Sunday, July 3, 2016

July 2-3, 2016 Last minute arrangements for SD/MN

We spent a couple days getting packed and getting the boat ready to leave it in the boat yard.  Seems like there are all kinds of last minute preparations.  To start off, we couldn't find something on the table because of the collection of hats that Dave rounded up.  I guess it’s time to put a few things away.

Dave was nicely surprised to see that the dingy cover fit over the dinghy even though it was turned over.  I didn’t ask him to list all the things he did, but he was busy.  The cockpit looked great on Sunday with everything stowed away. 

I went to church with Rosie Sunday morning.  We did a little shopping afterwards.  I wanted sandals like her’s.  And we hit the Good Will to find shorts for our husbands.  Boat work it pretty hard on your clothes.  She calls it GW Outfitters. 

We have a ride to the airport on Monday with the owner of the boatyard.  When I told him we would pay for gas or compensate him somehow, he said he didn’t expect anything.  Just giving him our business was enough.  Pretty nice guy. 

We still need to line up a ride back to the boatyard for Dave.  I hate to ask the boat yard owner because he arrives at 1:15pm on a Saturday.  It would break up his whole day.  I called the lady that gave me her number on Friday night.  She apologized because they were going to be out of town.  There is a list in the laundry room of people that offer rides.  The first one I called was out of town.  So I gave up on it and will take the list with us.  Dave can always get a one way rental car.  On Sunday, the yacht club lady called us back because she had found Dave a ride.  She gave us the phone number of one of the other couples we met Friday.  So we lined that up for Dave’s return.  They said their Yacht Club likes to offer rides to boaters in hopes that they will return to the community and tell others about it.  And they have all “been there, done that”.

I had another interesting phone conversation today.  When I was making an annual exam appointment with a new doctors office in Rapid City (my NP will be out of town), the receptionist remembered me.  She used to work for a different dentist.  When I told her we live on a sailboat, she said that her sister did too.  And she thought she’s want to meet me.  I gave her permission to give her my number.  Well, she called today.  She and her husband live aboard a 42 ft Pierson.  She’ll still be in Rapid City when I get there, so we are going to meet for lunch and share stories and experiences.  How fun!

Rosie and Larry had a son arrive today to visit and help them finalize the boat to launch after 3 years.  We met him early evening and said our “good-byes”.  They will probably still be here when Dave returns, but not when I return.  We really got to know them and enjoyed our time with them just in the last week. 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

June 30 and July 1, 2016 St Mary's Yacht Club

The bilge is looking better everyday.  And the boat is smelling better.  We continued with boat projects, cleaning and packing for a couple days.  I was able to get under our v-berth mattress, from the bow end, by myself today.  Dave usually crawls up there to do that as I hand him things.  I needed a few things for packing for my 2 month vacation from the boat.  Dave is only leaving for 2 weeks, but I will be gone until September. 

Thursday evening, Larry and Rosie came by with the courtesy car to see if we wanted to go out for ice cream.  They didn’t have to ask twice.  I had made enchiladas for dinner, so ice cream was the perfect dessert.  We went to a local ice cream/gift shop in downtown St Mary’s.  I decided I needed a hat that said St Mary’s.  I’m debating if I should wear it for special occasions when I need Dave’s attention, or just where it anytime. 

Friday evening, we went with Larry and Rosie to the local St Mary’s Yacht Club Friday night gathering.  The Yacht club owns a houseboat that they keep at a dock at Lang’s marina downtown St Mary’s.  They have people bring appetizers on the first Friday, and they organize dinners on the other Fridays.  They have beer, wine, soda, and water.  You keep a tally and pay before you go.  $3/ beer or wine, $1 for sodas. 

The houseboat just stays at the dock, no motor.  It was like a floating club house and was perfect.  The aft section had a little kitchen set up.  Then you go up two steps to an open area with a long table and a bench along one wall.  They had several chairs along the other walls.  The bow had a bench seat and seating area outside.  I guess there was a deck on top with a bimini for shade, but they didn’t use that tonight. 

