Friday, April 29, 2011

Special Day

Here I sit wondering where the last 61 years have gone?  Today is my security here I come.  Although the shuttle launch has been scrubbed this year's  birthday is scpeical not only by the number but the fact that there was a Royal Wedding and lots of pomp and circumstance.  Made me feel important by association.

Finally!!!  The Coast Guard got our documentation (name change) processed and are ready to go, out with the old and in with the new!  Taking the name off was sad because of the Dolphin but other than that we can only hope it will be a good thing.  We did the denaming because I am just superstitious enough to buy into it. Gary not so much but he is doing it for me.  The denaming part is calling upon the ancient gods Neptune god of all the seas  and Aeolus (EE-oh-lus) guardian of the winds, thanking them for their protection of the boat in the past and asking that the name be struck from the records. Then asks that the new name be blessed and given the same protection as in the past.  We had to read this out loud, I made Gary read it too so we had double duty.  Now we are nameless for a day giving at least 24 hours for all the demons to flee.  We're waiting more than that because of the amount of demons involved !!!
Old fuel pump that took 3 hours to replace.  It was located
outboard of the starboard engine with about 12" of working room...
by feel only , couldn't see a thing.

Dink.....half done

Gary was thinking this guy had the ideal 1st mate(s)!  Blonde and bikini what more is there?


Demons be gone!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Time sure flies. Here we are house closed up, back on the boat and ready to get going on the next leg of our "journey". We had a happy Easter weekend with our kids big and small! Sydney was a little intimidated by the Easter Bunny we went to see but Cole thought he was Fabulous. Wish I could send the video Kent took it is a classic. It was so nice to see them and get those hugs!

Now we are back at it. Gary has 2 coats of paint on the bottom of the dink and we will attempt to turn her over today to start the top. I spent yesterday morning washing the boat and managed to conjure up an evening of thunder and rain. Gary worked on the dinghy and cut a few pieces of starboard to cover up some of the multitude of holes we keep finding and then had lunch with Andy Manzi while I provisioned staples for the next part of our journey.

Of course we did not get away without breaking out the boat units this week. I think you remember the starboard engine stalled before we left and we decided to table it until we returned. We need a new fuel pump. Then last night our hearts fell into our stomachs when we turned on the air conditioner while getting dinner ready and it suddenly shut down. I thought "oh no, if one more thing goes wrong"!@$% I think we were both a little afraid to find out what was wrong with it so we decided to wait until morning.
Are you sensing a pattern here....wait until tomorrow!

This morning Gary tackled it and it turned out that the breaker blew. Guess you can't use the stove and air at the same time, with the frig running (even the new one seems to run constantly). Man we sure miss the ease of living in a house especially after returning from a week at home. You don't have to think about those things you can use whatever whenever. Electricity is a major factor on a boat everything just seems to EAT AMPS! I am immensely relieved that it was a quick fix this time because my stress level is starting to rise again.

Photo Shop

Sydney ready to visit the Easter Bunny

Cole was glued to the lawn mower...he was fascinated.  Shades of 'Gampa'?

The Boys

The Girls

What Bugs?

Bubble Joy

1st Coat of Light Gray

1st Coat of Bottom Blue

Lucy Mackie

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Playing "Snow Birds"

I guess we are now officially Snow Birds.  The Florida term, that in case any of you out there are not aware of, means, old people who head north in the summer! We came home to a house that had been well taken care of by the renters with only 1 set of sheets and towels to wash, a frig with food in it, and a sparkling clean house.  We were Impressed.

Yesterday we trimmed plants and palm trees.  Emptied a full truck load before I remembered to take a picture. We are now on the 2nd truck load and have the entire back beds to do.  So it'll probably take 3 trips.  All that in 3 months in a drought!  The only thing that didn't grow was the grass.  It still looks terrible from the chinch bug infestation we had last year.  

