Twas the Weekend Before Christmas...
17 January 2018
Ah, of course we do something exciting on the boat and I forget to mention it here for a few weeks!
Right before Christmas our dear Sophie visited us from the faraway land of Nebraska. So we embarked on a journey towards the spoil islands! A trip to the islands is a pretty good way to spend time with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. As we sailed out (later than we wanted) the wind was nice, but not too powerful, and we got to our destination quickly. We even went a little further than usual since we would be out for 3 days instead of the usual 2.
That night, we got drunk and made a gingerbread house and just generally relaxed. In the morning we took the puppies out to the island to do their business, then raised anchor and went further down the river. We picked one island at random and decided to visit it because hey, adventure! After making the rounds about the island we decided to try and start a campfire (without fuel, or a lighter) to roast weenies over…and failed. It’s hard to make a fire from scratch in such a humid environment. Oh well.
That night is where the magic truly happened. After firing up the generator to watch movies (we watched the Scooby Doo and KISS crossover. Which was actually weirdly good?) I went outside to throw out some food remains…and it glowed. The splashes GLOWED. I drunkly rushed in and waggled my hands about. Shawn, who was more sober than me, had his eyes light up and went outside. He stepped on the edge and kicked his foot around – beautiful blue glowing followed.
Typically biolum only happens in the Indian river lagoon when the water reaches scorching temperatures (95*F), but tonight the water was a balmy 60 degrees. So what do we do? Go swimming, of course!
Sophie refused to join, but Shawn, Rig, and I had a lot of fun swimming in the river. I kept screaming “magic is reeeeal”! Because seriously, the glowing was like freakin’ magic! When we got Rig in the water it was gorgeous, everywhere he kicked just set the water aglow.
We got cold after a bit and dried off, but the fun wasn’t ending there. We all got in the dinghy and motored out to near the nature preserve. The motor kicked up those little algae, leaving a trail of glow behind us. Perhaps the most striking view of the evening though, was the sky. The half of the sky reaching the Atlantic was inky darkness, filled with glittering stars. The half to land was an empty haze of light. We humans are robbing ourselves of that birthright to see the art that is the night sky, in favor of…what? Not spending a few bucks on shades for streetlights?
As we motored out and glowing fish darted away from our path, we got to a point where our own little boat only appeared in the distance as a guiding star (anchor light). We spent a good amount of time just futzing with the water for the glow. Eventually we went back, following that guiding star home.
Then we finished the Scooby-Doo KISS movie, and fell asleep to Short Circuit (that movie is so 80s). Turned off the generator and went to bed properly, and what followed was a pretty ordinary day going back to port. It was pretty exhausting to spend the day piloting a boat and then drive 3.5hrs across the state for Christmas. But we lived.
27 November 2017 | Eau Gallie Yacht Basin
Carly/Cool and Pleasant
The thing about liveaboard life is that there's not too much adventure to report on.
I think at some point we should switch over to another blog for our thoughts, because liveaboard life isn't always...well, SailBloggable. It's mostly stuff like "Carly took out all her Warhammer 40k Eldar figures she bought from a friend for $100 and wrote down what each and every figure was. They're all from the very first edition of WH40k, which makes them older than her by almost 10 years, and could easily be sold all together for at least $300."
But that just seems weird to post here y'know?
We haven't gone out on the boat for four reasons:
1. After tying lines for Irma, we didn't want to un-do and then re-do all of that.
2. Our halyard line is seriously wearing and meant we couldn't hoist the main sail. So just jib/screacher sailing.
3. It's been fookin hot out until recently.
4. Going out and coming back in...is a lot of work. And we're lazy.
However, 1-3 are now fixed. It's cool out, hurricane season is pretty much over, AND West Marine had a Black Friday sale on line. Half off per foot! So we're replacing the halyard this week. Didn't get a precise measurement, but given the mast is 40'5" tall (holy hell I went up FORTY feet in the air??? I thought it was only 35'! And, uh, 47' above land total I guess) we bought 85' and if we need to cut off some of it so be it (40 up, 40 down, should only need 81 feet). With that and a replacement for one of our dock lines, it still came to a little over $100. Wow.
