Early January, 2019
When we wanted to take a break from the boat yard, we walked and biked around town, braving the sketchy Florida highways to cross the bridge into the quaint downtown area of Fort Pierce.
We’ve made friends with the owners of the two boats next to us – Parallax and Ripple. Although we all worked on different projects, the comradery grew strong, and Eric would offer help with our workshop full of tools.
We rode the struggle bus while installing wiring inside the arch that holds up the dinghy to properly connect the solar panels and wind generator to the battery. First we couldn’t figure out how we wanted to run the wires through the steel tubes, and then once we developed a plan, we used a wiring rod left by a previous owner to try to guide a string through – only to have it break inside the tube due to the Belgium chocolate holding it together. Ultimately, we took the whole damned thing apart, set it down on the ground (from 12+ feet in the air on the back of our lifted boat), and fought with the wiring. We cursed like sailors, often. Once we completed that step, we had to lift it back up into the boat, and then wrestle the metal frame into its mounting plates in a way it was never intended to go.
Finally, we reinstalled the arch just before I needed to hop on a plane.
We rented a car to get me to the Orlando airport, and then I flew to Idaho to facilitate a conservation meeting. My heart leapt as the Rocky Mountains came into view. I missed them so much. And the snow covered mountains, so beautiful. Boise greeted me with a dusting of snow and ice slicked streets, such a novel experience after wrenching on the boat in the Florida sun. I walked around town to stretch my legs with my coat wrapped around my waist – 32 degrees in an arid climate, this is great! Nothing like the bone chilling damp on the waters of the Carolinas.
After a successful meeting I flew to Denver and spent a little over a week in Fort Collins. In Colorado I enjoyed work, snow, and catching up with friends. I went snowshoeing, shared meals with friends, hosted a game night, and managed to meet with a couple of colleagues while in town.
My friends who are taking care of our house and our cats got a puppy! I felt entirely spoiled to snuggle a tiny puppy while watching Netflix.
I was sad to leave Fort Collins again, but I’m ready to get back to work on the boat. I know Eric misses me too.
January 29, 2019
Eric’s dad picked me up from the airport in Florida. Mark had road tripped down from Maryland for an event, and he was able to spend a few days helping us with the boat work.
Eric completed the fiberglass work and installed the lithium batteries while I was gone, bless his heart. He and his dad sanded and painted the sail drives and they worked on other boat projects while I concentrated on nonprofit work left from my trip West. We thoroughly enjoyed the hot tub at Mark’s hotel.
Eric picked up a hefty piece of a water maker from a second hand marine store, and Mark took it back to Maryland with him to machine the other necessary parts for a fully functioning machine. When we get back to the Chesapeake, we’ll be able to make our own fresh water instead of relying on marinas. Someday, that’ll be awesome. But while we’re at the boat yard, Eric drilled a hole in the boat to install the through hole needed for the water maker. That was a tough thing to do, cutting a hole into the hull of the boat. But with a lot of fiberglass schmu, we’ll be good to go.
February 6, 2019
More boat work is completed: Eric installed sea water strainers on the engine water intake so that it can’t eat any more fish. He’s been working hard on a lot of projects.
The pizza delivery guy knows where our boat is in the boatyard, as our group of friends have ordered a few times from the local pizza joint.
We’re antsy to get out of the boat yard. At this point we’ve completed the major projects that needed to be done on the hard. Now it’s a question of what else we want to get done, and when the boat that is blocking our exit will move out of the way. We’re encouraging our friends that done is better than perfect 😉
However, it’s a good thing we waited on land a while, as Eric identified two different “air-tight” compartments in the hull of the boat were filled with water, even though we’ve been on the hard for weeks. We cut holes from inside the boat to access those compartments and hand pumped gallons and gallons of brackish water out of the hulls of our boat.
Our friends are almost done painting their boat, and then the marina will put us both in the water on the same day. Soon, soon we’ll be cruising again!