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WHAT A HOLIDAY November 28, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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All right, the GPS starts working the next day. Not right away, but maybe 30 seconds later. I did add some more pages used by the MFD. OK. It worked and now the time is not right. I can reset it, and it sets itself back to the default. I never reset the defaults.

Wednesday we left for my son’s home by boat. GPS is working, time is right, all is good. But the wind. It is nice for about an hour and then started to die. The sailing was nice while it lasted. We were low on fuel and the plan was to stop on the way. I had plenty of fuel, but wanted to top off the fuel tank for the winter to stop condensation in the fuel tank. The first place we went to their diesel pump was out of order. No problem, we go by another and there were many others close to where my son lives. Well 3 hours later we get to the next marina. It is closed. Locked up tight as a drum. This is a good size marina with a large high and dry boat storage. Closed a day before a holiday. Made no sense, but it was closed. We called our son and asked where we should go. We did and he showed up with one of his boat to fuel up while we were fueling.

Finished, we left the marina for the anchorage. We went about one third of the way and my engine instruments went screwy. The amp meter quit showing that it was charging when we shifted battery banks. The oil pressure and engine temp showed double what they should. I used my hand held thermometer and found the engine running normal. We went on to the anchorage.

Thanksgiving morning I took the mate to our sons and return to the boat to check wiring. Disconnected wires cleaned and retightened them. Did this from the senders to the gages. I had done this just a few months ago. All the connections were clean and tight. All reading are still double. My electrical gremlins are growing. Time to have a matinee and eat turkey.

My son suggests we go out for Sailfish. That is about 100 miles out. The mate is done with the sea and is not into fishing. Count her out. The daughter in law gets sea sick and has been out that far once to do some kite fishing. Do not think she will do that again. Not her thing. Well it is just the two of us.

The plan was to be at this ledge about 100 miles out at 7 am. When we were auto racing we would get to the track at opening around 6 to 6:30 am. I told him he has to find a hobby that does not start before sunup.

We got out to the ledge at 7 am as planned. I am not a fisherman. I have never been trolling before. I do not know the jargons used in this sport, but I am learning. We put out teasers, also something that is drug below everything, then little fake flying fish that bounce along the top, then 3 or 4 baited lines. Well that ought to get something. You think?

We would then troll back and forth across the ledge. On about the third trip, we get a hit. One would think you just fight the fish and with luck haul him in. No, no, no. We just spent 15 minutes putting all this stuff in the water that should at least snag something. But we are now fighting a fish that we do not want to get tangled in all this stuff in the water.

My son is busy fighting his fish. He is also yelling out orders to get the gear out of the water. I’m sorry, I’m driving the boat. Sooo, drive the boat and real in all the gear. He is telling me which ones to get in by there proper names. What ever they are. About the time I get all this gear reeled in, he is landing the fish. “Get the gaff” he yells. “Gaff it.” I never used a gaff. We swap positions, I take the rod, he takes the gaff. Wham, he gaffs a Wahoo and drags it aboard, while telling me to stay out of the way of this wildly flopping around 3+ feet of very sharp teeth. Well actually a little less then 1 foot are very sharp teeth. 100 miles out is not where you want to be this fish last meal. Into the coffin he goes. See I am learning these jargons. The coffin is a 7’ X 2’ X 2’ deep box in the floor that you put in your fish. It is full of ice to keep your catch fresh. Now it is time to let your pulse slow down and adrenalin wear off.

Ok, that’s enough, we are here to fish. 10 minutes later all the stuff is back out there. I just get the boat back on course crossing the ledge and zing another reel goes off. “Come on get those line in. Crank faster. Come on! Watch where the boat is going. A little more speed. No not that much. Get the gaff back here. Take the rod. Keep him close to the boat.” Wham, another Wahoo is gaffed and flopping on the deck. Did I mention how much blood is being thrown around. While your pulse is slowing down, you have to rinse off the boat. That’s me. I mean someone must get the gear back in the water and I have no clue.

