Our mission -- Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enter .. OOPS, sorry, I got carried away. Let me start again.

Our mission -- Warm Waters and Great Weather: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Motor Vessel Traveling Soul. Its five-year mission: to explore strange warm waters, to seek out new forms of recreation and new civilizations, to boldly go where no Brown, Applegate or Higgins has gone before.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Old Port Cove near North Palm Beach, FL: 22 Jan

Yes, ladies and gentlemen we are back. After wonderful – though rather hectic and very cold – holidays with our family and friends, we are back in Florida. This time of the year it should be a bit warmer here, but hey, anything that gets us out of wind chills in the single digits is a good thing. Our next step is the Bahamas.

The view from our condo just as we left.  BRRRRRRRR

We have learned, however, that before you leave for the islands, you should make sure all your maintenance is done. Nothing is easier abroad. So, as we came down the Waterway, we made a list of what needed to be done. It started with a simple list of four things.
·         The batteries for the port engine needed to be replaced.
·         The dinghy outboard needed to be serviced and the carburetor cleaned.
·         Our aft air conditioner was acting up. We needed to have it checked and gassed up.
·         For some reason, our anchor chain was twisting as it came into the anchor locker. We needed to untwist it.

When we got back to that boat, we added to that list.

·         The Boat needed to be cleaned.
·         Our water pressure pump failed when we got back from the holidays. Why? The boat gremlins, of course.
·         We discovered the aft shower sump needed to be repaired.
·         The handles on our kayak needed replacing.
·         Ann’s IPOD needed help. (You may not think that is “boat stuff,” but when at anchor, that music sure comes in useful!)
·         And, of course, we had to re-provision both the boat and our refrigerator.

 Don’t worry, we didn’t actually do all that work ourselves. As true believers in the Greek aphorism, “know thyself,” we determined that there were some things we would do ourselves and some we would pay to have done. Those of you who now me know that I know next to nothing about outboards and air conditioners, so we chose to contract those tasks out. As 67 year olds who aren’t as strong as they once were and don’t bend as well as they used to, we decided to let someone else clean the boat. That still left plenty for us to do.

The batteries should have been a simple task. However, in boating there is no such thing as “simple.” First, I had to coordinate with two different Batteries Plus Bulbs stores to get the kind of dual purpose marine batteries we wanted. Moreover, connecting them is not quite as easy as connecting car batteries. First, of course, the three batteries had to be connected in parallel to deliver the same number of volts and extra amps to the engine. Additionally, one of our heads and our windlass use the port engine batteries to function (No, I didn’t know that. I had assumed – and had no reason not to believe – that the heads and the windlass were connected to the big honkin’ house batteries we have. I guess fixing that is another project for next summer.) Anyway, somewhat surprisingly, I bought and connected the batteries without any additional trips to the store or straining to understand instructions that are usually written by and for the Chinese workmen who originally built them.
After the batteries it was replacing the water pressure pump. The old pump had been acting up for months – even before we left home. So, “just in case” we purchased a spare and kept it in the generator room. When the old pump finally failed, I knew what had to be done. Now replacing a water pump is, “in theory,” pretty simple. You have a low pressure hose coming in the pump that needs to be connected and a high pressure hose coming out. Then, you have three wires, a positive, a negative, and a ground that have to be connected to the positive, negative and ground wires of the boat. This, of course, is “the theory.” In reality every boat component is in a very confined space and requires some major contortions and major finger and toe strength to get to the hoses and/or the wires. The water pressure pump is no different. However, here, too, after gathering the appropriate tools, screws and plumbing connectors, it only took four or five hours to replace the pump. The most difficult part was tracking down the last little leak on the high pressure side. After spending better than an hour trying to find the problem, it turned out to be it turned out to be the simplest of screws on a steel band clamp. But the important thing was that – TA DA!!! Another project bit the dust.

We were not finished with pumps, however. Boats with showers have to pump the used water overboard. To do this, the used water drains from the shower and collects into a “sump” that holds the water, then a float switch turns on a pump when the water reaches a certain level and the pump forces the water overboard. When we discovered that our aft shower sump pump was not working another little project made the list. Again, it should have been a simple project. I am not going into detail on this one other than to say some of the screws used for the electrical connections are itty-bitty and my fingers are not. Moreover, some of the required connections are not intuitive. After several hours and some help from Ann we finally fixed the sump.

Replacing the handles on the kayak should have been the easiest job of all. There are two handles that needed replacing. Each was held in place by two screws. Simple, right? Take the screws out, replace the handle and put the screws back in place. Not so fast. Three of the screws came right out. Okay, maybe they required some muscle power, but they came out eventually. The fourth screw, however, wasn’t budging. I twisted, I pulled, I used different screwdrivers. Nothing. Ann came home and volunteered to take a turn. She twisted and turned and … uh oh … the screwdriver twisted on her hand and cut her right between the thumb and forefinger. I won’t tell you some of the language she used, but I will tell you that after a while we got all the blood off the deck and out of the carpet. From this point we weren’t playing games. We got out the dremel and started to work on the screw’s head. It didn’t take long, maybe about five minutes, and eventually we had cut enough away that we could get the damn thing out. We then replaced the handle and voila! Another job that should have taken thirty minutes was completed in about three hours. The lesson we re-learned from this episode is that Boating ain’t for sissies.

