Tuesday, February 27, 2007

SHE'S ALIVE!!! SHE'S ALIVE!!! 2/27/07

(Must be said in your best Gene Wilder, Young Frankenstein voice.)

Today, our engine was hooked back up to the battery and all the fuel lines reattached. Jack and Bill ran over to the gas station for the first 10 gallons of gas to be put in the tank. One quick crank and she fired right up and began her throaty purr. It was music to all our ears. I was so excited, silly me, I called my Mom to hear the good news.

Tomorrow, the new steering lines will be hooked up and then I think we'll be able to dunk her in the river a couple miles up the road and see if it all goes well before throwing her back into the ocean.

More fishing pictures to be posted very soon!!! I'm getting the shakes from fishing withdrawls.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Colossal Squid caught off Antartica

Cobia of the week - 60 lbs+ caught off Port Canaveral this week by "Spanish Flea"

Thursday, February 22, 2007

2/12-22/07 BEFORE & AFTER pics <you can click on any picture to make it bigger>
We are getting close!! Almost done with the fuel tank issues and replacing all the fuel-fill, venting, fuel lines, and steering lines that all live in or around the coffin area. I have been more than fortunate to miss most of the last 2 wks of misery & tedious work and in return, keep homeschooling the kids. Tomorrow is the big day that Bill, John, Jack and I will drop the fuel tank back down, surround it with foam and then close up the hatch. My job is simple. They want my weight to help hold down the top as the foam expands. ha ha.

Let me show some pictures of the progress made.

Before, During, After of the coffin area.
1. foam removed 2. holes fiberglassed in 3. broken fiberglass edges repaired 4. corrosion removed & protection added to the water tank (grey at top) 5. special pads (square) laid down for the fuel tank to sit on. 6. fuel hoses (left-midway) removed and replaced
Before, During & After of fuel tank
1. all surface materials removed 2. all corrosion stopped with three times acid etching 3. two protective coating of alodine put on (goldish hue) 4. J&B Weld added, cured, sanded to strengthen corrosion spots (drk grey) 5. plenty of sanding between all steps 6. three coats of 2-part epoxy (green) on the final step to coat it & protect it from future saltwater (last picture).

Before & After on pitting repairs
1. J&B weld mixed 2. laid as flat across surface 3. Cure for 15 hrs 4. sand smooth

Pouring foam takes 1 min before it grows to 4x its size. By 5 minutes, it is hard as can be! To inspect it closely by eye, it looks like thousands of air bubbles. It reminded me of the strength of a bird's wing yet amazingly light in weight.

Before/After of hatch opening & closing

Updated 2/23/07
FINALLY!! The hatch is back on and a bead of 3M 101 sealant is on the edges. Tomorrow, Jack will put down an outer seal of 3M 5200.

Nothing like a little double or triple duty for a homeschool parent. I'd like to share our other on-going project of the month. I hope to have chicks on March 5th!!
We have a dozen mixed-breed eggs in our incubator. This is our 4H Embryology project. We will get to candle the eggs over the weekend.

Also, at the same time, my eldest is working on his District 4H speeches and will compete on March 3rd. It's going to be a busy weekend!

Happy Fishing to all those that can get out!!

Monday, February 19, 2007

2/19/07 Robizzle

Playing Phyllis' game while waiting for the boat to be finished!

1. YOUR GANGSTA NAME (First 3 letters of first name plus izzle) Robizzle

2. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (fav color and fav animal) Blue Boxers

3. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, and current street name) Marie Rollingsworth!

4. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 3 letters of mom's maiden name) Curroca - kewl!

5. YOUR SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite drink). Green fruit smoothie! now, but it used to be Yellow Jamocha pre-vegan times.

6. YOUR WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother's middle name) Alice Martini

7. YOUR GOTH NAME: (black, and the name of one your pets) Black Jackson

Friday, February 16, 2007

2/16/07 Ft. Pierce - here we come!

Before I get to our trip down to Ft. Pierce, I want to recognize my special kids for the absolute best Valentine's Day cards. I LOVE homemade cards because they show the heart and creativity levels of your kids. My eldest (AKA the artist) made these cards for us. I think they definitely speak to our level of commitment to First Choice's EXTREME MAKEOVER.

