Its a hard life on the hard

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Tue 19 Nov 2013 02:49
The haulout was surprisingly painless.  We had a diver to arrange the lifting straps to avoid any through hull fittings.  He was a portly chap with long hair, looked like he rode a Harley.  We are in the deep south now, the “bible belt”, and so perhaps it was not surprising that he prayed before he went in the water.  Should it have filled us with confidence, that he was looking for divine support in his endeavour?  Anyway, despite his best efforts, the straps managed to trap some of the through hull fittings, but nothing broke under the load, so perhaps the prayers worked.     
Here we are now, perched up on wooden blocks, now with two flights of steps to get to our home.  Things are a bit challenging.  On the one hand, we do have Publix and West Marine within walking distance.  On the other hand, this is Florida and the weather is hot even in November, so we need lots of cold beer and sodas.  Unfortunately now we are floating in air rather than in water our fridges and air conditioning are not available to us.  The stuff in the freezer did stay frozen for two days, which was about long enough for us to eat everything that remained that could still be identified.  We threw out the other baggies of whatever leftovers it had seemed like a good idea to freeze at the time.
After a couple of days the freezer defrosted and started stinking of rotting fish.  Andrea had to clean it out.  We then came up with the cunning plan of storing food and beer in the icemaker (which is air cooled and is still working).  Unfortunately it is an icemaker and so it tends to freeze stuff you put in it.  Our milk was continually freezing.  You know how it is, when you have to milk the carton to get a couple of squirts out for a cup of tea.  Not really a workable solution long term.  Finally the icemaker objected to the abuse and stopped working anyway.
You can get little 12 volt travel fridges that are supposed to keep drinks cold in the car.  We tried that.  Read the small print and you find that they keep the drinks 30 degrees below ambient.  So in a car, air conditioned to 65 degrees, you get cold beer.  In a non air-conditioned boat in Florida it cools the beer down from the ambient 90 degrees down to a balmy 60 degrees.  It couldn’t even keep the butter from melting.
In the end we got a small fridge for $80 from Walmart.  It cools really well, but it doesn’t half chuck out some heat from the back.  Like having a little space heater in the room, as if the Florida sunshine wasn’t enough to keep us warm.  And, being a small (1.7 cu ft) fridge, there is never a space that is quite the right shape/size for whatever you are trying to put in it.  We discovered tonight that you can get bags of dry ice from Publix, but that is $1.50 a pound and we would need about 10 pounds a day to run a fridge, so it would be an inconvenient and expensive option. 
And then there are the holding tanks.  We obviously can’t pee out of the bottom of the boat because we would get a smelly puddle below and complaints from the people working under the boat.  The toilets are quite close, but it is a pain to trek down the stairs and across the car park at night.  So we have permitted the use of the holding tanks at night.  So far so good, but we are 50% full already so the bar is raising and early morning is not longer counted as the middle of the night.
Aside from that, everything is just fine.  OK, so Andrea didn’t get to the beach yet, but she has cleaned the barnacles off Anastasia’s bottom (what was the worst job you ever had) and removed the corrosion off both propellors and shafts, which were really fun jobs.  Next on the list is to re-varnish the steering wheels, which I think will be equally rewarding for her.
So some compensations for the discomfort of being “on the hard”.