Today Gary put half of the hurricane panels up and I have been looking up info for the Air Conditioning company regarding our purchase of a 10 year parts and labor warranty with our unit in 2004 (which froze twice in the last 2 weeks) that they seem to know nothing about. its not only boat "issues". Yesterday when Gary went to renew the registration for the boat at the DMV they said "this boat doesn't exist".  At which Gary replied "that's not what Visa says".  So they had to redo the entire thing...

No Documentation yet, the name is still sitting on the bunk in the forward cabin.  We will have a small renaming ceremony but not the full blown virgin peeing in the bilge. One after the head hose redo we figure that is taken care of although not by any virgins.  We already blessed her once with the sage bouquet, and Ganesh our Hindu talisman is watching everything we do.  How much farther do we need to go? 

So it's off to trimming and pulling weeds for us.  Maybe a nap too :)
Clock Left for us by the Renters

Gary's beloved recliner in MY room.  He sure has missed that chair!

The start of today's work.

Shutters and dead grass, so sad.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Update

We still go with Friday's assessment.  This job was one we don't ever want to repeat.  Gary has nicks cuts and abrasions from trying to fight with old hose that didn't want to come out and new hose that was just as reluctant to go in.  We finished the majority and still have one hard run to finish where he will have to cut through walls to get access but we were tired and needed a break.

Saturday, found us putting the heads back together.  Sinks hooked back up and working, toilets flushing like little vacuums, that is until we found out that the pump out we had Thursday morning didn't pump anything out and our holding tank was still full.  Isn't life just great. 

We couldn't have it redone on the weekend because this is a  rack storage marina and they were super busy with little boats going in and out besides moving our boat from the slip to the fuel dock and back is a major production. It's like moving a house.  Remove water hose, unhook shore power, untie 7 lines, undo cable and get ole' Bessie with her arthritic old bones from the slip to the fuel dock.  So we made lots of hikes up to the marina bathrooms and drank very little water.  We also spent most of Sunday with the Mackie's relaxing.

Today we got a successful pump out, because Gary did it himself this time.  As you can imagine the dock hand who oversaw the last one was not really into it and they don't have a sight glass on their pump out.  Gary asked why today because that is really the only way you can tell when it is pumping and when it is done and the dock hand said "we talked about it, but we don't really want to see that stuff coming out", I totally agree in theory but in practice it just doesn't work! 

We went out into the barge canal and came back to our slip through the East entrance and saw 4 baby Dolphin swimming around and 2 Manatee lumbering up the canal.  We have seen more Manatee here than anywhere else.  Made it back into the slip but not as smoothly as we did on Thursday.  The starboard engine stalled and Gary couldn't get it to run.  Great, a problem for when we get back next week and things were going so well!!  

We decided to head back to Rotonda today.  Our paint for the dink won't get here until Wednesday so we reversed our plans. We will get the house buttoned up this week and return to the boat after spending Easter with the grands.  Then we will have a full week to get the painting done, the last hose put in and  the engine diagnosed. 

and..... we will get to see the shuttle launch if they don't postpone it again!!  YES!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Surgery Day 1

Today was the start of our dreaded head hose project.  It began at 10:00 after getting the boat ripped apart for the surgery.  The surgeon got his first cut at 10:10 and the nurse started cautioning to "wear gloves". After the third nick he caved and put on the rubber gloves.  

Next he had to drill a larger entry hole in the head floor, we are talking big fingers and little holes to work in, and one in the panel under the dinette seat.  The real mumbling began when he cut the hose (sealed the ends with Gorilla Tape), and tried to pull it out only to find it was zip tied together with other hoses.  Oh man, it was not a good moment, that ended up taking an hour to remedy as the hoses were not in accessible areas.  The nurse stood by with protective nose gear  waiting for the big stink. By 11:45 the 6 feet of hose was out and in the dumpster. 

