Thursday, June 25, 2009

Charleston Rox!

Kristen here - Today is Thursday 6/25/09. We've been quite busy in Charleston, and I'll try to cover what we've been doing. At this point I think we've hit most of our favorite restaurants and had our favorite foods. There's been fried flounder at Fleet Landing, lots of ice cream, hamburgers, hush puppies, grits, collard greens and french fries. Casey has been drooling over cob salad and fresh vegetables. We're having a hard time getting used to American proportions and our waistbands are expanding. Last night we cut our dinner order down to two appetizers, a kids meal, a soup, a salad and one entree and all four of us were still stuffed.

The first thing we did when we arrived at Charleston was call our friends the Wingloskys up. Unfortunately we caught them at a bad time because they were leaving in a few days to spend a month in New York. We made plans to have dinner with them this past Friday because they were leaving on Saturday. I cooked up some mega fresh Mahi Mahi, and we had a blast! Since our last visit with them, I felt mega bad that we never took them out for a sail, so we pulled away from the dock on Friday. We had an awesome 2 hour motor around the bay and pulled back in as the sun was setting beautifully behind the clouds. We couldn't have planned it better. I think they had a lot of fun because they decided to postpone their trip 1/2 a day and come back on Saturday! We were honored that they had such a great time.

On Saturday we had a 4 hour motor around the bay and we even got a chance to put up sails for a bit. It was nice sailing for a change even if we couldn't turn off the motor. We didn't want to risk not being able to start it again. We did a ton of tacking back and forth which all the kids just loved. They were sitting on the foredeck on top of the dinghy. Every time we tacked, they would have to lay flat while the sail swept and flapped over them to the other side of the boat. They were all screaming and yelling and having a blast. By the end of the sail, my hands were tired and blistered from the rope handling. I guess it has been a long time since we've done some heavy sailing! Oh, and I forgot to mention that they brought their dog Putzie along with them. Kaitlin was super excited. All she's been talking about since we got here was seeing Putzie. It's hard to believe that this was a girl who used to be afraid of dogs. Putzie did great on the boat and even leaned into it when we heeled. I have to admit that it was neat having a dog on board for a bit.

On Sunday we celebrated Fathers Day. The kids were bursting with excitement to give Chris the cards they had made and the presents they bought. Chris had gone to bed early the night before, so he was actually up a bit early for Fathers Day. He opened presents right away in the morning. We got him fancy potato chips, peanut butter double stuff oreos (our favorite!), and around the head holders for his glasses. I made reservations for brunch at a downtown hotel. We arrived there at 11:15 for our 12:00 reservation. And here I was worried about 12:00 being too early! We couldn't remember the last time we had brunch. The doors didn't even open until 11:30. We couldn't believe all the delicious food they had. We enjoyed lamb chops, shrimp, oysters, omelets, berries the size of your fist, salad and hot fudge Sundays to top it off!

On Monday we got up early and headed over to the yard where Pelican was to be hauled. The bay seemed so familiar now that we've been through it so often. I was excited and a little bit concerned about the upcoming week. There is a lot of hard work to be done and I know the associated muscle pain that goes along with it. But the rewards are huge and Pelican will be beautiful when it's all said and done.

As we were motoring, I saw what looked like a container ship coming into the channel from the ocean. Then we heard a boat calling on the radio. They said they were just finishing the race from Bermuda. When we looked through the binoculars we saw that the container ship was actually a tall ship! We knew there was a tall ship festival the upcoming weekend, and this must be part of it. Not wanting to miss this opportunity, we turned the boat towards the ocean and went out to meet the ship. Chris pulled next to it and welcomed them back to the US. The tall ship had all but two of its sails out and was just an amazing sight. Even in 7-8 knots of wind they were going at quite a clip!

