Archive for February, 2007

Entry for February 25, 2007

February 26, 2007

We found some good wax at Boaters World and stopped at Home Depot on the way back to the boat for a few other items.  We then waxed and buffed the port side of the boat because it was in the shade.  Tomorrow morning we’ll do the same for the starboard side.

If you are interested, here is what our life is like here –

We wake up, the first time, around 5:30 am to the roosters crowing down the street.  We’ve named two of them from the sound they make – one is Tarzan, the other is The Good, The Bad and The Ugly because he sounds like the theme song (picture it in your head).  We usually fall back to sleep and get up anywhere from 7:30 to 9:00.  Depending on how hungry we are, we’ll either grab some fruit and coffee on the boat or go out to breakfast.  There is an excellent café about ¼ mile away called The Stuffed Pig.  Their portions are huge and we probably should split one of there breakfasts but Laura and I usually want different foods.  Then it’s back to the boat for projects, working with our contractors or off on errands.  For example, one day Laura went to the beach with Susan while I worked with the riggers on putting up new wires for the masts.  Another day she worked diligently on reupholstering the sofa while I worked in the bilge on seastrainers and other tasks.

We usually have lunch anytime between 11 and 2 depending on how big our breakfast was.  I don’t think we’ve gone out for lunch yet but we’ve talked about it.  Going out for lunch would be cheaper than dinners and a big lunch would hold us with just a small supper on the boat.  Afternoons are projects or errands again.  Days of the week don’t matter and I’m sure we’ve taken less days off while on this trip than we did when we worked normal jobs.  Today was one of our more physical days because we washed and waxed the boat from scaffolding which took both morning and afternoon.   

Don’t forget that it is very difficult to cook on the boat because we can’t use our sinks as they drain overboard onto the ground.  We make sandwiches or other small things but a full dinner would be difficult with the dishes and cooking.  Also, we don’t have refrigeration while “on the hard” so we’ve been stocking our fridge with ice in the morning and evening.  It keeps the food cool but not cold.  Good thing we are going back in the water on Tuesday.  We don’t have much left to eat in the fridge and the freezer has been defrosted.

Evenings we stop and relax with a cocktail and / or munchies before sunset.  It worked out good for the past few months because sunset was early.  Now the sun doesn’t set until after 6 pm so we’re usually eating dinner or thinking about where to go at that time.  Sitting in our cockpit we can’t actually see the sun set because there are new condos being built to the west of us and the sun sets over them.  That’s why we went out in the dingy a couple days ago to see it from the Gulf of Mexico.

After dinner we’ll watch a DVD from our collection (we have about 120 with us) or about 1 day out of the week the atmosphere gods are smiling and we get commercial TV.   As luck would have it, they were smiling last Thursday and we watched a few of our favorite shows (CSI, etc.) for the first time in a month or more.

Bedtime is about 10 pm and we’ll read in bed for awhile.  I usually get tired first and fall asleep while Laura is still reading even though our cabin is right under one of the streetlights attached to the barn next to us.

The weather has been awesome for the past week while we have been at this marina.  The nights have been cool for sleeping and the days warm for tanning with enough winds to keep the bugs away.  Laura says she hardly recognizes me because I am so dark.  The past week I’ve been working outside on the boat most of the time so it’s made my tan much deeper. 

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Entry for February 25, 2007

February 25, 2007

Yesterday afternoon we did calk the toe-rail and it looks pretty nice. We are hoping it will fix a leak we found running down the inside of the hull behind our forward cabin dresser. We found that one while we were working on the new holding tank during a rainstorm. I noticed the floor was getting spongy and seeped water a little when I stepped on it. We traced it back to a little trickle running down the inside of the hull behind the dresser drawers. We’ve been putting a towel there whenever it rains now but we hope the cause was the bad toe-rail calk.

Around 5:30 last evening we decided to walk down to Berdine’s which is a on-water restaurant at the other end of town. Our newest favorite band was playing there – Eric Stone. It probably took us about 45 minutes to walk the trip. We listened to Eric’s band while munching fried shrimp and salad. We now have 4 of his CDs and I highly recommend them if you are interested in “Island” music. His website is http://www.boatsongs.com.

We were planning on taking a taxi back to the boat but decided to walk it since the weather was so nice. We were a little tired when we got back to the boat and I think both of us napped while watching a DVD. Oh. I didn’t mention that Berdine’s closes at 9 pm. The band plays from 6 – 9 twice a week.

