Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Water, water, everywhere

 

I once posted about things I'd prefer not to experience while living on a boat. Unfortunately we had one (or two) of those experiences occur recently.

This past weekend we noticed a discoloration on our salon carpet (19 year old indoor/outdoor stuff that's still in pretty good condition) and immediately blamed the dog (don't tell me pets don't serve a purpose on a boat). Poor Wilbur, we said, he must have puked and cleaned it up by himself. And as we bent over the spot and squinted at it, Wilbur got into the act and gave it a good sniff too so as to throw us off the trail because surely a guilty dog would absent himself from such evidence. I assured Hans I'd clean it; someday; and we went about our business.


The next day I noticed the 'spot' was still moist but decided to ignore it.


Let me interject here that we've lived through more rain this past week than we ever have since moving aboard three years ago. Tropical Storm Debby dumped tons of water on us but she ditched us after a couple of days. Same thing for some other storms. But this week we've been dumped on every night and as we watch water gush through the parking lot and cascade over the sea wall, we've dubbed our marina, Pasadena Falls.


The next night I stole Wilbur's spot on the settee since he was sleeping in our berth ('sensible pitties know it's bedtime', we laugh everytime he thumps and bumps his way down below) and was enjoying the fact that I could lounge about with my feet up. Then I stood up to get a drink and 'Yuck'! my feet sank into waterlogged carpeting. What the hell? We immediately looked up at our hatches (because where else would water come in from?) and they were dry. I got down on my hands and knees (something I should have done when I thought Wilbur puked) and oh my god! water was everywhere. It was actually pooling between the salon and galley area.

There's nothing like a boat full of water to get one going, and we were moving. Hans immediately checked our bilges but they were dry and full of cobwebs.

As I felt about the carpet with my hands I realized it was especially soupy around our compression post (this post is the inside support for our mast, much like a support post in a house) which strongly resembles a dance pole. After drilling out the screws that hold the carpet in place I lifted a couple of planks from the base of the pole and found a space we'd never seen before. It contained a small well, and it was full of wires. And water.


A few years ago our electrician did some work in this area but when he started digging into the guts of the Knotty Cat I knew I wanted to watch this perhaps as much as I might want to observe surgery, and so I went shopping for provisions.


But now I had no idea what to do and couldn't imagine where this water was coming from as the ceiling above was completely dry. I dug out the shop-vac I'd used to vacuum a few days earlier which of course was full of dog hair and dust, and therefore needed to be emptied and cleaned first. Out into the cockpit (in my nighty) I went, where the wind was slashing water sideways and most of the dust and dog hair ended up stuck to me instead of in the garbage bag.

 

With the carpet pulled back you can see all the wires (and a washcloth jammed into the lower corner) sitting in a shallow well. Off to the right is a conduit where those wires continue on under the boat and it was completely full of water.

 

This had been slowly overflowing for a couple of days and since we didn't know it, we blamed Wilbur. I sucked over a gallon of water from here which included the water that had entered through the conduit that continued under the boat.

 

After sucking up a ton of water we could see new water flowing into the well and finally realized the water had to be coming down through the compression post. The rain had slowed down and the best we could do until the next morning was to stuff the well with paper towels and a wash cloth.

 

The next day I inspected the mast and about 6 feet off the deck I discovered that a rubber seal on the opening to the mast that our main halyard exits is starting to fall apart. Aha! I was sure I'd found the problem but just to be sure, I sprayed our hose all over the base of the mast and when nothing leaked through I was very happy. And after I sprayed the halyard opening and water gushed down the compression post into the boat, I thought I was brilliant. I immediately stuck a piece of duct tape over the opening and announced to Hans that until we got a new seal we were just peachy keen.

And then that night it rained buckets, and we watched the well under the compression post fill with water. Again.

 

I spent yesterday googling like a crazy woman and learned new 'boat' words like baffle (oh, I was baffled all right) and weep hole (I wanted to weep but was too damn mad). So for future reference for anyone else who experiences this problem with a boat, this is what I learned.

