Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dog Days

  We weren't in Key West last summer, having been in The Bahamas from April until September of last year, so we weren't prepared for just how hot it gets here in the summer.
  When I say "prepared", I don't mean that our air conditioners don't work, because they are doing a great job, but I guess I just mean mentally prepared.
  Speaking of the A/C units; I recently checked the air filters on both units, and even though they didn't seem too clogged up, I replaced the Breathe Easy filters with new ones, and ordered a set of spares for next time.
  These Breathe Easy filters are ridiculously priced, and we ordered them from West Marine and picked them up at the local outlet. At the check out counter I used some coupons for my "Gold Advantage" account, (Having had to print out seven coupons...Hey, West Marine, we all have computers now, why can't you access my account at the store and view my rewards points?) the woman operating the register announces that for the purchase of my three small 10 x 12 inch thin air filters, I was to remand to her custody a tidy sum of $237.
  I said to her, "Think about what you are asking me. Look at what I am buying here. Three small air filters! Now, do you really think these air filters, as expensive as they already are, are going to be $237?"
  A little common sense goes a long way. So does knowing your product and your job.
  If you've been following this blog, you know about our trials and tribulations with our newly installed SeaDek. We've have two wood workers here to give us bids on installing teak on the steps to the bridge and from our cockpit. We are hoping to get at least a year out of the SeaDek, but now another step pad is "melting", so it's doubtful our pads will still be presentable for another year, but we've had, and expect, other expenses to take priority.
  We thought we would get through at least one month of not having something major break on us, and we were closing in on the last part of August when one of our Vacu-Flush heads went on the blink. The pump in our guest head (Holly's room.) wouldn't stop pumping when I flushed it one day. Perry, the Head Honcho, informed us when he was here recently to install new ball valves and seals on both toilets, that the valves on our pumps were going to be due for replacement soon, as they were running a bit long after flushes. We decided to wait, as we wanted to spread out the expense, but the day of reckoning had apparently arrived.
  I called the Head Honcho at around noon. He was in the shop, having had two cancellations from vessel owners who wanted to go fishing that day instead of having their toilets serviced, so he asked if he could be there in one hour. You betcha.
  The bellows on the offending pump was shot. No vacuum can build up with a leaking bellows, so the pump won't stop running. We also discussed replacing our old style (18 years old) pump motors with the new style motors, advertised to be quieter and more efficient. Perry just happened to have two of them on his truck. Our lucky day.
  Four hours later, on both head systems, we had new pump motors, rebuilt pumps, and eight new "duck bill" valves installed. With a generous "local labor rate", our bill still came in just under a healthy $1200, but now both toilets have all new components, are quieter and pump quickly. We should be good for years as far as our toilets go. Or, as far as we "go".

  We mix in some fun when we can. With the weather being fairly calm, we take the dinghy out as much as possible. The photo above is from Geiger Key Marina where we went for happy hour and stayed long enough to just get back to the marina as it got dark, enjoying the late evening smooth ride.
  We keep our scooter and bicycle covered from the beating sun, and both items are on their third cover. We decided to contact our friend James back in St. Louis about making some covers for both vehicles. James has started his Marine Canvas Solutions business and I thought that making vehicle covers for other boat owners who carry small vehicles with them on their boats, would be a nice niche to fill.
  He'll use Sunbrella material to match our Bimini top, which should last for years, especially when he sews them with the Gore-tex thread.
  We sent him one old cover from our bicycle that he can use as a template, and he'll send the new cover back. Then, we'll send the scooter cover to him so he can use that cover as a template, so on, so forth, blah blah blah.
  Marine Canvas Solutions. You can Google it, view the Facebook page, or call James at 314-623-1151. Tell him Swing Set sent you.
  We are getting antsy for some travel these days. Every time a boat leaves the marina we get nostalgic about continuing our travels. However, I have a medical procedure that is scheduled for mid-September, and then not long after, we are looking forward to the visits from our friends from the north for the annual Fantasy Fest celebration in late October, and then the Offshore Boat Races in November. Our livers are in training.
  We have the first part of December targeted for leaving Stock Island, at least temporarily, either to travel back to Marsh Harbour in the Abacos, or just to go further up the island chain until the spring, when we could continue travel up the east coast of the U.S. That's the luxury of living on our boat, we can do what we want, to some degree. We mailed in our applications for our new passports on Friday.
  Another item on our agenda is new bottom paint, which we'll probably have done in Marathon. I was largely satisfied with the job that Marathon Boatyard did on our last paint job, but wished it had lasted longer. The monthly bottom scrubbings haven't helped, but I think we should have used the Interlux Micron 66 instead of the Micron Extra. The service manager at the Boatyard agrees, but it was I that asked for the Micron Extra last time as I thought we might be traveling in fresh water within the year. We'll see how the Micron 66 does.
  Our friends have been commenting that they are missing my frequent blog posts, and like I've said on here before, it's hard to come up with things that are of interest to others in the boating community, which is primarily our audience. Our escapades in and around Key West may be of interest to some, but hopefully our readers can hang in there until we pull up stakes here in Key West and get into trouble somewhere else on this planet.
  Enjoy the rest of your Labor Day weekend!

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