We are making our second run across the ledge when zing goes a reel. I start to reel the gear in and the first rod I reach for, and have one hand on, goes zing. The son is fighting a fish and yells “we have 2 on.” Bring it in as you can and get cranking on all the other gear. Keep pressure on the fish.   At times the lines are very close together and seem to be one fish. It could have happened. There are so many hooks in the water, who knows. We get them close to the boat and realize there are 2 fish. Things got so busy, I do not remember all the details, other then I gaffed my first fish. 2 tunas. Not bad. We are getting slower at getting the gear our.

We do not even get the gear out and zing goes a reel. By the time my son grabs the rod, it is gone. He reels it in and there is nothing but a few feet of leader left. It was big, fast and gone.

We make a couple more runs across the ledge and nothing. I am tired. Could fall asleep, but would fall off the boat. Zing, here we go again. This one is big. He would take off and go where ever he wanted. I actually had time to get in all the gear. I help my son put on this thing that fits over your abdomen and has a rest for the end of the pole. Finally it is close enough to see. It is huge. I take the pole and my son gets a gaff into the fish. He can not lift it over the side of the boat. “Get the other gaff”. That was news, we have another gaff. I get the second gaff in the fish and we pull it in the boat. It is the biggest Wahoo I ever saw. It is over 100 pounds. Off to the coffin for him. He is to big for my son to hold for pictures. Yep, look at my blog. That where the pictures are. I’m thinking world record or at least state record. Nope. Records are in the 200 pound plus range. We just got a young one.

It is 1 pm. We are spent, and my son says he is ready to head for shore. The seas have been 1-2’ all day. We are in a 33’ center counsel boat with 2-250 HP engines. Top end is about 40 kts. We cruise at 36-38 kts. The boat does not come all the way out of the water on the bigger waves, but at times is at least ¾ out of the water. Then, slam, back in the water. I used to be about 5’ 7”. I think I maybe 2” shorter. This has been one of the better days of all.

Saturday was a day of doing some shopping, my son washed the boat and I rested. I had to buy a new battery charger. After around 17 years, it just stopped. Two bad things. It cost a lot of money, and it has nothing to do with my gremlins.

Sunday back to the yacht club. This coming week a regional boat show in St Petersburg. Fun.

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COLD November 21, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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I have never been one that likes or tolerates cold well. This morning it was 46 degrees. I know those of you in Canada are thinking what a wosse. I have not been in this cold for 2 years and 11 months. 70 is cold. This was ridicules. I have a light weight jacket and 3 sweat shirts. Total winter wardroom. I do have a heavy off shore foul weather jacket. I may have to dig it out, but tomorrow will be back up into the high 60’s. That will be good because I have to fuel up.

Planning to head to my son’s for Thanksgiving. Will leave Wednesday morning. It is to be in the low 70’s. I will survive. It is about a 5 hour trip. We should have 10 to 15 kts. to begin with but dying out during the afternoon. That works out well because the last half of the trip I have to go through 5 bridges. 3 are opening bridges, 2 with bridge tenders that open late and close early. If you are not waiting at the appointed time, you will wait till the next lift. I understand their plight. Either let the poor yachties wait of face the drive-bys. I too would lean toward the car drivers.

Did the last touches on the wood repairs today. That is done. The work is fun, but the polyurethane takes a while to age and match the color of the older wood.

Was checking out the nav equipment this afternoon and the GPS is not showing up. Will track down the wiring and insure all is still tight. The GPS is part of the wind instrument. All the other functions work, but the GPS. So it is back under the bed to check out the wiring going to the controller.

After the Autopilot system was all hooked up and running, the water maker tech was under the bed replacing the Clark Pump. We have not been out since he left. I hope it is something like a loose wire. I did check one of the main wires bundles for the auto pilot and it fell off its connection. It was hanging together and was still working till I touched it and it fell off in my hand. . That was OK, easy fix. I hope the finding of the wire goes as well. It could get complicated.

Have a great Thanksgiving. Have fun at black Friday.

EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER November 15, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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The mate returns tomorrow night. I am looking forward to that. A high.

The boat is back on the market. One reason is we had a couple we met in the Bahamas that had expressed interest in the boat if we were going to sell. We had made contact with him and put him in our brokerage agreement. The mate has again expressed interest in selling the boat. The individual has expressed some interest at a price that would be a steel for him and would be totally unacceptable for me. But no offers have been made so no negotiations can take place. A low.

This has been an interesting and extremely challenging three months. A high, or a low…, depending on the day or week or month. That’s life.

The boat is ready to sail with very few exceptions. I have suspects of the wellness of the battery charger. The display on the charger and on the remote give strange readings, and not necessarily at the same time. . The batteries seem to recharge, but I can only check at night. During the day the solar panels charge till the controller cuts them off. I have not ran the charger in a month. The last couple day we have had some clouds, but not enough to keep the solar panels from giving a charge that will carry everything through the night. The solar panels have not been turned off for 2 years, since we installed them. I can shut off the power to the controller and pull the fuses. Then what happens to the 500 watts coming in the boat to the fuse. That is a fair amount of juice to have wanting to go someplace. I am always afraid of stray current. I see this as being a lot of potential stray current. I have the name of a marine electrician. I believe I will call him and ask his advice.

After answering those questions, one only has to store the fresh water hose, the electric cables and mooring lines, back out of the slip and point her where you want to go. She is ready. A high. Her master is ready, her mate is not. A low.

Life is good, strange, challenging, but good.

BATCHING AGAIN November 9, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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OK its Wednesday, me slow. Actually I just forgot to do this on Monday. Yesterday was election day, and I do this in the evening. So here I am. Did you stay up till 3:30?  And I do not even like politics.

Last Thursday we did cataract number 2. One thing they do not tell you or if they do you do not think anything of it. Well you take 3 types of eye drops, 2 of them 3 times a day for the first week then 1 of them 1 time a day and 1 3 times a day for 3 weeks. You put the drops in and it takes an hour of so for your eyes to clear up. Well I am 2 weeks into this and tired of doing drops. The second eye recovered in a day or 2. It is neat. When you get where you are getting cataracts, go get them taken cared. Mine were not considered bad, and yet it is very noticeable. There was a guy who was getting prepped at the same time. His eyes were so bad he was walking with a cane. He was using it as a blind person would. He could see good immediately after surgery. His first eye. He was like a kid on his birthday. This last Thursday he was there walking without his cane. We were far enough apart that he was gone by the time they released me. But he was one happy guy

Mine are not perfect yet. I have a radial that shows up if I look at a light. It is one line that is like a glare but only in one line. They are to go away. I will not bore you with the details, but they can get rid of it in the office.

I feel like an old man. I hate it when you visit with a old person and they have to tell you about there last doctors visit. If your visiting with several old people they can go on for hours. Hate that. I will say no more about my eyes.

I have not got much done on the boat, but there is not much more to do. A little varnishing. Have to get some stitching done on one of our side curtains. Have not put any of the enclosure in yet. Still in the high 70’s during the day.

Not going to Pensacola in December. The slip I was going to use is not available. That is not the real reason. When we lived there, the tides would be such from the early December till February we would be aground in the slip at low tide. Plus the opening at the entrance was to sallow to go in and out. We would be stuck for 2 months. No good. So we are planning to go in April.

The mate is our with the grandkid in Colorado. Will be back Wednesday. That will be nice.

EYE ONE October 31, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Yea, that was the big thing last week. Started taking eye drops on Monday. That helps elevate the blood pressure as one anticipates Thursday’s surgery. Thursday we are at the surgery center at 7:30. I am nerves.

First I have a phobia about needles. One of the first things they do is put a needle in your hand. Should be easy. The lady says that sticking people is all she does. Should be easy…. Cannot find the right vein in my hand. OK lets move to the inside arm. By this time she is into the bag of rusty bent needles. The lady has not helped to lesson my phobia.

