Where We Have Been

Where We Have Been
Where We Have Been

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Good Times Coming Soon

It is getting close to time to head to Key West to haul Island Queen. She has not been out of the water since 2004. I hope there are not too many surprises. My brother Scott is coming down for a week to help with the installation of the bow thruster. My friend John is also coming. John sent me this picture of Scott the other day and said he is getting excited about coming to Key West. I thought maybe I would make up some posters with the pic and write "Headed to the Key West and looking for a good time" and post them around town. It should be one very interesting week.

My brother Scott.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Interesting Discovery

I made an interesting discovery today (to me anyway). Our auto pilot mysteriously quit working awhile back. I checked the fuses and gave the system a quick look over and did not find anything obvious. I went and talked to a marine electronics tech and he said he would look at it. I was just about to call him back and set up the appointment and then thought maybe I better look it over one more time myself as everyone down here is $100 an hour. I looked at the owner's manual again and the error message indicated the rudder was not turning when the control unit told it to. I again checked the fuse. It was good. I went down in the engine room where the hydraulic pump for the auto pilot is located. I ran my hand over the wiring and much to my surprise one of the connections fell apart in my hand. I redid the connections and now it works perfectly. That saved a couple of hundred dollars over something simple.

That was not the interesting discovery though. While I was looking for the owner's manual in the box of papers and manuals that came with the boat I found an article that had been printed in Motorboat magazine in October 1979. The article was about chartering a Marine Trader trawler in St. Thomas USVI named Island Queen. I have thought for a long time that she was an ex-charter boat. Her log books start in 1983 when she was 5 years old. Most charter boats are sold after 5 years of service. I knew from other documents that she had been in the USVI before. So I think with certainty that that is where she began her life. It is funny to me that that is where we were headed when we left Indiana almost four years ago on Morgan (our sailboat). We got a little sidetracked and bought a trawler. It has taken almost three years to pay for and refit Island Queen, and we are not done yet. We have come along way though and are almost to the point of being able to take off again.

We are going to Key West the end of this month to haul her out and do some much needed hull maintenance along with installing a bow thruster. We will then return to Marathon for Christmas with the kids. Then in February we will start up the east coast and continue on the Great Loop. Once we complete the Loop we will then work our way down the islands to the USVI, or at least that is the plan.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Getting Back to Normal (whatever that is)

I have been back to the boat for almost 4 weeks now and finding it hard to get back to the normal life aboard again. Two things have been going on. One is that in March I had promised the church here to install hurricane shutters. Someone donated the money to buy them and I was to install them. Then I got called to work for Exxon in Louisiana for four months. I have been working for the last two weeks to install them. They have a school at the church so I have to time everything so as to not disturb anybody and that has proven to be a royal pain, but I hope to finish them up this evening. The second thing is that it is hot here, not unbearable if you do nothing but hot If you are not in the shade with some air moving. We started using the air conditioner at night so we could sleep. It is still nice sitting on the bow in the evening with the cool breeze. I am looking forward to next month when things start to cool off.

Sharon has given notice that she will be leaving her job. We plan on moving the boat to Key West next month and haul out to do some much needed maintenance. Island Queen has not been out of the water since 2004. We will get rid of some through hulls that are no longer being used, replace the two that are and then apply Coppercat on the bottom. We also will install a bow thruster at the same time. (thank you Exxon) We are looking forward to going someplace new. We have been here way too long, but you do what you gotta do.
I love setting on the bow and watching the sunset.

New bow thruster and tunnel

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Finally back home

After 127 days in Baton Rouge working on an Exxon project I finally got back to the boat last night. Now to take care of some deferred maintenance. With a bit of coin in m jeans it is time to haul Island Queen and do a bottom job. We are also going to add 4 more Trojan T 105 golf cart batteries giving us 8 in total. We have not been hooked up to shore power for nine months now, so we can make it with the current setup but it will be nicer to have the extra capacity. So far our solar arrangement has worked very well. Eventually I would like to have a wind generator as well, but that is low on the priority list.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Change of Plans

Well we have had a change of plans. I got called to work in Baton Rouge. Been here a week now and looks like it will be another 2 or 3 weeks at least.

Sharon got me this cool handset for my phone. I know to you youngsters this may seem old fashioned, but I am on the phone all day when working and it has been great.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tank Replacement

Island Queen has two 75 gallon stainless steel tanks for fresh water. The port tank is under the bed in the aft stateroom. It leaked when we bought Queeny and we fixed it right away. It was easy to get to and didn't provide much of a problem. The one on the starboard side began leaking and so it was time to pull it out. It was a lot more trouble to get to. It was built into the cabinetry or should I say the cabinetry was built around the tank. I had to cut the front of the cabinet out and part of the bulkhead between the cabin and the storage hold to be able to get it out. I ordered a new plastic tank to replace the stainless one as it was beyond repair. It will took 3 weeks to get the new one so we lived off one tank until the new one came in.
The new tank was a little smaller in capacity, 63 gallons instead of 75. I was able to get it a little taller than the old one so that made it shorter in length which allowed for a new storage place that we did not have before. I was able to buy a teak louvered door secondhand for $10. I stained it to match the existing drawers. I think it turned out really good. I still have a little bit of trim work to do to cover up where I had to cut the cabinet, but all in all I am happy with it.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Looking Forward

Well it looks like Sharon and I will be here in the Keys for another year. We had wanted to leave this April but that is not to be. I need to get some work to build the cruising kitty up before we leave. Also the church we go to here is starting an addition on their building and I have committed to help them with that. All in all their are worse places to be stuck for a year, 70s and 80s in the winter and 80s and 90s in the summer.


On or about April 5th I will be leaving with a friend to take his sailboat from here to Galveston bay. It is around 700 nautical miles across the gulf. It should be about 7 to 10 days. This will be the furthest offshore I have been an a small boat. I am looking forward to it. I have always wanted to do an ocean crossing. This will be a taste of offshore sailing. It will be interesting to see if I like it or not. Sometimes we want things and work hard to get them and then find out that that is not what we wanted at all. And sometimes at a great price.

We have reactivated our spot tracking device. That means the link at the top of the page will take you to a map that shows where we are. When the map comes up it is zoomed way in. You have to use the slide bar on the left to zoom it out to get the big picture.