I am amazed to see that today is the last day of February. When Dave fell and "cracked his acetabulum" on 13 January and was told to not bear weight on his leg for 7-8 weeks, I thought, "2 whole months?!?!?" Now, that period of time is almost over. Monday, 4 March is the beginning of week 8. Dave goes to the doctor on 6 March.
Today, the kids went to the annual Open House (literally held one day every year) at the Smithsonian Marine Reseach Center located on Hutchison Island here in Ft Pierce. The highlight for Z and J was the Touch Tank. They touched a jellyfish, a sea star, and a crab...plus they liked seeing microscopes that real scientists use everyday!
Welllllll, looks like we had a little too much joy too soon...water is still leaking into the boat...specifically, into Dito and Sarah's starboard aft (right side of boat, to the rear) cabin. It is true that much less water is coming in (even though it did rain last night), but...any leaking is too much.
Dito and Dave have conferred using Facetime, so Dave has been able to "see" different places in the boat where they think the leak might be located. Dito has been caulking several areas they have discussed. I should tell y'all that the binnacle holding the compass is not leaking anymore.
The first photo shows the bunk mattress pulled into the center of the starboard hull. Dito put it there so he could access hard-to-see areas in the cabin. Photos 2 and 3 show Dito setting up two different fans to dry out the storage areas in the cabin. We are glad we found the leak (s?) while we are still at the dock and have access to electricity. Things dry up much faster if we can use electric fans!
So the search for the elusive leak continues!
Had a routine morning with boat school, then fixing lunch on the boat, packing it up, and going to eat with Dave at the motel. After lunch, the girls got ready to swim. Dito said he had an errand to run and could not go to the pool. Sarah was finishing typing an article for the website. Baba and I went with the kids to the pool.
Z took the pink preserver vest to the pool so she and Baba could play the game they made up...(the "game" is similar to throwing horseshoes). The kids also have four weighted rockets we throw into the pool and they dive in and retrieve them. Z and Baba each throw two rockets at the floating vest. They get points when a rocket lands on the vest. Then, Z dives down and retrieves the "misses". When it was J's turn to play with the rockets, I threw them in and she retrieved them...maybe 100 times ( or not!). She loves it! We are so happy to see both of them so comfortable in the water!
The big water test has been done...the big test to see if the leak problem was truly solved. Dito was down below in the starboard aft cabin waiting to see what happened while Z was up by the binnacle with a water hose, dousing the compass cover with water. Good News! The repair job Dito did on the binnacle worked! No water leaked! Dito checked the areas that had been wet. He had dried everything out and everything stayed dry today! We are so glad we found this problem at the dock!
The other two photos show Sarah, Dito, and me at the motel...each of us busy on our computers. We have Wifi at the marina that is usually good. The Wifi at the motel is better, so all of us were making good use of it while we were there. Sarah was working on an article for the maxingout.com website. Dito was doing some writing for the website. I was working on getting my blog entries and photos ready to download to Sarah, so she could upload them into the website.
Dito found evidence of rust on the brand-new engine. The man who installed the engines came by and inspected the engine room. He said water was leaking, but he could not discover the source.
Dave and Dito have spent a long time talking on Facetime while Dito used his phone screen to point out rust spots and different wet places in the engine room. They finally traced the leaking water... from the rust on the engine...to the ceiling of the engine room...to under the mattress in Dito and Sarah's bunk...to the steering cables...to the binnacle (holds the compass so it can be seen from the starboard steering wheel)...to the compass itself. The gasket on the compass failed.
The photos tell the story of using fans on all wet areas to dry them out. The second photo shows the binnacle after the compass was removed. The last photo is a close-up of the same thing. We are so happy to know the source of the problem...and also grateful Dito can fix it. We all love the water, but not in our bunks, clothing, books, shoes, etc.!
Saturday, 23 February 2019...No school today, so everyone found different things to do. I went grocery shopping to replace the food we used at the hotel in the past week.
Sarah took the girls to the Saturday Market, then to see a parade that went right by the market and the marina. The stars of the parade were an equestrian group that performs with whips. The girls got to "meet" the horses and pet them after the parade ended.