Today we started work on cleaning the outside of the boat. I’m a little impressed that we are down to boat-cleaning projects from our long list of boat-repairs. Anyway, I started by putting up some scaffolding around the boat for us to stand on. We decided to take the work in 3 parts. First, we had a very diluted solution of Muriatic acid to take off the waterway stains. Then we used a bucket with some Joy dish detergent. For the stubborn stains we also had a scrubby pad with Soft-Scrub. Then we had a rinse bucket to clean it all off. We had to be careful because the acid would take off the bottom paint if it ran down so we used old rags to apply everything. Laura used rubber gloves with the acid and I followed with the wash and rinse. I had planned on this taking all day but we finished the transom around noon (about 3 hours). We were pretty tired and I found walking up and down the stairs from the cockpit very tough for the rest of the day. Oh, by the way, this picture gives you an idea of how high off the ground the boat is right now. We have to go up and down a 10 foot ladder just to reach the deck.

After a short respite we’re planning on walking down to Boaters World to see what they have for boatwax. No – we are not “gluttons for punishment”. This is probably the only time we will every wax the boat and a good coat of wax will keep the fiberglass in good shape for quite awhile. I want to take advantage of having the boat high-n-dry to spiffy up everything that would be hard (or impossible) when it is in the water.

Laura just reminded me that it took us about 1 hour to wash and wax the Corvette. Two sides of a 43 foot boat is a lot more area to cover! The good news is we won’t be doing this every weekend….

Entry for February 24, 2007

February 25, 2007

Yesterday I cleaned and polished our propeller and grounding plates attached to our hull.  I had cleaned most of the barnacles from the prop while we were anchored in Key Biscayne but it only took me about ½ hour to clean off the rest of the debris and put a nice shine on it.  The guy working on his boat next door to us mentioned our crusty propeller and said he would loan me the corded drill and polisher if I wanted to work on it.  I went into the boat to grab my dust mask and goggles.  When I came out there was an extension cord on the ground with a drill and polisher plugged in.  I pulled up a couple blocks to sit on and went to work.  The polisher did a great job and the guy next door admired my work.  “Thanks” I said as I handed him back the tools.  “What a beer?” he asked just before taking a big swallow of his Milwaukee’s Best.  I said, “No thanks.  Maybe later.”  It was only 10:00 in the morning….

Laura finished the fabric guard on the new sofa upholstery and we were taking it easy around 5 pm up in the cockpit.  It was a beautiful evening, clear skies, no wind and about 1 hour from sunset.  We decided to take a couple cocktails out in the dingy and watch the sunset from the gulf.  This side of Marathon is actually the Gulf of Mexico even though we’re still in the Keys.  We packed up our safety gear and motored out of the marina.  It was excellent and we watched the sunset as we lazily drifted along.  The picture above is from that sunset and shows how calm the water was.

We decided to take the dingy around the island to our old anchorage.  We motored along for about an hour and spent a little time with Sue on Mandate.  We stopped by another boat who we heard had a large anchor for sale but I wasn’t too impressed so don’t know if I will follow up or not.  A 80 – 100 pound plow or CQR anchor goes for about $1,000 at West Marine.  I’m hoping I can find a used one and trade my Delta plus a couple hundred bucks.  We left the dingy at the City Marina and walked the ½ mile back to our marina and boat.

Today we decided to motor our dingy back to this side of the island and stop by Sue’s boat to borrow some of their excellent calk.  As we motored out of the City Marina, the wind picked up from the SE.  We figured that wouldn’t be too bad since we would be motoring most of the way up the north side of the island with the wind off the land and small waves.  We picked up the calk from Sue and motored around the west end of the island.  YIKES!  The waves were coming right at us.  Not too high but enough to make spray every 10-20 seconds that came over the front of the dingy and right in the face.  We decided to keep going and it took us almost an hour to get back to our marina.  We were soaked but still laughing.  Laura and I both grabbed some dry clothes and went to the showers to rinse the seawater off ourselves and the clothes we had on.  The rest of the morning looked like laundry day on the boat with our clothes hanging from the rail to dry in the wind.

