Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Car

Yep.  That's my excuse for being tardy with the blog.  New car.

Pam and I had three cars.  My 2008 Toyota Tacoma Prerunner pickup, my 1956 Thunderbird, and Pam's 2003 Dodge Stratus.  When we decided to cruise down the coast, we put the Toyota and Thunderbird in storage and gave Pam's car to her son Sean, who had joined the Air Force and needed wheels.

We decided to give my Thunderbird to my daughter Becky and son-in-law Rick.  We're going to be busy building a shack in the woods for the next couple of years and won't have much time to use it.  I had planned on willing it to Becky anyway, and so why wait until I croak?

I loved my Toyota truck, but it was two wheel drive.  Where we're moving, we need four wheel drive.  Since 4WD vehicles sell for a premium up north and aren't worth much here in Georgia, we decided to shop for a car here.

Now, let me set the stage.  I used to sell cars, and I was very good at it.  I know cars, and how to wrangle a deal.

I bought my Toyota in Stamford, Connecticut.  No one drives trucks there except people who do lawn maintenance.  It was a 2008, and I bought it in 2010.  Book on it was $22k.  I paid $16k, and they were glad to get it.   I drove it for three years, and here in Georgia pickup trucks are considered country Cadillacs.  To make a long story short, I negotiated a wholesale trade of $15,500 for the Toyota.  That means it only cost me $500 to drive it three years.

I don't shop around for much of anything, especially cars.  I did all my homework on the internet and narrowed my choices down to Kia and Toyota.  I contacted two Toyota dealers and one Kia.  The Toyota salespeople's responses were slow and pathetic.  The Kia dealership responded immediately and wanted to sell me a car.

We bought a new 2013 Kia Sorento, six cylinder and all-wheel drive.   The dealer's first offer was $20k and my trade.  I beat them up and got them down to $10k.  The key here is knowing what the dealer's markup is on the new vehicle, being aware of any rebates or incentives, and  knowing the value of your trade-in.  The dealer's job is to get you to pay as much as they can, and your job is to be educated enough not to let them.

Anyway, I know this isn't cruising or living aboard related, but it's my excuse for not updating the blog.  Tomorrow I'll be reading the owner's manual, trying to figure out how all this fancy new fangled blue tooth Sirius USB stuff works.  Oh, and the dogs love the car.  It has three rows of seats, and the back two fold down flat so the dogs have lots of room.

And yes, the brand new car already has doggie nose art all over the windows.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Marina Bathroom Races

Living aboard a boat is in many ways much different from living ashore.  Take yesterday, for example.  It was pouring rain in the morning.  No one was getting off their boats here at the marina unless, like us, they had to walk a dog or something.  There was a pent-up demand being created.  You landlubbers don't know where I'm going with this, but my boating friends do.

I checked the weather radar online.  There was a band of heavy rain sliding northeast and passing right over us, but behind it, it was clear.  It looked like the rain would end in about 20 minutes or so.  At fifteen minutes, I gathered my towel and toilet kit and beat feet for the marina showers.  The rain was light and letting up.  I got to the showers and opened the door.  My strategy worked perfectly.  The two showers and two toilet stalls were empty.

I shut myself in the shower, and within seconds I heard the door open.  Someone got there right behind me.  And then there was another, and another, and another.   It was a stampede.  Bwa ha haaaaa...  I might not be as young and as quick as I once was, but I am wiser and more cunning.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Flood and Tornado Watch

I don't pay much attention to the weather unless we're underway.  It rained all day yesterday, and it's going to rain all day today.  The only annoying thing about it is that the dogs are bored.  They have to get off the boat twice a day to go potty, but then it's right back on the boat.  No playtime.

I had the TV news on this morning, and it was all abuzz about the threat of flooding.  Here in the low country, where it's as flat as a pancake, I guess it might be a problem, especially when you receive several inches of rain.

I happened to look outside, and the Jacksonville Channel 4 van was in the parking lot.

And then Chris the weatherman was on TV.

Pam and I had to take the dogs off the boat, and as we passed, I yelled over to Chris "Hey Chris, I just saw you on TV!"   He smiled.  And then I said "We live on a boat.  We don't worry about floods."

