Thursday, April 26, 2012

Texas Accomplished + 2 Nagging Boat Projects

The Admiral is watering our new landscaping to spruce up our house in Austin
that suffered so much from the 2011 Drought

Tropical Punch played at the Sunset Sounds series in Port A at Roberts Point Park/Patsy Jones Amphitheatre...a great way to enjoy the evening

The Admiral enjoying her favorite birding spot, Paradise Pond in Port A

Our Condo in Port A: SOLD!

Huge amounts of the annual Sargassum seaweed all the way down the beach on Mustang Island

The Dunes have never looked so healthy.

This is the boardwalk from our condos to the beach, the building continues to grow just behind the dunes. 
Here you can walk down into the water gardens and become dissolved by the sound of the water fall.
Notice the look of Serenity

This was the first phase of the Ft. Worth Water Garden and the one we remember visiting years ago.

It was time to Man up and install a new Y-Valve

I spent 3 days getting as much of my body as possible behind this little door.

The Y Valve is installed along with 3 new hoses

Thank God!
 After meeting with our Tax guy and finishing up our 2011 taxes the last thing we wanted to accomplish in Austin was meeting with the broker who manages our house and determine if we were going to sell it or continue to rent the property. Capital gains are the issue since we lived in the home for over 30 years so there is a deadline for us to deal with. Since we planned on putting the Port A condo on the market again we compromised and decided to keep the property in Austin but that means we will have to return to it some time in the future and live there for 2 years to avoid the hefty capital gains taxes when we sell. That is ok with me since we both love Austin and two more years there could only be a good thing. We did spend 2 days on the landscaping trying to help the property look better after the horrible 2011 Texas drought. With the help of our local next door landscape expert Alan, we added several xeriscape type plants and lots of mulch.

We Then drove to Port A to spend a week cleaning the condo after our Winter Texans, preparing it for pictures to go on MLS. We went birding, and meet with friends at our old marina in Corpus. We scheduled a meeting with a local broker to have the condo placed back on the MLS market but just a couple of days prior to the meeting with the broker the next door neighbors called and said they were interested in buying the property. So long story short we have a closing date and we have one less property to try and maintain long distance. Anticipating the sale created lots of mixed emotions as we really love Port A and plan on returning here after our cruise. Since the bird spring migration was on the Admiral did not miss a day at her favorite birding spots and reconnected a bit with her birding buddies. Just one dissapointing walk on the beach as it is covered in 2' deep sargassum seaweed.  This is an annual event on Texas beaches but this year is the worst we have ever seen it. The Dunes have never been so big and healthy though and we wondered if a big storm is on its way as nature has a way of protecting itself. We enjoyed a evening hearing free music by the "Tropical Punch" right on the Corpus Christi Ship channel at Roberts Point park in Port A, part of the summer Sunset Sounds series every second Saturday.

We drove back to Austin for 1 night so the Admiral could make her follow up visit with the eye doctor. She now has 20/20 vision! We went over the sales contract for the condo with our son who co-owns with us and then proceeded to Ft. Worth where I spent a fun evening with the In-Laws and caught a plane out back to Tampa the next day. We manged to squeeze in a visit to the Fort Worth Water Gardens on the way to the airport. Definitly a worthwhile visit if you are ever in Ft. Worth. The Admiral stayed to spend a week helping her parents and I look forward to picking her up at the Airport in just a couple of days.While she has been in Fort Worth having fun with her dad I tackled two projects that have been n my mind since we left Corpus. The first was imposed on me since I managed to break off the handle to the Y-valve in the forward head. I was happy to find a kit where I could just remove the valve part of the diverter. This would save a lot of time trying to wrestle off the old hoses from the barbed fitting. Well after 5 hours of trying to properly install the kit without it leaking I just gave up and went to West Marine and bought a whole new valve. I figured either my old valve was either to beat up to accept the kit or some little specification had changed a bit making it obsolete. This meant I was going to have to get the old hoses off the old valve. Trying to squeeze tools and two arms into the very small space was not fun to say the least. I turned on some music and tried to go about it thoughtfully and methodically. In the end I just took a knife and cut the hoses off, they also needed replacing as well anyway. 1 day to  experiment with the valve kit, 1 day to remove the old valve and three hoses, 1 day to re-install the new stuff. I was smart though. Often when you are trying to remove a hose from barbed fittings you can use a heat gun to soften up the hose so it is easy to get off the barbed fitting. You have to be careful though since the heat gun gets so hot it can compromise the hose end. I took the time to read the West Marine Advisor section on installing new hose and it recommends using hot soapy water when installing to make fitting the hose onto the connections easier and I can testify this is the only way to install hoses. It dose not work when removing since you can not dip the end of the hose in hot water so a heat gun is best for removing. 17 hours of labor later the dreaded project is done.
Now onto the other nagging issue, the Autopilot. For some reason the Autopilot would not hold a steady course and it required the helmsman to keep the remote in hand and continually making course adjustments. It was just as easy to just drive the vessel without the auto helm. I knew it had to be an issue with the Fluxgate compass. When I removed the tanks I cut the wire to the compass since it was a long run back to the stern of the boat and I was to impatient to spend a couple of hours to remove the wire properly. I knew my problem had to be where I spliced the wire back so after removing a few items so I could get at the splice located again in a small space under the galley sink,  I found the wire not making contact and Yeah Buddy..she works! Before the heading just displayed as 0000's, now it shows the proper fluxgate compass heading and can follow the set course.

We look forward to moving to our new marina Westshore Yacht Club May 1 which will be home till the end of the 2012 hurricane season. This is not a traditional yacht club. The Admirals parents live in a community built around a Golf course. This is a community built around a Marina and so instead of being invited to join the "Yacht Club" you just have to write a check.