The Manatee Center sponsored an educational event to teach the public, especially children, about how they can help protect manatees. The Center even staged a mock manatee rescue using a "mock manatee”. Children were asked to volunteer to help lift the stretcher the “mock manatee was lying on. Z and J were right there in the middle of the group that was supporting the ”injured manatee”.
Remember the real manatee rescue I wrote about? The leaders of that rescue told today’s crowd about that specific rescue as well as a couple of other rescues that occurred recently in Ft. Pierce. They were able to tell the crowd that the rescued animal with the pneumothorax is presently recovering at the University of Miami. Other exhibits at the manatee center introduced the girls to a snake and a baby alligator! Big day!
So, , another week (the 6th week since Dave fell) has gone by. Another day following our “new” routine... we did school first thing this morning, I made lunch (tortilla stacks and tossed salad), then, we were on our way to eat lunch with Dave at the motel. Next, more swimming in the pool. The kids' swimming proficiency is certainly improving.
In the late afternoon, I stayed outside to make a phone call. When I finished the call, I went into the motel room. I could never have guessed...Dito was playing old video from our circumnavigation trip. Everyone was watching! I started watching, too!
We agreed to pause the video and to go pick up pizza and garlic knots for supper. Back at the motel, we all ate our pizza while we continued to watch our old videos. For instance, in October 2004...We had sailed to the island named Kalimantan/Borneo with South African friends on their boat, Sea Tjalm. We all went on a day trip together...on a river boat up a river into the jungle to the site of an orangutan reserve. Our tour group saw several orangutans up close and personal. We have not seen this footage for a very long time, but watching it made the memories come flooding back! We have never forgotten visiting the orangutans!
Started the day as usual, with school on the boat. Sarah made curry and rice for lunch today, then packed it up to take to the motel so everyone could eat lunch with Dave. I decided to stay in the boat and eat my lunch while everyone else went to the motel.
Since Dave moved to the motel, I have been going back and forth between the two locations almost daily. I have kept a minimum amount of clothes at the motel. I got some clean clothes off the shelves in the cabin and dropped-off dirty clothes on the boat bunk everyday this week. It was time for an intervention!
I cleaned up the cabin and put everything away in its proper place. Next, I went through some of the school materials I had squirreled away for “later”. When J started home school, she was doing pre-school to beginning kindergarten level work. Now she is starting to read, do math, etc. Time to pull out some of the materials. “Later” has arrived! Next, I rearranged some things in the food pantry. I worked all afternoon and got most of the things done that were on my list.
Meanwhile, at the motel, the kids were swimming with Dito and diving down to retrieve rings Baba was throwing in the pool. The kids hardly notice which end of the pool they are in anymore.
Dito, Sarah, Z, and J returned to the marina about 1730 (5:30 p.m.). I took the first 2 photos in front of the marina building while waiting for them Dito took the picture of me waiting, then they went to the boat and I returned to the motel in the car.
Good news was waiting for the crew of sv/EXIT ONLY at the marina office this morning! We get to stay on A dock for four more weeks! I was really nervous going into the marina office this morning around 0830 (8:30 a.m.). The lady said she had not heard from the marina manager and the dock master what had been decided about EXIT ONLY. She asked me how I was doing and I told her I was waiting to hear about the decision before I knew how my day was going to go. She made a phone call and found out they are going to let us stay. Wow! We are so grateful...and relieved. I felt like I could breathe again. I have told y’all about how the motels, Air B&B, etc. are all full in central Florida right now. We can add “marinas” to that list. They are full, too!
This week is number 6 of “no weight bearing” for Dave. Two weeks from today, 6 March, Dave will see the doctor. So, two more weeks until another x-ray will be taken.
This was also library story time day. The photos show Z and J participating in today’s activity...making “cars” out of boxes. Once the “cars” were done, they kids lined up at the “drive-in movie” to watch a movie! We especially liked the idea that one of the “cars” was a Land Rover!
The daily routine has changed with Dave staying in the motel. Before I head to the marina for “boat school”, Dave eats cereal for breakfast and takes his shower while I am still at the motel. Once he is set for the day, I drive 10 minutes to the marina, walk 5 minutes on the dock out to the boat, and school starts shortly after that.