By 4:00 two pieces of hose were replaced and the toilet ( which in its life with us has spent many hours on the back deck) was replaced.  The surgeon then told the nurse the technicalities of the surgery.  It was a successful replacement of arteries that were 90% closed  (we won't go there) that were causing the entire system to back up and fail thus causing odors to leak out the pores.  One could liken it to kidney failure but since valves were also practically closed off with.... (nope not gonna go there either)
it could be likened to a heart valve replacement with the veins being stripped and replaced.  Do you like my analogy?

 Tomorrow is another day....we made it through today. Yea! 

Mysteries & Victories

  Gary made me include this and for the record, I don't know who this person is.
Old hose stuck with zip ties

Dumpster Run

Not easily accessible.

The new arteries

"I think maybe this is going to take 3 days, not two."

When life hands you lemons....CHILL!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Victory & Nose Issues

Things are moving right along.  We have begun 3 projects and finished one.  YES!!

 Gary did a great job on making the screen frame for the port lights and now we are protected on all openings except for the starboard cabin door.  They didn't have the velcro I need to finish the job in Merritt Island and they were out of the thinner Gary needs for the dink at Home Depot so we went to Titusville.  Visited Andy and Barb Manzi and got not only the thinner, but the velcro at Wal Mart....a home run trip!!  Next week we should have the paint for the's all prepped....and I have to finish the screen for the door.  Then................

Yes, you guessed, the super stink job.  I think I may just have a nervous breakdown in advance.  We got the new sanitation hose today and it smells like well, tires.  Gary knows I have a supersonic nose and he brought it to my attention in,  I may have to suck it up and use my ear plugs in my nose forever (they provide a tight fit).

The fun never ends around here.  We have decided that retirement is a hard row to hoe and why we ever thought it would be easy we don't know!  BUT....rocking gently to sleep and being provided a new challenge every day does have its benefits.  You can say "aah" at the end of the day....and just 2 days of watching the morning news reminds us that we are two of the luckiest people on the planet to be able to do this.
Frame for screens cut from Masonite on a scroll saw...needed 4 took about 2 hours to punch them out

Attaching screen to the new forms

Damage to dinghy.  Unfortunately the shade of the garage  doesn't allow for a good photo

Gary blowing off bottom after sanding for paint.  No more bottom scrubbing (  I hope)

50 ' of TIRE

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Diesel Fumes

I woke this morning to Gary shutting the hatches and windows at 5:30 am.  I didn't hear rain and I'm like "what are you doing"?  He said " can't you smell that" and miracle of miracles, no, I didn't smell a thing.  He said there is diesel fuel all over the harbor...I still can't believe he smelled it and I didn't, that has NEVER happened before.  Anyway, after checking our bilge he went outside and walked the entire marina.  He could see fuel on the water with his flashlight, but couldn't pin point it to anything.  He ended up calling the emergency number for the marina and the guy that answered said sometimes when they close the lock in the barge canal (it's been closed since February and they opened it Friday) they get a diesel slick when it reopens.  That sounded pretty crazy to us but maybe with all the big cruise ships, barges, etc. in Port Canaveral it is a possibility.  He came right over and also walked all the docks, not finding anything amiss.  It dissipated over the morning and everything is back to normal now.  We'll probably never find out where it really came from, one of those mysteries.

We went to the Home Depot to get supplies for screens. Gary has to make a frame out of hardboard since we are missing four frames and can't open those windows without letting the bugs in.  He put it off as long as possible, but the mosquitoes here are pretty viscous little buggers.  I am making screens for the other side door and back hatch that I will attach with Velcro. 

Yesterday we launched the dink onto John's trailer and took it to his house where we will seal it to (hopefully) stop it from leaking and extend its life.  So looks like with the plumbing project, the dink and who knows what else we are in for a busy couple of weeks.

