November 11, 2010 - November 30, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010 - Anchored In Little Shark River
There was one other boat here until some time in the night. I was up at
5:30 AM and they were gone.

I was also up at a quarter past midnight and had an hour of spectacular
stargazing with my crappy binoculars. It was fabulous. I could see the
whole Andromeda Galaxy! I could see the Orion Nebula and all the
stars in the Pleiades. The Milky Way was thick and crowded with
billions of stars. It was a great night for stargazing and the moon was
absent.

I am planning on staying here for the day and getting things fixed. I will
relax and enjoy the spot and leave tomorrow morning, heading North
for Everglades City.

A couple of nice dawn shots. It's 8 AM and the windlass is all fixed and
I swapped the anchors. The current is moving so fast through here that
I just had time to get the Delta to the waters surface before rushing to the cockpit to put the engine in gear so I wasn't pushed
onto the shallows. I moved the boat out to the middle of the empty anchorage and dropped the Spade. We were still moving a bit
forward and the boat drifted over the anchor. I let out plenty of rode and went back and shut down the engine. When I went
forward to get the Delta up and into it's davit, it was firmly hooked around the Spade's chain. It took a little doing and using
Falcon's engine hoist chain around the Delta's rode so it would sink finally did the trick.

I have been cleaning up the deck and getting the last of the water out of the cockpit. Time to get the cockpit drains plugged good
so I can move.

It is 11 AM and everything I can fix is fixed. The autopilot is not fixed. I spent the most time on it, replacing the cable by soldering
a new one to the printed circuit board, and I even found a cold soldered joint on the board that I repaired, but I found that when
the old cable went bad, it caused a short circuit on the printed circuit board that must have fried the integrated circuit chip. I'll
have to look for another head when I get back.
A couple of pods of dolphin have been feeding and playing for hours in the anchorage. The best is an adult female with two
half-grown kids. They are so similar in size I can only imagine them as twins. These two jumped and wrestled and did the 'front
half up' tail-walk to look around. I tried unsuccessfully for half an hour to get some good shots, to no avail. These are the best
two I got. The dolphins simply would not cooperate.

The wind is picking up and the Marine Weather forecast says it will continue to increase through the next couple of days. I
moved the boat to a spot with more shelter, but was thwarted by my poorly installed depth transducer. I could have gotten deeper
into the anchorage if I knew for certain how much water I was in, but since I plan on leaving early tomorrow, I had to be sure I
wasn't aground then. I can deal with the wind and current - there are no waves or wakes to speak of.
The day has been fabulous. No bugs - well, no mosquitoes or other annoying bugs - except for giant dragonflies and huge
monarch butterflies. Warm and sunny with just some fluffy clouds floating past. Silence. Occasional bird sounds, the splash of a
fish or something eating one, and far off, the sounds of fishermen talking. There has been some wind today, but not so much as I
thought was coming. This place can be like a slice of Heaven, I swear, and this has been one of those days.

The anchor chain rubbing on the bobstay was making some noise, so I took the opportunity to make the bridle I've wanted to for
so long. It is now installed and working great and the anchor rode is silent. Not a whisper from it.
I've taken another 41 shots around the anchorage using multiple camera settings and even climbing the mainmast for some.
Above are my two new neighbors. Below are my new neighbors taken from up the mast.
There are still so many nice photos that I may add a special page or album or something after this trip is over.
Friday, November 12, 2010 - Anchored In Little Shark River
I went to sleep at 6:30 PM last evening - because I can - and awoke at 3 AM this morning. A slapping halyard woke me up, most
likely due to a front of some kind coming through. I went outside and tied it down and noticed it was completely overcast and
pitch dark, though a little warmer than the night before.

The wind and darkness have caused me to change my mind about a 4 or 5 AM departure. It was different when I thought I'd be
leaving in a flat calm with a hundred billion stars overhead. No need to rush out into the endless black, with wind and maybe
rain, for no good reason.

