The Miserable Mile is a stretch of super busy waterway near Ft Myers with an incredibly narrow channel. Powerboats fly this way and that, wakes churn the water, and straying from the channel even a few feet means running aground. In short, it’s quite aptly named!
We have a grand time sailing regardless, with the sun out and lovely wind. After pulling into a slip in Ft Myers Beach, we start fixing up our engine, Mr. Beke, who’s in need of some maintenance and repairs. Getting prepped for our next overnight sail — to Key West!
Hope you enjoy!
Lauren & Kirk
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We are sailing through the miserable mile. And it’s a mess. And there’s just boats everywhere.
A hell of a lot of swear words.
This is project number three.
I wish I could do everything in one take. Hold it, hold it. Okay, now.
[Lauren] Last time, here on the west coast of Florida, a little bit of nasty weather slammed Soulianis. Got it?
[Kirk] After checking in on our anchor gear, we watched a motorboat drag behind us and narrowly miss another sailboat. There’s the sailboat and there’s the guy that dragged past him. Fortunately, everyone came out unscathed. And we left Cayo Costa spending a couple of days on Captiva where we combined work and pleasure. And then we kept moving south towards Fort Meyers.
Today we’re going to sail off anchor. First time ever right?
[Kirk] On this boat, yeah.
We’re anchored just off of Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island and there’s a bunch of fishermen around. There was no one around last night when we sailed in here at like 1pm, or 1pm? At 1am because across the way at Pine Island was horrendous. Waves were bucking the boat all around and there was like 20-25 knot gusts. And there’s no way we we’re going to sleep, so we picked up anchor and moved in the middle of the night, over here.
And it was quite peaceful.
Yeah, it was a great sleep.
It was a very, very good idea.
Okay, so today we have a great wind. We have a ton of space behind us with no boats anywhere. We have no anchorage to go through. So we are going to sail off anchor.
[Lauren] Whoops, did you catch that accidental jive? Even though we had no other boats around us, it was quite shallow and I was so focused on making sure we stayed in deep enough water, I forgot to pay attention to the sail. I’m always learning something. We are sailing through the miserable mile.
[Kirk] A little bit more space would have been nice if you have an 18 inch draft.
This is such a beautiful sailing day. And there’s just boats everywhere. This is right where The Caloosahatchee, The Gulf, and Pine Island Sound meet and it’s a mess. The channel is so narrow. Hope I’m talking loud enough to hear over all the motorboats. So, right behind me, my grandparents used to have a condo for about 20 years. Many springs we would go down for a week, my family, my sister, and go on the beach at Sanibel, go up to Captiva and go to the Monkey Duck. So it was really cool to be able to sail our own boat right up to Captiva Island, drop anchor by Ding Darling, and sail right past their old place. Which we’ll be there in about 30 minutes.
[Kirk] We we’re trying to sail as much as possible, so we tacked all the way down the channel to the Sanibel Causeway, taking almost a full two hours to go a total of four miles. But the wind was perfect and we were just enjoying the sail. For once, we weren’t trying to make a bridge opening, beat a storm front or get to a marina before it closed.
[Lauren] Well we were actually going to a marina, but we had more than enough time to putz our way there. Which, I’m pretty sure is the actual definition of sailing.
[Kirk] All right, ready?
[Kirk] Crafting in three, two, one. Okay, hold it. Hold it. Okay, now. I didn’t have to use the winch that time. That was a much better tack.
That’s so cool. We might just make it right through.
[Kirk] Yeah, we might want to start the engine though, just in case.
We got it, we got it.
[Kirk] Yeah, I don’t know.
[Lauren] What was cutting it just a little close there. Look at all these guys.
[Kirk] Yeah, there’s no way we wouldn’t made it.
Off to Fort Meyers Beach for a couple nights in a marina. It’s been a week and a half-There is something making both Kirk and I cough.
[Kirk] Are you coughing? I’ve got like a weird thing that’s making me cough.
