabricating a tool to do so) and verified they are clean and in good shape. We have had one tank lasting much longer that the other one, for no apparent reason. My best guess now is that the valve on the other tank has a slow leak that acts to replenish the long lived one. No problem for me, I'll just empty both of them and then refill one from the third tank I have that is forward under the v berth, with a transfer pump. At that point I will know it's time to go get water, and I have about three days to accomplish that.
I plumbed in a shower/washdown sprayer in the cockpit, in anticipation of fresh water rinses when we climb back on the boat after swimming/snorkeling. The salt content of the water here is very high. We also need a way to rinse out the cockpit (the rain does a pretty good job getting the salt off the boat, but the cockpit is covered).
We took Sea Bird on a short hop to the marina to fill the water tanks. While I was there another boat pulled along the wall in front of us, changing my exit strategy. Because of the wind and the narrow confines of the channel, I wound up backing Sea Bird out of the channel to a place where I could safely turn her. What a joy to have a boat that will predictably handle in reverse. Most boats become unmanageable. (Our first boat, No Regrets, never acted the same way twice when in reverse.) We then took her to the fuel docks for a drink. We have used about 25 gallons since last we fueled in Biscayne Bay on the way down. That includes our daily engine run for refrigeration.
Giving up on the magic liquids, I removed, cleaned, and reinstalled the carburetor on the dinghy. I even walked down to West Marine and bought a new spark plug. The Tohatsu starts and runs fine, I'm just not sure Carol can become one with it or any engine that starts with the adjustment of a choke and the pull of a rope instead of a turn of a key. This is a theme that was repeated on many a yard maintenance piece of equipment (leaf blowers, string trimmers, etc.) and I KNOW she wanted to start those on her own. See her previous post on the actual driving thing. I have no comment...
On the fun side...
Carol was unable to pull the Panthers through. We went back to the bar to revenge root for Green Bay when they played the Seahawks. No Joy on that one either. Carol tells me I am spending too much time in bars. So tomorrow (weather and attitude permitting) we are taking Sea Bird on a little adventure for a couple of days. We are going to the Gulf side and do some actual sailing, explore a few of the islands, do some snorkeling, and maybe find a deserted beach. Perhaps Carol can manage to put her Florida fishing license to the test (maybe resulting in dinner?).
One can always hope. Here are a couple pictures for your viewing enjoyment. I know I enjoyed them.