Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December 7-11, 2015 - Continuing Projects

We continue to knock projects off the list that is growing shorter and shorter but still feels like it will never end.

Carter reinforced the sundeck structure.

We hired a man to install the flooring in the galley and stateroom a couple of years ago but for some reason he did not complete the job by going up the side of the boat under the pantry shelving.  So, Carter completed this.  Love it!

Now, here was a big project.  Notice the panels on the center array do not match. This came about because we expanded the array a few panels at a time over a couple of years. The fore and aft arrays were the last to be installed and the four poly crystaline panels were the first kiloWatt we bought before going to mono crystaline next. So we switched all the original poly panels to the sundeck array. It's hard to appreciate the difference in these pictures but it does look a lot better now.
One mismatched panel removed.
Two mismatched panels removed.
Sundeck panels removed.
Project complete.   

Back to painting.

Our new color scheme.  Light blue walkways, bright white deck and dark blue trim.
I even spray painted two of the black deck boxes white so they would blend in better.
Another gorgeous sunset on the panels.

Update the Travel Blog.....Project Complete!

December 1-6, 2015 - Let the projects begin.

The weather was very hot the first 2 weeks we were here in LaBelle but Carter powered through some major projects.

Carter wanted to beef up the structure for the solar arrays this year. Although the system has woked very well and has survived 6-8 ft seas in the gulf and some 70 mph winds at anchor on the ICW, Carter wanted to stiffen it up a little more. This additional horizontal support will allow us to raise and lower the the main array now with one actuator instead of three. This could come in handy if one of them fails while we are cruising.

Our friend the 8' alligator comes by every afternoon looking for handouts.
We DO NOT feed the alligators. But someone around here does.
Carter focused attention to the motor of the Boston Whaler which we plan to use as our dinghy this year.
It was in desperate need of a new water pump impeller not to mention he took apart and cleaned the carburetor about 3 times before finally getting it to run right. Now it's running better than ever and the only thing left is new bottom and topside paint. 

Another item that has been on Carter's list of chores for a while now was to replace one of the universal joints in the original drive line. This is original to the boat and over 30 years old and what a nightmare of a job!  After about 3 days of pushing, pulling, beating, banging and a lot of cussing, Carter persevered and won that battle.  Engine room Pilates in progress in this pic!

Next, Carter went back and "fine tuned" the installation of the new loo. After we installed it originally we noticed a very slight wobble because the hole in the boat floor was just a little smaller than the opening from the head. Unfortunately the hole was thru 5/8" steel reinforced, 10,000 psi concrete. But about a half hour of angle grinding cured that problem, (hole making a monumental mess of dust), and now the the new loo is steady a rock! Or maybe as steady a toilet ON A Rock.

We resumed our sunset Whaler rides just like in the early days back in the Oxbow.
Radar LOVES to hang 10...15...20 on the bow!

Watch out Radar!  That gator is looking for you!
Mmmm Dinner!
{Groan}  This is every Captain's nightmare.  This boat sunk in the 2nd basin of this marina.  

We moved on to some upgrades in the stateroom and removed the old wall paper as it was beginning to peel off.
I scrubbed off all of the glue and prepped the wall for paint, then it was Carter's turn.

Carter doesn't let me paint much any more.  Maybe because I "whoops" too much?

Continuing with our new color scheme, light blue in this room. This is also the wall the new super high eff. heat pump is going to be mounted on so this moved that project up on the priority list. 
I like this A LOT!
Caught this guy hanging out at the entrance to the marina one evening during our sunset Whaler ride.

Radar and I hanging out on the bow of the Whaler enjoying the sunset.
Painting has begun.  The forward hatch has been removed and set up in the work area
so that extensive repair can be made.
Carter worked on this project for several days adding layers of epoxy to replace some rotting wood.

We have never painted the shower floor and sump so this was a good time to get that done.
Another lengthy project layering epoxy rebuilding the bollard.

Almost completed repair to the bollard. Just a little sanding and painting left.

The paint over the stove was peeling so we scraped and painted that area and continued the paint on the wall behind the spice rack.

Project complete.
Painting the dorade boxes and the engine room hatch.

Project complete.

Onward to the walkway.
Carter replaced the fluorescent  light in the galley.
Taking time out to visit with an old friend Garrett with drinks and a delicious meal.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Preparations for Winter Season 2015-2016 Begins

We arrived at Port LaBelle in early November which is late by our normal routine but Carter's work lasted longer than usual.  As always, the first order of business is to prepare easy access to the boat and clear out a good work space for Carter.  There are a couple of pretty big projects that need to be completed before moving the Arc.  After Carter weed wacked some space for the vehicles and working tables, he proceeded to put the ramp together. 

Carter is covered in sandspurs after weed wacking the parking/work area.

Beginning to construct the ramp to the newly cleared area.

A job well done.
This will be the 6th season that we have used the ramp for easy access to the Arc.  Usually we position the Arc next to shore somewhere so Carter can get back and forth to the truck easily while working on the boat. This year we used it as a short cut so we didn't have to all all the way around to the existing parking area at the far end of the dock  We didn't realize just how popular this ramp would be.  Turns out several other boaters like to use the shortcut!

Radar found his happy place while all the work was happening!

 A snake had located himself on the deck box right at the main companion way.  He had to be evicted from the boat immediately!  Then an 8' alligator drifted by to see what all the commotion was about.

Carter next set about clearing the deck to pressure wash in preparation for painting.  It's been 4 years since the superstructure has been painted so the time has come.

Everything is off the deck and on to the dock for the time being.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September - A Visit From Electric Blue

Several months ago we caught wind of another boat planning to convert to 100% solar electric power with the goal of making the Guinness Book of Records by completing the Great Loop on solar power.  We reached out and made contact with Captain Lee Wheelbarger on the Electric Blue Motor Yacht.  ( electricbluemotoryacht.com )

After months of keeping in touch, we were excited to hear that the 'Crew of Blue' was preparing to move the boat down to the west coast of Florida to continue the refit in warmer weather during the winter.  We made plans to meet up with them in LaBelle as they passed by crossing the Okeechobee Waterway.  Figuring they were probably weary from the hard cruise they had been on for weeks we decided to put on a dinner for them when they arrived. We prepared a tasty steak and potato supper with key lime pie for desert and then set about helping them with a few chores.  Electric Blue had a guest on board, Robert Brown, who video recorded a portion of the trip, across the Okeechobee Waterway.  Our meeting was included in one of the segments.


Electric Blue coming into the basin with 1st Mate Steven and guest videographer Robert Brown on deck.

Captain Lee and Robert Brown taking a break while waiting for the steaks to come off the grill.  

Electric Blue with the Archimedes behind it at Port La Belle.