High tide this morning was a bit after 6 AM. When we anchored last night our depth sounder showed 4.6 feet (the offset is about a foot + short). This morning it showed 6.3 feet -- YIPPEE high tide and a chance to get across the 200 yards separating us from the canal and lock leading to the boatyard!
So just as soon as it was light enough to see the markers, off we went and VOILA! Before dawn officially happened we were at the lock. We weren't quite sure what to expect from a self-operated lock, but it turned out to be self-explanatory and easy, just like everyone promised.
Letting the higher water inside the canal equalize to match the water level from the bay, there was a bit of turbulence. Then we re-boarded and drove through to the outside dock.
David took the opportunity to rinse the literal ton of mud from our anchorage last night in the Myakka River off the anchor before we proceed up the 8 miles of canals to the boatyard.
While we weren't excited about navigating the shallow canals, it turned out to be quite a scenic trip that we both enjoyed. Lots of birdlife - anhingas drying their wings, kingfishers darting too & fro, we couldn't figure out if the large bird we saw in the top of a tree was an owl or a large hawk before it flew away. Plus turtles and a beautiful sunrise over the canals. All in all a great way to spend a morning!
After lunch came the fun part -- hauling out. We couldn't remember where the straps went - when we hauled in Panama, there was a diver in the water placing the straps, so they were never marked (which I think made the Port Charlotte Boat Storage folks a bit crazy, but all's well that ends well). Note Brady off to the bottom right hand side of this photo. He has the world's coolest remote control toy -- a humungous travel lift! He is remote controlling our boat out of the water and to its slip! Wow!
Hauling out ... so far so good... it wasn't until we got closer that we became alarmed....
Do we want it powerwashed? Yeah, that might be a good idea since it hadn't been out of the water since 2008 in Panama....
Oops, look at the Max-Prop propeller ... YIKES! It was a wonder we could even GET here without overheating the diesel! And it was cleaned just six weeks ago??? Barnacles grow QUICK here in SW Florida!
But it wasn't the barnacles that freaked us out... it was the bumps ... and more bumps ... and more .... We just had blisters "fixed" in LaCeiba, Honduras in 2006, WHAT was this? Our fear was that it was structural.... OH CRAP!!!
Luckily, when Mike, the guy that's going to "do" our bottom, showed up, he poked around and assured us that none of these blisters are structural, they don't penetrate the barrier coat, which is amazing and VERY reassuring! We were looking at tens of thousands of dollars and VOILA, it's NOT structural!!! WOOHOO!!
So in the interest of time ... my job became poking and scraping off the "blister" part of the larger blisters, Mike assured us that the sander will take care of the itty bitty ones. Meantime, you can't see it here, but every one of these blisters contain a tree-like sap -- sticky gooey mess waiting to explode onto my glasses, my shirt, my hair, you name it... blah! But David had the worse of the jobs!
Did you notice all those BARNACLES? He got to scrape everything that the power washing didn't get... including the barnacles all over the Max-Prop and the rudder post and rudder. Luckily he learned a new trick from Mike, our bottom pro, so he scraped, then he brushed, then he scraped and .....
So it's not perfect yet, that will require some sandpaper, but LOOK at this prop compared to the earlier shot. Yep, we're making progress and we've only been in the yard 4 hours! :) The zink is off, ready to be replaced, then the Max-Prop will need greased and tomorrow promises more sanding and hard work on the bottom! Maybe I'll get lucky and not ruin another white shirt subject to bleach, of course, the shirt may yet survive! A bit of wine and lots of no-see-ems to end the day but all is well and tomorrow IS another day -- to quote Scarlett.... one of my favorite quotations! See you soon!