This was at 8 AM.  The poor guy is still up there, probably waiting for his next 15 second spot during the 9 AM news hour.  What a dull job, eh?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Springtime in Georgia

Winter only lasted for a few weeks here.  It consisted mainly of sixty degree days and  in the thirties at night.  The trees that lose their leaves did so.   They are starting to bud now.

Flowers can be found everywhere.  Tulips trees are blooming and are very beautiful.  But along with springtime comes rain.  It's been raining mostly at night, which I find to be very convenient, but it's pouring this morning, and it's forecast to rain for the next two days.

The dogs are funny when it rains.  Normally, they're barking their heads off at me, demanding to get off the boat to go potty.  This morning, at 10 AM, they're pretending to be asleep so we won't make them get off the boat.  Ruby is downstairs in our stateroom hiding under the covers, and Chevy is on the sofa curled up and looking very sad.

Olivia, on the other hand, really needed to go out.  She's the only dog that will do her business on the foredeck.   So Pam opened the door for her and she poked her head out, blinking and looking at the  rain in dismay.  Pam gave her a little shove with her foot and she immediately put it in reverse.  She then looked at me pathetically, with a look that wanted me to do something about it.  Finally, we opened the helm station door on the leeward side of the boat and she dashed out, did what she needed to do, and dashed back inside.

It's going to be a long two days.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

One Benefit of Tides

I was a lake sailor all my life.  I never had to deal with tides until I started working at Sound Sailing Center in Norwalk, Connecticut, and even then, it wasn't really that big of a deal.   Cruising down the east coast, though, it was a big deal.  You don't want to attempt some of the inlets at maximum current, and docking can certainly be a challenge.  Current has much more of an effect on your vessel than wind.

But there are benefits to the tides.  If you time the tide and current correctly, for example, the ride up Delaware Bay can be shortened considerably.  You also want to make sure that you don't make a trip up a body of water like the Delaware when you have wind against current.   The resulting ride might be very uncomfortable.

But here is another benefit to tides, especially when you have an eight foot tide like here in Georgia.

This is called careening.  It is beaching your boat at high tide so you can work on it.  I don't know what Helen of Troy was going to get done.   Perhaps just some bottom cleaning, or maybe replacing prop and rudder shaft packing.

Helen of Troy was there for a few days, so there was some work to be done.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Snuggling With the Granddog

You might look at this photo and think "Awwww.   Look how Olivia loves Dave!"

"Just look how Olivia cuddles up to him.  She just adores him!"

Well, Olivia and I have grown fairly close over the past few months that daughter Megan has been away.  But not that close.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What Don't I Like About Cruising And Living Aboard?

I tend to have a Polly Anna view of the world.  It's a fault, I know.  I always tend to look on the bright side of things, and can find humor and pleasure in the most mundane or miserable things.  I laugh at the dumb things I do, and even write about it on this blog.

But it's not always fun.  What is the down side to cruising and living aboard?

For me, the answer is immediate.  People leave.  Well, OK, for awhile, it was we that were leaving as we beat feet south.  But once we got to Isle of Hope in Savannah, and later Brunswick Georgia, and stayed for extended periods of time, our friends started leaving us.

Isle of Hope was a great place.  It was the first place Pam and I stopped where there was a large, semi-permanent liveaboard community.  We had nightly happy-three-hours, Thursday pot luck dinners, and frequent get togethers and sight seeing trips.  And then we all scattered like leaves before the wind.

We arrived at Brunswick Landing Marina on July 4th, 2012.  We stayed.  No one else did.  All the friends we made at the Wednesday cocktail hours and Sunday chicken foot tournaments have all left for the Bahamas.  There's only a handful of us who have decided to stay.  Yes, many new folks have moved in to spend the winter, and we've met a few of them, but knowing that we'll be leaving in May, perhaps for good, has stopped us from forming really close friendships.

Yep.  This is the only downside of traveling down the coast and living on a boat to me.  Friends leave.  We've invited many to come visit us in Bleecker once our little place is built, but the reality is that not too many will do so.  Cruisers just aren't that way, and Bleecker isn't on the ICW.