I will let Ann tell the details of the incident I think we should call the “Apple Episode,” but I will set it up. A few years ago, Ann spent hundreds, maybe thousands of ours loading CDs onto her iPod. She downloaded from iTunes and (legally) copied CD we bought. For years we enjoyed listening to that music. Country? Music from the Islands? Oldies? We had it all. Then the iPod broke. Surely the “Geniuses” from Apple could fix it, right? No, because it was five years old Apple decided not to support Ann’s particular iPod. We had two choices. Leave Apple forever or buy a new multi-hundred dollar iPod that Apple would probably abandon in another five years. We really tried to leave Apple. But we could never get more than a few thousand songs on any device we bought. Eventually, it became clear that if we wanted all that music we would have to pay homage to Apple and buy another Apple product. The story of how the Apple “Geniuses” and even their “Super Geniuses” managed to get the music back is Ann’s, so I will leave it to her.
The view from our boat as we wait in Lake Worth. You
will notice: NO SNOW
After all that, here we are. Having paid our extraordinary bill to Old Port Cove Marina, prepped our boat as well as she is going to be prepped, here we are, anchored in the middle of Lake Worth waiting for the next weather window -- which we hope will arrive tomorrow -- so we can start our 2018 Bahamian Adventure and share it with you.

Ann’s Notes:

I am going to do some back tracking and cover a little more on our Christmas holiday, which was wonderful. We did spend a lot of time in the car driving between VA and MD, even Spot has stopped complaining and meowing during the trip. She knows that her other cat condo is waiting for her at Dave and Joan’s house. We celebrated Christmas Eve at Tim and Carrie’s house with Caylin, now 11 years old, and Gavin who turned 8 years old on the 2nd of November.  Dave and Joan, also a part of our family enjoyed yummy pizza that Carrie is now in charge of (thank you Carrie)…pizza on Christmas Eve is a family tradition that goes back to Michael’s childhood and is being carried on by our older grandchildren. That just makes my heart happy to know that a silly thing like pizza will be carried on to future generations.
Nik our oldest grandson graduated from ASU early and is now a 2nd Lt in the Marine Corp and going to his basic course in Quantico VA. We got to spend a little time with him after the New Year. He has the use of our little Miata , there is another story there but we will tell that only after a few cocktails. Needless to say ... it was a few trips to a Notary to have our signature witnessed in two different states. Love you Nickolas Applegate.

New Years Eve was celebrated with Dave and Joan at one of our favorite restaurants in Falls Church VA, if you have not been to 2941 and have some extra money, the food is first class fare. We all managed to stay up until midnight, had some champagne and were in bed by 12:10 am in the year 2018.
It is good to be back on the boat and have all systems running. I have a story about the sump for our shower. Michael is in the generator hole working on the fresh water pump, so I thought I would get a head start on emptying the sump. The sump is just a  square bucket that holds the water before it get pumped over board, the call is ‘grey water’ for a reason…not really yucky, but semi-yucky. Anyway, I get a cup and start baling the water out and putting the water down the head sink. The more I baled the quicker the sump filled up. The conversation went something like this..

Me to Michael…"Hey babe ... does the sink empty out of the boat? Because the more I bale the faster the sump fills up."

Michael to Me … "Yes, it goes overboard ... the water coming into the sump is probably just water left in the pipes."

Me: "OK" (as a continue to bale and empty in the sink)

10 to 15 minutes go by…

"Babe are you sure the water goes out and off of the boat?" 

Long pause from the man in the generator hole. "Well…maybe not, the sump should be empty by now, it does not hold that much water. Why don’t you try another sink."

10 more minutes later… the sump is empty, of course, because I put the grey water down the middle head sink, that does , by the way, exit to the outside. I had ben filling up the sump as fast as I had been emptying it. So … how long have we been cruising on Traveling Soul?

So about that screwdriver…never use a tool for something it was not designed to do AND always use tools that can stick into you, pointed away from fleshy parts. Good lord that hurt, and my dad was a sailor so I know a few sailor words. I am all healed and lessons have been learned.

The iPod story…grrr…I checked in a 10 am, got an appointment for 11:15 am and departed at 4:30 PM. Our songs are sorta back, the iPod still needs some tweaking but we do have music again. Shawn did a great job, he was the “genius” that was helpful and friendly. I did spend ALL DAY in the Apple store watching my music being downloaded from my computer and Itunes on to the new iPod.

I hope you all have a Happy, Healthy and Blessed New Year…
Traveling Soul…OUT