Boat jobs in Florida – part 1

Thursday morning we were up bright and early and prepared Morphie for her capping rail to be varnished….   The anchorage is quiet – as in we are the only people in it – but the ICW is busy….   The Inter Coastal Waterway runs all the way down the East Coast from Canada to past Miami and is commonly known as the ‘ditch’.   The water is not brown this morning – and we’re moving 180 degrees with each turn of the tide – but a green colour instead.   And we’ve seen fish behind the boat and a couple of dolphins have gone past….   Pretty serene place when you aren’t rocking and rolling in the constant wake of the fishing boats, the pontoon boats, the wetbikes and the trawlers…   Not that many sail boats around here…

So it’s ropes tied up; stainless cleaned; some stainless removed; some blocks loosened and anchors / snubber secured out of the way…..   Then we taped up above and below the rail…..   Took us pretty much all day – it is blisteringly hot here – and we had had enough by late afternoon.   So we dinked in to Harbortown Marina for happy hour, some good food, and more live entertainment.   This place is growing on us!

Morphie at anchor near the ICW

Harbortown marina Goodnight 1

Friday morning and it’s our first rub down……   I worked under the rail from dink and Richard started on the bow sprit…. Then I rejoined him on the rail and we met eventually – job done!

Rubbing down 1 Rubbing down 2

Ready for varnish.   So we both got in dink and Richard moved it around the boat while I varnished under the rail. Then we climbed back on board and I relaxed while Richard varnished the top sides.   Phew job done….

First coat

So back into Harbortown for dinner.   Tried the dinner menu this time and was actually disappointed – the appetizers and smaller meals are much better.   But had a good time and returned to Morphie for the sun to set and an early night – exhausted and drained by the physical hard work.

Goodnight 2

Saturday morning and we did it all again…..

Man at work

Rubbed down again 2

Entertained by the large tug boat pushing a barge who ran aground three times and had to be rescued by a smaller tug. Even the professionals run aground in the ICW!

Tug that run aground

By the time we finished we couldn’t be bothered to go ashore so had a relaxing night on board.   So far so good though….

Another coat Another coat 2

Sunday morning and we did it all over again…..   This is physical work for both of us and Richard’s knees are complaining!   I even managed to burn my bum on the deck as I shuffled along…

Final rub down 1 Final rub down 2

Oh yes and it was madness on the ICW – hundreds of wetbikes were out and although went slowly up to where we are, which is a manatee zone, they then buzzed off at full pelt.   I stopped work for a little while to watch them as rubbing down isn’t easy when you are moving from side to side at the same time!!!

Final coat being applied Here come the bikes And they are off! Quiet day on the ICW

I also enjoyed watching the bastille bridge opening – as this is where we will be going through to Riverside, Morphie’s final destination this year.

Anyway – late afternoon – and we’ve finished! Yay!   We are very happy – although Richard is not keen on his suntan lines LOL – and we went into Harbortown Marina to celebrate.

Strange suntan lines!We were also happy because they had confirmed that they have an alongside floating pontoon slip for us to go into on Monday.   Then we can get on with the other list of jobs….. We had a few beers in celebratory mode and ended up going back to Morphie just before it got dark.


Monday morning – up early with the sun – and we got ready to go into the marina. We knew where the slip was, as we’d already scoped it out, so quickly reinstalled our rub rails and I removed the blue tape from below the rail. The deck tape can wait another day…..   Fenders on, lines ready, and in with go.  We have about 6 inches above low water – and it is supposed to be dredged to 7 feet throughout – but of course we find the shallower parts of the channel but luckily managed not to touch bottom on our way in.   Great manoeuvring by Richard on the helm and we were set.   At low tide we have less than 4 inches below the keel in this slip – but not too worried about this as Morphie is a long keeled boat and she would just sit on the bottom if we did touch.   Doesn’t she look beautiful?!?

Morphie in her private slip

I went into the office to pay and was told that it was cheaper to pay for a month than to pay for two weeks – so went for it – we can stay until we want to leave basically. Water is included but electricity is metered rather than the $7 a day fee for a shorter stay. The only downside is that they charged us for 45 feet as that is the size boat that the slip can accommodate – oh well – never mind. Actually overall it worked out pretty reasonable. Oh yes, and we’ve heard from Blaine that he needs some summer work, so we’ve asked him to come join us on Wednesday for five days. Win win on both sides – particularly me as I don’t get to winch Richard up the mast this year LOL!!!

