People and Projects
(Ft. Meyers Beach, Fl.)

April 3, 1998.....

Today we woke to a warm sun and a light breeze that was fun to sail. We arrived at Ft. Meyers Beach around noon, and anchored amidst a bevy of boats in all shapes and sizes. After a stroll on the beach saturated with bikini babes, tattooed bodies with rings in odd places, and sand castles galore, we paddled our dinghy around to visit the other boats. "Johannz" is from Holland. She is a freshly painted (50ft?) steel catch entirely hand crafted by her owners. They have lived aboard for ten years, spending most of the time in the jungles of Central America. The captain is presently frustrated by the many American rules and law enforcement. For example he complained that he could not fill his propane tanks. He first understood it was because the propane company didn't have the right connection, so he built one in is on board machine shop. Unfortunately, when he went back, the company said they could not fill the tanks because they are not American made.

Despite these problems, he obviously loved his boat and the nomadic lifestyle. We enjoyed seeing his creative craftsmanship, and are considering using one of his ideas for our water tanks. We have two 20 gallon aluminum tanks which we fill with pure city water and treat with chlorine to keep the algae from growing, but it is not the best tasting, or smelling. We put a filter on the kitchen sink, but it is always getting clogged up with the calcium deposits that float around in the water. Our friend from the Netherlands painted his tanks with a thin layer of cement, a trick he learned from his seafaring father. He claims his water is clean and tasty. We have to research the relationship between aluminum and cement, and the need for chlorine to see if we can do this, but we are excited about the idea of clean fresh water.

Next we met a couple in a 20 ft. motor boat which they have been living in for 5 months. They have spent the bulk of the past 8 years living on various boats, but spend three months each year at home in Michigan. The motor boat is new for them, but he is 74, and thought it was time to make things a little easier. She is a multi-talented crafts person. We exchanged gifts. She gave me a beaded bracelet, toe ring, and finger ring. I gave her a little story book. She too, was full of tips and excited to share them. She was particularly concerned about how much trash accumulates, and tries to reuse as much as possible. She was wearing a skirt made from her husband's old tee shirt. Her trick is to cut the shirt off strait under the arms and sew two thin strips of elastic for a waist band. This type of waistband is more comfortable and doesn't roll as much as one fat strip of elastic. She also uses leftover cardboard packaging as hot pads.

Boaters all seem to be very creative and I have thought that it would be fun to start a notebook about the people we meet and the interesting tips and crafts they share.

Last Updated: 4-22-98
By: Ted Handel

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