Our jobs for this weekend are calking the toe-rail and trying to clean off some of the dirt and waterway  stains from the hull.  The walkways on the decks are in a sort of channel.  The superstructure is on one sided of the deck and there is a raised rail on the outside.  This rail sits up about 8” in the bow and comes down to only a couple inches in the stern.  It’s a great thing to keep people from sliding off and there are stanchions and lifelines on top of it.  The raised rail is called a toe-rail because you can easily stub your toe (I guess).  The top piece of the toe-rail is painted over teak and has a slight crack on both sides where water could get in.  This crack is what we need to calk.  Laura will strip out the old calk with a few tools we have and I’ll follow up behind here with the calking gun – it’s my specialty and I usually leave a nice smooth surface.  Ooooo

Entry for February 23, 2007

February 24, 2007

I’ve added a new web page for the pictures about our haul-out and cut-water fitting.  Check it out from our home page.

We had a great time in Key West on Wednesday with Hank.  He’s a lot of fun to be with for an old guy (hehe).  We parked the car near the waterfront and had lunch at an open-air restaurant overlooking the marinas.  Laura and I then walked Duval street (main street in Key West) while Hank decided to wait for us at the Hogs Breath saloon.  We were looking for some light island shirts for me and found a couple at reasonable prices ($10 each).  We also bought a t-shirt for me that Laura said I had to have.  It read – “Please tell your BOOBS to stop starring at my EYES”   I haven’t worn it yet as I’m waiting for the right night out…..

Progress on the boat is proceeding and we should have the new cut-water fitting today from the fabricator.  I was hoping to speed these guys up a little but all I’ve managed to do is keep them on schedule.  I guess that’s a big accomplishment around here though.  The riggers spent yesterday changing all the lower stays on both the main and mizzen masts.  These are wires which are attached to the middle of the mast to the hull which keep the masts from flexing in the center.  The boatyard insurance won’t let them go all the way up the mast when the boat is being held up by jack-stands.  A man’s weight on the end of a 65 foot mast has a small chance of moving the boat enough to have it fall over.  That would not be a good thing.

Our new refrigeration compressor has arrived but the technician is not going to install it until we get in the water next week.  The engine has to be running to fill the refrigerant line so we have to be in the water for that. 

Laura has been working on the new upholstery for our salon furniture.  As you can see form the picture, it came out beautifully.  The only piece we have left is to treat it all with fabric-guard to try and keep the stains off.  We know the lighter colors will show dirt and stains more but we both wanted to add some light below to the dark woodwork. 

We’ve been eating out almost every meal and every place in Marathon is very busy.  It’s a chore to even wash dishes because we can’t use our sinks.  Any water we run in them just squirts out on the ground from the drains in the hull so we’ve been using a wash-bucket for most things.  As we waited for a table at the pub last night, we realized this is vacation week because Monday was President’s Day.  Many people vacation during this week (as I have many times) and most of the hotels around here are “no vacancy”.   We’re hoping that next week things will be back to normal but I know spring-break is coming which may not hit as hard down here.  There are nice beaches here but they are very small compared to Daytona and Miami.

Our schedule now looks like we will be back in the water on Tuesday with a couple days at the dock after that to finish the new rigging.  That means by Thursday we might be out of here and finally ready to head to The Bahamas.  The only thing we won’t have done is a new wind generator which has proven to be challenging.  I’ve researched them extensively (no big surprise) and the one I think would be best for us is hard to obtain here.  Also there are no local businesses that will handle the whole installation.  There is an opportunity!!  One place wants to sell the generator but you have to go to another place for the mount to be made and another place to install it.  What a pain when I’m trying to keep all of our other work organized so we can get out of this high-priced boatyard as soon as possible.  Anyway, it’s not a catastrophe if I don’t have one when I leave here.  I have the Honda gas generator and the main engine will be able to run our refrigeration again.  It’s something I can leave for DTR (down the road).

Hank came and picked up Laura a few minutes ago for a laundry run.  I’m going to walk over to the City Marina to check for any mail so I guess that’s about it for today. 

It was very windy last night and at one point I got up to check things out.  When I came back to bed I told Laura I thought our anchors would hold ok.  We had a good laugh as both our anchors are sitting on the ground right now because I wanted to work on re-arranging our chain locker to prevent jams in the future.  HA!

Entry for February 21, 2007

February 21, 2007

This picture is from Monday afternoon when Second Wind was pulled from the water and was getting her bottom washed.

On Tuesday we spent our first day, “on the hard.”  It sucks.  The yard is dirty and noisy and I can’t wait to get back in the water.  Sometimes when we’re working on the boat, it feels like it’s still rocking back and forth like when it is in the water.  Weird.  This boatyard is very laid-back and they don’t seem to be in a hurry about anything – even more so than most of the other people around “the islands”.  The men’s room is filthy but Laura says the ladies room isn’t too bad. 

