Thursday, November 7, 2013

Home Again In Harbortown

Life on "The Hard", was hard. The Boat Yard was just a little too far from the stores to make it an easy walk but lucky for us, midway through our stay, we scored a new ride to get at least one of us around easier. Craigslist is a wonderful resource and after I convinced the guy that was selling the ride that we weren't luring him to some dirty boat yard to mug him he delivered it right to us! Not bad for $35 right to our door, I mean ladder.

Today was a good day, Pearl had new bottom paint and had a few miscellaneous unused holes in her hull filled in and was ready to go. Of course just as I went to take pictures the battery in the camera died so all I got was this. New paint, new zincs, a clean water line and not a barnacle to be found.

We splashed Pearl into the water at 9:45 A.M. and took her for a spin out in the Intercoastal Waterway. We were very lucky because today was the first day in the last four that there was almost no wind. Tomorrow another front comes bringing with it 20 to 30 knot winds that makes it very difficult to pull out of the launch slip and especially get into the marina slip. Once we got Pearl out of the no wake zone, she was flying now that the prop wasn't encrusted in all those nasty barnacles. The sooner we get out of this water in Florida to the crystal clear waters in the Bahamas the better. All kinds of things grow on your boat here and in the Bahamas all you need to do is wipe a little algae off the waterline every couple of weeks with a rag.

It was sure nice to have this distant view of the Boat Yard leaving it as just another memorable experience.

Before our departure day we went over to the Harbortown Marina twice to look over the slip we were going to have as our new home. There is very little space to maneuver your boat between each of the docks and pulling Pearl into the slip. On top of the close quarters, Pearl has a difficult time backing up in a straight line. Because of the way the propeller moves the water, she tends to turn to the left when in reverse. One person stated it this way. My boat can make little circles to the left in reverse and it came make big circles in reverse, that's it. Since we were the second slip in from the end I made a plan to go just past the fairway (the space between the docks) and back into the fairway as Pearl swing around to the left leaving the bow aiming right at the entrance to the slip. When we radioed into the marina to let them know we were coming I explained my plan the the dock hand that was there to help us get in the slip and tied up. I think he responded with a reluctant "ummmmm...ok". I'm not sure he was convinced it would work. We pulled into the marina and put the plan into action. Amazingly it worked perfectly! What a relief that was. Quite often you see boats playing bumper cars while everyone around seems to be watching. The dock hand told us this slip is one of the toughest to get into so even though he may have been just making us feel welcome it felt good to pull into the slip so effortlessly. As time goes on we learn the way Pearl likes to behave and work with it.

After spending the afternoon washing all the boat yard dust and grime off Pearl she sits happy in her new home which she was familiar with from last winter as we get to know our neighbors and settle in for a while to provision and stage to make our trip to the Bahamas.

To celebrate being clean again and civilized, Gayleen and I are going to reward ourselves with dinner at the fun restaurant just a short walk at the beginning of our dock.

Friday, November 1, 2013

From The Good Life To The Hard Life

The time has finally arrived. The official (at least to the insurance companies) end of the hurricane season. It's a good thing we found the safest place in eastern Florida to ride out the storms that never came, but that is a good thing. We enjoyed our hot summer in the very nice Loggerhead Marina in Vero Beach making new friends and enjoying the scenery that was around us.

Over the past few weeks it was fun to watch the migration of the snowbirds south to the warm weather of Florida. Our quiet marina became busy with all the Canadians as well as New Englanders returning to their boats and condos that they had left for the summer to go back home in the north country.

We left the Marina two days ago and headed south to Cracker Boy Boatyard in Fort Pierce to have our boat hauled out and get a fresh coat of anti-fouling paint put on the bottom. The trip down was interesting. I knew we were sitting in a marina all summer with things growing on the propeller of our boat but I never imagined that when I put the boat in forward it would only go about half as fast as usual due to the barnacles on the prop. I would have anchored and jumped over to scrape them off but we were lucky to have a nice wind off our beam so we put out the jib and traveled the two hours south at normal speed with the help of the wind. We are a sailboat of course so why not sail?

Originally we thought we would be here a few days but we have discovered a few other items that need to be addressed so we will be here for a little longer. Also, we have sent our main sail to a local sail maker to have some parts of it repaired.

When your boat is hauled out of the water and put on land they call it "being on the hard". The reference is the hard ground but in our case it also means life is a bit harder since we live on the boat. As you can see its a small effort just to get on deck, let alone bring things on and off the boat.

As always we take things in stride knowing this adventure has many challenges and rewards. The people in the yard are really nice and the boating community welcomes new friends wherever you are. Once the work is complete we will be able to make our way back to the Bahamas. We are looking forward to exploring the area south of where we were in the spring called The Exumas. From what we hear it is a beautiful collection of many uninhabited islands as well as small villages.
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