My thinking was that if I left early enough, I would reach the Goodland Pass behind Marco Island in the early afternoon, just as
the tide is in full flow and rising. Maybe I still will.

If not, I'll just go into Everglades City and go all the way in to the Rod & Gun Club dock and see about getting a meal at the
restaurant.

I started the engine at 3:30 and let it run until 4 AM to charge the batteries a little and warm it up, I will keep my eye out for
good conditions and leave when it feels right. It sounds as if the wind has passed. The wind has passed - I just checked - and the
sky is clearing overhead - some stars are showing up - but there still appears to be heavy cloud cover to the South and East, and it
is darker than Hell's Dungeon outside. I can't see either of the other boats in the anchorage. Conditions have to be better for me
to be willing to leave. I do not like the 'Braille' method of getting out of an anchorage, you know, where you 'feel' the shallow
spots with your keel. I will remove the bridle when I restart the engine to leave.

It is 5 PM and I am anchored across from the Snook Inn at Marco Island. Wait'll I tell you about today. I have to eat and unwind
first. Be back soon.

I left the anchorage in fairly complete darkness at 6 AM and quickly discovered myself punching into 10 to 15 knots of
cold wind,
at least 1 to 1 1/2 knots of current, and 2 to 3 foot waves. The day got lighter but the sun failed to rise, hidden behind thick, dark
clouds. My first dive below for comfort brought up the warm coat D
on Capron gave me. Mmmm - thanks, Don. That helped. An
hour later, I retrieved the blue rain gear Paul Flores gave me years ago while I worked at Royal Yacht Services in Naples. Much
better. I thought it was going to rain. It didn't, but the spray coming aboard would have soaked me if I hadn't covered up.

About 4 hours into the trip, the sun started coming out, I was out of the Southbound current and the waves were 1 to 1 1/2 feet. I
stayed dressed because I was comfortable and there was still a long day ahead, but I got the camera and took some shots straight
up overhead of some nice clouds.
Sometime during the morning I retrieved my unfinished morning coffee and a couple of granola bars and had a party. These
dashes below are literally just that. Without the autopilot, the wind and current head-on quickly steers the boat off course, and
with this entire are being about as deep as a mud puddle, you just can't get too far off course or you'll be aground.

At about 1 PM I stopped and anchored off the "1K" marker near Indian Key at the entrance to the Everglades City Channel. Now I
took time to use the head and get something else to drink - a second cup of coffee. A luxury I afford myself on rare occasions.

Back in the saddle in 15 minutes, I headed straight for the Southern entrance to the Goodland Pass Channel (or whatever it's
called - I have no idea, but everyone knows what I mean) and the wind and weather became increasingly nasty. Even with very
little upwind fetch, the wind and waves slapped Falcon around and made me glad I didn't undress earlier.

I cannot adequately express my apprehension in entering this gooey ditch through swampland. The charts clearly display it as
somewhere Falcon cannot possibly get through. Nonetheless, with the dreaded Cape Romano Shoals as my only alternative, and
not enough courage to try that route, I throttled up and headed over areas on the chart marked '3 feet' with my '5 foot deep' boat.
It was a rising tide, so I was hopeful.
Above left is the beginning of the Goodland Channel. It looks plenty wide and is 10 feet deep at this point - past the 4 foot
entrance. By the time I reached the Goodland Bridge, above right, I'd already been aground twice, but Falcon's torquey diesel and
18 inch three blade prop was enough to push my forward over the shoals. The first 2 groundings were purely a matter of local
knowledge - that the channel silts in on one side or another due to current during tide changes.
There is certainly a lot of beautiful areas the channel weaves through, though I spent most of my time trying to keep the bottom
from rubbing my keel. There was also much more traffic than I expected. All powerboats with shallow draft. Some people were
taking pictures of Falcon and giving me the 'thumbs up' thing.