Right now we are sitting on the aft deck in a wonderful breeze listening to the sounds of the marina.  We don't have boats on either side of us, or behind us but there are a couple of dozen liveaboard boats so it is never deserted. A few of the boats are like us, headed north or south and using this as a fix-it stop. The boaters here are friendly but not the same as cruisers.  It's mostly a nod and a hello, not the let me get to know you we have previously experienced.  Different strokes and all.  I guess for the people here we are just passing through and they don't need to know why, where as the cruisers thrive on the 'getting to know you'.  

Since NASA has postponed the launch, we won't be able to make it now which is a disappointment. 
I am slowly learning not to make know how that goes, and you can double it on a boat!!
I can't wait for the journey to continue.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011


This is the latest in holding tank vents.  A Gary "McGiver" special.
  3 times the stink removing power of the Marine Store model and one-third the price.
He's got mad skills!!

Isn't Boating Fun?

Let's see....I left off on April 2 and now it's the 7th.  Where does the time go???  Sunday Kent drove over and picked us up early in the morning, poor guy no sleeping in for him last weekend. With a 3 year old and a 1 year old I suspect sleeping in is of the past & future anyway!  We picked up Mickey D's for a picnic with the grands and I stayed and hung out with them while Kent drove Gary to Rotonda to pick up the truck so we have wheels here.  Long trip for Gary & Kent, but a great time with Sydney & Cole for me!

The major accomplishment of the week was replacing the plumbing under the galley sink, which had begun to stink big time.  25 years of crud built up.  I had to keep the drains plugged all the time or the smell drove me crazy.  So my live in plumber took on the task and now  NO smells,  hooray!  I washed the boat yesterday...and we finished all of the laundry.  We have been chasing down parts but so far except for the sink have come up empty handed.  Since the frig is a little too narrow for the space it isn't screwed into the frame so we have to have trim.  Found a teak board today that ended up being $60 and it was 4" by 7'.  Seemed a little ridiculous, so may have to go to plan B....  Home Depot and black paint!

I think I mentioned that Gary made a filter for the holding tank vent.  Next week we are going to replace the hoses.  After 25 years they have also bitten the dust.  It is going to be a horrible stinky bit of labor and hopefully we will make it through without incident (choking each other).  Seems that most people end up having to do this with older boats.  Replacing the tank also would be ideal but ours is molded in and fiber glassed so that is not going to happen, besides we would have to cut the floor out of the galley to get it out.  So hopefully after next week our super dooper pooper filter and new hoses will have us smelling roses!! I suppose most people pay to have jobs like this done but it seems that we (I use the "we" lightly) can't resist the challenge, or saving a few hundred bucks.

Isn't boating fun!@#$!!

Harbor Town Marina

Andy Manzi took us to lunch at the Restaurant at the marina.  We had a great reunion with him.

Calm as can be in Harbortown.  A very protected Marina

The building in the rear is the Restaurant

Laundry at marina.  Nothing to write home about.  The worst we've seen so far actually.

Haven't tried the pool yet.  It isn't heated as our boat neighbor was wearing a wet suit to go in.
But she's been in the Carribean  for the last 4 years so she probably needs it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

I am still trying new things to post pictures...

Someone's abandoned dream ship off the ICW

Headed west on the Canaveral Barge Canal

The resilience of Florida Vegetation...

A slice of "old Florida" talk about having your boat steps from your front door.

This reminded me of the flats  in "the day", I could just see it in its heydey like the Ice House or Browns on Harsens Island!

Not much activity at the Sykes Creek Sea Ray facility.

D-Dock at Harbortown Marina, Merritt Island

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cocoa to Harbortown

We left  Cocoa at 8:30 this morning headed for somewhere to clean the dink bottom before we put her on top for our marina stay.  We ended up just on the other side of the bridge in 5' of water just out of the channel and we took the dink ashore at another little island with a bit of beach.  Flipped her over and man was she dirty again.  I see now why people hoist them out of the water when not in use.  Most of the boats have davits on the platform or stern in the case of sailboats, that lift the dinghy out of the water.  We have a set that came with the boat at home and we will bring them back to see if they work or if like most of the other stuff "we inherited" it was because it was easier  than taking them to the dump for the last owner!!  Cleaning the barnacles and the marine growth that has attached like cement is not a fun task.  