Rosie and Larry-who had to make a goofy face
There were about 20 people there.  It’s always fun to meet other boaters.  Most of them live in the area and just have boats for pleasure.  But some had been cruising in the past.  Someone even gave us their phone number to call if we needed a ride somewhere.  Very nice and friendly people.  I really enjoyed seeing the sunset from the water again.  And I realized I missed the rocking motion of the boat. 

Nature's July 4th fireworks

June 29, 2016 Pirate's Point restaurant with boaters

This morning, we had Rocky, the boat yard owner, raise our stern just a bit to help the remaining diesel fuel flow into our bilge.  We had noticed that the stern was lower when they first put it on the stands.  Anything round would roll across the counter.  But it wasn’t enough to throw off or equilibrium, so we didn’t bother to change it.  They can crank the stands a couple times to raise them without having to reset the keel, but not much.  We thought even a little bit would help. 

Today, we decided to have lunch with Larry and Rosie at Pirates’ Point, a couple miles from the boat yard.  It is beside the gas station where we bought diesel fuel.  They recommended their fish tacos.  We ran into another boater there, Jim, who joined us.  He also owns a Beneteau.  He and Dave have been comparing systems and swapping stories.  Just as we were about to leave, another couple came in that knew Larry and Rosie.  Steve and Justina, pronounce you-steen-ya.  She was Polish.  They seemed to be in 30’s and had been looking at a boat to buy in the boat yard.  They were interesting to talk to.  It was Steve’s birthday, so Rosie and Justina were whispering and planning.  The restaurant didn’t have cake, so Rosie went to the convenience store and bought Hostess Twinkie cupcakes and ice cream.  They surprised Steve and we sang Happy Birthday to him.  We ended up getting back to the boat about 4:00.  I guess that’s what you do in the middle of the day at a hot boat yard in Georgia in June. 

We did accomplish something after that long lunch.  Dave emptied the dingy.  Then we put a pallet under our boat and moved the dinghy onto it to store it upside down.  We are concentrating on what needs to be done to leave the boat for a few weeks. 
dingy under the boat along with the stands that are adjusted to support the boat

June 28, 2016 diesel clean up continues

We continued to clean the bilge.  Dave had been wanting to empty some water out of our water heater tank to check the zinc.  So he did that to let some water into the bilge along with dawn soap.  We also took up the floor boards in the galley to clean the area that the fuel ran through to get to the bilge.  Doesn’t hurt to clean this area anyway.  Lots of gunk falls through the cracks in the floor boards, especially in the galley.  And any food debris will attract insects and “varmints”. 

We didn't want to run the diesel fuel through our bilge pump.  And we didn’t want diesel in our shop vac.  So we were using fuel “diapers” to soak up the fuel/water and taking it overboard in buckets.   We store several things in the bilge inside plastic totes.  So everyone of those had to be cleaned, too. 

In the afternoon, we took a break for fresh air and sat in the shade by the shower/laundry area.  Always interesting to meet and visit with other boaters. 

time for some new work shorts

June 27, 2016 diesel in the bilge!!

First thing this morning, Dave topped off our diesel tank with the fuel be bought yesterday in fuel cans.  It’s best to keep the tank full, so moisture doesn’t form in the tank.  He was upset with himself for not finishing the job last weekend. 

Dave was able to borrow scaffolding from the boat yard today.  He wanted to buff the old name of the boat off of our hull.  The name had been removed when we first bought the boat, but you could still see the outline of the name, or at least Dave could.

I spent the day inside working on some things on the computer.  Dave came in for lunch and really smelled like diesel.  He washed his hands a couple times before having lunch.   About 6:00, I was starting to feel light headed.  Shortly after that, Dave came in again and decided to check the bilge.  Sure enough, there was diesel fuel in our bilge. 

After getting some fresh air, I started cleaning it up while Dave searched for the source.  He found 2 leaks, near the fuel gauge and near the tank whistle.  We have a tank whistle in the fuel line that will make an irritating whistle as fuel is being pumped into the tank.  When it stops, no air is passing the whistle, so the tank is full.  It doesn’t function when pouring fuel in from a can at a slower speed.  So Dave just listens for it to sound full and watches the overflow vent.  One of the leaks came from the hose clamps on the tank whistle.  The clamps needed tightening.  Dave had placed a new gasket in the fuel gauge recently, so the gasket had compressed and was leaking, also.

