Friday, November 13, 2009
Preparing to cruise is a lot like work!
After getting our land based stuff stored and automobiles moved to Pensacola, we left the Demopolis Yacht Basin (in Demopolis Alabama) September 7th and headed down the Tenn-Tom waterway. Three days later we were anchored in Ingram Bayou (between Pensacola, Florida and Mobile, Alabama) when our new Excide starting battery developed a short and melted a terminal and destroyed some battery cables.
We managed to crank the engine with the house batteries and motored on in to our friend's dock, Tom and Bobbie Vandiver, on Bayou Chico in Pensacola, Fl. We spent our time visiting with friends, celebrating a friend's 70th birthday, and repairing wiring and replacing the dead starting battery. Lesson learned: Never buy an Excide battery! In our opinion, their warranties are as worthless as their batteries. After a great three weeks, we stored the car and moved our truck to St. Pete Beach, put the sails back on the boat and headed out to the Gulf of Mexico.
We had planned to stop by Destin (again to visit friends) and Apalachicola (to eat some oysters), however, the weather was so good, we decided to do a couple of overnights and head straight to St. Pete Beach. Along the way, we caught two King Mackerel and one large Spanish Mackerel, so have been enjoying a freezer full of fish.
We arrived at St. Pete Beach and our friend's house, Ted Irwin and Peggie Rowe, about noon on the third day. We anchored off from their dock in about 7ft of water. There was no room at Ted's dock because he had his 41ft, 54ft and 68ft sailboats tied up there.
We had lots of projects planned for Mobetah while in the Tampa Bay Area including: having the life raft recertified, new battery for epirb, pulling the mast and replacing the mast boot and wedge, repainting the mast, boom and pole, installing a new TV antenna, installing new roller furling, installing new insulators on the back stay, checking all the standing rigging, having the sails checked and restitched, and installing a Tides Track and a new Mack Pack. Ted, a St. Pete Beach native, seemed to know everyone in the boat business and was a great help in not only lining up people to do some of the work, but also helping with a lot of the grunt work in the yard.
Most of the work is now completed (still waiting for the Mack Pack to be delivered and the life raft to be repacked and certified). It has certainly taken longer than we had planned, and as often is the case with a boat, we ended up doing more projects than we had anticipated, but we are beginning to see the end. Now it's on to provisioning, dealing with the truck and obtaining insurance for the N.W. Caribbean. In a week or two we hope to head on down the coast to Marco Island, where we will top off the fuel and water tanks before heading to the Dry Tortugas (a National Park 75 miles west of Key West), so we can rest up and wait for weather before heading out for Isla Mujeres Mexico.