And it’s not allergyish. It’s weird. It’s almost like there was smoke, but it doesn’t smell like smoke. As it turns out, we were experiencing the effects of a red tide. We knew of its deadly effects on marine life, but didn’t know it could take to the air too, causing respiratory issues in humans. Red tide is a harmful algia bloom that occurs seasonally, but is believed to be exacerbated by pollution and agricultural runoff. We’re out of food. We’re out of water. Engine’s falling apart, so we’re going to try to fix it. We still got plenty of diesel. And I’m gonna go for a run. We’re getting pretty close to the Fort Meyers Beach Channel. Have to turn on the engine soon.
♪ I don’t know ♪ ♪ If I will go ♪ ♪ Home with you tonight, it’s true ♪ ♪ I’m so glad I keep in touch ♪ ♪ Maybe it’s cause you talk way to much ♪
[Kirk] We had quite a bit of both maintenance and repairs to tackle, so after settling into our slip, we jumped right into fixing up old Mr.Beak. So, I’ve struggled with oil changes. I’ve only had to do two so far. I’ve bought two different manual pumps and they both leaked like crazy. And I mentioned to our new boat neighbors that I needed to do my oil change and he gave me this fantastic oil change kit, that is just slurping out oil–
[Lauren] Can’t wait for this simile.
Like an anteater slurps ants out of an anthill. We got it from Randy on Blue Turtle Troll. Blue Turtle Troller. Blue turtle. Planet Turtleina.
For the turtle club.
That saved me a hell of a lot of swear words, sweating, and oil spill.
We’ve been noticing, so, diesel oil is pink, coolant oil is yellow, oil oil is black, I don’t know what color our transmission oil is, and I’ve actually been needing to check it. We’ve been noticing a bit of pink in the bottom of our engine pan which is a diesel fuel leak and I just found the leak. It is this bleed nut right there. So, if you wait for about 15 seconds, you’ll see a little drop. It’s building right now. I think that’s where it is. It’s very possible that it could be this line right here and it’s dripping onto that. You see the drip right here? It’s about to go. Three, two, one. Drip. There’s two. Okay, so my guess is that it’s actually coming off a little bit higher ’cause I didn’t see that second one. After tracking down the origins of that diesel leak it was time to move on to replacing our leaking water pump.
[Lauren] Yes, that entire stack.
Oh, we also got a new alternator too. Today, I am replacing the water pump. I hope. What are you giggling at over there?
I’m giggling about all new boat projects and I’m glad to hear your sense of humor. Cause that’s what it takes, it’s what’s required.
I’ve got some sweet hair. So, I’ve actually purchased a brand new pump and a rebuild kit for the old pump. We don’t really have any spares on the boat and up until this point we’ve been traveling through fairly well traveled water ways always within reach of a marina and Amazon Prime. As we get farther and farther away, that is not likely to be the case. So, I felt like this was maybe a good time to pick up a spare water pump. And we have plenty of spare impellers which is the consumable that is most likely to go. But for whatever reason, if we were to have some sort of problem with the water pump it would pretty much stop us dead in our tracks from motoring. The engine would overheat immediately. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to replace the water pump first. And then I’m going to take apart the old water pump and rebuild it once I know that we at least have a working water pump. All right, here we go. I have a Wester Beak 40. They stopped manufacturing the water pumps original to that engine. So, after a bit of research I found that Sherwood makes a Sherwood F85 and a G65 and we have the, I don’t know which one we have. We have one of them and we got the other. And literally the only difference is the size of the pipe fittings coming in and out of them. So, the one that we have was a half inch pipe fitting. The one we just purchased is a three quarter inch pipe fitting. Which is perfect because all of our hoses are actually three quarter inch. Hopefully now this should kind of just be a bolt on replacement. I’m hoping. Which still means it’s probably a multi day project for me. So, it begins. Now I’ve got the pump disconnected, now I just need to pull it off of the engine hosing. So, I’ve got my larger pipe fittings here. I’m just dry fitting them. I bolted it on to test fit the alignment of the larger hose barbs. But I still needed to pick up some gasket sealant and paint to protect the new shiny pump from the corrosive salt water before finishing it up. So, in the meantime I tackled rebuilding the old pump. Is it moving?