[caption: Hi best dad, I think you need a break from the boat tank.]
Now, onto our trip tomorrow. We will be making the 2 hr drive down to Ft. Pierce to a Marine Surplus warehouse to look at all the goodies they have. When a distributor for Mako boat parts liquidated, this place bought all their extra supplies. We're hoping to find a few things that we need for our makeover. Also, they have the Seastar steering lines & hoses, new, that we need to replace. Decals for the future would be a bonus since our boat appears nameless at the moment. We are proud Classic Mako owners, but nobody knows that yet.
Our good fishing buddy and friend, Bill, came over twice this week to help Capt Jack with Step 4 of our project. He fiberglassed in 4 holes leading to the bottom of the boat (can be seen in the picture). They are put there to deliver foam in the hull, but are no longer needed. They only allow extra water to soak into the foam and that's not good. Secondly, he removed those fuel intake and exhaust hoses (mid-way on right), which were no easy feat since they too had been encased in foam, covered by fiberglass.
Jack did Step 5 in the carport, which consisted of removing the green paint (corrosion protectant), 2 acid washes to stop current corrosion and plenty of J&B welding glue to repair any of the deeper pits on the tank. While it would be great to buy a new aluminum tank, Jack and Bill both agree that we can get several more years of use out of this tank after its own personal makeover. We will simply have to do 3-yr maintenance checks on it until we feel like a new one is *needed*.

Left with paint
Right w/o paint (shadow interferance)
(not shown - post-acid washes)

That word *needed* stuck me funny just now. My youngest's Bible study was on needs/wants this week and then for the Team Kids' church program, they learned about needs and wants. I feel like I'm having one of those light-bulb moments in confirmation that we're making the right decision. We *wanted* a new tank, but we don't *need* one yet.

Left: You can see our deepest pitting from corrosion. It is about 1/3 of the way through the metal which isn't good. Bill had an autobody shop for several years and comforts us by saying we can get another 18 yrs out of this tank. I think we'll be blessed if it is at least 5 more years. We'd love to be debt-free before this all needs replacing.

Happy Trails and may the seas be in your favor!
Edited: Good news :We had a most enjoyable time at Marine Liquidators and found most everything on our list. Bad news: We saw about 10 more things that we should have bought but didn't get the sizes for before we left home. I think we'll be back in a month to catch the rest of the shopping list. We're hoping to have the tank back in the boat next weekend and most the lines all hooked back up. Waaahooo!! This will complete the worst of Extreme Makeover. Part 2 will include refinishing the teak wood and painting the boat.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

2/11/07 Northern Right Whales R Here!!!

Of course, since our boat is in pieces, the weather has been perfect for fishing and people are heading offshore in droves and catching huge stuff. One man took these fabulous pictures of the Northern Right Whale a couple days ago. I think there are only 300-325 NRWhales left. It is considered an honor to see them. We're so fortunate to have seen some nearly every year that we've been on the Atlantic coast. Even when we lived in Jacksonville, my sister and I were able to witness them from the beach. Too cool!!

Along with the whales come big schools of manta rays which host numerous cobias on their wings.

Happy Fishing!
Robin & her very sick boat

Friday, February 09, 2007

2/9/07 The fuel tank is coming out tomorrow. (See Step 3 below)

I have to say one thing about this project, it has been ROUGH!!

We've had expert advice from other Classic Mako owners who have paved the way, but I just had no idea of the sticking, cementing power of foam. Who would have thought that something that could break so easily and crumble even, could wedge between, around, under and glue down a fuel tank so completely into it's case? It has been mind-blowing to spend 3 DAYS whiddling (sp?) foam, half inch by half inch, 18 inches down, for a good 18 feet perimeter. Our backs are killing us and our fingers are numb from being pinched and working the tools, sometimes into the edges of the fiberglass case.

A couple times I worked alone while Jack ran to the Auto Parts store or Home Depot to get more 'stuff'. One of those times, I found inspiration from criminals, of all the places and people. How much patience and determination they must have to dig tunnels from ordinary kitchen utensils or pens! Progress must have been slow and yet they continued to labor. They keep their mind hopeful with the promise of freedom. I figured if they could do it, then I could continue too. We had come too far to close up the hatch and continue fishing. When I told Jack about my thoughts, he said I was a hoot.

We will have so much peace of mind after we inspect the entire tank. If it is so, that we need a new tank, there will be a quick run to Ft. Lauderdale to a surplus place. If our prayers are answered in the way *we want*, we will be fortunate to only put a coating of corrosion paint on it and then refoam it back in. All the lines & hoses will be replaces as they are in sad condition. This should keep it in great condition for another 20 years.

Anyhow, I see that many folks came home with great offshore catches this week, so I may post about anything I see that is newsworthy.

Be good to your boat! Do a winter inspection!

UPDATE: It's out!!

Here is the fuel tank being lifted and then the bottom-side showing on the table. Our friend, John B is out there with Jack sanding the rest of the green paint off the aluminum.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

2/4/07 Oh Happy Day!!!

It's not a fishing report, but there's water involved!

(Our 7yo son & our Pastor, baptismal in background)

Here is my "angel" in waiting. We're behind closed doors and awaiting for service to start.

And still waiting....

Walking into the baptismal. He said the water was *really* warm.

