Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Learning New Habits

Yesterday dawned another beautiful Southwest Florida day.  Naples sure does have a monopoly on fantastic scenery and great weather, but it is a big city ith a lot of traffic and I longed to get back out into our water world.

So we called the Xantrex people and sent them back our inoperable inverter.  They said a 2 to 3 week turn around time so we figured we could tough it out for the next 10 days since we will be leaving the boat at the Naples city dock for the 3-4 weeks we will be home to ready the house for our renters and visiting with Dorian and Todd who are coming for Christmas. 

Yesterday we never even turned on the generator!  See we can do it.  I cooked boat potatoes (recipe courtesy of Wendy) and pork chops on the grill, and the grill only went off once, evidently the little propane tanks don't last long.  I had purchased a head of lettuce and tomato before we left, so we had a great meal from a cooler and a propane grill.  I honestly think this is a great thing that I am learning to make things happen with what I have to work with.  The only problem with the cooler is that the ice melts quite fast but that means a dinghy ride, which I really enjoy.  Thanks to Gary's foresight we purchased a large igloo cooler at the Marine Consignment store in Punta Gorda last April.  It is indispensable right now!

We met Phil & Margaret McGovern yesterday, owners of a catamaran that have been wintering on it for the last 4 seasons.  They are headed to Mexico this year.  They also are having daily breakdowns and have a blog where a friend describes what it is like being a boater and dealing with the daily problems and still smiling about it all.  Now that I know it's just not the Sea Angel "aka Tie a Knot" that needs daily surgery I can deal better!  There are also 2 couples with children on sailboats in this anchorage. One has 3 kids and 2 adults on a 27' sailboat with no refrigeration.  The kids are being home schooled and she says she is dealing well with the no refrigeration according to Margaret & Phil who spoke with them.  And I had the nerve to complain, jeez.  The other couple lives with their 3 year old daughter on a ,I guess maybe, 34 footer.  As we were going to the dinghy dock yesterday she was rowing across the water and we offered a tow.  She said her name was Melinda, which of course made her special to us.  They have been living on the boat for 4 months.  She was on her way to work and appreciated the tow, their dinghy motor had broken the day before and they were waiting for parts. 

Every boater we've met so far have been wonderful, relaxed and happy, helpful people.  This looks to be an interesting winter.

Right now Gary is trying to hook up the television...gives him something to do.  It's hard to go from constant work to constant play, so the Sea Angel and I are doing are part to help him in the transition!!  :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Turkey Day and Beyond

We had a good Thanksgiving and hope you all did too.  Last night we came back to the boat about 5:30 and turned the generator on so we could heat up our leftover turkey dinner.  After dinner we continued playing our ongoing game of Uno,  (I am winning and the Captain is not very happy with that', turns out he wasn't paying attention to the rules and let a lot of chances get by him) and then it was time to turn off the generator and switch to the inverter.  When, low and behold, the inverter we purchased two months ago and have used for two weeks, CRASHED!!!!  Can you believe this?  I am having a hard time adjusting to the daily dose of drama. I just never knew boating could be this much fun! 
Cory says our boat reminds him of the movie "The Money Pit", we are tending to agree more and more each day.
So now we are living like semi blow-boaters and stowing the frig stuff in the cooler and using the generator just to keep the batteries alive.  Of course everything is shut down for the "holiday weekend" so we have to wait until Monday to figure out how this will pan out. 
Stay tuned.....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Land of Milk and Honey.....and MONEY!!

These 4 pictures are just the tip of the iceberg around this place.... Incredible!  I took these on the Gordon River, the waterway which leads from the Gulf to Naples Bay.  Then there are the waterways that snake around off this waterway that are studded with more of the same. Tonight we are staying in an anchorage that was on Cruiser's Net as a good spot.  It is right inside Gordon's pass and in an area of spectacular homes.  We are a little hesitant about staying here....right now we are waiting for the Coast Guard to come with hailers blaring...."Sea Angel, Sea Angel,....out of here, stat!  We had planned on staying on a city mooring for the rest of the week (at $10 a night) but you cannot stay more than 4 nights in a row and Gary promised Cory he would help him install a door over the weekend, so we are anchored here tonight and head back to the mooring tomorrow morning.  Silly Rules!!!
We went to a Christmas tree lighting in downtown Naples on Monday where all the "honey's with money" were out in their glory, very interesting people watching  They even had snow blowing from the lamp posts.
We spent yesterday fixing the master head.  Had to walk 6 miles....good exercise but who needs it...to find the part.  Great fun, but we are now fully operational in both heads now.
Today's problem, which is ongoing, is how to charge the batteries to feed this beast!  The refrigerator is a killer as it is old and a new one is $1200.  Just because it can't be more than 54" tall,  The smaller the size the higher the price tag.
This is a fabulous exercise in using less and getting more.  We are eating and sleeping and enjoying a great time (other than the constant stress of "today's new problem", as it seems there is one everyday)
But hey.....it's a Journey!!