Today or tomorrow we should be getting the new cut-water fitting from the fabricator.  We’re hoping for today so we have a chance of getting back in the water by the weekend.  We’ll still need 3 days at the marina docks (which they haven’t guaranteed us yet) for the re-rigging of our masts when we’re done with out-of-water work.  Our sails are probably done but we’re going to wait for the new rigging before putting them up (I think).

Yesterday Hank showed up to check out our bottom paint (the yard here wants to repaint it) and he agreed with me that it looks fine.  It was just repainted in September and should last 2-3 years under normal conditions.  We were thinking about it since approximately ½ the cost of having the bottom painted is the haul-out and time in the yard.  It’s still about $800 which we are going to save.

Yesterday morning we took care of a few chores on the boat.  Laura helped me run some fresh water through the watermaker to clean out the seawater.  We disconnected the intake hose in the engine room and let it suck out of a bucket filled with fresh water.  It will be ok for a month now if we don’t use it.  When there is seawater in it, it needs to be run at least 10 minutes every 3 days to clean out the algae and keep the membranes flushed.  Since we are out of the water, it needed to be flushed with fresh water for an extended period of non-use.  I also cleaned out several sea-strainers which are large filters on the hoses that pull seawater from outside the boat.  The two I cleaned were for the watermaker and our refrigeration pumps.  The refrigeration strainer was very clogged with mud so I’ll keep a closer eye on it in the future.  Then I disassembled the bad refrigeration compressor from our main engine to have it ready for the technician.  Our new compressor should be here today or tomorrow and the refrigeration technician will install the new pump and purge the lines.  The technician said it probably went bad because the compressor is not bolted directly to the engine.  It is installed on a steel plate bolted to the hull in front of the engine with the belt running from the engine crankshaft to the compressor pulley.  With this setup, the compressor and the engine will vibrate independently so it needs a loose belt.  I had it tightened about the same as my other belts on the engine so the vibration probably ruined the bearings.  Lesson learned.

Hank also drove us around for a few errands which were not within easy walking distance (3-4 miles for us).  He took us to a nice cafe for breakfast then we went to Office Depot for Turbo Tax Premier (need it for stock sales, etc.) and Radio Shack for an adapter to play MP3s from my Treo phone on our new stereo.  The adapter works great and we were listening to songs all afternoon from the phone.  I started our taxes with Turbo Tax around 3:30 pm and finally stopped for dinner around 7:30 pm.  ‘nuff said on that subject.

Hank wanted us to go with him to Key West for a little vacation so we are heading there today.  He drives an older Audi convertible which we’ve never seen the top down.  We’ll see if we can get his grey hair blowing in the wind today (hehe). We’ll take a short break from the boat work to walk around a very commercialized Key West and pay $5 for a beer.  It was much nicer 20 years ago when I first went there and I do miss the old waterfront.

Entry for February 19, 2007

February 20, 2007

Yesterday, we had another crazy day of playing with the anchors in a large storm.  The wind was howling when we woke up this morning and we had more problems with our anchors holding here.  People have told me in the past that this is a very poor place for anchoring in storms.  The bottom is very loose and the anchors don’t have much to dig in to. 

Anyway, we ended up re-anchoring twice then I hauled out a third anchor with the dingy.  We were pretty stable in the afternoon even though the wind was blowing 20-25 knots.  Wouldn’t you know it, when we were re-anchoring and moving the boat around, it was raining horizontally.  Both Laura and I were soaked and cold.  I treated myself to a nice hot shower when I was sure we were holding ok. This afternoon it is sunny but still blowing.  Rob was supposed to fly home this morning to meet his new granddaughter Fiona (sp?), born yesterday, but changed his flights because he didn’t want to leave Susan alone on the boat with the wind blowing this hard. 

Lessons learned from this morning – 1) we need to purchase wireless headsets so we can talk to each other while we are apart during a storm.  When Laura was up on the bow letting out anchors and I was driving, I was yelling at the top of my lungs and she couldn’t hear me.  YIKES!  2) I am going to invest in some larger anchors.  I would have thought that these anchors which came with the boat would be good but they don’t seem to hold in high winds – especially the Delta anchor.  As luck would have it, the City Marina is installing new moorings at the other end of the harbor and they’ve cleared out the boats from a very large area.  There is a local dive company that is going to clear out all the old anchors from the bottom and resell them at a discount.  I’m definitely going to look for a couple big storm anchors.  My last boat had different anchors and held in hurricane winds even though it was taller and had more resistance to the wind.  We’ve learned that these anchors are not the type needed here.

