March 2012 - Cruising - Life Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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Mar 13 - Time to catch you up again.... We left off with leaving Ft. Myers Beach the next morning. And so we did. I started up the engine, warmed it up then walked forward and dropped the mooring line then - we were on our way home. 8 days on the water and we weren't quite ready to head home. However, I have this really cool project started and really need to get it completed before my next Captain's class. On top of that, I have a scooter tire that needs to be replaced and Bob has some maintenance we need to do before his next trip.

We did our "usual" which was to stop at Ft Myers Yacht Basin to pump out then to fill up with fuel. I do like to keep those tanks toped off when I'm not using the boat all the time. We pulled out of the marina and headed up the river towards our house and dock.


As soon as we passed the railroad bridge we saw this kind of funny thing going on. They were moving so slow that it just had to be Manatees. As it turned out, there were 3 or 4 of them trying to ensure their species would continue. At least that is what we thought was happening. Every now and then one or the other would come up for air but otherwise it was all - well lets just call it business.

The manatees gather at the Orange River during the winter because the outlet of the power plant keeps the water warm. This winter there wasn't a large population because the water in the Caloosahatchee wasn't too bad. We didn't see them in our canal, probably because of the boat ramp, but did other places on the river.

Deb and I were out at a garage sale a couple of months ago and I noticed - probably a bit late - that my rear scooter tire was getting a bit slick. Well, not a bit slick - it was slick. Paul and I hatched a plan to get both tires changed up at Okeechobee - the town. However, they guy that was going to do it got worried about taking the rear tire off. During that same time I came across a Motorcycle lift at a garage sale for $75 so I bought it figuring it would come in good use in the future. Since we had that issue with the guy not wanting to take the tire off, then now seemed to be a good time to put it to use. I had also found a service manual available so I ordered it too. Can you see a scooter repairman as my next profession? Ordered tires from a good on-line motorcycle tire place along with a new exhaust gasket from another place. Within about a week I was ready to tackle the project others didn't want to undertake. The way I figure it, I now have a lift and service manual for less than the cost of labor to do the job I'm about to undertake.

So I took a couple of pictures so I would remember how to put it back together and into the project I went. Good thing I had bought that electric impact wrench - just like the one Garry loaned me on another project - thanks for that again Garry.

The parts all came off and I really did need that new exhaust gasket too. Everything looked pretty good so I cleaned things up and took the tire off to a tire shop to have it changed.

Rear brake looked to be in good condition so no worries there. I do know I need to replace the front brake but that will happen when I do the front tire this summer. I would have done it now but hadn't ordered the front brakes. In addition, the front tire probably needs to be replaced but will be ok until we return from the Bahamas.

I got the tire back from Pat my tire guy and everything went back together just like it was supposed to. I didn't even have to look at the pictures. This brings up a story I need to relate and you may have heard before. Garry has always told me that the only difference between me and a mechanic is tools. If you have a problem - go buy the tools you don't have. In the end it will probably be cheaper and you'll always have those tools. He was absolutely right and I encourage you to do the same thing. If you are at all mechanically inclined then things like boats and scooters are pretty straight forward.

| also took care of working with Bob and got my project far enough along for my Captains Classes that this next class will be much better than my past ones. New videos of accidents, pictures of vessels, graphics of charts, animations of plotting, I'm just saying that nobody I've heard of does this much and it is what makes teaching these classes fun for me. The students, the learning, passing on of the dream, and enabling others to achieve a dream. It really is fun. Of course, it's a bit of work too but what really good thing to achieve isn't.

We left for Nashville almost a week and a half ago. Arrived on Friday, unpacked into our extended stay small room and I headed off to Cedar Creek Yacht Club to get set up. I was just about finished when I found out the storms we were hearing about all day had a tornado heading almost straight at our hotel. Deb was ready for me to come back. I asked her to check with the manager about the best place to be if the tornado hit us. I agreed with him, under the steel stairs. So that was our plan in case.

As it turned out, I arrived about 10 minutes before it was close and watched the weather track. Told Deb it would go south of us and it did. By about 1 1/2 to 2 miles. We did get the hail but thank goodness it wasn't huge hail. No car damage. I really didn't want to check and see how good my insurance was for a rental car with hail damage.

It was all good as a friend of ours used to say.

Below you can see the entrance of Cedar Creek Yacht Club. It's a great facility with great people. Then below you can see some of my class hard at it plotting. Up front you can see my new screen and projector hard at work.

On Sunday afternoon we had our swearing in ceremony. Each Captain is required to swear to an oath as required by the Coast Guard. Since that's a pretty darn formal event, I need to be a bit formal too. As you can see, I tried to live up to my end of the deal. Thank you TrueCourse for the attire.

These new Captains have really lived up to their end of the deal. For some it's natural and for others it may be a bit more work than they thought. However, in every case, all of the students are working to overcome any obstacle and achieve their dream. Life is going to be very good for them in a couple of days. Test time is Wednesday night. The good news is, if anyone has a problem, they only have to retake the module they need some more work on. So we may do that Thursday morning or at Green Turtle Bay at my next class. Regardless, I'm positive they will all be successful and will have earned the right to be called Captain in every sense of the word.

Like my past classes, these folks rock. They give to each other, provide a great attitude in class and outside of class, overall this is a club I would join if I were in the area - and of course if they would have me.

Thanks for another great experience!

That pretty much gets everyone up-to-date. We'll be back home for about 2 1/2 weeks then I have another class coming up at Green Turtle Bay in Grand Rivers, KY starting April 14th. Then as soon as we are back from that class we will be leaving for a trip to the Bahamas. So far I believe we have 5 other boats going with us. I just got an email day before yesterday of another person who has cleared their calendar to go. We will be meeting over at West Palm probably Lake Worth in case we can't leave on May 10th and cross. The Okeechobee is going to be open in May now but won't be in June. So, that just means we'll get over on time (based on weather) and return by way of the Keys. I can see Key West on the horizon sometime in June.

I'll update the Bahamas trip web page on my projects section this next weekend and I'll include the crossing information on course to steer and speed made good. In the meantime, if you are going - you must have a passport, you should go ahead and get your customs sticker, and finally make sure you get the local boaters option. The local boaters option won't be nearly as big a deal this time because you will probably have to go south and go right by West Palm where you can check in since for west coast people the Okeechobee won't be open. Deb and I will have to go to Stuart and pick up our bird before we head south and around. So once we get back across everyone may end up heading a different direction. We also may just go to West Palm and rent a car to pick up Jimmy Buffett. We don't have to decide now but you do have to get your passport and customs sticker. More this weekend.




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