Funny thing is, when he filled 2 jerry cans with diesel on Sunday, he didn’t fill them completely.  At the nearest station to the boat yard, you have to pay in advance to get the diesel fuel.  Dave asked for 10 gallons at the counter inside.  They couldn’t figure out how to pre-charge by the gallon.  So he picked a dollar amount and only got about 8.5 gallons instead of 10 gallons.  If he had gotten the full 10 gallons, we may have had more diesel in our bilge.  Dave also explained that diesel fuel sold at a gas station is colored yellow.  If it sold at a fuel dock, it is red. 

The up side of this is: they were simple things to fix.  And this didn’t happen at sea.  It was much easier to clean up and air out the boat here in the boat yard than it would have been at sea.  Not sure how we would have disposed of the diesel at sea. 

We ended up having Dominoes deliver pizza for us tonight.  It was already after 8:00 by the time we ordered it.  The guy who delivered the pizza was in his 20’s.  He had never been to this boat yard and didn’t know it was even here.   He told us how he had always been fascinated by sailboats, and asked us all kinds of questions about living aboard.  We told him to find a small, inexpensive boat and learn to sail.  Then he can make future plans for a larger boat  Anything is possible. 

June 25-26, 2016 boat yard courtesy car

More boat work
I spent time looking at our expenses in the Bahamas.  I kept a spreadsheet of our expenses and wanted to look at totals and averages and compare to last year.  We did reduce our average monthly spending.  Yay! 

June 26 Sunday
We asked to use the boat yard’s courtesy car today to go to church and run some errands.  Another couple were interested in going into town at the same time, so we shared the vehicle.  We had met and talked to Rosie and Larry a couple times.  Rosie was also going to the catholic church.  The guys dropped us off and went out for a cup of coffee. 

After church, we went to a local restaurant for lunch, Steffens.  Dave and I had to have the southern fried chicken.  Fun local diner.  After lunch, we stopped at Publix grocery store for a few things.  It was fun to get away from the boatyard, and we enjoyed their company.  Larry and Rosie are in their early 70’s.  They have been living aboard their boat since 2000.  They have been working on their boat in this boatyard for 3 years.  They are close to launching again.  They have a motorcycle that they generally ride, but we had a heavy rain storm this morning.  It was fun to share the car and have a tour guide. 

June 24, 2016 Fernandina Beach with Debbie Johnson

Today, we spent some time with my long time friend, Debbie Johnson and her family.  We became friends in Rapid City about 20 years ago.  She moved to Phoenix, AZ 6 or 7 years ago.  One of her sons, Bryce, is in the Air Force and stationed at Valdosta, GA about an hour drive from here.  Dave was stationed there in 1980. 

Debbie, Bryce, Brittany and their two daughters, Annabelle and Cloe, came to visit us.  They spent the night at the La Quinta that we stayed at last weekend.  First, they came over to the boat to pick us up.  Dave decided to stay and work on the boat.  So we all sat at the outdoor furniture on the property and visited.  I had made conch salad with conch from the Bahamas.  They loved it.  The girls liked the crackers and popcorn. 
table and chairs off to the left

After our visit, all of us, except Dave, went to Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island.  It is about 6 miles south of us, as the crow flies.  But we had to go back out to the interstate, go south, then back out towards the beach.  They had researched where a good place would be for oysters and had picked the Salty Pelican.  The “downtown” area near the harbor on the ICW had a fun shopping/restaurant area.  We walked about a block away and found a little pub to have a drink in while we waited for our table.  Their 2 hour wait ended up being only 30 minutes.  The food was really good.  Debbie’s grand daughters were 5 & 7 and were very well behaved and fun to be with.  We walked along the boardwalk before heading back to St Mary’s.  They are going to spend the day at Jekyll Island tomorrow. 