Naples Houses

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

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A New Week Begins...

It is hard to believe that we left the dock a week ago today.  It has been a great shake down cruise so far. 
Today dawned (yes, with no tv, etc, you are in bed by 8 and up at dawn....we have officially become old folks for sure) crisp and clear.  Got up had our coffee and cereal.....we are winning the war with the power supply.  We are around a lot of sailboats so don't want to be a pain in their necks and are trying to save our aging generator and to use our stove we have to turn her on so we are being stingy with the hot breakfasts.  Today we went to the dingy dock expecting to take an hour and a half trip through the island on the trolley to the grocery store.  We met a very nice gal on the dock, who greeted us with "Good Morning, Cruisers"  that started the conversation and we were off and running, to a flea market across the waterway and a grocery store accessible by dinghy.  Bought a dingy line, a fitting and a tackle box for screws, etc at the flea market at a very reasonable price.  The fitting was $50. in the catalog and we paid $4.!!  It was the last one Gary needed and he was a happy camper.  Then it was off to the grocery. An old but well stocked IGA where we tied up the dingy to a mangrove.  Then it was back to the boat where I decided to make spaghetti while Gary went to the bar to watch the last Nascar race of the season . Amen.
Now you would think making spaghetti, no problem especially using the canned stuff.  Well not so easy on a boat.  First I made it gourmet with meat, mushrooms, and onions, then proceeded to start to heat it when of course it splattered all over me the stove and the wall and floor. Since this stove top is less than half the size of the one at home I am having spacial issues. 
Cooking on a boat is an entire new experience, you just can't turn on things when you want to like in a house.  You have to use the generator for power when you are not at a dock.  This involves many steps and switches which you need a degree in engineering (I am studying for mine as we speak) to understand.  So you can't do it every 5 minutes ...planning ahead....a whole new concept for me!  Well everything did work out. We fired up the grill for 5 minutes to heat the water to reheat the spaghetti noodles and warm the bread and had a very good meal.  Another learning experience .
Tomorrow we head for Naples Mooring Field weather permitting.  Looks like its good to go so far.  We have to go offshore and it is a 20 mile trip.  Will let you know how that goes!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

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Catch Up Time

Let's see if I can backtrack and catch everyone up!  We have had a busy few days....and we actually thought once we got aboard we'd have some breathing room (yeah right!) 
Gary tried to superglue the broken shower sump fitting that was cracked....it didn't work so add it to the parts needed list, then the master toilet decided to get in on the action  (the keeping Gary knee deep in repairs action).  He figures it has a clog in it somewhere --and NOT from us thank you anyway....which he will attempt to blow out with his air hose ......ummm think I'll make myself scarce during that surgery.  He still hasn't done it 2 days later so I guess he also would like to miss that action, too bad for him he is the one of the two of us who could even begin to surmise what needs to be done!.  As we have 2 heads I am not pushing it.
Cory and Jess came on Thursday and we had a nice visit, a dingy ride and even got dinner at the Tiki Bar.  They helped with the blog trying to get the Dolphin video on it, and trying to figure out the Rose Point Navigation that is another real challenge for Gary and I.  We are both techno dopes and with all the other "issues" on Sea Angel it is one we just haven't been able to face.  We have paper charts and they have gotten us where we want to go....so we are putting that off.
Yesterday we pretty much worked on anchor issues....researching and figuring out a plan of action. We have decided to try more chain attached to our anchor line first to see if that works.  Cross fingers it does.
Oh yes, we did go on a sunset boat ride through the mangrove canal and ran aground (in the dingy :)  I had to punt  us off the shoals which really took me back to the flats and the backwaters.
Today we hauled anchor at 9:35 for Mantanzas Mooring Field, Fort Myers Beach.  We had our first trip into the BIG WATER of the Gulf but only for a very short time and it didn't really count as being in the Gulf as far as we were concerned.  We grabbed a mooring ball at 11:15.  I was really apprehensive about that because we had never done it.  Piece of Cake!!!!!!  I only dropped the line once and we didn't even run it over (big smile here)
We into shore to pay for the mooring and walk through the tourist trap district.  Then a tour of the area in the dink and here we are back again, catching up on my blog and  figuring out the GPS.
Oh yes, Wendy & Carl  we saw a Toshiba like yours , although light years from being as nice.
Now its time to sit back and relax!!!!