Although, thinking about it, Pam and I have had many people stop and visit us here in Brunswick.  A few by boat, but also many cruisers who were passing by on I-95 on their way to home or back and took an hour or two detour to visit.   Sometimes I wonder, though, if they come to visit Pam and I, or to see Ruby, Chevy, and Olivia.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

We Lost a Member of our Crew

We have a heavy heart tonight..... Our Gertie has gone to heaven..... She has been battling a disease that has stumped the vet for over a year. We have run blood work, done tests, even did exploratory surgery.....we finally settled on a rare disease, started her on some meds and she was doing great until last week. My mom called to say she wasn't doing well.... This morning she called and said we should we drove to Florida only to discover she had indeed taken a turn for the worse. But in her weak state, she got up and meowed when she saw me... i scooped her up and she began to purrr.... She snuggled in my arms but I could feel her failing with every breath. My mom's friend suggested her vet. She said they were real nice so we called and we took her in to let her be free of her diseased body.....she is now back with her auntie smudge in kitty heaven.

~ Pam

Monday, February 18, 2013


Gertie has been off the boat and living with Pam's mom for the past couple of months.  She seemed to be doing better for awhile, but she's taken a turn for the worse.  Pam's mom called to say that she's vomiting up all her food, and there's blood in the vomit.  

So today, we're driving down to Florida to fetch Gertie.  It will be a long day,  so this will have to do for today's blog.

We're not sure of the prognosis.  No doubt Pam will see what she can do, and perhaps call Dr. Gall at Chatham Animal Hospital in Savannah.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cleaning the Holding Tank Level Sensor at 5 AM

Yep.  That would be me.  I've always been that way.  When I owned a computer business, I'd been known to go to work at 3 AM to fix a computer that had a problem I couldn't diagnose, but when the answer came to me at 3 AM, off I'd go.

I installed two Electrosense tank level gauges a little over a year ago.  One for the water tank, one for the waste holding tank.  The water tank gauge has always worked perfectly, but the waste tank gauge started acting up some time ago.

We had just pumped out the waste tank.   Even though it was empty, two indicator lights were lit, 10% and 80% full.   They're supposed to go up incrementally, as in 10%, 20% etc.  The ethernet connection had gotten wet and I suspected corrosion, but a good sanding of the connections didn't fix the problem.

I swapped the fresh water ethernet cable with the waste, and the fresh water display showed two lights, so the problem is with the sending unit.  What could it be?

I woke up at 5 AM this morning.  Actually, I'd been tossing and turning most of the night because the wind was blowing the furniture around on the aft deck over our heads.  But in that half awake, half asleep state I found myself in, a voice said "take the cover off the holding tank and clean the sensing rods."  The voice always says things like that.  It never says cool stuff like "get up and have a beer."

So I got up, went to the forward junk store room, lifted the access panel from the floor, and undid the 20 nuts holding the tank's access cover in place.  I shined a light inside.  Yuck.  I could see the rods for the sending unit and they were covered in gunk and barnacles.  Yes.  Barnacles.  We flush with salt water.   Why a barnacle would want to live in there is beyond me.

So first I wiped the four rods down with paper towels, and then took sandpaper to them.  I got them pretty clean, if I do say so myself.  I put the access cover back on, tightened up the 20 nuts, put the floor panel back, washed up real good, and dashed up the stairs to the helm station.

I pushed the display button.

The same two lights came on.   Dang.

I guess that voice isn't so smart after all.   No victory beer for me this morning.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Champ- the Lake Champlain Monster

I had noticed something odd about Lake Champlain.  Unlike the Great Sacandaga, a manmade lake that we had sailed on for many years, I noticed that all the waterfowl got off the water at night and headed for shore.   On the Sacanadaga, it was the opposite.  All the waterfowl went out onto the lake at night to escape predators.  Why did all the seagulls, ducks, and geese that spent all day sitting on Westport's floating breakwater suddenly fly off at sunset and head for distant shores and islands?

