We hauled out Makin Memories at Pitman’s Yacht Service this morning for a few minor repairs and to measure for a custom swim platform built by Doug Bruce of Custom Boat Works in Tarpon Springs. I always enjoy watching the lift pull Makin Memories out and giving a peek at the bottom and the running gear. She will be on the hard for three or four days giving me a chance to get a few repairs and additional maintenance items completed for the Loop in January.
Black Box Phobia
In the past, before forming a relationship with Makin Memories, my nature was to only tinker with electronics, at best. Plug it in and hope for the best. Check the fuses, explore whether or not there was current, that sort of thing. But to open the case and explore the insides of the black box- that was a foreign land best left to an expert. Since all relationships take work, compromise, and commitment, I decided to extend my horizons and invest myself fully in the experience of learning new systems, come what may.
My Furuno 1830 radar started to work intermittently on our cruise to Key West from Tarpon Springs this summer. My wife and I found that the radar is truly a very helpful friend in navigating the GICW during the many rain storms we encountered. But the failing radar was not only unsafe but downright dangerous. In the past, I would have gone out and bought a new one – a smaller foot print, color, dependable. I knew deep down though that I had to try and repair the unit myself, hence opening the box up and delving into the mysteries of the black box.
I began with the basics. Stay in familiar territory and don’t touch anything that could break easily, such as, capacitors, resistors, wires drop soldered. God forbid I confuse the colored wires and where they plug in. I felt paralyzed because nothing was familiar. But, with persistence, I carefully sanded connections, reconnected loose wires, and cleaned up the insides. To my amazement, the unit turned on and continued to operate without shutting down. Of course, there was no rain in sight, and we were not in danger of running aground, but the radar did function consistently for the test period.
Moral of the story, give DIY a try, the worst that can happen is that you go out and purchase a new whatever. The best that can happen is that you gain a new found confidence in yourself and you save a few bucks.
Solar Eclipse August 2017
We cruised out to Anclote Island to watch the solar eclipse yesterday. We tried a recommended way of viewing the eclipse by Neil Degrasse Tyson and thought maybe we saw it, or maybe not….we’re not sure? But it was a great time to be out anyways.
New DinghyRamps to be added in September with the new swim platform.
A Slice of Heaven in Key West
Jean and I found a great little hideaway for a slice of pie in Key West in June. After dodging rain storms most of the day, we ducked into an open-air restaurant under a huge banyan tree. Chickens at our feet and tree trimmers in the air, we shared a fantastic treat. Blue Heaven is a family-owned business off the beaten path. Don’t miss the lobster grilled cheese sandwich or the mile-high Key Lime pie!!
New Additions to Makin Memories
We just received our Tokyo Citizen folding bikes for the Great Loop trip beginning in January 2018. We searched for months for the right folding bikes for us, and we believe these fit the bill. We brought our regular bikes with us on the Key West trip and found that they were mostly in the way and awkward to get around on the boat. These two are compact enough when folded that they will fit in the forward cabin and be out of the way.
Swimming with Friends
We took friends out for a lunch and a swim in the Gulf yesterday after a morning of paddleboarding on the bayou. A great time on the water shared among friends.