While I was showering, Laura noticed that one of the old fishing boats anchored near us was moving backwards.  It has pulled out its anchor and was in danger of hitting a few other boats.  Laura called Rob and Sue on the phone and Rob headed out in his dingy to intercept it.  Rob got there quickly and I showed up shortly afterwards.  We pushed the boat away from other boats that were anchored with our dingys.  Eventually, there were 4 guys in our dingys pushing this 35 foot fishing boat around.  There was a Coast Guard boat nearby that I called on the radio for them to come and tow this wayward boat out of our area.  They said they couldn’t do that and need to contact the owner.  Someone else on the radio said the owner was in jail.  The Coast Guard refused to help so we eventually pulled the fishing boat to another spot and put its anchor down again.  It held this time.  Another person got on the radio and blaster the Coast Guard for not helping.  They didn’t answer.  The picture is the wayward fishing boat with all our dingys pushing her away from Mandate.  You can just see Mandate’s bow in the left side of the picture.  It was pretty close.

Today we pulled up two of the three anchors with the dingy before 9 am.  It was the first time I had tried doing this with the dingy and it wasn’t too hard if I didn’t give the motor too much throttle while backing down into the wind.  At one point I had little waves coming over the back of the dingy while trying to pry loose one of the anchors.  That wasn’t a good thing.

Rob and Sue came with us to bring the boat around to the other side of the island to Keys Boatworks.  We picked this marina because you can live on the boat while it is out of the water.  Most of the marinas around here don’t let you do that.

It was a nice trip of about 2 hours.  We could have sailed part of it but we didn’t get our sails back yet – probably in the next 2-3 days.  It was a little windy when we left but the winds died down through the trip and it was fairly calm when we pulled into the marina.  We tied up just before lunch so had to wait for the marina crew to get back from lunch before pulling us out.  I have some good pictures of the haul-out and I’ll start another page of pictures on the website for this repair shortly.  After the boat was hauled, it was cleaned with a high-pressure hose.  The boat was then hauled in the travel lift about 150 feet to our current location.  We’re sandwiched in between other boats that are under various stages of repair.  Already, I can’t wait until we are back in the water.

I called the rigging guys and they showed up to start the work on our cut-water fitting about 5 minutes after the marina crew had the boat secured on blocks.  They worked on removing the old fitting by cutting it off with a grinder then measured for the new fitting.  It will take 2-3 days for the new fitting to be fabricated then the riggers will install it on the boat.  They will fiberglass over the new fitting then we can go back in the water about a day later.

There are a few other repairs we will have done while we are out of the water including 3 seacocks that are leaking a little.  The seacock is a manual valve that shuts off the water coming through (or out) a thru-hull fitting.  The seacocks on this boat are old but don’t seem to leak unless we move them.  We’ve moved the two for our overboard discharge on the heads so they leak now.  I’m hoping we can just purchase rebuild kits for them (about $40) instead of replacements (about $250).  Either way, this is something that has to be done with the boat out of the water so why not now.

I was hoping to put a coat of bottom paint in places where we rubbed the bottom a little on the way down.  I found out today that this marina does not let customers sand or bottom paint their boats.  The reason is the bottom paint must be contained when sanding to protect the environment.  Our choices are a complete bottom paint job for about $800 or leaving it alone as is.  It shouldn’t need to be painted yet but I’ve asked Rob and Hank to take a look and give me their opinions.

As usual, I’ve found a few items under the water that also need attention so I will talk to the boatyard about them tomorrow and try to get estimates.  One is a spot on the rudder where the fiberglass is delaminated a little which needs to be sanded and re-fiberglassed.  This is something that Laura and I can probably do ourselves but we’ll see if they let us.

We just had our first sunset out of the water (“on the hard”) and it wasn’t too bad.  The marina has quieted down from all the work this afternoon and this evening is going to be cool and nice for sleeping.  We’re waiting for Rob and Sue to come join us for dinner out.  We can’t cook or wash on the boat since the sinks dump overboard.  Looks like all meals will be eaten out this week except for lunches which we can make in-boat.  There are nice showers and bathrooms here so it won’t be too bad.

 

Entry for February 17, 2007

February 17, 2007

Howdy y’all.