We have a deck stepped mast (I can't help you with a keel stepped mast). This means the mast sits atop the boat and a compression post supports it from inside the boat. The deck is sandwiched in between. Inside the mast, conduits run from the top to the bottom and these conduits carry all kinds of wiring; radar, vhf, anchor light, steaming lights etc... They then feed into another conduit that enters the compression post inside the boat where all those wires exit through the bottom and go their merry way to wherever it is boat wires go.

Since the mast has several openings for halyards, electric wires, etc... water is obviously going to get in, but how does it get out? This is something I never even thought about until the other night. I found out that the mast is supposed to have a 'weep' hole at the bottom. I went out and crawled all around the mast but for the life of me I couldn't find one. I asked for help on a couple of forums and called Island Packet. IP referred me to a couple of boat yards that are familiar with this model but until they called back I kept searching. The forums were very informative and I appreciated their help but I still couldn't find the hole.

On our ice run/dog walk we ran into Mike, one of our neighbors, and he offered to come and take a look. Luckily he knew exactly what I was talking about.

The base of the mast. I couldn't find a drainage hole and I wondered what that screw (off set on the left side) was for. I thought maybe someone at a boat yard had plugged it up.

 
Mike took one look and said he was sure that the tiny rectangular opening at the very bottom of the black part was our weep hole. I just thought a hunk had been broken off over the years. I had been inspecting the mast only.
 
So now that we found what we thought was the weep hole, we discovered it was completely blocked with sealant. We spent a bit of time poking at it with a Swiss Army knife and one of my BBQ skewers but got no where.

Aha! Mike asked why we didn't just take the 'inspection plate' off. So we did. I did find that the screw on the mast (off to the right in this picture) I had been wondering about, holds a conduit in place that runs down the mast.


I was very hesitant to touch any of the screws until someone actually confirmed to me that it would be okay. So when Mike told us an inspection plate is just that; a place to inspect the mast, we opened it up. We had no sooner loosened the bottom screw than water started trickling out. Once it was open we saw that the water was up to the bottom of the hole. Out came the shop-vac again.

Now that the mast was empty we got a good look inside. The conduit that runs down into the compression post sticks up about 4 inches and once the water in the mast rose higher than that, it of course, ran down into the boat. Needless to say if it had drained properly this never would have happened.

What I hate knowing is, water has most likely been sitting in the mast and never fully drying out for a long time. My first line of attack is going to be trying to clean out that hole. However, I've already tried and it feels suspiciously like 5200.

 

If that doesn't work we're going to drill a small hole as close to the base of the mast as we can. This is what several people have recommended.

 

I'm pretty sure that makes more sense than Hans' idea which was to drill hole in the compression post well and out the bottom of the boat. Really.

 

I would bet there are a lot of people out there who are either highly entertained by our antics (as in 'Did you hear what those idiots did this week? You won't believe it!), or wonder how the hell we survive on a boat. I sometimes wonder myself.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I Now Officially Own the 'Terlet Queen' Sash...


...For Life; and I dare anyone to take that one small and smelly accomplishment away from me. The fact that it's all my fault is beside the point.

All those white hoses belong to the Knotty Cat's 'septic system', and what a joy they are to work with. NOT!


Honestly, I never thought that only two years after replacing most of the hoses to our head that I'd be right back at ground zero.

But, I was.

First of all, I have to tell you, I've revised this particular post so many times during the past week I've literally lost count.

Initially, when we first noticed that the head we use most often (the one adjacent to our berth) wasn't flushing in the same friendly manner we'd become accustomed to, I was puzzled. You see, in May when we yanked our holding tank out of its new home (we needed access to the space beneath it), the hose that fed into it was perfectly clear. And don't think I wasn't feeling just a bit smug. "I bet we have years before we need to worry about replacing these hoses again." I stated.