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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day 5

Had a great trip today to Fort Myers City Marina yesterday where we took on fuel (400 gallons, cha ching), water, and got a pump out. Then we headed back down the Caloosahatchee to an anchorage at the head called Glover Bight. Beautiful place a lagoon surrounded by mangroves with a huge high rise development with restaurant and marina. We are picking up Cory & Jessica today either at the marina or the nearby nature trail to come out for a visit. Right now it is really foggy as a mild cold front came through last night. Still calm winds.
Well folks today is the day I am going to try and get my video of the dolphins sending us off onto this blog!
Wish Me Luck!!!!
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What didn't go bump in the night


Well last night we had our first anchor dragging experience. When we woke up this morning we were 300 yards north of where we were when we went to bed. Now you may say idiots...not monitoring anchoring, but hey we are no dummies. It was very windy last night so Gary checked twice and I checked again at 3 am everything was fine. So we must have moved between 3 and 7. Thank God the only boat behind us was a cat that was to our East and the winds were south west so we ended up near the anchorage entrance and didn't hit anyone!! When we think of what the outcome may have been we are thankful. Always remembering the S--t happens, it's part of the journey, we go on. Wiser for sure.
Today we tied up some unfinished projects...well Gary finished them I lended lots of moral support and go-fer duties.
Best of all was the dink in the water and holding air. Yahoo!!! She doesn't have a lot of life left in her but we will make her last as long as we can....
Went for a short ride ...forgot camera but the old "Sea Angel" looks fantastic on the water and HUGE...
We finally used the grill off the rail last night. The first night when we installed it and were going to have our celebratory dinner it almost fell off the rail into the water of course....more modification....then while we thought it was preheating it ran out of propane...by then the cook was totally ticked off and it was frozen pizza to celebrate (which by the way sucked because it wasn't totally cooked).
So the winds are beginning to lay down, the sun is starting her journey to the horizon and another day is almost over.
So far it is everything I hoped it would be!! BIG SMILE
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

First Day of Cruising

Well today it all begins....We left the dock at 10:30Our friends Tina & Linda were there to wave us off.  Unfortunately they are still working on their boats but we hope to meet them again in our travels.  We had a moment of oh,no when the generator didn't start right up, but thankfully it was just a glitch...and the engines started without a hitch.  After an hour and a half journey out the waterway and through the lock we felt we were really on our way. 
Not long after we headed South we were joined by a pod of 5 Dolphins.  They were playing, jumping and dancing along beside us wishing us well....it was a beautiful moment.  After all the angst in the last 10 months it was truly uplifting to us.  I took a video with my camera and hopefully when I get to posting the pictures I can get that to work.  This blogging is not as easy as it looks folks, believe me.
We arrived at our anchorage, Pelican Bay, off of Cayo Costa State Park which is adjacent to Boca Grande Pass. There are about 12 other boats here and it is a perfect start.  We hope to stay for a few days to get things buttoned up and learn the GPS and Rose Point navigation.
You may think we should have started that a while ago but a few of you are aware of the problems that we have been trying to overcome with a 25 year old boat......as in many mechanical items which decided that 25 years was enough for them.....and decided to just die instead of enduring any more!!  Just our luck.
But, look at us....we made it 35 miles from the dock.....and are still smiling!
Today is NOT a Tie a Knot and hang on day.......

Monday, November 8, 2010

This journey began with the famous words "honey, let's buy a boat"!  We really cannot remember who said it first but given a few more years I am sure it will come to us.  It has without a doubt been a year filled with surprise, dismay and elation (not necessarily in that order and there may be a few other choice words better not spoken!
But.....we did it!! 
After launching her and seeing that she probably will stay afloat ( no major leakage) the fun begain.  Oh yes I have coined a new meaning for the word FUN.
The port engine started after a little coaxing and we were HAPPY but then the starboard engine which had given us no trouble to this point decided it just did not want to cooperate. Soooooooooo...after deciding that our misguided judgement not to replace the stbd starting battery was not in our best interest, we gave in and ordered a new one.  THEN we found that replacing the starboard raw water pump would also be in our best interest as it was squealing for mercy, so another phone call solved that problem ( we hope!) 
So much for our sincere hope that today would finally be a problem free beginning to our nautical journey, but alas it comes down to our new creed.......
Shit happens...its part of the journey.
And that is all we can say.  We are...........Tieing a Knot and hanging on!!!