As I write, we’re wrapping up a six-week long stay in St Augustine. After our engine drama and yard time in Oriental, NC and a frigid couple of weeks with even more engine drama getting south, we vowed to take a break from projects, rest, relax, and regroup. We spent the Christmas holiday with Mom in the FL panhandle, and the weeks that followed back in St Augustine catching up with “old” friends, some who are here and some passing though, and making some new friends as well. We’ve made visits to some of our favorite restaurants in the area, and have explored some new ones that have appeared on the scene since our last pass through. Digging a bit deeper than the ever present tourists, we joined in a silent march and ceremony in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the Unity in Community March, a sister march to the Women’s March in DC. The latter was particularly well attended, with the crowd estimated at about 2,000 strong… not bad for a town this size. As luck would have it, we also caught a bit of the St Augustine Film Festival. In between all of the above, we’ve enjoyed, as we always do, the Nights of Lights; St Augustine does look pretty dressed up in her holiday finery.
I promptly signed up for an unlimited month of classes at the nearby yoga studio that I was introduced to a year or so back. Several times a week, I take a short pedal from our marina, along the pond at Oyster Creek which offers some great birding, particularly at low tide, through a quiet residential neighborhood to the studio. It’s been a great habit to step back into.
Along with some small, routine cleaning and maintenance, I did decided to tackle one of my least favorite cleaning chores. We have a storage locker at the foot of our master bunk (we refer to it as the foot locker), a wedge shaped space that reaches out under the foredeck. With virtually no insulation, any kind of temperature fluctuations lead to condensation, and with little to no air circulation, gets pretty funky. Our cold run south recently had pushed it over the edge of tolerable. Cleaning it out requires half climbing into the barely-big-enough-to-do-so space. While I had it emptied and relatively clean, Mike decided to install a 12-volt “muffin” fan between the foot locker and the adjacent hanging locker, in hopes that some improved air circulation will keep the funk down.
Mike also installed an AC/shore power monitor allowing him to geek the AC power numbers the way he does the DC numbers. Of course the breaker tripping issue that prompted said installation ceased to happen immediately after the monitor was installed. Go figure.
So far we’d stuck to our plan… no big projects, rest, relax, regroup…
Then some local friends announced that they’d be leaving town for a week; we decided it was an opportunity to borrow some project space for the big project we’d been putting off… recovering the settee cushions in the salon. When we’re inside the boat and not sleeping, we’re in the salon, kind of a combination dining room/living room/office. It gets a lot of wear and it’s been looking progressively rough. It’s been 2 1/2 years ago that we ordered new fabric, but at the time were distracted by other more priority projects. Last winter while in Marathon, we ordered new foam cushions, but then the fridge died unexpectedly and replacing it became the priority. We stuffed the new foam in the old cushions and threw some towels over the top to cover the holes. It’s a project that takes some ample clean space, so it went on hold while we cruised up north last summer. Our friends’ kind offer of their condo presented the perfect opportunity.
Step one was shuttling the cushions, materials and a monster-heavy sewing machine to the condo. We spent 5 solid days disassembling and reassembling the cushions, 5 in all, 3 different shapes. The horizontal ones required some complicated sewing. The first cushion took a whole day and was pretty much a disaster. Overnight, the Captain came up with a new design, and life got much better. We recovered 7 cushions in all. Three were horizontal ones that took some tricky sewing. The remaining four vertical ones required removing a gazillion staples from the plywood backing, re-stapling the new fabric, then making and installing a dozen fabric covered buttons. I’ll just say that Mike continues to fine-tune his sewing skills, our heavy-duty stapler is awesome, and I have a whole new appreciation for covered buttons.
A before shot… taken during one of our first few days aboard back in 2011. We were in the process of emptying lockers and sorting out the junk that came with the boat purchase… patio furniture cushions anyone?
The following were taken last winter… the holes that prompted us to prioritize the project again, then the stripped down salon without cushions, while stripping/refinishing the back wall.
Here’s what it looked like during the project… cockpit cushions and every other available cushion and pillow on the boat pressed into temporary service.
Finally, the the after photo. Almost looks like grown-ups live here, doesn’t it?
We even had a bit of fabric left over, enough to cover the headboard in our master cabin. Very fancy…
Many thanks to our friends Dawn & Paul who lent us their space and helped shuttle materials to, and to a fellow yogi Tamara who helped us shuttle it all back to Cheshire.
We’ve now finished our short list of departure chores, and had a few good-bye dinners with friends. Rested and recovered, tomorrow we cast off the dock lines and head a bit further south. Stay tuned.