Things we fixed (aka broke) along the way….

Things we fixed…..(the last few things on this list were more like upgrades)

Both heads (toilets)…..rebuilt the pumps, replaced the intake and output lines, replaced the water intake strainers, siphon breaks..rebuilt the forward head pump multiple times before finally replacing the entire housing…

Diesel—adjusted the Valve lash, oil changes, used high dose diesel cleaning solution treatment four times due to contamination of our injector pump…(this wasn’t an issue we caused, it was caused by a boat yards poor work in NC)

Patch the Genoa Sail sunbrella sacrificial cover

Racor filter / housing rebuild and filter change

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Galley Faucet….this began to leak and reached a critical point while moored in Key West…..the faucet was so old that the owner of a plumbing supply warehouse, who was in the family business for 50 years said he hadn’t seen one of these in 35 or 40 years!!!

Galley Sink….at some point in our boat’s history….someone (possibly a sadist) used 3M 5200 to seal the sink to the countertop…..for those of you unfamiliar with 5200, it’s a great product for installing things you want to be bulletproof…..it’s not so great for something you might want to remove….ever……even employees at boatyards groan audibly when they learn they have to remove something installed with 5200….it has been nicknamed by some “death paste”. ¬† The upside is, since the edge of our sink was so severely damaged during removal, we had a custom single bowl sink fabricated and installed …..if anyone needs such a replacement let us know we have a great source for these sinks !!!

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Drinking water inline filters (x3)

Aft head cold water faucet replacement

Power switch for VHF radio….which completely deteriorated and fell apart in my hand when we went to switch on the radio to check the weather in the Dry Tortugas…..

Zinc replacement x2

Remove lines from props ….five times….one with a crab trap on it….no bonus crabs though….

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Tune up, recommission the diving air compressor and change the breathing air filter

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Replace outboard prop and kill switch

Refrigerator coolant line unclogging

Replace Aft cabin fan….then replace defective blade….then fan died…again…ugh

Unclog Lazarette drains

Unclog sink drain x2

Fix aft head intake leaking seacock

Replace steering sheave and pins

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Replace Hatch solar fans

Replace / upgrade anchor to a Mantus 85lb galvanized anchor

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Upgrade Battery cables, install battery bank monitors, replace underrated/melted battery selector switch and install a main fuse for battery banks

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Install new Wind instruments and displays

Painted the salon and V-berth interior

Repair salon sole soft spots

Shower stall refinish……

This all added up to about $12k for the year in boat upkeep….they say to anticipate 10% per year of your boat’s value for upkeep so we are a little high but fingers crossed that goes down next year……

 

   

Key West…..Part One

When we arrived in Key West, after our overnight stay at Looe Key Reef,… (See that post here ….¬†https://learntoliveaboard.com/2016/07/scenes-from-along-the-way-to-dry-tortugas-via-key-west/ ¬†) we spent about 90 minutes navigating the entrance to Key West from the South. There was no shortage of small and large traffic including a departing cruise ship. We had called ahead and arranged for a mooring ball in the Garrison Bight Mooring Field.

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Image courtesy of Google Maps

We made our way around Fleming Key, which is the home of the U.S. Army Special Forces Undwerwater Training Center which is located at it’s north tip. ¬†The island also has a waste water treatment system and a Dolphin Training Center !! ¬†You do see a conspicuous number of dolphins cruising between the boats anchored on the west side of the island. There are A LOT of boats anchored on either side of the channel in the area between Key West proper and the channel on the west side. ¬†There are a great many people who find it cheaper to buy a boat and live at anchor than to rent an apartment or commute from the upper keys when working in Key West.

This was the first time we tried our tactic of picking up a mooring ball from the stern swim platform (Kim’s idea). ¬†I have to say, it worked really well and avoided all the extra stress and strain of leaning over the bow to snag the pennant. The bow of Kitty Hawk is about 5′ above the water line. ¬†Our initial concern was that the weight of the boat would make getting the pennant from the stern to the bow impractical. We used our “Grab-n-Go” (a special spring loaded, gated, stainless steel hook that attaches to an extendable boat hook) to grab the pennant and lead it forward to our lines. Here’s a diagram for anyone unfamiliar with a mooring ball….