Secondly, you are awake during the surgery. I mean not get up and walk around wake, but you can hear, see and follow instructions. No pain. Good thing. Following instructions was enough.

This Thursday is eye two. I do not want to meet the needle lady again, but the surgery was OK.

I always want to know what is going on to the most detail. They do a good job of giving you reading material about what is going to happen. What they missed is what recovery is going to entail. Right after surgery your eye is extremely dilated. You can see light and you’re in a semi-darkened room. The difference between the old and new lens is amazing. My white had become an egg shell color. Now the white with the new lens is really white.

Then Friday morning I woke about 4 A.M. I could not make out anything out of the new lens. I could tell there was light and darkness, that there were lights in the clock and thermostat. Could even begin to see individual numbers. I am not a happy camper. I get up and reread all the info that they give you about what can go wrong and what they do. It is not what is happening. I did get maybe a hour more sleep. With daylight I could see some, but would need the other eye to walk around and do steps.

8:30, I am on the phone and talk to nurse Ruth. She is the answer lady. I start to tell here and she interrupts and says your eye is still dilated. We talk for another couple minutes and it is obvious she know more of what I am seeing or not, then I do. She spends half the time telling me bench marks of what is suppose to happen and not happen. I feel better, but still could not see much. Tonight I can see better out of it then I can out of the other eye which was my good eye. I am ready for Thursday.

Couple things are a pain in the bute. I can not lift more then 25 pounds. I sorry, I live on a boat. Everything I do you lift 25 pound for some reason. The other is I can not have my eye below my waste. Like do not bend over to pick something up. Try doing that. It is amazing how often one bends over. That is to be for 3 weeks after surgery. I have projects to do every day. Have to do the projects to keep the boat ready to go. I have ran out of little projects. Today I varnished the edge of the cockpit table. That was the big project for the day. I did convince the mate that the garbage weighs 25+ pounds. Do not know how long that will last. Almost wanting to take that back. I would have something to do.

Sunday, the mate leaves for Colorado. I know she is going to look hard for a place to live near the grandkid. I just hope her brain is working better then her heart. The reasons other then just the added expense of the condo are still valid.

WOW BIG CHANGES, AND NOT IN THE EXPECTED WAY October 24, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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The particular condo we were looking at sold. No problem, there are several exactly like it on each floor. With its sale, my daughter a realtor who did not sell it but was able to find out the details of the sale. One of the shocks was a special assessment that was about 20% of the total price. Plus they want the extra money on close. That would be a major hit to our retirement. The assessment is used to put new roofs on the buildings and redecorate every unit. This is done about every 5 years. That killed that deal.

We also had the boat cleaned up like never before. It really looks good. Makes you want to stay. Plus it is paid for. Where we are located is reasonable and a very nice neighborhood. It has been our home for 19 years. Can you believe.

Then we find that where the daughter and family have been living is over. They are looking at a house about 30 miles away from where we were going to buy. Not good.

One of the considerations I did not like was the lack of medical facilities in the area. There is a medical clinic in Telluride, but no hospital. They can set arm and legs, but not set up for strokes or heart attacks. You are a hour away from a full hospital. Today I am in great health, but am 72. It can’t go on forever, maybe another 40-50 years, but not forever.

Another concern was the cost of living in Telluride. It is ridicules. You would have to take a day and go to Denver to shop for normal closes and things for your home.

All right, you know what’s up, we are trying not to sell the boat. We have a contract with the broker and we have given notice on wanting out of it. We also raised the price to the insured value. If the broker could find someone to pay that amount, we would sell. No one would give us that much in the future. We would have to take the money and run.

I feel for the mate. It is not fun loosing a dream. But she is going to Telluride for a week. I will be home recuperating from my cataract surgery. One this Thursday, one the next Thursday and then she is off for 7 days.

Therefore it looks like my dream is some what together. No long range cruising, we can get out more, once we have the boat back together. Still planning the trip to Pensacola.

