Friday, August 22, 2008

On the Hard during Tropical Depression Fay

On Monday, August 18th – Wink and Wilma moved John Henry from our regular Green Cove Springs slip over to the Reynolds Park Docking Area to be lifted out of the water. Wink had made a decision to have a Sea Chest installed which replaces six Sea Strainers.

Our Sea Strainers continuously were clogged up and had to be cleaned out daily. Our hopes with the Sea Chest is that the cleaning out will be less frequent. Another reason to change is that our port engine continues to overheat under full throttle. We’re hoping with more water flow the engine will remain cool.

John Henry in the Reynold's Park Boat Lift

Reynolds Park has their large white boat lift working, surveyed and certified. We were hauled at 8:00 am. Our first plan was to check out the bottom. We were rolled into Reynolds’s fully certified & concreted area to catch all barnacles and debris. Through some miss-communication, the hull had not been cleaned for 10 weeks. A subcontractor at Reynolds offered to give us a quote for his crew to scrap the barnacles and pressure wash the bottom (under 2 hour job). They wanted $750 – we quickly said, “NO THANKS”. Wink scrapped the running gear while Wilma used our small electric pressure washer to clean the bottom. It took 4 hours and really didn’t cost anything. Wink and Wilma did look like they had the black plague from all the mud, but a shower made it all better. Plus, we have the pleasure of saying we did it ourselves.

Wilma is pressure washing the bottom of the boat. It's cleaning up very nicely.

We had the bottom painted last June and it seems to be holding up very well. We'll need to have it repainted next year.

Above: This is what one of the water inlet looks like after 10 weeks in the St. Johns River. It's covered with mud and barnicles.

While we were cleaning the bottom, Ryan from Mirage Mfg. (the boat builder) came by and removed all six of the Sea Strainers and thru hull fittings that we are replacing. Once we finished with the bottom and had our showers on board, we had time to relax as our move from the Bottom Cleaning area over to the Blocking Up area wasn’t scheduled until late afternoon.

Above: After thru hull fitting is removed and bottom is pressure washed. Of course, all six thru hull opening will be patched and the bottom touched up with paint before we finish.

The running gear has also cleaned up well. Tomorrow we'll smooth away the footprints of the barnicles to ensure smooth running. Also the bow thruster cleaned up nicely.

About 3 pm, the driver of the large white lift arrived and away John Henry went. This lift is certified for 63 TONS. John Henry is only 61,000 lbs. John Henry also only takes up half of the lift. After we were relocated to our new parking area, it was decided that since the lift is not scheduled for immediate use and Tropical Storm Fay had decided to make an S in the Atlantic and come back to Florida – John Henry will remain in the lift. Reynolds did block our boat to keep it from swaying in the wind.

BIG NOTE: There was some question on how to block the boat so we call Ken to get the proper blocking procedure. It’s simple; use adjustable jack stands (a minimum of 12 for a Great Harbour 47 not in a sling) along the chine of the boat. Once the stands are in place make sure the boat yard links the stands from port to starboard under the boat with chain.

Please note the white painters tent to the right side of John Henry. See how pretty it is. Another picture later of the tent during the storm.

The lift is so large that we parked our car inside it next to the boat and there was still room for another car to go around us.

We had John Henry in a huge lift, 8 jack stands along the chine and 2 wooden stands in the middle along the chine. A hurricane/tropical depression was approaching and we hoped all would go well.

Above: Setting up the Jack Stands.

Mirage has been busy working on two projects. The Sea Chest and the Bow Eye installations are going well. The only hitch with the Bow Eye install is that all the new boats are made a little different than us old boats. In fact, we are the last boat made with a ram board installed in the front. All boats after us have an access panel under their beds. We had to have an access panel cut out and the ram board is also altered so the Bow Eye can be installed. Part of the installation will be that a stainless steel plate is mounted on the back of the Eye to insure strength. Then it’ll be fiberglassed to perfection.

John Henry is getting ready for the Bow Eye. This project will not be finished until Monday.
This is how the Master Stateroom normally looks.

Above: Two mirage crew are creating an access area for the Bow Eye.

Below: Wink chose to have the Sea Chest mounted nearer the back of the boat so that he can access it with our pressure washer when it really needs a good scrubbing.
Tropical Storm Fay Enters the Scene!

The rains started on Tuesday, right on schedule. Today is Friday and they are finally slowing down. We have had winds from 35 – 55 mph for 4 days. Living on board has been very interesting and a bit stressful. Luckily the weather is quiet cool and we don't need the air conditioning system which doesn't work on a boat with it's out of the water.

We’ve had several power outages. On the first outage, we packed up our freezer and loaded the car and headed over to Semper Fi (a Mirage charter boat that we arranged to use if needed). At least on Semper Fi, we can turn on the generator and keep the food cold and even have A/C. We just happened to stop in at Reynolds Park office and while we were there, the power came back on – so back to John Henry we went.

We find that Green Cove Springs Power department is very well organized and they seem to have under a two hours turn around repair rate.

Rain and Mud - Sara, the sea dog, is only going out occassionally to do her business. She uses the poop deck when it's really nasty. She also hates being carried up and down the ladder.

Wink went out on Wednesday to double check all the Mirage boats on Dock #2. He came back with a good report. All is well.

