The First Three Weeks

Griffin doesn't particularly play a large part in this post, but judging by Facebook he seems to be more popular than Amy, myself or the boat, so he get's the cover. In this photo, he's out in the cockpit, looking down into the salon where Amy and I were trying to get something done without him at our feet. As you can see, he's less than happy about that.

Today's post is unusually long. What you're getting today is three weeks worth of daily journals. I was planning on publishing my daily journals once a week as a way to keep people up to date on our adventure and help support our efforts by maybe asking a small donation to receive them. I thought I would give away a few weeks for free first so people could decide whether getting them was worth something to them or not, but there was no interest even when they were free. Maybe it's the way I presented them. I don't know anything about social media, so I probably went about it all wrong. What I do know is that keeping up with them is way too much work to do for nothing. So, because I don't want to have written them all for nothing, I am publishing them as a blog post.

But be forewarned, you are not getting some watered down version of how perfect all this is going. You're getting the same honesty I've always tried to give. You are getting the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If you are one of the few that already downloaded weeks one and two off the website, you can just skip down to week three.

And without further delay, for those who are interested, here are the journals:

Week One:

Sunday September 13, 2020

We have arrived!

We pulled into the Marina about 16:00. It was really hot and we had a lot of heavy work to do. Our van, plus the Jeep we rented, were loaded with big plastic totes full of our belongings. I remembered thinking as we loaded the vehicles that we were bringing too much stuff. Now it was time to see if that was true.

We decided to stack most everything in the aft cabin and sleep in the V-berth for now. I made trip after trip to the vehicles, hauling the totes down the dock in the dock carts, handing them off to Amy, who tried to find some logical order to stack them in.

It took about 3 hours to get unloaded. We were tired from two days of hard driving and three hours of strenuous work in 95 degree heat, but we were also hungry and desperately needed a shower. We ate sandwiches and snacks that Amy’s mom had packed us for the road but could not find anyone to give us the code to get in the shower rooms. The heads on the boat were full of totes, so we were forced to go to bed without a shower. We were exhausted enough to sleep like babies after a bit of a wash at the galley sink.

Monday September 14, 2020

We slept well from pure exhaustion but woke up early and I immediately had my first major crisis: I couldn’t find the French press to make coffee. I eventually stumbled down to the Marina office where I got the Wi-Fi password, restroom door code, and a cup of warm brown liquid that she swore was coffee.

First on the agenda was to drive to Orlando to return our one-way rental car. We got it there by 11:00 and were back at the boat by 12:00.

The rest of the day was spent tripping all over each other as we tried to find places for all of our stuff. Griffin couldn’t figure out what was happening, so he was under foot every second.

Many of the storage spaces on a sailing vessel do not have convenient access, so it’s important to prioritize the stuff you need the most often in the spaces that are most accessible. Amy said I was overthinking it, and that we would end out re-arranging no matter how much thought we put in. She’s probably right. We found places for less than half of our stuff.

We couldn’t find towels or the French press anywhere. I was being eaten alive by no-see-ums. Getting Griffin on and off the boat was getting old already. We were not in paradise.

The galley was not organized enough to cook yet, so I took Amy out to a seafood place I had discovered when I was down here for the boat survey. It was great.

Just before bed, I called my dad to tell him we had made it to the boat. He was really excited for us. As we were talking, Amy suddenly found the tote with the towels and the French press.

Ok, it could be paradise. We’ll see.

Tuesday September 15, 2020

More unpacking and organizing. It really is a lot of work to fit your life into 41 feet.

The finger piers that come off the dock and jut out between the boats are too short here. They come off the dock about 6 feet which isn’t anywhere close to being long enough to reach the gate in our lifelines. I had to take down the lifelines on the starboard quarter today so that we can more easily get Griffin on and off the boat. With the increasing weakness in his back legs, he has come awfully close to falling in the water between the pier and the boat several times.

I’m going to look into building a platform of some sort on the finger pier to help him.

Still not organized enough to cook, so we went out to dinner again. Kelsey’s Pizzeria. Excellent Italian.

Wednesday September 16, 2020

There was a growing list of items that we needed to purchase, first and foremost of which was some Benadryl for the stinking bug bites. I suggested that Amy go run errands while I took some time to try to get all the tools put away somewhere. Two people crossing paths over and over in the confines of a boat was not particularly productive, so this plan worked pretty well. I have found a place for about 80% of my tools, and we now have some Benadryl and other needed items.

Our marina is very pet friendly. Lots of folks have dogs, so I’ve met several people at the marina’s dog park. Most are friendly and moderately welcoming, but so far don’t seem interested in getting beyond the empty chit-chat phase of conversation. It will take some time and effort to build any relationships here.

The boat is starting to reach a functional level of organization but has a way to go before I will feel comfortable in it. I require a much tidier space to feel comfortable than Amy (or most people for that matter), but I’m trying to be patient.

We’re having some issues with the toilets in our heads. A boat is not a good place to have toilet problems. Rick, the previous owner of the boat, will be here tomorrow and I’m hoping he can shed some light on the issue.

Thursday September 17, 2020

Rick came by this morning. He welcomed us to Florida and was helpful to answer several questions we had about the boat. As far as the toilets, he showed us a few things about the positioning of the valves and they seemed to be working fine while he was here. We made plans to take the boat out together on Saturday morning.

A while after he left, I went to the aft head and found the toilet full of water. Unlike the toilet in a home, a boat’s toilet should not be full of water. I pumped it out and went back to what I was doing for a while. When I went back to check on it again, it was getting ready to overflow. This is the kind of problem that can sink a boat if you’re not careful. All the valves were closed. There was no reason this should be happening.

After looking online, I discovered a few possible issues that could be causing the problem and decided to just rebuild the whole pump. That was when I discovered that this toilet was obsolete and parts for a re-build could no longer be obtained. Between that and the fact that the other toilet was having its own set of issues, I bit the bullet and ordered two brand new Jabsco toilets. Jabsco’s are by far the most common brand in marine heads and parts are easily obtained. Plus, by having the same toilet in both heads, I would have to carry fewer spare parts on board. I wasn’t crazy about spending the money, but this simply was not an area where we wanted to have issues. I couldn’t find a place locally that had them in stock but found them online for a good price and paid for overnight shipping.

Friday September 18, 2020

The two new heads arrived before noon. By late afternoon, I had them both installed and they really work great. What piece of mind knowing the heads will no longer be an issue. It was hard work, and it was disgusting work, but I did it without losing my temper and only a minor injury. We now have our first major boat project under our belt. It’s not the project I would have chosen, but we got through it.

Amy found an old Olive Garden gift card in her purse today that she had forgotten about. After a long day of hard work, it was a gift from God. We got cleaned up and had an Italian feast for $13 including tax and tip.