While we were there we saw 2 manatee coasting around in the channel, a horseshoe crab in the water close to shore, and some strange looking small fish with bulbous eyes on top of its head that was not taking our unsubtle hints to "go away".  After our last dinghy washing adventure and the man of war incident that followed we are not into any type of marine life that close.  For all we know about fish it could be the deadly "Get Gary" fish.  He finally became uninterested or od'd on Simple Green and he went up the shore a little letting us finish our task.

The trip across the barge canal was really neat.  After all of the opulence of the coast this was a real treat to see "old Florida" ( unspoiled and decaying, but what the heck...character, character, character) and  take a trip back in time if only for a short while. It was a break from the overdose of $$$$ everywhere. Especially since we are in the $ category. :)

When we pulled into the Marina 3 people ran right over to help us tie up the lines.  Paul, Sue & Ed.  I think this place will prove to be filled with more "character" in the human form.  The couple next to us were having a little "discussion" this afternoon and you feel like you are right in the room with them.  Marina's are a whole different ball game because you are very close to your neighbors, so you best behave and be quiet....or else they'll be talking about you!!  After 3 months without being in a slip in a Marina, this is sure to be overload.  We'll see.

Sue Mackie made it over to have dinner with us tonight.  They are about 20 minutes from here and we found out plan to move their boat here this month.  John will be back next weekend from his job in Daytona so we will have a good reunion.  Kent is coming to pick us up so we can get our truck.  We need wheels here if we want to get any  projects is too far to walk or ride a bike.  We wouldn't have stayed here for a month, but the monthly rate was half the 2 week we will try to make use of the time by getting some projects out of the way before we head out of Florida.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools

Well it is still debatable as to whether we are fools or not. We got up at 7am, which in itself is a joke since you haven't been able to drag me out of bed before 8:30 lately, it is just so nice to be able to veg in the morning, just kind of floating awake....but we were at the dock when they opened at 8am ready to pump out, pay and get on our way.

It was pretty windy on the ICW today.  Northwest winds that were 15-18 mph.  I guess if you're low to the ground that is not too bad but we sit at about 14 ' off the water on the bridge and our isinglass windows are in pretty bad shape so to see well we leave them open.  It can get very BREEZY especially following a day of rain and a drop in temperatures.  Today, Gary had on shorts when we started (very optimistic) and flannel lined wind pants within an hour.  I had on capris, a sweatshirt, and my foul weather coat with hood. I began to feel pretty foolish  when other boats passed us going south and the girls were in bathing suits.  Who IS the crazy one here.  They must all be vacationing from Alaska!

It was an uneventful trip, no diversions whatsoever.  The waterway from Vero was quite wide and the channel is in the middle, so to see much you have to look through the binoculars.  I kept busy with crosswords, and getting things from the cabin.  It was oh yeah, we forgot this, go get it, leave sunglasses in cabin, go back to get them, oh yeah we need this, take coat off in cabin, leave coat in cabin...go get it ...yada yada.... up and down...maybe I should do an exercise tape for boaters....

We are by a bridge again, quite a few of the listed anchorages are by bridges..........and remember the train?  Well it's been following us up the coast.  No kidding, it has been my white noise every night.  Sleep to the lull of bridges and trains....we may have something going here. 

We noticed that at least 3 of the boats that were in Vero last night are here tonight.  We travelled 54 miles in 8 hours today, going between 6.5 to 7 mph, again alternating engines.  We are just flowing along with the sailboats and letting the gas hogs pass us.  Smelling the roses every day!!

This can be taken two ways...Trawler Trash...or
prepared for anything!!

Sentinel of the ICW
Gary and his "anchor strategy"
Sunset over Cocoa