A couple days ago it was a year since I first left Colorado to start living aboard and fixing up the boat. It started with a three day marathon drive from Denver Colorado to Hammock Beach Florida. Since that time I have done a lot to get the boat's systems working and get it up to shape for both living aboard and traveling.
Spending time in Hammock Beach getting basic systems like the port electrical, refrigeration, water, and propane systems working while still working at my day job as a software engineer. Fixing lights and updating to LED as I go, patching up some issues in the gel coat and rebedding hardware. Fixing and servicing engines, learning how to maneuver the boat in tight spaces, and generally learning a lot about my new home. It was, and still is, a steep learning curve.
Then moving the boat up to Georgia to continue work while avoiding the tourist un-friendly tax policies of Florida. Arriving at Brunswick Landing Marina strapped to a SeaTow boat after an engine overheat mishap. Resealing boat hatches well into the dark one evening. Disassembling, servicing, and reassembling the neglected line winches. Dissassembling the outboard motor to replace the impeller destroyed by my surveyor. More engine issues and various other odds-and-ends kept me quite busy.
Then taking the boat to Virginia to get some work done while going back to Colorado to "retire", help out with the estate sale, and wrapping up my land-based life. Getting the sails reconditioned and a new stack pack and UV strip installed. Replacing the black water lines that had started to smell. Eventually going back to Virginia to get at least some of the work done that the yard failed to complete. Removing a through hull, painting the bottom, and hunting down replacement parts for my running rigging and anchor roller, and installing a better anchor. Attempting to patch a slow leak in my dinghy and slowly making progress.
Finally moving the boat back to Georgia to escape the cold weather in the Chesapeake. More battles with lights on the mast, water pumps, and the outboard motor. Trying to figure out the best way to care for, protect, and fix 15 years worth of charter-abused and neglected gel coat. Fixing the fiberglass arch. And finally getting all the lights on the mast to work for the first time.
Throughout all of this, I've spent a lot of time on Google. Researching the best ways to bed hardware and hatches and the salon windows on the boat. Looking into water makers, sanitizing fresh water tanks and keeping the water fresh, adding a hard-top bimini, adding solar and wind power to the boat, reducing power consumption, learning new skills like creating eye splices in lines, and many other subjects. And, of course, I've even managed to squeeze in a little time writing blog posts.
Even though the focus has been on working on the boat, it hasn't all been work. I've met a lot of nice people and made new friends along the way (despite my rather embarrassing inability to remember names). Spent last new years with Pete watching the fireworks in St. Augustine. Had a great time at both the cancelled renaming ceremony turned impromptu gathering and the official renaming ceremony for Rover. Got to see a space launch from a distance. Experienced one of the best sunsets I had ever seen. Laid out on the trampoline and looked up at a star filled night on passage. Played tourist a few times, checking out what various locations up the coast had to offer. Spent time at anchor and others at parties at the marinas I've visited. And I've met a number of people through my blog and I appreciate all those that reach out, provide encouragement, give me helpful tips on tasks I'm trying to complete, or even just say hi.
It hasn't always been easy, but I wouldn't have traded the past year for my old life living behind a computer 50 weeks a year. My only wish is that my wife and dogs could have spent more time with me during all of this. Knowing that this should change, I am looking forward to the upcoming year.
Here's to a fantastic 2015. Happy New Year!
Now I'd better go figure out what appetizer to take to the marina New Year's party..