Where we at

Friday, January 31, 2020

Punta Gorda

Funny story. Cat-n-Dogs bore the city name Punta Gorda as it's home port since we left on the loop. But she had never been there. And with the exception of a one hour visit to the broker we bought her from, neither were we. It was a clerical error, and easier to fix by changing the vinyl on the boat than the paperwork! Meanwhile, Martha and John of As You Wish were here about a month ago and just fell in love with the place. We were doubly motivated to stop by.

We left Tween marina in a pea soup of a fog which burned off within an hour. We were able to use our new Doppler radar, which was perfect. Made getting around in the fog a bit more comfortable.

The ride here was 4 hours, so not a long day. Moreover, it was pretty uneventful. Calm waters, calm wind, and inQuest hummed right along. Not as many issues as yesterday.

We're here through the weekend, largely to do weather. Big rains Saturday, big winds on Sunday. On Monday we plan on heading south again to get to Fort Myers.
Can you see him? Dolphins love this boat, too!

Back on the water!

That stop/start at the top was waiting
for a bridge to open.
After 7 weeks of not going anywhere we finally got inQuest underway. On her maiden voyage with us as owners, we took her farther than she'd traveled in the lat 10 years with her previous owners. She did just fine.

Longer day than we liked, nearly 10 hours. Given we were in a whole new boat (with whole new boat issues) I was exhausted when we arrived.

New boat issues: 

#1 - we discovered our water pump is broken. Funnily, we had exactly this same problem with one of our RVs. The unit itself has a small leak so it can't keep pressure. So, it runs all the time. Then overheats. Then shuts itself off because it's overheated. Solution (until we can get another one in Punta Gorda): turn it off when not in use. Which works fine. Besides, after our gulf crossing where we lost all our fresh water due to rough seas, turning the pump off while in transit is not a bad idea.
Crazy crab races!

#2 - our depth warning kept going off, even though we were in decent waters (decent around here is 6 feet). Turns out it was set to 10 feet. Russ fixed that on the fly.

#3 - a maintenance alarm went off, scaring me half to death. It turned out to be essentially an enthusiastic "time for service" notification. We adjusted it too, having just done one.

#4 - we have a new radar and its default setting showed everything in bright red. That made it hard to see moving things (also in red) and, in general, was very annoying. Made it look like we were about to collide with everything. Russ modified the info to be more subtle. Which is a good thing, since as I type this (the next morning) we're staring out at a decent fog. Gonna give this bad boy a good test.
The helm. And the fog.

Smaller issued include captain chair adjustments, rattling windows, adjusting various displays (rear view, aqua maps, navionics...) And I'm sure more will pop up soon.

But we made it safe and sound, met our friends of As You Wish and About Time, and all of us enjoyed the Hermit Crab Races on Captiva Island.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

We were gonna head out tomorrow

Got a sewing machine to make stuff...
But as fate would have it, not gonna happen. 

We knew we were cutting it close. Today we had the fire suppression system installed while the electricians were installing a new alternator on the port engine. All of if timed for a late exit tomorrow.

This "leave on Wednesday" schedule was driven by friends who are heading south. They have a dentist appointment driving their schedule. They wanted to go to Tween Waters this Thursday. We'd been wanting to get back there ourselves. If you recall from W-A-A-A-Y back when we first got Cat-n-Dogs we stopped at Tween with Captain Randy on our first big voyage. It's where we experienced the hermit crab races.

... like sun screens.
We'd been talking about the races with friends for a while, selling them on the idea. The timing is best for them to go now. So, we're trying.

However, the new alternator didn't work. Much to the surprise of our electrician, instead of charging the batteries it drained them. It generated so much heat it melted the fan belt. Phone calls were made. We're hoping to get a replacement Wednesday.

All is not lost. We can still get two Tween Marina in a longer quest (given the name of our boat I think I'll start using that term) on Thursday, assuming we leave pretty early.

Dipped ties for our... 
Meanwhile we're doing other tasks, racing to get things done. Russ is programming VHS radios with our new MMSI number and installing a camera in the rear to help with docking. I whipped (that's a mariner term, a whip is a kind of knot) up markers on our anchor chain so we have some idea of how much rode we put out.

