In awhile crocodile...
21 April 2012 | Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage
EVS: Storm fronts coming
April 21, 2012
Gratitude is put to bed for the summer (hurricane) season and we are en route north. We left the yard yesterday (Friday) at 11:00, missing our 9:00 target by two hours, but we had much to do and we really never believed we would make it by 9:00 anyway.
Putting a boat to bed, properly, is a lot of work. All that is to be removed (clothing, canned goods, things to repair, etc.) has to be packed and put in the truck. While we used to try to fit all into big boxes, we have found that small, soft packages work better. Also, this time we decided to remove the aft cabin bunk cushions to get new mattresses made to ease our aching (and ever more elderly) joints so the pickup would be full, at least until we dropped them off at the “boat mattress” store. In addition, because we are having other work done on Gratitude, we needed to make sure work areas would be (reasonably) accessible over the summer and fall. That need imposed a requirement for even more order and planning than we customarily try to achieve. Also, in packing things that will stay on the boat, we use vacuum storage bags that not only keep things dry and fresh but reduce the volume of space required to pack. In short, it takes about a week to get off the boat while leaving it in good order. (We do know folks who pull into the yard on one day and leave the next, but we have no idea how they do it!)
The first year we were in the boat yard, we were in the fourth row about as far from the front as we could be put. New friends then teased us about being newbies and having far to go to move up to the front row. Well, we have “moved up” and now are in the first row, two boats away from the office. Location does not really mean anything, but now we are teased for “moovin’ on up -- to the front row” in such a short time. As we have mentioned several times, the yard is a special place full of fellow boaters, many now friends, offering helpful support and friendly comment. Joe, the father of the two young men who own the yard and the former owner of the ship yard where Gratitude was built, consistently tells us “she is the prettiest boat in the yard”. Of course, with as much conceit as his, we readily agree. Our pride in Gratitude is fed often by such comments. En route to the yard, we stopped for fuel at Burnt Store and, in the space of about 45 minutes, received four compliments on Gratitude, including one via a call from the harbormaster as we pulled away from the fuel dock. That is tough to resist.
From Burnt Store, en route to the lock and canal system providing access to the yard, we passed many small boats fishing for the massive Tarpon, several of which were on hook and leaping from the water. There were many flocks of shore birds as well as dolphin playing in the water; good omens all. We arrived at the lock and made it through without too much trouble despite concerns over the low water approaching the lock and low water inside the canal system. Gratitude draws 5’2” and we saw the depth gauge register 5’3” on a couple of locations, but mostly about 6’2”. Because it was Friday afternoon when we arrived, we stayed on the docks (with 4 other boats) awaiting our haul out on Monday. We rinsed and removed the dried sails, changed the engine oil and filters and put both to bed, and began the process of closing up the boat until our next cruising season.
While at the docks, we noticed the little fellow (see photo) swimming near Gratitude and were reminded of the old rhyme that gives this blog its name. So, we pull away from Gratitude with thanks for a wonderful cruising season and expectations for our return and departure on our next adventure. Stay tuned …