Time has a way of getting away from you. It is hard to believe it had been five weeks since we last had Beatitude out on the water. Yesterday, Cindy and I decided to head off for a day on the water and an overnight at anchor. Since I worked the night before until 1:00 a.m., we arose around 9:30 a.m. to get the day started. We took a quick trip to Publix for provisioning for a Memorial Day picnic on Beatitude. Upon returning to the marina, I made my way down into the engine compartments, at the stern end of both hulls, to check the engine and sail drive oil. The sail drives, which were serviced recently needed a little oil. Being a contortionist, or at least very flexible (neither of which describes me), is a valuable trait to possess if one is required to work on the engines.
At 11:15, we left our slip and motored about 3.5-4 miles out into the gulf and cut our engines for a couple of hours. There was little wind and little current, so we did not drift very far. We had lunch, and I took a swim in the refreshing 82° aquamarine waters. I attempted to coax Cindy to jump in with me into the 29 ft. deep waters of the gulf. She eventually succumbed and took the plunge, enjoying it as much as I. (She never did let go of either me or Beatitude, though.)
Soon, we fired up the engines and retraced our path to DeSoto Pointe where we dropped anchor in 7 feet of water. After we both enjoyed a brief acrylic painting session, I fired up the grill to make some burgers for our Memorial Day picnic. Macaroni salad, deviled-eggs, a bottle of Bordeaux wine and some Key-lime Cheesecake rounded off the meal. We had almost finished eating when the thunder, lightning, gusty winds, and rain showers began. We hastily beat a retreat into the salon where we finished dinner and watched The Monument Men in commemoration of Memorial Day. These were men who gave their lives, not just for our country, but for the preservation of the history of Western civilization. Cindy and I highly recommend the movie.
This morning we arose and did some work on our water-maker. We have a Spectra Catalina water maker that turns sea-water into potable water at a rate of 11-13 gallons/hour. We’ve not had the necessity of using this yet, since we’ve been in the marina most of the time and never far from a place where we can easily obtain water. That will change in two to three months, so we felt we had better service this thing and make sure it makes water as advertised. I changed all the filters (50-micron, 20-micron and 5-micron pre-filters as well as a charcoal filter). The pre-filters filter the sea water prior to it entering the membrane which desalinates and cleans the sea water. The charcoal filter removes the chlorine, etc. from shore water which has been used to fill the boat’s fresh water tanks from ashore, so that it can be used to auto-store the membrane when not in frequent use. We hit the “run” button on the water maker and voile, water started coming from the hose leading from the water maker and into the holding tanks. A few seconds later, however, the stream of water stopped and the “reject” light illuminated on the LED display. After some unsuccessful finagling, we gave up the fight for a day. I have a feeling we will have to replace the membrane (not cheap, but then what on a boat is!?). The manual states that the average cruising lifespan is 6-8 years, and Beatitude is 7 years old.
Since we had several errands ashore, we came back to the marina early. We arrived at noon and smoothly secured Beatitude to the dock. Tomorrow is a sixteen-hour shift in the emergency department to shock me back to reality. I really must get Beatitude out more often. I have grown impatient waiting until we can leave our home port and start cruising. An overnight getaway is just what the doctor (or in this case, Cindy) ordered to renew my patience.