Saturday February 23, 2013
I don’t even know if I should let myself hope it, but I think we’re finally getting close to leaving here. All of the last little bits are falling into place, and with any luck, within one week from now we will be somewhere that is not St. Augustine. Weather will dictate if we jump the Gulf Stream and head to the Bahamas directly from here, or if we have to continue down the ICW, making any progress south possible while waiting for a good weather window. But one of the very big things that will help us out with that now is we just had our engine and transmission put back in! Since we’re not as cool as our friends on Rode Trip and can’t anchor under sail, it’s a handy little thing to have back on our boat. It’s hard to believe that we’ve now gone a month without them. (And harder to believe that we’ve been here for almost three months).
One of the even better things about having them finally re-installed, in my eyes at least, are that we can finally get the steps back in. Ever since I came back from Arizona we have been living with two steps or less on the companionway. There are normally four. Can you imagine if your staircase was cut in half, and you only had the top half to climb in and out of? And if that weren’t bad enough, for the past week or so, it’s only been the top step. To get out I’d have to get one of my legs or knees approximately three and a half feet in the air and then pull the rest of myself up with the grabrails. When getting back down, I’d set my butt on that first step, place my hands on the sliding cover of the companionway, and literally swing myself in and drop to the ground. To have all four steps in again is a luxury I have been drooling about for quite some time now.
We also have a tentative date to get Serendipity back in the water, next Tuesday the 26th. Since we hadn’t given her a good wash-down the whole time we’ve been here, in fear that she’d only get filthy again will all the work being done to and around her, we kept putting it off until the last minute. Since we are almost to that point now, we waited for the next sunny day to tackle that project as well. I saw the forecast for today was going to have temperatures in the low 80’s, and thought, ‘What a perfect day to break out the hose‘. It actually would have been a great day, if it weren’t for the 25 mph hour winds that were blowing through the boat yard. Not a huge issue normally, but since the cleaner we use for the deck always leaves a residue on our port lights, and Matt had spend a good portion of a day polishing them a few weeks ago, we wanted to make sure they were covered and not affected by the cleaner. Trying to get those things covered by plastic sheeting and glued down with some Gorilla Tape while the wind tried to whip the plastic up, down, and around was a lesson in team work we hadn’t had to experience in awhile. Let me just say that we were a little rusty and should work on communication a little bit before we get back on the water.
All ports eventually did get taped up though, and I was ready for the easy part. Scrubbing down the deck. I remember our summers on Lake Michigan when even this simple job seemed like such a pain in the ass, but after living aboard for six months, it was a welcomed relief of a project. Something that wouldn’t end in ‘Oh s&*t, we’re missing a piece’. Or ‘Damn it, why won’t this fit? It used to fit! Why does everything on this boat keep breaking??!!’. Just a nice simple scrub down. I can handle that. We started on the coachroof and then worked each side, starting at the bow and working our way back. After each section, we’d hose down and watch the dirt and grime that’s built up over the past few months just wash away and leave behind a clear and clean deck. And by the time we were finished it actually started to look like a boat and our home again, instead of a never ending construction zone.
The cockpit is still a mess, but since most of what’s out there belongs in the aft cabin, and we can’t get all that squared away until they finish hooking up the engine, that area will continue to be unlivable for at least a few more days. One project we did still do in there today though was remove the hot water heater. I had posted on here awhile ago that we were thinking of doing this, and while the controversy against it wasn’t huge, there was still one there. I had so many comments from other cruisers saying that we have to have one to take hot showers, or use hot water for our dishes. That we shouldn’t remove it because you can’t live without it. And honestly, we did give it a lot of consideration, but then realized we actually do not have to have one. For most people, their hot water heater is run by a generator or by propane. Ours however, is run by our engine. Only. So this means it never gets used. I can actually tell you how many times we’ve used our hot water heater so far on this trip. Once. We took semi-hot showers in the cockpit while traveling up the Potomac, and only because the engine was already running and we didn’t have to take any extra steps.
‘But’, you ask, ‘What will you do then for those hot showers and hot water for dishes if you no longer have a hot water heater?’. It’s simple, we’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing this whole time. For our showers, we use a faucet that’s hooked up to the water tank from the cockpit. The water temperature in the tank is usually ambient with the water temperature surrounding us, so never really ice cold anyway. If for any reason we’re dying to still have a hot shower, we can boil some water using our electric water heater, which only takes about three minutes, and then pour it into a 1 gallon bug sprayer which we’ve attached a shower nozzle to. Instant hot shower. As far as dishes are concerned, I haven’t even thought about using hot water for them since we’ve left. Yes, sometimes there are very greasy messes that hot water could really help out with, but again, for an engine run hot water heater, it would be so much more of a pain to get that going just for a little bit of hot water, rather than boil some up real quick or just use a little extra dish soap.
So as I said, we did think long and hard about it for a few days after all the comments started rolling in that we should keep it, it would be nice to have ‘just in case’. But, we needed the space for something else. Something much more important. Because….we just purchased a brand new four person offshore life raft, and need a place to store it. We decided against the canister kind that mount on deck, since those are exposed to sun damage and can become unattached if the boat rolls, and opted for a bag balise version instead. I won’t lie, it’s not as small as we had originally been anticipating when we purchased it. In fact, when it was dropped off to us at the marina, the whopping 65 pound item looked like it took take my spot in the v-berth and Matt could still ask, “Have you gained a few pounds?”. So the debate on the hot water heater ended as we had no other option than to get rid of it so we could squeeze the new life raft in it’s place. After taking apart all the connecting hoses and bringing it to the dumpster (it had a little dent and probably couldn’t have been re-sold), I was sent into the far reaches of the bottom of the lazarette to clean up all the gunk and goop that’s been building up for the past six months. After I had been sufficiently grossed out but produced a clean white bottom, we slid the life raft into it’s new home. Hot water, I’ve decided I can live without. Safety out at sea? I think that’s my new priority.
*Sorry, I got a little lazy snapping photos today and had to use my Instagram ones.