To add “an extra thing to do” to this day, I had to stop by the marina office before heading out to the boat. The “grace” month they already gave us to stay at A dock is up 21 February...Thursday. The lady in the office told me they have 12 boats arriving Friday the 22nd and the marina does not have room for us to stay...BUT...there is going to be a marina meeting later today and our situation (with Dave unable to get on the boat) would be discussed. She told me to stop by tomorrow morning to find out what had been decided at the meeting.
I managed to stay calm...there is nothing else I can do to influence the decision...there will be plenty of time tomorrow to panic if the decision does not go our way. With all of this on my mind, I decided to post a photo of the open dock area immediately near our boat that will be filling up soon.Then, I added a couple of fun photos of drawings the kids did...Z’s drawing of one of the Ft. Pierce peacocks and J’s drawing of sv/EXIT ONLY (plus sharks!).
We know today is officially a holiday, but we decided to continue our usual routine and have school this morning. I had dropped Dito, Sarah, Z, and J off at the marina last night and drove the car back to the hotel.. This morning I drove myself to the marina in time to teach school.
After school finished, Sarah made lunch. We packed up the food and loaded it into the blue wagon so we could eat at the motel with Dave. Y’all can see everyone walking on the dock with the blue wagon as we walked out to the car. J is pulling our version of “meals on wheels (wheels of a blue wagon)”. The last photo shows what was on the menu today...maple Dijon chicken, roasted vegetables (potatoes, onions, carrots, zucchini, and eggplant).
Someone asked me about the photography equipment Dito was using for the underwater photos and the half-in-water/half-out-of-water photos. The first photo shows the small size of the GoPro 7. Because it is so small, it is easy to carry everywhere your go. The camera is with you whenever you want to use it.
The second photo shows the Telesin dome-shaped waterproof housing that surrounds the camera. The handle on the housing extends like a selfie stick, so everyone can be in the photos. Dave made the third photo using his own design around one of the photos taken today.
The motel’s swimming pool is an added benefit for us! The water temperature is in the high 60’s. The air temperature is in the mid-high 70’s. The kids love it! The girls have not had a chance to practice their swimming lately, so yesterday they played in the shallow end most of the time and would not go into the deep end (6’). Today, after practicing camera shots with their dad, Z was encouraged to swim the length of the pool underwater using her fins. After a couple of attempts...she did it in one go...many times! J was watching and got into the pool and swam on top of the water the length of the pool...6 times! They are back! (O.K., I will admit Baba did promise some M&M’s). It is so important that the girls be comfortable in the water and have confidence in their swimming skills...especially when they live on a boat! The pool is also giving Dito a chance to learn to use his camera equipment before we leave. We are very grateful for that pool!
Settling into the motel yesterday was quick and easy. I had already shopped, so “provisions” for the motel were already in the car with us when we first arrived. This motel does not serve breakfast, so I had stocked Dave’s favorite Mini Wheats among other things. No problem!
We came up with a short list of 7-8 things we wanted to add to the “provisions”, so I drove to Walmart this morning to shop. I want Dave to be able to fix a simple sandwich or snack for himself when I am not at the motel.
The rest of the crew came over after lunch to go swimming in the pool. Today’s photos were taken by Dito with his waterproof GoPro camera in a special bubble housing case that is also waterproof. Using this set-up, he can shoot photos half in the water and half out of the water. He also used the waterproof GoPro by itself to shoot underwater photos. This was an opportunity for Dito to learn how the equipment works and practice different ways of using the camera in the water. Everyone was pleased with today’s results. We are looking forward to using the camera in tropical waters!
When I woke up this morning, I knew today’s story would be about Dave leaving the physical therapy center and moving into a motel room...and that is exactly what happened. The surprise came when we saw the motel room.
In the past week, Dito and I went to 7 or 8 motels asking if they had a handicapped room available starting 15 February. Everyone told us “No, it is high season and most of our rooms are booked!” We discovered it is also “soon-to-be-peak-high-season” due to baseball teams coming here for spring training. After we kept hearing this same answer to our question, we started asking for a “regular” motel room that we hoped we could make work for Dave. Long story short, we finally found a motel that would rent us a room for two weeks, then let us rent it for 2 more weeks after that. We booked it sight unseen. It was truly our only option in Ft. Pierce.
