Thursday, December 3, 2009
THE BOAT'S JOB IS TO BREAK. YOUR JOB IS TO FIX IT.
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.
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.