Lee called one morning to ask us to come back to the dock to make ready to step the mast. At 0900 sharp the next morning the crane set up, and before we could blink, the mast was sliding back down into the Angel.
Once the mast was in place, the crew needed to seal the big hole in the deck. Ocean Angel uses the Spartite mast collar support system, a system I highly recommend. But Spartite alone does not keep water out of the boat; a boot or sealing collar is required to seal the deck. The men at FKG tried four different products before they found a system that would conform to the octagon shape of our mast collar.
With all the rigging work completed and Ocean Angel back at anchor, we finished our shopping, stowed our provisions, and readied the boat for sea. We were ready to head west – or were we? The next morning Joy reminded me there had been more water than usual in the rudder bilge area. Probably just rain water from that shower when I had the hatch open, I thought. Oh, oh, salt water, not good.
Emptying the lockers I climbed down into the cramped stern locker to search for a water trail; oh my, a rusty water trail beginning at the exhaust outlet pipe. To make a long story short, we motored back to the docks at FKG to have a new exhaust outlet fabricated; piece of cake they said, and so it was. Out and back in a couple of days. Lots of sore muscles on my end, but a nice shiny, beefy new exhaust port gracing the stern. Only I would notice that piece of equipment.
We re-anchored for the last day close to a home on shore that had to be owned by a Gator. Go Gators!
Now we were finally ready to set sail for points west. Our plans for the season included picking up friends Scott and Brenda Ferris in Puerto Rico for a two week visit that would expose them to a bit more adventuresome sailing, straight into the wind for several days.
We’d decided to explore St. Croix on our way west to Puerto Rico, an island many told us to avoid, but we had friends who assured us we’d have a wonderful time there. So, after looking into anchorages and marinas, we opted to stop first at Green Cay Marina about half way along the north shore. They offered a free night’s stay for booking two or more days.