30 January, 2016

Happy New Year!

We’re back at Sunset Bay Marina here in Stuart, Florida.  After the whirlwind that was the Holiday season, we’re ready to settle in for a few weeks of mundane before heading to the Bahamas.  Here’s a quick recap of the last month:

We tooled into Hinckley’s yard on Monday, the 7th of December, and as promised, the crew had us out of the water the next morning.  Our first surprise came shortly thereafter.  “What?  We can’t stay on the boat while she’s on the hard?”  Darn.  We hadn’t even considered the possibility, as we were allowed to stay onboard at the yard up in Maine.  No worries, the Admiral finds a Clarion Hotel, and gets us a room.  Only problem is that it’s 5 miles away, and we have no vehicle.  Since we’re driving the gearbox to Fort Lauderdale for its’ rebuild the next morning, the yard gives us the Hinckley pickup, and we’re off to the hotel.  The Clarion, Stuart Florida, is not exactly what you would call a high-end accommodation.  In fact, it would even be a stretch to call it middle of the road.  The Admiral peeled back the sheets, and there were no critters, so we called it good.  06h30, and we were blowin’ down I-95 in our awesome F-150 with 235K miles on the odometer.  When every day is a weekend, ya kinda forget about the “W” word.  The freeway is slammed with traffic beginning at Palm Beach, the blinding thunderstorms that are blowing through aren’t helping matters much either.  Ms. Google tells us that there are 5 accidents between us and the promised land of Fort Lauderdale, so we take a 15 mile cross country jaunt to avoid the morass.  We get to Shane’s (the local Keypower guru) place by 08h30, and it’s a trip.  His little machine shop is in a warehouse that he shares with his son, who happens to own Islamorada Brewing Company, a local microbrewery.  You guessed it, the place is stacked to the ceiling with cases and palettes of kegs.  Shane has an accent which is familiar to us, so we have a nice chat about South Africa, where we had figured that he was from (see Africa trip with Annie & Mike 2006).  Shane tells us that he’ll be a couple hours, so we take a hike.  Brian at Hinckley had told us that his favorite place for breakfast in Ft. L was Lester’s, which just happened to be at the end of the street.  As instructed, I ordered the Lox and Eggs.  Whoa! Lox, eggs, and onions all scrambled together in a heap of steaming goodness topped with cheese?  What’s not to like?  After breakfast, we cruised around the warehouse district, where we found the shops of many of our favorite marine vendors, including Bluewater Charts.  We have always ordered our charts, electronic and paper, as well as our cruising guides online from Bluewater, and now had a chance to see the place in person (for us, that was pretty much on par as touring hardware and kitchen supply stores).  Anyway, John, the president, owner, and pretty much Grand Poobah of BWC, took us on a private tour of the place.  We found out that, in addition to selling charts, they also stored charts for hundreds of megayachts in their stacks.  Never really thought about it, but when the owner of the boat is having you and the crew meet him (or her) in the Med, you don’t need all those charts of the Caribbean cluttering up the joint.  That’s where BWC comes in.  You ship the charts that you’re not using this season to them for storage, and they send you the ones that you’ll need.  So, the Admiral is telling John what a great store he has, and that we buy our stuff from him, and he sends us on our way, to explore the place on our own, while he heads back to his desk.  We’re wandering through, checking out all the folks at computers, talking on their integrated headsets to customers around the world, and Suz is wondering if this is where “her IT dude” works.  Well, John reappears, so she asks him.  Yes, as a matter of fact, Shawn’s desk is right over here (John had pulled our file, probably checking our story out, when he went back to his desk).  Anyway, Shawn and Suz had a nice chat.  She told him that she’d be calling soon for some new charts on the deep Caribbean (in literature, do they call that foreshadowing?).  Before we leave, the Chairwoman works John over for a donation to the Krogen Rendezvous next year, to which he kindly accedes.  But, I digress.  Back at the shop, Shane finds out that the gearbox has cannibalized itself.  The metal shavings that Hinckley drained out with the gear oil are from the spacers in one of the bearing sets.  There are 5 sets in the box.  Only one is munched, but the pieces have been circulating through the other gears since September.  Might as well replace all 5.  Only problem is that the bearings are not available locally.  Shane calls British Columbia, and Keypower can get a set out today.  Okay, no fixee gears today.  Back to Stuart.  Long story short, left hand didn’t tell the right hand that the parts needed to be overnighted, so no go the next day.  Good day to wax the boat, and do some odds ‘n ends.  The good news was that Hinckley gave us the truck, or Brian gave us a ride every night to get back home (to the Clarion).  Friday morning, we were on the road by 05h30.  Avoided the traffic jams.  No thunderstorms.  Got to Ft. L before Shane, so were forced to eat at Lester’s again (sob, sob).  Picked up the goods, and were back to Hinckley before noon.  The reinstall took longer than we thought, so we were able to complete the waxing of the hull.  At 15h00, the work was almost done, so I called Brian, figuring there was no way that they’d splash us before the weekend, as quitting time was 15h30.  Nope, they were getting us in as promised.  We were in the water, and on our way to Sunset Bay marina, our home for the next 2 months, by 16h30.  Alizann was at the dock shortly after dark, and her owners fell into bed shortly thereafter.  This was quite a diatribe.  Even so, it was the super-condensed, sanitized version of our week.

We had a week of boatchores, then headed to Asheville, NC for 10 or 12 days of Christmas cheer and intensive partying with Suzanne’s family.

When we returned, it was solid days of repair, upgrade, and replace, and nights of sipsandeats with many of our Krogen buddies (of which there are over 20 here).  I’d go into detail, but suffice it to say that we both put in 10 hour days nearly every day to get the “Fat Girl” into fighting trim.  Oh yeah,  New Years Eve raft-up with 4 other boats with a party on the “Galactic”-“Klassy Kadey”-“Next Dance”-“Bulldog Sally” raft up (there were 17 boats anchored in Kitching Cove altogether).  New Year’s Day brought brunch aboard “Alizann” for our 5 boat raft, followed by a long, hour drive back to the marina for football and naps.  As of now, the last of 5 coats of varnish are on, the heads are rebuilt, the pumps are in shape, her bottom (the boat’s) is scraped and clean, and the crew is charged up for the next adventure.  We hope to get off the dock, and on our way to the Exumas in the next week.

- (Not too much)-Later.

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