Thursday, October 17, 2013

Transport Canada has us trapped in Hollywood

Posted by Scot

We're still in Hollywood, awaiting the final papers on our Canadian registration that will allow us to move about Florida more freely.  We're also waiting for the official end to hurricane season, which technically is over November 1st, although that is a bit arbitrary.  As Sandy showed last year, hurricanes can easily come later than November 1st.  So we'll be keeping our eyes on the NOAA hurricane website and watching the Atlantic weather with interest.

Once we get our Canadian registration, the other thing we'll be waiting for is a decent weather window to attempt our first long passage, over to the Bahamas.  This is between 50-75 miles of open water sailing, which will definitely be a new record for us, although in the grand scheme of things is relatively small potatoes (and will quickly be overshadowed by some longer passages between islands that we will need to do to continue on our way south).  The complicating factor for the first crossing is that it will cross the Gulf Stream, which is a fairly strong current flowing northward between Florida and the Bahamas.  Since the Gulf Stream flows north, any wind blowing from the north tends to fight the current, and big waves can stack up, making the crossing uncomfortable at best, and potentially dangerous at worst.  Given that this will be a new experience for us (although our boat has done it a few times), we will be looking for a favourable weather window that will keep everyone on board as happy as possible.  We have lots of different resources to follow the weather, but one of the best we have found is, which gives nice descriptions of current wind, weather, waves, etc., but also projects them over the next week in a nice animated format, if you want.

Anyway, as we wait, we are managing to stay pretty busy knocking more boat projects off the list.  Today was a particularly big day.  (Anybody who is getting sick of hearing about our boat projects, feel free to skip the rest of this post).

I got up feeling pretty good, and after a couple of Katie's special blueberry pancakes, I had enough energy for a quick run to the local Home Depot.

Breakfast and Bunny Ears!
I am truly coming to dread the endless roaming up and down the aisles of the ubiquitous orange warehouse, desperately hoping to come across an aproned guardian who can point me in the direction of a particular stainless steel fitting that I am looking for.  Just as in Canada, those guardians are few and far between in the Home Depot in Florida, which means that a lot of aimless, gape jawed shelf gazing is a requisite part of any Home Depot foray.  This is, apparently, one of the things that unites us across our borders.

Fortunately, this morning, just as I was descending into the hardware aisle once again, I got a call from Nance and Underwood (the rigging company who has been helping us with our main halyard).  They had the last block that we needed, and were available to come to the boat right away to install it.  So, I happily skipped out of the Home Despot (as I like to call it), and rushed back to the boat.  Sara and I pulled down the salon headliner like old pros, having done it a few times now.  I removed the old block, and just as I was finishing that, John and Bo came to put in the new one.

Once they were gone, we reversed the whole headliner process, reinstalled all the lights, and realized it was lunchtime.  Since the kids were done school, we decided to go out for lunch, then finish up my aborted morning's trip to the Despot.  We checked out a great Pho restaurant in downtown Hollywood.  Pho was a first for the kids, but they (almost) all enjoyed it.

Gratuitous photo to show off our fancy new cockpit cushions.
The return trip to the Orange Megalith was mercifully short, and before long we were back on the boat, hardware in hand.  Sara and I then spent the afternoon fixing things.  First we anchored the stereo to the wall with our new hardware.  While we were at it, I tightened the multi-display repeater for our depth indicator which sits in the salon.

Then, we got to work on the plumbing.  We have replaced the showers, valves, and handles in both bathrooms with spanky new ones (of which we are very proud).  The old ones were looking pretty worn and corroded in places.  However, a truism of boat work is that any project you start reveals two or three more projects that need to be done, which means you can never be truly finished.  One of the things we found when we put in the new starboard side shower fittings is that there was a leak in one of the old connections, which we have been trying to repair with applications of marine sealant.  Since this was the third day we had tried this, and it still hadn't quite sealed the leak, we took the whole thing apart again, cut off all the old sealant, and reapplied new sealant directly to the leaking area.  Hopefully that will do it.

Then, we attacked the port bilge, which has had an annoying habit of very slowly accumulating a small puddle of water, ever since we got on the boat.  It is easy to clean out, but it would be nice to have dry bilges, so we went about tracking down the leak.  First, though, we cleaned all the through hull filters, since we knew that process would put even more water in the bilge.

Once that was done, we cleaned and dried the bilge completely, then started to see if we could track the leak.  Finally, we traced a thin trickle of water from under Christopher's bunk.  We followed it back, pulled up his mattress, and lo and behold, we found a tiny drip in one of the pipe fittings supplying the water heater.  A quick push on the quickconnect fitting, and voila, no more leak.  That was a two hour process for a 6 second fix.

Bunny Ears still on at dinner!
Cleaning everything up and putting the boat back in order took almost as long as the jobs, but finally, we are looking ship shape again, and everyone is ready for an early bed time tonight.  Hopefully our Canadian registration will get here soon, before we manage to fix everything on the boat (which is of course impossible... see above).


  1. Love the bunny ears! Also great news about the leak... Those pesky small leaks. Kat and I are also impressed about the shower replacement. Making me look bad Scot... ;) also check out between it and passageweather you should be good to go! Best of luck on your crossing. You're going to LOVE the Bahamas mahn...

    1. Actually, if I'd known how hard it was going to be to find the right parts for the shower, I never would have started (we eventually ordered them from Amazon, and got lucky that they fit). It's funny how many times we have tried to change something on the boat, then realized there was a reason you had it that way, and changed it back. Constantly learning. Thanks for the tip on It's good to know that we can trust it and passageweather - wasn't sure about that. Hope you guys are having fun!