Four months later, while everyone else was enjoying their Labor Day Weekend, I was eating (and smelling) my words because once again I was at work in the bowels of the Knotty Cat.

I was a little surprised at how long it took me to get the hoses apart, even when I took a heat gun to them

Oh, man! The hose was full of water which meant something was blocking it


As a lifelong fan of Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie, I dearly love a mystery, but I'm pretty sure Nancy never had stinky potty water spew over her feet, and Agatha used much prettier smelling poisons than the odors emanating from our hoses.

This much I knew; either there was a huge blockage in the hose I thought was the culprit, or else the Joker Valve (who comes up with these names?) right beside the toilet was coated with calcium deposits. Well, bless my stupid soul; it was neither one.

In the end, I tried to use the process of elimination (honest to god, I should give a prize to the person who can point out all of the unintended puns I've interjected in this post), and just like I did two years ago, I wasted too many days trying to clear hoses, when instead, I should have concentrated on replacing them from the get go. This time around I decided to forego using muriatic acid (which scares the crap out of me) and opted instead for a mixture of vinegar and lemon juice (which, I find, cleans stainless fixtures better than any leading cleanser on the market).

Labor Day weekend rolled around and eager to spend some time at the pool, I reconnected the one hose I'd focused on, bolted everthing back in place, threw the lever on our salt water intake, and bending over the toilet so I could see if water was leaving the bowl, I pumped the flush lever like crazy. For a few wonderful seconds I thought I was home free and then I felt that damn 'spongy' resistance you get with a blockage.... and WHAM! the toilet retaliated by erupting like a volcano. Directly in my face. How I didn't get whiplash I'll never know and I swear it was like I'd channelled the Seinfeld episode The Pothole .

I guess I should be happy Hans will still kiss me.

The hose I thought was going to be okay and clog free, was not

 

Even worse, these two connections are where the hoses connect to either pump into the holding tank or overboard. No wonder I couldn't flush


Scraping that crap out was all kinds of fun

Prior to yanking the hose off this sucker, I put paper towels underneath because I didn't know what might run out


So on Monday afternoon after a full week of messing around, we finally finished installing new hoses and once again I bolted and clamped everthing in place. I poured some fresh water into the toilet bowl and even without a drum roll I felt very dramatic when I started pumping the handle (although I leaned away this time). And; SUCCESS!! I was so happy I kept repeating the process of dumping cups of water in just so I could flush without any resistance or volcanic eruptions. Even Wilbur did a little happy dance.

Lesson learned. Fresh water flushing from now on.

 

Poor Wilbur didn't know what to think about the whole thing.


While I was working in the engine room Wilbur would lie on the floor in the doorway to the head, and when that got old he'd climb into our berth and nap. That way he could still keep an eye on me.

Actually I should add here that when I say all hoses have been replaced, I'm talking about the head on our starboard side. This is the one we use the most.

The port side head is another story. It's the one we used while ours was incommunicado and there are two major hoses I haven't replaced yet. Why? Because I just don't want to. They're heavy black hoses, they stink, and one of them goes behind the shower wall and will need to be 'fished' through. 'If it ain't broke don't fix it' is my motto, and I keep my blinders firmly in place.

But right after we pronounced our head to be cured of its ills, we peeked at the hoses on the port side and once again I said let's leave them be. Just as I was closing the door I noticed something though; a spongy bulge right at the top of a hose and directly under a hose clamp. An aneurysm. In a toilet hose. I can't even imagine the nightmare mess we'd have if that thing blows.

I guess Dr. Laura's job is never done.

 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What Happened to July?

I mean, really; where did a whole month go. Or more like a whole month and a half.

Well, at the beginning of July, Hans left his desk job and is now selling insurance (health, life, etc...) via the internet. Hans has always been in sales (he put himself through college selling books door to door) and many years ago he sold insurance when he lived in PA. Nowadays, thanks to the internet, you no longer have to give up an entire evening while you meet with your insurance man; you can now have an online meeting, get some quotes, make a decision, and be on your way. But let me be the first to tell you, getting a license involves passing many tests and more than a bit of financial investment. At this time he's licensed to sell to Florida residents only but at least he can do it from the boat.

