Keeping Busy During 2012 Hurricane Season
09 December 2012 | Tiger Point Marina, Fernandina Beach, FL
Sylvia - Doesn't matter as much on the hard
And so the last four months have been busy to say the least and I now must try to get it all into a blog entry without boring everyone. When we aren’t moving around and are just living on the boat it doesn’t seem as interesting or exciting. It is just living our lives as others do but on a boat with all of its different challenges and considerations. So here is what we have been doing.
After returning in July from my niece’s we got the larger air conditioner installed where we had removed the washer/ dryer. There was no problem with the installation and it cooled the saloon and galley area wonderfully. It was just blowing directly into the areas but it was cooling that part of the boat down and lowering the humidity. There was still work to be done to build and install an air plenum and vents but now it was possible to do that work without it being so very hot.
Immediately on our return from Nassau we had contacted Lee, the Dive Guy, to come give Eos a nice bottom cleaning. He dove on her but came right back up and said “She is covered with barnacles. That’s not right. You had a new bottom job the end of January. That is only 5 months. Something is wrong.” We called Tiger Point where we had had the Petit Trinidad paint (recommended by many sailors and the Dive Guy) put on and Jackie told us that we were the second boat in 2 years that had had a problem with that paint. We later found out from our friends on Kit and Pixie Dust directly that they also had had a problem and they had had to repaint. It may have been a bad batch of paint. Who knows. But luckily for all of us, Petit supplied all of us with new paint which helped some financially.
Our plan was to head to Tiger Point the first part of Aug for a bottom paint job and to get thru-holes installed for the air conditioning units prior to going to MN for a month. (We were tapping off an already existent one for the main AC but wanted one dedicated to it.) The weather didn’t cooperate and although we could have gone the next day we were concerned about the weather impacting the work to be done and we only had a little over a week before we were flying to MN. If the boat wasn’t done, we could have left it at Tiger Point in Fernandina Beach but our insurance wouldn’t cover us for any damage caused by a named tropical storm. After talking to the folks at Tiger Point we decided to delay the boat work trip until we returned from MN.
Off we went to MN to see family, friends, and doctors. Spanker again was a trooper and handled her first airplane trip just fine. We arrived to beautiful MN summer weather and settled right down in my sister Diana’s lower level and began our rounds of doctor, friend, and family visits. We managed to work in visits with the Berquists, Budds, Pitmons, Wolsteds, Nellessens, Sheldons, Seegers, Greenbushes, Jerry Davis and Kelsey Bruso – lots of lunch and breakfast dates. Jay and Diane Robinson were in town visiting so we got a chance to get up to Lake George and see them, Gary and Judy and their neighbors, the Grabows. The last time the eight of us had gotten together was in FL for the yearly Christmas grouper lunch. And there were trips to Mankato to see the Johnsons and to Duluth to see the folks at Barkers Island and Steve Schick and crew. Of course, mixed in there were chances to spend time with my sister and her children and grandchildren and meet our newest great, great niece – a real doll, of course. I took off for an overnight at the Anderson cabin a couple of hours north of the Twin Cities with Nancy and Kris Lund – childhood NE friends. Then Kris and I drove to NE the next week for a gathering of other childhood girl friends at Mahoney State Park. Lots of laughs and some games of Chicken Foot. While I was off playing in NE Bill got a chance to connect with John LeMoine and Gary Kiges, White Bear Lake sailing friends.
Bill and Judy Rohde decided we were a good enough reason to have a great gathering of Lake Superior/Bahamas sailors. We knew many of them and were happy to meet the others and, of course, get lots of info on other’s experiences in the Bahamas. The crews of Jubilee, Sojourn, Finisterra, Nightstar, Metafog, Greenstone, Sojourn and Summer of 42 and others were such fun to reconnect with. We are so looking forward to meeting up with some of them this season in the Bahamas.
While all of this gadding about was going on we still got a chance to go through the storage boxes Steve Schick had graciously stored for us in Superior, WI. We gathered then up and toted them back to my sister’s. We were able to pare them down some more and so now have only a couple of boxes of “things”. We brought the photos of Bill’s art works back to be scanned into our PC and we brought back some art supplies with the hope that one of these days there will be time for Bill to do some drawings.
All in all it was a great although busy month in MN. The doctor’s were happy with us, and we saw many friends and family. There were others we would love to have connected with but time and other commitments for us and them made that impossible. Hopefully next time.
