Monday, December 5, 2011

Jacksonville, FL

After our long weekend at Cumberland Island, we set off for Jacksonville FL, which is situated 20 miles up the St. John’s river off of the Intercoastal waterway.  So, it was a detour for us.  We made this detour to head to a boatyard that David had read good reviews on, Huckins boatworks.  We had contacted them about our problems with our port side propeller not working, and they agreed it was most likely a bad cutlass bearing.  They said they would like to put a tech on board to hear the problem, but they were concerned we wouldn’t be able to bring the boat into their shop.  A bridge crossing the river nearby had been under construction for quite sometime.  It was suppose to be fixed but hadn’t been yet.  We called the bridge to gain more info, and learned that one side of the draw would be open for a few hours of the day.  The width on the one draw was 22feet.  RCabin is 18 feet across, so that didn’t give us a lot of room to pass thru, and if current is strong, it could make it hard to control.  We picked up a tech in downtown Jacksonville and made some circles on the river so he could here the propeller running and he agreed—cutlass bearing.  We made our way to the bridge to make our narrow pass thru.  We passed thru slowly, without hitting the draw that was down, or any of the many workers on the bridge, and shortly arrived at Huckins boat yard.  The office staff and techs here were very friendly.  The ladies in the office were happy each day to see the kids when they would head out for a scooter ride or walk to the nearby park. 

Suzie arrived the next day, which meant Grandma was heading home. Matthew and I flew home to Idaho with Grandma to check on work and for a needed Dr’s appointment.  The month before we found out that we were expecting a surprise—#6.  Turns out #6 will join our family in June, which means we’ll have to head back to Idaho a month sooner than we were planning. 

While I was in Idaho for a few days, the kids were invited to decorate the company Christmas tree at the boatyard, which meant that when I returned they were ready to decorate a tree for us and the boat.  We spent 2.5 weeks at Huckins waiting on parts, mostly waiting on our stabilizers.  Since we had to have the boat lifted out of the water to see the cutlass bearing and order parts, David had them remove the stabilizers and props as well.  They placed us back in the water to sit and wait.  Without propellers we couldn’t move the boat at all.  They towed us to a spot on the otherside of one of their work sheds to do our waiting.  The shed protected us from the train track that was within 100 feet of where they first docked us—and it passes thru at least once an hour, and all night, and toots it's horn many times.  The shed helped dim the sound, along with all the fans we turned on high inside.  The propellers were shipped to Georgia to be balanced and the stabilizers where shipped to Maine to be upsized.  We waited and debated.  The propellers came back after a week, but we weren’t expecting the stabilizers for another week.  We could have the yard lift us out and repair the bearing and reinstall the propellers and we could move on…but we would have to have the stabilizers reshipped to somewhere, and if we went somewhere else they would charge us more money to haul us up and reinstall the stabilizers.  It was a several hundred dollar decision.  The problem was—we were suppose to be further south by now.  We had family and friends coming for visits and they were flying into airports further south.  We decided to rebook David’s Mom into Jacksonville and hoped our stabilizers would show up soon and we could head south. 

The Stabilizers arrived, the same day as Grandma Sanna.  We took the kids and Grandma Sanna to the zoo.  David had wanted to go by dinghy b/c if you arrive by boat to the zoo, admission is free.  But the yard was planning to do all the repairs that day so we could leave that weekend.  So I didn’t want to take everyone in the dinghy 10 miles up the river and have something go wrong.  So we went by car and paid admission to the zoo.  Had we gone by dinghy it would have been a $65 dollar savings, and that was after my discount b/c we have a Boise zoo membership. While I thought it was an expensive zoo, it was a nice zoo and we had a very fun visit. 

I had called David at 4pm, knowing that the yard’s quitting time was very near, and hoping the boat was back in the water.  The answer was NO.  I was getting worried.  But when we arrived back at the boat at 5:30pm, the boat was in the water and the last touches were being finished up.  David headed over to the office to settle our bill and say our farewells.  We were leaving Jacksonville early the next morning!

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