The shot on the right is of the Marco Bridge. I couldn't get a shot from the other side because I was busy plowing a 100 yard
groove through sand and mud to get to the bridge. I think I can safely say that I might never try the Goodland Route again. I
could be wrong. I might feel much different in the future, now that I know the trouble spots and how to avoid them. We'll see.
Saturday, November 13, 2010 - Anchored In Marco River Across From Snook Inn
I spoke with Paul Flores twice last night and he said
he'd call this morning. He has a full day and I'm not
particularly looking forward to a desperate row across
this river current to get to the Snook Inn, but that
doesn't mean I won't do it. I will probably stay here for
the day for the opportunity to see old friends like Paul,
Richard, and Conrad. Beside, I'm not in a rush and can
afford a days rest here and a chance to attend to some
minor stuff.

I dipped the fuel tanks and found I have about 33
gallons of diesel left. I started with a little under 50
gallons - how far under, I'm not sure - but the two most
fuel-hungry passages are over and It should be much
easier traveling from here on. If tomorrow is anything
like today, I will head a bit of the coast, raise the sails,
and see how I do sailing North. The wind and weather
should be ideal and the trip is only 38 miles or so. My
first 2 legs have been 51 and 60 miles.
I have spent most of the morning sitting on deck, soaking in the warm sun, and watching the boats go by. It is a perfect Saturday
morning and life is good. Last evening, Paul said he'd be in touch in the morning, but I know he has a full day today and don't
expect to hear from him until supper time, if at all. I have TV and bright sun and plenty of food, so I'm enjoying a day of rest. I
will overfeed myself in preparation for a long day at the helm tomorrow, though not as long as the first two legs. At least
tomorrow I may get in some sailing. Below are some shots from Falcon around the anchorage.
The Snook Inn on the left and the first two boats headed out with the Isle Of Capri in the background.
Two versions of waterfront homes on Marco Island, almost right next to each other. For a while, I couldn't decide which I would
prefer, then it occurred to me if the Condo sucked, my only option would be to sell it, whereas, if the little house sucked, I could
totally fix it up as I wanted, so the little houses won. Besides, they have docks.

Paul and Linda came by to chat for 20 minutes at about quarter past noon. They were delivering a boat for a customer. Nice boat.
It was a good talk and nice to see them.

I have had a fine day of relaxing and eating and will get to bed early and be up and out of here very early in the morning. The
weather should be fine tomorrow and I will be passing one of my favorite pieces of coastline on the Gulf Coast. I can't help but
wonder if I can get to the Useppa anchorage by tomorrow. It would be a nice place to spend a day or two. Unfortunately, getting
out of Charlotte Harbor in the early morning all during that period and for several days after would be horrendous. The
in-rushing tidal current runs about 4 knots. The best time to get out would be at 9:30 AM, which isn't so bad if I'm just going to
duck into Venice. It's only about 30 or 35 miles, so a late start isn't a problem.
A cloudy Marco Island sunset, but one in which the clouds did very little by way of lighting up. Across the bay the sunset reflects
off the windows of houses on the water. I often wonder how a beautiful sunset might light up a picture windowed living room
facing the water.
Sunday, November 14, 2010 - Anchored In Marco River Across From Snook Inn
It's 6 AM and I'm about to get going. I'm getting the boat ready and will leave as soon as the sky brightens a little more. There is
not a breath of air moving and my thoughts of doing some sailing today might be wasted. The day should still be warm and sunny
and a good day to travel up this coast.

I left and it was a bit cool, so after about a half hour or so - more like, once I was clear of Marco Island and headed Northwest
toward Naples - I put on the warm jacket again. I had hot coffee and six granola bars, and I stayed right there in the same spot,
motoring North with little or no wind, all day.

I passed under the Sanibel Bridge at about 1:30 or 2:00. The traffic was unbelievable. I must have passed 100 boats in the sound
approaching the bridge, and at least 100 more from the bridge to the turn onto the ICW. The traffic was the same on the ICW.

Finally, seriously needing a bathroom break, I pulled off the ICW into a large open area with deep water, dropped the anchor and
took care of business. In a few minutes, I raised the anchor again and checked the 182c Chart to see where I was. Right dead
smack in front of St James City. Okay then, that works for me.

