UPDATE#25 08/08 thru 08/15/07

Howdy Everybody,

The period 01/19/07 thru 08/07/07 has been covered in Updates 1 through 24.  We continue with UPDATE 2007 # 25.


 UPDATE 2007 #25   08/08/07 through 08/15/07.

     Welcome back to the new Adventures of the trawler AMARSE.  At last update, we were at home on AMARSE at Brunswick Landing Marina in Georgia.



     A person can work up a soaking sweat without even trying.  We hopped in the car and began the trek south on I-95.  The liftoff of Shuttle STS-118 was planned for yesterday, however, a slight mechanical problem forced the rescheduling for this evening at 6:36 pm. 

     We stopped for breakfast near the GA-FL border at the Waffle House.  The next stop was the Costco store in Jacksonville where we purchased the DVD films of HBO’s “Rome”, seasons 1 and 2.  There should be more than enough entertainment planned for the winter nights in the Bahamas.

      Somewhere near St. Augustine, the car’s air conditioner failed.  Wow, was it ever hot.  Everything else seemed all right so we just pressed on for Titusville.  On our last visit, we had scoped out some locations to view the shuttle launch.  Although great for the rocket launch, the Jetty Park is too far south to view the shuttle launch pads.  We chose a spot on the Titusville causeway just past the drawbridge for the ICW.  We staked out our territory by 2:30 PM and sought shade with another couple from Sanford, FL that invited us to share the covered picnic table hut.  Of course, it was still stifling hot but at least we were shielded from the sun’s rays.



      I opened the car hood and quickly noticed that the serpentine belt that drives the supercharger had been shucked.  It was also clear that the belt tensioner had disintegrated and thrown the pulley clear off the mount.  To eliminate the chance of fouling the other main belt, I cut away the remnants of the damaged belt.  At least we could get back to Brunswick, albeit a long, hot ride.

     The area was filling fast with eager spectators anxious to find that perfect spot to view the powerful shuttle.  A couple of enterprising young folks came by pulling a cart with ice-cold bottled water and Papa John’s Pizzas.  We quickly bought 4 bottles of water and added a pepperoni pizza to the bill.  It was great to see capitalism at work.

     In this picture, the crew of STS-118 poses for their official mission portrait. 





     At precisely 6:36pm, the roaring fury of the shuttle filled the eastern sky.  Fortunately, much of the earlier haze had lifted somewhat and we had a pretty good view.  Even with our prime viewing location, NASA requires all spectators to be pretty distant from the launch pad.  We could see the launch quite well with the naked eye or binoculars, however, our small camera equipment just can’t capture good images.  I have taken the liberty to download some official photos that depict the action much more clearly.  Some are of previous missions that were similar to this particular launch event.  I find them to be spectacular.











    With our binoculars focused, we could follow the flight even after the separation of the huge, rocket boosters.  I had hoped that we could see the parachutes bloom, however, neither of us could relocate the boosters again. 

    Did you ever wonder what a shuttle liftoff would look like when viewed from outer space?  This photo was taken of a Kennedy Space Center launch from the Space Station orbiting high above the earth.  Pretty cool stuff!



     As the Shuttle and main fuel cell vanished down range, we joined the line of visitors vying for position on the exit roadway.  It took us 45 minutes in congested traffic to travel a mere 3 miles to I-95.



     The original plan had been to stay somewhere overnight and return to Brunswick the next day.  With the air conditioner on the fritz, we felt it better to travel at night while it was slightly cooler.

     The Cracker Barrel restaurant in St. Augustine offered a convenient place to have a somewhat late dinner.  The outside temperature had dropped from 101 degrees as we left Titusville to 83 degrees by the time we reached the boat at almost midnight.




     In the morning, we took the misbehaved car to Dan Vaden Motors, the local Buick dealer.  Service Advisor, Don Allen, scheduled a repair estimate and arranged for a ride back to the marina.  It was much too hot to engage in any outdoor activities with actual temperatures hitting 100 degrees and the heat index passing the 115-degree mark.  We pumped the air conditioner for all it was worth and enjoyed some cable TV.  I took this opportunity to publish Update #23 to the website.

     It took a while to recover from the shock of the car repair estimate.  Although we expected that it would be expensive, the tune of $2000 sent shudders through our budget plan.  Oh well, whatcha gonna do?

     Even with the temps soaring, I braved the heat to grill some sausage on the marina grill.  Judy made fried rice to accompany.







     Once again, the mercury defined the meaning of heat.  With the car still in the shop, we were literally grounded.  After defrosting the refrigerator, Judy said that the freezer was not cooling as well as it should.  I wasn’t sure whether it was because of the high daily temp or due to the beginnings of a malfunction.  We will give it some time to see, however, I suspect that there is a problem that will have to be addressed sooner or later.  After all, the fridge unit is 18 years old.

     By late afternoon, the car dealer sent a van to pick us up.  The bill worked out within $13 of the estimate.  I wonder how that works.  Anyway, it was enough to gag the purse strings.  A repair bill like that is no way to treat a lady on her birthday.

     At 6pm, we joined Robert and Carolyn Wilson from SEA ISLAND GIRL, along with Henry from MAHUAKINI, for dinner at Barbara Jean’s restaurant on St. Simon’s Island.  Of course, everyone thoroughly enjoyed his or her meal.





     Seemingly, the refrigerator is still not cooling quite properly.  Although the top part of the freezer plate indicates 24 degrees, the lower section is having difficulty getting cold enough.  Even though it should keep our food alright, it may cause us problems in the near future.  We will continue to watch what happens. 

