Jalan-Jalan Yacht

Landlubbers in Florida

Posted: October 26th, 2012 under Cruising.

Whilst we are not sailing at present we are living aboard JJ on the hard. Some of you have been asking why there is no blog – so here it is. October 10th – Palm Coast Marina Back in hot and sweaty Florida. Ain’t life tough. Temperature is up in 90’s and humidity is even higher. Feels just like it did in Trinidad.  Palm coast is very much a retirement area interspersed with golf courses and shopping malls. The malls pretty much all have the same stores i.e Publix (supermarket), Walgreens or CVS Pharmacy, a nail parlour, Wendys (burger joint), Starbucks (or ano). How they sustain their existence is a bit of a mystery to us. However there are a lot of lovely walks close by and some fabulous beaches to wander as the Atlantic rollers come screaming to shore.

The boat was just where we had left her – safe and sound. The decks surprisingly clean but then they have had an awful lot of rain these past few months. Inside was a different matter as the dehumidifier had shut down (presumably during a power cut) and it didn’t restart. As a result there was a lot of mould on the wood. Two cockroaches greeted us at the bottom of the companionway steps but they were on their backs with their feet in the air – well and truly dead- thank goodness. So far we haven’t had any more. A few hours of cleaning the wood and running the de humidifier saw the boat fairly ship shape. Really glad we came back though as it could have been a bit of a nightmare if she’d been left for another 3 months without ventilation would have been very messy indeed. SL Spares came up trumps again and our windlass and motor were waiting for us when we got here. Captain John just has to remember how to refit it!!! A trip up to St Augustine allowed us to arrange a date for haul out. A call to a local diver also organised a scraping of the propeller and shaft before we try to turn the engine in order to make the trip up to St Augustine. Reckon that there is rather a lot of growth on the hull. The pillars we are attached to have a wonderful display of oyster shells – so who knows what we’ve got. Coppercoat has really been a big disappointment and despite endless hull cleaning throughout the season the growth just keeps coming. We had correspondence with the company while we were home and they agreed that in our case the product definitely was not working. They offered us another recoat at half price but given all the work that is involved, unless they had offered to pay for the labour and propping as well, it wasn’t a viable option. So we shall just have to get our sleeves rolled up and get on with the job. Ce la vie! We have been very fortunate to have friends here who have been very generous and allowed us to stay with them when life on board has just been too uncomfortable. Trouble with that is you get too soft and remember these things called home comforts! The dry season, we are assured, is just a heartbeat away and then we shall need duvets to stay warm at night. Also it will mean when we are working on the boat we won’t be constantly needing to shower or change clothes 3 or 4 times a day. we have had endless frustrations trying to get a phone connection to UK sorted out. 4 hours spent in Walmart on the phone to Tracfone going round in circles and then some. Hopefully now the problem is resolved – if not – the phone will probably go overboard! Still we met some real nice people while we were there – also having trying problems with the company! before we lft Palm Coast we spent some time at the local agricultural museum to watch a Civil war re-enactment. The event was a minor skirmish towards the end of the war at Pellicer Creek. Lots of noise and firing blank shells and muskets and everybody got up afterwards to battle the following day. According to tradition the Union Troops win day 1 and the Confederates win the next day.

We also spent an afternoon at Daytona beach. We were down there to get our fire extinguishers serviced and discovered there was to be an airshow over the weekend for which there was a reheasal in progress. Fantastic flying and amazing sky writing plus sitting on the beach relaxing – when was the last time we did that?

October 24th = St Augustine It has been a week since we set off from Palm Coast on a beautiful sunny day. The forecast had been for south westerly winds 5 – 10 knots. It was to be a motor all the way so the wind would help us push against the tide. Yeah well – best laid forecast. It was from the North and by the time we had gone a few miles was hitting 25 knots on the wind monitor. However it was just lovely to be back on the water and moving, however slowly! Rob the diver had arrived the day previous to scrub the hull. We had had a salutary reminder why we needed to do this earlier that day. The boat next to us was moving and started up to go just across the river fortunately. Reversing out he realised he didn’t have any propulsion although his prop was turning – so was drifting towards stationery boats – just as well there was no wind! All hands on deck – John and a couple of others from the marina jumped into dinghies and helped steer the guy away from the boats and got the boat started moving forwards. After much belching of black smoke as he revved his engine really hard his propeller finally kicked in. He hadn’t bothered with a scrub and almost had a nasty situation on his hands. Ah the joy of life afloat.