Several years ago, my first wife and I were sitting on our mooring at Westport on Lake Champlain.  It was dusk.  Almost dark.  We could only see a couple of dozen feet from the boat in the quickly fading light.  It was windless and flat calm, and the lights on the shore made for some pretty reflections.  A perfect night for a glass or two of wine, and to enjoy the serenity.

A mother Merganser with one duckling came paddling by.  Very unusual for Lake Champlain.  They swam by the boat, no doubt looking for handouts, which we didn't give them.  They then swam off into the gloom.

Suddenly, a wake went streaking by the boat.  It looked like a torpedo, and moved about as fast, at least ten knots.  It was going in the direction of the Mergansers.  It was soon out of sight in the darkness.  Then there was a loud SPLASH!   Silence.  Then the peep peep peep of the baby Merganser looking for his mother.  Then another loud SPLASH!  Silence.

Like several other lakes, including the famous Loch Ness, Lake Champlain is said to be home to a "sea monster", a large rarely seen creature from prehistoric times that somehow has survived the ages.  Many scientists think that if such an animal does exist, that it is a plesiosaur.

From my research (googling on the internet), I learned that plesiosaurs hunted at dawn and dusk, or when there was a full moon.  They ate fish and waterfowl.  They thrived in deep freshwater lakes.   Just north of Westport on Lake Champlain, you can sail right up to the cliffs where the depth is over 400 feet.  Like the coelacanth, a prehistoric fish thought to be long extinct until one was caught in a net off Madagascar in 1938, could plesiosaurs have survived all these years without being seen?  Could we have seen the wake of a plesiosaur?  Or was it only a large fish, like a northern pike or a sturgeon?

Several weeks later, we had a guest on board, an old friend of my wife's.  It was the middle of the night, and both Janet and I were suddenly awakened by a loud noise.  It was an underwater call.  It sounded something like recordings of humpback whales that I had heard, but much higher pitched.  We were both groggy, but awake, and we looked at each other in amazement.  What is that?

I've always been skeptical of things like UFOs, bigfoot, Nessie, ghosts, and so on.  I'm not a believer, but then again not a disbeliever.  There must be something behind these sightings.  In the case of Champ, the Lake Champlain monster, there were sightings recorded by native Americans, and even by Samuel de Champlain, the "discoverer" of Lake Champlain and it's namesake.

I've seen Japanese fishing boats dragging sonar up and down Lake Champlain, searching in vain for a sign of "Champ".  Maybe they need to stop trying so hard.  Maybe they just need to sit on a mooring and wait.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day on Drift Away

I posted this to my Facebook status on Valentine's Day morning:

To my Wonderful Valentine, my wife Pamela. You are my love, my life.

 As we are sitting here at the dock, holding tank overflowing and stinking up the whole boat, and we can't get to the pump-out dock because one of our engines won't start because one of our brand new batteries is dead, not charged by the battery charger I just had rebuilt, and you ran off to the auto parts store to get jumper cables so I can charge the dead battery.  Your spirit is still bright and you're still laughing, although you are holding your nose.  I love you more than ever.

Actually, it was a nice Valentine's Day.  After I got the port engine started, we went to the pump-out dock and emptied the stinky holding tank.  

I then left Pam on the boat and drove to Jekyll Island's welcome center where I bought Pam a glass orb, like the fishing floats of old.  Jekyll Island had been hiding them all around the island for the past six weeks for people to find.  Many folks found them, but not us.  Pam really wanted one as a souvenir of Jekyll, so I bought her one.  My plan was to get her to take the dogs to Jekyll, and I would secret the orb onto the beach, hide it, and then let her find it.   But when I got to the boat, it was cloudy, windy, and chilly.  Pam wasn't in the mood for the beach.  So I just handed it to her.   Oh, she liked it and all, but it wasn't the same as thinking she found one.

Then we took the dogs to the dog park and got them reeeeeeeal tired out.  As in, they'd do nothing but sleep until tomorrow.

