After spending almost 3 weeks on the hard, we finally launched our boat again! We still cannot get parts to get the bow thruster repaired, so we have moved it to the stern, and brought the stern thruster forward. So we have a bow thruster that should work fine, and don’t have a stern thruster. In a couple of months, when they finally have the gears we need, we will have to haul out again, and have the stern thruster fixed. We have a cool articulated rudder so that helps us some where you’d want to use the stern thruster. There are yet a few things that need work, that we can or must do while in the water.
But we had a great weekend, acting like retired people touring! We got the folding bikes out, and the folding bike trailer, and did our first shopping trip on the bikes! We went to the beach and got sand in our toes! And we washed up the boat (it got filthy in the boatyard) and lots of other little chores. (notice the huge tent like thing on the other side of the canal. They are building a boat bigger than the town I grew up in!)
When we got to this marina, I saw a beautiful old car… a 1937 Oldsmobile. In great shape. I asked in the Harbor Master’s office who owned the cool oldster, saying anyone with a car that cool must be an interesting person. Louise grinned and said “Yep, follow me!” She led me down the hall to the breakfast room and introduced me to the owner… a little lady who looked to be 90 years young and all of 3 1/2 feet tall! She said she’d had “Blackie” since the 70’s, and the car had been a dear friend all these years. She keeps a boat here, and drives the car up north every year when the season is over.
I also took a break and visited what they claim is the largest Packard museum in the country. I’m guessing it’s the largest in the world… Absolutely fabulous! I’ve always loved Packards. They were like an American Rolls Royce… very well made, often cutting edge technology for the time, and quite expensive. A beautiful example like below would have cost more than a typical American’s home.
We also had dinner at a local legend: Jaxson’s. Known for its ice cream and fancy desserts, it also has fun food in a really crazy environment. The only things missing are the wheelbarrows to roll you out of there!
From where our boat is docked, we can see them launch and retrieve boats all day, especially on weekends. The huge forklift grabs the boat, effortlessly lifts it up, positions it so somebody can rinse the bottom, and then drives off at 40 mph and places it on a rack that may be three stories tall!
So we have had fun while more work was getting done. We had one day of training to finish before getting signed off on our insurance (pilots: think check ride). We were hoping to do that Thursday, but on Wednesday the winds were so high, and forecast to stay that way through the weekend, we postponed the final training day till next Monday. Sigh. We have one last guy coming to repair a couple minor things on Monday anyway. But today, Friday, we decided to do our last training in spite of the wind. It was blowing 18-20 kts offshore, and we went out and played in some fun seas! I was too busy piloting to take pictures, but we had some 5-6 foot seas that would come breaking over the sides of the bow, the wind whipping them around and soaking the pilothouse. Great fun, and the boat was very solid and rode very nicely. That weather, bashing into the wind, would get tiresome if you had to do it all day…
Then some docking practice, which went really well considering the challenge of the windy conditions. When we have less wind that will feel super easy now!
So bottom line – we passed! After the final upgrades on Monday we will be good to go… and we’re so ready!
One consolation about having to stay through this weekend – There is a huge airshow going on Saturday and Sunday that we will probably be able to watch from our boat!