Big Splash, will she float?

IMG_1026We’re in Carrabelle, Florida at Dockside Marine. Vernon is driving the big travel lift.  The big question for me since this is my first launch: will she float.





Looks like all s well. But…she’s pretty bow-down.  I see about 6 inches of bottom paint on the rear and almost none on the front.  Time to shift some weight aft.  So I carry the motor to the back and mount it on it’s stern mount.  I had strapped it on the fore-deck thinking the stern would be too heavy.  Turns out with all the weight in the center and forward, not so much.  I then carry the six-gallon gas tank back and strap it in the rear of the port seat.  Next carry a six-gallon container of water back to the stateroom and stow it under the close.  Still it needs more.  So I empty the other container into the water tank and the balance overboard.

Now, down inside I am horrified to find an inch and one-half of water in the bilge.  I rush over and call back the travel lift operator.  I sponge out under the galley floor boards and surprisingly we see no more water.  Well everything must be alright. Could have been some spillage of water internally, right?  Maybe the fill hose leaked under.  Who knows, anyway a little water looks like a lot and there is only about 2 quarts netted from the sponge-up job.  It’s too late to go anywhere and I accept Vernon’s generous offer to spend the night at the service dock.

The next day is a long motoring day and I finally arrive at Shields Marina in St. Marks and fill up with gas.  I also again top off the water tanks.  Next I go below and horror of horrors, two inches of water in the bilge.  Time to panic, right?

Needless to say I first sponge out the bilge.  A couple of hours later another inch is present in the bilge.  I sponge it up and hope for the best.

IMG_1633I spend a peaceful night aboard hoping all will be well in the morning.  In the morning I find another inch of water in the bilge.  Sure looks like we have a seeping leak.  Now it’s time to call in the troops.  I first call Vernon and arrange for a Monday emergency lift out.  I call Karen to turn the truck and trailer around and come back.  I schedule Sunday night at the Franklin Inn.  Looks like my trip is over.  Woe is me! Ironically it is a beautiful night in paradise as Shallow minded rides with the wind on her favorite delta wing riding sail.IMG_1649

On waking early Sunday morning, magic of magic, no water in the bilge.  So, what to make of it?  My conclusion is that the water indeed came from some spill inside.  It found its way under and around various partitions and through limber holes.  Being level without much rocking, it took quite some time for the water to come out.

OK, call Karen and cancel the trip.  Call the motel and cancel the room.  I try to regain my composure and realize, I am here for a while.  If all goes well after I wait it out at St. Marks, I will move south along the coast. The trip proceeds as planned.  I swear, enough drama for one weekend!

IMG_1651Today I had lunch at the Riverside Cafe overlooking the lovely St. Marks.


I visited San Marcos de Apalache Historical State Park.

IMG_1665Walked on some quiet beautiful trails


Saw the confluence of the St. Marks and Wakulla rivers.


IMG_1653And got a little taste of nature.





 And finally paddled back to home, sweet home!

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