Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #62 Adventures In La-La-Land

Let’s see. Where were we? Oh yes, we were craving the Florida sunshine. Well, we finally made it back to Stuart a couple of weeks ago, and the sun has definitely been reinvigorating. We’re thrilled to be back. So where have we been for the last two weeks, you ask? Let me recap.

Our first task was to make sure that all was well with Caloosa Spirit, including assessing the water heater leak so that we could get a new water heater ordered. This was a job we were dreading. Joyously, Jim determined that the leak was in fact not coming from the water heater, but from one of the watermaker parts. We made an appointment for the previously needed watermaker tune-up for 2/28 in Riviera Beach and, after a modicum of tightening, left the minimal leak for a fix at that time. All of Caloosa Spirit’s other necessary systems seemed to be purring nicely.

Enterprise Car Rental has an attractive (read “cheap”) weekend rate, so we hopped in a car to make a weekend visit to friends Greg and Carla in Punta Gorda. They will be taking delivery on Spellbound in Tortola in a couple of months, and we wanted to wish them well prior to their departure. We also squeezed in a delightful day with our son Mike in Sarasota. The end of that weekend brought some of the coldest nights we’ve yet experienced aboard, but friends Gail and Paul called to check on us and insisted we stay with them until the cold nights had passed. Once back in Stuart a day of provisioning and another of laundry brought us to the holiday weekend. We were ready to leave for a few days at a beach anchorage, but when we realized that said anchorage would likely be well-populated with weekend warriors we were in no rush.

Matviaks' condo
Greg & Carla’s condo

Mike at home

By now you may be waiting for the other shoe to drop. Here it comes. On Saturday morning Jim went to turn on—are you ready?—the COMPUTER (!) and nothing happened! That’s not “nothing” as in nothing-out-of-the-ordinary. That’s “nothing” as in nothing—no sound, no lights, NOTHING! He tried numerous times here and ashore to get the laptop to respond, but it was deader than a doormouse. What is a doormouse, anyway? Oh wait—I’m mixing my metaphors! It’s “quiet as a church mouse” and “dead as a doornail”, isn’t it? Well, the metaphor is inconsequential, since the laptop was both. Bad karma strikes again!

So here were our choices—spend a lot of money to fix our IBM laptop on which we just spent $450 to fix what obviously didn’t get fixed, or spend even more for a new laptop (which presumably wouldn’t need fixing). We opted for what we hoped would be the more dependable—if not the less stressful—choice. So we biked to Circuit City about three miles away where the HP that we had previously decided on was in stock. After a couple of hours of deliberation at the store, however, we left with a Gateway that seemed to best meet our needs. We were pretty sure that we could tote a computer box on one of the bike racks, but we hadn’t planned on the printer box that we also walked out with. The Presidents’ Day Sale touted a FREE printer with any laptop purchase, so we took the opportunity to upgrade. The printer box just fit on the other bike rack, and the ride back to the marina was uneventful.

So now we’re engaged in the arduous and laborious process of loading software and getting everything back the way it was. Well, better than it was, we hope.

After four days of doing nothing but computer installations and upgrades we’re ready to return to Square One. No, we’re not returning the Gateway just yet (although the printer is on the bubble, since it doesn’t quite fit in the designated printer niche). We think we’d do well to cancel everything out and start over, since several programs don’t work right. Here at Stuart’s Southpoint Anchorage the wireless internet provided by Yacht Spots is tenuous and undependable, and we may have “bugged” the system with some poorly acquired updates. The marina’s dial-up connection has turned out to be inefficient for the tasks at hand, so yesterday we hiked 1.5 miles to an Atlanta Bread Company, which has wireless internet on site. Unfortunately, the service is only as effective as the laptop’s battery, so after a couple of hours we packed up and hiked back, not much more techno-primed than before we went. The nearest Kinko’s in Stuart, where we think we can get a dependable high-speed connection to get the bugs out, is another three-mile bike ride. So we decided to head on to Lake Worth tomorrow, since the Kinko’s there is only about a half-mile from the anchorage. We’ll probably camp out at Kinko’s for a couple of days starting from scratch with installations and updates. We’re ready for a change of scene anyway, and while we’ve gotten so that we can sleep through some of the trains, we definitely won’t miss them.

Too bad we didn’t get better weather for our first day out on the water in almost three months. It was cloudy all day, but we made it to the anchorage at Lake Worth before the rains came. It was good to be moving again, and we hope that’s our last trek on the ICW for a while.

So much for working out our bugs at Kinko’s. We discovered that their high-speed connection that was free a year ago now has a fee attached (how silly of us to expect that it would remain a profit-less service!), and we would have to log in to the service upon restarting the computer after every installation or download. Moreover, we couldn’t get the service to connect to our computer, even though we watched other customers connect at the same stations that we thought may be faulty. More bad karma, I guess. One thing seems clear at this point—buying and setting up a new computer away from high-speed internet access is folly, not to be attempted by the faint of heart.

Dogged persistence sometimes has some rewards. By continuing to cajole, wheedle, and sweet-talk the computer a few more things are working. But today we took some vacation time with some light reading and fun cookery. The weather precluded getting off the boat as another front made its way through this afternoon. The 25-30 knots of wind aren’t much fun to sit through, but the payoff is the glorious sunshine and clear sky that usually follow any front. A day of rain and wind is a small price.

After a couple of nights in a nearby marina, we’re back in the Lake Worth anchorage enjoying the spectacular weather. Yesterday the tech came to tune up our watermaker and discovered a serious problem—naturally. It seems that the salinity readings have been faulty and the membrane may need replacing. Yup, a few more boat bucks. The good news is that he’ll come out to the anchorage tomorrow to replace the membrane, sparing us more marina fees. The other good news is that the weather and wind sound like they’ll both cooperate for a run down to Miami this weekend. It’s time for something to go our way.

Well, it may be time for something to go our way, but fate seems to have other plans. The watermaker tech won’t return until next week to replace the membrane and another needed part, so we’ll be sitting here through this weekend’s favorable wind and weather. Hopefully, we can find a place to do some more computer work, since we still need some program updates. It feels like one step forward, two steps back with this thing.

God bless the owners of Panera Bread Company. And God bless the librarian who sent us there for a high-speed wireless connection that wasn’t available at the library. While getting there was a lengthy bike hike, it was well worth the time. After buying the newest Norton Internet Security version at the nearby Office Depot, we installed it at Panera and, lo-and-behold, our e-mail started working! Hallelujah!! We were able to also get a needed Maptech download for our computer navigation program, and hopefully we can get that fully working soon. But we’re now much closer to having this computer running smoothly. Oops, I probably shouldn’t have said that, since I can’t cross my fingers and type at the same time. So hopefully our e-mail is working regularly, and all of you can now read about our recent adventures in la-la-land.

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

P. S. Don’t forget to look up Alice’s book, Reaching a Far Horizon, at www.lulu.com!

Posted Sunday March 5, 2006

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  1. Jim & Alice,
    We have enjoyed reading of your adventures and misadventures as we weather out this winter at home in MD. We have a new email address for future updates.

    Rita & Frank Gerred
    s/v CALYPSO
    (shared mooring in Vero Beach last year)
    — Rita & Frank Gerred    03/05/2006 11:10 AM    #
  2. What kind of “fun cookery”? I’m terribly intrigued.
    petitchou    03/07/2006 06:35 AM    #
  3. Glad you guys are back to your usual chaos. It makes me more appreciative of my own. Phil
    — pferguson    03/07/2006 09:52 AM    #
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