Just Passin’ Through

It’s been a long time since I posted a music video. This evening I was watching Orange Is The New Black on Netflix when they featured a song by one of my favorite singers…

 

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Making It Happen

One of the neatest things about having a blog is finding out that people actually read the damned thing and a quite a few of them take the time to write a comment. Recently Michael Bowman commented on my Budget Houseboating blog that he was building a shanty boat for use on the St. John’s River in northern Florida.

Michael has modified Phil Thiel’s “Escargot,” a design I always admired myself.

Escargot

We started exchanging emails and he wrote:

Talisa (Creek Indian word for “Beautiful Waters”) was designed with Plil Thiel’s ‘Escargot’ as the idea. I had to have some standing headroom somewhere and more than 2′ width to sleep. I added a foot to the beam and 18″ to the main cabin’s headroom.  The rest has just been sweat and $$. It has been a WONDERFUL experience and I’m heading towards a charter “business”.

He also included these photos from his idea to the completed boat…

Idea:

IMG_20130312_075926

Construction:

IMG_20131220_140520

Interior:

IMG_20140516_081541IMG_20140516_110342

Just a couple of days ago Talisa was “splashed” in the St. John’s and Michael reports that she handles “beautifully.”

IMG_20140714_105412

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the St. John’s, at 310 miles, it is the longest river in the State of Florida. Most of it is scenic and much of it is in its natural state. When my mom died, my dad took their two mutts, got on his 26′ Stamas in Venice, FL and disappeared. Six months later we found out he’d voyaged across the state and up into the St. John’s where he mourned the loss of his wife, his companion and his partner.

You can charter Michael’s boat, starting in October, and find out why the St. John’s had the ability to sooth my father’s soul and may just give you some great memories for your life. Contact him at: rajahcat1@gmail.com.

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It’s Been Done

In a recent post (http://onemoregoodadventure.com/2014/06/26/what-this-spot-for-future-developments/) I was ruminating about the possibility of building a scow-hulled shanty boat in modules, transporting them across the Isthmus and assembling them into a single entity rather than trying to build it all in one huge piece. I mean, they build aircraft carriers and huge ocean liners in pieces and put those together, why not something like a home-built shanty?

Well, I was surprised when this turned up in the comments section:

That turning over issue ….we had that too , and I built in ” modules ” too , then glued and bolted the whole mess together .You can see photos here :

https://www.flickr.com/photos/105336095@N04/sets/72157643738718083/

regards , Trish and Harry in OZ

Unfortunately flickr won’t let me save a photo so I can post it here as a teaser, but I’ll tell you straight out, if the idea of having a houseboat/shanty boat intrigues you you REALLY need to click on the flickr link. There are a ton of pics and these people are going to have a great place to relax. This is a pic they sent me of where they intend to use the boat.

oz river

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George (Putting the W into AWOL) Bush Was An IDIOT…

Here’s proof…

Yes, I am unaplogetically liberal, and if you don’t like it, bite me…And don’t forget, you can write comments telling me I’m wrong, but it’s MY BLOG and they’ll never see the light of day. The First Amendment doesn’t apply here. It only means the government won’t put you in jail for what you say. It DOESN’T absolve you of the fate of me telling you you’re a twatwaffle for your beliefs.

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Happy 238th Birthday U.S.A.

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The Boat Bug Explained…

Arthur Michell Ransome (18 January 1884 – 3 June 1967) was an English author and journalist. He is best known for writing the Swallows And Amazons series of children’s books.

Regarding boats he wrote:

“The desire to build a boat is one of those that cannot be resisted. It begins as a little cloud on a serene horizon. It ends by covering the whole sky, so that you can think of nothing else. You must build to regain your freedom. . .”

He also wrote that the difference between a house and a boat is: “Houses are but badly built boats so firmly aground that you can not think of moving them. They are definitely inferior things, belonging to the vegetable, not the animal world, rooted and stationary, incapable of gay transition…The desire to build a house is the tired wish of a man content thenceforward with a single anchorage. The desire to build a boat is the desire of youth, unwilling yet to accept the idea of a final resting place.”

Despite emphysema, arthritis and the three stents I carry around in my heart I’m not ready for a final resting place. That’s why this blog is named One More Good Adventure.

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Watch This Spot For Future Developments

I haven’t been sleeping well since the shanty boat bug bit me again. I’ll go to bed and then wake up at 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning as 72 year old men are wont to do, but then when I lay down again my mind keeps churning about all the possibilities of  this venture that I can’t get back to sleep. So a half hour, forty-five minutes later I’m up again and roaming around on the computer.

Here’s one of the hurdles I have to overcome…

Where I Am

As you can see by the yellow stick pin where I am and where the boat should be are quite far apart. Not only that, running right smack between those two pins is the continental divide. A mountain chain thousands of feet high!

I have a complete set of plans for a shanty boat called the Brandy Bar

brandy-bar

It’s 25 feet long and 10 feet wide. That would make it too wide to put on a trailer and truck over the hills to Almirante where it could be launched. The construction is pretty straight forward. It’s like building a house because everything is right angles and no complex compound curves. It would be pretty simple to simply modify the plans and scale the beam down to 8 feet so it would be trailerable.

