We were up early for our last leg to North Palm Beach. It would be a short trip of about 41 nm, but there were a number of potential shoaling areas. We were out by 6:45am to take advantage of higher tides early in the day.
It was a muggy morning and the forecast called for scattered showers. Indeed, just before 7:30 am, it began to rain and rained steadily for a few minutes. Then just as quickly it stopped. Adrienne was steering and I happened to look behind us and noticed a spectacular rainbow. It was large and appeared especially brilliant and colorful where it touched the land.
During the rest of the day as we cruised down along Jupiter Island, we had many low hanging clouds but fortunately no more showers.
The shoaling areas turned out not to be a major issue and, before we knew it, we were approaching the series of bridges that begins in Jupiter and ends right before Old Port Cove, our home marina for the winter. Last year, Florida was having some incredibly high tides and we were not able to pass under these bridges without them opening. This year we had just enough clearance, so we did not have to wait for any openings. Our biggest challenge was the crush of Saturday boaters who seemed to have little sense and certainly did not care about the rules of the road. They would wander back and forth across the channel right in front of us without even looking to see if any other boats were in the area. But we made it without incident.
By 12:15 pm, we were tied up at Old Port Cove. Curiosity was home. It was a good feeling.
Unfortunately our power cord was still not working. So with great advice from Pat Flaherty at Burr Yachts, I set out to remedy the problem. Our first thought was that it must be a burnt fuse. So I swapped the fuses around, but alas that did not solve the problem. I then got out my voltage meter, which I probably should have done in the first place, and checked the voltages at the end of the power cable where it joins the boat. The voltage was only 120V, instead of 240V. Aha! The problem was the cable itself. So much for thinking it was the power on the floating docks at the Ft. Pierce City Marina.
I figured it might take a while to fix this issue so we called the dock house and asked if they had a 50 amp extension that we could use with our bow cord. This would allow us to have air conditioning without running the generator while I worked on the problem. Fortunately Old Port Cove had an extension and was going to send it over.
Meanwhile, I went back to work on the problem. The shore power connector is covered with a tight fitting rubber seal that needed to be removed to check the wiring. I tried everything to remove it and it would not budge. Adrienne and I tried together and still no success. The only option was to cut it off. I went in to get my knife, and when I came out the dock master had shown up with the extension. He also had seen me struggling to get the cover off and in less than a minute he had removed it. Why couldn’t I do that? Oh well. Once the cover was off, it was obvious what was wrong – one of the wires had completely pulled out from the socket. This looked like an easy fix. Of course the gods thought otherwise.
The old connector was from West Marine and while it was fine, it was not as good as a Hubbell connector, which I happened to have as a spare. The dockmaster and I decided it would be best to replace the West Marine connector with the Hubbell. You would think this would be easy, but dealing with 50 amp wires that are thick and not easily manageable made an otherwise straightforward task a challenge. Finally, the dockmaster got the wires all in place and put the connector together and went to plug in the cord. It wouldn’t fit. The plugs were slightly twisted. So we took the connector apart again. However, in the process we broke off part of the plastic fitting that aligns the connector with the plugs. The dockmaster, however, also had a Hubbell connector in his shop and off he went to get it. After helping to dock a few boats, he was back and we went to work again. Finally we had the connector on and plugged in. I went to check the power. No power!!
So we took the connector off again. Perhaps we had the wires in the wrong holes. We redid everything and tried again. Success!! We had power. It had only taken 2 ½ hours to complete this task.
Now, I could relax. The boat was safely tied up and everything was in good shape. We had traveled over 1050 nm in 128 hours over a period of 32 days. We had generally had good weather and no major traumas. We were home.