The water maker is working up to specs. Most of the paneling is back up and varnished. We still have to replace the paneling around the basin in our stateroom. There is a leak somewhere in the overhead. We believe we have found the leak, but want a good rain storm as a final test. We believe         it is one of the bolts holding down the main sheet track. It has passed the hose test, but the leak is very close to the mizzen mast. Could be coming from there. Hope not.

This week I am working on the bright work. I got a couple coats of Bristol on the cap rail today. I will do the cockpit cap rail tomorrow. It is nice to work in temps about 80 degrees. Our first real cold front of the season.

MAYBE A LITTLE LUCK WOULD HELP October 11, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Well the auto pilot works. The Multiple Function Display works. The DSC which is a safety function of the radios that give ones lat/long to the Coast Guard in case you are in an emergency, does not work. The VHF radio also has AIS which give you information on other commercial vessels in a 20 mile radius. With the radar and the AIS one can have very good information on how to avoid a collision. The AIS is not working.

In the last day and a half I have worked on getting these two problems corrected. So far no success. I and a tech I am worked with from Furuno are trying to figure it out. I should say he is working, I am bewildered. But it is not over yet.

We went out for a drive in the boat Thursday. First time we had been out in the boat in weeks. Saturday was the best sailing day in months. We went sailing. It was wonderful.

That is when we discovered that there was problems with the radios Lat/Long and AIS. Sunday, after church and some grocery shopping, I started trying to figure it out. Monday evening I got an email with an idea and a schematic of what I have from the Furuno tech. It got the AIS and the VHF Lat/Long working. The SSB still does not work, so I spent the afternoon reading the manuals and believe I can fix it. I may call the tech in the morning and pass it by him. Hate to screw something up. Electronics is not my forte.

Since the hurricane we have had steady strong winds. Now they are blowing here well into the 20’s. That is what we had for the hurricane. I want to take the boat out and try all the functions that the auto pilot will do. So far I do not think it does anything that the old one did not do. I believe it is a lot easier to set up. It will sail by the wind if set up right. The old one took forever to set up and I only used it once. It was spooky. The old one could not follow a route very well and I did not use that function very often. Spooky.

Another thing it does, if the AIS is turned off, it still will receive targets. If one is going to collided with you it brings your plotter range in and sounds an alarm. Push a button and the alarm goes off…, for a minute. Then it is back buzzing away. One could say that is a nice safety function. One could. We have a boat about 6 slips down the dock. His AIS was on with no one on board. As the wind blew us around in our slips. The angle between the boats would get to where we would be on a collision course. Yes it works and the alarm goes off. It is loud and very annoying, especially when you are trying to track down circuitry. I shut the whole system off, packed up my manuals and schematics and came below to continue my research. That made it about nap time. Must have been a good nap, it only took me a short time to come up with my new solution.

The water maker is to be reinstalled next Wednesday. With the warrantee and a little labor, we get a new Clark Pump. That is the heart of the system. We may be making progress.

SLOWLY MOVING FORWARD October 3, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Sailing the ICW.
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We made the decision to put in a new autopilot. This is a new and improved version of what we had. It has several upgrades. That is nice. It also allows the multiple function display to do all its displays. Without a functioning autopilot, there is no compass input to allow tracking of targets, showing of one own track in a heads up display and a north up display, among other things.

Therefore we ordered a new one. They started installing it on Thursday and we did the sea trial today. We still have some more work to do , but it will have to wait till Wednesday due to our tech going in for medical tests. He is a cancer survivor.

When we first installed the old system it was purchased one item at a time over a few years. To save money we hard wired all the items. Since then there is a plug and play system called a backbone that is installed that makes installation go much easier and faster. Now we will have to take each wire and follow them through the boat and find what color wire actually attaches to each item. Not hard, just time consuming. Hopefully this will be completed on Wednesday.

We have also started removing parts of the interior woodwork that has got wood stains through the years. I have started removing the bad wood. Have purchased the new wood. Some is ready to be cut and installed.

Finally will be the reinstallation of the water maker pump. That should be a warranty job. I hope so. The pot has run dry.

