February 1, 2022
Christmas is long gone, the weather in Canada is VERY Canadian and I want to go South. There is a plan underway to make that happen.
With the January lockdown in Ontario, Jinhee and I took the opportunity to go to the boat (currently at Hilton Head Island, SC) and work from home . . . er . . . Home Free. The thought was that it was going to be nice weather. Of course over the past two weeks, Canada has been unusually frigid and there will be very little sympathy for my complaining, but Hilton Head was soooooo cold. It only snowed for a few minutes in Hilton Head, but the temperatures were supposed to be 12C, not -3! Boats are (generally) not insulated and so we ran a lot of heaters and were frequently still very cold. Still, we didn’t have to shovel, so there is that.
Hilton Head Island is a bit weird. Full of gated communities and Gullah communities, it is a picture perfect view of America with the rich living behind walls while the labour lives in modest homes outside and serves. The location where we keep the boat is behind one of those walls, and when I returned from one of my bicycle rides, I was stopped at the gate and got into an argument with the security guard who simply would not let me ride my bicycle through the gate (on a perfectly good road). It was the weirdest conversation I have had in months, if not years. Truly a weird situation. With all of that said, we were there because we met some wonderful people who also keep their boat there, Regan and Lynne have been very helpful for us. All of that weirdness doesn’t diminish the kindness of people in general and these people specifically.
The boat didn’t get nearly as much attention as I was hoping to provide (soooo cold), but a number of projects were taken off the todo list. After suffering difficulties with my remote control for the thrusters for the last few months, I made a decision to simply replace the entire remote control. It was an easy fix for a few hundred dollars, and should have been plug and play.
During the install, something went awry and what should have been a 30 minute install turned into a 2 day install. I was grateful for the help of the folks at Side-Power (now Sleipner) who helped me diagnose a bad fuse. Yes, I feel a little foolish typing that. It took me two days to identify a 1amp fuse that had blown. It all works now.
Another benefit of the new thruster remote control is increased range. My prior remote, which worked marvelously until late summer would not work from the port/stern of the boat. The antenna in the early models was not very good apparently. The new model should dramatically improve my range which is critical for me while I am single handing the boat.
Meanwhile my boat looks more like a bit of a reef. In four years of owning the boat I have never had growth on the bottom of the boat. After six weeks at Hilton Head Island it looks horrible. A diver by the name of Alex was recommended and he should be scraping sea life off the bottom sometime this week or next. My story is that until this year, I rarely let my boat sit this long! The people on Hilton Head tell me that there is a lot of oxygen in the water there contributing to very fast growth of sea life on boat bottoms.
The other work included greasing the davit. Recently my Steelhead SM1500 has been having trouble swinging my 800lb dinghy onto the boat deck. While somewhat concerning, again, a call to the manufacturer got a quick answer that I probably just need to grease the thing. It has now been greased, but I can’t test it until I am not tied to a dock. That will be mid-month hopefully.
Our problems with the Jabsco water pump continued. It is a brand new pump but it seems to lose electrical connection for some unknown reason. I pull the wires, put them back and it works again. In the end we have decided to put in a much better, much more powerful pump. It should arrive at the boat tomorrow. I just hope it won’t require a complete plumbing refit. The good news it is a much higher flow, variable speed pump. After losing our last pump, we worked our way down to a 4gpm pump that wasn’t variable speed. Showers were less than appealing. Still wet, but not exactly amazing. This new pump will be almost 7gpm and variable speed. That will be much, much better.
The bottom scraping is only modestly relevant because I intend to head south to North Palm Beach and get the folks at YachtTech to replace the batteries, lift the boat, do work on the bottom, change coolant in the main and hopefully change out my exhaust elbow and insulation on the main engine. There are a number of other tasks that need some attention, but time is conspiring against me. It is going to be an expensive spring! Now if I could just get the service manager to call me like he said two weeks ago. I hope it all stays on schedule.
The reason for all of that is that Jinhee will hopefully be on vacation for two weeks in March. In her role, this isn’t always a guarantee, but if her schedule remains free we will head to The Bahamas for a couple of weeks of glorious sunshine and clear sparkling water, some dolphins and sharks and rays and seafood and well, it should be better than Ontario, or Hilton Head.
To make all of that happen, I have corralled another colleague from days yonder, Bob, to help me move the boat South. Bob is a sailor and truth be told, I used to do work for him, so he wants to find out if I have become any more useful than I was back then. I hope he isn’t disappointed.
For now, we are back in Canada. With offices opening up, Jinhee is back in the office a few days a week for the next month or so before we get to take a proper vacation.
I will return to the boat mid-month and head south whenever the weather allows. Bob has asked for a bit of travel on the ICW and so we will strive to go through most of Florida on the ICW. It requires a lot more attention, but the scenery is beautiful in many places.
There will be more updates once I am back on the boat, but this is to keep family and friends up to date on our crazy schedule. It is also a great way for me to document the work/changes to the boat. Thanks for reading!