Monday, November 29, 2010

St. Augustine, FL

Monday, Nov 29
St. Augustine Municipal Marina
Mooring Ball M56
Distance Traveled:  12.4 nm
Total Distance:  1670.93nm

This morning we woke about 7am and started the engine at 8am.  It was a warm night last night and breezy.  I needed to have the hatch open to be cool enough to sleep.  I was covered with a sheet and Phil had the quilt on since he was in the breeze stream.  It was 72F outside, 75 F inside, and Winds were E 11-13 kts.  There are banks of clouds and it looks like maybe we'll get more sunshine later.  Shortly after we left the anchorage, the belt for the alternator squealed.  It stopped making noise and Phil will check it later.  The batteries were dead this morning even though the inverter was off and we really hadn't used them that much.

Phil took the helm and drove the how distance.  I took advantage of using the inverter while the engine was running and was on the computer.  Katie slept until about 9am.  We passed the St. Augustine Inlet at 955am and just made it through the 10am opening of the Bridge of Lions.  We stopped to get diesel and have a pumpout and then get a mooring ball.  That was a fiasco!  We were suppose to get M54 - but another boat took it.  Then they assigned us M46 after we requested something closer in that the first substitute mooring ball.  We motored over looking for it as an open mooring ball - couldn't find it.  Then we looked and another boat was using it.  I called out to them that it was assigned to us and they said that a man in a boat had told them to us it or M56.  So we took M56, but that wasn't pretty either.  The line was coiled so I couldn't get it with the boat hook.  Phil jumped to the rescue and picked it up when it was at the boarding gate and then after putting the line through the loop, we pulled the line so it came forward until I could cleat it off.  After we were settled, the husband and wife with their 3 kids (7yo boy, 5yo girl and 2yo boy) came over in their dinghy to talk and explained in more detail what happened.  It seems that the buy in the boat isn't communicating with the guy in the office about who has which balls. We exchanged boat carts and all is well now.

Phil checked the alternater belt and the SS bolt broke in half. Good thing that he had a replacement and it's all fixed.  It was his last one so will have to get another here.

As I'm writing this blog, the sun has come and Phil is searching for the lunch meat.  Time to get some more bread and other items at the store.  The dinghy is all set for us to go into town.

We see many boats that were at St. Marys GA.  S/V Haven is here and we heard S/V White Seal calling for a pump out.  S/V Glen Lyon has just arrived and we'll have to visit them as my sunglasses were left there yesterday.


  1. The Propane sensor is probably bad, water can cause them to fail. Are you close to some water?

    Hope this helps.
    Paul C

    These sensors can be contaminated by water.

    If the sensor gets wet, the water causes a short circuit in the sensor. The result is the same as propane completing the sensor circuit and triggers an alarm.

    It is extremely important to keep the sensor dry at all times.

    Not-Too-Technically Speaking: How it Works
    At the heart of every propane detector is the sensor and all of them function in the same basic way.

    The sensor uses the difference between the electrical properties of oxygen and propane to trigger an alarm.

    The miniature sensor contains 2 main components. One is a layer of metal oxide semiconductor material - usually tin dioxide. The second is a miniature heater which keeps the semiconductor at a constant high temperature - around 400°C - which it needs to function properly.

    The metal oxide's ability to conduct an electrical current (its resistance) is effected by gasses which are attracted to its surface. In a propane detector's sensor the 2 gasses involved are oxygen and propane.

    Oxygen has the ability to trap electrons, which increases the resistance of the metal oxide. Propane, on the other hand, improves the flow of an electric current through the metal oxide and lowers its resistance.

    Depending on the concentration or absence of propane in the air around the sensor the current through the metal oxide will increase or decrease - the higher the level of propane the greater the current. When propane reaches a dangerous level - 25% of the lower explosive level, or LEL - the detector begins to sound an alarm. In other words, the alarm starts while you still have a 75% margin of safety. This safety margin decreases as the propane concentration rises.

    The alarm circuit can be as simple as an audible alarm and flashing red LED (GS/3) or as elaborate as propane shut-off (GS/6).

  2. Yep, Paul C is right. Dunno if drying out the sensor will help -- probably needs fixed "with a new one". Still best to snap off the LP at the solenoid anyway. We do the same with pressure water -- off at the breaker to prevent accidental consumption.

  3. AH..see you are with our friends, Glenlyon--say hi to them both. We are sitting here COLD and wet in Hampton VA. Raising a virtual glass of vino to you all.SV Growltiger

  4. Thank you Paul C and Paul VH. That was very helpful and I'm sure we'll be getting a new sensor. It contaminated with water and we've learned our lesson.

    S/V Growltiger, will say hi for you to S/V Glenlyon when we next see them. If it makes you feel any better, we are COLD here too. 42F this morning and 58F this afternoon and more to come.