It is always great to see Debbie.  We manage to see each other once a year, usually in Rapid City. 
great oysters and shrimp
Debbie and Mary

June 21, 22, 23, 2016 St Mary's Boat Serives

There is a building in the boatyard with the shower and laundry.  This isn’t a marina, only a boat yard.  So they don’t have much for amenities.  The building has one unisex bathroom with a shower.  There is a laundry/kitchen/library room.  They have one washer and one dryer that are $1 each.  Another lady told me it didn’t look like much, but they work great.  The front loading washing machine has a sliding lock to keep it closed.  But it looked great to me after hand washing my clothes for the past 5 months.

The kitchen area had a microwave, toaster oven, hot plate and dishes.  Someone makes coffee every morning.  We are free to use whatever we would like.  Above the washer and dryer are some book shelves with about 50 books.  I brought in about 10 books and only picked up 2. 

I did about 6 loads of laundry on Tuesday and Wednesday.  They have a covered porch with chairs outside the building.  I sat there and read or used the internet.  But I also was able to visit with other boaters.  Some people bring their boats here to work on.  Others just store their boat here for the hurricane season.  But we met a few people that have been here for 3 years.  We hope that isn’t a trend once you start working on your boat. 
the laundry room from the side. shower is on the right end
our shower
laundry and library on the left
kitchen on the right
We picked up rib eye steaks on Monday and Dave grilled them on Tuesday.  That is one thing we haven’t had in a long time.  And we prefer to cook it ourselves (or have my brother-in-law, Jim, grill them in Aberdeen, SD).  I made a tabouli salad with the fresh vegetables I picked up.  We had enough for dinner on Wednesday night, also. 

Dave is starting to cross off some things on the list.  But there is still some prep work being done for bigger projects.

On Thursday, I got into the action.  There were snaps in our cockpit to attach covers for the teak wood.  Since we have cushions, we don’t use the covers.  So awhile back, Dave removed the snaps and covered them with blue painter’s tape.  Today, I scraped off the old tape, drilled out the holes to be able to add gelcoat using a dry vac to pick up the fiberglass, and re-taped them.  There were about 50 in the cockpit.  We still need to remove the about 10 snaps off the stern swim platform.  But the sun was too intense by the time I got to that part.  My weather app said it was 90 but felt like 98.
and I helped!

Dave is working on removing our “boot stripe” with a sander.  The hull has bottom paint.  Then there is a white space of a couple inches, then the boot stripe.  When we clean the bottom of the boat, the white strip is always dirty.  That is because our boat sits a little deeper in the water with it loaded for living aboard.  So when we paint the bottom this time, we are going to “raise the water line”.  We will paint the bottom paint higher, leave a space and then add the boot stripe.  Or forget the boot stripe, we’ll see how the painting goes. 
taking off the boot stripe
nearest "facilities"-our boat has the buoys hanging off the back
dock master's shop and living quarters-to the port side of our boat
main work shop/office/package delivery-across the road from the shower
boats along one of the roads with the boatyard owner's house on the right-to the starboard of our boat

June 20, 2016 Enterprise rental car

This morning, I made a grocery store run before returning our rental car.  We are about a 10-15 minute drive from the grocery stores.  I picked up some things we will need over the next 2 weeks, along with some things that will be quick for Dave to make while he is here alone.  He is an awesome cook/chef.  But he plans to be working in the heat, and doesn’t want to spend a lot of time cooking. 

It was kind of strange to walk through a typical grocery store again.  It was a little bit of a culture shock.  5 months is the longest we have been away from the US in our boat.  We have only come across one grocery store in the Bahamas that is comparable to how our stores are stocked, but the prices are higher there. 

The Enterprise car rental office here is really great.  We love that they will pick us up and take us back to our boat. 

I just spent the rest of the day getting settled on the boat.  Dave started some small projects.  But he spent a lot of time getting organized and ordering parts or tools that he will need. 

After dinner, we went for a walk further down the road from the boat yard.  The road ended in a private community.  Along the water front, there were shrimp boats.  We took the number off of their sign to check with them for fresh shrimp in the future. 

This is why you clean your prop (not our boat).  It can actually slow you down

These little crabs are all over the boat yard.  The body is about 1 inch across

June 19, 2016 Brunswick, GA visit

Happy Father’s Day to Dave and all the fathers in our lives.  Sure miss my own father today.