I moved Falcon about a mile forward to the other end of the big area and anchored. That was 3 PM. It is now 4 PM because I ate
and relaxed for a bit.

Taking pictures while steering is a pain, but I managed to get 23 taken during the day. I will be glad when the sun sets and all
these wake making knuckleheads go home. I say that with love, of course, because if I had the big powerboat I'd do the same
thing.

Espin just called. He and Barb are about an hour out of Tarpon Springs and they will be getting to the Seafood Shack in another
day or two, and I suppose I will, too.
The sunrise was welcomed as I left Marco. It was chilly in the morning and I needed the jacket again. I passed two giant fleets of
dinghy sailboats at Doctors Pass. The dinks were crewed by little kids and there were easily over a hundred of them. The ones in
the picture above were a bit bigger and there were only about fifty of those. The real problem was weaving through the little
boats at slow speed and giving them all tons of searoom. They were not racing at the time, but were leaving the beach to
assemble at a starting line about a mile offshore. Slightly nerve wracking from a distance, but no problem once I got closer.
Above left, one of my favorite beach resort buildings on the Gulf Coast. It is in North Naples, I believe. On the right, you've got to
respect any rational human being with the nads to paint a million dollar beach house like this.
This is what the water was like for most of the day - glassy -
no wind. The first wind did arrive when I was 5 miles from
the Sanibel Bridge. No matter. My mission now is just to get
to Seafood Shack so I can relax a little and get back to work
finishing the details. I also
REALLY want to change this oil
filter. I will have to add oil tomorrow morning and hopefully
will have enough to make to the Shack.

If there is a spectacular sunset, you will see it. If not, see you
tomorrow.

I missed the sunset entirely. A couple more boats are here
now and the residents of St James apparently have no fear of
navigating these waters in the dark. They come and go in
pitch darkness and have not yet hit me.

I will not leave too early in the morning - I want to be able to
see all the markers clearly.
Monday, November 15, 2010 - Anchored In St. James City, Pine Island
I woke up this morning with the headache. I took some aspirin and an allergy pill and hope I'll shake it off. It's getting light and
I'll be getting on my way. Talk to you later.

It is now 4:15 PM and I am anchored in the crowded and shallow little anchorage In Venice. What a shame. I'm bumping on the
ground. I expect I may move out a bit in a little while. Or not. It's only 2 hours past low tide and the tide is coming in. Tomorrow
morning at about 8:30 or so is high tide, and I expect I'll be able to get off the mud just fine.
This is the mornings sunrise behind me as I left Saint James
City. The day was beautiful and I enjoyed most of it. Right
here right now however, is a different story. A guy with a
huge pig of a powerboat just roared through the "No Wake"
area at maximum wake speed. It was so obviously a
deliberate and malicious act that I just got brought up to date
on the politicians present actions to eliminate all cruisers
and anchoring in Venice.

A guy was doing it to me and the other boat in the anchorage
at Marco, and a cop finally stopped him and read him the riot
act. RIGHT NEXT TO MY BOAT! Of course, I didn't want to
rub salt in an open wound, so I didn't say anything as I sat
there
on deck grinning right at the red-faced jerk. When I told Paul
Flores about the incident, he smiled a little and said, "The
'anchoring' thing still isn't over for some of the guys around
here." As soon as he said it, it made perfect sense. The guy
looked like an ignorant 'feuding' redneck and I noticed he
Above left is my favorite little anchorage, which may no longer be my favorite because of the increased traffic and decreased
comfort. Anyway, the island there is Useppa. On the right is the cramped little anchorage I'm in right now. Years ago I stayed
here alone for an overnight, but it's just too cramped now. I can't wait to get out of here in the morning. I will be going right
straight out into the Gulf and up the coast to Longboat Pass and see if I can push my way in there. The current will be coming
out, but it will be almost low tide when I get there and I shouldn't have too much trouble. I'll talk to Espin about it tonight. He's
very familiar with the Pass.

