We've been in Jacksonville one month now. Just thought we would check in and say hello to our friends and family who are following the blog. On that topic, we've had a pretty good bit of interest in the blog - 7,125 views since we started it 5 years ago when we left AL on our 41' Roughwater heading to Muskogee, OK to manage a marina on the Arkansas River. Of course, most of that is the same friends and family checking in on a regular basis who are particularly interested in our daily travels and progress, but we also get lots of interest from other boaters that we do not know. We regularly follow several of our boater friends' blogs and sometimes we'll check out a blog that helps us plan some of our travels. As an example, we've been reading some bloggers' accounts of traveling the St. Johns River out of Jacksonville south to Sanford. It looks like a really nice trip so we're making plans to do that before we leave Jacksonville heading north in the spring.
I had previously covered some details on the marina here at Harbortown when we first arrived. Here's a shot from the bridge over the ICW. Development of the vacant lot in the foreground will begin in May to include more marina facilities and residential units of some sort.
The ICW winds its way through here with 2 full tide changes per day (2 lows and 2 highs per day) of about 4 to 5 feet between highs and lows.
So what do we do all the time? Well, obviously we've been visiting a lot with Rhonda's family. We're also trying to keep up our bike riding pace but Rhonda is doing a better job than me! She's made several trips by bike to her parents' home which is about 5 miles one way. We rode them out to the beach one afternoon which is about 3 1/2 miles one way. Jacksonville (Neptune Beach) has a very nice walking beach.
The sea gulls look about the same here as everywhere else but I like playing with the camera!
This was an interesting photo-op our first trip out to the beach. I assume it's relevant to The Jacksonville Jaguars - I've seen at least one other one since then with a different color scheme.
I've spent most of my time getting work projects completed on the boat. Some of it has been routine stuff like changing filters and belts, cleaning strainers, and an occasional repair like a faulty breather on the starboard engine injector pump. But most of my time has been occupied by some larger projects.
When we bought the boat in Corpus, half of the sound shield for the generator was missing. Guess what - the remaining half doesn't do much good without the other half! Duh. So, after listening to the noise of a generator more times than we wanted to in the past 3 months, I decided to build a new one. After lots of measuring and planning, here's what I came up with.
It's 1/2 inch plywood built in 5 sections that snap together, with cutouts for incoming/outgoing lines and additional cutouts for air intake, heat/fumes venting, and access to check fluids. The inside is lined with one - inch sound proofing material. The key part of the planning was how to get the above into the generator room and mounted around the generator. As anyone who has ever owned a boat knows, there's not much room to work with. Here's the challenge area!
And here she is after much maneuvering and getting this almost-60-year-old body into positions and spaces I wasn't sure I would be able to get out of!
The good news is that my body has recovered and the sound shield works great - much quieter now!
My next project was to strip and varnish the teak sliding door and frame on the starboard side. A little history - every piece of teak on this boat (and there's a lot of it) except for a little bit on the back deck had been painted with white paint before we bought it. I have personally stripped and varnished all the teak and she is starting to look really nice with all the teak accents on board. I had planned to have all of it done before we left Galveston but my medical summer of last year put me about 4 months behind schedule. Two months in Jacksonville is a good time to try and get caught up. Here's before.
And after, with 6 coats of varnish so far. I normally do 10 to 14 coats by the time I finish - waiting on warm weather again.
Project #3 - remove some old and very thick non-skid add-on surface material that had seen better days, probably about 25 years ago. This before pic does not do the ugliness justice!
It was on both sides of the boat at the access points to the walk-around deck. While this is still not complete either (waiting on warmer weather), I've at least gotten the old up, made repairs to the deck, and gotten a coat of primer on.
Project #4 - replace chartplotter and radar. Some more history - we bought the boat with an antiquated chartplotter and radar. The radar worked great and we were able to navigate just fine with the old chartplotter and two sets of electronic charts on our IPAD and laptop. Then the radar died and it's expensive to repair the old technology, even if you can find the parts. Most radar displays these days are linked to the chartplotter display so we decided to update both. After much painstaking research time to get caught up on the latest technology, we ended up with a new Garmin 740s and a Garmin 18 HD Radar. I had a professional to do the installation to be sure it was done correctly and I can highly recommend Buddy Dean with Dean Marine Electronics. To cut down on costs, I did most of the prep work, pulling old equipment out and preparing for the new. I also had to relocate the TV antenna dish. Here's before on the outside.
Here's the new chartplotter display at the upper helm. It's pretty cool - you can have all chart or radar, split the screen for both, or overlay the radar on the chart. There are lots of other functions as well, too many to mention, gonna take me a while to learn all new stuff.
We have never used the lower helm before but anticipate using it a lot as we travel north into the Great Lakes and Canada. So, we added the capability to move the chartplotter display to the lower helm. Since we had no depth info at the lower station, we also added sonar capability for downstairs which will also display simultaneously with the charts and radar.
I've still got 17 things on my "to-do" list so I doubt I'll get them all done before it's time to move again. But at least some of the bigger jobs are done. And since it can't be all work and no play, I managed to get out once on the boat with my brother-in-law, Tony, and we took a spin in his 340 SeaRay Sundancer another day. Rhonda and I want to get new boat cards made up which will reduce my to-do list to 16 items. Traveling boaters swap boat cards like business folks swap business cards. Rhonda took some pics for us and we're considering this shot for the new cards. WDYT?
We are still waiting on passports for Canada and have lots more trip planning to do. So, we'll keep working on projects, hang out with the family, sightsee a little bit, and get ready to head out again in late March or so. See you at the next post.