Just moments before, he tells me that he needs to use the restroom. Sigh. Nope, not now!

Here he is being immersed. It is symbolic of dying to the old sin nature and when he rises up, it is symbolic of new life with Jesus having your sins washed away.

"And straightway coming up out of the water, he [Jesus] saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him;" Mark 1:10

"And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Mark 1:11

See the big smile on the pastor's face? He loves to baptize children. I had a huge smile too. Jack had a tear in his eye.

And so it was a joyful day for our family and we prepared a big feast that we thought would cover a couple meals with leftovers.... only we were all so hungry, we ate double & triple portions and there was none left!!
Here are the cobia steaks (from earlier this week). Grilled to perfection by Captain & Chef Jack. It may be in my top 3 favorite fish to eat. Yummy sweet peas & corn on the cob. Topped off with sweet cornbread which was unbelieveably delicious even without butter. Washed down with lemonade. The boys were thrilled to use the special glasses. They probably thought it was Thanksgiving or Christmas.
2/4/07 - Baby steps for Makeover

I promise not to bore you with post after post of 'fix it' words and pictures, but what I'll do instead is keep this one report of the repair and simply re-edit it with the steps. If you're interested, feel free to keep checking back here. If you're not, it's simple to passover.

Step 1 - Emptying out between 75-100 gallons of fuel. Our car and SUV are sitting on Full now and every one of our neighbors got at least 5 free gallons of fuel for their cars. It was quite the Olive Branch of peace and friendship to them. It's not every day that somebody asks if they can fill up your car. We still have more fuel, even with 15 gallons sitting in jugs. Umm..... I'm sure in a few days we'll need a little bit more. One guy suggests putting a sign in the yard for $1/gallon gas. It will go fast.

The hose goes from the sq cut down the hatch, out the hole in the back of the boat, into the red gas can.
Step 2 Take the rest of the week off from work. Recruit all willing family members.
Clean all the foam off top of tanks (water & fuel). Then disassemble all lines from the helm to the engine. (This took a few hours itself.)

Left is cables intact.

Right is cables set to the side.

Step 3: Dig foam for 3 days with screwdrivers, pipes, pry bars, homemade stuff, etc around the edges of the tank and try every which way to hoist the tank out of its coffin. Hoisting didn't work alone, so we also added 1x4 and later 2x6 boards with pressure applied to move the tank from side to side (breaking the lower foam). Today (2/9), we finally heard foam cracking and saw movement. Tomorrow will be the big day that it comes out!!

First we tried the hoist connected to the carport beam. NOT!
Second, car jack on 4x4's, laying on floor. Better.
This is the little "tunnel to Alcatraz" that we spent 3 days digging. (Tank on top, coffin on bottom) This is the wide spot. The other side sometime was so tight we could barely get a screwdriver 18 inches down to the narrow bottom. Our tree saw ended up being very helpful.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


There is no time like the present for a boat makeover. The day started with some prep work on the sides of the boat for an eventual painting. Jack had that nagging feeling that he would need to repair the livewell with whatever leak it had, so he went up there to pull it out. This is one of those kind of repairs that take twice as long as you wanted. To the right is a picture of the seats removed and the livewell standing alone, almost center.
After pulling the chairs and livewell (where the fish or shrimp get to swim around alive), Jack sees that there was no sealant under there and water has been leaking down into the home of the fuel/gas tank. Not good. (Left if the ring on the floor after livewell was removed.) The only proper thing to do would be to remove the entire floor hatch and inspect the fuel tank.

Here, we have to pull the entire floor hatch and see what kind of damage all the salt water has been doing there. Oh, it only gets worse. The foam is soaked with fuel and water and it all has to be removed. We found a separate (circular) hatch under the wet foam that give us the source of our mystery black material that was falling into our fuel filter back when we first bought the boat in Aug of 05. Jack was able to remove all the foam off the top here. There will be weeks of repair-work ahead of us. Not, Not, good.

Thankfully, we're not the first Mako owners to have had to inspect and possibly replace their fuel tanks. (The salt water can leave pits & eventual holes in the tank.) Jack has posted pictures to the Classic Mako website and his fishing forums and is getting all the best advice from people who have been there, done that.

Our goal is to have the remaining gas put into our vehicles and remove the fuel tank by the end of next week. It will take a team of men to lift this piece. Please remember our project in your prayers. Safety is essential. Secondly, I'm praying that the bottom of the tank doesn't show damage to the point of needing replacing. It won't be the end of the world to replace a tank, but it is $$$ that I wish to avoid.
(Picture is of corrosion/pitting on the top of the tank in the whitish circle areas. Green is the paint on the tank. Foam at top.)

Our bigger goal is to have all of this done in a month to 6 wks. Much of that depends on the condition of the fuel tank's underside.
Be good to your Boat!