Sunday, January 17, 2021

Hilton Head Island: Busy Days, Impressions, Wrapping Things Up

I've been here on Hilton Head Island now ten days, mostly busy with boat projects but also having some limited opportunities to get acquainted with the place. Now I'm wrapping things up, getting ready to depart on January 20 to sail south to Florida.

First a summary of the boat projects.

I replaced both the raw water and coolant pumps on the port engine. Both were leaking from their shaft seals. The raw water pump was a quick job. The coolant pump should have been, but the pump re-builder left out a bolt and I didn't discover it until coolant started spewing out of the bolt hole. Unfortunately, the only way to get a bolt in the hole was to remove the pump and its hose fittings and install it again. In other words, do the job twice. I will be informing the pump re-builder, an otherwise very talented and responsive guy, of his oversight. 

The big project I wanted to do was an upgrade to the engine charging system, installation of new, better alternators and a sophisticated external voltage regulator that will charge the batteries like they should be charged, as opposed to how the current alternators try to just shove electrons into them continuously. Unfortunately, the voltage regulators got shipped out late and, by the time I received them, I didn't have enough time left to tackle the project. However, I was able to layout the job and I now have a pretty good understanding of how I'll approach it when I do have time to do it.

I re-sealed the starboard hull-deck joint, again. Rainwater was leaking into the head compartment (bathroom), again. I though I had fixed this last summer, but apparently I didn't. I think I got things sealed up well enough for the time being. Sometime in the future, I'll repair it once-and-for-all by using epoxy rather than caulk to permanently fix one of the few defects in Intermezzo's build.

I finally mounted the inverter remote control at the electrical panel where I can get to it easily. It has been dangling around under the galley sink since I installed the inverter back in the summer of 2015. It looks so nice in its proper place.

I also culled through and catalogued all the stuff in the lockers. I have quite a bit of stuff to donate to people who need it more than I do in The Bahamas or Mexico.

Okay, so that's all the boat projects. On to other stuff.

I'd say my most significant action was executing the "Booking Note" and making the first payment for shipping Intermezzo back to La Paz in March. I contracted with Peters & May to transport the boat via ship. My "loading window" is between March 15 and 31. I chose Peters & May because they have a lot of experience shipping Leopard catamarans, were recommended by the Leopard broker who sold me Intermezzo, whom I trust, and, my technical questions were answered by none other than Peters & May's CEO! I'm excited about getting Intermezzo back to the Sea of Cortez and hope I made the right choice. I'll post updates as the shipping process unfolds.

Finally, I've had a chance to explore a little bit of Hilton Head Island.

Intermezzo is berthed in Skull Creek Marina which is on the west side at the north end of the island, within the Hilton Head Plantation gated community. It is pretty remote from the main development and commercial centers of the island. The local community is an enclave for, shall we say, "the privileged", complete with golf course, country club, armed private security and highly restrictive, aggressively enforced homeowner covenants, conditions and restrictions. Not the sort of place I would choose to live in, but I can understand the attraction to others.

What I really like about the place is that they left lots of mature trees standing when they developed the residential areas of the community. These big trees, draped with Spanish moss, provide a shady canopy and natural habitat for birds and other wildlife. The woodland is interspersed with natural and man-made creeks and ponds. Between the woodland and shoreline are marshes and wetlands.  You can get everywhere by bike and foot trails, no need to drive.  Aside from the sterile, artificial golf course in the middle of it all, it is a very pretty, very quiet, very natural place to be.

I've enjoyed running and biking in the evenings, even though the weather has been mostly overcast and always pretty chilly. I've kept my rental car to run errands to stores located off the plantation, ,although I've found everything I've needed- groceries, hardware, post office, pharmarcy, bank- within five miles of the marina. If it were warmer and drier, my bike would have sufficed.

Today I did laundry, took care of "paperwork" and cleaned up the boat. Tomorrow I go grocery shopping, mail out my leaking pumps for rebuilding and return the rental car. Tuesday, crew arrives. Wednesday we set sail.

Though I wish the weather had been sunnier and warmer (and that my engine charging parts had arrived on time), my stay here has been productive, pleasant and peaceful.

I'm definitely ready to get Intermezzo moving again!

Bike trail on the Hilton Head Plantation

Beach at Dolphin Head, north end of Hilton Head Island

Tree growing bent sideways- not sure why

Egrets roosting at dusk