Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tarpon Springs

The sponge Stores are everywhere in Tarpon Springs, we choose this one since they had a free 15 minute movie that documented the history of the Tarpon Springs sponge industry, it's a 1950's version

After the Sponge education we decided to get a Greek lunch, Greek Salad and Gyro (pronounced "Hero") at Plaka.

Then the Admiral noticed this sponge tour boat about to leave so we quickly bought tickets and ran to get on.

The 79 year old Captain, and tour guide continued with the area history and Greek Sponge diver culture on this tour that included a exhibition sponge diver in an old school type of dive suit.
Frank the diver prepares to descend!

The Admiral went Greek!

Next thing you know He jumped in.

The Greek Diver had to make sure the suit was water tight before he dove.

He Ascends with a Sponge!
This sponge boat is the highest producing boat in the fleet.
This 28' sponge boat did over $125,000 last year with a crew of 1.

The oldest sponge boat in the fleet has been retired and is on display at the center of the Sponge docks.
1 more cool vessel on the Anclote River

A really cool terrapin

I just like taking pics of interesting boats.

This pretty big Puffer Fish was fun to watch, it was like he was watching all the spectators.

Tarpon are one of the primary game fish for Gulf fisherman in Florida

About 4 different type of sharks in this tank, Nurse, Lemon, Bull, Sand.

Huge Grouper

The Aquarium owner/diver is preparing to bring the goodies to the sharks et. al.

I got to pet this 4' Gator which is 7 years old, they grow just a few inches per year. Apple snails are the primary food for Florida alligators.

The Admiral loved the Recliners at the Wine at the Docks wine bar

Bream at Mykonos, we had other plans but the owner of the wine bar recommended this Greek Restaurant and it was great.

The paint job on the emblems turned out ok.

I could not believe that I found this replacement pump on Amazon.com, cheaper than Defender!

I finally figured out where the Anode is located in the water heater after 2 years of looking for it.

This is the 2nd Wood Stork at the Target Detention pond. They hung around about 3 weeks after Debby then  split.
 Day Trip to Tarpon Springs by Land

I have several spots to go discover around Tampa and the Admiral has been researching Tarpon Springs. We knew the first trip would be by truck so she kept a close eye on the weather to find a weather window to make the day a success. The summer weather patterns in the central Florida area begin with small bits of rain offshore in the am with a slow build to thunderstorms in the afternoon sometimes beginning as early as 2pm and lasting till dark or so. She read the reviews of the local Greek restaurants and other sights to see. So the first stop was at a Sponge store on the sponge docks that had a free 15 minute documentary on the history of the Tarpon Springs Sponge industry. The Greeks heard about a huge area of sponges in the Gulf of Mexico with Tarpon Springs in the center, so over 60 years ago the Greek fisherman begin to migrate in search of this special resource. It has been written that the closest thing to Greece in the US is Tarpon Springs...I am sure this is accurate. I thought it was just a tourist spot based on old history but this is still a working sponge dock and industry that supports a large Greek culture that is great to spend a day or more in. After viewing the 1950's era film we checked out all the sponges but resisted the urge to buy.We walked out onto the docks in search of a Greek Lunch but the Admiral spotted a boat preparing to leave and realized it was a tour, we quickly bought 2 tickets and They hollered to the boat to wait for us. We ran to get on board this authentic sponge boat. We had no idea what we were about to see or do. Frank the Greek Diver was already partially suited up in the old time divers suit and greeting the passengers. The 79 yr old Greek captain steered the old boat away from the docks and immediately begun to detail the history of what were experiencing. We had a great time on this sponge dive demonstration. The diver brought up a sponge and walked about the deck so everyone could touch it. The Captain never stopped talking in his slow very Greek detail about the life he and his family have lived and continue to live in Tarpon Springs.
Just across the street from the sponge docks is Plaka's...I had a Gyro Sandwich and Lynn had a Greek Salad...Have to go to Greece to get anything that compares.
Then we walked about a block and there was the Tarpon Springs Aquarium, a privately owned very special experience. We saw in less than two hours, a Shark Feeding show, a Python Show, Alligator Show, 2 great touching pools with stingrays, turtles, starfish, lots of other small sea life. and you could put this shrimp parts on the end of a stick and feed the baby sharks yourself...they would jump out of the water to get it!...It was getting getting a bit warm outside after that so just a few steps away was the Wine at the Docks wine Bar so good for me they had beer. We enjoyed the special recliner seating and relaxed with our drinks. We got to talk with the owner about the area and also a young woman who owns the Turtle Cove Marina invited us to bring our boat over...gonna have to do it, has great reviews on Active Captain.
We finished our trip with dinner at Mykonos, We had planned another popular restaurant but the wine Bar owner made the recommendation and we are glad we had the opportunity to talk with her, it was great.