Time to eat and rest. I went straight from 6:30 AM until 4:00 PM. I'm only 23.2 miles from Bradenton.

I almost forgot to tell you: When I reached Boca Grande Pass, where all the water from Charlotte Harbor dumps into the Gulf on
the outgoing tide, I picked up a knot or two of speed and pretty well zipped out of the harbor and shot into the little channel that
heads North along the beach. It was way cool. Much better than last time when every current was against George and I.

Well, I did it. I couldn't stand it. I went outside and raised the anchor and moved the boat so it will be floating free from now on,
and most importantly, in the morning. Horsepower is king. Now I'll be able to sleep soundly.

I talked with Espin and got the particulars on the Longboat Pass Bridge entry. Piece of cake. I have to remember to call Paul in
the morning and find out where I'm to dock.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - Anchored In Venice, Florida
Okay, I'm back. I'll start updating now. I had a situation this morning.

I got up at 6 AM and watched a little Venice TV - I was not excited about getting going early because it was to be a short day and
the seas were flat. A cakewalk up the coast.

The wind had shifted from Southerly to Easterly overnight and Falcon swung into the narrow channel bordering the anchorage,
blocking fully half of it. Rather than wait for some self-righteous uniformed authority figure to come and needlessly harass me, I
shortened up the scope a bit and pulled in off the channel, then went below to begin posting. In just a few minutes, I noticed I
was now dragging and had to do something immediately. I pulled the plug on the computer and reeled in the anchor and headed
out of the anchorage. I figured, the seas were flat and I could anchor off the beach to the north and do the post, have breakfast
and then get under way.

I had right of way at the only intersection on the channel and passed a huge, brand spanking new, expedition ship or special work
boat with a big davit style crane on the back deck. It was about 100 feet long and was the type you see lower submersible
chambers from. Off I went right into the Gulf and  - Holy Crap! - there are 3 foot seas bashing off the jetty's and making Falcon
pitch like a hobby horse. I aimed straight into them, slightly Southwest, and went below for my coffee and oatmeal - neither of
which would have survived the turn Northward, then swung Northward and started 5 hours of pitching and rolling in
increasingly hostile seas.

It's like a freaking curse. I only had 23.4 miles to go - total - but now it was going to be like this. My coffee fell over before I'd
drunk half of it and the oatmeal was stone cold by the time I ate it.

Halfway to Longboat Pass, I wanted so much to get out of nasty situation that I closely studied the 2 Sarasota Passes, but no way
could I try either of them being pushed by these seas. I went a couple of miles offshore to try to minimize the wave height, but
out there they were even bigger. However, they were also further apart and that made it more comfortable. Still, I had to
constantly move the wheel from side to side to handle the huge following swells.

The farther North I went, the bigger they got until I was surfing down the face of 8 to 10 foot swells. That's right, I said it. Great,
big, heavy, wide Falcon was surfing down the fronts of waves. She zoomed up to 7.2 knots at least once, that I saw, and 7 knots
several times. It would have been nice if I could have done that all day, but the direction of the waves was diagonally toward the
beach. I spent most of the day staying well away from shore.

I took 37 lame pictures trying to get some that showed the size of the seas, knowing full well that cameras shrink waves from
monsters to ripples with the click of a shutter. Not a single shot is worth seeing.

The most butt-clenching part of the day was the mad-dog wrestle through the inlet to Longboat Pass, with waves crashing and
tumbling all over in a giant mess while I desperately spun the wheel from side to side as waves lifted and moved me sideways 20
feet at a whack. This is particularly dangerous in this narrow, slightly shallow in some places, channel.

At noon I got through the Cortez Bridge and was tied up five minutes later. I'm tired and I just ate and Espin just called and he'll
be here in 15 minutes or so, so I'll be back later.