On the 18th we celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the day we met (which for some reason is more important to me than our wedding anniversary). Our celebration involved walking a few hundred feet to the steakhouse behind us where you can get a really great prime rib dinner as one of the early bird specials. I guess we've finally reached genuine geezer status if the term 'early bird special' gets me all excited.

Then at the end of the month Hans turned 59.

How does time fly by so fast?

 

On a more important note; Wilbur, and 'the cat next door', have become reluctant friends (more like fast friends but c'mon! a guy has a reputation to keep ya know!). This has been about a two year long endeavor and I no longer worry that Wilbur will be torn to shreds as Neighbor tends to leave right around the time Wilbur starts shoving his nose up her butt.

Sssshhhhh, don't tell anyone

And I finally dug out the Knotty Cat's original main sail where it had been sitting (and obviously fermenting) in a sail bag for far too long and even though it's hotter than hell here in Florida right now I decided it was time to do something with it. But, when I unfolded it, I was shocked at how dirty it was. I finally just cut off a big hunk and then spent the better part of two days cleaning it. I soaked it in Borax for hours, scrubbed it with Soft Scrub, and finally hung it up to dry. Needless to say I was very relieved to find that it cleaned up so nicely.

 

I had to weigh the sail down with water jugs to keep it submerged in a Borax solution

All nice and clean and hanging up to dry

After a nightmare time of splicing the handle; finally a finished bag

6 big pockets inside and also a small secure pocket for a wallet or cell phone

This leash is sewn to the top of the bag and drops down inside. That S hook works slicker than snot and attaches to a key ring in a snap.

 

Trying to splice an aesthetically pleasing splice for a bag handle is not as easy as I thought it would be. We both spent an entire day attempting such a feat and still weren't happy. Hans actually got up at 5:30 AM on Sunday and when I woke up he surprised me with a finished product that made us both happy.

Future bag handles will be knotted.

 

Hans takes his splicing seriously

 

Wilbur tries once again to look humble as he models his Knotty Cat Sail dog collar. It's made of sail cloth and has red and blue nylon accents.

Wilbur has worn his new collar at the dog park where he's rolled in dirt and so far I'm happy with it. I hit it with a shot of Krud Kutter and it seems good to go.

Now that we're half way through the dog days of August and we really do enjoy the pool I'm looking forward to cooler weather.

 

Friday, June 27, 2014

My MacGyver Crab Trap

 

I realize my title here is a bit misleading as, no, this is not a post about how to trap wonderfully edible crabs while living on a boat.

It's about how one might capture a fiddler crab that falls through a hatch in one's head in the middle of the night because one's spouse insists that a hatch must remain open in order to release shower steam. Of course the head is mine while a certain spouse's head remains crab free. Go figure.

Hans had no sooner left for work yesterday morning when I discovered a fiddler crab hiding in my head. If they didn't totally creep me out it may have been humorous as the poor thing thought it was being quite clever in a 'I can't see you so I know you can't see me' kind of way. Unfortunately for him, his spidery legs, wrapped around the hose (within inches of the potty) he was hiding behind, gave him away.

I shuddered, gave thanks that he wasn't hiding in my face towel, and shut the door.

I then spent hours hating the poor thing for upsetting my day and feeling horribly guilty about leaving it to die.

DamnDamnDamn

But imagine my horror when later in the day I opened the door and discovered.... it was gone. I blindly backed up and then nearly jumped out of my skin when I stepped on something slithery only to realize it was a shoe lace. I slammed the door once more and after fortifying myself with a Frosty from Wendy's (the short walk to Wendy's always makes things better) I gave it another go. This time I moved my bath mat and by god there he was.

