We are sitting at the dock at Snead Island Boat Works, in Palmetto, Florida (map). It's been a very long week since last I posted here, comfortably ensconced in our friends' digs in Seminole. I'm sorry to say we still own the bus, and are some $13k poorer after our little stint in the yard here. At least we have power, and thus air conditioning, for the bulk of today.
Our digs for the night, near the boat shed at Snead Island Boatworks.
We ended up spending just over an entire week with our friends Karen and Ben, which was not our intent, but the collapse of the bus sale ended up making it so. They were very generous to host us for so long... long enough that Angel the cat settled right in and decided the place was hers. She would wander upstairs and crawl under our hosts' bed for hours at a stretch. Uncharacteristically, she would also lie on the sofa with us, inching ever closer to Ben, whom she likes a great deal.
Poor traumatized kitty. Not. Getting her lovies from Karen.
I don't want to bore you too much with all the details of the bus fiasco, but I know some of our readers are interested so I will try to give a brief overview. The winning bidder disappeared without further contact, and I put in a cancellation of the sale to offer it to the runners-up. Those offers went nowhere and I ended up re-listing it on a three-day listing; it is once again sold. In the meantime the original winner has reappeared and is making my life miserable; I've had to pay eBay their full fee for both sales. And, of course, now we are back to having to pay to lay the boat up while we go up to Virginia to complete the sale.
As it stands now, the closing is scheduled for Friday, and we are renting a car Tuesday to drive up there for a Wednesday arrival. That ought to give us enough time to get everything started back up and running before the buyer arrives. Sadly, that means we'll be driving back over Memorial Day weekend, with the traffic and hotel issues that entails.
First coat of primer, looking good.
We made two more visits to the boatyard over the course of the week to check on progress. Also to load all the tools and gear we had offloaded in anticipation of driving up to the bus. The sanding was more of a job than anyone anticipated (accounting for a significant cost overrun), but the boat looked great in a coat of fresh primer. The propeller was also significantly less pink after sanding, so we are hopeful the damage was not pervasive.
Prop looks better, too, but we're still nervous.
Painted running gear.
On our final visit the paint was mostly done, including the propeller, and our new anodes were in place. We had all of the zinc anodes removed and replaced with aluminum ones; aluminum is more effective than zinc even in salt water, but this was an essential step before we head up into the fresh water of the river system in another month. Zinc becomes inactive in fresh water because it builds up a coating of zinc oxide.
New aluminum anode. Unused studs are from old anode's four-point mounting.
Yesterday we loaded up our remaining belongings, cat included, into the car and Ben and Karen drove us back down to the boatyard for our launch. We had a great visit and really enjoyed going to all their favorite haunts with them, but I am certain they are glad to have us out from underfoot. The yard was utter chaos, with two boats ahead of us for the lift slip (on the smaller 50-ton lift), so rather than watch us splash, we said our goodbyes and they headed home.
Improperly seized shackle pin.
Just as well, because it did not take me long to find two problems that needed to be corrected before we splashed. When they reattached our snubber shackle to the bow eye, someone inexperienced in such matters moused the shackle pin to the snubber thimble rather than the shackle itself; if I had not noticed this it surely would have damaged the snubber on our first anchoring. And the thruster propellers were reinstalled improperly, occluding each other rather than offset as specified by the manufacturer.
Two props directly in line with each other, effectively reducing thrust.
This photo from before the props were removed shows them offset, as intended.
Those problems were corrected in short order and we were in the water within an hour of arriving at the yard. The cat seemed not to mind at all being outside in her carrier in the shade of some nearby trees for the duration. I mentioned to the yard manager that we'd need to come alongside a dock after departing the slings so we could load our scooter back aboard, and after telling us where to do that he said we could just spend the night, considering the lateness of the hour and the fact that his guys still needed to wash the boat, included in the service.
After deciding to spend the night, we opted to just leave the scooter on the ground and ride to dinner. We had a very nice meal at Fav's Italian restaurant in downtown Bradenton. When we returned we brought the scooter down the dock, and this morning loaded it back on deck. With our road trip postponed to at least Tuesday, we've decided to just spend tonight anchored near here in the Manatee River, and so we're lingering at the dock today and enjoying the air conditioning while we still can.
Bradenton has a free dinghy dock, just a short walk from the nice downtown restaurant district. When we shove off here, we'll head the two miles or so upriver and drop the hook a short dinghy ride away. Tomorrow morning we will likely head back out into Tampa Bay and head in the direction of St. Petersburg.