Later, Wayne the yard guy stopped by with Mr. Forbes the Sentry rebuilder guy.  They sorted through it.   Mr. Forbes told me that these Sentry battery chargers are the best you can buy, but they really should be calibrated on the boat.  So he adjusted some today, will be back tomorrow morning to make another adjustment, and will be back on Monday for the final tweak.  Great.

Pam and I then dressed up (that would be me in a sport coat and tie, although I did wear sneakers and Pam in a hot leopard print dress) and went to Basil's Thai and Sushi in downtown Brunswick for dinner.

We got there early.  5:15.  The Matre' De' met us.  

"Dinner for two."

"Do you have reservations?"


"Then I'll have to seat you at the bar.  Is that OK?"

I looked around the empty restaurant.  I waved my hand around like it was a magic wand.  "Seriously?"
"Yes.  We're sold out tonight, starting at 6 PM."

Never mind, I said.   I asked Pam if she'd like to go to the Driftwood on Jekyll, and she said yes, so we left.  We were half a block away when I heard someone calling to us.  It was, I can only assume, Basil.  He looked like he was a Thai.

"You come?  We make room!"

Whaddaya think?   Pam nodded, so we went back.

It was wonderful.  Pam had dumplings for an appetizer and I had Tom Yum soup.  We both had a garden salad, and then Pam had scallops and I had Pad Tai.   It was great.
Back at the boat, it was just time to relax.   Which we did.

Just another day in paradise.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mundane Boat Chores

I know many of you regular readers admire our glamorous, exciting, exotic lifestyle.  

"Living like rock stars as you and Pam do," you ask, "how do you not let it go to your head?  How do you stay rooted in reality?"

Good question.  For me, I try to think back when I was one of the "little people" like you guys and the things I used to do. Things like chores.  So once in a blue moon, I lower myself to doing chores.  Of course, my chores are much more thrilling than yours.

Today, the first chore meant cleaning dog poop off the foredeck and scrubbing and hosing the deck down.  I then checked the water tanks, found they were low, and decided to fill them.

The process for filling our water tank is straightforward.  For my non-boating friends, that means simply to remove a deck plate, stick a hose in it, and turn on the water.  It takes some time to fill a 400 gallon tank, so I decided to change the oil absorbent pads under the starboard engine down in the engine room.

It's not unusual for a big diesel boat engine to leak oil.  Most of them seem to do so, which is why absorbent pads are sold.  I pulled out the oily pads from under the starboard engine, tossed them in the trash, and slid in new.  I checked the port engine, and as usual, it didn't need changing.  It doesn't leak a drop of oil.  This has me a bit concerned.  I should have a mechanic check  it to see why.

I decided to empty the garbage in the engine room, and as I stepped out the helm station door to toss the garbage bad onto the dock, I could see that our water tank was full.

This is a nice feature that Cheoy Lee designed into this boat.  When the water tank is full, excess water shoots out the air vent.  This also has an added benefit of removing wasps, spiders, and other undesirable insects.  It also chases away any Jehovah's Witnesses knocking on the hull.

Next up was to wash the morning dishes.  I didn't have to have this done until 4 PM when Pam got home from work, but I decided to buckle down and do them at 3:30.

I was going to put a second coat of paint on the windlass, but I didn't have another disposable brush of the proper size.  I'll have to see about picking one up some day.

Of course, in between all these chores is checking Al Gore's internets.  Email inquiries about Drift Away, Facebook, the hometown birdcage liner, CNN, and so on.

Yep.  As you can see, this live aboard lifestyle isn't all glamour.   Sometimes I'm a regular person, just like you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Guns On Board and the NRA

One thing I've learned over the years is that if you really want to get boat folks all riled up, talk about anchors or guns.

My Mom's side of the family, the farm family, always owned guns. I got my first gun, a bolt action .22 (which I still have) when I was 16 and used it for hunting small game and target shooting.  That gun taught me a lot.  Since I was only 16, I had to take a hunter/gun safety course before I could get my first hunting license.  I learned about safety and responsibility when handling firearms, and respect for the property of others.

At one point, I had my .22 rifle and 12 gauge shotgun on board Drift Away, but I put them in storage.  We'd be traveling down the coast and I didn't want to run afoul of any local gun ordinances.  Besides, we have two pit bulls.   Who is going to mess with us?  And if someone did board us to rob us, would I really shoot him?