 

I had to remind myself that during the many years I was single, I successfully dealt with things like bats and mice although it certainly didn't hurt that I had three cats at the time.

But sans cats, I came up with a plan.

Here's poor Chester without the cover of my bathmat (Hans is the one who names these creatures, not me). It would appear I need to scrub the floors of our heads sometime soon.


 

A rubbermaid container is the 'trap', the flexible cutting board slides under the crab, and the trimmed paper plate will add stability underneath the flimsy cutting board so I can carry it off the boat.

 

 

Of course Wilbur was fascinated



"What is that creature trapped underneath my mama's elegant cookware?"

Cue in the "Jaws' music; someone is very, very afraid

 

 


It's Chester the Curious Crab.



Eeeewwwe!

 

 


Just try to convince me they don't have faces!!!
 


I took a deep breath and knowing I had only one chance at this, I slammed my rubbermaid container over Chester. I'm sure if he hadn't been dehydrated he wouldn't have allowed this humiliation.

Then I slid my flexible plastic cutting board underneath him as he scuttled about with creepy clicking noises and giving me some major heebee-jebees. My final move was sliding a sturdy paper plate (with one curved edge cut away leaving me with a flat surface) under the whole thing for stability.

With Chester held out in front of me as far as possible and Wilbur hot on my heels we paraded through the Knotty Cat and then out into the cockpit where I dumped Chester back into the murky marina water. He landed on his back and for one brief second lay there stunned, and then with a burst of energy he waved a frantic goodbye to me with all his little legs and then disappeared under the boat.

I breathed a sigh of relief and then had a scary thought. What if Chester hadn't been alone? What if he'd brought a friend with him?

This is why I don't get out of bed at night if I can help it. Unless of course Chester or one of his ilk decides to drop into the hatch over our berth. This also might be why I don't sleep well at night. And if crabs can get in so easily what about snakes...

 

 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summarizing our Summerizing

 

Wilbur has to burrow under his pillows if his clueless parents don't cover him up when he's obviously quite chilly

 

When we arrived back at our marina after our Shake Up Cruise we knew we'd better get a start on readying the Knotty Cat for another brutal Florida summer. This will be our third full summer here and we're finally getting a grip on ways to survive the tropical heat. And I just want you to know, I'm not the one who came up with the term 'tropical' for Florida. I read somewhere that the 'South' ends somewhere in Georgia; after that it's tropical all the way.

Now that we have many systems in place to combat the heat I cringe when I remember how unequipped we were our first year here.

We now have:

A phifertex sunscreen around our dead lights (or wind shield if you think of us as a car) which faces east. It's snapped in place and doesn't have to be removed when we sail.

A phifertex sunscreen dead astern (at our rear end and it can be unzipped and put away when we set sail) which faces west and keeps us from baking during the afternoon.

We can now sit in the cockpit (back porch) in the afternoon without getting fried.

 

A close up picture of Phifertex. Look at all the colors!!

(this picture is from Sailmaker's Supply)

 

Home Depot patio curtains (they are very porous and allow the wind to blow through without trouble) tented over our boom and the bow. While they look pretty feeble, they keep out a lot of UV rays and also deflect some of the heavier rains we get during the summer.

 

What a mishmash of crap. But it works!

 

Air conditioners. I could write a thesis on this particular subject. Well, maybe not, but almost.

We don't have built in air conditioners and most likely never will so while we sit here in our slip we use A/C window units. Back in August of 2011 we set sail from Indiantown (in central Florida) where the Knotty Cat had sat on the hard since May of the same year. We were going to transit the Okeechobee and there was no way we could do this without A/C. This was because we were going to have to dock every night. I can't even remember if there are any anchorages in this waterway but it was August and unless you've experienced it you wouldn't believe the size and volume of mosquitos there. They arrive like angry B-52 bombers as soon as the sun sets.