All of us went to help move Dave after lunch today. We asked him how he wanted to celebrate his Great Escape. He wanted a mini Sonic Blast...so, off we went. By the time we ate the Blasts and picked up meds at CVS, it was time to check in to the motel. Dave was assigned to room #106. Can you imagine our total amazement when we saw the room had a laminate floor (much better than carpet for a wheelchair), a support bar around the toilet, and a support bar in the tub/shower!!?? We ended up with the only motel room in Ft. Pierce, FL, that is not a handicapped room, but it USED to be one! Can you believe that? What an answer to our prayers!
I will be staying with Dave tonight while the rest of the crew will stay on the boat. Here we go...on to the next phase...”we’ll just keep doin’ what we did when we didn’t know better!”.
We enjoyed blueberry muffins for breakfast this morning! The first photo shows the leftovers. Yes, you are seeing sprinkles in the muffins! Those sprinkles are a personalized touch for two girls who love sprinkles! The maraschino cherries are also a favorite of those same two girls.
The second photo is My Valentine! We did not forget to give him chocolate treats! Dave will be leaving the physical therapy center tomorrow morning and moving into a local motel that is an eight-minute drive from the marina. I will be staying there with him at night, then returning to the boat by 0900 (9:00 a.m.) for school on Monday through Friday.. I teach J (kindergarten) while Sarah teaches Z (second grade).
Dave is still not supposed to bear weight on his hip/leg until he sees the doctor on 6 March. He will be in a wheel chair or on crutches until then. He also will have a walker and a shower chair to use as needed. So far...so good!
The third photo is a fun photo taken earlier this week. When we all visited Dave, the girls were jumping rope. Then, they decided to try to do the limbo. Baba did it, too!
The first photo was taken in the morning. The second photo was taken in the afternoon. These two photos tell the whole story...the rain lasted aaalll dddaaayyy lllooonnnggg!
There is something about being on a boat on a rainy day! There is water under you, over you, and all around you. If you are inside the boat, the dampness is a real thing that sort of oozes into the fabrics (rugs, bedding, etc.) and clothing. Conversely, if you are off the boat and in the wind and rain, coming back on board and getting inside the closed door can make you feel so grateful be warm and dry again!
Nobody wants to go out on deck to do a boat job when it is raining, but if something needs immediate attention, one or two crew members will be going to check on the situation...then, if necessary, they will solve the problem.
Some of the best sleep comes when the boat is safely at a dock or anchored well. No better time to curl up with a hot drink and a good book,..or take a nap...than when it is raining!
The last photo shows me making a treat (blueberry muffins) for Valentine’s Day breakfast tomorrow. The oven was also spreading some warmth inside the boat while the muffins were baking!
Thanks to the south wind with just a tad of east wind, the storm clouds have been held at bay all day. That meant we could pick up the throw rugs inside the boat and lay them outside on the foredeck (deck area to the front of the boat). The wind and the sun dry out any dampness in the rugs. After a few hours out there, the rugs feel warm and feel fresh! While all of the rugs were outside, Sarah was using the 12 volt DustBuster to sweep the floors inside.
I was heating water for coffee and tea first thing this morning, when the burner on the stove suddenly lost its flame...the propane tank was empty. Dito disconnected the tank from the hose that runs to the 2-burner stove (plus oven) in the galley (kitchen) and carried the tank to the propane shop where they refill tanks. When he returned with the full tank, he reconnected the hose to the tank and the stove was operational again.
We have spent a few hours over a few days going to motels in the Ft. Pierce area looking for a ground floor room for Dave. He will be leaving the physical therapy center on Friday, the 15th. February is not only high season in Florida...it is PEAK high season going into March. Some of the Major League Baseball teams (the ones that do not go to Arizona) come to central Florida. It has been impossible to reserve a motel room for four weeks. We finally found a motel that would let us sign up for one week beginning the 15th. One day at a time leads to one week at a time. Hopefully, it will turn into one month at a time!
Today has flown by! I spent the morning visiting with Dave. He does not have physical therapy on Sunday, so we planned two visits today...morning and afternoon.
After lunch, we shot the music video, both inside and outside the boat. This video will go with the pre-recorded voice track of the “Acetabulum Rap” (The acetabulum is the bone Dave cracked when he fell.). I did not know what to expect, but soon discovered the idea was to have fun with it...and if you miss a word or two, just keep going!
