In the Jungle of Palm Beach

Updates:

We finally got the hull repair finished!  Dan from Fiberglass 1 did an amazing job!  You would never know anything had ever happened… the repair is perfect!  It took a long time; perfection often does!  Dan built the repair in so many layers.  There is an internal skin, which is made of many layers of glass fibers in different orientations.  There are special tunnels to protect wires running along the inside of the hull.  There is a special foam core material that has to be shaped to the perfect contours. Then an outer skin of many layers of glass, and finally several layers of gelcoat.  Everything is fit perfectly, then sanded, checked, prepared for the next layer, and repeated over and over.  SPOILER ALERT: Now I’m going to get philosophical.  It reminded me of human skin.  Or maybe a simple cell wall.  Everyone in the boat yard was watching Dan and his progress, and we got lots of comments on what a genius he is with fiberglass.  It was pretty obvious lots of expertise and energy went into creating this repair.  But fiberglass is pretty simple compared to a cell wall, or human skin.  Why is it we don’t recognize a genius creating those?

In addition to having the hole repaired, we used the time to do many other updates.  Our stern thruster parts finally became available, and we had that installed.  We had a forward looking sonar unit that was not working, and opted to replace it with a new Garmin GPS plotter, as a triple redundancy.  We worked on our dingy and sailboat, cleaning and touching up some rough spots.  We replaced some rusted out stereo speakers and installed the Apple TV I brought from our house.

We’ve gotten good at riding the bikes on errands.  10 – 13 mile trips to find the right hardware or rigging stores.  Eddie made us a new anchor snubber – everyone in the rigging shop was really fun!

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Cool rigging shop!

 

One thing I was very excited about was installing the video cameras.  We had the engine room camera and the flybridge cameras done last week.  But we thought we needed reverse image cameras on each corner in the back. This is so it’s like looking in a rear view mirror, like the camera we have on the flybridge, but showing close ups of both stern corners.  But the angle didn’t look right, since we were aiming down we decided we needed standard view cameras. (they come in standard or reversed; can’t just flip a switch and change them).  So we ordered the standard view versions, and they didn’t arrive until Thursday. We had them installed, and they looked great… for a few minutes.  One camera failed almost instantly, and the other a few minutes later.  The first had a loose wire in an internal connection, and the second still has us puzzled. They only had one extra, so we placed it on the port side, and the starboard camera should be in on Monday…  nothing is easy.

We also polished the entire hull.  We have a nice electric polisher, but the boat is pretty big… especially when it’s 90+ degrees!  It felt like i’d just agreed to polish a whole apartment complex… but we got a lot of stains off and she really does look better.

The best of all – We could finally launch!!

Here’s how to launch a 50 ton boat in less than 20 seconds:

You speed up the camera!  I admit I still think it’s cool how they can move huge boats around so efficiently.

So we motored a bit through the Intracoastal Waterway, under two drawbridges (such a feeling of power!), and to a gorgeous marina.  The thrusters worked perfectly and the main camera for rear vision was excellent.  We were placed deep inside this marina, and the dock hand was very helpful.  We backed into the slip so smoothly it almost looked like we knew what we were doing!

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The marina is like a 5 star resort!  The dock hand emptied our over-ripe holding tanks after tending to all our lines.  The marina office has snacks and sodas, a captains lounge, fitness center and a nice restaurant.  Even cooler was the ability to have a pizza delivered right to our boat!

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One reviewer of this marina said it was a little weird being surrounded by high rise buildings, but that’s Palm Beach.  I’m guessing he didn’t come straight from a boatyard!

 

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So we are now in a beautiful marina, and will hopefully get our final camera working on Monday and maybe head north after that.

 

 

 

Back on Grace, if not In The Water

Friday we moved back on board.  We have spent the last couple of weeks in a condo, just a fairly short bike ride from the boatyard.  We turned in the rental car what seems like weeks ago, and have been going everywhere on the bikes.  Now we faced the challenge of moving all our stuff – how many bike loads would it take?

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We managed it in six trips, with Cherryl doing most of them!  While I pretended to be working on the boat, she made trips with the trailer.

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Can’t travel without the cool Instant Pot!

Friday night we had a dedication for beautiful Grace.  We had a few close friends and family over (by way of the magic of internet) and had some great talks, prayers and even music in a small ceremony of committing this vessel to God.