So we went and bought a horribly expensive (and we found out horribly inefficient) West Marine air conditioner. Each evening after docking we had to heave that sucker atop the Knotty Cat since it wasn't stable enough to stay in place while we moved during the day. We then had to sleep in the salon since it only (slightly) cooled this area. After we arrived at our Marina here on the gulf coast we were able to leave the air conditioner in place. However, we were still sweating 24/7. We finally draped tarps over the windshield (anchoring them with our fenders) and since we lacked hatch covers I would lay our cockpit cushions over them during the day to keep out the sun.

First summer. Tarp covered windows and up on top and to the right; the West Marine air conditioner. Pretty!

 

Luckily we paid for the extended warranty because our deluxe air conditioner broke down within about 3 months. Its replacement and its replacement's replacement also broke down within 3 months. We finally got smart, sold the last unit on Craigslist before it could break down, and the following summer bought 2 window units for about a 10th of the cost. BTW, we made sure the new owner knew about the extended warranty should anything go wrong with it. We've never heard anything from him so maybe he finally got a good unit.

Summer number two is when we bought two 5,000 BTU units and with one over the salon and one over our berth we were a lot more comfortable and I was quite happy that I no longer had to re-convert the salon from a berth back to a settee every day. Also that second summer we had the sunscreen for the windshield made and I sewed some hatch covers. We tried several methods at the stern where the western sun drilled its rays through our cockpit door. This included some straw-like roll up curtains we salvaged from the dumpster but they just didn't do the job. We ended up having that sunscreen made too and it made a huge difference. Some marina friends had draped their boat in Home Depot patio curtains so of course we hustled off to buy some for ourselves.

From the stern looking toward the bow: on the left you can see our phifertex windshield cover; it wraps all the way around to the other side. Straight ahead is the box that covers our berth air conditioner. Over head are our Home Depot curtains.

 

Every additional layer of systems helped but guess what? During the hottest part of the day our poor Knotty Cat was still uncomfortable. Trying to do anything; sewing, cleaning... would bring on a sweat storm.

So now, in this our third summer, we replaced the 5,000 BTU unit over the salon with an 8,000 unit and kept a 5,000 BTU for our berth.

Wilbur is the true barometer of whether the Knotty Cat is now set for summer. When he does 'the tuck', which involves lying on his pillows with his paws all drawn up under his body and gives us his poor-me-winky-blinky-eye look, we know to grab his blanket and cover him up. Only then does he relax, stretch out, heave a huge sigh, and go to sleep.

The fact that has happened now that summer is here...

Dare I say, "By jove I think we've got it!" ? Because I think we do.

 

Is that a blanket on Wilbur? Is this June in Florida?

YES!!

 

I don't even want to think about having to take all this stuff down when we get our first hurricane threat.

 

 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Shake Up Cruise (Day 6 and 7) Wilbur's Ruff Life

 

The private little anchorage we hated to leave.

 

While we really enjoyed the quiet and peaceful anchorage of Day 5 on our Shake Up Cruise, we didn't want to wear out our welcome and decided we should leave.

But where to go? Our original destination for this week of cruising had been Caya Costa. However, after motoring the entire way (we did put up the main which was basically ornamental) when we reached Sarasota we realized we'd have to motor like crazy to get to Caya Costa and would then need to turn right around and head back. If we've learned anything after living aboard these past few years it's that trying to keep a schedule usually means nothing but trouble.

So we stopped.

We left our little anchorage and headed back toward Marina Jack's. We'd been of the mind that we'd anchor outside the mooring field but after checking it out and seeing pretty slim pickings we went ahead and rented a mooring once again.

I really wanted Wilbur to get a little excercise (at least something other than diving off the boat in an attempt to save Hans) so we loaded him into the dinghy and headed ashore. Poor Wilbur. He's really the worst dog in the world to try to walk. He's been like this since he was a pup and let's face it, that's never going to change. Every blade of grass must be sniffed, every light post needs to be marked, and heavenly days!! who pissed on that hedge? Wilbur's nose goes into overdrive and it literally drips like a leaky faucet while he jerks me this way and that. I know some training would probably take care of that but I'm ashamed to admit we've not gone that route.

