12/23/2011, Stuart, Florida
Well, it's Christmas. We send out this Christmas wish to our family and friends for a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and wonderful 2012. May you enjoy all that the season has to offer.
Last year we were in Vero Beach freezing our rear ends off and this year we're basking in the hot Florida sunshine in Stuart in shorts and tees. What a difference!
12/21/2011, Stuart, Florida
I arrived in Indiantown on Saturday, December 17th to rejoin Wayne and spend some much-needed time together. With Wayne having the truck with him, he picked me up at the airport in West Palm Beach and we quickly caught up on the latest news. Wayne had been doing a fair amount of work on Leeway and I was anxious to see all that he had accomplished.
We reprovisioned the boat (Wayne joked he only had peanut butter and bread on board, but in reality he had a bit more - not much, but then again he had completely rebuilt the frig), and once again the ships stores were well stocked. We couldn't believe that it took us pretty much the entire day to a) get the groceries and b) inventory them and put them away in the appropriate lockers, cuddy's, etc.
We had originally planned on leaving Monday, but with the bilge pump problem (see Indiantown Blog), the workers weren't going to be finished until Tuesday morning. Not a big deal though, it's nice just to relax and enjoy the beautiful Florida weather. This year is certainly different than last - last year we froze and were bundled up in jackets, long pants, sweaters. This year, shorts and t-shirts!
We untied the docklines at Indiantown on Tuesday and headed east toward Stuart. Our plan was to go as far as the St. Lucie Lock and tie up on the docks for the night. There is a small RV park and docks that are run by the Army Corp of Engineers. It was a pleasant spot with water and hydro and we enjoyed catching up with some friends that Wayne had made while in Indiantown.
Wednesday we continued on our way to Stuart and picked up a mooring ball. Sunset Bay Marina is a lovely spot and one of our favourites. We booked in for a month and will enjoy Christmas and New Years here. We are really looking forward to cooking our Christmas dinner on board with turkey and all the fixings. Seems strange listening to Christmas carol's when its 80 degrees and the palm trees are swaying.
We're looking forward to the holidays in the sun and shorts and, yes, life is sweet.
12/20/2011, Indiantown, Florida
Well as Cindy said we had to go in separate directions after the Annapolis Boat Show and after dropping her off at BWI airport I turned the truck south. It actually was a little earlier than I anticipated leaving but it seemed silly for me to drive all the way back home only to turn around in a week or so and retrace all these steps. So I started off down towards the boat and the several projects I knew that wanted me.
Since I was in no real hurry I decided to stay away from the I-95 corridor and see some of the more scenic areas and re-visit some of the places that I saw on the boat last year. First stop was in Deltaville, Virginia to spend some more time with Darius & Kathy (sv Breeze Hunter) with whom we had spent some time with in Annapolis and we spent a nice couple of hours together talking boats (what else) before I carried on my way. Second stop was the next day with John & Marie (sv Hunky Dory) with whom I met up on their transit of the Dismal Swamp and we had a lovely dinner together.
I stopped several times overnight on the way down because the Admiral had kindly given me her current illness to take with me as a going away present. So I decided to drive short days, see some sights and try to recover before getting to Florida. I managed to re-visit the anchorage at Norfolk where Derek and I spent a rough night on the way out of the Chesapeake, re-visited acquaintances at Titusville, and saw several places that have now made their way onto my 'bucket' list.
Four days after leaving the Admiral I arrived at Indiantown Marina and scheduled for them to move the boat into the work area three days later. And so, the projects began.
First, the bottom needed a good sanding, epoxy and anti-fouling paint. The paint we used, once again, didn't seem up to the job and so we switched brands on the advice of the local marina and started again to bring it up to standard. Now sanding in nearly 90 degree heat is NOT fun (see the accompanying picture) and after 2 days of sanding, a half-day of spot epoxy and painting, and a third day applying 2 coats of anti-fouling paint the job was accomplished.
Next up was to strip all the teak toe-rail with 2-part teak stripping. The easiest way to apply this was using a tooth brush and, believe me, the boat gets real big was using such a small tool. But, after another 2 days, mission accomplished.
Meanwhile, down below I stripped out the head and painted the floor and part of the walls. In addition all the flooring in the main saloon was re-finished and, depending on the area, either painted or varnished. Many of the bilge areas were also painted.
Next, the boat's hull was given an acid bath to remove marks and stains and then 2 coats of wax were applied before launching.
I launched the boat on Nov 16 and took a slip for a month to complete more projects. After launching I tore apart the refrigerator; reinsulated and painted the box; added new shelves; new temperature gauges; added organizers and rubber tiles on the frig floor which seems to have made a great deal of difference in the efficiency and convenience of the frig.
After a month of long days and hard work (insert sob here) I still have things on the "to-do" list that aren't going to get done and the Admiral arrives in just a few days.
Now I don't want to leave you all with the impression that Indiantown is all work and no play because it's not. During Thanksgiving week the marina went all out to entertain and feed us like kings. With Thanksgiving officially on Thursday this year, they started to celebrate on the Monday with "Island food" of jerk chicken and pork, beer and a steel drum band. The next night, Tuesday, they fed us wings and ribs and beer, with a karaoke band while on Wednesday was wine tasting accompanied by Italian lasagne and penne Alfredo with salads, beer and country rock band. But the height of it all came on Thursday afternoon with a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings and a jazz ensemble to entertain. To say that they treated all of us royally that week was an understatement. And, as we are about to leave just before Christmas they are busily planning a Christmas eve dinner for all their boaters which we will miss.
And, of course, you meet a wide variety of people getting ready for a wide variety of adventures. It's amazing just how many friends you meet and keep in a place like this. People enjoying the same things you do.
Still after two months it's was time to move on and so after the Admiral arrived we provisioned the boat, got some last minute repairs done (we discovered that the electronic bilge pump switches had burnt out and we had to replace both bilge pumps and instal 2 new mechanical switches and a new high water alarm - all for the very low (?) price of $1200 - welcome to boating) and shoved off for parts unknown (Well maybe we do know them but it sounded romantic didn't it.)
Let's see what new adventures we can dream up this year. We'll keep in touch.