Our stern thruster is now intact, our new Wi-Fi booster antenna is installed, we are updating some old outside stereo speakers that had rusted out, and the fiberglass repairs are looking good! (still not quite done, though)

But one of the most fun enhancements we have done is upgrading the cameras.  When we got the boat, there were two video cameras, both in the engine room. Neither worked.  It’s nice to have an eye on the engine room while cruising.  We got one of them to work, but it was a pretty lousy picture.  And I wanted good rear-view cameras as well.  So we are upgrading them all.  I can tell the boat had rear view cameras on each corner of the stern, because I can see where they were mounted.  So we are doing that again, and adding an additional camera under the radar arch on the flybridge to look straight behind us.  All these cameras should help in both maneuvering  and cruising safely.

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I recently came across some old pictures of our family’s first sailboat.  It was an Aqua-Cat; a small catamaran that was pretty sporty for the time… until Hobie came out with the vastly superior Hobie Cats.  So here we are at the Salton Sea, mid 60’s.  Now I’m in the mid 60’s.  Funny how fast life zooms!

I’m going to share some of the websites that we enjoy following.  Encouragement, Inspiration and Entertainment make them worth checking out!

Sailingtotem.com is a site about a family who have been living onboard their sailboat for over 10 years, with their three children growing up traveling the world.  They have recently crossed their outbound tracks- meaning they have circled the globe- just as their oldest heads off to college. The site is well written, and we feel especially close to them as we have taken classes from Behan, the author.

Gonewiththewynns.com is written by a young couple who lived aboard their motorhome traveling all over the US for years.  They then decided to go sailing – buying a large catamaran before even learning to sail!  They not only write about their learning and adventures, but have a YouTube channel where they post videos weekly.

Sailing-lavagabonde.com is mainly a portal to this cute Australian couple’s YouTube channel.  They started out on an older monohull sailboat, on which he learned to sail.  They have recently moved onto a beautiful new catamaran, purchased in France, and sailed it across the Atlantic.  The videos are very well done, and all the more fun for the Aussie accents!

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Soon we’ll be seeing these sunsets from the water!

 

Life on Bikes

We are being taught patience.  Everything takes a while longer that you’d think.  All is going well with the repair, and we are getting tons of other things done that I’d thought we’d just do as we travelled.  It’s really far better to get it all done now, but I was impatient.  (Or should I say I AM impatient?)  Anyway, we are getting to know lots more about our boat, and getting lots of little repairs and upgrades done.  What makes it more fun is that we have no car… all our trips to the store or wherever are done by bike.  Cherryl loves it!  She has been lusting after that cool little trailer for years, and now she finally gets to use it!

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This is coming back from the Grocery Store

We are staying in an AirBnb, a nice little condo very close to the boat.  The grounds are very beautiful!  We start most days with a nice long walk, then go to the boat and work on things, (see last post about messing around on boats), and then try to get back to the condo before the afternoon thunderstorms.  We’ve seen some torrential rains! (And we’ve been pretty lucky to miss biking in serious rain!)

Riding the bikes around town gives us lots more range that walking, and lets us see some cool stuff.  Like this Tesla Farm 😉 and a typical Post Office.

(If this sign is here, it means the machine is broken! Really??)

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This beautiful tree is just before our turn off the sidewalk into our condo area.

There is a nature trail near here, which we hope to explore tomorrow.  Looks like a very overgrown jungle.  This fence is along one edge… very cool looking…

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But did you notice the Snake?

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One thing we are still waiting on is our stern thruster.  Some of you have asked what is a thruster anyway, and how do they work?  So here are the Cliff Notes on Thrusters.

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Notice the hole in the bow… it contains an auger-like propeller, housed in a tube that runs the width of the bow. Some are electrically powered; some, like ours, are hydraulic.

So here is the bow thruster in its tube, and the stern thruster in a special housing.  The stern is much wider than the bow, so it doesn’t make sense to have a tube running all the way from side to side.  Instead, a housing is made at the midline, wide enough to hold the propeller and get a good body of water rushing through, but narrow enough to allow access to the propeller.  So the point of all these tubes and augers is that we can move the bow, stern, or whole boat sideways when docking or maneuvering in tight spaces.  (Wish my stern thruster had been working a couple of weeks ago!)

