Our second month in Titusville (or one job leads to another)
Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Mon 25 Aug 2014 21:31
Many apologies for not putting fingers to keys in the last month. Work on Ajaya has been taking up an inordinate amount of time and we've found the intense heat very debilitating. And, guess what, its not normally like this!! Luckily in recent days the thunder and lightening storms have become less frequent. We have a cooling breeze courtesy of a front which has pushed tropical storm 'Christobal' out of our way. Hurricane Bertha a few weeks ago also missed Florida but then went up to the UK and downed the rear fence of our house!
The solar panels arrived in the middle of July. Work began on making the structure to support them on the rear arch. A panel was duly 'offered up' to Mk 1 'tray' which promptly collapsed under the weight leaving us struggling to hold the panel level without going over board. Back to the drawing board. It was obvious that 'offering up' was not an option so the 'trays' had to be constructed precisely round the panels standing on the rear deck. There was a lot of measuring, re-measuring, thinking, trips to the hardware store, drilling, cutting, ordering of specialist fittings and climbing up and down. One of the stainless steel supports attached to the arch is even made from an old stanchion from that catamaran featured a few blogs ago. Needless to say this all took far longer than anticipated especially as the metal was often too hot to touch. Meanwhile, there was a lot of internet research on the wiring, controlling and fusing side of things with many an e-mail to knowledgeable friends. With the arrival of the next package the wiring can commence. The hard top building is on hold until we get back from our visit to the UK - that's where the third panel will live. Yes, we did get tired of the comments relating to powering the national grid and the like.
You bought how many? A few minor adjustments and a near perfect fit.............
Guess how many nuts, bolts and washers ended up in the drink - the dinghy caught most of them.
Whilst waiting for the panels to arrive we took the anchors and chains on a side trip to Jacksonville. They holidayed there for a week before being collected all shiny and new looking. This wasn't straight forward either. The chain had to be hammered to loosen the links from the galvanising process before being anywhere near free to flow through the windlass. The windlass is back in place but the job of re-enforcing the area where it sits has been added to the ever growing list. The hawser pipe needs a few finishing touches.
The steamy galvanising plant in the woods outside Jacksonville
Before and after.................
Meanwhile, one job continued to lead to another. Whilst we had a couple of dry days we took the sails off to store. The main sheet track car wouldn't move. It had seized solid. It took a hammer and wooden wedge to shift it to the end of the track where Skip had to remove the end stop to get it off to assess the problem. This involved taking the headlining down in the port aft cabin (which had just been cleaned). Even though we replaced all the headlining during the re-fit in the UK some of it is now suffering due to the heat on the hulls. The foam backing is disintegrating. So a small snow fall of yellowing foam dust and sticky bits ended up all over the upholstery. Oops. Further research on the internet also revealed that type of car is no longer made. Out with the Dremel. Two days later with a lot of cleaning, grinding, sanding and the amputation of one of the bearings the car is back on and moving to the mantra of 'hope it lasts another season'.
It has not all been work although it sure feels like it. Before 'the' panels arrived we had a great visit from our very good friends from Lanzarote. They were on their yearly holiday to Florida and were staying this time at Universal Studios, only an hour or so drive away. We had not seen them since we'd left the Canary Islands to cross the Atlantic in 2009. The weather unfortunately was not kind so we went to a nearby restaurant to catch-up on all their news. It was a little hot and humid on the boat. The children we left are now so grown-up but your Mum and Dad are just the same! Thanks for coming to see us.
On the wet dock and in the 'dry' restaurant.....
When we went to Jacksonville we decided to leave early in the morning so we would be back before the afternoon thunderstorms. It took roughly two hours there on the '95'. To change the scenery we came back on the '1' and stopped off in one of our favourite places for a spot of breakfast. St Augustine is steeped in history which we experienced on our way through a few years ago. The cafe we found was excellent. The feta, spinach, tomato and olive omelette was worth the wait. We took a quick walk along the front before heading back passing through Daytona Beach on our way back south, stopping to pick up a very large bag of oranges from one of the road side citrus sellers.
The Ponce de Leon bridge guards - here kitty - last time we were here 'Ajaya' was parked to the left
After many weeks of waiting we finally got to see a rocket launch. Two actually, one in the day and the other at night. The day time one was a Falcon 9 taking up communication satellites and the other an Atlas V delivering GPS 'stuff' into the ether. Always a spectacular sight.
The day time launches appear a little more impressive
On the subject of modern technology - computers to be precise, we went out to buy one twice. The first time we returned with a television and the second a light weight folding trolley. We did need a new monitor to watch DVD's on so the TV was a replacement item for the one we kept having to hit to make work. The bonus was that we managed to hook it up to our UK TV aerial up the mast. We now have FTA (Free to Air) TV stations to watch which include some that broadcast excellent BBC dramas and comedies. The trolley replaces a very rusty one. On the third attempt we ordered a laptop on line and had it delivered to Walmart. One of our existing computers has died, this one is six years old and keeps displaying the 'blue screen of death', the Notebook is too small and is really only an emergency back-up so a new laptop was needed. We never thought to look here in the States but they are so much cheaper. Well, for those of you who have had to set up a new computer with everything you need on a daily basis you know what we say when it is one of the most frustrating, time consuming and mind blowing exercises. Especially when you are not an IT specialist. It has taken weeks but we are nearly there. Skip plans, eventually after all the other work is done, to clean up and retire the old one to use for navigation alone.
Did we mention we've moved marinas? We are now in Westland Marina where we will be hauled out at the end of the month. It is all of half a mile from the other marina so it wasn't far to go.
'Ajaya's' new home for a week or so............
And so to critters..............
Manatee lying on his back with flipper exposed drinking water draining from the dinghy................................night time prowler