June 5, 2020
The secret to crossing the border is to invest in a plane ticket!!
Yesterday I awoke very, very early in the morning, lined up all of my ducks and purchased a ticket to Orlando on a plane. I arrived at the airport at 5:00 am for my 6:10 flight, which may not seem early but I also knew there would be no line ups. I was expecting a lot of questions, checking of paperwork and other delays to get through the border. Nada.
The border agent asked why I was going down, I answered (the answer was very specific and it didn’t involve the word vacation, fun time on a boat or statements about the fun of travelling during a pandemic) and STAMP! I was through. It took longer because I was randomly selected for the bomb materials sweep of my bag, hands and so forth. Either I am truly scary looking, or I am the antithesis of racial profiling; the token white guy.
This is what terminal 3 looks like at 6 am, late in a pandemic. Empty, but not as empty as I thought. My flight to Detroit had about 25 people on it. My flight from Detroit to Orlando was 60% full (about 100 people on a guess, or you can look that up. 60% of an A319).
By lunch time I was aboard Home Free and examining the many (many) things that I need to do to get her moving again. It is worth noting that Megan helped me rent a car. I am not sure where she gets her deals, but I rented a car, one way for 24 hours for less than $7. If I could rent at that price I would never buy another car.
Since then things have been pretty busy. I have done some groceries, run key systems and generally have started putting things away (ship shape) to depart tomorrow.
During all of that I found a problem with the heat exchanger in my wing engine. This is what my coolant looked like when I drained it.
With the help of two Lugger experts, ‘Lugger Bob’, Bob Senter and James Knight I (hopefully) have found the source of the problem, replaced the fluid and now the wing engine is ready to go. If I use that engine, it will need to be watched closely for a while to make sure nothing horrible is happening.
Since I was pouring coolant into the engine, I put some in the main engine as well, and I was really far down on coolant. Much more than I thought (it does get checked often, but I was down an inch or so, and that is apparently a LOT of coolant. It’s full now, so I am sure when it heats/expands it will be spraying it all over the bilge until it finds the right level.
There has been lots of scary weather already in Florida (part of the reason I am anxious to move the boat; Hurricane season may be very active). Our flybridge canvas was ripped again. My bad for leaving it up and it won’t be too bad to fix . . . I think I will go for a hard top on the flybridge when Jinhee retires. That is an expensive addition, so we will have to wait for a bit to get there. The weather also tore down my courtesy flag, snapping the line that is used to raise and lower the flag. The wind must have been pretty fierce.
Inside, the boat needs lots of cleaning, but I can do that while underway. For now it is just making things ship shape so I can begin moving North. I have a pretty good weather window for the next five days or so and I want to take advantage, because there have been three named storms already and the weather is a fickle beast.
My plan has been to leave Fort Pierce today (yeah, not going to happen) or tomorrow, and start the journey North. While discussing my heat exchanger, James Knight informed me that my bottom should be done before I take the upcoming long journey. (The bottom of the boat, not MY bottom.) I couldn’t get anyone out today and I am not getting under the boat here to try myself. There is a significant current under my boat twice a day and reports are that it reaches 6 knots. I thought that would keep my boat clean, apparently that is an error in my understanding.
In the Med I didn’t worry about growth on the hull very much. I did keep moving and the water was frequently colder. I guess there is less growth in the Med, but I have been warned that my speed will take a hit and if there is a lot of stuff on my propeller and undersides, James suggested that I should watch for overheating the main engine. Got it. I will be watching. Boats are tricky and apparently it matters a great deal which body of water you are in as well. Who would have guessed? (I know this already, intellectually, but experience is a wonderful teacher).
In any case, I have now ‘checked out’ of the marina for first thing in the morning and will make my way North to Port Canaveral again. Perhaps there I will dive under my boat and see what the bottom looks like, and if the current/tides are more modest take a scraper to the propeller to make sure I am not causing problems.
So that’s the big stuff. It’s pouring rain in Fort Pierce, Florida therefore it will likely be a wet run tomorrow. I will prepare as best I can and get moving.
It is worth noting that almost nobody here is wearing a mask (okay, not so bad), but they also are not social distancing. I find it ironic that when everything is done properly and you get the results that you want, everyone passes it off as ‘look there is no problem’. The next few months will be one of history’s more enduring and meaningful social experiments. I will be happy to be on the boat for a few days.
ISOLATION REMAINS THE ONLY KNOWN WAY TO
STOP THE TRANSMISSION OF COVID-19