Sunday, September 21, 2014

Back To Writing And Catching You Up

It has been some time since I have made any attempt to write a blog. In fact it looks to be close to a year. So much has happened and yet so little that I really didn't want to bore you all with day to day living in a marina with boat work thrown in here and there. The reason I am picking the blog up again is that soon we will be traveling/cruising again and of course that is the reason I keep this blog. One is so that I have a log of places we go, things we do and photos to see. This will be the big trip for us, the trip we have been waiting for since we began cruising. We thought it would be our first year of cruising but we are both glad that we took 4 seasons instead to travel the Bahamas and up the east coast a bit to give us more experience. Since that first season we have since sold our last boat and bought Renegade. We cruised two seasons on her and in the meantime returned stateside to do further work. Well there is only so much one can redo, replace, and upgrade. It soon will be time to cut the dock lines for an extended cruise. Our goal this first year is to head out of our marina in Merritt Island and head through the Bahamas hitting some of the spots we love and seeing some places we have never been. Then our goal is to make it to Grenada before the 2015 hurricane season starts up. As usual plans are written in jello and well, we make make it as far as Puerto Rico and stay there. The only sure plan is that we will not return to the states this year. Should be an adventure.......

So, I know the last time I wrote on the blog we were headed up to North Carolina to spend a couple months. We stayed in a nice marina at Carolina Beach that was within walking distance to the boardwalk and downtown.
Federal Point Yacht Club

Nice pool area
While there, our original sailboat that we owned Tybee Time came into the marina and was berthed just a couple slips down from us.
The first sailboat we owned and Renegade a couple slips down.
The owners Doug and Tina live onboard and seem to be loving her as much as we did. We also had our friends on S/V Last Star pull in right beside us. We had traveled with them some in the Bahamas and they were winding down their cruising life for now and needed a place to sell the boat from. So for a while we were busy busy visiting and sharing stories and just doing what it is we all like to do. We also have friends and family that live in Wilmington and in between the fun we actually found some time to do some boat projects. I know I wont remember them all as there have been so many in a years time. I do know that we took the older solar panel that came with the boat and replaced it with 2-240 watt panels.
Dirk lining up the bracket for the new solar panels

Brackets installed on the dinghy davits

First panel being installed
This helps tons with the power usage and on a good day we are able to put in around 150 to 180 amp hours into our battery bank. It may do better with thicker cable and thats something Dirk is looking into. Another project Dirk tackled was to tear out and rebuild the shower floor. On our last trip to the Bahamas I noted when I cleaned under the shower grate that the floor seemed a bit soft there. After digging into it we were surprised that no one had fallen through as the bulkhead had suffered water damage and was completely rotten below a certain point. We discovered this a couple weeks before having guest on board and we really needed to have it fixed before that. Well we were in the Bahamas and well there isn't a hardware store around every corner, heck, most places we were at had nothing ashore. So Dirk improvised. He found some old pallets on shore and collected the good wood from them to make it work. Make it work he did and now it was time to do it right. I have to say he did a great job of it and it now looks better than ever.
This was when we had the shower floor removed and all the rotted wood removed. you are looking at the hull of the boat with flaking paint. Oh and Dirks head as he is basically standing on it to get to the plumbing.

2nd new shower pan being made as the first one managed to fly off the dock when a gust of wind hit it. Dirk was not a happy camper

New floor framing going up

Framing done and new floor pan installed with drain

Dirk also built a new shower grate

Here is the shower grate once I sealed it
When it was time for us to leave North Carolina it was beginning to feel like fall and Florida was calling us back. We took the ICW back as the weather I recall was not that nice to travel the outside. Unfortunately by the time we got to South Carolina we received a call from Germany that there was a death in the family and Dirk needed to fly home to help his mom. We found a slip in the Port Royal Marina right on the ICW in Beaufort and Dirk went to Germany. He was gone for a month so Butters and I hung out there. It was a great marina with great staff. The staff knew the circumstances and came by often to check on me and to make sure I didn't need anything. They had a few courtesy cars and I was able to take one anytime I needed to do some shopping. Plus with a great restaurant on the premise I had everything I needed. One day I was sitting topside and look up and there I see our friends Doug and Tina again on our old boat headed south.
There's Pieridae heading south
Dirk returned the first part of December with his mother Anke and she joined us for the rest of the trip back to FL. It was at that point getting very cold at night so we stopped at Marinas most every day in order for her to have the benefit of heat at night. We made a few stops to keep the trip fun and stayed a day extra in St. Augustine and in Fernandina.
Anke enjoying the chilly but pretty sunset

Driftwood Beach

Driftwood Beach

Anke at Driftwood beach close to Brunswick GA
Made it to FL and its still cold

Fernandina Beach

Beautiful evening in St. Augustine with the Bridge of Lions behind us. You can see both of the solar panels here.

St. Augustine lit up for Christmas

Dirk and Anke playing tourist

Like Mother, like Son

Anke with Renegade moored behind her

Dirk and I at Bridge of Lions
We finally made it back to Florida in time to share Christmas with my sister and her family. This was the first Christmas that Anke had ever had outside of Germany so it was a new experience. Anke returned to Germany soon after New Years and life returned to normal aboard Renegade as we settled in to spend a season not cruising. We had decided not to cruise this past season in order to prepare for the upcoming journey. So as we get closer to leaving I will be posting more often so you can enjoy the crunch that we are feeling as time is getting short and there are many different things that need to happen before that date. Stay tuned....

1 comment:

Dave said...

Wow great pictures and great update! Hope we can meet up along the way!
D&T on Dealatis