It’s Saturday night and we’ve just had a nice quiet dinner by ourselves on the boat.  It is chilly tonight, around 55, and we are in long pants and sweatshirts.

Last night was chilly and tomorrow night might break record lows here – 45 degrees!!  This is supposed to be “THE WARM”.

I’ve been working on projects (of course) including fixing the dingy motor which I just can’t give up on.  The motor runs so nice most of the time and never has left us stranded (yet??).  It wasn’t pissing again so there was no cooling water running through it.  I took it apart and replaced the water pump yesterday with a spare I had on-board – it didn’t fix it.  I wasn’t too happy with it so left it alone while I thought about what to try next.  Today I pulled the motor back off the dingy and hauled it the 5 feet or so up onto the back deck again.  I took the lower end apart and checked the water pump I replaced yesterday.  It seemed fine but I put it back together a different way that might have been better. 

Our process for moving the motor on the dingy is for Laura to slip a line over our mizzen boom and tie it to the motor.  I then stand on the swim platform and lift the motor off the back deck onto the swim platform.  Then I get in the dingy and pull the motor into the dingy, flip it over, put it on the transom and lock it in place.  Taking it off is the same process backwards. 

Anyway, we put the motor back on the dingy and I started it up.  No pissing – bummer.  We used the same process to take the motor back off the dingy and I went back to work on it.  I took the back plate off the engine which has the water cooling ducts under it.  It had what I would call seawater corrosion inside but didn’t look too bad.  I then pushed a wire up the pisser (guys – don’t cringe) and it came out with all this goop in it.  I spent the next hour doing this and wiping the wire off on a paper towel until the wire came out fairly clean.  When I put the motor back on the dingy, it worked!  YEA!  

Today we walked to the marina where we will haul out on Monday.  It looks very interesting – a working boatyard where many people are doing repairs.  We looked at where we will be motoring the boat into the marina and it was tight but not too bad.  There were many places in the boatyard where we thought Second Wind would fit nicely for the week. 

After the tour of the boatyard we walked to Home Depot then back to Overseas pub for lunch.  I had the “Big Ass Fish Sandwich” and Laura had a cheeseburger.  Both were excellent as we’ve experienced in the past.   We then decided to walk to Office Max because I needed to buy Turbo Tax.  It is about 4 miles from the marina so we thought we’d probably take a cab back.  I had sandals on so we first took the dingy back to the boat for sneakers.  While we were at the boat we noticed we had gotten a phone call from Hank.  We stopped at his boat on the way back to the marina to see what was up.  He said he would take us to Office Max tomorrow and invited us aboard.  We spent the afternoon with him and very much enjoyed his company.  As I’ve said, he has great stories from 35 years of sailing all over the world. 

Last night at dinner, he mentioned he’d like to hook up with someone for more long-range sailing.  Laura asked what type of gal he was looking for and he basically said someone he could have an intelligent conversation with who he didn’t have to get out of debt.  Rob and Sue mentioned they might know someone so now the gals are playing match-maker for Hank.  Did I mention he’s been married 3 times and each wife was more younger then him?  His told us his last wife was 30 years younger.  I can believe it because I don’t know too many 75 year old women who could keep up with him.  He still has the gleaming look in his eyes when he talks about sailing back to the South Pacific so I think he would do it with the right company. 

All is well here and I’m looking forward to getting the next week over with and the boat back in the water.  I’m a little apprehensive about the other repairs that might jump on our list once we get a look at the bottom of the boat “on the hard”.  Oh well.  Better to fix the stuff now before it gets us in trouble later.  Just because it is out-of-sight, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Entry for February 17, 2007

February 17, 2007

Good Morning all!! Today is overcast and very windy, but there’s always something to do out here.. Since we have to take the boat out of the water on Monday, we’ve been tossed about what to do with all of the frozen stuff that we have as we won’t be able to run the refrigerator and freezer while we’re “on the hard”. We got hold of some of our friends we’ve met, one couple that live on land have some freezer space we can use, Woo hooooo!! This morning we grabbed coolers and packed up all the frozen goods, Bill is with Jim now, taking care of that. That is such a relief as I think Bill had mentioned, we had stocked up about 3 months worth of frozen stuff for the Bahamas and I’d rather not lose that..