I installed the painted emblems and they look good enough that they will stay that way for a while. Also had two other projects that have been on the list since before we left Corpus Christi but just were not very high on the list. In fact they kept getting moved to the bottom of new list. The pump for the aft shower stopped working shortly before we left Corpus but since the aft shower has been used for storage it has just not been important to fix. Since I have gotten just about everything else done I have started on the bottom of the list and as I started to research how I was going to fix this pump I noticed that a kit to repair it would be almost $80 and the West Marine replacement pump would be about $180, Defender.com about $140 but just on a whim I searched Amazon and I could not believe it but they had the exact replacement pump for $129. For now on I will check Amazon before loading the cart. When you can buy a boat part cheaper than Defender.com and have next day delivery the rest of the suppliers better watch out. The new pump works great but I am not sure when it will be used as a shower again.
Then it was time to deal with the water heater, I have read the owners manual several times. Researched anodes and some water heaters have them and some do not. I looked all over ours and could not figure out if it actually had one since there was not an obvious place where to install one. Finally figured out that the anode is integral to the hot water out connection. Found the part online at raritan and will soon install.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Already July?

This measure was taken at High normal High tide, 45" above was the surge from TS Debby

Three Baby herons almost grown still depending on mom for food.

Three Baby Green Herons

We were surprised to spot this Wood Stork in a Detention pond by the local Target.

St Pete Beach after Debby removed a substantial amount of sound and created a sand bar just about 50-75 yards out.you

You can see the line where the sand starts and ends the length of the beach..Everything to the left of the Admiral is Shell.

Some hotels had these large tubular bags filled with sand to ward off the errosion.

We came back from the beach to find this vessel all wrapped up for fumigation, not sure what was in habiting the boat?

I did not want to go on this boat anyway!

Impromtu cruise to Downtown Tampa and Davis Island

Well it took 2 hours just to get this close to Downtown Tampa, we did not really plan this trip so since we had limited time we headed back to try again another day.

The little truck that Can is all better now.

Step 1 to rehab the Endeavour emblems: get the drimmal and spend about 45 minutes on each one with the three drimmal tools. The emblems were coroded and they seemed to have at least three layers of different types of metal coatings on top of the base metal.

Then I used a metal-primer 2 coats, re-sandedwith 320, then two more coats.

Third step was a couple of coats of this metallic spray from Home Depot, perfect match for the original color.

Hard to believe July is already here. Debby has come and gone and we have begun the traditional summer weather patterns here in Central Florida with prevailing Southwesterly winds 0-15, 90-92 degrees with 50-65% humidity and the every afternoon popup thunderstorms that evaporate after sunset. We measured the distance the docks went up with Debby's storm surge and it was 45 inches on our docks here at Westshore. The little rookery island just outside the marina seawall seems to have survived just fine. All the baby shore birds were out showing themselves a bit more. Debby blew in a couple of Magnificent Frigate Birds but they just stayed a few days, and then we spotted a Wood Stork in a detention pond next to Target one day, now there are two there. This is the first Stork we have seen in the wild, the Admiral says they normally are difficult to spot since they stay away from humans.
We took a day to run over to St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island. Debby certainly took a lot of sand off the miles of beach and deposited it about 50-75 yards offshore and created a long sand bar. The news is all about how they are going to have to spend millions hauling in sand to restore the beaches. Gotta protect those tourist dollars. Treasure Island is just down the road from St Pete Beach but it has a completely different feel. It is more funky and has a more laid back feel..Less big commercial development.
When.we returned to the marina that day we were surprised to see this large motor vessel being completely covered in a red tarp. Turns out the 2 guys doing the work were exterminators, not sure what the infestation was but we were glad the boat was not moored close to us. The cover just stayed on 2 days then the boat was gone?
We did not have a plan one day so I thought we might just spend the afternoon and cruise around to the Southwest side of Tampa Bay and go up the channel next to Davis Island to Downtown Tampa. Well it was farther than I thought and since we started out so late we really did not have more than about 5 hours to be out, it was going to take 3 hours just to get over there so after about 2 hours we turned around and just enjoyed the trip back.We will go back and just find a good 2 days so we can stay at the Davis Island Marina and then take the dingy to cruise Channelside and the Hillsbourgh River.
The Little Truck that Can is fixed, 2 weeks of navigating the repair shop and the insurance company. This part does not belong in paradise or anyone's dream.
Every Endeavour sailboat has two Gold color plated Emblems. But like anything else metal, they get coroaded and need restoration or replacement. This is not something you can just go out and buy so I took ours off and went to a metal plating company here in Tampa. He said they would have to be Gold Plated and his esitmate was $120 each. At the time I thought that was a bit expensive and asked if there was another solution. He said ProCoat Performance Coatings could do it for 1/2 the price and it would look just as good. So he gave me directions and the people at ProCoat took the job on, well three weeks later they still had not been able to solve this particular coating problem. So I went back to pick them up to hunt for another solution, I asked the ProCoat guy if just regular metal plating would work. He was unsure since these emblems several different types of coating on them and some pitting issues.
I just decided to try it myself so I carefully used a Drimmal tool to grind and sand each emblem. It took about 45 minutes for each emblem to get all the flaking metal and corrosion off. I then sprayed on 2 coats of primer, sanded with 320 grit then 2 more coats of primer. Then 2 coats of the metallic gold that matched the original color. They look OK but not as good as I would want close up, from a few feet away they are just.fine. I had considered using a small bit of epoxy to fill in the pitting but then if this did not work out I might be faced with trying to grind out the epoxy. I put them back on today and see if they grow on me, if they continue to be a concern I will take them off and see if metal plating place can successfully gold plate them.