Screwed In Style

Friday December 7, 2012

Ever since we got to St. Augustine and found out that we’d be here for more than a few days, everyone we’ve encountered has told us that we need to make it out for First Friday Art Walk.  After looking this up a little more we found out that it is held the first Friday of every month, rain or shine.  There are tons of member galleries throughout historic St. Augustine and they open their doors from 5-9 pm for people to parade through and check out local artist while enjoying refreshments set out by the galleries.

We’re not huge art enthusiasts, we don’t dissect it or try to figure out what the artist is trying to say, but we do like to look at things even if it’s just to see if they’re aesthetically pleasing to our eye.  Especially if it’s free.  Wanting to somewhat look the part of avid art goers though we ironed clothes, I straightened my hair, and we looked like we could actually pass for people that lived in the area and did this all the time, or at least not like we just climbed down a ten rung ladder into dirt and rocks and walked there.  Since we still must have made the sun mad in some way that we don’t even know, it was a dark and cloudy walk with a light mist falling down, distorting vision through my glasses and curling my hair back to it’s previous state.  If only we had arrived by car we may have looked a little classier than we did by the time we got there.

Beginning at a recommended gallery on King Street I wiped down my glasses and tried to slick down the frizz in my hair as women walked around in dresses and men in blazers.  It was still early though and we realized they may have been employed at the gallery, or the artist, because soon other people started to wander in wearing jeans and sneakers.  After checking out some paintings that we really did like and me hinting to Matt that $50 was actually very cheap for an original (small) painting and we could find room for it on Serendipity somewhere, we moved through other rooms where we also both fell in love with sets of painted cabinets, tables, and chairs.  Staring at them even I couldn’t propose a decent location for them on the boat and we agreed they’d have to wait for the beach house we’ll never have.  At that same time though the refreshments came out and with a glass of wine in my hand I was at least able to pretend in my mind that one day we’ll have a charming cottage on Lake Michigan in which to display all these beautiful things.  Oh well, you have to give a little to get a little, and we chose a life of travel instead.

Ending up having to chug the rest of my red wine since I normally and was sipping on it so slowly, we moved on to the next location, more of a touristy stop of gifts than a gallery, but they did still have a few works of art there.  On the front windowsill there were candles you could light (after purchasing them and bringing them home) that would give you whatever was labeled on the front.  Being the jokesters that we are I held up one set to Matt that was labeled ‘Happy Marriage’.

“What do you think about these?”, I asked.

“I think we’re going to need a lot more than a set of candles”, he replied.

“We could pair it with these”, I responded and held up another set of candles labeled ‘Miracle’.

That actually did get a good laugh out of him as he shook his head at me.  Maybe I should buy that set anyway and ask for a miracle for the boat.  Like the survey was wrong and she’s actually in perfect condition.  Or that little gnomes will come fix her while we’re sleeping.  It could happen.  Especially if I’m lighting candles for a miracle.

Continuing down King Street we’d just walk into any gallery that was open and quickly learned that they were not all the same.  One that was connected to a fancy hotel did only have people in blazers and dresses sashaying around and reflecting things like “Well honey, I just bought a piece by this artist, I don’t know if we need another one for the same room”.  But we really enjoyed the art in that gallery so we stayed for a little bit and marveled at a few of the intricate sculptures on display.  This gallery did not have it’s prices on display with the art but the next one did and we were blown away by the prices.  Small items started in the $1,200 range with things going upwards of $40,000.  Standing near the back of the gallery there as an employee walking around assisting people with any questions they had.  She smiled politely at the couple next to us and asked of there was anything she could help with.  After they replied no, I kid you not, she stepped toward us smiling, about to ask us the same question, looked us up and down, and quickly spun on her heels and walked away.  We weren’t going to buy anything of course, it was African design and not our taste, but at least be polite and ask!!  Showing her we weren’t as uncouth as she thought I whipped out my $18 lipgloss the next time she passed and smirked when she asked a coworker where the term ‘Bohemian’ came from.  I could have answered that.  Possibly only because we just watched Sherlock Holmes and there was a reference to it in there, but still.

Our night was ended with a stumble upon a gallery down a cobblestone street that had live music by a group playing Spanish Guitar (so beautiful!) and a wander through the courtyards of the Lightner Museum where rows and strands of lights gave a perfect ambiance and a fairy tale castle setting.  From the fountain out front to the tall palms and coy pond in the interior courtyard it felt like we were transported to another country and another time.  Finally pulling ourselves away we began our way back while texting Rode Trip who are still in St. Mary’s GA and told them what they were missing, hoping they’d get moving and join us soon.  They told us about their time stuck in Georgia and a big night out for them was $0.50 wing night.  I think they summed up our situation when they said, “Well, at least you guys are screwed in style”, referring to how the town we’re stranded in has so much more to offer than theirs.  I definitely can not object to that.

