Friday, August 13, 2010

Boat work and bicycling

Ron riding through the banyan trees along one of our routes

Once again, we seem to have settled back into our typical on-land routine: a good 15-25 mile bicycle ride in the mornings, with boat projects, errands and correspondence in the afternoon, followed by reading or relaxation on the back porch with hot tub/pool time before dinner.  The bike rides have been we cruise along the Indian River in the mornings, I regularly see great blue heron, great egrets, night herons, sandhill cranes, seagulls, white ibis and brown pelicans swooping over the water or feeding in the shallows. I've also seen birds I never noticed before, like anhingas, which I thought were cormorants at first glance, as they are blackish in color with long thin necks, and swim with their bodies almost totally underwater. They are very common in Florida waterways and swamps, which I didn't realize. It's neat to see how many birds I recognize -- or don't -- as I'm biking along the water! 

It's not exactly a blistering pace, but one we're getting re-acquainted with now that we're back in port. We'll have more time to get used to it, though, with Equinox soon to be on the hard as part of our hurricane plan for the next couple of months! Earlier this week we pulled Tingum out of the water and took her to the dealer for some servicing and to finish the last few punch list items still outstanding. Pulling the tender out is  something of a coordinated dance, as one of us gets dropped off at the marina to run Tingum to the appropriate boat ramp, while the the other zips back with the car to hook up the trailer and get to said boat ramp. In what we are learning is typical Florida-in-August "rainy season" weather, the day started out sunny and pleasant, but before long, mid-day storm clouds moved in, making it a bit of a race to finish, to get Tingum secured on the trailer and delivered to the dealer ahead of the lightning and rain. But...we did it! 

Equinox is getting her share of the attention too, as we had Martek aboard on Wednesday to investigate the on-again, off-again workings of the wind indicator. We are also working to schedule with John Deere to get a good check-up of the engines and double-check any specific maintenance items that are recommended and/or due. While the ordinary and routine items we manage ourselves, we thought it would be prudent to have a good inspection done to ensure that we aren't overlooking anything and are good to go once we are back in the water come October. Because the summer is considered the "slow" season here in Florida, we thought it would be a good time to schedule the work, but it hasn't been as easy as we thought, as it turns out that many businesses cut back hours and folks tend to be on vacation this time of year. Why? Because it is the slow season! Always something with a boat, now isn't it?

Florida trivia: Do you know what the Florida state bird is? Nothing I would have guessed, actually, after all my admiration of Florida waterbirds -- it's the Northern Mockingbird! The Florida Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 3 formally adopted it as the state bird on April 23, 1927, in part because: "...The melody of its music has delighted the heart of residents and visitors to Florida from the days of the rugged pioneer to the present comer... " I had no idea! Guess I'll have to start listening...!

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