We did go sailing Saturday. For a little while before the wind died. It was wonderful while it lasted. Today’s sea trial was just driving around insuring the compass is pointing the right way and the autopilot follows a given course. That worked. Now we must get the MFD and the autopilot talking to each other.

Now all we need is buyers.

MAYBE A STEP FORWARD TOMORROW September 27, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Tomorrow we are scheduled for the auto pilot to be replaced. That consists of a control head, a processor, a flex gate compass and a rudder indicator. After trying to wire in an on/off switch on my old one, things rapidly started to die. Finally nothing worked. The total system is expensive, but not only does it steer the boat in several different modes, but also gives the radar and chart plotter headings. Without the system running, you only get heads up radar. Those headings do not seem to be very accurate. One of the problems I noted is that it would shift from heads up to a compass heading when it wanted to. To figure out what was happening, I would go below and look at the compass that has several colored lights on it that depending on there sequence tell you what it is doing. No lights, just intermittent operations. Well that basically means your electronics are useless. We are trying to sell the boat including an electronics package. This would mean a big drop in price. So we decided to spend a chunk of money to hopefully save a bigger chunk. Plus if we are sailing, and I do want to sail to Pensacola this fall, it would be nice have a working autopilot.

The second step forward was on my body. I had my pre-op meeting for my cataract surgery. That will be the end of October and the first week in November. They do one eye at a time. I think they do that so if they mess one up, they get an opportunity to figure out why. Hmmm. The old eyes have been getting worse over the last couple years. Now they seem to be gaining speed in there downward spiral. Be happy to get them fixed.

I have started on fixing the wood on the inside. The mate is working on the varnishing, I am doing the wood replacement. Hopefully will start cutting the wood later this week and over the weekend. Then install the pieces and get them varnished next week. That should get things looking like normal again.   Heard there is the first cold front of the season coming tomorrow. With cooler weather, I will be able to finish the outside bright work.

The awning was put off till October. With the expense of the autopilot that will have to be delayed till next year or for the new owners. Nobody is beating the hatch in to look at her let alone buy. So maybe we will get to use the old boat for a while.

I do not really want to go to the mountains at the beginning of the winter. The son-in-law says the air is getting a little chilly. That means cold. I also noticed the snow on the mountains is moving down lower every week. Still can’t believe this is happening to me.

There is a big tropical wave heading for the Windwards.  We have a lot of friends their.  We pray God has mercy on them.

DOES IT EVER STOP FALLING APART September 19, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Sailing the ICW.
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By the time we sell this thing it will be a new boat. The auto pilot was not turning off which caused one to disconnect the control unit to get it back to standby. Not good in an emergency. The local Furuno people said that was like crashing your computer. Not good for it. My guy in Pensacola said that was BS. Put a switch in that made it convenient and sell the boat. By yesterday afternoon nothing worked. No autopilot, no compass, and who know what else. We decided to bite the bullet and order a new kit which includes the controller, compass, rudder indicator and processor. Big bucks, but things that would be a problem in a survey. There are things that those items do that downgrade the chart plotter if not working. So here we go.

Tomorrow it is the normal stuff, replacing my 6 YO starting battery. It needed a boost from the house batteries to crank the main engine. Its time. We have water damage on sever spots in the interior. So tomorrow it is off to the lumber yard to get a sheet of plywood and start replacing areas. Some were caused by leaks, some by having ports open when we were not aboard and a squall hit. The leaks are about finished. The ports, well, we are in the land of air conditioning, so the ports are closed. I do open the hatches when we have a cool dry morning. A boat is a small space and needs airing out on occasion. Finish tomorrow with grocery shopping and a hair cut.

Sound like a normal boring life. We have to take the boat out one of these days. This past weekend I spent playing with the dead autopilot. One of these days. Need to put the dinghy in and crank it up. It has been a month and it does not like to crank right off like it should. Projects.

The mountains are calling me…. The ones surrounded by clear blue warm water,        gentle tropical breezes and palm trees by the sandy beach, oh my.