[Lauren] I don’t know, I wasn’t looking.
Okay, let me read this one more time. It may be reluctant to move at first. Let’s see if we can persuade it. So there’s the old shaft. Oh, wow. Yeah, that had a lot of scoring. See how there’s that really bright spot there? That’s scoring into the shaft. Which is not good. I don’t know if that’s what made it leak, but that means that your shaft is starting to go bad.
[Lauren] We don’t want our shaft to go bad.
We don’t want our shaft to go bad. And you see there’s almost like some burning there? That’s like carbon buildup. That black mark. That is quite possibly from the heat building up so much. I’m glad I got the rebuild kit.
[Lauren] Can you smile here? Oh, man.
[Lauren] Who’s the person that does everything in one take? The director?
Children of Men, I don’t remember his name.
[Lauren] I just tried and I failed. What you working on now? Did you do it the wrong way?
Yeah. I wish I could do everything in one take.
This is project number three. First one was raw water replacement. Second was LED installation. And third fan number three installation.
But it takes me three projects to finish one.
‘Cause you didn’t finish the first two?
That’s okay, love.
So I had to finish one. I had to find something I could finish or else my night would be ruined. Oh, that’s quite nice. I wish I could have had that on the whole time I was working.
[Lauren] Now you know to start with the fan projects.
Yeah. Yeah, that’ll actually help while I’m working on the engine too. Cool.
So what happens if you… Ah. No problem?
[Kirk] No, it’s okay.
[Lauren] Did you give it a finger?
[Kirk] No, I did it with the back side of my hand.
[Lauren] Like that?
Oh, okay, that wasn’t too bad. Cool. We usually never see this. We’re usually never up before the sun’s up.
[Kirk] Not at the marina.
[Lauren] After we got biscuits from a local cafe for breakfast, we crossed back over the Mantanzas Pass Bridge just in time to watch the Key West Express head out for its daily run. Which was actually the next big passage that we were getting ready for as well.
We stopped somewhere in the middle of, where was it? I don’t even know what state it was.
[Lauren] I thought it was Tennessee.
And the marina had some cotton plants on the docks. Lauren and I both looked at that and we were like, “whoa, that’s cotton!” So soft. That is wild. So, we picked one off ’cause we just thought it was so cool to see. Last week I was like, all right I’m going to throw this thing out and Lauren kept it and I thought it was super cute. She was like, “Oh, maybe we can use it for something.” Today I am taping up this water pump so that I can paint it and it has these little weep holes that I need to not get paint in, and I’ve discovered that the cotton ball seed with just a little bit of cotton on it, fits perfectly in the weep hole. So, cotton ball you have earned a place back on the shelf. Nice. That worked quite well. That looks pretty good.
[Lauren] Yeah it does.
Now I just gotta get the gasket. Get it on. Let’s get it on. Hey everyone, in the last episode we announced the first of our Sailing Soulianis giveaways.
And we had you answer a trivia question, and we had so many lovely emails from you. Thank you so much. Without further ado, let’s pick a winner.
We got 89 valid responses with the right trivia question answer.
Which was, of course, coffee.
Coffee. We’re gonna use a random number generator between 1 and 89. You ready?
For our first big winner.
Number 20. Keith Adams.
We will send you a coupon code to order this shirt.
I will take it off my back and put it in the mail for you right now.
No, we’re not doing that. Congratulations.
We’ll be reaching out via email very shortly. So, to continue the fun we are going to be doing another giveaway.
But this time it’s gonna be on Instagram.
We’ll be announcing the details there shortly so make sure you follow us at SailingSoulianis at Instagram.com
And be on the lookout in the next few days for that post. Good luck!
It’s kind of my worst nightmare.
It’s our last night in Fort Meyers Beach. Tomorrow we leave for the Keys.