This time we left our dinghy at the marina and walked on over to O'Leary's (where we'd eaten a couple of days before). It took a bit of time since we were dragging Wilbur but we finally got there. After passing a woman talking a blue streak into her cell phone, complete with crazy arm waving, we found a spot at the bar. Wilbur was surprisingly good and after lapping up a bowl full of water he settled down under our bar stools. We decided to order a late lunch (which meant I wouldn't have to cook dinner! Yaaaay!) and of course it was just after our food arrived that I realized Wilbur had puked. Gross, foamy, green puke right under our stools. While reading the 'rules for dogs' sign hanging up for all to see, I yanked a bunch of napkins out of the dispenser and tried desperately to mop up the mess hoping no one would notice what I was doing. And then the hand sanitizer machine was on the fritz and I since my hands hadn't really touched anything I thought 'Oh the hell with it', and ate my quesadilla anyway.

In the middle of all this, the crazy arm waving cell phone talker we'd walked past earlier, yanked out the stool on the other sided of Hans, climbed up and never missing a beat continued talking up a storm about who had witnessed to her, who she had witnessed to, and who might witness to whomever in the future, while we witnessed her sucking down one of many drink specials of the day (at $7.50 a pop I hope they were special!).

 

Trying to keep Wilbur from jumping off the sea wall.

 

Outside of O'Leary's, that's our mooring field behind me.

 

We walked back to the dinghy with Wilbur sniffing and marking the whole way and then headed on out to our boat. Everything went well, the dinghy motor only stalled once, and then we were there. Wilbur always has to be the first one off and I've quit fighting him over this and out he jumped to get on board but the dinghy bounced on a wave and one of his front feet slipped. He caught himself and then as he tried to jump the rest of the way his back feet missed and Wham! he was in the water. We had him clipped to his leash at his collar so the poor thing spun around by his neck as he frantically pawed and flailed at the water trying to get back into the dinghy. Somehow between the two of us we dragged him back on and then he didn't waste any time hustling onto the boat where he shook salt water all over the place.

 

Yet one more afternoon storm started to work it's way through but we were lucky this time. The storm skirted our mooring field and as we sat in the cockpit enjoying the cool breezes it brought, we watched a rainbow off in the distance as it struggled to form. First we saw one one end of it start off to the east and it was surprisingly intense, and then way off to the west we saw the other end try to take shape. It was huge. Then way up in the sky the middle part got going and it was also very intense. By the time it was fully formed it had faded quite a bit but rainbows are always exciting to see.

Wilbur, however, after his exhausting day wanted nothing to do with all this nonsense and had long since gone off to bed. Wilbur is truly the most mature being on the Knotty Cat and on most nights he heaves a huge sigh before shooting us his most disgusted look before thumping and bumping his way down into our berth.

Hours after the rainbow faded away we finally joined Wilbur who was snoring heavily in our berth. We'd just climbed in when I asked why everything seemed so wet because smack dab in the middle of our bed (and right below the open hatch) the sheet had a huge wet circle, and then I found my pillow was saturated. On came the lights and as Hans and I poked around and tried to figure out what happened (we were pretty sure it hadn't rained) I felt a third being between us. It was Wilbur, and in addition to our noses sniffing at the sheets, he was right there sniffing along with us. What was really strange was; Wilbur seemed just as perplexed as us and had none of that hang dog 'Dear God You Found Me Out' guilt complex going on. I finally tossed the pillow out into the cockpit, threw the sheet into the laundry basket, and called it a day.

Honestly, I think that poor dog wet the bed and I believe it happened once before. Wilbur would prefer if we don't dwell upon it.