I just have to mention the other day at the beach (don’t me to be rubbing it in for you guys under 3 ft of snow) but it was really nice.., the water was a bit cool at first, but once you got used to it, it was very nice. I did get some pics of Bill snorkeling. The wildlife is kinda cool to watch, there was this Cormorant (a type of duck) that was diving for fish (just a few feet from where Bill and I were swimming), he’d pop under the water, maybe 10-15 seconds later, up he’d come with a fish in his bill, and “gulp” down it would go.. it was just cool to watch. Where we’re anchored, there’s quite a bit of nature, we’ve seen fish jump, all kinds of feathered friends (the pelicans are just hilarious) and even a few dolphins that have come in the harbor from the sea, they are really amazing to watch! Life is good!

We’re having Hank, Rob and Sue here for dinner again tonight, I have a cake in the oven and I’ll be roasting a small chicken for us (one of the things we needed to empty out of the freezer.) Well the cake is done and smells wonderful—I had some peaches that were really ripe, so I cooked them up and threw them into a “coffee cake” type cake, topped with whip cream, should be yummy!..

Yesterday, Bill fixed the speakers in the cockpit..he’s so good! So now we have the new stereo/cd player hooked up and can enjoy the “sounds” just about anywhere on the boat! We also pulled the LectraSan controls and box out of the aft cabin head, cleaned it up and shipped it off to the manufacture to have them check it out, I’ll call them later today and see what the deal is with it, we did everything in the book to see if it would straighten up, but I’m afraid there’s more wrong with it than we could take care of. Just another project to make sure all is in proper working order!

Entry for February 14, 2007

February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day!

We received the quotes from the rigging inspection and they were about twice as high as I expected (of course).  The major problem is with the fittings on the bow of the boat called the cut-water fitting.  This fitting is bonded to the hull and pulls down on the bow sprit which holds the forestay which holds the mast up.  It is probably the most heavily used fitting on the boat in terms of pressure and it needs to be replaced.  The current fitting is cracked and has many pinholes in it from electrolysis.  If it failed during a storm or under heavy sail, we’d probably lose the main mast and maybe even the mizzen mast.  Anyway, the repair will involve taking the boat out of the water for at least a week while the riggers remove the current fitting, have a new one made and attach it to the boat.  We are making plans to have the boat hauled at a local marina next Monday.  This is one of the few marinas where you can live on the boat in the boatyard.  This part of the rigging repair alone will cost us over $4,000 but it’s something important so we will have it done quickly and won’t have to worry about it again.  Our main problem is what to do with the 3 months of meats and veggies we have stocked in our freezer.  We can’t use our refrigeration while the boat is out of the water because it uses the seawater for cooling.  We are going to check around to see if we can borrow freezer space from friends and maybe a few local businesses.

I’m also having problems finding someone to work on my refrigeration.  There are only a few local guys who do this kind of work so I’ve done much of the legwork myself while waiting to get on their list.  I’ve called the manufacture and found that the compressor pump I have is no longer made but they do have a bolt-in replacement which should fit and work better than the old one.  I do need a refrigeration technician to bleed the system, install the new pump (with my help) and re-pressurize the refrigerant lines.  It will probably also be next week while the boat is out of the water.

Yesterday the weather cleared up and today was beautiful.  We went to the beach today which is about a ½ hour dingy ride from our boat.  I spent a lot of time on the phone with the rigger, marinas and refrigeration people to try and line everything up for the next few days.  It will sure be different living on the boat with it out of the water for a week or more.  I’m thinking one of the problems will be staying cool at night.  While we are anchored the boat always points into the wind and we usually have a nice breeze for sleeping.  Out of the water the boat will be stationary and we might not get any breezes but we will be able to use our fans because we’ll be plugged into the marina power.

Good news on our sails.  The sailmaker has finished our jib and mainsail repairs and is working on the new mizzen.  He’ll probably be done by this weekend so maybe we’ll be able to sail to the marina to have the boat hauled out of the water.  Boo hoo.

 

Entry for February 12, 2007

February 12, 2007

It’s Monday night and we never left for Bahia Honda because of the weather.  It changed for the worst so we all decided to stay in the anchorage for at least a couple days.  The rain is supposed to go away by Tuesday night so maybe we’ll go Wednesday if it works with the rest of our projects.

Yesterday we re-anchored the boat since we were staying here for awhile and expecting storms.  I took our second anchor out in the dingy and dropped it about 100 feet from the boat probably 120 degrees (clockwise) from the first anchor.  It worked out perfect last night as the wind was blowing from the north but changed to the east just before the storms.  Second Wind was riding comfortably between the two anchors and we never drifted near any of the other boats.

