Saturday, August 27, 2011

Irene Update

As Irene made her way north west off shore, we fared no problems as the very outer bands passed over Jacksonville. Other than a 2 foot storm surge and some 40 mile and hour winds Thursday night, we are all OK. We were lucky...

All my thoughts are with the folks up in North Carolina and beyond as Irene makes landfall. Good luck to you all and be safe.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Irene at 8:00pm Thursday
We got lucky with the track of Irene turning North East and keeping way off the coast of Florida. As of 8:00pm tonight, we have had quite a bit of wind, usually around 20 to 25 mph with gusts to about 45. Right now, a band is moving through with 30 to 45 mph sustained winds...pretty nasty. I am guessing this will be a rather rough night. I will sleep in the salon as the movement won't be nearly as bad there as in the V-birth.
The wind howling though the rigging reminds me of the horrible couple of nights anchored in North Carolina. At least I won't have to wake up every 2 minutes to make sure we aren't dragging.
Anyway, it should track more to the west as it moves up the coast. We are a lot more protected from the west, so lets hope it helps a bit with the waves.
Updates to come...
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Month and a Week

Been on Skylark for over a month now, can't believe how quickly the time has gone. This has been the longest I have spent on board at one time. Because of work and family matters Amy had to attend to, I had the opportunity to stay for a while. It's been tough in some ways, but we are both able to get our stuff done and get ready for some good sailing in September.
It is an entirely different perspective "living" on board rather than just coming for a few days or a week. You have routines that you get into, it takes a little time to acclimate, but once you do, they become the norm pretty quickly. I have things I do every day at about the same time and the same way. They become tasks you don't even think about, like loading the dishwasher, or putting on the lawn sprinklers. Through trial and error, you find the best way, the easiest way to do things and then stick with it. I thought it was a bit odd at first, a little "Rain Man ish," gotta take the tarp down, it's 4:00, gotta take the tarp down, but talking to the others who live aboard, it seems like they do very similar things. I guess you have to to some respect. The weather, the heat and a slew of other factors dictate the schedule. But the routines work and that's what makes it doable. Skylark is very comfortable to live on, but the routines help make it that way. It's funny, as I mentioned, there are others who live at the marina. You wind up running into them the same time very day on the way to the shower, getting water, ice or sitting at the pool pavilion having the first cup of coffee. It's good knowing there are always folks around to help if you needed it, and everyone would at the drop of a hat.

Talking about the pool, it truly is a god send with the weather the way it has been. Usually in the 100's with the heat index. On top of that, it has taken me a while to figure out the best ways to keep the boat cool in that kind of heat. Little things like keeping the forward hatch cracked an inch or so to let the heat escape. Also works best to shut the door to the V-birth so I am only cooling the saloon. I don't use the forward stateroom during the day anyway, so it really works well. The biggest trick though is the boom tarp. I have it going from the mast to the stern and it works wonders keeping the sun off the deck. It lowers the temps by nearly 10 degrees alone. And when it's really bad, I hose the deck off with cool water and let the evaporation do it's thing. Sounds like a lot of work, but I have it down to a science. By 4:00, the winds and storm come in, so I take the tarp down right before the big breeze hits, you can watch it come across the river and gives me a just enough time to get take it down and get it stowed.

Cap'n Z
I have really enjoyed the time I have spent with Zachary, I was lucky enough to bring him to his first day of 6th grade. Wow, the time just flies by. He really enjoys spending time here at the boat and the marina. Last weekend, we went out for a sail on a buddy's boat with his Grand kids, Trevor and his daughter.  Fred's grandson is Zachary's age, and they get along very well. Went down to Green Cove Spring, about a 10 mile motor, had lunch at a locals place and sailed back. We were just a head of a storm the whole way back, but got a little wet at one point. Got lucky when a 10 minute window opened up and we quickly tied up back at the dock before the next wave of wind hit rather briskly. It was a lot of fun and very appreciated. All in all, we had a nice day and Zachary finally got to sail. Zachary even got to steer! Can't wait to get him out on Skylark. Trevor and I are planning a trip up to Cumberland, GA with the kids as soon as we get the chance. Think they will like the wild horses and all the hiking you can do up there. Fun stuff.

Lets see, what else has happened...Finally finished the teak in the cockpit, I am really happy with the way it came out. I will try to take another picture, but I have had no luck with the camera phone taking a decent shot. Have some clean up to tackle this morning but not much else. Zachary is sitting next to me killing zombies on the Xbox and doesn't look like he is interested in doing to much else today. It's a little after 8:00 am and I can already feel the heat building. Gonna be a real hot one I think. But the again, they are all hot ones.

Oh yeah, saw the weather last night and it seems we might have some of Irene to deal with towards the end of the week here in Florida. Will have to keep an eye on that but it doesn't seem like a real threat at this point. We are in a pretty good spot here in Jacksonville. From what I am told, this area has avoided the big stuff due to the typical flow of the storms as they come in from the Caribbean. Fingers crossed and knock on wood. Lets hope we keep being the exception.

Still waiting for the details to be nailed down with the engine. I have been so busy with work and have not been able to catch up with Scott. Hopefully this week the phone tag will end and we can figure out the next steps.

That's it for now. Hope you are all enjoying the last bits of summer and getting out on the water. Like Captain Ron says, "If it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there."

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Little Progess in the Cockpit

Starboard side cockpit teak
 Started early this morning and was able to sand the teak on the starboard side of the cockpit before the sun got under the bimini. Was also able to scrub the deck and cabin trunk before it was too hot to walk on. Nice breeze, so that helps a lot. That's it above deck for today though, will do the port side tomorrow morning. Once that is done, I will be using teak oil on everything from now on. The Florida sun is just too much of a killer on varnish. Zachary is going to his last sleep-over of the summer today, so I will be vacuuming, cleaning, washing and straighting below, at least until coldie time. :)
Enjoy your weekend. You can find me laying low in the clean cockpit listening to Radio Skylark.

First haircut in 3 years.

Gram, this pic is for you...I finally cut my hair.

Friday, August 5, 2011

3 Weeks and All is Well, but Nothing Done

...things to come.
Monday will be three weeks here on Skylark. It's been an adventure in itself living on the boat with the heat the way it has been. Now I know it's August in Florida, but even the locals can't believe how bad it's been. For most of the week, the heat index was in the 110 degree range. OK, that is the last time I will complain about the heat, promise. But, I have not been able to do anything on the list, nothing. Especially as the tasks I had in mind for this trip were all above deck. Finishing the teak, painting the deck and just a good ol' scrubbing of the hull. You know what, forget it...all of it. The only thing possible out of the A/C is swimming and even that is tough when the pool temp is 97 degrees. No joke. A couple and their 3 year old daughter just came in from a  long cruise down in the Caribbean and Mexico. They pulled in next to Skylark before I got here, so it was a nice surprise to have new semi-permanent neighbors. Anyway, they were telling me that the heat here has been worse than anything they have run across in the last 10 years down in the El Caribe. I am just saying...

So all of us live-aboards stay hidden below until the sun goes down and then make our way up to the pool for some breeze and a quick swim after dark. Maybe even light up the grill and make some dinner. We have had a lot of fun with the kids all playing together. There are a few kids close to Zachary's age and they all get along well. I got really lucky with the folks in the marina, everyone is great and there have been a few new folks that are just as nice. It's great not to have to worry about things like that. I really hope it stays that way.

So for the weekend, I am hoping to get to the teak and just brave my way through it. I guess we will see, thank God for the bimini and the tarp. Without them I would never go out, but then again, I am not going to complain about the heat. :)