Thursday, December 3, 2009


The big Travel-Lift came beep-beep-beeping for us about ten days ago.   You've heard that sound that big machines make when they back up.  The Travel-Lift backs up with the slings unhooked in the middle until it straddles the boat, then the two straps of each sling are hooked together under the boat and it is lifted up.  The driver S-L-O-W-L-Y moves the boat to the launching area, drives out on narrow concrete pathways barely wider then the tires, then lowers the boat into the water!

It's always nerve-wracking to watch.  Your home and a good part of your retirement kitty are hanging in the air, supported only by a couple of slings that you hope-to-God are not frayed.   Owners tend to stand close and watch their boats intently, as if there would be something they could do if a sling broke or one wheel of the Travel-Lift missed it's mark and drove off the concrete path into the water.

But none of that happened and we were pulled by hand around the corner to a dock.  Then the hard work began. 

My list included making an awning, called a bmini, to replace the old ragged one that came with the boat.  The bimini shades the cockpit.  I figured it would take about a week to complete.  Phil's list including checking out all the mechanical and electrical systems to make sure everything was in working order. 

Everything wasn't.

First, the port engine wouldn't start.  The starboard engine did start, but soon was leaking oil.  The starboard windlass that drops the anchor and retrieves it did not work.  The gears are not acting like they should.  And, of course, the head was not flushing as it should.  (The head always makes it onto the list.)  All of these things (except the gears) were in good working order when we left the boat last spring.

The boat's job is to break.  Your job is to fix it.

Today is December 3rd.  We need to have all of the items on our lists completed and/or fixed by December 8th in order to have a leisurely trip down to Ft. Lauderdale and get settled in by the time our son, Andy, and his girlfriend, Jill, come to spend some time with us. 

I think we are going to make it with time to spare.  

All the pieces of the bimini have been cut out and I hope to have it all put together in two to three days. 

The oil leak has been fixed.  The alternator on the port engine is being repaired and should be ready for pick-up tomorrow.  Phil has a diesel mechanic on stand-by in case he runs into any problems installing the alternator.  The head has been repaired and is working fine.  The windlass is in pieces on the front deck and the jury is still out on that one.  Fortunately, we have another windlass, which does work, on the port bow which we can use in a pinch.  The gears are still not working like they should.

Phil just read my unfinished blog and pronounced it "somewhat negative."  He's right.  I have been concentrating too much on the things that needed fixing.

Here's what doesn't need fixing:

Every morning I see Osprey sailing overhead with fish in their claws.  They settle on the top of a mast in the harbor and make their Osprey calls. 

Manatees abound in this harbor.  All you have to do is cast your gaze over the water and you'll see that familiar hump of grey emerge, then you can watch the tail appear as it submerges.  Often, in the morning, the water will churn with groups of manatees doing whatever manatees do in large groups.

Occasionally, the eyes of an alligator will appear off in the distance.  Just the eyes, and then a tail about six feet behind the eyes.

We have boat kids here at the marina.  Boat kids are special.  Raised on a boat, they are worldly, interesting, used to adults, and inquisitive about absolutely everything.  Our current boat kids are Maya (aged 7) and Fynn (aged 6), whose parents, Leighia and Cam, sailed here from New Zealand.

The weather is perfect.  High 70's to low 80's most of the time.

We have met many, many friends here who would drop what they are doing at a moment's notice to come to your aid if you needed help.  Tony and Karen, Mike and Rana (fellow Hoosiers), Cameron and Leighia, Don, Doreen, Trishia, Rick, Jerry, Tommy, Glenn, Brian and Sheila, Pam and Yelda, David and Pat, Rito and Sally, Billy, Scott, Kathy and Fred and many more.  Our fellow cruisers are special people.


Jellicle said...

Hello Sunshine! Nice to hear from you. we are in Oyster Creek Marina, St. Augustine, FL so when you come thru this way we hope you stop for a visit.. time permitting! Living aboard in the marina but have been looking for a house to purchase since we sold ours back in the "Panhandle" of FL. One year here, then we will be off sailing once again!
Have a safe trip!
S/V Jellicle Cat
Ray & Peggy

Roger John Jones said...

What a great title. Reboot and Gypsysails are sitting here at Jacksonville Landing after quite a few days of fixing getting ready to go outside from the St. Johns River to Key West. We decided that those things that still need fixing could be fixed in warmer water! Perhaps we will see you. We will keep an eye out.

Shawn Sriver said...


I hope your friends and family will indulge my attempt to update Phil on my situation. I was a Phil's friend and colleague at the Indiana Professional Standards Board and lunched with Phil many times after he left our agency. Phil-I miss our lunches, but I'm so excited to see the two of you living your ocean adventure. You talked about it so much and I'm thrilled that you have realized it.

I wanted to update you on my situation. As you probably know, there was an election in 2008 and Dr. Tony Bennett won the post of State Superintendent of Public Instruction. On January 9, 2009, I was "voted off the island" by Dr. Bennett (although he did not do the deed himself). There were 25 others who were voted off on that day. Subsequently, there have been roughly 100 DOE employees that have been dismissed or forced into retirement since he took office. This was a shock to me, although it should not have been. The story has a happy, albeit, somewhat temporary ending. I have ended up working at Ball State University after approximately 3 months of job searching. I work in the teachers college and assist with accreditation, teacher licensing, and student teaching. I am here through July 1, 2010. The opportunity does exist for this to be a longer term, but the recent budgetary cuts in higher ed are unsettling. Nevertheless, if it is not to be, at least I'll have more than five minutes to prepare for it.

I wish you and Margaret the best in your sailing. I knew you would want to know where I was at. Take care and I will continue to monitor your adventures.


Shawn Sriver

Philip and Margaret McGovern said...


It was great to "hear" from you and to learn that you are doing well. I'd love to chat with you when you have a minute, but I don't have a phone number or an email address for you. I have often wondered how you were getting along.

Please send me an email to: philiprmcogvern "at" gmail "dot" com so that we can get caught up. Also, my cell number is 317 dash 366 dash 8083. I look forward to hearing from you.