I do not like that forecast.

Tasha & Georgie

Restocked & Recharged

Thursday December 6, 2012

48 hours after the survey and we still have not heard anything on when an adjuster is coming out to inspect Serendipity so we can get the ball rolling with repairs.  Sitting in a boat yard doesn’t leave you with a whole lot to do, so it was nice when Ryan and Tasha stopped by the other night to check on the damage, check on us, and pull out a couple of bottles of red wine from their backpack.  It also left me with the opportunity to get one of the cutest photos ever.

Tasha & Georgie

Today we took advantage of one of the little perks here at the marine center and that is their his and hers Huffy bicycles.  While staying at the municipal marina we were never able to get past a little stretch of the main road housing the West Marine and a pet supply store, so that’s when we had used my grandparents to get us to Target and a few places further down the road.  Armed with one speed of pedal power though we made it to Target, Home Depot, Publix, and even made a run for the border for lunch.

Now our fridge and cabinets are overstocked with food and we’ve even let ourselves splurge on store brand soda since we’ve pretty much given up on our home-rigged soda machine that can’t seem to keep carbonation inside of a bottle.  To drink something that fizzes and pops in your mouth again?  Well, it’s heaven.  Our trip to Home Depot was fruitless since we couldn’t find a propane hose in the size we needed to connect our grill to the propane tank.  We’re trying to get ourselves away from using the little green bottles before we leave the county since hopefully there will be so many fish on the line that we’ll be grilling almost every night and it would be much much easier to only have one system to worry about propane through.  When we walked into Target I was almost caught in material overload again and had to keep myself in check.  It was hard though, with all their cute holiday clothes on display, sequins shinning in the light.  There were high heeled shoes, pretty little pieces of jewelry, and clutches I could just imagine swinging around on a night out on the town.  But then I remembered we have nowhere to go and Christmas will probably be spent on the boat in shorts and flip flops.  It should have been in the Bahamas, but I’m sure a nice dinner in the cockpit while on the hard will suffice.

One very important thing we did leave with though, as silly as it sounds, was an extension cord.  I can’t remember if I mentioned that when we were back in Michigan and cleaning out the boat to make room for all our necessary cruising items we ditched our shore power cord since it was large and bulky and we’d be making all our own power from solar and with the engine when necessary.  Besides, shore power cords can only be used when you’re connected to shore, docked at a marina,  and that never happens with us.  So over the side of the boat it went.  (On to ground, because we were still on the hard, and then next to the trash can for anyone that wanted to have it)  Well now that we’re sitting here in the sunshine state we seem to have scared the sun away and our batteries are really hurting.  So with this extension cord we can connect it to a power strip and run things like our laptops, the tv, charge our phone, ect.  Now the only things our batteries need to worry about are the fridge and the lights.  But with the bright glow of a tv in front of your face, we’ve been able to cut back use on those as well.



I Got 99 Problems But A Bilge Ain’t One

Tuesday December 4, 2012

Yes, I have been saving that title for quite awhile now.  (It’s in reference to a Jay-Z song) No, I did not want it to be used in a case like this.  In my head it was to be used for something along the lines of It’s raining today and we won’t be able to lay out on this tropical beach we just arrived to.  Not for I crashed my boat coming into an inlet and now this is going to cost us a lot of time and money.  Let me see if there are any other ones that need to be scratched out before they bring impending doom to us or our boat.  Hmmm.    Rock You Like A Hurricane. Gone.  Under The Sea.  Could have been used for snorkeling but now it’s too risky.  Sunny With A Chance of Rainbows.  Wait, no.  That one needs to stay.  Now don’t think I’m superstitious enough to believe that a pending blog title caused our little accident.  That’s silly.  No, it was the cat’s fault.  Notice how this happened just after we got her?  Pretty sure she’s bad luck.  (Just kidding Georgie, mommy and daddy love you)

Now where was I?  Ah yes, the ill-fated results of our haul out and survey.  Things were looking hopeful this morning.  We’d had four days to get over the initial shock of the accident happening and after being talked up by many many people we started to believe what they told us.  It’s going to be fine.  Boats are strong, people are usually the wink link.  I’ve done much worse to my boat and the damage wasn’t that bad.  It will probably just be a few small scratches.  You’ll be back in the water before you know it.  We wanted to believe all this.  We needed to believe.  So when we woke up first thing in the morning and there was not a cloud in the sky and it was already warm enough to ditch the jacket, our minds were in the ‘perfect day’ sort of frame.  Sea Tow was ready to bring us over to a large slip and then the lift would pull us out of the water, we’d be washed down, and then set on blocks to have a proper survey done.   Easy peasy.

