July 27 – August 3
Well, this has certainly been an eventful week.
We now officially own Southern Cross. The end.
Just kidding 🙂 There was a bit more to it than that, for those who are curious.
I flew down to West Palm again last Monday to complete the survey of the vessel and make a final decision based on the findings of the survey. My plane was delayed by an hour and ten minutes leaving Tulsa because the navigation equipment on board the plane was not functioning and they had to fix it. That’s always a good sign.
This wasn’t a problem until I realized that my layover in Dallas was… wait for it… you guessed it, one hour and ten minutes. We actually landed five minutes early, which gave me five minutes to exit the plane and make my way down the terminal (thankfully the same terminal my first flight landed in).
I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize again to all the other passengers on the plane whom I bulldozed as I shoved my way from the back of the plane to the door, apologizing profusely along the way. Thankfully none of the other passengers in front of me appeared to be trained in the art of Sumo or were aged Russian mafioso who retained their instincts from the glory days of bread lines in the USSR.
What happened after I exited the plane was a painful reminder of just how out of shape I am. Sprinting through the terminal, trailing my wheeled carry-on that was careening wildly behind me and shouldering my backpack that seemed to have suddenly taken on the basic characteristics of a cruise ship anchor, my inner voice said, “You can do this!”
My legs, on the other hand, disagreed with my inner voice. Within 100 yards they were already in full-on mutiny. Traitors.
By the time I reached 150 yards my lungs were in agreement with my legs and were starting to djinn up some sympathy from my shoulders. I was seriously in jeopardy of full out revolt and the resulting apoplectic shock.
Luckily my brain is a bit more loyal and was able to rally the crew, and after 200 yards – yes, it was only about 200 yards – I arrived at the gate for my next flight just as they were giving my seat (the last seat on the plane) to someone on standby.
“Hey! *GASPGASPSPLUTTERCOUGHGASP* I’m *WHEEZACOUGHHACK* Patrick *CHOKELWHEEZELSNORT*….”
At which point the kindly American Airlines employee took mercy on me and said, “Mr Always?” This freed me to just nod like a drunken boxer who’s taken too many head shots. “Unhg,” I said eloquently.
And so I made it to my connecting flight in a dazzling display of just how badly I need to get away from our current lifestyle and make some serious changes. As Byn has already stated in another post, there are a lot of things we’re looking forward to about this adventure… but among those we’re looking forward to the most is detoxing from being a typical American. It’s no wonder people around the world make fun of Americans. I’m SO looking forward to living healthy and the resulting strength and resilience that will come along with the daily life of living on a boat.
In the end I made it to my destination on time and went out to visit Southern Cross in the evening where I enjoyed a beautiful sunset and prepared my thoughts for the coming day and the impending boat survey.
The next morning I met John McNally (the broker) and John Bannister (the surveyor) – Byn and I have taken to referring to them as John 1 and John 2, respectively- on board Southern Cross.
I won’t bore you with the details of the survey as they are pretty mundane. Lots of pulling stuff out of lockers to inventory spare parts and safety equipment, testing various systems, poking and prodding into hidden recesses, and tracing electrical and plumbing lines.
We eventually set off towards the boat yard for the haul-out and bottom inspection. This was my biggest point of trepidation. Firstly, I had no confidence that the motor was going to get us there (it didn’t – more on that later) and secondly I was afraid of finding something structurally wrong with the hull that would make buying the boat I’d already fallen in love with a poor decision.
The motor started right up and purred like a kitten, moving us along at a surprisingly fast pace given the size of the boat. She steers well and is very easy to handle under power. After about 45 minutes of motoring up the Intercoastal Waterway the peace of moving along the water was interrupted by the wail of a dozen screaming banshees in heat coming from the engine compartment. I shut the motor down and we dropped anchor to assess the situation, only to find that the bearings in the alternator had failed and the compressor for the refrigerator had seized.
Neither of these was a deal breaker for me as I had already planned on replacing both systems post-purchase, but it was annoying to have to call a tow boat just to get us to the boatyard. Luckily since it wasn’t technically my boat yet, it wasn’t my boat that needed the tow, and therefore not my dime paying the tow bill. Kudos, by the way, to SeaTow in Palm Beach for a job well done. Really a professional job. Highly recommend them if you’re ever in that area and need a tow.
We eventually made it to the boatyard and soon Southern Cross was dangling from a couple of flimsylooking straps.
John 2 then took to the business of hull inspection by using phenolic sounding (pounding on the hull with a rubber mallet) and themore technologically sophisticated thermal imaging analysis.