When we arrived (a bit late) at the yard, they were waiting at the travel lift for us. We pulled right in and they tightened up the straps around Pelicans belly. Apparently the stickers that indicate where the straps go were covered in slime so we had a bit of trouble figuring out where to safely put the straps without damaging the prop. If you lift the boat by the prop shaft, you could damage it. We ended up having to turn Pelican around and back her into the travel lift. This was interesting because about 50 feet behind the travel lift was an old rusty barge. The guys on the barge were standing around watching us. I yelled to them that we would try not to dent the barge. Once we got back in and got the straps in the right place, they raised us right out of the water. We hopped off the boat and out she came.

We had packed our stuff on the trip over thinking we would dock the boat and unload everything first. Now we were faced with unloading everything via a ladder. Casey suggested using the engine hoist to lower all our bags to the ground. This worked out great! We had to empty the fridge and freezer because the power was off, and it needed defrosting anyway. So most of the bags were filled with food. I brought our stuff to the office and put it in their fridge.

Chris then went to get the rental car, the kids started school and I decided to get right to work. The hull was a mess, and we were planning on washing and waxing it. The first step was to get the scum and stains off. I opted to use some interlux stain remover which worked like a charm. A wobbly sawhorse proved to be handy for reaching the hull while I scrubbed away with the acid based cleaner. This process took from noon till about 4PM. By the end there were still a few black stains, but the boatyard guys said they would come out when we did the compounding. Chris got back with the car and started ordering all the supplies for our upcoming work. The kids finished school and Casey helped me with the tail end of cleaning the hull.

On the way home we stopped at West Marine and got a ton more supplies. We got scrubbers, new zincs, sunbrella fabric coating, wire, connectors for the solar panels, a new cushion for Chris to stand on and tons of other stuff. It's hard to believe how much work has accumulated!

Yesterday we planned on getting tons of stuff done. All the supplies were due to get in, so we would be ready to go. The first project was to pull off the propeller. The spanner wrench and prop puller arrived and we got right to work. Everything went fairly well considering this thing has been submerged and untouched for 6 years. The instructions were easy to follow and the first set of bolts came right out without any persuasion. The next step was to unthread two sections of the prop. The instructions said that you may need to gently hammer for this step. After about an hour of whacking one wrench with all my might while holding another against my elbow while hunched over under the boat, the sections separated. The propeller blades pulled right off, and only one more step was left. This involved another special tool we had ordered. It was called a prop puller. I had other special names for it by the end of the day! It consisted of two threaded pieces. The whole contraption threaded into the prop. Then you screwed a center piece in that pushed against the prop shaft while pulling out the prop. I started cranking and the thing just wouldn't budge. Next I got out the not so gentle persuader (hammer). After hammering for another hour with my already blistered and sore hands, the thing still wouldn't budge. Now it was time to get out the torch. The next hour was spent alternately heating and hammering. I'd like to think that the bolt was moving, but honestly I don't think it moved even a fraction of an inch. I tried pulling the prop puller off and seeing if it was cross threaded or something, but it worked fine when off the prop. We had to get this thing off in order to mail it out and get it back in time before the boat had to go back in the water. By the end of the day I think the workers in the yard took pity on us and came over to investigate. One guy said that it was going to take and acetylene torch and breaker bar to get it off and he would try for us this morning. I could barely lift a hammer anymore, and took him up on the offer.

Today should be interesting as I woke up barely able to move my right arm. Hopefully Advil will do the trick! I'm not sure if we'll be able to start buffing today. It depends on what they guys at the boatyard are doing. They finished the bottom paint yesterday, but they still need to do the boot stripe. That's a little stripe of colored paint above the bottom paint. If I can't buff, I will work on removing the bimini and dodger to coat that with fabric protectant. When we started this trip our bimini and dodger were waterproof and now they're about as waterproof as a colander!

On a better note, we have been having a blast staying at the Winglosky's house! They are a godsend for letting us stay here! The kids go from playing on the wii to jumping on the trampoline to riding the electric scooter and bikes. Oh and there is even a community pool down the street that we visited yesterday morning. All of us feel like we're staying at a resort. I just can't say how much their hospitality is appreciated.

Well, that's about it for now. The Advil must be doing its thing because I'm starting to get some movement back in my neck and shoulder. Kaitlin is up and already setting up rock band. Time to get to work!

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