Sunday, July 10, 2016

Provincetown Turn-around

July 4 - 6

I sat in the dinghy, still tied behind SeaClearly, looking at the beach. One hundred yards away. Tilly was sitting in the cockpit with Junie watching me intently. She could see her beach trip vision dissolving right before her eyes. The motor wasn’t starting. I had been through all of the filters, electrical connections, adjustments. I had pulled the starter cord so many times my arm was numb. It was infuriatingly teasing me by occasionally running for a few seconds – even a minute if I constantly worked the choke and throttle. All classic symptoms of fuel starvation. I pulled off the carb in the hope that just disassembling it might dislodge some dirt or something. No luck. I finally called it quits and climbed back aboard SeaClearly to sulk and think. We spent the rest of the day, as I already described, watching the beach activity. Most of the day boats were gone by early evening.

Early the next morning, after reviewing our options, we decided that we needed to remove and clean the carburetor. We started searching the boat for carburetor cleaner substitutes since we had none of the real stuff. Internet research suggested everything from lemon juice to hydrochloric acid. We settled on the closest killer chemical we could find in our arsenal – The Works Tub and Shower Cleaner. We get the stuff from The Dollar Tree for, of course, a dollar. It is the best hull cleaner ever (never mind that it removes every speck of wax). The ingredients sound like a hazardous waste sheet. Just last week, Junie insisted on taking advantage of the free shuttle service at the marina to score some more.

Dolphins off the starboard bow!



While we were gathering and preparing to work, Tilly started barking up on deck. Tilly rarely barks at anything. We both went topside and found that we were surrounded by dolphins. Dozens of them in every direction. Tilly was running around the deck, dumbfounded, not knowing whether to bark, cry or jump in the water. It was awesome to see all of the dolphins. In a few minutes, they were done with their circuit through the cove and moved on.

I took off the carb using only the tools from the kit that comes with the motor. Since those are the only tools in the dinghy, I think it is good practice to only use that limited set. They are simple, purpose designed and workable. We took the carb into the galley, stripped off all of the rubber parts, the fuel pump and the bowl and soaked the body in The Works. As always, we took plenty of pictures during disassembly. Then, we used the can of compressed, moisture-free air that Junie had also insisted on having for cleaning electronics, to blow out all of the passages. I re-assembled (quickly, because I was getting pretty good at it by now), re-attached the gas line, pulled the cord exactly twice and she lit up. Ran like a top.

Tilly, much relieved, ready to swim and run


With very little hesitation, probably not enough considering that the motor just started after two days of being non-functional, we all loaded into the dinghy and headed for the beach. Tilly was thrilled. We all were. The dinghy is really a critical piece of cruising equipment. We played with Tilly for quite a while on the sand. She is incredibly fast, is becoming a great swimmer and loves the opportunity to run free. Eventually, she was a little slow going after the retriever toy and we knew we had worn her out. She spent the rest of the day in sort of a daze and slept.




She was still worn out and sleeping in her cabin before the fireworks started at dusk. (We wondered how many times you use the word ‘dusk’ unless you are talking about fireworks or park closures).The fireworks over Provincetown were very cool. They were preceded by a gorgeous sunset. It was breezy (actually, windy) so the starbursts and trailers and smiley faces all blew away quickly. This was a pretty good day. And we were up past 9:00 pm for the first time in a while.

Dusk over P-town

The next morning, July 5th, was considerably less crowded out in the anchorage so we decided to move a little closer to town. We moved SeaClearly to a new location, set the anchor again and got things back in order. It was cool and breezy so we left Tilly on the boat and went to town. We took along a couple of jerry cans for water and a bag of garbage – the glamour of cruising – and headed for a dinghy dock. We ended up at some marina dock instead of the town dock but they were nice. We got our water and left the dinghy there while we walked around. We got our first Lobster Roll, we got ice cream, we took pictures, we left. 

Crowds? Yes there were.


Unlike our anchorage, Provincetown was packed. The parking lots were full and the streets were crowded. P-town falls somewhat short of quaint. It’s nice enough but very commercial, a little kitschy. It is, however, the place that the Pilgrims made their first landing before proceeding to Plymouth. I bet they were happy to land anywhere.
Pilgrim Monument



















So, despite our late arrival, problems finding a good spot to anchor and dinghy motor issues, we ended up having a nice stay in Provincetown. On Wednesday, July 6th, we picked up our anchor ( including an old piece of commercial fishing gear of some sort - not surprising since this harbor has been used for 500 years) and set out across Cape Cod Bay back towards the mainland. We had a short ride up the coast to our next planned stop at Back Harbor, Rockport, Massachusetts. That's a story for another day.

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