Weather Always Wins

“The sun did not shine.  It was too wet to play.  So we sat in the house.  All that cold, cold, wet day.”

Dr. Seuss gets credit for the quote.  A strong El Nino gets the blame for below normal temps, lots and lots of rain and way too many storms.  NOAA says that “given that the previous eight winters in Florida experienced storminess much below normal (with no strong-to-violent tornadoes), the likely transition to a very active season may come as a surprise to those who are unaware.”  Thanks, NOAA, for ruining the surprise.

We started this adventure fairly well prepared and definitely aware enough to know we’d be dealing with the occasional surprise.

I mean really.  We took a cracked Electro Scan in stride.  We incorporated removing jellyfish from our raw-water intake strainer into our daily routine.  We appreciated the exercise we got when the dinghy engine died and we had to row it back to the boat…not once, not twice, but three times.  We didn’t flinch at the three flawless refrigeration installs.  There was no mutiny on the bounty when a huge wave crashed over the bow and soaked our bed.  We didn’t let a freshwater leak get the better of us.  Mildew?  That’s what bleach is for.  We’ve flinched but we haven’t faltered even in the face of a huge-honking, life-threatening pulmonary embolism.

Be that as it may, saltier sailors than me readily admit that Weather always wins.  We’ve been pummeled with front after front since September.  We put up the good fight determined to find warm, happy and dry but Weather is the reigning champion.

Defeated?  Hardly.

Aware?   Keenly.

Done?  Of course not.  FNR is simply staying put.  No more toddling down the ICW dodging fronts and waiting on weather windows.  No more looking for warm, happy and dry.  We’re happy and kind of warm and mostly dry.  We’ve found our Zen in Stuart.  FNR may not be going further south, but we are.

We spend a couple of days exploring the Everglades and the Keys and then take back US 1 through Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.  Steve sees his crystal clear water.  We hike a lot, hoping to see an alligator or two but the most wildlife we encounter are a few birds, a swarm of mosquitoes and a camel on the side of the road at some sketch wild animal rehab center.  Still, it was fun and don’t tell FNR, but it was good to get off the boat.

I read today that El Nino is strengthening and likely to last into spring.  I imagine that means we’ll be dodging fronts and waiting on weather windows as we begin our 850 plus mile journey back to North Carolina next month.  But I remember what a really smart cat once said.  “I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.”  Yes, Weather always wins, but that doesn’t mean that losing can’t be an adventure.

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Closest thing to a real alligator we’ve seen

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Mangrove forest

 

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Say whaatt??

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Skeeters!!!!

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Not sure what I think about this…

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Yes, that’s a zebra back there.

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What are YOU looking at??

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I think I’ve been here before

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A stranger enjoying the sunshine while he can. I know how he feels.

My Captain is Handier than Your Captain

Yes, most captains are handy. They’re either handy or they’re rich because most cruisers can’t afford to not DIY.

Still, I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again. Steve is the handiest man I know. Engine maintenance? Check. Electrical issue? Check. Plumbing? Check. Refrigeration? Check. Carpentry work? Check.

Living with a handy man sure comes in handy and I take Steve’s handiness for granted. If something needs to be done, I just assume Steve will do it. Most times, I’m right but I have learned that if Steve puts off a project, then 1) he’s studying on it or 2) it’s going to be aggravating or 3) both.

“Both” is why Steve put off a project I added to his Honey-Do list back in July.

At one point in time, FNR had a diesel generator on board. When we bought her, the generator was gone but whoever removed it, left the controls in the bulkhead. I wanted the controls removed, because 1) they didn’t control anything anymore and 2) they were unsightly and 3) they were attached to a tangled mess of wires in the cockpit locker that were always in the way.

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Those contols gotta go!

It took Steve almost all day to run down all the wires in the cockpit locker and snip the ones that weren’t needed anymore but it took him 6 months to get around to finally patching the holes left in the bulkhead.

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And, I thought the controls were unsightly…

Admittedly, Steve attempted to patch the holes a few times but couldn’t find a piece of teak plywood at a reasonable price. After studying on a couple of other approaches, he finally decided to go with teak veneer applied to a very thin piece of plywood.

With his poster board pattern in hand, Steve goes to work. Cutting and sanding plywood with one of those multi-function oscillating tools appears to be aggravating so I go to yoga. By the time I get back, Steve is ready to cut out holes for the electrical outlet and the propane control switch.

M: Want some help with that?

S: Well, unless you want to cut the holes, I am not sure you can help.

M: I don’t want to cut the holes. I want to hold the vacuum while you cut so you don’t get sawdust everywhere.

S (rolling his eyes): Okay. Great. That will be very helpful.

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How’s that for some clean hole cutting?

Once the holes are cut, Steve uses contact cement to attach the teak veneer to the plywood and then glues the plywood to the bulkhead with construction adhesive.

Generator controls removed? Check.

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What generator controls??

Yes, most captains are handy. I think mine just happens to be the handiest!!