Freezing in Florida

Hello everyone

Yes I know that it is December but this morning the temperature here was within 2 degrees of the temperature in Tillsonburg! That is darn chilly. But we do have good news and even better news.

The good news is that the frig parts finally arrived on Wednesday, Nov 24th. It had been ordered in June for shipment in September to the marina. But, it DID arrive. At least most of it.

Murray holding an insulation piece showing the complex shapeMurray measured the coiled refrigeration lines three times and did the calculations to figure out exactly how much line was in that coil. Each time, the number came up short. We had ordered 16 feet of refrigeration line but were only shipped 12 foot lines. I contacted the manufacturer while Murray started installing the unit. Previously he had re-insulated the icebox, installing 3/4 inch R5 foil-backed foam insulation on all sides of the box. He made patterns in order to follow the curves and each cut edge was sealed with aluminum duct tape.

Insulated iceboxThe copper refrigerant lines had to be fed through the wall of the icebox, behind the stove ( which had to be removed for the installation ), through the pot locker, the hanging locker and into the area under the aft cabin berth. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough length to reach the compressor. Together we lowered the heavy holding plate ( the source of the cold for the frig ) into place with me supporting it while Murray secured it in position. Then he constructed a box around the holding plate which works on a spill-over principle. If we had left the cold plate uninsulated the whole box might freeze or at least anything that came into contact with the holding plate would freeze. At first I was disappointed by the reduction in the size of my frig but soon realized that the huge bag of ice was hogging some space. Since our arrival at the boat, we had been using ice to keep our food somewhat cold.

What to do about the short lines, we pondered? Should we have a whole new cold plate with the correct length lines sent to us? How much longer would that take? We contacted the manufacturer again or rather, tried to. His phone said ” no longer in service” and his e-mail address bounced. Now what?

Thinking that our supplier’s business had failed, we wandered to Green Cove Springs Marina. There, friends cheered us up over multiple glasses of wine and convinced Murray that he could add the correct length himself. In the morning he headed to his favourite store, Ace Hardware, where he purchased some 1/4 inch copper tubing, silver solder and the torch needed to solder. Another friend at the marina flared the tubing so that the end of the old piece would fit into the new addition and then be held securely with the solder. Once all was securely held, he connected all of the lines,purged the system and then brought the compressor up to the required pressure. The frig started and ran!! The temperature in the icebox started to fall. Our new digital monitor made it easy to watch the progress of the cooling. That project was finished. There are more photos of the job here on our website.

Quickly the final shopping expeditions were organized and months worth of foods stashed everywhere aboard. Meats were vacuum packed and placed in our freezer. The bill at both marinas was paid in full and we were ready to go. To leave the dock!! Arriving in Florida on Nov 4th, we will be heading off one month later, on Saturday Dec 4th.

But that is the even better news. Tomorrow, bright and early in the cold dawn hours, we will cast off our lines and head down the river towards Jacksonville, anchoring for the night near Blount Island only a few miles from the ICW. It will take us several days to get down where things are warmer but that will keep us traveling southward. On the way, we will test the various systems and stop in Vero Beach if something needs repair. Doesn’t it always?

So, continue to send pictures and jokes to our gmail address but the best way to reach us from now on will be by our winlink e-mail. I will send a quick message from that one to make sure that everyone is registered on our white list.

Take care of each other, write often and stay warm. Hugs to all up north,

Murray & Heather

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