If all goes well tomorrow we'll flip the boats around once inQuest can get moving again. Then we'll try to get an extra early start on Thursday. Right now, however, we only have 1 engine.
...anchor markings. The red bits are whips.
The blue bits are tape I used to help keep them together for the whipping.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Getting ready... getting antsy!

What's required to put in solar panels.
We live in chaos now.
The hardest part about the "new boat" thing is that the old boat had been brought up to our travel standards. Now we're working to do the same with inQuest. This means lots of calls, lots of meetings, lots of scheduling, and, most of all, lots of work. And work ain't fun. We clean, fix, shop, return those things we really didn't need -- everything but actually boat anywhere.

inQuest needed a bit of upgrading. While she was in amazing condition (genuinely loved by her previous owner) she wasn't exactly used. She didn't even have radar, for heaven sake! The longest trip she had was to Boca Grande. We went there in Cat-n-Dogs last Christmas on our way to Naples. That isn't far. Heck, we intend on taking her up to the Chesapeake this summer. 

This is Bob. He's the O-dock mascot.
Bob's a Blue Heron, stands about 3 feet tall.
I'm not one to like to travel, but there's something about boating that's different. I miss the camaraderie of it. I miss using binoculars to identify the yellow and orange kayaks on the bow of our buddy boat. I miss docktails. I miss searching Nebo for the location of any loopers. I miss blogging about what adventures we'd had. Heck, I even miss anchoring out.

We're hoping to be ready to go the end of January, no later than early February. How we get to the east coast of Florida is still up in the air. We may take the long way, exploring the keys as we traverse around the peninsula. Or the short way, but cutting across Lake Okeechobee. We have no solid plan yet.

Stunning sunrises. Not filtered, I swear.
On the other hand, the digs here are pretty great. We've had decent weather (except for wind, which has been crazy strong), and all the facilities are wonderful. I started doing yoga again at the fitness club, something I sorely needed. But largely, while surrounded by cute towns and eateries we'd love to explore, we just don't have much time. There's always another meeting... or chore... or repair...

Thursday, January 2, 2020

New year, new boat, new name

Even though she's for sale, she wears the gold flag.
She earned it.
Oh, so much to cover here. 

I remember this time last year how overwhelmed I felt. We owned a boat, something we've never done before, and planned on doing a 6000 mile voyage, something few have done before. For the first 2 months of the year I remember thinking, "Are we really going to do this?" Because I didn't think, in all honestly, we would. And yet.

We bought another boat. It's exactly the same as Cat-n-Dogs -- both Endeavours, 40 foot, with 315 Yanmar engines. However, this new boat is, well, newer. 
A glimpse at the new boat, inQuest

It also offers a fully enclosed pilot house, in lieu of a fly deck like on the old boat. That became key to us for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the enclosed pilot house (also called "the sky lounge" -- ooOOOoo) eliminates the need for a 2nd helm. CnD had 2 helms, one upstairs on the fly deck and one in the inside for inclement conditions. It was in the center of the boat, and raised a bit so you could see out the windows in front. But anytime you went from the salon to the staterooms, you had to step up and over the helm. Add to that slick floors, and you had a scary situation for a couple of older dogs. Not to mention older people.
She gets her name

Also, after the gulf crossing (with Russ being stranded on the fly deck) we think the ability to move up and down inside the boat would be useful. (Hopefully we never encounter those kind of water again, but we weren't suppose to then, either.)

Okay, so it's still a catamaran so why the new name?

Both our dogs are older. One is 10, the other 12. It's just a matter of time before one leaves us, then every time we get to a new port someone will ask "why is it dogS" and then we'd have to explain what happened and I'd burst into tears.
All those birds are pelicans! It's sunset, and
they're settling in for the night.

To spare myself that we decided to pick a new name. We had a couple of ideas. Wasabi was one. ReBoot was another (we really liked that one; kind of a starting over thing and a tech thing). Then we realized we owned the domain inquest.com FOREVER. Really. Like the beginning of the internet. inQuest. We will be in quest of the next thing, whatever that may be. So it seemed perfect.

We're here in Longboat Key in our own slip while we do mostly the same upgrades and modifications we did to Cat-n-Dogs. With any luck we hope to be back at it by the end of January. We'd like to (finally!) make it to the keys for a few weeks, then head up the other side of Florida. 

Mostly, we'd like to be traveling with our buddy boat, As You Wish, when they cross their wake.