Angels, answered prayers or whatever you prefer to call it, I was very blessed yesterday thanks to some of the staff members of the Florida Sea Base.  Allow me to expound.

I arrived at the Florida Sea Base two weeks and one day ago to work on Escape and MAYBE get her ready to run in the 2015 summer Coral Reef Sailing program.  I had three major projects I hoped to accomplish during this trip.  1 – Replace the fuel/water separator and some of the fuels lines.  2 – Replace the chain plates.  3 – Rebuild the steering ram.

I was able to complete #1.  It was painful and took a day and a half but it was completed.

Captain Jon Strydom of S/V Foreign Affair rebuilt and reinstalled the ram so that completed #3, sort of.  While refilling and bleeding the ram and hydraulic steering system, a hydraulic line failed.  So item 3 was completed but a new, related project, replacing the hydraulic lines from the rudder to the helm, became item 3b.

As of yesterday morning, I had not completed #2 or #3b.  I had prayed about my situation and it was beginning to look as though that was not God’s plan for me at this time.  Then everything changed yesterday afternoon.  Captain Spencer Johnson of S/V Endeavour came to Escape and (without going into too much detail) offered to help (actually doing almost everything) with replacing the chain plates.  We solicited Sailing Commissioner Captain Charles Kantlehner to assist.   A couple of hours passed and four chain plates had been removed as templates for the making of replacements.  Captain Chris Jennet of S/V Stormalong fame, will take to old plates up to the New Port Richie area tonight to have new plates made.  (The price is a fraction of what they cost to have made in the Keys.)  In about 2 weeks, Captain Spencer and Captain Charles will install the new plates while I’m away.  So that will complete item #2.

In the middle of the chain plate frenzy, Captain Hans Bockelman of S/V Adventure came aboard.  He and Captain Charles are going to replace my hydraulic steering lines week after next.  That will complete item 3b.

Then, quite unexpectedly, Scuba Instructor Rich Goldman invited me to dinner.  And I dare not fail to mention Captain Dennis Wyatt who stopped by to offer assistance during the chain plate removal.

So my prayers were answered by a swarm of angels.  These individuals, and 99.99999% of the staff and captains at the Florida Sea Base are the type of people who are always quick to help.  THANK YOU, GENTLEMEN!  I have a LOT to pay forward.

That would be a nice ending BUT – – –

I was taught the lesson of taking the bitter with the sweet a LONG time ago.  When I returned from dinner, the salon air conditioner was off.  I spent some time putting away tools, making the bed (I did laundry yesterday) and filling the water tank.  Then I investigated the A/C issue and found the sea water circulation pump had failed.  I have a used spare on board so I will swap out pumps this morning and hope the old one works.  West Marine’s listed price for a new pump is $324.  Hope for the best! 😀

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
FSB Scuba Director – RETIRED

2 Responses to “ANGELS”

  1. Tim Gaffron says:

    What a great group of folks down there! What are the chances now of you and Escape being part of the fleet for Coral Reef? Our crew will be there June 18-24…
    Best of luck with the AC pump!

    Tim Gaffron
    Venturing Crew 84 in Minnesnowta (Yes, actually snow flurries here this morning!)

  2. Steve Willis says:

    My obligations with my dad are making it pretty evident that I cannot run the full summer. Plan B is to be on 24 hour standby as the backup boat. Hope for the best!!! SW

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