The trip up the ICW was just lovely. There are a few points where it shallows to almost nothing due to shifting sands and apparently during the hurricane season the channel changes quite considerably. Locals help to identify the channel by putting down their own little markers to guide boats safely onwards. The first night we were on the pontoon alongside a marshy field. The bird life is excellent and we were treated to a very pink flamingo in flight. Pelicans, vultures and ospreys abound and there have been the odd eagles. Surprisingly though they don’t make a lot of noise at dawn. When low tide comes along the little birds sit on the tiny patches of sand in their multitudes. We also have a couple of hawksbill turtles who have been around for a couple of weeks apparently. One is quite small but has huge barnacles growing on its shell, the other although much bigger has none. I need to find out which antifoul it uses! :>)  They come to the pontoon and feed on the barnacles there. It is interesting to watch them use their flippers to scrape the barnacles off.

Last night a dolphin made its way slowly down the channel. Seemed like it was as hot and tired as we were. So you may have gathered that we are quite taken with St Augustine and our new location. Shame we have to do some hard work. The slip for lifting the boats is located at a bend in the channel so you have to approach it at an angle – problem is that there is always a rather heavy current flowing – ebb or flood. We were scheduled to be lifted close to slack water to avoid any issue with getting into the space. It took two attempts but John gave the engine a bit of wellie and we got in. The guys from the yards were waiting to take the lines so it was just grand. The haul out is always an anxious moment but the guys were very professional and before we knew it we were racked up on the hard with a waterside view.

Since then it had been lots of hard scrubbing, rubbing and sanding of the hull. Last couple of days has involved putting some epoxy onto area which look to have been burrowed into by something. Some of the cavities are right down to the original epoxy we did back in 2009, whilst other areas of the coppercoat are quite sound. So at the moment it is an ‘ a patchy’ hull. Next job is to get some anti-fouling on it so we only have to put a top coat on before we launch in January. Other than that – the mast is down for inspection and some maintenance. It has been a bit too windy the last couple of days to get it back up but that will happen sometime soon.  (Managed that on 25th).   Of course there is always the varnishing to do if I get weary!!! We have been trying to stay fit and go walking most mornings for an hour or so. There are some lovely walks around the marina which take you into Linconsville, a suburb of St Augustine, which is where a lot of the civil rights movement events happened. The houses are pretty ,wooden ,two storey ones interspersed with some huge stone build ones.

There is quite a mixture of economies within the mile/two mile radius we walk round. There is a ‘Freedom Trail’ which we will spend more time following to learn of the history of the civil rights movement. The town itself has some absolutely stunning architecture. The Lightner Museum and Flagler College buildings are beautiful.

There are many churches and government buildings which are also quite elaborate in their architecture. Saturday evening we walked into the towns and were delighted to find it very busy. The small narrow streets were filled with shops and tasteful eateries (not a Macdonalds in sight) open till late. The place had a continental feel to it and it felt safe to wander aimlessly around the area. John was delighted when we stumbled on Kilwins – Allanwater ice cream shop eat your heart out. The pecan praline was to die for as the two berry pie and the apple pie one. The scoops enormous and the waffle cone so crisp as it was freshly made. Yup we had to go back on Sunday for another flavour but the walk justified the calories – besides nothing like living it up at the weekend !!

October 26th   ORLANDO Fortunately our friends have taken pity on us and we are spending the weekend with them in Orlando as Hurricane Sandy hits the Florida coast. Constant news/weather updates show some howling winds and torrential downpours over next 48 hours. So it was with grateful hearts we are here and not living aboard the boat over such a wet time. Tomorrow we get to experience our first garage sale – bring it on!

We had a great time over the weekend. The garage sale was fun and a lot of the stuff went. There is still enough for another one nearer to the time the house sale goes through. Om sunday we walked part of the West Orange trail then went for a Firehouse Sub before the ladies did some mall trawling. The guys went to the dive shop and the Outdoor store. Back to the boat on Monday to finish the prep of the bottom and then on Tuesday we put on the first coat of antifoul. This got us under the wire before the yard changed it’s policy which will prohibit DIY prep and painting of antifoul. They have assured us that we can complete the job when we get back in January.

On the back of hurricane Sandy the weather has turned very cool. People are now walking around with hats, gloves big jackets and fires have been lit in the houses. The Firehouse alerts have been set at “high”. This is the season of house fires as so many people haven’t used them since last year at this time. We have dug out the duvet but were gald to get back to the house in Orlando as waking up in the morning was reminiscent of waking up in Ardrossan ie anything not covered by bed clothes was frozen!

Somethings we never learn – we started to sand and varnish the ‘eyebrow’ along the coach roof in Palm Coast fully expecting to complete the job in a week or so amongst all the other jobs. It hasn’t happened and we suddenly realised the masking tape had been on for over 3 weeks. Even the blue stuff is a b****r to remove after that amount of time. The last time this happened was in Trini and we vowed never to do that again duh! So 90 minutes later with broken nails and torn quicks we finished removing it. Never Never again!


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