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Staying here a while isn’t so bad… this is the view from the stairs up to our condo!

 

 

Simply Messing About…

Kenneth Grahame, in his 1908 book “Wind in the Willows”, said “nothing is half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats…”  This page seems to sum up what we’ve been doing… Whether you get away or whether you don’t, arrive at your destination or someplace else, or never get anywhere!  We seem to be getting to lots of destinations we hadn’t planned, we do seem always busy, and sometimes it feels like we haven’t done anything in particular.  So he seemed to know our schedule, 210 years ago, better than we do ourselves!

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I forgot to put this picture up during my Mom’s memorial service.  No, I did not mark it up… but I am sure my grandfather did.  He loved doing stuff like that!  From the left are my Grandmother Mary, my Mom Marilyn, Aunt Rovilla, Uncle Hollis, and Grandfather Archie Field.  What is almost more interesting than my Grandfather’s artistic embellishment, is the style of hat he put on Grandma.  The Peruvian women wear hats that look very much like that!  Seemingly way too small, and perched on top of their heads.  Maybe Mom’s headgear was inspired by the Statue of Liberty.

So after my Mom’s service, we flew from Sacramento to Lincoln, Nebraska.  We stayed with Cherryl’s Sister and Brother in Law, and spent a lot of time helping her Mother settle into her new home.

Saturday afternoon we drove to Woodland Acres Campground, owned by the SDA church.  A very beautiful site, with camping areas, lots of shade trees, and tempting trails out into open spaces.  So tempting we had to follow some in the rented Lincoln.  I’m pretty sure the Lincoln had never had so much fun before!

 

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This was not our plane…

Sunday it was finally time to head back to the boat.  As we were waiting for the first leg of the trip, we were notified that we were upgraded to First Class on both flights!  Cool!  The flight to Chicago* went normally enough, but the next flight was something else!  We boarded about 5:40 for our 6:13 flight.  After about 45 minutes, they said there was  some sort of warning light malfunction.  No big deal, we will probably be all set in half an hour or so.  They kept adding 20 or 30 minute extensions onto the departure time, until about 8:30 or 9 they said we would deplane and get on another plane.  So we got off, changed gates, and waited a little while for the new plane.  Then boarded, got all ready, and were told THIS plane had problems also!  But should be fine soon.  So we spent over two hours sitting on that plane before they told us it wouldn’t be going anywhere either… They gave us hotel vouchers and meal vouchers.  It was now after 11pm.  We were planning on First Class dinner on the plane, so all we’d been able to do was snack.  But we’re not going out to dinner at 11:30!  So we boarded again at 9am for the same flight.  Apparently the exact same flight, because as we were sitting there we saw the mechanics enter the cockpit!  Sure enough, they said we’d be delayed a while for mechanical difficulties!  3 for 3!  We were delayed about two hours.  During that time, they let people off if they wanted to walk,  but then got confused about who was on or off, so when the plane was finally ready they made us all deplane and reboard so they could verify boarding passes. Amazing.  We arrived in Orlando only 17 hours behind schedule.  So we got to board into first class 5 times!  Bummer only 2 of them went anywhere…

*Since I’m thinking about my grandparents, I feel like adding this tidbit my Grandfather told me about Peru. (They spent 13 years there doing mission work, if I haven’t mentioned that elsewhere). When they were there, the Peruvian word for a western style toilet was “Chicago”!  The only toilets like that were in the fancy hotels in Lima, and on the porcelain was the word Chicago, where they had been made.  The locals adopted that as the name. Ha!

So now the holiday weekend is over, and work is starting on our boat!  It looked to me like it was going really well, and yesterday I had the courage to ask the fiberglass guy how long it will take from now.  He said only two and a half weeks!  Ouch!  I was hoping only one.  Guess there are many layers, and they have to set, etc.  I’m being taught patience. Sigh.

But with all this time we are getting some other work done that I thought I’d have to put off for a while.  Our new stern thruster should be installed on Monday.  Some other electronic instruments will be upgraded or installed next week too.

What hasn’t made things go any faster is the rain!  We’ve had lots!  We were out of town when the first named storm of the year visited here, but Alberto only ripped the tent the fiberglass man had erected over the repair site.  Not too bad.

So I’m not sure what adventures we will encounter with another two weeks on land, but maybe “Whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular”