Back to the chaos of Green Cove Springs

10th April - 8th May 2007

Now we were back aboard and all port side tanks were back in place over the repaired and repainted hul.  Our first job was to build a new cabin sole beneath the kitchen area, which would allow us to construct a temporary working galley.    Of course, despite a very cunning numbering system for all the pieces of wood we'd dismantled from the galley, when we came to rebuild a temporary version, it was the world's most difficult and frustrating jigsaw puzzle.   Tracking down the right pieces amongst the ever increasing mountain of wooden bits of boat cabin beneath the boat was not easy, but finally by the end of the day we had a functional galley, with a worktop constructed of old pieces of cabin sole and the sink and cooker temporarily reinstalled.   At least now at the end of a long hard work day we wouldn't need to stand outside in the baking heat, surrounded by bugs, to cook dinner.

Next we set to work on ripping out the starboard side of the cabin.   This side was somewhat more complex due to the necessity of relocating the fridge and freezer and the fact that all the electrical wiring for everything on the boat was connected to a panel on this side of the boat.   In addition to this we had to pump all the diesel from the two starboard side tanks into the newly reinstalled tank on the port side, to enable us to lift the two starboard tanks.    Luckily we mentioned our trepidation about this diesel pumping operation to the right person at happy hour and Norm lent us a handy pump he had aboard his boat for just such purposes.

After all the initial preparations, we transformed the cabin with much brute force, blood, sweat, tears and swearing.....

....from this....... this....... this.... this.

We were pleased to find that the starboard side hull, most likely due to the lack of water sources on that side of the boat, was in much better shape than the port side and no welding would be required.   There were just a few rust spots requiring small repair and then we would be able to repaint in preparation for reinstalling the tanks.

At one particularly memorable moment during the repainting operation, when Phil and Christine found themselves both down in the bilges applying primer to the hull, it was decided that our next priority should be to buy good respirators for the job, as we both suddenly began to feel mighty peculiar!    With the aid of the respirators the job was much less hazardous and the fumes could hardly be noticed at all, until the moment at the end of each long hard day, after placing temporary floor panels down to allow us to eat aboard, we sat down amongst the diesel and water tanks, to enjoy a lovely dinner and some tv entertainment without the masks!

A restful evening in front of the TV, chez Anju!

On this side of the boat three of the four tanks were to be reinstalled.   Only one was cut in half and removed using our previous hazardous methods!   This was the last of the obsolete water tanks and this one too had never been used in our ten years aboard.   Taking it out, as we had done with its neighbour on the opposite side of the boat, would free up a large area of the bilge for use for storage.

The remaining three tanks were given a paint job and dropped back into place.  Our next job then was to rebuild the floor, allowing us to begin to rebuild the sofa and lockers, giving us much more living space.   Once we had a place to sit, it was time to turn our attention to the more tricky end of the cabin, where we had a large tangle of electrical cables.

During our 10 years living aboard, whenever we installed a new piece of equipment we'd needed to run new electrical cables from the electrical panel to far flung areas of the boat.    With the structure of the cabin and the floor in place, this usually meant fumbling around under the floor and groping to grab the end of a cable to pass it from one point to another, using whichever route the cable decided to take.    As a result once the floor was lifted, the tangle of electrics was not a pretty sight.    

Whilst we had the opportunity we spent a day, firstly identifying each cable and then re-routing cables into a much neater and more accessible layout.    Of course, after rebuilding the cabin if we should need to install something new, we'd start building a new cable tangle.

In two months we'd dismantled the whole cabin, stripped out everything down to the bare hull and then re-installed everything.    All we had to do now was to rebuild the galley properly and build a new bathroom from scratch and we'd be back to where we started from in February.    We did have the major benefit of knowing that whole section of inaccessible hull was repaired, repainted and good as new, hopefully to last many more years before needing this kind of maintenance.

However, before continuing our projects, we decided it was time for another break.   We had an offer too good to turn down from our friends Chris and Vivian in the much cooler mountains of North Carolina, we were invited to their house to help them build a new kitchen.    OK, so it was a busman's holiday but at least it was a holiday!   

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