August 3, 2011
When I tell friends about the cruising life, I often mention the isolated, peaceful anchorages, beautiful snorkeling, dolphins on the bow, seeing whales and turtles, catching (and eating) fish, and many other wonderful things. But life on a boat is not ALWAYS filled with those images. Sometimes there’s a lot of work to do and often that work is much more difficult than similar work on land.
We arrived in North Palm Beach, FL a few weeks ago and since then have been working with various contractors to implement a variety of repairs and upgrades. First and foremost, Brian and Troy have been upgrading our onboard computers along with navigation and communications systems and software. They are also doing the upgrade of our primary entertainment system. Sounds easy enough, but every wire that needs to be run and every bit of hardware that needs to be installed requires working in small, tight spaces. Since the systems need to be designed to take a beating in rough seas, they need to be tightly secured. Then there is the dealing with various vendors like DirecTV, who insist in sending an installer for your new DVR. No amount of communication can make them understand that we just needed to have the box dropped off for our vendors to install. So when the installer arrived, we simply had to show him the hole he would have to work in and ask if he would mind just leaving the DVR for us to install. He dropped that box off and ran like an NFL running back!
Fortunately Troy seems to enjoy cramming himself into the tiniest nooks and crannies on the boat. So we are nearly set now with two new Dell computers (one for our navigation systems and one for our communications systems), new electronic charting software and charts (Nobeltec Trident), new batteries in our satellite compass (has to be done at at Brian’s workshop, requiring an un-install and re-install), new wiring to allow our monitors to display what we want, a boat-wide wi-fi that provides an internet connection via either an AT&T broadband card, marina wireless systems, or satellite, a satellite weather service, satellite telephone, and DirecTV.
We’re also doing maintenance and repairs on our Air Conditioning system (by JR) and stern thruster (see the post about the hydraulics problem in November 2010 – this is being repaired by James) as well as having the boat detailed (cleaning, compounding, and waxing by Johnny 5-Star). Unlike your car, detailing the boat takes a crew of five people a full week to complete! In addition, we’re doing gelcoat repairs (Gelcoat Jeff is fixing cracks and other problems with the finish that need to be addressed before they get worse), have replaced a motor in the flushing unit of one of the toilets (John and Bradley), and done preventive maintenance on the transmissions (James, John, and Bradley).
Our days begin early with an hour of walking, running, biking, or pilates before breakfast. About 8am we begin working with contractors, unpacking cabinets to gain access, re-packing cabinets so we can unpack the next one, running to West Marine or Home Depot to pick up something we need, testing new systems as they are installed, re-testing when the next thing is installed – well, you get the idea! Usually we look up at some point and wonder how it got to be 7pm already!
I did have a chance to catch up with some of my former colleagues from Smarthinking who were in Hollywood, FL for a sales meeting. Chuck took the Tri-Rail train up and we had a nice visit on the boat, then headed back to Hollywood for drinks with others from Smarthinking. I also had a chance to play golf with our friend Doug, and for the first time I had three birdies in one round!
We have just moved our boat to the North side of the marina where there is more room for the detailing crew to use their waxing machine without splattering other boats. We are just a couple slips down now from a well-known yacht called Privacy. Our focus now is on the weather, as we are watching Tropical Storm Emily and hoping she doesn’t intend to make a visit to Florida! In the meantime, though we don’t see the sun set from here, we do get some pretty nice sunrises!
Click to enlarge any photos. Also check out the Video page for a little video about the cruising life (this is a test of my new video editing toy)!