Friday, December 4, 2009

Prepping Passage

Wednesday the 25th of November brought cloudy skies and rain.  When the rain stopped at about 10 a.m., we scrubbed Passage's decks for five hours before the skies opened up again.  Returning to the Best Western in Clewiston, we showered and walked under the umbrella to Sonny's Open Pit Barbecue for our second straight night of excellent pork.

Thursday morning we celebrated Thanksgiving by finishing the scrubbing of the decks.  As you can see from the before and after photos, Soft Scrub with Bleach does an amazing job when applied with adequate elbow grease.

After lunch I applied the first coat of cleaner wax to one side of a hull while Sue began cleaning the boat's interior.  Two tired sailors then headed back to Clewiston, where we feasted on on overcooked whole chicken from Wal-Mart and went to sleep early.

We drove down the two mile dirt road to the Glades Boat Storage yard on Friday determined to prep the boat to move aboard the next day.  As usual the Florida cows were unimpressed by our passage.

Sue spent most of the day cleaning and organizing the interior while I started the engine, the refrigerator,  checked the drive leg, and applied cleaner wax to the hulls.  By the end of the day we were moving our "stuff" from the car to the boat.

Saturday morning we moved aboard Passage.  The lack of water aboard made living in the "tree house" primitive, but Lucy was relieved.  She hates being put in her cage and traveling in the car.  She settled right in on her settee and was one contented kitty until the temperature dropped to 50 degrees overnight.  To combat the cold she sprinted around the boat with a ball in her mouth, complaining to anyone who would listen.  We pretended not to notice.

Sunday we prepared for the launch by loading the last of our goods aboard and by shopping for food in La Belle.  Then we applied the finish coat of Armada T wax to the hulls, which looked better than ever.  Jack painted the centerboards; and we were ready for launch day, as were our neighbors in the yard, Carl and Margaret aboard "Trust Me", who we will see again in Marathon.

Monday the intrepid , highly professional crew of Proctor, James and John appeared the with travelift.

The usual prelaunch activities occurred.

Passage was launched by about 9:30 a.m.  The water stayed on the outside of the boat, the engine started right up and another winter of living aboard and cruising was underway.  After three miles we passed through the Ortona Lock, which lowered us about 8 feet.

During our twenty eight mile passage, we motored through bridges at La Belle, Ft. DeNaud and Alva.  The bascule bridge at La Belle was fairly commonplace.

There were only a few boats at the free dock in La Belle immediately after the bridge.

The swing bridge at Ft. DeNaud is unique.  The bridge keeper must leave her house and walk out to the middle of the bridge to open her up.  We waited for her, as well as the Australian flagged sailboat we had passed two miles before the bridge.

We arrived at the surprisingly empty Franklin Lock Campground and Marina about 2:30.  We spent the rest of the day sterilizing and rinsing out our water tanks before enjoying a nice porterhouse steak dinner and falling exhaustedly into bed.

On December 1st we stayed put.  We did install our running rigging, but mostly we relaxed and enjoyed the people and scenery at the Franklin lock.

On  windy Wednesday, 12/02/09, we motored for two hours to Legacy Harbour Marina in downtown Fort Myers.  We backed into slip C-10 next to three other Gemini catamarans.

  That evening we enjoyed our first happy hour with Antha and Dale  Koonce of the PDQ 32 catamaran Mongoose Magic.  We discovered that we had met them briefly in Vero Beach in 2006!

We will spend most of December here working on the boat and visiting with friends in the marina and town.  It will be almost a month before we head for the Florida Keys.

1 comment:

  1. Wish Phil and I were there - but no snow yet in Chardon. 6th mildest temperatures for November in Cleveland since they been keeping records. It was 28F this morning. Thanks for the posting. Maybe some snow next week - we got lucky this week.