I finally had it with the dingy motor that had been sputtering and stalling at low speeds for the past week.  I had purchased a new gas tank (the old one leaked) so changed the tank and the gas filter in the line.  As I was pouring gas from the old tank into the new one I noticed there was a lot of crud in it.  This was probably the problem all along so I stopped and cleaned as much of the new tank as I could.  I then filled the new tank with my spare dingy gas jug and decided to dispose of the couple gallons of old gas in the old gas tank. I also put in new spark plugs and fixed up a few things in the dinghy itself.  I then put the motor back on the dingy and in the water for a test drive.  It ran pretty good.

I took the dingy into the City Marina between showers to drop off trash, dispose of the dirty gasoline and fill up our 5 gallon jug for the dingy at the gas station down the street.  I was on my way back carrying the full 5 gallon jug and about 50 feet from the dingy dock when a car pulled up along side of me and asked, “Want a ride?”  It was Hank who had gone to the post office and couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t let him get mail from his PO Box on Sunday.  He scolded me a little for not stopping by his boat for a ride in the car to the gas station.  I said it wasn’t bad with only 1 jug but I might give him a shout next time.

Last night we had Hank, Rob and Sue over for dinner.  We has bought a good size sirloin steak and thought we’d be enjoying it at the Bahia Honda anchorage.  Instead, we ate in the salon listening to the rain.  Hank has some great stories from 32 years of cruising the world in various boats and the party was fun.  Hank brought a couple of his favorite wines while Rob and Sue brought veggies to grill and also wine.  We baked Tom’s favorite sliced potatoes and onions on the grill (thanks bro) and everyone was stuffed. 

Sometime during the evening I asked Hank his secret to longevity and being physically able to run a boat single handed at 75 years old.  He mentioned a bottle of rum each day helped (I’m pretty sure he was kidding) and also that he’s mostly been in pretty good shape most of his life.  He said he ate well (i.e. healthy) and had given up red meat for quite awhile.  I asked him when he started eating meat again and as he was putting a big piece of medium-rare sirloin in his mouth, he said, “Tonight.”  Bill ruins another life …

We had storms most of the night and all day today.  I think we probably received 4 – 5 inches of rain based on how much water was in the dingy.  I woke up about 5:30 this morning to lightning and thunder so got dressed and went up to the cockpit to watch the fireworks.  The storms didn’t come very close to us so I never even saw the real lightning hit.  Bummer.

Today was working on projects we’d been putting off for awhile.  I finally hooked up our new stereo and Laura worked on the LectraSAN head.  The LectraSAN is a waste treatment system that eliminates all the bacteria and bad stuff from the toilet output by applying a large current to the waste in saltwater.  The salt in the seawater is temporarily converted to a strong bactericide, hypoclorous acid, then reverts back to the original state of salt and water.  According to the documentation – “When the discharge enters the water it is completely treated and no harmful elements are added to the environment.”

Anyway, it has been giving us an error message since we bought the boat so we have mostly been using the other head with the small holding tank.  Laura has been spearheading the LectraSAN project and has called the company for instructions.  After going through several cleaning cycles with it she decided to take it apart and clean the electrode plates.  I think we should have picked a different day when we didn’t have all the windows closed from the rain.  As it was, we decided a little water wouldn’t hurt much so opened many of the windows anyway.  She took the tank apart and I helped where she needed a little more muscle.  She did a great job and had it apart in about an hour.  The plates didn’t look that bad but she cleaned them up good then we put it all back together.  We ran through another cleaning cycle then a flush cycle.  It had the same error message.  GRRRRRR.  We’ll be calling the manufacturer again tomorrow for more instructions.

The new stereo went pretty straight forward.  I fixed a few wiring problems with the speakers and completed the hookup just after Laura finished with the LectraSAN.  Boy!  Connecting these speakers was a messy job (hehe).  It works good and we’re probably going to buy a CD changer for it so we can play a bunch of CDs at once.  We can also hook in the computer or my Treo phone for playing the songs on them.

The rigger called and said he had the quotes for fixing all of our rigging problems.  I don’t know how much I explained this but the rigging is all the lines that hold up our masts and sails.  They are pretty important and on an old boat are prone to failure if you don’t fix little cracks or other problems in the fittings.  I gave him my email address to send the quotes and haven’t received them yet.  I’m thinking he typed in the wrong email address so I’ll call him in the morning.  Just as well – I’ll probably sleep better not knowing how much it’s going to cost us…..