There is one post I should've made, and it was our adventures attempting to install the ecobee3. When we're finished with all that I'll make a separate post. Essentially, smart thermostats require a C terminal that provides a constant 24VAC to whatever's connected to it, which most HVAC units have, but ours doesn't. The usual problem is that dumb thermostats don't require the C wire, so you have to do extra wiring...but we don't even have the TERMINAL to connect the wire to. So we have to figure out some wire-splitting shenanigans since it won't be getting a 24VAC from the HVAC unit, but from somewhere else in our grid. We've been kinda nervous about doing this. The finished post will be titled something like "Installing a Smart Thermostat with a MermaidAir" and it will be useful for any sailor that wants to install a smart thermostat and has a marine AC unit.
It's interesting that when talking about HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Condition) we also refer to VAC (Alternating Current Voltage). That's probably V subscript AC, but whatever.
As for Thanksgiving, no adventure this year. Just a quiet Thanksgiving with Shawn's family. We had considered hauling the boat out for painting, but we want to replace the thruhulls and have been having a hell of a time figuring out what sizes we should order. We'll have to haul out in Ft. Pierce, which is an hour drive away, so we want to have everything on us to get back in the water as quickly as we can. So we don't want to haul out until we have those thruhulls in our hands. We were still stumped on sizes, there's nothing in the manual! Nothing on the Gemini owner's yahoo group! But then Shawn's mom had a brilliant idea: Call Gemini and ask.
What a concept. D'oh!
We're doing that today if they're open and maybe we'll haul out for Christmas or something, I dunno. My company gives me a week off at Christmas time so it'd be ideal.
Aftermath of Hurricane Irma
13 September 2017 | Eau Gallie Yacht Basin
Carly / Hot & Humid
Weathering Hurricane Irma in our sheltered basin was...fun, actually!
We’re in a very sheltered basin. Not only is there the barrier island to go through, but we’re in a sheltered part of a sheltered fork of a sheltered river. Despite my parents’ insistence we go inland (I love you two very much :) ), we’re very happy we didn’t.
I had taken Labor Day week off since it meant only 3 vacation days off for the whole week, since I had that Friday off as well (I work a 9/80 schedule). We were hoping to go south and test our systems but stayed in port and played Starcraft all week instead. Still, I needed the break. We spent our not-video-gaming time preparing our marina for the hurricane and gathering supplies. As of this writing my work building has been closed all week (closed at least tomorrow, Thursday). Will they bother re-opening Friday even if they have power? Probably. But if they don’t, that’ll mean I got 2 whole weeks off for the price of 3 vacation days! SWEET!
The power began to cut in and out at 5pm, so someone threw the breakers at the marina rather than letting the intermittent power ruin someone’s wiring. So we made Hurricanes, drank deeply, and prepared for the storm.
The winds were pretty terrifying. Howling, keening, whistling winds accompanied by the green flash of transformers exploding in the distance (we thought this was lightning). We walked to the edge of the basin where the rain blew sideways, icy needles burrowing into your skin. Cold water splashed through the dock and onto our feet. We climbed onto one of the boats and I held onto line as the gusts sent the monohull heeling. (Why did we climb on the boat? Why, for the adventure of course!) It was thrilling! Exciting! Like riding a roller coaster but with the knowledge you could actually get hurt!
We kept walking out during the storm and heading to the edge because it made us feel so wonderful! So…alive!
Also without power it was really boring onboard.
During the storm, Shawn kept hopping off the boat to check everyone’s lines (had to re-tie ours a few times). The greatest danger to us was our neighbors. Out in the Eau Gallie river proper, there was an idiot moored to a channel marker that was already halfway out of the ground. We were half-tempted to get our shotgun ready to sink him if it started floating our way.
We didn’t sleep well that night since the worst of the winds came at midnight. Shawn kept getting up every hour to check on the lines, but we didn’t leave our boat after night fell on the marina. The water rose at least 3 feet that night.
But in the morning the extra water was all gone. Back to normal. How deceptive! As we speak, the water is currently at the dock (meaning about a foot) making it a royal pain in the neck to take the dogs on and off. Rhea will jump off, but Rig is scared so we have to carry him on and off. And he’s getting scared of being carried now. Which means he squirms more. Which makes it harder. Ugh.
With the water level higher, we looted a small log that holds steady that we use as a step to get onboard. Without it, getting off would be really annoying right now. I’ve been feeling some aching in my knees from all the jumping and climbing I’ve had to do lately. Probably landed wrong a few times.
