Directions

Our latest entry always comes up first...

Click this link if you want to start at the beginning of our trip from
South Carolina (where we bought the boat) to Lake Ontario Click this link:

If you want to see the story of our 2 1/2 year project getting
Blowin' Bubbles ready for our life on board click here:
FIRST "REFIT" BLOG ENTRY - March 2011

If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP - July 2014
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter!

In life, things don't always work out as we plan them. Last week we had all the people and equipment in place to get our Bubbles back to Lake Ontario. On Wednesday, the folks at Andrews Trucking got around to telling me that there is a half load restriction in place in Southern Ontario until the end of April or middle of May, depending how damp things are...

Great.... I then had to cancel the crane, the tractor, the help, the people at the boat yard and so on, and so on... I had also booked a week off work to make this all come together...

Oh well, I guess it was not meant to be. As soon as the province takes the weight restriction off, I should be good to go.
So. this week I plan to get the rest of the boat inventoried and get all the bits and pieces put away.

Today I had to work for a few hours but this morning I got the new compressor installed and IT WORKS! I started the generator and ran the compressor and filled a small pony bottle. Life will be awesome when we find a beautiful reef in the middle of no where and have the equipment we need on board to dive as often as we like..... We can't wait!






I also made a handle for the locking pins in the aft cabin. now we just pull (or push) the handle and the lazerette will lock or unlock simply and easily.





The last job today was to install the "T" in the fuel line so that I can connect the fuel polisher directly in line on our boat.  Next week i hope to run the fuel through and see how dirty it is...


Over the next week we will keep plugging away on the jobs that need to be done. Hopefully we will hear soon that the roads are ready for us...


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Saturday, March 23, 2013

We Have Set A Date!

It looks like we have a tentative date to move the boat back down to Lake Ontario.  April 2nd....  On that day I hope we can get the crane guy, the trucking company, the man with the great big tractor, the truck to move the cradle and the boat yard all together to make this move happen....  What are the odds this will work without a hitch???  The other part will be the horrendous cost to make this happen...  The truck will cost about $3000, the crane about $700, the yard about $1000, and likey another $1000 for things we havn't anticipated....  Oh well, it's only money.....

Today, I spend almost 6 hours at the boat.... the temperature was finally above freezing today so I made the most of this warm?? weather...


The first job was to finish installing the slide bolts to lock the lazarette doors from inside the boat.  This is accomplished with 2 throttle cables and a custom made aluminum plunger and receiver on the lazerette doors...  I am happy to say it is ALL done and the doors lock from inside the aft cabin with 2 knobs on Shelley's side of the bed.  All I have to do now is by the knobs themselves, and we are in business.  I installed the receiver pieces on the door today.  It took a bit of adjustment, but they slide smoothly and the added security will make us much more comfortable.  Basically, to get the lazarette doors open they have to break into the boat, get past the alarm and find the plungers in the aft cabin...  It might not stop a thief, but I'm guessing it will make it difficult enough that they will look for and easier target... Pretty sad when one thinks that way isn't it....






The second job that I completed today was the installation of the filtered water tap in the galley.  We bought it at Canadian Tire and it is designed to take any yukky's out of the water we plan to drink, and it also makes the water smell better...    This unit traps and kills harmful bacteria (coliform such as E. coli); traps cysts (e.g. Cryptosporidium, Giardia); reduces chlorine, taste, odour; and filters sediment, dirt, rust, silt as small as 0.3 micron it is cleanable, reusable ceramic water filter cartridge with activated carbon core lasts approx 12 months. Unique "bypass" faucet allows for easy, no mess cartridge cleanings right in the sink.  So now at the galley sink we have a hot & cold freshwater tap, a seawater hand pump, and the filtered water tap...  A nice set-up.



The last job completed today was to move the freezer to make room for the dive gear we plan to travel with.  We hope to do some Scuba Instruction along the way as we travel, so now we have a collection of 12 various sized BCD's (buoyancy compensator's), 6 reg sets, and 6 tanks (4 80's & 2 60's).  Plus we have a collection of masks, fins, suits and snorkels making a really complete dive setup on board...  And of course, we will be installing the new compressor I put together a few weeks ago.  So today I moved the freezer into the closet where the refrigerator compressor is and installed it on a shelf above the compressor.  It looks like it will get plenty of ventilation...  We are good to go...






Friday, March 22, 2013

Steering.... DONE!


Yesterday, I went to Fastenal to buy a replacement nut for the steering unit...  I ordered it and a spare nut and bolt at the same time.  When I went to pick my order up the folks a Fastenal were having big problems with their computer sytem...  After waiting about 10 minutes, the fellow who was looking after me came from his boss' office and said that just because they were having problems, that was no reason for me to waste my day, so they handed me my order and said "have a nice day" and sent me on my way....  Can you believe it?  NOW THAT"S CUSTOMER SERVICE!  Now granted the whole order was only about $10, sending me on my way with the parts I need for free went way further than companies go these days...  Thanks Fastenal!

Today, with a little time with the temperature above freezing I was able to get the steering ram connected and the bracing glued and screwed into place... Whooo Hoo!



I also took some time to update the software and firmware on our Raymarine E9 Multifunction Display...  I think that we have made a good choice with this new equipment from Raymarine...  This unit will work with our iPads so when we are at the pilothouse helm, we can see what is on the E9 at the outside helm...  A very cool system...



Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Hole From Hell......

Okay, so after almost 2 1/2 hours this afternoon, I FINALLY drilled the hole through the rudder steering plate and attached the new hydraulic steering arm...  As usual, somehow I have misplaced (lost?) the $7 nut for the 3/4" bolt used to attach the cylinder...  Oh well, I'll order a replacement on Monday... 




Friday, March 15, 2013

Steering Installation....

After many months we were finally able to get the new steering ram installed this morning.  Earlier this week I purchased a block of aluminum and a piece if 3/16 stainless steel at the Metal Supermarket.  Then yesterday I purchased about $100 worth of hardware at Fastenal.  Last night my neighbour, Clayton helped me pre-drill the steel and the aluminum and this morning my father in law, Ed came and helped me with the installation....

We had partial success...  The aluminum and steel went together PERFECTLY, however, the steering plate on the rudder needed to be drilled out from 1/2" to 3/4"...  Easier said than done!




I purchased a drill kit at Princess Auto for $30 the other day that had a 9/16", 5/8" and a 3/4" drill bit.  Everywhere else wanted more than $30 for just the 3/4" bit....  Now I know why...  We tried to drill the steering plate on the rudder for almost an hour before we got less than a quarter of the way through and ruined the bits.....

This afternoon I went back to Princess Auto and found, what I hope, is a better quality 3/4" bit and bought 2 of them....  Tomorrow I will try again to get the rod end connected....

That all said, we used a smaller nut and bolt to hold it in place to see how the other end might line up and in the end we seem to have both helms working GREAT!  We still need to do a little more bleeding, but in the end we should be good to go....


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Successful Travels...

After Church on Sunday Shelley, Kelly and I left for Niagara Falls NY. Our plan was to stay over 2 nights so we could bring $800 worth of stuff home to Canada tax and duty free.... From an earlier post you know that we ordered the sail kit for our Walker Bay dinghy.

It was expensive enough to make the money we spent on a hotel for 2 nights worth it and we are now the proud owners of an awesome sail kit! It is simple and it will make the dinghy way more fun in anchorages.

That said, while we were at West Marine, we met Mike, the store manager who was very helpful and knew all kinds of stuff that helped us out... While we were there unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you ask), we found a neat inflatable kayak... Regularly priced at somewhere over $300, it was on the clearance table for $129.00!!!

An inflatable kayak has been something that Shelley has wanted for a very long time. My argument against it has always been the size and the cost. This thing will fit anywhere and for less than $130, who could argue it was too expensive.... We are now the proud owners of a new kayak....



The other neat thing we now have is a fairly large, homemade dry box. we bought a rechargeable de-humidifier and a resealable container. We have had an electronic humidex in my cigar humidor for many years. Now that I never smoke cigars, we installed it in our box. Now we store sensitive electronics and cameras in a place where they won't get any moisture damage... Cool!



We also got some great family time in and went to see the new Wizard of OZ movie in 3-D and on the second night we went to a bowling ally next door to our hotel and had a ball, bowling for the first time in MANY years.... My last recollection of bowling was after many beers in Cozumel.... nuff said... Our only disappointment might have been that the bowlers on either side of us actually knew what they were doing... pretty scary...

When we got home I worked out the final details for installing our new replacement steering ram. I have ordered the bolt for the rudder end from Fastenal and have now purchased the aluminum and stainless steel from the Metal Supermarket to secure the other end... All I need to find now is a 3/4" drill bit to ream out the hole on the rudder plate.

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

On the Boat for the First Time This Year.....

On Friday the sun was shining and the temperature was finally above 0(c). So after a few hours of work I opened the back of the boat to see how the new lazerette latches might fit. They fit great! I just have to make the plunger a little longer.


Then I looked at how the new steering ram. I need to make some pretty significant changes to get it to work... That will be my next job....

Then I worked out a way to re-arrange the scuba shop (starboard mid-ship cabin) to accommodate all our scuba gear.

There will be a ton of effort put in before we get the boat back in the water and ready to go, but in the end, it will be worth it.... Lastly, we found a new home for our iPad that will be used as our gps repeater.



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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Getting Scuba Gear Ready....


I have been an Instructor for almost 15 years and Shelley has been a Dive Master for almost 10 years... Together we have logged thousands of dives and love to blow bubbles and see places in the world that very few others get a chance to.....




Thanks to the help of my great friend, Bruce, the owner of Groundhog Divers we are gathering six complete sets of scuba gear to keep on the boat. Today I went through all the gear in the house and gathered together a bunch of stuff including a supply of spare parts and accessories that will be hard to find later.





At the end of the day I discovered that we just need a few more regulators (the breathy bit) and we will be all set to go. And of course, (see previous post) we now have a compressor that will fill the tanks anywhere we need air....

My hope is that we will spend as much time as possible blowing bubbles, exploring some of the most beautiful reef systems in the world ...

This summer while we are shaking down the rest of the boat, we will try to get a little wreck diving in... The Great Lakes have hundreds of wrecks and we will be passing over literally dozens of them so we hope to enjoy some of them...


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Monday, March 4, 2013

A New Scuba Compressor Ready to Go.....

,Late last fall we bought two more scuba compressors. Today I combined them to make a nearly new 220volt compressor that will replace the one that is currently on the boat. It also leaves us with a complete spare motor and head. We will now sell an almost new Honda 5 hp gas engine.





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