Wilbur's favorite roost when he's tired; our pillows

 

Perhaps he was having dreams of the good old days on the hard when his mama brought him home soup bones

 

We finally turned around to come home and once again after getting into the gulf we had no wind and motored the entire way home. We managed to get back into our slip with no major trauma and with that our Shake Up Cruise was over.

Now that we're back our major concern will be getting our air conditioners installed and monitoring this season's hurricanes.

 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Shake Up Cruise (Day5) Animal Planet

 

 

The main concern I had for our current anchorage was the snob factor involved when dropping the hook in a small waterway where the shoreline consists of estates vying shoulder to shoulder with each other and nothing more than shrubbery discretely keeps them from peering into each other's windows. What I mean is; these people pay god knows what in property taxes and flood insurance in order to enjoy the view and bragging rights, and then people like us have the nerve to anchor for nothing in said water.

I'm more sensitive to this since I'll never forget the time we dared to anchor in Sunset Lake in Miami and made poor Fred K's life a living hell the whole few days we were there. And from what I've read, things have really escalated cruiser wise in Sunset Lake and Fred has spent quite a chunk of change with all kinds of devices intended to keep filthy cruisers out. In my opinion he will always be an ass.

 

After we managed to get into our little anchorage here without running aground we took a small dinghy tour and found out quite quickly that there are no dinghy docks as this is very restricted and residential. If you need to get to a store you'd better anchor elsewhere.

But we were all set with everything and really just wanted to relax.

Now, something I noticed here that I've picked up in other areas of what I'll call considerable wealth is this; the only people we ever see are the hired staff. Today all we saw were yard workers and pool cleaners. All those lovely patio sets and swimming pools sat completely unused. The only thing that was utilized today was the home alarm system in one of the houses on shore that's been going off for most of the day. Quite frankly, these particular filthy cruisers are finding it to be quite offensive and it upset an otherwise idyllic day. For shame!

 

After we dropped our anchor we noticed a huge bird nest in the mangroves behind us but since it appeared to be vacant we forgot about it until we saw a hawk flying over us several times. I laughed and stated that the Knotty Cat might be a bit more than than it could handle and then we heard a lot of insistent high pitched screeching bird noises. Sitting in what we had thought was an empty nest was obviously a mama hawk, and daddy hawk was apparently late bringing home dinner.

Mama is none too happy in her nest (sorry, bad picture)


Mama Hawk screaming from her nest: "Where the hell are you, you bastard? You said you'd be right back and these kids are hungry!"

Daddy Hawk (whom we'd witnessed dawdling about for quite some time) yelling back from the piling of the house in front of us: "A guy can't even smoke a cigarette fer Christ's sake, give me a break!"

Mama Hawk: "I know you're out there! You'd better not be screwing around with that whore in the next tree over!" (Right about then Mama Bird's Boy Toy dropped in for a visit)

Daddy Hawk obviously pecking at a delicious morsel of fish trapped between his talons that he just caught: "Shut up already! When I catch something I'll bring it home to you and the brats!"

Mama Hawk (after telling her boy toy he needs to get the hell out of the nest before her deadbeat husband returns): "Tell that to my lawyer!"

And then with a lot of screeching and screaming, Daddy Hawk arrived home with the remainder of his juicy catch just after Boy Toy took off and headed on over to the ever popular whore's nest.

As far as I know everyone lived happily ever after.

 

We were also visited several times by three dolphins. It's so quiet here we could hear them coming up for air all around our boat. Wilbur was fascinated as always and stood stock still as he watched them.

After our little dinghy trip around the area Hans took some pictures of the Knotty Cat

 

I needed to add this. Our mooring at Marina Jack's from the previous night. Typical Florida weather system.

 

From stern...

... to stem.

This is what we wake to on a daily basis in our berth.

Needless to say this has been the quietest anchorage we've ever experienced and the water was completely flat once the sun set. All the lights of the houses came on and we still never saw any people and no one asked us to leave. We aren't going to wear out our welcome though and will be leaving this afternoon.