On the bright side, with all of the vegetation thrown in the water it brought out my favorite creature – manatees! We spent some time picking plastic out of the water to make sure those little sea elephants didn’t accidentally eat a green bag of chips. They may be smart, but they have terrible vision.
Our only damage is one line experienced serious chafing during the storm and may have snapped. We had a single redundancy for every line so this wouldn’t have been a problem, but it means we need a new line. Whomp whomp.
Monday sucked. It returned to normal hot Florida immediately after the storm and power was still out, so we left the ports open and enjoyed a lovely breeze. It wasn’t enough though and we were quite happy for power (AC) to be back. We’re seriously looking into more insulation options for the boat (new plastic side-windows with UV reflective film applied? Replacing the stupid curtains on the inside with insulated canvas that snaps on to the current curtain hangings? Replacing all of the hatch and forward window covers for new ones with insulation stitched in? Sunshade over most of the boat, which is annoying with all of the riggings? E: All of the above?) We had a lot of time to think about it, with power still out.
We got power back late Monday night. Tuesday the local Indian restaurant offered a free buffet to the community, but they didn’t have power. So despite the food being absolutely delicious (especially with our stores running low), hot food in a hot building isn’t fun. We picked up some boba tea at the Vietnamese place and went to the game shop since it was open and had power/AC. Nerds don’t typically go out to socialize unless they have to, so we figured even though we had AC at home it might be a good time to make new friends. Sadly, we didn’t really click with anyone there except a friendly dog.
I’m quite happy my class got canceled this week because I hate it, and we were to do final presentations this week, so now we just have to submit the powerpoints. Hooray!
It also meant I finally got to go to the marina potluck at a reasonable time (I usually have class during it). The food was good, there was banana bread, which made me think of our friends over in Ft. Myers who had to flee the storm (one of them makes fantastic banana bread and may be reading this).
So overall…this hurricane wasn’t too awful bad for us.
Life in Eau Gallie Yacht Basin
01 September 2017
'Eau Gallie' translates to 'Rocky Water' apparently. What a lovely name for a popular water area...
Waterline's dockmaster did NOT end up giving us a half-month rebate, so we waited until August proper to move in. As is tradition, Shawn was gone for the first few days after moving into our new location. He had a family reunion of sorts up in Michigan so I spent the weekend by myself. We had internet set up the first day we got there though! A blistering 70Mbps! WOAH!
The AC overheated...again...so I went to a friend's house one day of the weekend. We came to find later a barnacle grew over the intake. Since then, we've had to scrape barnacles off the intake once a week.
We're impatiently waiting for the boatyard to clear out so we can repaint the damn bottom already. EGYB has a do-it-yourself haul out area, but all three spots are taken up and there’s a waiting list. The boats there now have been there for over a year. The new owner of the marina doesn’t seem happy about this though, so we should hopefully be able to haul out soon.
The community here is quite nice. Less ghetto, more quirky independents. There are potlucks every Wednesday which would be wonderful if I didn’t have graduate classes every Wednesday night until I graduate 1.5 years from now.
There is a clubhouse though! Which means I can get a sewing machine and have a place to work with it!!
And, our slip is 5 feet from where we park our cars. This means grocery shopping is a lot less of a hassle now. But the REAL benefit is- our power box is only 5 feet from where we park our cars! I’m one of those 400k people who reserved a Tesla Model 3, and I was really worried about how I’d charge the stupid thing. There’s a supercharger going up 20 minutes away, but those will charge for charge (ha-ha).
The power box offers another 30amp plugin, so we’ll get the relevant adapters and be able to charge at home. What a relief! And…weird. We’ll be powering a car with the same cable to power our house.
On an unrelated note, we went up to see the total solar eclipse in South Carolina. We took our car, not the boat, but it was so amazing I had to note it here!! Absolutely spectacular. Our photos were awful, and so was the traffic, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
This weekend the in-laws will be coming over and we’ll spend the weekend boating and doing other fun things. It’s also Shawn’s birthday! We got him a cookie cake. I swear, our wedding cake is just going to be multiple cookie cakes stacked on top of each other.
It's been a while, blog!
