Ok, tell me something I don’t know, right? Yes. We finally made it to Florida by the end of October. But unfortunately we weren’t quite ready to sail off into the sunset. The only people we knew in St Petersburg were our boat broker, the boatyard manager, and our landlord. Not much socializing with that crew! And our first apartment was a big disappointment. Great location in Old Northeast St Pete, but…… it smelled like a huge ball of mold and mildew. We went through boxes of tissues, and soon found that we could smell our own clothes whenever we left the apartment. Yuck! So much for a cheap VRBO! Not to mention we couldn’t quite figure out streets versus avenues and how you could really have an address of “on the corner of 2nd and 2nd.”
But we buckled down and started to find our way around. By the first weekend, we were officially Florida residents (can you say “no state income tax”?) which came with a little twinge of sadnesses as our Colorado licenses came back to us with big holes punched in them. And we put that vacation mindset behind us and got to work at the boatyard.
Now boatyard life is not glamorous. It’s hot and dirty and you have to climb a ladder to get to the boat up on its stands, and there’s always a whiff of chemicals and rotting fish and perhaps body odor. But the Salt Creek Marina was very accommodating and allows do-it-yourself boat projects, so we were grateful to have found this particular yard.
And also very lucky that all of the boats in the yard successfully weathered Hurricane Irma in September. Phew! We pulled off the tarps that covered the companionway and the mast, and pulled the steel wool out of the thoughhulls and took the foil off the portlights, and she appeared not much worse for the wear. Just a little water on the cabin sole, but not bad for an entire summer of storms.
We had a list that was three pages long of things we wanted to fix, replace, or maintain before putting the boat in the water. But our first surprise wasn’t even on the list at all. When we pulled up the cabin sole, and checked out the bilge, we found several liters of diesel fuel in the bottom. A teaspoon or two might not have been too bad. But liters?! First task was to investigate the fuel tank and discover that the bottom of the tank had corroded completely through. The good design of Pacific Seacraft boats allowed us to get to the tank easily, but we had to pull the whole thing out and order a new one from the factory. THAT’S and expense we hadn’t planned on!
Thus began the series of boat projects that (everyone tells us) you just have to expect when you own a boat. But we didn’t…..