I really never gave the ownership of guns much thought until recently, with mass murders seemingly in vogue, gun violence at record highs in inner cities, cries for gun control from some, and similar cries about gun confiscation, the 2nd amendment, and government tyranny from others.  Guns are headline news, especially in some of the urban stops we made on Drift Away.  Baltimore, in particular, seems loaded with gun violence.

Being an inquisitive sort, and the kind of person who tries to understand all sides of an issue, I've done a bit of research over the past few years. One conclusion that I've come to is that, in my opinion, the NRA is a sham. It is no longer the worthy gun education group it once was. Nor does it lobby lawmakers on behalf of gun owners, but rather gun manufacturers. The NRA is all about selling guns and corporate greed.

In advance of our move back to upstate New York to build our little farmstead, I recently looked into joining a local rifle club. One requirement of membership is joining the NRA. I will not be joining the rife club.

This is a good video. Please get by the remarks about things like hollow point bullets (these folks obviously aren't hunters), and focus on the organization of the NRA and it's funding, and how it operates by instilling fear, uncertainty, and doubt in both its members and the general public.  It's pretty much in agreement with my own findings.

Revealed: The Truth about the NRA

As for whether you should carry guns aboard your boat, well, that's entirely up to you.   But if you do, please  make sure they're properly locked and secured, that you and anyone else aboard is trained in the proper use of each gun, and that they are only used as an absolute last resort.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sometimes People Really Tick Me Off

We took the dogs to Jekyll Island's beach today.  No news there.  We do that all the time, and have been going frequently for the six months we've been here.   However, we've noticed more and more of this.

Fresh cuts

An old cut.  This has been going on for awhile.

Even the wedding tree...

I guess someone came along as this was being cut.

For the life of me... what are they thinking?  So much driftwood has been cut that, even after only coming here for six months, we can tell when a piece has been cut.   Every driftwood piece is unique, a work of art by mother nature.  To see them destroyed like this, most likely by just one person who sells driftwood lamps, is disgusting.

Yes, we stopped at the Jekyll Island Welcome Center to report the vandalism.  I even started a Facebook page called Stop the Driftwood Poaching on Jekyll Island!  Like and share if you're so inclined.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

What Does a Pelican, a Sunset, and a Windlass Have in Common?

Nothing that I know of.   But here are three pics for you.

First is a brown pelican.

A brown pelican's head turns from reddish-brown during the summer months to yellow in the winter to attract a mate.  The brown pelican is the only pelican in the world that dives from the air to the water for it's food.

Next is a Golden Isles sunset.

My stock photography company rejects every sunset I send them, saying they don't look natural.

Last, is the windlass.

I decided that it needed a fresh coat of paint before I paint the decks.  It was splashed with epoxy from when the decks were fiberglassed over.  I think I'll hit it with one more coat, maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Heating a Boat

Drift Away has reverse cycle A/C.  It cools in the summer and heats in the winter, and does a respectable job at it.

Last summer here in Georgia, though, the air conditioning could barely keep up.  if it was 95 degrees outside, it would be 85 degrees inside.  It was tolerable because the humidity was reduced, but still hot.  There are no shade trees on marina docks and Drift Away took the full brunt of Georgia's blistering sun.

Today, February 9th, it is 46 degrees outside as I write this at 8 AM.  It is 71 inside the boat, and the heat isn't even turned all the way up.  We didn't put plastic over the saloon windows like we did in Stamford, so we only have a single pane of glass between inside and outside, and like most trawlers, we have big windows so we have good views.  I think the reverse cycle A/C heat would be good to well below freezing.   Much below that, we'd fire up our diesel heater.

Many boats install Espar or similar hot air diesel heaters, the same as you'd find on a bus.  The cost for such a system is lofty.  I got a quote of $20,000 for Drift Away.  Knowing we'd be heading south, I decided not to spend that kind of money and instead installed a diesel space heater.