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The 2′ to 3′ white, floating ball, usually has a blue line running horizontally around it, is attached to the bottom by a piece of heavy chain. ¬†A steel rod or chain runs through the ball to the chain that leads to the bottom. ¬†At the top, is a steel loop or large eyebolt that attaches to the pennant. ¬†On the bottom of the body of water there might be a large concrete anchor or really anything heavy, sometimes there is a helix style pin screwed directly into the sea or lake bottom. The pennant is the¬†(normally) yellow tether, usually a heavy nylon rope with a loop covered by chafe guard on the free end.

The mooring ball was about $300 for a month, as opposed to $1700 a month for a dock in Key West. ¬†If you plan to stay on a ball more than 17 days it is actually more affordable to just pay for a month on the ball. The downside is that the mooring field is a 15-20 minute (sometimes pretty wet) dinghy ride in to the city dock and about a mile walk to downtown. ¬†We didn’t find that too bad most days since we counted the walking as our exercise for the day.

We spent just over three weeks in Key West not counting our small break for our trip to Dry Tortugas.

Here’s some shots from Key West…..I took these with my iPhone 4S….I either need a new phone or a dedicated camera…..

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The Key West Lighthouse
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Kim in front of the Kapok tree aka Ceiba Tree considered sacred by the Mayans

I would have liked to enlarge these remaining photos but the software for the blog seems to be wiping out the rest of the post every time I try to do so. ¬†Sorry…I’m afraid you’ll have to click on them to see greater detail…..

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While we were in Key West the “America 2.0” was in port making daily sunset cruises and short local charters. ¬†She’s a model of the original Schooner America that won the first America’s Cup in 1851. ¬†She’s 105′ overall with 3600’sq of sail. She also has freestanding carbon fiber masts.

 

imageKim with ¬†“shot cannon” at the entrance to Fort Zachary Taylor.

imageA cannon restored and mounted inside the fort.

There’s a pretty cool story about the restoration of the fort in Key West. Construction for the fort was begun in 1845. ¬†It was originally constructed by the army and used heavily in 1898 in the Spanish American War. ¬†In 1947 the fort ¬†was turned over to the U.S. Navy and was used for storage. It was basically a dumping ground and most of the historical parts of the fort were buried. In 1968 a local named Howard England recruited volunteers to excavate the fort walls and restore the cannons. It was discovered that the fort contained the largest number of Civil War Cannons anywhere. England invested ten years restoring the fort. Thanks to his efforts and his volunteers nicknamed “sandhogs” the fort went from abandoned dumping ground to tourist attraction with a beach covering 87 acres.

Some photos from around the fort ……

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Next time ….Key West Part Deux…..or part drunk?

So,….How much does it cost to live and travel on a Sailboat ????

Aspiring cruisers frequently ask the question “What does it cost to do this?” …..that’s tough to answer unless you keep records for a few months, at least. ¬† Plus it can be difficult since boats and their systems come in various sizes and levels of complexity. ¬†The larger the boat and the more systems you have on board the greater the associated costs. ¬†We feel like we live pretty well on Kitty Hawk. ¬†She has a nice balance of systems and amenities without feeling like you are camping ¬†on the water.

For us, generally speaking, we run between $3,000 and $4,000 per month. ¬†Some months if we don’t have an upgrade or repair and we anchor out more, we are closer to that $3k number. ¬†Some of our friends who cruised in the 1980’s have told us they could get by on as little as $300 per month !!! Looking back, my first car in 1982 cost me $400 !!!

Kim, fortunately, is becoming meticulous when it comes to documenting our expenses on a daily basis.  Now that we have a full year under our belts, I thought it was time to put all of her hard work together into a post.  Since the process of categorizing expenses has taken some time to refine, I decided to limit this first accounting to the last six months.  That should help to make this more understandable.

Unfortunately, the app we use to track these expenses can’t export the information. ¬†We have to use screen shots of the reports, so the resolution isn’t the best but you’ll be able to see how things break down percentage wise.

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It seems like the first half of the year is always the most expensive.  Since hurricane season starts on June 1, that tends to be the time when we get any professional assistance with any needed repairs started.  We also pay for our annual hurricane haulout reservation in May, which adds between $250 and $500 to the budget.  There was also about $2,000 of extra expenses, due to some poor work we had done in North Carolina in 2015, that not only required corrective repairs but caused some damages that needed repair also.  There are some front loaded services for the year that come up and we are in the process of dividing these up over the whole year. The average for this last six month period was about $4,480.00 per month.  Adjusting for the extra repairs this number should be more like $4,100.00.   I feel safe in saying that this number will continue to go down as we move forward.  Our rough numbers for the twelve month period was closer to $3,000 per month. I hope our upcoming years will be closer to that $3,000 mark, or less !!