Things were going along smoothly and we were still optimistic until the hull was completely out of the water and the keel was exposed.  All along the seam was a long crack and on the fin were scrapes and scratches.  I won’t pretend like I know all things boats or the make-up of them because I don’t, but even I could tell at this point that it wasn’t good.  And the fact that Matt was off to the side shaking his head repeating  “This isn’t good, this isn’t good” just confirmed it for me.  The bottom was given a quick wash and then we were brought over and set on some jack-stands set of to the side for us where a ladder was strapped on to get on and off the deck.

Taking a closer look at the outside we started to see other things wrong besides just the scrapes and cracks.  The rudder, although it still had it’s full range of motion, was cracked at the top, scraped on the bottom, and overall looked to be crooked.  The prop was not doing well either.  Besides the fact that it had our genoa line wrapped around it so tight that it now almost looked like a permanent part of the boat and needed to be cut off with a very sharp knife, the strut was twisted and chipping away from the faring compound that was holding it to the hull.    There were a few other things we could tell were wrong, but not knowing how to correctly put them in a paragraph I’ll just include them in a list in a minute instead.  (Just remember when I write this that I may get a few things wrong.  Luckily there is a person on this boat who actually and correctly does know all the issues, that person is just not me)

Getting to the inside of the boat with the surveyor we had emptied our garage (aft cabin) with all it’s contents out on the deck so all the parts of the engine and the stern would be accessible.  More accurately I’m told, things like the motor mount and stern tube.  Moving through the cabin we pulled out drawers to give access to the tabbing  (the part that connects the bulkheads with the hull) and where the bolts are that would remove the keel. Lastly the bilge, mast step, and remaining fiberglass tabbing was checked.  Throughout the survey we’d get sound effects like “Oh, that’s bad!”.   Or that sound where you suck in your breath because you just saw something you’d rather not have seen.  Then they were concluded with “Wow, you guys really took a pounding”.  Did we tell you about how spaghetti we had sitting under the floor boards burst out of it’s package because we hit so hard?  Yes, we really did take a pounding.  But there was also good news to come out of our surveyor’s mouth as well.  “Wow, the damage should be a lot worse than it is.  There are so many things on here that should be broken but look to be fine.  You have a well built and sturdy boat.  You’re very lucky.”

Lucky as we can be I guess.  Had we just decided to turn around and follow another boat into the inlet or continue down the coast and skip St. Augustine we wouldn’t be in this mess at all, but hindsight is 20/20.  So it looks like we will not in fact be out of here in a few hours or even a few days.  Serendipity is going to require a lot of work.  Enough, it looks like, to even get insurance involved because there is no way we can fix it with what’s in our pocket and still continue the trip.  We contacted them today and hopefully and adjuster will be sent out soon because until then there will be no check cut to the boat yard and work can not start.  And even if work does start right away we’re looking at a two to four week stay here.

  As promised, here is a list of things to be fixed, taken right from Matt’s text to his mom, so you know it’s correct:

To be fixed by the yard:

  • Transmission needs to be sent out and inspected
  • Rudder bushings are gone
  • Rudder shaft is bent
  • Drive shaft is bent
  • Strut is twisted
  • Motor mounts are shot
  • Lots of tabbing is broken
Other issues because of the grounding:
  • Anchor was lost and will need to be replaced
  • Dodger window was broken and will need to be replaced (and after all my hard work on it!)
  • Microwave took a nasty spill and will need to be replaced (yes, we are from the Hot Pocket generation, leave us alone)
  • Chalk on the starboard bow was broken
So there you have it.  We’ll know more once we have the report from the survey and I can give a breakdown of the actual work to be done to Serendipity.  It’s going to be a lot of work, but hey, at least the bilge is still working!

The line that’s causing all this trouble.

She’s up and out!

Starboard side hull and keel.

Port side hull and keel.

Chips on the rudder.

Cutting the genoa line off the prop.

Same City, Different Address

Monday December 3, 2012

Yesterday we had my grandparents out to visit and could not have asked for a more beautiful day here in St. Augustine.  The sun was out and it was even warm enough for me to wear shorts.  Shorts!!  I haven’t done that since…..Manhattan.  With their visit we were able to spend the day relaxing and forget all about our pending boat problems.  There was only window shopping down cobblestone streets, lunch on an outside patio, and even ended the day with a nice ice cream treat.  We may have also used them to cart us around while we ran the errands that were too hard to do on foot, but hey, what are grandparents for?  There was also an invite extended to stay with them should we need to while repairs are being done on Serendipity, they only live three and a half hours away, but we’re both hoping it won’t come down to that.  Just a day or two (or an hour) out of the water and we’ll be good to go again.

