We Have Ignition

After last night’s successful turnover of the engine, I knew I wanted to fully assemble and actually hear the motor run today so I ran out on my lunch break to West Marine to pick up a new set of spark plugs to replace the well-aged and worn spark plugs I removed yesterday.

As an added bonus, I received a call from Boatwrench that my exhaust riser hose had come in.  The stars were aligning.

I came home, ate a delicious grilled fish dinner prepared by my Salty Monkey eldest son, and then proceeded to carefully insert and hook-up each spark plug.  Once all of the plugs were in place and the wires were snapped back on, I walked to the ignition switch, put my fingers on the switch and turned it over with one eye closed.

Vrmp, Vrmp, Vrmp, pop!, pop! and Vroom!

The engine roared to life.

I let the engine purr for a joyous 30 seconds, then shut everything down so I could tighten down the new hose and make sure all of the cooling systems were working properly.

The new hose fit perfectly, much better than the precariously bent and modified hose that was previously installed, and with a few twists of the hose clamps and a quick hook-up of the muffs on the lower unit I had the water flowing and was ready to start the engine once again with some proper cooling.

The engine roared to life again, an purred.  A quick inspection around the motor indicated a small leak in the input for the exhaust riser.  No problem, I will just tighten the bolts down a bit.  Wrench and turn, wrench and turn a little more.  The leak slowed.  Wrench and turn and pop!  Broken bolt.  Let’s tighten the other one now.  Wrench and turn and slip!  Head bolt now a bit rounded.  The slow leak can wait for now.

The engine continued to warm up and purr. The temperature gauge settled right around 160 degrees.  Perfect.  The engine purred with a bit more frequency now.  Let’s put the boat in gear and add a little load.

Brap, putt, putt, purr, cough, weeze.

I think the fuel may be stale.  We will figure that out tomorrow.

Biking from Clearwater Lake to Alexander Springs

It had been a long, long time since I had last ridden the Paisley Woods trail from Clearwater Lake to Alexander Springs, so I took advantage of a rare weekday off to ride the east trail.  The weather was absolutely miserable by Florida standards, with drizzling rain and high temperature in the low 50s.

There were a few sections of soft sand that made the 17 mile round-trip ride a bit more strenuous, but the views at Alexander Springs were as pretty as ever as the steam from the warmer water drifted up off the surface.

Humpback Whale Off New Smyrna Beach

I was returning from a day of fishing out of Ponce Inlet, and decided to cruise along the coast for a bit on my way back to the inlet when I spotted a large dark object rise up out of the water up ahead.  I slowed the boat to an idle, and waited a minute to see a large humpback whale surface about a hundred yards ahead.  The whale was about a mile offshore, heading northbound.  I followed along at a respectful distance, snapping a photo or two whenever the whale surfaced.