The first photo is a sneak peek at one of the “outfits” used in the video. After calling it a “wrap” on the filming at the boat, all of us went to visit Dave in the afternoon. We went outside in the large empty patio area and actually did some filming with Dave...so he could be in the music video, too! Now comes the hard part...Dito has to edit the video footage to make everyone look like they knew what they were doing! Stay tuned a little longer...
P.S. I added two of my favorite Florida sky pictures today...just because I like them. The sunset makes the clouds look like “fire birds”!
Another Saturday means it is another Saturday Market! Here are the girls at our favorite French Bakery booth. I always buy fresh baguettes to share at breakfast. Z always chooses a chocolate croissant, and J always chooses a big blueberry muffin. Also, bought a pastry for Dave and some fresh sweet peppers and cherry tomatoes.
After lunch, we had a drama unfolding out near us on A dock! Evidently, a manatee was injured when a boat motor propeller hit it while it was in the marina area today. Fish and Game came out in two boats to check on the manatee. They said (later) that the manatee had a pneumothorax. They put a diver/swimmer in the water with the injured animal. Using a net loosely placed around the animal, they slowly worked their way to the Manatee Center (across from the NW corner of the marina...we are on the east side). Dito was one of the volunteers who helped lift the manatee (on a tarp) out of the water and put it into the furniture moving truck that would take it somewhere to have surgery to repair the injury. (An official said the manatee weighed about 1,500-1,700 pounds!). They are mammals, so do not have to be immersed in water while being moved. The officials said the prognosis for the “patient” is very good!
I wake up every morning wondering how the day will unfold...and what sorry/stories I will decide to share in my blog today.l. Many times the kids have heard me say, “That will be my story today” after I take a photo. They are starting to look around and give me their ideas for “my story”!
One of my stories even surprised me! Dito was recording me singing parts of a rap song he wrote! He wrote a funny song telling about our sailing dreams and why we are still at the dock now. The kids and Sarah recorded their parts of the song today, too. He says we are going to shoot a video for the song, too. Stay tuned...
The next photo was taken in the drive-through lane at Wendy’s. The egret was there and did not move away as the cars rolled up to the window to get their orders. We stopped to get Dave a Frosty!
Friday night is Movie Night, so the evening ended with popcorn and a movie about cartoon penguins. I was working on lesson plans for school next week, trying to do two things at the same time!
After school this morning, we discussed “the plan” for the rest of the day. Long story short, everyone wanted to go to the beach on this beautiful warm day. We got ready, picked up our favorite sandwiches from the Publix (grocery store) deli, and headed for a lovely public beach on North Hutchison Island.
Z and J met two sisters from Pennsylvania who are the same ages they are. It was “friend at first sight”! They all had boogie boards, and soon they were all riding the waves off a sandbar at low tide! J is on the white board and Z is on the yellow board. I think the photo of the four girls with the sand castle and the ocean really tells the story.
After we cleaned up from the beach, we ordered a pizza, and went to see Dave. He was especially glad to see the pizza! (We cook and eat a lot on the boat, but today did not allow time for that!).
Sarah took the clippers and cut Dave’s hair out on the patio. That made us remember the time in Finike, Turkey, in 2005, when I was cutting Dave’s hair with scissors and a comb on shore. Two young men walked by, paused, then came back to tell us that they were both barbers and I was doing a poor job on the haircut. They took the scissors and comb from me and proceeded to cut Dave’s hair! It was a good haircut!
The sunny weather has.returned with a flourish! That is A dock going east before it turns north. I was standing in the plaza where the palm trees are located. I really like reflection photos...the clouds, are pretty fantastic, too!
Y’all can see the cutting continues on the fish for our bow graphics. This time Z is helping out. We went from planning to put 6 fish on the outside of each bow to thinking we would like 6 fish on the inside of each bow, too. We ordered more rolls of vinyl! We are going for it!
Dave saw the doctor today. They took an x-ray. Dave did not see the x-ray, but they said the crack is aligned like it should be. It is too early to actually see healing. The report was as good as it could be at this time. Dave’s next doctor’s appointment is in four weeks. So far, so good! P.S. Dave did get a Wendy’s Baconator sandwich and a Frosty!
