‘Twas Ten Days Before Christmas….

And all across the waterfront
The music was blaring
We couldn’t stand any more of it!
The east wind helped her fair share
And if a marina had space
Well, you’ll be finding us there!

View from anchorage looking at GGs

Can see how close we are in this view from the anchorage looking at GGs who wasn’t the culprit, but music came from a few buildings to the left just out of the picture.

Less than two miles south of us sat Loggerhead Marina Hollywood, one of a dozen Loggerhead Club & Marinas between Daytona Beach and Miami.

Chart view of where anchored and marina location

Chart view of anchorage (green mark) and marina location (the lower of the two Ms in blue circle)

To dream, perchance the reality of a slip? I called Sunday afternoon and ouch the daily rate calculated to a steep weekly rate and we’d need at least two, but Yippee they had a slip we’d fit into. Further reading of an ActiveCaptain review revealed a comment regarding a favorable monthly rate. And don’t projects always take longer than originally estimated?
By 9:30 Monday Twins was tied in the very wide slip at the bulkhead (land) end of pier 5, blessed air conditioning blasting but not the music! As many of you can attest to, the temps have been just a tad above normal which put us in the low to mid 80s here and plenty humid. Tackling the solar project without heat relief was simply out of the question and I am very certain Russ agreed with me within a couple of days. 🙂
Checking in was an experience because you aren’t simply checking in, you are leasing a slip, blah, blah, blah. We read pages, we signed, we paid a refundable deposit, we questioned our decision, we smiled at the excellent rate; we got through it.
This is how our location is described in the LC&M brochure with my comments in bold:
Situated in a blissful alcove (at one end of a huge gated community ) of luxury homes, towering palms, tropical flowers, relaxing fountains, and warm southern breezes, this location offers 190 slips for vessels up to 120 ft. Whether you decide to relax by the pool (located more than a mile away so you need to relax by the time you arrive), stroll by the canals, or revive at the health club (because it’s near the pool and just walking there is a workout); luxury (new washers and dryers in a locked room- better have your key), comfort (lounge with coffee, TV), security (guard at the security gate one mile away has your info, show your license if you leave and return, and he will call if anyone visits or comes to get you), and upscale amenities (pump out at every slip, occasional complimentary brunch) are all within reach in the heart of coastal, trendy town of Hollywood. (within reach assumes a car- nothing is within walking distance)
Let me backtrack to the Friday before and regale you with “a tale of vehicles, near death, and solar project materials”. Actually with a handful of photos you will get the idea. And now that you know we only remained anchored out over the weekend, your compassion level may not soar very high, but what we did we did for the blog.

First Uber ride. To Uhaul to rent van

First über ride. To pick up van we rented.

We needed a van since Enterprise didn’t have a vehicle big enough; the panels are Kyocera 260 watt and are 65″x39″. We locked our dinghy at the launching ramp floating docks and took an uber ride to the Uhaul place which was part of a smaller, older True Value in a strip mall in Dania Beach, about 8 miles north. Paul was our driver and he happily answered our newbie questions. His car was immaculate and he knew the area. Sorry grumpy, attitude-y taxis, über is way better. Faster, less expensive and much easier to contact. Once you have the app you are golden. Track your driver’s progress, communicate if necessary and no cash changes hands.  Our trip cost $7.  Can you tell we are sold?

On the way to I95 North we came within inches of crashing into a truck who had turned across traffic in front of us, putting the van’s brakes to a real life test. Everyone is in such a mad rush here; makes Connecticut drivers look good.

eMarine to pick up soalr components

At eMarine located in southern Ft Lauderdale where we picked up the panels and related components

After a fair amount of time at eMarine (they weren’t quite finished with our order) and a grocery stop we arrived back without incident to the launching ramp’s parking lot. You have to pay to park using one of those aptly named meters that take coins, paper and credit, but generally not without fuss.

The day before we dinghied over to the municipal marina to check with Dockmaster Matt with whom Russ had spoken several times in our effort to find dockage. Alas no room at this inn (never was going to be we finally figured out) but when we came in for fuel we could take a few extra minutes to load on our solar materials. The other option was to ferry the stuff by dinghy but even our desire for an interesting blog post has a limit!

We took the sensible route and went to the fuel dock; didn’t need fuel but got some anyway and a much-needed pump out and water tank fill. Then Russ carried on the project materials which by now are getting heavier and more cumbersome as the day wears on and the temp rises.

Solar project components loaded on board

Solar project components loaded on board. Careful not to scratch the panels.

 

Panels stashed out of the way

Panels stashed out of the way and safe from the weekend forecast of very windy Sat night through Sunday

We re-anchored, dinghied in again to return the van. At the end of the strip mall is Jaxson’s ice cream; a long-standing old-fashioned ice cream place, so why not treat ourselves while waiting for our über ride back to the marina.

I’ll skip the gory, involved details for now (one of us might do a page about the entire project later) but suffice to say the process involved many steps, maneuvering around the stuff, and our limited deck space demanded careful moving about.  Our goal was to get one panel on and tested by Saturday afternoon.

The fabricator made perfect rails to our specs and left extra so Russ could cut to the exact length once we had the fittings on

 

canvas off, accepting panels soon

Canvas off, accepting panels soon. Can see the one of the new rails sorta standing up.

After we attached the aluminum frame to the underside of a panel, the panel was ready to be placed on the new SS rails. This was the most difficult part- working in a cramped space, the boat gently (thankfully) bobbing in the water while we hoist ‘er up from the flybridge over the bare-naked T-top. The new rails are laying down for this.

Secure a line and we'll hoist 'er on

Secure a line and we’ll hoist ‘er on. Slow and steady now mates!

 

Voila! Tense moments but we did it without too much difficulty

Voila! Tense moments but we did it without too much difficulty. Safety line off, clamshells on and pull line attached

Now to get the new rails upright. Good thing Russ had this all figured out; vast experience I suppose. The safety line remained attached to the panel until the mounting clamshells were secure. Then we tied another line to the forward of the two new rails. I stood on the flybridge facing the stern holding the new line. Russ pushed up on the panel while I slowly pulled the line toward me to bring the rail upright. Tighten the eye thingys, push the second rail up, panel tightened on and breathe another sigh of relief. Ah.

Russ attached the wires temporarily to the batteries without a fuse to see if the panel worked. Of course it did! The sun was shining and within 20 minutes the batteries went from 12.6 to 12.7; very acceptable with only one panel.
Sunday was too windy to hoist the second panel; we aren’t that crazy, sorry; but we attached the aluminum frame so it was ready to go… once we got to the marina 🙂

 

Our new home for a month- Loggerhead Marina

Our new home for a month- Loggerhead Marina

 

 

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2 thoughts on “‘Twas Ten Days Before Christmas….

  1. You two are very ambitious with the solar panels but sure makes sense cruising in the sunny south. We will be in Naples for Jan and Feb if you would like a change of pace but you still get a water view.

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    • One of these days the big projects will stop… but not until we get the watermaker installed! We had planned to spend some of winter on FLs west coast where we’d hoped to see you and some other peeps we know on Longboat, etc. But that got changed when the Bahamas called to us! Have an arcitect friend who had a camp house built on Stocking Island near George Town and March 2016 will be the 5th anniversary of meeting them, so we couldn’t pass up celebrating that event and seeing the house. Last time we were there, the footings had been dug; everything takes a long time in the islands mon.
      Sorry we won’t see you this winter, but we will be in CT for some time yet TBD this summer! Happy Holidays and enjoy your time in Naples

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