Monday, September 25, 2017

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma was a direct hit for the Keys. It is amazing to look around at the damage left behind. I go all over the country to work storms. This is totally different.  The storm got my home town this time. It feels strange. I drive around and look at places that I love to go to and they are torn up. Lots of places not open and won't be for a long time. I was working claims in Texas when Irma hit so Sharon had to get the boat ready.  She took all the sentimental stuff off Sleepy Dragon. We really felt with a direct hit from a cat 4 that she would not survive. God was good to us and she not only survived but came out without a scratch. It has been a job putting all the canvas back up and getting the boat back into living condition verses hurricane ready but we are getting there.

Ir was a very hard time after Irma for the first 4 or 5 days not knowing if we still had a home. The government would not let anybody back into the keys and the news kept showing the same three pics of the damage in the keys. Finally we were able to get a satellite photo showing that Sleep was still on her mooring . We could not tell if she was damaged but at least \we knew she was floating We could also see Grace but could not tell if she was damaged either.

Our little boat "Amazing Grace" did not fare so well. I had her anchored with two 100 lb. anchors. The lines did not chafe through where they attach to the boat, but instead broke between the boat and the anchors. I speculate that another boat crashed into her and the keel chafed the line into. Only God knows. We found her on the other side of the bay up in the mangroves between two other boats. The bow both sides and the transom were all smashed. She had a hard ride to the mangroves. She is a total loss.

Satellite pic of Grace in the mangrove between two other boats.

Before Irma

She was a beautiful boat.

Monday, July 17, 2017

New Name and a Look Back

When we bought this boat she had the name Harthrob. The previous owner's name was Hart, so I am sure they thought it was cute. I have not liked the name from the beginning and knew I would change it. I did not realize just how hard it was going to be to decide on a name. The last two boats that I named were pretty easy. I don't know why this one has been so difficult. I almost decided on "Unsinkable 2". But it just didn't feel right. I probably ran 30 names past Sharon and got the same response every time "I don't care". One day I was laying in my beanbag on the bow thinking and thought of the name Sleepy Dragon. Somehow I liked it. It just fit. I thought about it for about a month and nothing new came to mind and so Sleepy Dragon it is. If you want to know why you will have to ask someone else because I don't have a clue. Maybe it's because sometimes I feel like a mean old dragon that is just too tired to raise any cane anymore.

We left Indiana almost seven years ago and have transitioned from a 25' sailboat to a 38' power boat. I thought it might be fun to look at the journey so far.

"Morgan" a 1970 Coronado 25 sailboat.

Morgan's interior.
Morgan's interior.

"Walkabout" a 1978 Marine Trader 36.

Walkabout's interior.

Walkabout's interior.

"Amazing Grace" a 1985 Wellcraft 2900 express cruiser.

Grace's interior.

Grace's interior.

"Sleepy Dragon" a 1989 SeaRay 380 aft cabin.

Sleepy's interior.

Sleepy's interior.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Love my Weber

A few years ago we bought a Weber Q2000 grill We had it on Walkabout until we sold her. We took the grill with us and used it while we were motorhoming it and while on Amazing Grace. I made a mount for it on this boat just off the aft deck. I do most all of our cooking on it.I don't like cooking in the boat as it makes is so hot inside so this has worked out perfectly.

One thing I like about this grill is that it has a low setting that is actually low. Most grills don't go low enough to cook thicker meats without burning them. You can easily slow cook ribs. I also use it for breakfast and place an iron skillet on it to cook chorizo and eggs. Makes heating up the tortillas a snap as well.

I also figured out a way to use it as an oven. I use an air bake cookie sheet to bake biscuits in it and they come out perfect. I have not tried cookies yet but they are on my to do list. I also take the disposable aluminum pans and put one inside another sorta creating a dutch oven effect and make roasts or meatloaf. We do at least 90% of our cooking on it.

Weber Q2000 grill.
Gotta love bacon.
Gotta have toast if you want BLTs.

I like it.

And finish off with some fresh Key Lime pie. Life doesn't get much better than this.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Slowly but Surely

It takes alot to convert a boat to a comfortable liveaboard boat. Harthrob is a Searay 380 Aft Cabin. It was pretty much designed to set at a dock plugged into shore power or have the genset running. There are only two opening windows in the main salon and they only opened about 9". The port in the aft cabin only opened about 3". Clearly the builders expected you to run the genset if you were away from the dock. When you are living aboard you can't run the genset 24/7 so we had to make some modifications to be able to live on this boat year round in the Keys. The first thing we did was to install a small 5,000 btu air conditioner in the aft cabin. The little Honda generator that we have will run this unit at low idle. We had an unusual night last night in that it was dead calm and the mosquitoes were out in force (very rare for here). So I closed up the boat and turned on the AC. We had to turn it down I think you could have hung meet in there it was so cold.

Next I decided to make the center portion of the windshield able to open. Lots of boats have this feature. It took longer than I thought to do it, but it was well worth the time. The amount of air that comes in is amazing. Who knows maybe by the end of the summer all three will open.

Another project that I started on was access to the aft deck from the water. Since we live on a mooring we always board the boat from the stern after tying the dingy up to the swim platform. Originally there was a ladder that went 5' straight up to the aft deck from the swim platform. It was a real pain to climb not to mention bringing home groceries. I had seen a couple of boats similar to ours that had steps built to make it easier to board. I priced building the frame out of stainless steel and aluminum. $600 for aluminum vs. $1,500 for stainless. I made them out of aluminum. I am going to enclose the bottom of the stairs with starboard (plastic plywood) and that will be the future home of the generator, water jugs, and propane bottle for the grill. But alas it all takes time (and money).

Leaving Little Shark River on the way down to the Keys.

Almost to the Keys.

Ladder from the swim platform to the aft deck. I have plastic over the A/C to keep debris out of it while I was cutting  materials on the aft deck above it. I have since painted it black so that it does not stand out as much.

New stairs replacing the ladder. Yes I know it looks messy with all the junk but when I am done it will look nice and be very functional.
Much easier to board the boat.

I just finished this project yesterday and it is so nice to be able to open up and get some air moving through the boat.
It rained today and marvel of all marvels it did not leak when it was closed. It leaked pretty bad  until I shut it.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Let There be Light

One of the first things that needed to be done was to install solar panels for recharging the batteries. I am glad to say that job is now complete. I installed two 340 watt panels on the hard top and a Morningstar MPPT controller. I think this will take care of most of our electrical needs.

Hard top over the aft deck.

I love it when a job is finished.
The other day we were anchored near Islamorada and this floating Tiki bar with an outboard passed us. Life is rough in the Keys.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I'm baaaccckkkk

We are back in Boot Key Harbor and loving it. It has been awhile since I posted anything but life has been busy and full. We brought the new boat down to the Keys a couple of weeks ago. We spent the first week anchored out up by Islamorada and then moved down to Boot Key Harbor in Marathon. It is so good to be back in Boot Key. Sharon and I both felt like we were finally back home once we arrived. It is taking alot to get the new boat into liveaboard condition but we are getting there. I am currently working on getting the solar panels mounted and wired up. It took me 4 years to get Walkabout fully liveaboard ready and convenient, and then we sold her. I hope it does not take me that long on this one. I have promised God, my wife, and myself that once she is done I will not sell her.

Anchored out close to the 7 mile bridge.

On mooring C-15 in Boot Key Harbor.