Despite getting the fuel cleaned in Isla Mujeres, the starboard engine on Happy Times continued to run at less than peak performance. We relied on the port engine as usual as we motored overnight from Key West to Key Largo. Mike promised he would jump into the water at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park to look at the starboard’s propeller.
As he suspected, Mike found a short line, the working end of a dinghy painter, wrapped around it. Captain Hook pulled out our hooknife, an indispensable tool that we invested in after catching a much bigger net on the same propeller on our passage from Turks and Caicos to Puerto Rico. Mike didn’t even have to go under the water’s surface to cut away the painter because we had purchased the extension rod for the hooknife. In three minutes or less Captain Hook was back aboard Happy Times and the painter was in the trash, safely out of another boater’s way.