Our largest category, Entertainment, covers anytime we eat out, away from the boat, or any other land based excursions (Parks, tours or the like).

The second largest, Monthly expenses, includes set, recurring expenses.  Things like XM Radio subscriptions, cell phones, our MiFi hot spot, DAN insurance, Boat/car/life insurance, personal property taxes and membership fees fall into this category (our old sailing club dues, our current marina association, Elks club, etc).

In third place we have Miscellaneous, that includes things like income taxes, laundry, health/vision, other supplies, fishing gear, scuba gear, and hotels.

Transportation includes, taxis, buses and rental cars.

Fuel includes both the diesel for the boat and gasoline for any vehicles we use along the way, plus the gas for the dinghy and dive compressor.

“Lowes” is our catch all category for any hardware store expense.

The Marina category covers any docking expenses or other fees incurred while at a Marina or private dock (Wifi, water, electricity etc).

The Alcohol category covers wine, beer or liquor that we buy to keep on the boat. (That 2% is much lower than anyone anticipated, I bet !!)

We will compile another report like this in another six months and include both periods to see how the expenses shape up once we have all the categories locked in.

Never fear….the Key West Post is still coming…..it’s still in the draft phase….

 

Scenes from along the way to Dry Tortugas via Key West…..

When we left Tavernier and headed west along the ICW on the inside of the Florida Keys, we spent about a week near the Windley Key Fossil Park in Islamoarada…. See that post here…… ¬† ¬†https://learntoliveaboard.com/2016/05/a-visit-to-windley-key-fossil-park/

Once we had seen all the sights there, we backtracked slightly because we wanted to see the Indian Key Historic Park.  That park is located on a small island on the ocean side of the Keys near Lower Matecumbe Key.  We moved to the ocean side through Snake Creek and the Bascule Bridge there.

imageAn Unusual house just inside the Snake Creek Bridge…..

an aerial view of Indian Key…..

image(Image courtesy of Google Maps)

Indian Key was settled by the Housman family……

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In the mid 1800’s Indian Key was settled by Jacob Housman and his family. ¬†They built several houses, a store, a town square and several cisterns for saving fresh water. ¬†The village was later destroyed by an Indian attack and was later recaptured by the U.S. Navy and used as a Naval Base. ¬†Housman had lost everything in the attack and moved to Key West where he operated a salvage vessel. In 1841 he was crushed to death when he fell between the hulls of his salvage ship and a vessel they were in the process of salvaging. His grave on Indian Key is symbolic only, as he is buried near Lignumvitae Key.

 

 

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A scary looking tree on Indian Key……

After spending the night at Indian Key and having a short tour of the park the next day, we sailed west to the Channel Five entrance at Marathon (aka Boot Key). ¬†We went back to the bay side of the Keys there. ¬†We spent a couple of nights anchored out north of Marathon near Horseshoe Key and later docked at the Sombrero Marina for three nights while awaiting the arrival of my sister, Jo. ¬†We had hoped to spend some time at the Dockside Restaurant which was owned by the “Trop-Rock” musician Eric Stone and his wife. Sadly, they had some issues with their landlord and the bar was permanently closed when we arrived. ¬†We picked up my sister Jo at the Ft. Lauderdale airport and she made the rest of the trip with us to Key West.

Once Jo joined us we left Marathon……

After a night at Looe Key Reef….see that post here ….. ¬†¬†https://learntoliveaboard.com/2016/05/spotted-eagle-rays-at-looe-key-reef/

 

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My sister, Jo, snorkeling at Looe Key Reef

 

We woke to the calmest water I have seen aside from a lake on the calmest day…..these photos don’t do justice to how flat the water was that day……

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The American Shoal Light
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Kim playing giant to the American Shoal Light

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We saw two Sea Turtles that day on our way to Key West. ¬†I think my sister might have even shed a tear or two….it was her first time seeing sea turtles in the wild and she has been trying to do that for a long time. ¬†I’m glad I got to be there for that experience.

NEXT TIME…..KEY WEST !!!!!