Espin and Barb are here. I need to get pictures of everyone to post here. It is also time to get some shots around the marina at
some of the new people and boats.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I am back in my old slip, all tied and secure and a cold front is about to deliver a chilly 'Welcome Back' for us. I will go out with
the camera this morning and take a lot of pictures of whatever I can to refresh our vision of the Seafood Shack.

It was good to see Paul and Eddie and Espin and Barbara and George Carter and Randy, who stopped by briefly. And I met a new
guy, Richard, who I will include a shot of  today.

I have a great deal of cleaning and straightening up to do on the boat. And I have the head to fix and a great deal of 'building,
sanding, priming and painting' to get done. Fortunately, I have all the materials for these jobs. It was a spending priority in
Marathon. I knew I would be flat when I got here and would need the materials to keep on.

I walked around the marina early this morning and too a few shots. I didn't take pictures of people just getting up, thinking I
would do that later on in the day, but it never happened. RJ came by and it was good to see him. He - like everyone else who has
actually come aboard - likes the interior very much and remarked on how much room there is below now. It is awesome.
I've decided to post some of the wave pictures I took yesterday, not because they show anything you can see, but more as a way
of proving they can't show the size of waves. I could not look into the veiwfinder or even see anything on the LCD on the back of
the camera. I just braced the camera against the Bimini tubes and occasionally snapped the shutter. The angle in the second
picture is how the boat was pitched on the face of one of the big waves, not an angle the camera was held at.
Most of the time this was a fun ride. There was never a moment of danger of any kind - aside from the horrifying moment when
my coffee spilled - but it became tiresome and tedious. I loved the wave surfing and trying to get Falcon to zip down the face of
waves. The single spooky section was coming into Longboat Pass, where, if I'd hit bottom, I would have done so with such
bone-jarring violence that it is not inconceivable Falcon's engine might have been torn from the mounts and we would have been
smashed to pieces against the rip-rap stone jetty to leeward. I would certainly not have died, but Falcon would have. I could have
jumped clear and been up on the seawall in a minute or so, but there would have been no way to get Falcon pulled off in time to
save her. So, yes, right there, I was a mite tense.
Falcon, at home back in her own slip.
Cortez Bridge on a peaceful morning.
The Seafood Shack Marina.
Tarquin with her brand new canvas.
Minnie Pearl with her new red hat.
Just missed one of those 'big red ball' sunsets.
was coming as close to the boats as possible. The world is full of jerks.
Saturday, November 20, 2010 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I slept from 7:30 last night until 6:30 this morning. Weird.
We're supposed to have excellent weather for the next week or
so and that means I have to really get going on my own projects
on my own boat. It could turn 'winter-ish' at any time and
make it very hard to get any epoxy or paint work done on the
interior.

It is a beautiful day here and I am enjoying getting some work
done on the boat. The complex cubbyholes and bookshelf
assembly beside the berth is the main item, though I
occasionally break away to do something else. I have also eaten
lunch and taken a walk to the Cortez Market - George Carter
dropped me off - for a loaf of bread. I'm on sandwiches for a
while now. Quick and easy.

Here is another example of how the little 'panorama' function
on the Sony camera could help.
It's not like I have a lot of call for it, but no
one ever really knows how the interior of
Falcon looks until they get in it. Partially, of
course, because I publish so many cramped
shots of the interior from odd angles.

The entire structure to the left will be faired
and glassed to the hull with epoxy, smoothed,
primed and painted, and the five hatches will
be made and attached. I'm not quite sure what
kind of latches I'll use.

As it is, there is an optical illusion making the
hatches appear as though they are leaning out
to the room, but they are really plumb. The
shelves and hull flare away at the top.

This assembly, like the rest of the boat, is
extremely strong and solidly attached to the
hull.
Sunday, November 21, 2010 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Yesterday, while the glue cured on the cubbyhole section, I tried every possible combination of layouts in getting the doors out of
the remaining stock I have. My limitations are that I have a cooktop counter still to make and a saloon table.

