Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #71 Greetings From Florida

Yes, we’re back in Florida. Temporarily, anyway. We said we’d provide updates regarding our health issues, so here’s the latest.

On 9/22/06 we met with the surgeon who had done Jim’s biopsy. He gave us the good news that the prostate cancer is very minimal and very treatable. After considering the various treatment options surgery seemed to be the best choice for Jim. He had learned of two different types of surgery, incision and robotic, with robotic having the most appeal. So last Thursday, 9/23/06, we met with the second surgeon that was recommended by the first one. This surgeon, Dr. Scott, is an expert in robotic prostatectomy surgery, which is less invasive and requires less recovery time than the incision surgery. At the end of our appointment Jim made a surgery date on 11/6/06 for the robotic surgery.

Upon returning home we packed the car and headed down to Clearwater, arriving the next day at Gail and Paul’s home. Our goal was to move Caloosa Spirit out of the rental slip by the end of the month to avoid another month’s slip fee. On Saturday we hustled over to the marina to once more gaze upon and feel at home on our boat. She doesn’t feel much like home presently, though, with sails and canvas stripped and below-decks fully cluttered with gear. Things seemed to be mostly in order, but we were perplexed and chagrined when the VHF refused to operate correctly. Also, the electronic wind speed indicator wasn’t functioning. A lightning strike seemed improbable, since all other electronics appeared to be unaffected.

Anyway, the next morning with Gail’s and Paul’s help we cast off the multiplicity of lines that had been part of our hurricane prep (thank you, God, for not needing them!), and motored on out to the Gulf for a 5-hour motor to the St. Petersburg home of Carl and Cathy of Persuasion. They are graciously allowing us to dock Caloosa Spirit behind their house until we can have her hauled for land storage for the next three or four months. Storage on the hard is much less expensive than in the water, so at this time it seems like the more practical option. Much as we’ll hate to leave her again for several months, especially during cruising season, Jim wants to spend a good long time recuperating, rather than inviting a problem by getting too active too soon. We’ve realized that there’s hardly anything on the boat that he can do without lifting, pulling, shoving, or otherwise exerting. We had been planning to be up in Indy for Christmas anyway, but we didn’t expect to miss the entire fall cruising season.

Hurricane prep
Caloosa Spirit hurricane prepped in Clearwater

So in a couple of days we’ll cast off again and motor another few hours to Renovater’s Boatyard in St. Petersburg. There Caloosa Spirit will be hauled from the water to sit on jackstands waiting patiently for our return and another cruising season starting in January, we hope. Incidentally, Renovater’s is the company which first commissioned Caloosa Spirit when she was first built and trucked from California nine years ago. Who knew she’d ever be back there? After the haul-out we plan to spend some time visiting with our son Mike and other friends along the Gulf coast. There’s a cruisers’ rendezvous on 10/21/06 for which we have already registered, so we plan to remain in Florida until that time, then head back north.

Something else we’ll be doing while we’re down here is—wait for it—fixing things! We already knew we have to clean and service our winches and clean and polish the hull and topsides. What we didn’t expect was dealing with the other gremlins that we discovered on the way yesterday. That improbable lightning strike? Well, even improbable things sometimes happen, right? We don’t know for sure about the cause, but soon after our departure our autopilot, “Otto”, mistook south for east and refused to see the error of his ways. He seems to have lost his inner compass. Also, the newly installed knotmeter registered 0 for the entire way. Let’s hope it’s just stuck. The real concern was the serious doubt that the alternator was working. Jim only discovered that shortly before arriving, and he hasn’t yet had the opportunity to check it. Caloosa Spirit may be having some work done while she sits on the hard. Stay tuned.

We greatly appreciate your interest and encouragement, not to mention your prayers.

Fair winds and a faithful wake until next time,
Alice & Jim Rutherford
s/v Caloosa Spirit

Posted Monday October 2, 2006

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