Sept 18 we flew back to GA and started on finishing up the cosmetics and all for the big AC and installing the smaller unit in our stateroom while waiting for a good time to go to Tiger Point. We headed out the first week of Oct. However, we discovered when we filled up prior to leaving that we had a leak in one of our diesel tanks. Great!! Then when we got going we found out that we could only go about 3 knots. The bottom and prop were just too covered with barnacles. They had wanted us to come down with Eos the way she was so the Pettit paint rep could see the problem. We had gone a couple of hours and were finally almost to the final ship channel when we decided that it was just not wise to go out on the big water with a boat that we couldn’t get any speed out of. Any real seas or a storm would be bad and beside we had to get to Tiger Point at high tide to get to the docks and there was no way that was possible at that slow speed. So we were back in Brunswick by noon. Lee came down to scrape the bottom and clean the prop after taking underwater pictures of the barnacles which I sent to Jackie and she sent on to the paint rep. With the bottom clean we would now be able to get to Fernandina Beach. We were up early the next morning to be greeted by fog that didn’t burn off until noon and then when we tried again the next morning and again had fog we decided we just weren’t meant to go right then. The push to get down to Tiger Point was now gone anyway since we had had to clean the bottom in Brunswick. So we worked with the folks at Tiger Point and agreed that we would plan to be down there the second week of November. This was the 3rd scheduled date for them and thank goodness they are so great to work with and were so accommodating. The month delay would give us more time in Brunswick to work on the ACs and other things and would mean we weren’t in FL prior to our Nov. 1 hurricane insurance date.
And just to make sure that we had plenty to do our inverter/charger indicated that our house batteries were starting to have problems. So B. O. A. T. – Break Out Another Thousand!! We got 7 new batteries (drove to St, Augustine for 2, Jacksonville for 2 and got the other 3 in Brunswick – it just couldn’t be easy, I guess) and then found out that part of the problem was the inverter/charger unit itself. The batteries were old enough that replacing them was probably prudent but now we had to get a new inverter/charger and then the pedal on the head broke. Bill had already had several fun go-rounds with the head so we went for a new head instead of continuing to mess with the old one.
While all of this was going on we continued to enjoy Brunswick and our sailing friends there. There were Sunday Chicken Foot gatherings with Joe and Jeri, Sherri and Clyde, Nancy and Judy, Debbie, Pam and Dave, Paula and Dave, LeeAnn and Jerry, Dennis and others for me as well as taking breaks from the boat work for the Darien Fall Festival with Donna and Paul (Cavalier) and Steve and Duffy (Kit) - pretty disappointing -, the Brunswick Stewbilee Festival with Gail and Hans (Jawbones) – several dozen Brunswick Stew stands to taste and vote on - and a trip to the Confederate Station with LeeAnn and Jerry (Bella), Geoff and Linda and Nellie, Pam and Dave, and Dennis for some down home music and a couple of lovely Scottish songs sung by Linda. Jerry and Diane (Nightstar) arrived from MN and we had a lovely evening with them before they took off to go further south. They draw close to our 7’ so they had lots of wonderful info for us on the Bahamas. Our charts are now full of notes from them.
Nancy (childhood friend) and Roger Anderson from MN were vacationing in Savannah and when they found out we were only an hour away they came down for a day. It was so fun to be with them and they got to be part of our replace the head activity. We had ordered the head and it had come in so we went to West Marine there in Brunswick, put it in their trunk, took it to the boat, unpacked it, discovered it was not what we ordered and returned it. They were great about it and we all had a good laugh about them coming all the way from MN just to help us pick up the wrong head. Lunch at Barbara Jean’s on St. Simon’s and a lovely dinner at the Indigo Coastal Shanty topped off the rest of the day. We were so glad to spend time with them since we hadn’t been able to connect with Roger and Bill hadn’t had a chance to see Nancy when we were in MN.
One morning I watched a boat get towed to the fuel dock and felt so sorry for whoever it was. I heard the fellow say something about his engine. The boat’s name was Pixie Dust and that seemed familiar but I couldn’t remember where we had seen it. A couple of hours later there was a knock on the hull that cleared up that mystery. It was Joe Ayala who was next to us in Port Canaveral earlier this year and who had loaned us his car and had us join him and his guests for happy hour one day. Oh, re-meeting friends is such fun. He was no longer with his girl friend: he had retired this spring and plans to cross over and cruise the Mediterranean and she decided that wasn’t for her. So he planned on single handing to Bermuda, then the Azores, then Portugal and then into the Med. Although we were all torn up inside Eos and I was using up stores, I got a meal together and we had a fine time catching up. It was only a gasket and Joe tagged along with Bill, Paul, and Steve when they made a West Marine run and he was up and off the next day. We have since heard from him and he has met a possible cruising partner – a “bubbly” widowed power boater who has always wanted to sail away. Sure hope it works out for them.
Once again we set out for Fernandina Beach and Tiger Point. It was an overnighter and we made it this time, tying up to the dock at 0815 the morning of the 12th. They have a new travel lift, bigger and longer, and tried to take us out stern first so they wouldn’t have to undo the forestay on the mast. But that didn’t work because of our arch. The tide and current were really running strong that day and had been for several days and we lost the tide time slot so no haul out that day. There was a nor’easter off shore and they didn’t know whether that was the cause or whether it was long term fall out from hurricane Sandy. The next day the winds and tide were again stronger than they wanted to mess with when hauling us so we got a relaxing day at the dock. Thursday they hauled us and we worked Friday and the week-end to get things opened up inside so they could disconnect and lift our Cummins diesel engine and hang it in the galley. We had determined that the diesel leak was in one of the two tanks that were under the engine. It couldn’t have been in one of the 2 we can easily get to!!!! Out came the galley sink, off came the center counter. All of the saloon cushions were stored in the off shore quarters and the compartments where the 2 thru-holes were going were exposed. The floor came up a couple of days later as they worked on disconnecting the engine.