Unable to come to a suitable method, I waited and thought and finally arrived at a better alternative. Instead of making the doors
full size, I'll close in the bottom half of the openings with a single horizontal plank and make 5 much smaller hatches, which will
do the job even better because objects will not constantly be getting pinched in the closing hinges. Badda bing, badda boom, and
Bob's your uncle.

Today will be and epoxy and glass day, then go back to cutting and fitting wood. Can't be helped. The whole thing needs to be
secure with no small cracks for coins to fall into or bugs to live in.

I have been working all day and have made good headway on the structure next to the bunk. Unfortunately, I can't get at the
computer, so I'll have to catch up on this tomorrow.
Monday, November 22, 2010 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I piled all the books and things on the top shelf right up to a mountain on the computer chair. You have to understand, I have no
'extra' room here. Then began working on the filling and fairing, epoxy and glass work on the bookcase/cubbyhole assembly.

After giving this - and, by the way, that took some time - I gave it a little while to start curing, then started cutting and fitting the
lower panels. I have to say 'panels' because I didn't have a single piece long enough to do the job.

I have a lot of work to do today and need to get to it. The plank I made up and installed yesterday needs to be final fitting and
secured, then removed, trimmed and glued in place. Next, all five doors will be made and attached - I'll figure out something for
temporary latches - and the entire structure will be sanded and smoothed, screw holes filled and sanded, then primed and
painted. I expect this to take some time, I just don't know how much, but all this building and fitting has to be done before I can
really start doing the 'finish' painting and finally, the floor. There will still be plenty of details left to finish inside, but those
Items can certainly wait until all the electrical work and individual systems are completed satisfactorily.
Once again, first thing in the morning, the only way to get to the
computer is to stack all the books back on the shelf and clear the
seat.

I like the idea of half-doors instead of full doors. It means less
time cramming stuff back in that keeps trying to escape as you
close the hatch. Not quite the same as herding cats, but it could
feel that way on a rolling boat at sea.

I'm thinking of using the small magnetic latches on the hatches
with some kind of reasonable little knobs to pull them open. I'd
like to find something appropriate not likely to put an eye out
while rolling over at night.

It's 11 AM and I've got the bottom plank all trimmed and installed
and all the wood put out into the cockpit. I might be a little locked
into making the table and cooktop extension now to avoid using
big pieces I need for them in other places.
The table went surprisingly easy as far as determining the
sizes and cutting the wood. Assembling was another story, but
it's done. Three heavy stainless hinges with their pins removed
and held together by removable screws are the connection to
the desk, while an 18 inch piano hinge secures the single leg.
Someday I may draw some elaborate and ridiculous pattern on the
mono-leg and cut it out. A letter 'F' or the Roadrunner - there's no
telling. It's very solid and secure.
Now for the cooktop extension.

And there it is. I still have to take the cooker itself outside and give it
a proper cleaning prior to securing it again, And I'll be adding a
leggish sort of thing near this end and a shelf to hold some things. It's
not all worked out in my mind yet.

I also need to install the aluminum splash/heat shield in the back
and a small spice shelf up above. The stove sits lower than it is in the
picture. Those extended bolts I put in the legs go through the top and
have nuts added below. It's coming.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - Seafood Shack
Marina - Cortez, Florida
Today will be another day of measuring, cutting and installing
wooden things. I'm coming ever closer to that Holy spot on the horizon, 'The End'.

Work on the boat is progressing faster now. During this stage, I have the materials and the path is fairly well obvious. Little
issues such as the size and shape of the table and leg, hatches on the cubbyholes, cooktop and shelves, are all simple questions
based on a quick 'fit' and that's it. The space defines the item.

Final finish on all these structures will be an interesting exercise in daring and prudence. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

After that, and the electrics, something I really can't wait to get to is the interior lighting. There are so many options today with
LED fixtures and colors that it may take a few experiments to sort it out.
The splash guard is up behind the stove top. The stove itself is out on the deck where it has been getting a good scrubbing and
cleaning. The leg for the bottom is also cut, but not yet installed. I also managed to get the The splash guard is up behind the
stove top. The stove very large hatch for the storage in the head cut, but it too is just in place and not yet installed.

