Belated Happy New Year from ....err.....Titusville

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Fri 9 Jan 2015 19:16
Yes – we are still here.  Yes – we are still ashore. No – the ‘hard-top’ isn’t finished!
Christmas came and went.  After the street parade the more nautical locals got together and had a Christmas boat parade. Boats of all shapes and sizes covered themselves in brightly coloured lights and went out into the ICW at dusk.  A loosely formed parade then motored from the Municipal Marina went under the bridge and on to another marina about 4 miles away. Not to miss out on the spectacle our ‘gang’ got together complete with lawn chairs and ventured into the park to watch. We believe their main objective was not to hit each other in the dark as their navigation lights were well hidden. There was certainly a lot of shouting!
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Before, during and after (the boat pictures weren’t much good!)
Many people in the marina disappeared off to spend time with relatives or friends over the Christmas week.  Our friends who are renovating a boat in the yard live in an RV (large motorhome) in a nearby RV park called amusingly ‘Manatees Hammock’.  Along with another full time ‘renovator’ they kindly invited us to join them for an alfresco Christmas dinner. So after a nasty Christmas Eve storm we woke to sunny skies, decided to stop work and go for a long walk over the bridge before heading to the RV park. These parks are a bit like marinas only land based! Each ‘pitch’ has power, water, sewerage hook-ups, picnic table and plenty of places to park cars, trailerable boats and other ‘toys’. Like camp grounds they have meeting places, pools, showers, laundrys, shops, fishing piers and more. But some of these motorhomes were huge! A completely different world of ‘snowbirding’. 
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Festive greeter, the pitch and (we all know what Christmas dinner looks like) the ‘Admirals’ beautifully cooked Cod – thanks guys
Between Christmas and New Year work continued.  The part that accidently got broken when the broken part was being replaced in the starboard heater arrived and now works. ‘Skip’ soldered the second ruptured water heater which seems to be working (touch wood) for now.  The original suppliers have offered a discount for new ones as a gesture of goodwill which is acceptable but they are out of stock and need to be shipped from the UK.  After yet another holding tank ‘incident’ – blocked to seaward (maintenance check) – the starboard manual bilge pump securing ring to the diaphragm broke.  During a wet spell ‘Skip’ decided to check the navigation instruments as they’ve been unplugged as a precaution during thunder storms plus the GPS antenna had been re-sited.  GPS didn’t work nor did the radar scanner. After lots of manual reading, internetting and mumbling the wires eventually found the right slots and appear to work. But, we are full of diesel after taking the jerries on shopping trips! And the extra stainless steel supports for the solar panels on the rear arch have been fitted.
New Years eve dawned wet and overcast again.  They’ve started to call it ‘sprinkles’ on the weather forecast. Well it had been sprinkling on and off for three days. We were invited to a friends boat in the marina next door as they were now afloat and a bit more operational than we are! We enjoyed good company, a few beverages, take away pizza, Christmas cake and chocolate.  Neither of us thought we would make it to midnight but we wandered back to Ajaya and did manage to watch the celebrations in Times Square on TV.  What is it with this dropping of things from a great height on count down?  Not a tradition we are au fait with over the other side of the pond.  Talking of countdowns – another rocket launch was cancelled a few days ago. 
After foggy starts we experienced a good spell of clear sunny weather, finally, on January 6th the ‘hard-top’ was turned over! As we are going to spend more time looking at the underside and the lighting strips ‘Skip’ wanted this to look as good as possible hence the hours of sanding, filling and faring.  The topside will experience some of that but not to such an exacting standard. We are not naming an end date yet but we do have to be out of the country by April 2nd!
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The motley supports the ‘hard-top’ was lying on – now the right way up on the stainless rim with less motley supports (motley ‘Skip’)
As we soldier on we wish you all a very Happy New Year and all the best for an interesting 2015.