I plumbed this to draw fuel directly from our main fuel tanks so there would be no worries about running out.  We got through a really tough winter in Stamford, Connecticut with this heater and it could keep up with temperatures well below zero.   Cost was about $2,000 installed, with me helping the  installer.

Living aboard in Georgia, we sometimes even get to use both heat and air conditioning on the same day.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Check Bounced!

Unbelievable.  I received a check for $120,000 for Drift Away from an ad I placed on the MTOA (Marine Trawler Owners' Association) website, sight unseen.  This rich guy from London said the boat sounded perfect and he wanted to buy it as a gift for his son.  He included an extra $41,000.  All I had to do was to cash the teller's check and give the balance to the delivery captain.   I mailed the check to my bank in upstate New York.

Yesterday, I got a nervous phone call from NBT Bank.

"Mr. Gibson?"


"This is Mrs. Smith from NBT Bank.  I'm calling about a check for $120,000 you deposited?"

"Yes!  It went through, right?"  (I can be such as ass).

"Uh...  well... no..."

I laughed and told her that I didn't expect it to go through.  This is classic scam, of course.  I know it happens, but I don't know why anyone would fall for it.

In boat sales news, I've had quite a few inquiries from the three Craig's List ad I've run, and two brokers who want a crack at in in non-exclusive listings.

I also had a call from a broker who was very excited and said he had a client from Switzerland who was going to hop on a plane and fly over to see it, only I had to sign an exclusive contract with his company.  I declined.  I told him that if he wanted to sell Drift Away that's fine, and I'll pay the standard 10% commission, but he wasn't getting an exclusive listing.  I know from experience that most sales people are lazy.   One broker I was initially dealing with couldn't even keep appointments to see the boat, or even return telephone calls.  He got the boot.

So the fun continues.  It looks like we might have a decent weather window opening up, so maybe I'll get the deck painted.  I have to pull the foredeck hatch anyway to caulk it for the sixth friggin' time.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lots of Interest in Drift Away

Not counting the $120,000 cashier's check I received a couple of weeks ago (the extra is to be given to the delivery captain), I've had about a dozen genuine inquiries.   I posted Craig's List ads in Brunswick, Savannah, and Jacksonville and have gotten inquiries from each.

I've been surprised at the response.  I was honest in the ad, describing Drift Away as accurately as I could without getting too verbose.  I listed not only all the work we've done and the equipment we've installed, but also all of the work that is yet to be done by the next owner.  I think people appreciate honesty.  How many of you boaters traveled many miles to look at a boat only to find its condition was nothing like advertised?  A boat needing "a little TLC" turned out to be a total piece of crap?  I don't like being treated that way, and so I don't treat people that way.

No doubt whomever gets serious about buying Drift Away will want it surveyed, and I have no problem with that.  I don't put much stock in surveyors though.  The ones I've dealt with over the years know less about boats than I do.  But nonetheless, it is standard procedure when buying a boat to have it surveyed.  Those of you who have been following this blog for any length of time know that I like to be different. I didn't have Drift Away surveyed when I bought it.  I expected the worst and hoped for the best.

Pam and I both have mixed emotions about this.  We both love this boat, and will hate to see it not be ours anymore, but at the same time we're both looking forward to building a little place in the Adirondacks, and the next chapter in our lives.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Boat For Sale Photos

Note- this page has been updated.   Please click on this link- Updated Boat for Sale Photos.

Disclaimer- our boat doesn't really look this good.   We live on it, with three dogs.  What Pam and I did was to clean the clutter out of an area, photograph it, and then put all our stuff back.   This is what Drift Away would look like if normal people owned it.

Dinette area, aft end of main saloon

We kept the teak on the aft deck because it doesn't leak.  It should be recaulked at some point.

Across from the dinette facing aft.

Galley. That's a small convection oven on the shelf.

An Origo 110v two burner stove.

Small apartment sized 110v frost free refrigerator.

Port side across from the galley.  You can see the vents for the reverse cycle A/C.

Stairs from the aft master stateroom up to the main saloon.  The engine room door is to the left.

Naiad roll control gyroscope for the stabilizers.  This was an expensive piece of gear in 1980.  
Over $50,000.

