Monthly Archives: September 2021


Fall has arrived here in The Swamp off the Saint Johns River in DeBary, Central Florida. The night before last I woke up shivering despite being covered with a blanket. I struggled in the dark to get it folded double and was able to resume sleeping soundly. Same thing last night, but I have my light weight sleeping bag tucked into the space between my bed frame and the side of the SUV. Dug it out in the dark and slept soundly. So sound that I woke up nearly an hour later than usual because I was so snug. At a quarter to eight it was 64F. That might not seem cold to you denizens of the Great White North, but for months, here, high 70s has been the norm for a low.

It reminds me of the climate in Boqueron, Chiriqui, Panama where I lived for eight years. Afternoon temps would be in the upper 90sF. I used to love it when my neighbors who had been born their and whose families had lived there for a century of two would say, “Ayiee, Richard, hace calor, hoy.” (Ayiee, Richard, it’s hot, today.)

My response was always, “Es mejor que un metre de nieve.” (It’s better than three feet of snow.) Boqueron is surrounded by mountains including Volcan Barú, Panama’s highest peak. After sunset the cool air from the mountains would creep down the slopes and by morning the temperature would be down in the low 60sF like it was this morning here in The Swamp.

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Home Improvements

Finished priming the cabin of my Venture 22 with Mold Killing primer. Took several days since it’s only possible to work a couple of hours in the morning here in the swamp off the Saint Johns River in DeBary, Central Florida. When you start sweating on the backs of your knees it’s time to quit for the day.

Didn’t do any priming the other day. Went to Ace Hardware to return the unused quart of primer. Only used a little more than 2/3 of the one quart. I could have gotten a quart of top coat paint for less at Wally World but several things had me going to Ace instead. One, it’s close by. I wanted to do so grocery shopping and there’s a Wally World grocery almost across the street from the Ace. Makes it easy. While I can do the groceries and paint together at Wally World you have to factor in the drive out there, the time it takes to get there, gas, etc. Sometimes it’s worth paying a couple of bucks extra to save time and hassle.

At Ace I bought a quart of semi-gloss off white finish paint and a couple of new brushes. The paint will make the interior more eye friendly, but this is NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, a YACHT. It is a small, lightweight, trailerable day sailer. MacGregor literally built THOUSANDS of them. But they were built “fast and dirty.” In certain stress areas on the underside of the solid deck there are patches of thick glass roving and no attempt to make them attractive was made.

So, there they are. I’m not going to try and “pretty” them up, either. It is what it is.

Started painting the interior of the cabin this morning (9/15/21). Got about 25% done. The only problem, besides the heat and indirect lighting coming through the hatch is that the color of the semi-gloss paint, “mountain peak white” is almost exactly the same color as the mold killing primer. That makes it difficult to see what’s painted and what’s not.

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Walking The Plank

A little while back I wrote that I though one could make a simple gangplank (called a passarelle over in France) by using an extenson ladder as the base and cover it with plywood.

I was right. It’s a great idea, but, for me, it fell apart in execution. The ladder that was lying around here was old and there had been an attempt to beef it up a bit with a wooden splint, But it worked. It would be better if one used a fiberglass ladder, but have you seen whqt those suckers cost?

I bought a couple of pre-cut 2X4-foot 1/2-inch plywooc and linked them together. I did this for a couple of reasons instead of picking out a 4×8 sheet and having t cut down; First, the 2X4 foot pieces would be easier for me to handle with my COPD and easier to load into the Montero.There was only a minimal difference in with a cut-down sheet. Not enough to bother me. 

It worked fine even though it was a bit “spongy” and “springy” which I didn’t like a whole lot. Not dangerous, but just not what I’d really hoped for.

So, today, with my SS topped off I hied my way out to Home Depot. I bought two 2X4X10 foot pressure-treated 2X4s. I’d originally though I should use 2X6X12. Picking one up dissuaded me of that idea. And looking at them it seemed 10 foot would be plenty.

One thing I liked about the ladder idea was that the space between the last two rungs fit nicely over the sheet winch in the cockpit so movement of the boat wouldn’t be able to make the whole thing fall in the water. Gators there, ya know!

So, I bought a 4-foot 2X4 that I could cut down and create a space similarly.

Back in the swamp what should have taken a normal person an hour, hour and a half, TOPS, took this 79-year old COPD victim nearly three and a half. But I got it done. All together it’s sturdy and solid. I think I done good. If it’s dry tomorrow, or over the weekend I’ll throw some paint on it.

Got two coats of primer on the ply today (Saturday). Will be going to the store tomorrow and getting some deck paint to top it all off. Also thinking about putting some caster wheels on the land end of the 2X4s. Something along this line. Just need to put a metal bushing in the hole in the 2X4, though.

Get the wood up off the ground and make it so I can roll it off and onto the boat if I should ever want to go for a ride on the boat, don’t ya know?

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