14 July 2017 | Eau Gallie Yacht Basin
It's hard to keep these things up-to-date, being that they require effort. :P Not much has happened on the boat…I’ve been considering making a blog on another website so I can post more in detail about or general life. It seems blasphemous to talk about our trip to SeaWorld here on SAILblogs! But indeed, that’s what we were doing most of June during the weekends (due to an excellent Florida Resident pass. $150/each for 14 days unlimited SeaWorld+Aquatica? Budget vacay!)
Things have happened though. It’s the heat of summer here in Florida and we’ve suffered for it. Our Mermaid Air Air Conditioner (brand and product, respectively) pumps water through the system for coolant. Normally this is very useful but currently the Eau Gallie river is 92 degrees. So our AC was overheating and shutting off. There are some idiosyncrasies with the way it overheats that Shawn could go into more detail about, but the point is “no AC = bad, how do we get it back?”
Shawn added some insulation (cut-up car sunshields) to the port covers. You’d think they wouldn’t do much, but we used our handy-dandy IR thermometer and checked the ports before and after – 120 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit! 20 whopping degrees difference, wow. And I think maybe it cost $20 max? Our next task is to figure out how to insulate the front-facing windows, they get pretty hot.
We bought some window covering material (a thin film) to put on all of our other windows that won’t support insulation well, but after opening it up and goofing around with it the material we got only bonds to glass – not plastic. Our ports are glass but we already insulated them. They offer a plastic-bonding film online but that has to be a separate purchase. If installed properly it’ll add a UV-reflecting tint to the windows on the side and front to aid with a cooler inside.
And as a backup, we sucked it up and bought a port-mounted AC that we’ll be installing soon above our cabin. The cabins get the hottest due to airflow and with one human and a hairy inferno it gets pretty hot in ours even with the AC on.
The big news is that everyone at our marina is getting the boot. There’s a gentleman who’s lived there for at least 10 years with a gorgeous potted plant garden on his vessel (not a sailboat…I think a trawler?) and he’s had to put them all on shore to prepare to move. Very sad.
The total story is that one day, our marina owner decided to take all of the bicycles from the bike rack without notice because there are a lot of derelict bicycles on the rack. The problem is that some people (not us) were actually using the bike rack, and were very angry their bicycles were stolen. One family called the police on him because it was frankly theft, and the marina owner found out and gave them the boot. With righteous fury they called up every relevant government agency and reported the owner to them, and they responded as a kicked hornet’s nest might.
They still don’t have their bicycles back.
Most marinas in Florida do not actually own the bottom of the water, they lease it from the state. And the state of Florida has a law against liveaboards staying for more than 6 months of the year in any water owned by them. You can stay 6 months in one marina with this, and 6 months in the other, but you can’t stay the full year. I understand why Florida might want to own the water under “resource of the commons” but COME ON! What the heck? This is a dumb law.
We may actually start campaigning for boaters’ rights. I’m serious. This is stupid.
Anyway, it looks like Eau Gallie Yacht Basin is so damn old it actually OWNS the bottom, rather than leasing, so we can stay there forever as long as we don’t enrage the owners. The problem is it has a very long waiting list and people don’t have to leave, so uh…good luck getting in!
I guess we have good luck though since a spot just opened up. We came in for a “boat interview” of sorts to ensure our little catamaran fit in the slip. She’s snug, but she fits!
I’m thankful for being in a Gemini right now as opposed to a Snowgoose…much as I loved the Snowgoose, that extra 4 feet would mean we couldn’t be here right now.
We’ll find out if we can get a half-month refund from our previous marina, and if so we’ll begin living here in EGYB. They have a wonderful little community with an unofficial yacht club named “Spuma de Terra”, or “Scum of the Earth”. I don’t think that’s proper Latin but whatever, I like the spirit!
Next post I’ll gush a bit more about our new home. It’s…more expensive, but absolutely lovely.
Went on another little adventure
08 May 2017
This weekend there were excellent winds, so we decided to take 'er out (because hey! The weekend of our anniversary! And it'll clean the scum off the bottom before we haul out and save us some effort! Excuse excuse excuse...)
Everything went well. We had good winds, made it to the spoil islands in about 3 hours. Dropped anchor, played board games and talked and whatever. Right before we went to bed a pod of dolphins swam around our boat, so that was cool!
The bottom paint is in so we'll be hauling out soon. Maybe get some more protecting primer stuff. Idk.
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