We were able to get a late checkout for our room.  The catholic church mass in St Mary’s was at 11:00.  So Dave was able to wait for me in the room.  This was the first church I have attended in the states since January.  We really take the building, music, and priests for granted here. 

Today we went back to the boatyard and set up the air conditioner over our v-berth hatch.  We have the car until Monday, so we wanted to make sure we didn’t need any other parts. 

We wanted to drive to our storage unit in Brunswick, GA.  Since it was late afternoon, we decided to eat at a Mexican restaurant first.  We found a great one and had leftovers for the two of us to have another meal. 

Brunswick is only about 30 miles north on the interstate.  We were about half way there and realized neither of us had a key to the storage unit.  We don’t carry keys on us anymore.  So back we went and started all over again.  We saw a wild boar along the interstate.  That was a first. 

At the storage unit, Dave went through tools and parts for the projects he had planned for the summer.  I picked up some clothes I could use this summer that I didn’t need in the Bahamas.  And we picked up our dehumidifier.  We will run that while we are away from the boat in July. 

Back to the boat for the first night in dry dock.  Pee S. the port-a-potty came in handy and worked well. 

June 17, 2016 Jacksonville and Green Cove Springs, FL

Today was road trip day.  We were looking for a Coleman port-a-potty, but couldn’t find one in the area.  So I checked with Camping World yesterday, and they had one similar, but better, of course, Thetford.  We headed there first, in case we needed to look elsewhere.  We liked what they had and picked up a few other “do dads” for the boat. 

Next we went to Green Cove Springs.  It is a few miles south west of Jacksonville.  It feels like a suburb as you drive there.  We picked up our mail and stopped at the voter registration office to have absentee ballots sent to us.  Along with our business mail, we had 4 Christmas cards.  That was fun to see.  Dave had an order with boat parts that was missing something.  It took awhile to clear that up.  They wondered why were calling now when we had received the package in March.  Long story, but they are sending the missing part.  It isn’t something we need right away, obviously.  So it will sit in Green Cove Springs until this fall.  We’ll make one more trip there before we take off in the fall. 

Our next stop was Kohl’s department store.  We both needed some new clothes.  Everything we bought was cotton.  Doing laundry by hand, we realize cotton dries faster.  And sometimes rayon and polyester are hot.  I was really excited because I had gone down a size (2 since moving aboard). 

It was about 6:00 when we finished shopping so we decided to eat in Jacksonville.  We looked at our VZ Navigator on the phone and scrolled through the ethnic foods.  We decided we missed Greek food and found a place that would be on our way back north.  We found Hovan Gormet Mediterranean in a nice neighborhood called Riverside.  There were lots of restaurants and stores, and it was about 2 blocks from the St John’s River. 

It was a casual place and you ordered at the counter.  Another guy in line filled us in on all the options.  He obviously ate there a lot.  We each had their gyro sandwich with 2 sides.  Dave had tabbouleh and stuffed grape leaves.  I had the Mediterranean salad and hummus with awesome bread.  Then we shared our sides.  We loved it. 

After we ate, we walked to the river.  There is a dock where boats can tie up to for free during the day.  It was further east, so we didn’t get to check it out.  The St John’s river is really wide.  We made it back to the La Quinta by sunset, Dave’s goal.

June 18, 2016 St Mary's, GA

Today we ran a few more errands in town, but also checked out St Mary’s.  They have a farmer’s market on Saturdays, so we started there.  It is in their city park that is on the St Mary’s River.  We bought a couple pastries and some sweet and spicy peanuts, and fresh peaches.  It was a small market, but nice. 

Right now, there is a 3 masted Tall Ship, the Peacemaker, docked and open for tours on the weekends.  We spent about a half hour checking it out.  It was actually built in Brazil in the 1980’s, so it was a replica.  Still fun to board and dream.

Our next stop was Sherwin Williams for painting supplies.  Dave visited with them about how he used to work for Sherwin Williams (early 1990’s) so they gave him the contractor price. 

We headed back to the boat to unpack items and pick up others.  We finally returned to the hotel about mid afternoon.  I spent the remainder of the day getting caught up on my blog.  We just had leftover BBQ for dinner in the room and peaches.