     The outside air temperature is 101 degrees with the heat index reported as 122 degrees.  It seems that the entire country, and even Canada, is experiencing record sweltering conditions.

      With the car back now, we spent the morning shopping and figuring out how to replace the fridge.  Two things became very clear to us.  One, that anything would have to be specially ordered, and, two, it would inflict significant additional stress to our cruising kitty fund. 

      For lunch, we tried a new place, the New Hong Kong Restaurant.  Most of the items on the buffet were very good, however, we think that the peel-n-eat shrimp at the King Buffet are bigger and better.

      What is the best thing to do on a hot summer afternoon?  Why, take a nap, of course.  Our evening plan was to join Robert and Carolyn for dinner.  Judy recommended MudCat Charlie’s. 

      Just as we pulled into the restaurant parking lot, the cloud darkened sky let loose with torrential rains.  Of course, no one wanted to vacate a table, so our wait was a bit longer than anticipated.

     Once again, everyone chose the Grouper in one form or another. 



     I really like this place at Two Way Fish Camp in Darien, GA.  The food was great and those cold beers really hit the spot.






     Judy started in earnest to get all of our stuff and clothes together for the Alaska trip.  With help from her, I topped up the battery banks with distilled water.  While down in the engine room, I messed with some other stuff too.

     Entertainment tonight at the lighthouse on St. Simons Island featured a group from Savannah, GA.    One of the nice things about the summer music series is the pre-concert picnic that occurs before the music starts.  Judy had fixed us a great sandwich supper that tasted so good.  We had actually gotten so busy this afternoon that we neglected to take time for our lunch.  This made up for it nicely.




     “Double Shot” started the concert at exactly 7pm and played for over 2 hours.  They played a mix of pop, country, and rock tunes.  Although the music sounded good, this band does not have much energy or stage presence.



     Some of the attendees had very elaborate set-ups.  This parrot bar was very colorful and the revelers appeared to be having a great time.



     What do you bet that this was the truck they used to haul in the cocktail bar?  Parrot-heads, Parrot-heads, they’re everywhere, they’re everywhere!





     Judy cheerfully undertook the laundry chore. She did a bit more packing for our vacation too.  Our friend, Henry, from MAHUAKINE came over to AMARSE for a visit during the afternoon.

     The gal on the Food Channel program, Everyday Italian, presented a cooking show on TV that had particular appeal for my palate.  I recreated a modified version of her recipe by preparing Lobster Ravioli in a Balsamic Vinegar and butter reduction mixed with roasted, chopped walnuts.  It was absolutely delicious.




     Judy worked all morning arranging and packing for the trip.  I continued to work on travel reservations, changes, and plans.  Around noon, Henry was ready for us to take him to the Brunswick airport.  He would pickup a Hertz car for his jaunt to Casco, Maine. 



     Judy and I continued on to MudCat Charlie’s restaurant in Darien, GA.  The grouper sandwich is delicious and reasonably priced.  On the return trip, we stopped to photograph the old Glynn County Courthouse.



     The blocks around the old courthouse showcase some lovely old Victorian style houses.  Most of these have been renovated and take over by local law firms as their offices.  This yellow place was particularly attractive.



     Using a Whole Wheat Ravioli stuffed with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes,  I prepared the dinner dish in a  creamy sauce with chunks of pecan-crusted chicken breast.  The combination went together very well. 

     The weather forecast indicated that Tropical Storm Dean was organizing off the coast of Africa.  Fortunately, all of the computer models predict a course well south of the USA.  Let’s hope they are correct.




     To protect AMARSE from any rain damage while we are away, I decided to reseal several areas where the caulking was starting to crack.  In the almost brutal heat, I scraped, taped, and caulked several of the windows and the main doorway.  I decided to try using a high grade Silicon II product called XST.  It will be interesting to see how well it holds up to the marine environment.  Judging by the way it applied, I have a good degree of expectation.

     Using the 12-volt air pump, I inflated two new large fender balls.  We placed one more on the starboard, forward-end adjacent to the dock, and the other, aft on the port side.  We tied off a few more regular fenders on the port side to offer protection from the neighbor boat should it ever break loose.  We added several more lines to tie AMARSE even more securely.  Hopefully, these extra precautions will be like added insurance to protect all sides of the boat.

     The “weather guessers” still believe that TS Dean will track well south over the Yucatan and into Mexico. 

     We finished off the odds and ends of chores around the boat and brought all of our recent bills to the correct side of the ledger.  This left  enough time to concoct a tasty dinner of thick, premium loins of Tilapia sautéed in a light butter and lemon glaze.  Served with a baked Russet potato, it was the perfect meal to relax and enjoy.

     I worked on update logs and managed to publish #24 on the email and website before retiring for the night.






       As I finish this edition, it is 08/19/07 and are in Ketchikan, Alaska aboard the Holland America Line’s VOLENDAM. The weather has been far better than forecasted and we are enjoying our voyage very much. 

     Thanks for allowing us to share our life and adventures with you.

     REMEMBER:  The website is now fully active and you can visit it at any time.  You can review any of the 2006 or 2007 logs and learn more about the crew and our plans.  Enjoy.


"AMARSE".  is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY".  Our website is:   www.amarse.net   .

  We would like to hear more about what is happening in your lives.  Let us know as we very interested in what’s going on with our friends and family.  Please call or email us with your thoughts and comments and ideas too.  Thanks



Lot of Love,

Fred Reed and Judy Law