Another problem is cost. Even scrimping on things like interior design and not counting such essentials as navigation lights, anchors with their chain and rode, regular lighting, cooking facilities, etc., etc., the bare hull would cost around $4K!

Then we get into construction problems themselves. 1) The best source for marine plywood is over there in Bocas del Toro. I live here in Boquerón. For those of you not familiar with boat building, real marine plywood is expensive stuff. Without getting into a big dissertation about how plywood is made I’ll just say there’s “Marine Ply,’ ‘AB’, ‘BC’ and stuff called ‘CDX.’ The letters all refer to the condition of the outermost ply, and the X means ‘exterior.’ All need to have exterior grade glues so the plies won’t delaminate.  The supplier I know of charges $99.95 for a 3/4″ sheet of the stuff. Tack on Panama’s 7% tax and each sheet come in at $106.95. There are approximately 18 sheets needed to build a Brandy Bar or $1,925.00 worth of plywood! He also carries CDX which costs $54.95 for a 3/4″ sheet. That would cut the plywood costs to $1,058.33.

Now all that doesn’t include the framing lumber. There are 21 frames that need to be built with 2X6 inch, pressure treated lumber. Each of the frames requires 14′ of the stuff. An 8′, pressure treated 2X6 costs $14.12 (tax included). Each frame is 3′ high, so the lumber for the framing comes in at about $77.00 whether you’re building with top rated marine ply of CDX.

I was also directed, yesterday, to a place that’s supposed to sell plywood in David. What I’ve seen so far has been disappointing, but I’ll check out the new place in the next few days.

And that’s just what the lumber costs. Add in epoxy resins which are far from cheap and which I haven’t even tried to price out though I did find out about a place in David that sells it, fiberglass mat for protecting the hull against ship worms down here (Columbus abandoned two of his boats here in Panama in 1502 because of ship worms). And so on and so on with expenses.

Another problem arises in the building process. You have to build the damned hull upside down on a kind of large jig to hold the framing in place while you’re putting on the plywood sheeting and glassing it all together.

upside downSo, when it’s all sheeted and the fiberglassing is done you have to do this…

flipping itYou have to turn it over so you can build the cabin. And the flippin’ thing is HEAVY right now. (The last two photos courtesy [though they don't know it yet] of http://littleshantyboat.blogspot.com/ which is one of the best blogs I’ve read anywhere about the actual building process of a shanty boat. If you’re interested in building one you need to bookmark this site.)

So, the other night I was talking to my surfing friend, David, who lives in Costa Rica but who is thinking about resettling, too, in Bocas, when an idea hit me. . .

From time immemorial boats and ships have been built as a single unit. The keel was laid down, frames were attached to that and planking was added to the frames to complete the hull. Instead of building my 25′ long by 8′ wide hull as a single unit, why couldn’t I build, say, units that were 8’X8′ which would be a lot lighter in weight and them, with epoxy, through-bolt those units together? Sort of like putting Legos® together.  Why not, indeed? I mean they build HUGE ships and aircraft carriers that way, now, don’t they?

If they can build something as big as an aircraft carrier in sections and, essentially, bolt the pieces together why couldn’t I do the same thing with something so simple as a shanty boat?

So, naturally, this set me off in other sleepless wanderings around the internet. I found a TON of stuff. From Viet Nam there was this: http://www.hapby.v-nam.net/builds/projects.php,   And this: http://shantyboatliving.com/2012/collaborative-modular-project-post-1/ Plus a bunch more, but you get the idea.

Four Puddle Duck Racers bolted together would make a 16’X8′ hull. Six of them and you’ve got a 24X8. Four of them with a deck covering the top of each one, and joined with spanning  members floored over and you’ve got yourself the pontoons and platform for a pretty large floating home.

And here, too, you don’t have to build it all at once. You can build something large enough (or small enough) to give you a place to live in while you construct further modules. My uncle Dick and his wife Helen lived in the basement of their house in Cincinnati, Ohio while they were building the big house. My secret heros, Jim Kimball and Jay Viola (not to mention their wives who worked just as hard as they did, though in the States) built a fabulous Eco Resort, Tranquilo Bay (http://www.tranquilobay.com/) on the island of Bastimentos  in Bocas del Toro, Panama, piece by piece, and they lived in a TENT on a rickety dock when they started the venture. You really SHOULD read this story, it’s absolutely inspiring about what guts and determination can accomplish…http://www.inc.com/magazine/20080501/paradise-the-hard-way.html I had the good fortune to spend a couple of hours with Jim Kimball a few years ago when I was making my first exploratory trips to Panama and it would be hard to find a nicer person  willing to sit down with a total stranger for a couple of hours and discuss the stranger’s crackpot ideas of building a shanty boat.

So, there you have it. I’m sure there will be many more sleepless nights ahead because of this nonsense. My birthday is only a couple of weeks away. I think this year I’m going to gift myself with some power tools. I’ll show you when I get them.

 

 

 

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