In the afternoon we did the laundry, found the boaters lounge, ordered a hire car and generally got our bearings. Nice little pool too – although sadly rules suggest no bobbing, but we’ll see…. Later on we had a couple of beers and a snack in the marina bar but quickly called it a day.   Very very tired….

Harbortown marina 2 Marina pool Harbortown marina 3Goodnight 3

Tuesday morning up early and we were picked up by Enterprise and taken to the office to sort out the hire car. Initially we have booked it just for the week…..     We drove through downtime Fort Pierce and were surprised by how poor this area is – a combination of historic buildings and some pretty depressed looking housing and cheap rental apartments.   Numerous lots for sale and buildings abandoned.   Guess this area hasn’t recovered from the global downturn yet.

Historic buildings

We went shopping first – to West Marine – Richard’s favourite shop. He was disappointed by this flagship store as it catered more to fisherman than to boating – but we joined their system anyway so that we get a discount and got a few bits and bobs. Basically I think we will order online and pick up from there…..   Then we went on to Publix the large supermarket.   Provisioned up for Blaine’s visit and returned to Morphie where we stowed it all. Then we had Edouard on board from the local canvas shop – he came to quote us for a pair of dodgers.


Having stowed all our goodies we headed off again – this time our destination was Riverside Marina which is where we have booked Morphie to stay. Well – this place is a nightmare. It is filthy, dusty, rubbish strewn, boats falling apart, little sign of any real security other than CCTV camera signs and haphazard storage areas to say the least.   Wires were everywhere too… We spoke to one guy working on his boat – funnily enough an Island Packet – and he said that it was good and cheap but you have to watch out for your stuff as it gets ‘borrowed’ constantly.   This is starting to feel like a nightmare….. We went into the office – introduced ourselves to Sue – and picked up our parcel which held the connectors for our cradle system from Brownell that had been delivered directly here.   We didn’t tell her what we thought of the place as we are not sure we’ll be able to find somewhere else that will accommodate us now and we may be stuck – but both of us were pretty depressed by the thought of leaving Morphie there.

When we got back Richard removed all the tape from the deck while I went to see the office here in Harbortown Marina to see whether they could accommodate us in their boatyard – it is a full service yard, so no work can be done by us but we can do most of it from the dock – and of course it is not inexpensive.  But it is clean – the boats are well spread – and there is good security.   The first response was yes we have space but probably not OK to use our connector system…..   Will let us know….. Damn…

Business office

We chatted over dinner and had an early night. Not hopeful at all and I was quite teary by now.   Neither of us slept much at all – not helped by the constant freight train traffic blaring their horns as they cross over the highway behind us – so we spent the early hours researching other boat yards online. Feels very familiar….and frustrating…..and depressing…..   Anyway, I found another yard in Stuart, Florida – about 20 miles south of us – and fired an online request off to them explaining about the connector system.

Eventually we nodded off – but ended up getting up early feeling very tired and puffy eyed. So this morning – Wednesday – and we checked our e-mails first.   The boatyard in Stuart had responded – happy to accommodate the connector system – but not sure if they have space to match our dates. Someone else will get in touch about that….. Fingers crossed.   Feeling much more hopeful we headed out – this time to Home Depot to buy Richard some more 110v power tools and other bits and bobs…..and then to West Marine for more bits and bobs….and then Publix for more beer…..and then back to Morphie. Oh yes, and we went into a Centrestate Bank to get some drinking vouchers – we have banked with them since 2008 but have never set foot in one of their branches before! Very swish – now we know where our bank charges are going LOL!

CentreState Later on Edouard came on board to make his pattern – we paid 50% of the quote – and hope to get the dodgers done by Monday.

Eduoard making his pattern

We’ve just cleaned the boat down below and cleared room for Blaine – he arrives this evening – and I’ve just checked emails again and wow Harbortown will accommodate us and our cradle!!!  Obviously going to cost us – but who cares – there comes a point when you just have to throw money at a problem!!!   Soooo relieved…..   Will visit the office tomorrow morning to sort out logistics of it all – including finding out the rules and organising some haul out tasks like thru-hulls, prop cleaned, hull waxed, fresh water through the engine etc etc etc…..   Not going to think about the bills – just that Morphie will be safe and sound and in a better place!  Luckily Richard already has a job offer on the table for a few months when we get back again this year to help reduce the pain a bit.

Blogging in the cockpit now – waiting for Blaine to arrive….and the weather is closing in a bit.   Guess we might have rain later.   A social evening beckons before the huge boat jobs lists starts in earnest tomorrow – will be back with part 2 soon!

Bye for now