Two Filter Boss Systems.  If filter #1 started to clog, an alarm would go off in the helm station where I can flip a switch to change to filter #2.  Since installing  the fuel polishing system with a pickup tube 1" off the bottom of the tank, this hasn't happened.  This is $5,000 worth of equipment, not counting installing it.

Starboard side stabilizer.

Three zone reverse cycle air conditioning units.

Sentry battery charger, just repaired last week.  According to the mechanic, one of the best you can buy.

Central vacuuming system.

15 kw Onan generator under soundproofing.

Many spare filters.

7 1/2 kw Onan generator.

Main helm station controls.  A couple of the gauges need to be replaced or repaired.

12" Simrad touch screen chart plotter.  All Simrad electronics new in 2011.  You can see the broadband radar overlay on the chart.

Simrad AIS, class B, transmits and receives ship information.  This was really useful in fog on a river when we could see a barge on the AIS, but it was around a sharp bend and the radar couldn't see it.  This also overlays on the chart plotter.

The only original instrument, the depth sounder.  

Helm station.  Drift Away comes with charts and cruising guides for most of the east coast.

Naiad and generator controls.  The white rectangle under those are tank level gauges for the water and waste tanks.

The decks need to be painted, which I may do as soon as weather permits.  The rugs are so the dogs don't slip so much.

Foredeck.  Big Ideal windlass, 80 pound Manson Supreme anchor, 200' 3/8" chain.

Seat behind helm station.

Washer and dryer under the helm seat.

Kenmore dryer.

Kenmore washer.

Ice maker, new in 2012.

Junk Store room.   I converted the forward stateroom to storage. 

Diesel heater in the main saloon, new in 2010.  We haven't used it since we left Virginia.  We may take it off the boat if the new owner doesn't plan on wintering anywhere up north.  It kept us warm and toasty in Stamford's cold winter, even when temps were well below zero.

Master stateroom looking forward and starboard.  A 32" TV fits on the shelf.  The settee should be reupholstered.

Master stateroom looking aft.

Master stateroom looking forward and port.  There's some water damage to the paneling behind the fan on the shelf by the port.

Master stateroom head.  This toilet only pumps to the holding tank.  I have the Y valve if you want to convert it back.

Standup shower behind the curtain.

Flybridge.  The Morse controls are broken, but I have a brand new $500 replacement in a box.  Most of these instruments don't work.  New 8" Simrad chart plotter to the left.

Bimini new in 2011.  Left to right is the AIS antenna, Simrad radar, and TV antenna.

13' Boston Whaler with 40 HP Evinrude.  We last used it about a year ago.  The electric hoist works too.

Grill with propane bottle.  The 8 man liferaft is most likely no good.

Georgia DNR came and assigned a hull ID number to the Whaler, which is from about 1970.  It's registered in Georgia, as is Drift Away.

New mahogany console and ignition switch.

Middle stateroom head.  This only dumps overboard so it's shut off and not used.

You can see water damaged paneling below the deck prism.

This is the worst of it, water damaged paneling at the foot of the stairs outside the middle stateroom.  I planned on just overlaying new paneling over the old, probably wainscoting.  You may decide differently.

Middle stateroom looking starboard towards the head.

Middle stateroom looking port.  This needs all new paint and paneling.

Middle stateroom looking aft.

Forward head.  This one has a Y valve to pump either overboard or to the holding tank.

All of the serious money has been spent on this boat.  To my knowledge, all the systems are now in good shape.  Drift Away got us from Stamford, CT to Albany NY and then all the way to Brunswick, GA.

What's left is mainly paint and paneling.  Make no mistake, there's a lot of work to be done, but not that much money really if you're handy and can do the work yourself. 

Asking price is $79,000.  If you have any questions, would like to talk on the phone, or would like to see Drift Away, email me at adkdave AT  

Update 3/8/2013 - I've been asked for more photos of the outside of the boat, including the keel and rudders.  The only photos I have are from when I first painted the bottom in February of 2009 in Bridgeport, CT, but here you go.

Starboard side stabilizer.