Work, then Play!

1/29 Tuesday, 68/46, partly cloudy, NW10 - The breeze failed to show today and we weren’t going to go looking for it - the marina remained blissfully calm. Captain Steve called around 9:30am. He was trying to lower the headsail on Norne Gaest but it wouldn’t budge. Since Norne Gaest, a Pearson 365 ketch, has CDI behind-the-mast fulers, she has no main halyard. Dobbs would need the jib halyard for climbing the mast to do some work we had scheduled for later in the day. Dobbs headed over there and I loaded our tools into a dock cart and followed shortly after. With no over-the-masthead halyards available, Dobbs used a sliding/jamming hitch between the bosun’s chair and the mast and the spinnaker halyard as a hoist. Once he arrived at the masthead, he lashed on a small block and tackle that helps him climb a little higher and also serves as an additional safety.

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Initially, he thought that the fastenings for the bracket for the mainsail furler were pinching the halyard, but it turned out to be an over-long screw for the wind instrument mount. It extended through the masthead and acted like a set screw, pressing the halyard against the sheave.

The halyard was undamaged. Dobbs replaced the fastener with a shorter one and then the sail could be lowered. While at the masthead, he also replaced a lost pointer on the Garmin wind instrument.

Then, at the spreaders, he replaced the halogen bulbs in the Perko spreader lights with LED’s.

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This required changing the end fittings from rings to spade connectors, but Dobbs was aware of the possibility so we had what was needed on-hand. Lastly, before hoisting the headsail, Dobbs showed Steve where to apply grease to the Furlex drum and halyard swivel. We finished with everything just before 1pm.

We ate lunch, washed the dishes, and stowed our tools. The day was so beautiful, we decided to ride over to Merritt Island and explore one of the trails.

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The lower bracket bearing on the bike started clicking noisily again so, as not to push it too far, we turned off onto the first trail we came to - the Gator Creek Road. As we pedaled onto the hard-packed sand and coral rock, through a break in the mangroves, suddenly we were in wild country, away from the concrete, traffic, and bustle of town.

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It reminded us of riding on Boot Key, in Marathon, before the bridge was removed.

The trail winds around Gator Creek and through mangrove swamp.

The further we traveled into the mangroves, the clearer the water became.

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We saw more bird species than we recognized, so we took pictures to look them up in our bird book later. Two that stood out were the roseate spoonbill and green heron.

We also spotted a large alligator and then a small one. At first they were resting on an island, but then they took to the water (the large one thrashed about, which got our attention!). I decided I liked being on the bicycle.

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We rode back to the marina and got in around 5pm. Dobbs finished splicing a new eye and sewing a leather protector on the stern line that chafed through, then returned it to active duty.

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I fortified us with gin-and-tonics and went about checking the rest of our lines. The 7/16” starboard bow line had also suffered, with the chafe guard and one of the 3 strands mostly worn through. I took it off for repair, leaving the back-up line in place. At this point, most of the chafe guards have holes from wear at the chocks. I shift them around to get good material, though I can see that I may be patching them before we leave here.

At dinnertime, I made chicken tomatillo stew with rice. Later, we took showers and then read a bit before going to bed.