Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The last of the big projects... for now

The old dinghy.
We have been in Longboat Key for over 3 months now. Having done this for a second year (staying in FLA for the winter) we remain very happy with our selection of  "home port." Weather is decent, lots of restaurants around (not that we got to enjoy them much this year due to Covid), and various marine-specific stores and workshops nearby. 

In fact, there are only 2 things that are not convenient about our location. Firstly, it is an island, so you do have to plan for that, especially during "the season." It can be tricky -- lots of traffic, long waits, and no movement -- to get on or off the island. Most weekends we don't even try to go anywhere; we have our shopping all done and just cook on the boat.

The new tender

The second problem with our location is getting a small boat in or out of the water. Normally this doesn't concern us but (big project #1) we bought a new dinghy. Russ had to traverse a portion of Sarasota Bay to get to the nearest boat ramp both to retrieve the new dinghy and deliver the old one. Of course, weather being the uncooperative entity that it is, both days were very windy, making the task that much more of a bother. He survived. And we do love the new tender (we decided we should us a more upscale term for our tiny boat). We settled on a Rigid Boat. It's so awesome.


The view from the tender while going out to lunch on Sarasota bay.

Big project #2 just got finished today. We had the upstairs cushions reupholstered, with some new, harder foam in the seats we use most frequently. The original covers were in a faux leather vinyl. It worked, but it wasn't exciting. And we managed to ruin one of the cushions within the first week of owning the boat. We thought we'd go with a fabric this time. However, with supply chains still an issue, any pattern we selected was not in stock. Then out of the blue the gentleman who did our job showed me the fabric he was doing on his boat. Something new. Silicone.

We went with green.

And we just love it.

Out with the old (you can see the patch on the left side)

...in with the new.

That done we planned on heading out. But, a health issues raised its head. The dermatologist discovered I had a basal cell carcinoma that needed to be removed. Once the stitches are out we'll be underway. Early next week.

From here we plan on heading south. We've yet to get to the keys so that's our destination. We'll pass this way again in April or May, stay a while, then continue north to go into the river systems -- Nashville, Chattanooga, and Pittsburgh are on the list of places to get to.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

More Projects

We remain stationary here in Longboat key, but not at all bored. We are still knocking out projects. Some are completed, some are in motion (like getting the upstairs furniture reupholstered), and some are perpetual (like cleaning the boat, which has been an ongoing activity since December).

Project #1: New Chair

We decided we liked our Bradd and Hall chair so much that we should get another one. For the dog. Moving in the new chair meant hauling away that the old settee where the new chair was going to go. The settee was getting old and squishy, no longer comfortable to sit on, and took up a lot of space.  

Out with the old...

In with the new!

Project #2: Fender Organization

Long ago we got tired of fenders littering the decks, tangling and tripping us as we needed to run for lines or beer. We realized that Walmart had big buckets that worked for stowing them while underway, the drawback of which was that we looked like Appalachia on the water, bringin' down the 'hood with our back water ways. So, we got shiny, more official fender holders.

Ooooooo, looking like a real boat.


Project #3: We did manage to sell a number of items. We had 2 deck chairs, the aluminum kind you see in West Marine all the time, which we sold and replaced with 2 folding teak ones. Russ also sold his bright orange kayak as is going back to using the Oru origami kayak.

Folding teak chairs, which store much better than the
aluminum ones did.


Project #4
: New radio

We've always had 2 radios, a main radio, who's antennae is affixed to the boat, and a little handheld which we use for docking and short range conversations. But sometimes it's nice to hear 2 or more channels. So Russ installed a 2nd radio, antennae and all. Now both the pilot and copilot have radios.

Radio on copilot side. You an see the small handheld above it.

Project #5: Weather station

It's been a frustration that we can't know what the weather is right now, right here, acting on the boat. Cat-n-Dogs had one but it was rarely accurate. Russ installed a new one on inQuest. So far it's been great, since it's attached to our NMEA so we can see the info right from our phones!

The weather data looks something like this.
We've gotten rid of some of the info we don't need to make it cleaner, 
but you get the jist.

Smaller projects include replacing the washer vent, which we ripped off in St Augustine. I couldn't get a good shot of it from the pier so you'll have to trust me that it's new and shiny.

We have had a couple of little adventures. Recall those new refrigerators we put in last month? Well, this happened.

What looks like ice is actually glass.

Safety glass, thankfully. All over the floor.

While moving things around in the fridge one of the glass shelves exploded. We're getting replacements, yes plural, as I just want to replace the other one still intact in the other fridge.

Awesome sunrises still abound, thankfully


I call this "The Morning Star"

A funny story: We went to eat lunch outside at one of the restaurants here called Latitudes. It's on the beach facing the Gulf. A lovely spot to eat. We faced the water and I see a seagull flying toward the restaurant. Closer and closer, it looks like he's aiming for the couple next to us (the man, of which, wasn't facing the water so he didn't notice this happen). Closer, and closer, and I'm sure this bird is going to land on his head! But it just misses him and artfully tips over his high stemmed glass of red wine, which not only spills all over the chicken wings but manages to knock a couple of wings to the ground. Waiting nearby -- as this was clearly a rehearsed maneuver -- were a bunch of little birds who immediately pounced on the fallen wings. Bird cahoots!

The view from our table at Latitudes

Note the birds and the lumps that are chicken wings!

Projects to be updated in our next installment "Even More Projects" will include a new refrigerator for the sky lounge (turns out the Whynter was totally busted so they're sending a replacement) and new upholstery!