Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Making friends with our Benz

Frank finally decided to tackle the engine a few days ago because we were having some overheating issues.  He spent 2 days thoroughly going over the engine, scraping loose paint, treating areas of rust with Ospho (great stuff!), and detailing it.  He also changed the oil, oil filters, fuel filters, replaced all the zincs, sourced spares, changed the coolant and cap, and repainted the whole engine.

Partial blockage in transmission oil cooler 

All of the debris from the raw water side

At the same time, he removed the alternator, which had seized and attempted to rebuild it, however it was futile as it ended up being beyond repair.  A new Balmar alternator has now made it onto our shopping list (ouch!).  In the meantime, to address the overheating issue, he started at the beginning of the raw waterline, disassembling and checking as he went.  First problem he found was in the transmission oil cooler, which no longer had a zinc left in it (probably due to the fact that replacing it meant standing on your head in the bilge).  He replaced the zinc and cleared blockages that had developed inside the cooler.  As you can see from the photo, there was quite a bit of buildup in it.  Some of the debris made it down the line into the engine oil cooler, blocking some of the tubes in the heat exchanger.  Although we can't start the engine until we install a new alternator, as the belt on the alternator also runs the fresh water pump; we believe that these are some of the causes of overheating.  He also installed an expansion tank, which was missing and also the cause our corroded alternator (when the coolant boiled over it poured all over the alternator, ruining it).   We now have a nice, newly painted engine to start from scratch on.  Any leaks can now be easily spotted and remedied.  Still have some work to do, but at least we're off to a good start.




Sunday, August 7, 2011

Holey Moley

It's been about a month now since I've last updated the blog and a lot has happened.  Reason for my lackadaisical blogging has been because we've been busy hanging out with Frank's family for the past 2 weeks.  Catherine, Frank's mom, decided to surprise Frank and showed up around mid-July, so we got to spend some tourist time with them.  During that time, we did a lot of fishing, swimming, touring St. Augustine, and just plain relaxing.

Fishing off our docks

St. Augustine Lighthouse 

Krystie, newest member of Blue Man Group
We also discovered the oh-so-delectable mole crab.  These little creatures, though they look like bugs, are crabs that burrow in the sand along the shore where the waves break.  You catch them by waiting until the waves crash and stir up the sand, and watch them scurry as they quickly re-burrow themselves back into the sand.  They only bury themselves about an inch or two, so you can just grab a handful of sand where they were last spotted, and voila, you've got yourself a little critter.  Cleaning them is just as easy, you simply remove their digger and pull, thus deveining them (similar to shrimp).  A light batter of flour, salt, and ginger powder, and deep fry them with peanut oil and you've got yourself a tasty little snack.

When Frank was younger, he had used these as bait for surf-casting and had only known them as "sand fleas" as they call them down here.  He had no idea that they were edible until we watched an episode of Bizarre Foods, when Andrew Zimmern went to Thailand.  They looked so good, when he described them as a combination of "popcorn shrimp and soft shell crab," that we decided that we had to give them a shot.  We must agree that they are very much like a combination of popcorn shrimp and soft shell crab with a crunchier shell.  Even Frank loved them and he's not exactly what you'd consider an adventurous eater.  Yum...just thinking of them is making my mouth water.