The hatches are cut and installed on the cubbyholes and presently taped shut. They do stay closed without help - until some Bozo
dishes us a huge wake as he goes by on a mission of some sort.

The stove is cleaned and re-assembled and now installed on the new shelf. The leg is installed and I now need to decide what I'm
going to do as far as shelves and hatches in the structure. Big pieces of wood are getting scarce, so I'll do what I can with what I
have. I will also need to make and install a partition beneath the sink to separate the food and cleaner lockers, and I'm seriously
considering a shelf and internal light in the food locker.

The hatch is ready to finish in the head and the partition is already in that bin. Both of the big storage panels forward still need to
be faired in forward section will not be able to be completed forward section will not be able to be completed until after the first
of the month. I will be needing more supplies.

Once I get all these structures built in, I'll have to mix up some epoxy putty to fill all the screw holes.
Monday, November 29, 2010 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
The foresail is off and I will go flake and stow it shortly. I might pull the dinghy off the cabin roof for a bit so I can clean it and
scrub the bottom, and then give the boat a good washing.

One of the things I want to do after the turn of the month is to wash the cockpit seat cushion covers in a washing machine or
something. Get them real clean and do a bit of minor repair on one. I applied a small patch to one and it's coming loose. I will
also need to do a better job of sealing the cockpit sole hatch and glass the inside of the cockpit center locker. I may also have to
replace a small piece of seat or the starboard side. And grind the lower lip off the middle cockpit drain hole.

Yesterday I gave the forward sink area a good cleaning and lifted some of the sole to wash out the rest of the jelly that smashed
there. Those storage lockers forward will need to be faired and glassed and both side need finishing.

Below are the dinghy - needing a little attention, but not so much as to be a big job - and the biggest mess I will now allow on
deck. Okay, that's not true, but it's the idea that counts. I will have a great deal of painting, varnish and touching up to do on deck
and I need the boat to remain clean and clear to be able to accomplish it. One thing at a time.
The closer the boat gets to completion, the cleaner it has to remain. Any clutter or unassigned material needs to be straightened
out or tossed out. No more stepping over piles of crap. Those days are over. Time to eat lunch.
I borrowed Eddie's vice to hold some small aluminum angle stock I cut into 1/2 inch pieces for brackets to secure the teak trim
rings behind the speakers. The speakers have been a continual pain in the ass because they are a pain to mount and if they are
not mounted, they are a little fragile and require care in moving and storage. The wires to power them are also hanging around,
in the way, waiting to be connected and shortened.

Once the brackets were made and drilled, I discovered what a test of patience installing them - and the rings - was to be. The first
one is always the worst and the system is now worked out. I will paint the wire Sand Castle to match the wall and hang them
with small cable ties stapled to the bulkhead. The ring and face of the magnet are perfectly flat at the same height and I will make
some sort of disc with scraps of the furry material and stick them up there somehow. Three more to go.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
It's just noon now and I'm almost tempted to go into the restaurant and be foolish with my new cash, but instead I think I'll head
down to the little local store and get some bread, jam, tuna and mayo, and continue eating what I still have aboard. I would much
rather eat it than let anything hang around until I toss it out later on. Besides, cooking is new on my new cooktop.

After a walk to the little store where I bought a bunch of stuff, I come back to the boat and do the dishes, then discover a brand
new quart of Kilz 2 primer tipped over and emptied into the bilge. @&%*)@ is what I said first, then I cleaned it up. I had to pull
up half the forward sole. I'm disgusted. I expect to be over it soon as I am right now cooking something good to eat.

What a mess, and a waste of a brand new quart of paint. The silver lining is that it was only a quart and not expensive. Though,
come to think of it, that's not much of a silver lining. A
REAL silver lining would be - There was a Krugerrand in it! - but that
didn't happen. When all you can think of is things like, "At least I didn't get poked in the eye with a sharp stick!", you're really
digging for an upside. At least I've got my health.