One of our favorite things about walking on the A dock (we walk on it to get to the marina building and and the downtown area) is looking to see what birds are hanging out near or on the dock. Most of the birds seem to be territorial and go to the same areas again and again. All of them used to fly away whenever we sort of came near them. Now, they seem to recognize us and do not move when we go by. The snowy egret did fly from the dock when I moved directly toward him and “invaded” his space. The green heron was resting on the boat behind us at the dock.Both of these birds like to balance like an acrobat on the dock lines leading to the boats and “go fishing”. They wait for their meal to swim under the dock line and quickly dart their head into the water to swallow their food.
In the afternoon, we ran errands in Vero Beach (20-25 minutes north of Ft. Pierce). Right there in the parking lot, two sand cranes were walking around the vehicles.
Dave is doing well. He is in his fourth week of non-weight bearing on his left leg/hip. He has an appointment with the orthopedic doctor tomorrow. Dito is going to pick him up and take him to the doctor. Something tells me there may be a carry out lunch or some ice cream that just happens to be located on the way back from seeing the doctor!
Here is the sunrise I saw this morning as I walked along on A dock up to the marina building about 0710 (7:10 a.m.). I thought the clouds looked like a giant seashell that opened to show the rising sun, looking like a “pearl” inside the “shell”.
The second photo was taken later In the afternoon when part of the crew went for a ride through the marina in the dinghy.
The last picture shows the portable IKEA swing, called a “Gung Gung”. Dito and Sarah brought it to the boat from Kentucky. Dito secured the ends of the swing to one of the halyards (a rope used for raising and lowering a sail). The kids had a lot of fun taking turns riding in the swing!
Dave was back to his physical and occupational therapy schedule today. We were able to visit with him outside again, so we all enjoyed that.
It all started out with the idea of taking a donut to Dave...and we did that. We made the drive to Dixie Cream Donuts to our favorite donut bakery. We all went in to see what kinds of donuts were still left on the shelves. The bakery is open from 5:00 a.m. in the morning to 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon. Since it was after 10:00 a.m., the morning rush had come and gone...carrying out many, many donuts. There were many empty trays, but still enough donuts left to give us a good choice. We all picked one to eat when Dave ate his! These are some of the best donuts we have ever eaten! When we got to the physical therapy center, it was sunny and we were able to sit outside and enjoy our donuts.
In the afternoon, Dito, Sarah, Z, and J took the dinghy out for a run around the marina. It is always good to regularly use the engine and make sure it is running well. Because the day was sunny and the sky was blue, there were many boats coming and going in and out of the marina all day long.
Dave did not have physical therapy today, so we took turns visiting him and he ended up having some of us visit in the morning and others visiting him in the afternoon. That helped his day pass quickly.
In the evening, Dito found the Super Bowl football game being streamed online, so we watched that in the evening. We are not big football fans during the regular season, but it is always fun to watch the big bowl games.
Every Saturday is Market Day in the plaza (right by the marina) in downtown Ft. Pierce. I have showed photos of the market before, but today I was inspired to take more photos. There was a large crowd and every booth seemed to be busy, the band was playing, and a few people were dancing to the live music. The people were smiling and talking. It seemed like the sunshine (after all that rain) was calling to everyone to come outside...and they came...and they were happy to be there! You can see the beautiful French breads and the local citrus fruits that were for sale.
The third photo shows everyone (...even me! I am reflected in the glass door!) on the outdoor patio at the rehabilitation center. Now that Dave has a roommate who is not well, we do not go to the room to visit. This was the first time Dave had been outdoors in seven days due to all the rain that fell between then and now.
What? Already? For sure? Today was our official 100th Day of School?
At first, celebrating with 100’s sounded great to the kids...100 Cheerios for breakfast...100 fish crackers for snack...100 M&Ms (y’all remember Vitamin M?)...but, reality soon set in...100 pieces of fruit salad...100 grilled cheese sandwiches...well, you can see this could quickly get out of hand!
A vote was taken and it was unanimous...Mini Sonic Blasts won! That is SIX Mini Blasts (not 100!). We bought them, then drove to see Dave so we could all celebrate together!