Monday, April 14, 2014

Counting down while down for the count

We are in our final week here in Stuart, counting down the days to our planned departure, currently slated for Wednesday morning.  I have another follow-up with the eye surgeon Tuesday morning, and I am hoping that my vision will have improved enough by then that I am fully functional.  That has decidedly not been the case thus far, so not much has gotten done around here over the last week.

My left, "LASIK" eye is great, with near-perfect vision, and I have been relying on it for nearly everything.  The right, "PRK" eye, while now focusing to better than 20/40, is still quite fuzzy due to the ongoing corneal healing.  One consequence of the two eyes being quite different is that I can't get a pair of reading glasses that works for both, and so I have been useless for close-up work.  Even reading and working on the computer is a challenge right now and I am limiting my time.  For the first few days after surgery, about all I could do was sit and converse, so we are happy to have the convenient company of friends here.

Re-certified raft in its cradle, before strapping it down.

It gets better every day, and I've been able to ride the scooter and get a few projects done that don't require close stereoscopic vision.  We got our life raft back and I mounted it to the boat deck, horizontally just behind the aft rail, and with the painter now attached in the proper place.  Louise sewed a spiffy cover for it out of Sunbrella fabric so we can keep it out of the sun, hoping to avoid the UV-related container damage it's been suffering exposed on the rail.

Raft weather cover, glistening in the morning dew. "Bump" at top right is the hydrostatic release, which is a couple of inches proud of the canister.  The cover is held on only by a shock-cord gather around the bottom, so it will come off with the raft should the boat sink.

The last of the new LED replacement bulbs for the tender arrived and I decided to install it, which prompted me to spend an afternoon up there working on things.  For example, I added an hour meter to the tender, so we have some clue as to when maintenance is due, and also so we can get a better handle on how much fuel is being used.

Tender fuel tank exposed.  Recalcitrant sender is right in the middle.

Speaking of fuel, the fuel gauge has been inoperative since we got it, which is a real liability with the built-in tank and no reserve supply.  When I first looked at this a few months ago, I found the gauge itself had never been properly connected, but correcting that problem revealed that the sender was also bad, reading a direct short to ground.  In for a penny, in for a pound, so as long as I was working on the tender I cut through the sealant and removed the floor over the fuel tank.  It turned out the sender shorted when the nut fixing the sender wire had been severely over-tightened, and I was able to repair it with some pliers and re-install it without having to hunt down a replacement.

In my last post I mentioned that our depth transducer had stopped working, and I ordered a replacement.  The first two places I tried were happy to take my order for items allegedly "in stock," only to email me a day later to say it was back-ordered.  I eventually found one and it arrived this week.  Imagine my surprise, though, when the old one was mysteriously working again when I powered the system back up, in preparation for testing the replacement.  We left it on and it has been working ever since.  The replacement has been set aside as a backup -- these kinds of intermittent failures trouble me perhaps more than anything else.

We've also had painters on the boat on and off for the last week, touching up rust spots as I mentioned in my last post.  They made a rookie mistake, though, grinding down to the steel on the edge of the transom without cleaning up the grinding dust.  When we washed the boat after they had finished, we noticed rust spots from the dust all over the swim step.  They came yesterday to remove the rust, and while the rust is gone, the paint is also irreparably damaged.  They are supposed to come back today to completely repaint the swim platform, but we are concerned that weather may intervene, in which case our planned departure date will be in jeopardy.

Grill cover in place.  There will be a zipper in the front when it's finished; Louise did not have one on hand.

As long as Louise had the sewing machine out for the life raft cover, she also made a cover for the BBQ grill, and fixed some clothing items to boot.  (We try not to fall into gender-normative roles around here, but the sewing machine baffles me.)  We've both been also busy getting everything aboard squared away for our departure, and we even made provisioning runs to Costco and the grocery store in our friends' rental car.  Things are definitely starting to feel cruise-ready.

George has been hanging in there, and many thanks to everyone who sent her well-wishes.  We've increased her sub-cue fluids to every other day, and she has her ups and downs.  We are thankful for every day we have with her.  Lately, she's been wanting to sleep on the same pillow with my head at night, which is a concern now that I am no longer wearing eye shields.  She manages to sneak in there without waking me, and I notice her when I roll over.

At this writing the weather is still looking good for an outside run on Wednesday, and it looks like Stephanie might join us for the run to Palm Beach, with Martin meeting us there for dinner.  That will still allow us a full week before our reservations in Fort Lauderdale, and we'd likely do two more hops with a pair of days between each.  Once we are on the move, I will be updating here more frequently, returning to my practice of one post from each stop.


  1. Good to hear your eyes are on the mend. Hope they make it complete before your sailing date. It will be good to get you guys back on the move, I am living my cruising dreams vicariously through you.

  2. It's a dangerous thing demonstrating Louise's sewing skills in such a public forum. My list that could be truncated by such a talent is currently quite long. We're thinking about your kitty a lot these days, as we know what you are going through.

    1. Thanks, Charles. Hope the recent severe weather there was not too hard on you and the park.

  3. Will you need to remove the Sunbrella cover on the life raft for the hydrostatic release to work properly?

    1. No, the cover will not prevent the release from operating (although note that the boat would first have to sink some 25') and, once released, the cover's elastic closure will just pop off over the rack. That being said, our intent is to remove the weather cover while on an offshore passage, not so much because of the hydrostatic release, but rather so that it would be more quickly deployed manually in the event of an abandon-ship.

  4. Sean, I had the same problem with LASIK. One eye healed immediately and the other took longer.



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