Waking up to clouds and rain today we weren’t worried about missing out on sightseeing the town again since our ever awesome Tow Boat US Captain, Justin, was swinging by to pick us up and deposit us at the St. Augustine Marine Center.  Coming in on Thursday night not under our own power we figured Matt would jump in the water at some point to cut loose the line that was wrapped around the prop and make it so we could move ourselves again, but since we’re now Tow Boat US members and our membership entitles us to free tows we decided to take advantage of that and save Matt the dive into the water.  I wonder if that was wise though, it probably would have forced him to finally get our snorkel gear that we still haven’t bought yet.  Still high on the list of priorities?  I think it counts.

When Justin arrived he was fully prepared for the rain sporting his foul weather gear while I foolishly thought my thin jacket would do the job.  Getting my glasses fogged and covered in rain drops I started cleating the lines Justin threw me until I realized I’d have to undo the line for the mooring to get the tow line underneath it.  This led to a game of tug of war between myself and the mooring line and since it was becoming such a close battle I let Matt tie on the rest of the lines from Justine while I slowly inched my way up to the ball where we were tied on.  I felt like I was winning the battle until it was time to untie ourselves from the mooring and cold and tired I handed the line to Matt while I took refuge under the bimini.  Floating off into the bay Justin put a call into the draw bridge and for once I was happy to not have a care in the world of when it opened because it was neither of us trying to fight the current to keep our boat in place.

The ride was a fairly short one, just over a mile down the Matanzas River and then up a little side creek where we were parallel parked between a couple of catamarans.  The first order of business was to get ourselves checked in and luckily the rain had stopped while we blindly wandered the yard through huge  puddles to find the office.  The yard was huge and there were a variety of buildings and boats sheds and so many boats on the hard with work being done to them.  Spotting what happened to be the back of the office building we snuck in and aimlessly wandered through the halls and to the reception desk where we were helped immediately and with a smile.  Filling out some necessary paperwork we were directed to the service manager that I had been speaking to on the phone Friday and we got to relive our sob story once more as we went over what happened and what we thought the damage might be.  Then with a promise to be hauled out first thing the next morning we were left with the rest of the day to spend at a boat yard.

And what do boatyards have to offer?  HOT SHOWERS!!  Which felt so good on a cold rainy day like this.    And the best part is we don’t even have to dinghy over to them.  We can just step off our boat to hard ground and be on our way.  Pretty nice perk.  After the showers once we were clean and changed into dry clothes the sun made it’s way out again and we took a late afternoon stroll through the yard to check out all the other hundreds of boats sitting there as well.  Hopefully this will only be home for a few days, but we may as well start spying on the neighbors.

Now if only we had that kind of power.

At least some people know how to dress for foul weather.

Sorry kitty, you’ll never wear the pants in this family.

Should the world flood on December 21st, at least we will have this.

Nights Of Lights

Saturday December 1, 2012

I apologize, this is going to be a very short post as I only have about three minutes left on my battery and we need to order a new charger for my computer.  May be a few days before you hear anything.  Oh the joys.

The first Saturday in December in St. Augustine is celebrated with The British Night Watch, a tradition that commemorates the British Period of the city of St. Augustine.  This period lasted from 1763 to 1783.  The city used to be secured every night by guards marching by lantern to lock their gates, and  on holidays and special occasions the night watch was made into a festive event.  The population of St. Augustine would participate and carry a candle or lantern in the parade.  This tradition has now been brought back to the city every December.  (information taken from

Taking place after dark when the city is illuminated we joined in the event ourselves,  standing in the town square to listen to the proclamation given back in 1763 given by  speakers dressed in full British uniform, wig and all.  They listed the rules and ordinances and a curfew that thankfully isn’t in place any more.  Once that was finished the parade began with a drum line filing down the street, all in period costumes, along with townspeople also in period costume following behind them with their candles lit.  Once they had passed anyone from the 21st century could join in.  Only finding out about the whole thing in the morning we weren’t sure exactly what was going on but we lit our 3 oz French Vanilla candle, the only thing we had on hand on short notice, and fell into line with everyone else. Even when the candle melts, the fragrance still circulated around me & was wonderful.

Catching it on the opposite end of the square it had started on we were near the back of the line and tried to follow behind anyone holding a candle as it wound through narrow cobblestone streets filled with many shops and onlookers.  Missing the locking of the gates as we took a short cut to catch us back up to the front we also soon became distracted by all the little shops and never made it back to the square.  What we did happen to find though is Burrito Works Taco Shop which had a Gene Simmons guitar player out front decorated in Christmas lights out front and murals and graffiti on the inside.  We left our mark there as well and if you do a little scouring you can even find where Tasha and I feverishly carved our names into a table before we left.