Saturday, December 20, 2014

St. Augustine - December 3rd - 17th

We departed the marina on Merritt Island late in the afternoon of Dec 3rd and positioned ourselves at the NASA Causeway in south Titusville to witness the Orion launch the next morning.  The wind kicked up and a valve got stuck to delay the launch for a day.  We weighed anchor and moved up river to another good spot in Titusville by Parrish Park.  Success!  The rocket launched right as the launch window opened early in the morning.

After the launch we began our trek northward to Saint Augustine.  We encountered stiff northerly winds and strong currents for the entire passage.  It reminded me of our slog across the panhandle two seasons ago.  Why are we heading north in December you might wonder?  This season will be the last leg of our goal to transit the entire Florida ICW on nothing but sunshine.  We'll cross the FL/GA state line, then turn around and head south to Stuart, turn right to cross the Okeechobee Waterway ending up in Fort Myers.  

We arrived and dropped anchor in south Saint Augustine on the 9th.  The next day we moved to the City Marina to meet up with Kim Ross for our scheduled press conference with ReThink Energy Florida.  

We wound up on the front page of the local paper:

and another article from an alternative internet news outlet:
(Carter calls this one "the music video")

 Next we finished putting up the Christmas lights on the Arc to participate in the Regatta of Lights on Saturday night.  It was a lot of fun and we even got a swag bag and a big awards dinner at the Yacht Club after the parade. .

The day after the boat parade, we walked over to West Marine to pick up some needed items and got to see some of the beautiful old architecture here in Saint Augustine.  I am looking forward to being a tourist and experiencing the tour of lights!  I am definitely ready for some Christmas spirit!   

Pictures just don't do this sight justice.  This is the park in Old Town with lights outlining all the trees and a colorful Christmas tree in the center.

We also walked all over the old town of Saint Augustine including the fort.

It was a fun couple of days!

We were departing St. Augustine on the 17th when we noticed the El Galeon had arrived in town! Too cool.  We just had to get a picture of the Archimedes with that ship.

Excerpt from a flyer:

"El Galeon is a replica of a ship that traveled the coasts of Florida between the 16th and 18th centuries - transporting soldiers, colonists, goods, culture and ideas, and creating a centuries old bond between America and Europe.  The galleon was a large armed vessel used in transoceanic trade.  The vessel evolved in response to Spain's need for an ocean-crossing cargo ship capable of fending off pirates.  Pedro Menendez,founder of St. Augustine, along with Alvaro de Bazan, is credited with developing the galleon prototype.  The galleon was the mainstay of the Spanish Treasure Fleets that brought Spain great wealth and world power from the New World.

El Galeon is a 170 foot, 495 ton authentic wooden replica of a Spanish galleon.  It is owned and operated by the Nao Victoria Foundation of Seville, Spain.  Twenty-eight crew members are tasked with maneuvering more than 9,600 square feet of sail area in the same fashion as 16th century sailors.  Visitors on-board will explore the history and authentic interiors of a 16th century galleon while experiencing the detailed craftsmanship and grandeur of the vessel."

The Captain and I definitely want to take the tour of that ship on our way back down the east coast.

And a nice photograph of the end of our first day heading north toward Fernandina Beach.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Starting Up for Winter Season 2014-2015

The leaves had just begun to turn to their beautiful fall colors as we packed up to head south for the winter.  Our summer in Tennessee was great!  Well for me that is.  Carter worked his fool tail off while I enjoyed lots of great family time.

Our usual caravan!   This year Carter has decided to try out a different dinghy instead of the Boston Whaler.  We will be testing out Carter's latest invention using the the old dinghy Carter had set up for Ellen Peterson when she was alive. He has done extensive work to the old boat and we've named it "Spirit of Ellen Peterson" or Ellen for short.  This is the boat that inspired the idea solar propulsion for the Archimedes. .

One of Carter's project for the summer was to get his idea for "Ellen" as far along as possible and finish up once we get to Florida.

What is Carter's idea?  A flap tracker system, scaled down, of course.

Carter spent quite a bit of his very little free time working on this project in Tennessee.  He repaired the bottom and rub rail, painted it and he continues to detail it now that we are here in FL. 

It was raining when we arrived and it rained along with cold weather for quite a while. Obviously, the ramp to the boat had to be completed 

Carter decided to concentrate on indoor projects until the weather improved.  This included installing an additional water heater, a central A/C system (nice) and several upgrades to our power system wiring.   These projects kept him busy for quite a while.  But first he finished the hanging locker project we started back in the summer.

I really like the full length mirror for a door.

After clearing everything out of the mechanical room, Carter decided it was time to spruce this room up with some paint.   The shelf looks pretty good right?  Sorry I can't say the same for the salon and the stateroom ... where everything went in the meantime.

Unfortunately you have to make a mess to clean something up.  

Some piping for the new A/C unit needed to be done under the galley sink which is located next to the mechanical room so it got unloaded and a fresh coat of paint as well.

While Carter was working on of his projects, I put a fresh coat of paint on the chairs in the "veranda" and then headed back to Tennessee to finish a volunteer obligation.

For the new central A/C system Carter took one of those portable units that you usually run a hose out the window to operate. He bought it at a yard sale in Tennessee for $50 bucks, chopped it up with a Dremel tool, and reassemble it in the mechanical room with a new water cooled condenser coil. Carter admitted it was a little more work than he thought it would be but it cools the whole boat really well and it's nice to have that window unit out of the forward hatch that barely got the main salon cool.

Other projects:  loaded an additional battery bank, replaced 4 solar panels and replaced chain on the ground tackle.  After getting all this done, we washed the boat, Carter launched the Spirit of Ellen Peterson and we departed the marina on December 3rd.