Swing Set

Oct 29, 201212:08 PM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Some Maintenance Issues

We've reached a resolution with John Bloch of Bloch Marine back in St. Louis, I believe satisfactorily, to everyone involved. I had originally desired an adjustment to our bill from our bottom paint job back in March because for some reason some paint has been flaking off and we didn't want to bear the cost of a new paint job so soon after just paying off the last paint job. Pulling the boat and pressure washing the bottom in order to inspect the rest of the hull would remove most of some good paint still on the boat, and not pressure washing could dry out any growth I may have missed when I scraped the hull a few weeks ago. And the growth could dry up and peel off, taking paint along with it. Given the extent of the flaking, John decided to adjust our bill and give us a credit on our VISA after all. We cannot be more satisfied with the way Bloch Marine has treated us on this issue.

If you remember, we had some issues with rain leaking into our salon during a heavy rain. I thought I had the problem fixed by tightening the mounting bolts on our spotlight, but that didn't seem to be the cause because on the day after we arrived here in Bimini Basin, we had a hard rain and the ceiling in the salon started dripping again. Rain water streams in around the windshield along the port side and runs down the inside of the flybridge. I opened some ports in the area, looking for water inside the flybridge sides, but couldn't find any. I mentioned the problem to our friend Gary, and I also asked about the weather stripping and how the windshield was attached to the top of the flybridge. Gary has a similar setup on his Gibson houseboat back in St. Louis and told me to remove the weatherstripping and check the screws that hold the windshield in place. I did just that and found that all of the screws along this port side were loose. I pulled out each screw, inserted some silicone into each hole and reinserted the screws. I think this will solve our issue, but we haven't had any rain to test it yet.

Hurricane Sandy is about to wreak havoc on the East Coast of the US. We've had some heavy winds here in Cape Coral, and one of the small sailboats anchored here broke loose and almost made it to shore before hooking up again. The incident made us cautious, and we made it a point to mostly remain aboard Swing Set so we could monitor the situation. I did put our big Danforth anchor down in addition to our bow anchor, just as a precaution. The area is fairly tight in here, plus seven other boats are in residence along with us.

You can see the chop on the water when this photo was taken yesterday afternoon. The palm trees along the shore at the city park on the northern side of the basin are blowing pretty good, and we could see the sand blowing too. Gusts of 35 mph were reported, and our wind generators were doing a bang-up job for us.

A few days ago, one of the sailboats next to us had a hatch cover blow open. The owner was gone when it happened, and Rosie reported to me that "the cover on that guy's window blew open, and it's leaning against that pole". By "pole" she means "mast." Obviously, we are not sailors. I asked one of the other "sailors" in here with us if I should go aboard and close the hatch, but was told that it wasn't a good idea. Given that the owner only paid $500 for the boat, it was determined that there may not be anything inside the boat to protect anyway, plus the owner did leave it partially open when he left to go out of town.

On Friday, I installed our new davit winches, shown here. I really like the look, and they are easier to crank. The major issue with them was that I replaced the straps they came with and used stainless steel cable instead. I'm also revamping my safety strapping method for the dinghy, reducing the number of ropes and straps I have to use. Less is more sometimes, I say.

Yesterday, I took the dinghy over to gather up Gary and Judy, and we spent our Sunday afternoon aboard Swing Set, enjoying the sunshine, although a stiff breeze blew all day. It was like old times on the Mississippi River, but two items missing was their houseboat and about 30 of our other friends in their boats.

Our neighbor, Kim, came by in her dinghy and said hello. She is the single woman that has lived aboard her sailboat for the last 19 years. When I removed the old davit winches, I asked her if she knew of anyone who may want them and she said she didn't know of anyone off hand, but she would take them to a local marina and leave them on the "goodwill table." I took note of her benevolence in spite of her apparent meager economic condition, her having mentioned more than once about having no money and nothing to eat until "payday" on the first of the month, so when she came by unannounced with a couple of movies for Rosie and I to watch later on Friday, I asked her if she wouldn't mind taking some canned goods off our hands, if the charity wouldn't offend her, of course. She took the few cans, but when she came by yesterday to say hi when we were having a few cold ones with Gary and Judy, we learned that she "didn't like to eat canned goods." People are strange.

 

I had been contemplating getting our transmission oil changed, and having never done it before, I was a bit uncertain about it. The procedure calls for replacing the oil sump filter, plus the drain plug is in a hard to reach area. I got online and found out how to do the job, and I decided to give it a go, saving a few bucks.

After breakfast yesterday with Gary and Judy at our favorite restaurant here in Cape Coral, El Mambos, we stopped by our favorite hardware store, where we bought a small drill-powered fluid transfer pump so I can remove the transmission oil with no mess. I found out that just cleaning the sump filter with mineral spirits and reinstalling is the common method, so I'm going to tackle this job myself on a day when I don't have anything to do. (This is a joke.) I paid a little more for the pump at the nearby hardware store than I would have paid at the further away Harbor Freight Store, but I told Gary that keeping that hardware store in business is a good idea and he agreed.

The other night, we went to the Monkey Bar for happy hour with Gary and Judy and had a pretty good time, although when the one-man band struck up a tune that had some older folks in attendance up doing "the bump," I think I saw one or two colostomy bags burst. Welcome to the geriatric state of Florida.

I mentioned El Mambos; for $3.50 you get three eggs any way you like them, a very generous helping of either sausage or bacon, Cuban bread and a mug of delicious Cuban coffee. You can't beat it. The refill of coffee alone is $3! Last time we visited Cape Coral, we went to El Mambos four days in a row. Geriatrics save money this way.

I think if it was up to our friends here, we would go out to eat three times a day, but we have to consider our budget and our livers, so during our two-week stay here we've taken a few "breaks." Today is one of those days. I'm going to piddle around, perfecting my dinghy safety harness system, and also pull our four sea strainers and put some pennies in each one. I got this idea when we were staying with Carl and Greg in Panama City. Carl installed copper tubes on his raw water lines, and I asked why. He said it was because the copper leaches into the intake water and inhibits some marine growth. The copper will eventually disintegrate, is what I thought, and I wondered if just putting some copper into the strainers would work just as good, not causing a leak at some point. (Think about the reasoning behind the method of including copper into bottom paint.) So, after always leaving pennies at the sales counter anytime we got them as change, I found myself purchasing 50 pennies at the hardware store yesterday. It may not work, but it can't hurt anything, plus I'll always know where I can find my last 50 cents if we need it.

We woke up to the calmest morning yet here in Bimini Basin. The water was nearly smooth as glass, as this picture I took at daybreak shows. I decided to try an experiment this morning; as soon as I got up, I let Holly out of her "room" and took her outside. The transom door has been left open lately and I told her to "go potty." After sniffing around a bit, she stepped down to the swim platform and peed. She has been doing this throughout the day lately, but this was the first time I tried letting her out in the morning first thing. Big deal, right? There's more. During our breakfast, Holly was left to run rampant around the salon, playing with one of her toys, and at one point she went over to the screen door and began pawing at it. Rosie let her out and she went back out to the swim platform to poop. This is monumental. We spend between 25 and 40 cents for each potty pad that we use, at times using two or three per day. We're talking about some serious cash here. I think I'll call Gary and Judy this morning and tell them we can afford happy hour on Wednesday now.

Meanwhile, we are forging ahead with paperwork regarding the sale of our condo. It's nice having a scanner and printer here on the boat. Any form that cannot be DocuSigned can be printed, signed, scanned and sent back, making this an easy experience so far. This being Monday, we expect to have documents and forms flying back on forth via computer all day long. I may have to take a rest before I start my self-appointed chores.

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