Monday, Bill and David and Walter started. I had packed us up, gotten a rental car and made reservations at a Travelodge in Kingsland, GA just over the border from Fernandina Beach. We got a decent rate on a room with a microwave and refrigerator and they accept pets. That has now been our home for the last 3 weeks and it may be another week before we get back in the water. Our standard paint job and a couple of simple thru-holes turned into much more. When they finally got the engine all disconnected – hydraulics and all – they found that the diesel gauge mounting plate on tank 4 was almost completely gone. There was a crack in the casing around the wiring and electrolysis had done its job on the mounting ring. It was either the salt air or salt rinsing off the mast when it rains and running down and sitting on top of the tank. Anyway, now we knew what the problem was. After about a year we had been pretty unhappy with those tank monitors – 2 quit working and another gave us erratic readings so we decided to just replace the 4 of the 5 we can get to with ones that connect into our Maretron system and can be replaced more easily. Although we don’t expect to have any problems since they are all sealed up – no exposed wire connections. The 5th tank is under the mast and the mast step and we just aren’t going there this time. So while waiting for parts, the Cummins is getting its’ 1000 hour going over, the heat exchangers for the Cummins and the refrigeration are being cleaned out, the thru-holes were put in, Bill put in the single wire we needed to ground all 5 tanks (our last surveyor wrote up that the diesel tanks weren’t grounded), and Bill has mounted a cooling fan in the compartment under the companion way stairs.
We spent Thanksgiving at St. Mary’s which is right next to Kingsland on the Atlantic. There is a marina there and for the last 8-9 years the town of St. Mary’s and the Riverview Hotel have hosted a cruiser’s Thanksgiving pot luck. The town’s people donate for the turkeys and hams and the hotel kitchen cooks them. Our friends Ann and Lynn (Sea Tramp) from Brunswick have taken the lead in organizing the cruisers the last several years. They make sure there are a variety of eats to go with the turkeys and hams. There were over 125 people this year, about half the normal gathering. (We expect that Sandy had an impact on both those who had boats on the East Coast and those traveling down the coast from Canada and such. BoatUS has estimated that 62,000 boats have been damaged or totaled and many of the marinas and inlets are a real mess as are parts of the ICW.) Although we missed being with family Thanksgiving we had a wonderful time with the cruising family at St. Mary’s.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we drove down to Ocala to spend a few hours with Joel and Michelle Towner. We sailed White Bear and Lake Superior with Joel many years ago before he moved to the warmer climes of Florida and never returned. Joel is now partially retired and has a boat on the Gulf side of Florida. Michelle looked really good after her last bout of chemotherapy and Joel was his same old fun self. Good time!
On the Monday after Thanksgiving. LeeAnn and Jerry on Bella arrived at Tiger Point for some work on their bow thruster and as it turned out their transmission as well. They ended up stuck in forward as they turned into the inlet and had to be towed in. LeeAnn and I drove back to Brunswick the next day to get their car since they would be here longer than planned. While we were there, Cindy told me that someone from Shumway Marine had called and wanted to make sure we were all right. We had gotten an email a couple of weeks before from Brad Nahar (one of the 2 best marina parts guys around – the other is Sterling Weatherford at Barker’s Island Marina) and we hadn’t gotten back to him. AND I hadn’t updated this blog since the end of July. After calling Brad and thanking him for being concerned and catching up on all the folks and doings at Shumway in Rochester, NY, I have now promised myself to be more diligent in keeping up the blog even if we aren’t actually cruising. So Brad, here is the update I promised and thanks for the nudge.
The couple of extra days that Bella was on the hard gave LeeAnn and I a chance to take in the Fernandina Home Christmas tour. (The fellows were happily doing boat work.) There were 5 beautiful 100 year old plus homes in the tour that were professionally decorated for Christmas. The local trolley took us from house to house and we both were so happy to get to enjoy the decorated homes since we both live on our boats and no longer have homes to decorate. It is just what little we can store and decorate with on the boats now. On our trip to the Old Town Farmer’s Market on Saturday we lucked out and got to see the Christmas Puppy Parade. What a kick! Bella has now moved on down the coast trying to get as far south as they can get before leaving on the 10th and going to Texas for the holidays. They are another fun couple whom we so enjoy and are looking forward to seeing in the Bahamas in a few months.
Our hope is to get the bottom painted late next week after the engine is back together. We will be putting Pettit Ultima SR-60 on the bottom. This what the rep recommended; we will see. We then will be heading back to Brunswick for awhile. We need to recoup some on the cruising kitty and there is the new inverter/charger yet to be installed. And it seems we can connect with my brothers and one of my nephews at my niece’s south of Atlanta sometime over the holidays. With any luck we will be able to head over to the Bahamas in a couple of months for some much needed fun and relaxation, we hope.