The nice white painters tent I mentioned in an earlier photo is located just by the big white boat lift. It had a bit of difficulty with the wind. It shredded almost immediately. If you've ever heard plastic flapping in the wind (high wind) you know that it is very loud and it makes the weather seem worse than it already is.

This big brown platform located at th end of Dock 3 has been sold we are told. But who knows when it will go away.

Rain, Rain go away!
Wilma went over to Dock 2 this morning and took some pictures of all the boats riding high in the water. It’s about 4 feet from the pier down to the water line and we suspect it will be less of a difference tomorrow.
Double JJ - Mirage Built GH37 Trawler - For Sale

Lady Leah (she use to be) Mirage Built Trawler GH37 - For Sale

Pokey - Newly Launched Mirage Built Trawler - GH47

Semper Fi II - Usually the N37's are not all that visable at the giant concrete docks of Reynolds Park. Semper Fi III is docked on the other side of the dock.

Semper Fi III

Cloud X is riding high, really high since it's such huge ship.

Who Cares will be around until early November.

It seems to be common knowledge that both of the Cape ships have been purchased and rumon goes that they'll leave before the end of the year. We'll see!

A finger pier in the middle on the river side has broken away from the floating docks and is missing. A second finger piers (location is the first finger pier on the left - river side) sunk during the night last night.

Boats on the floating dock off of Dock 2.

Black Creek has been issued an alert that the water level is at 19 feet which is the highest it can go without causing flooding. The county issued a warning to creek homeowners that the creek will rise to 22 ½ feet. Homeowners on Black Creek should not ride out the flood in their homes.

Special Report as we speak, Black Creek is already exceeding it's banks and not expected to crest until later in the weekend.

There was a tornado today on Hwy 17 near Fleming Island. Green Cove Springs was under a tornado alert and they were tracking a rotation up Hwy 17 towards Fleming Island. It was reported shortly after that a tornado had touched down.

Storm photo minutes before Tornado hit Fleming Island. It was a small event, thank goodness.

Storm photo: Taken just before the tornado was spotted north Green Cove Springs.
The Tropical Storm Warnings have been cancelled for East Florida.
The Sea Chest is complete on the inside of the boat. It looks like we'll stay in our cozy sling until Tuesday or Wednesday. Wink and I plan to clean up and hose down the boat from all the workers who have been on board during a storm. Wink also plans to replace our under platform lights located under the swim platform. One had burned out and the other is going to be removed and saved as a spare. Two new lights are being installed.
We are going over to Dock 2 tomorrow morning and if the water height is significant, I'll be in contact with the Mirage Boat owners.

More of the Summer - The Lost Roll

Above: Aunt Ruby helps take care of Wilma's mom and dad part time. She also loves anything tropical - so she enjoys us having a boat and living our dreams.
Above: Wilma's Dad - all dressed up for a seniors lunch at their church. Wilma's mom is in the picture below.
Below: Amber and Mama Cat.
Below: Emma - Left and Amber - Right working on their Watercolor by Numbers at their Great Grandmothers home in Yazoo City, MS.
Below: Wink with Wilma's son, William and his daughters Amber & Emma in Yazoo City, MS.
Below: Wilma with her Dad! in Yazoo City, MS
Since we were in Yazoo City for two weeks, the granddaughters decided they wanted to help cook. Amber and Wilma made a simple foil meal for dinner for 6 people. Wilma and her mom use to make these dinners when she was kid, too. Wilma still cooks these on the boat from time to time.
COMPLETE DINNER IN FOIL - or you can add a salad on the side!
Start with a large piece of foil. Place the following items on the foil.
Hamburger first, then sliced onions, then sliced potatoes, then sliced carrots, add salt and pepper and then bake at 425 degrees for about 40-60 minutes.
Amber removing the food from the foil and placing on a plate for each dinner guest.
Emma wanted fresh green beans from the garden so we went to the garden and picked some green beans and Emma agreed to snap them.
Wink and Emma went to the Petrified Forrest in Flora, MS and also went rock hunting in several of the creek beds and Amber joined them on a walk in woods for a great adventure.
Emma possing with a good example of fungus growing from a tree, her walking stick in hand.
Amber and Emma watch as Grandpa picks up a box turtle walking in the road near the house. We decided to keep the turtle for a few days and placed it in a Styrofoam box which it promptly decided it could escape from.
After several escapes, a unanimous decision was made to just let the turtle have a run of the house. Wilma's parents are use to having all sorts of critters around. As kids, Wilma's siblings brought home everything you can imagine from flying squirrels to alligators. The great-grandchildren seem to have the same knack.
Here is the box turtle walking around the living room. Wilma's dad kept saying "I think that's a turtle over there" and he was right every time.
Wilma's brother Hardy has a four wheeler and he let Wink use it to go rock hunting in the creek behind his house. Wilma got to join him for one day near the end of the visit. We found lots great petrified wood. Wilma's has been planning to walk the creeks for many years and was thrilled to find some petrified wood.
Wilma took pictures of Wink in the creek. We took our rock hammers with us for just in case. As you see from the picture below, the petrified wood is just laying around.This medium size piece of petrified wood is just right of the hammer.
Wink found a large piece of petrified wood in one of the creeks, it weighs about 50 pounds. We don't have a picture, but we have the piece at the condo. We'll take pictures when it's all cleaned up.