Tuesday, July 22, 2008

mini-post..

After all the hassles last week with fixing vehicles etc. we decided to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city for a couple days. Our guests are now into their second week of vacation here, too. So we loaded up the kids and dog and a boatload of groceries and went to Pine Cay for a few days.

I fixed the corroded window crank right off the bat. Got the initial DIY thing done already. Then we decided to relax.

Yesterday we went for the much-anticipated conch diving trip. We took Ben and Wil out to one of our favorite spots near the reef. We like the conch we get there better than the conch on the Banks side. They are cleaner, and we can tell the difference in the taste as well. The conch from here are 'sweeter' tasting. Maybe that's because you have to be able to dive down 12-15 feet to get them. Conch on the other side are only about five or six feet deep.

Anyhow, in less than an hour we had 30 of them on board.


And two happy new conch divers:


So we headed into the dock, and with all their newfound knowledge of how quickly someone can clean a conch, we left the two Colorado boys with hammer and knife. Should take about "an hour" they figured. Okaaaay....we'll be back in a while to check on you.

I came back to check on them two hours later...and they were well into it.

They had about three quarters of the conch out of the shells in those two hours. That's not bad, actually. For two inexperienced people with doing it for the first time. After only watching a guy at the Conch Shack for a few minutes.

I guess we missed some of the excitement. I suppose I had forgotten to tell them to be sure that the conch they picked up were LIVE conch...not just dead, discarded shells. Things live in the dead shells. So...from what I hear, they started whacking away at what they thought was a conch, when this angry critter started out of it waving claws and obviously NOT a conch.. From what I could tell it was the Big Kahuna of hermit crabs;


I guess they managed to beat it into submission using an empty shell....and they kept it to show it to us. That had to be somewhat of a surprise...expecting a nice docile conch and getting a feisty crab armed with a couple of claws.


Even though they had been at it for several hours at this point their enthusiasm was still running pretty high;
Wil wants to take a couple 'fresh' shells home with him. I am trying to gently explain some of the things he might want to think about....like, organic material still in the shell after three or four days in a warm climate.

I waited for them to finish up the last few shells, then I looked at the conch they had cleaned....and it got a little more complicated. They had not realized that getting them out of the shells was the easy part. They still had to trim off a lot of undesirable viscera. And skin them. Nothing like putting in several hours and thinking you are almost done, only to be told you just finished the "easy" part. But that's totally true. Getting the skin off is definitely the hardest part of the whole procedure.

To shorten this story...at around 8:00 last night they had the last of those 30 conch cleaned properly and ready to cook. Seven and a half hours for 30 conch, not counting the diving part. Or the cooking part. Or even the tenderizing part ( you have to bash them with something to tenderize them) So, while they watched the pro at the Conch Shack clean conch after conch in something less than a minute per shell...it took the two of them together an average of fifteen minutes per conch.

I think they have a new respect for the guys who make it look so easy.

That's been it for the past couple days. We are on Pine Cay until tomorrow. It's raining off and on, so we have not been on the boat today. I do plan to scrub the marine growth off the hull at some point before we go back.

Oh, I have decided to give up on the windward garage door. It's obviously not the right choice for these conditions. I have been on the internet trying to explore options, which include the old style swinging, hinged doors or possibly a sliding door on an overhead rail. I need something that doesn't corrode, that is simple and rugged enough to last awhile, and that is tough enough for serious wind. Something rain won't blow through at 40 mph.

One of the problems I have come up with so far is that the opening is ten feet wide. This limits my options, but somewhere out there is a solution.

Anyone got any ideas on what to replace this door with?


I would be surprised if this one lasted a year.

This was short post, I realize. But since the last one was a bit dry I thought I could try making up for quality by posting more often for a few days.

Besides, Wil tells me his mom reads the blog and I thought she would appreciate seeing her baby boy having fun on his vacation in the tropics. It's a long way from the Rocky Mountains. That is for sure.

5 comments:

Wayne said...

Gringo,

Maybe these folks have something you could use to replace your existing garage door system.

See:
richardswilcox.com/hardware/
HardwareCatalog.pdf

As long as you have more than 10' of wall to the inside of your garage door you could make a Richards-Wilcox track, trolley and hanger system work. See page 48 for a detailed drawing with all the particulars. You could build a heavy duty wooden door with some local lumber.....maybe something simular to the material being used for your louvered windows.

I'm retired now but with 35 years in the fence industry I can attest to the quality of this product. We modified the hangers and used them with heavy duty sliding gates. I think that most of the products are available with a galvanized finish and this will help with the island's saltwater environment.

I hope this helped and I greatly enjoy your blog .

C. Wayne Floyd

Gringo said...

Thanks, Wayne.
I checked their site, and that idea looks to me like one of the best options yet. If I put the door on the inside of the garage it would clear the window louvers.

I emailed those folks and asked if they could assemble a set of stainless hardware for a ten foot door.

I can build the door itself out of pressure treated decking and keep it painted.

I had been looking hard at swinging type doors on hinges, but those have some drawbacks in that location. A door on a track could be made to handle the wind loading, I think. And I could come up with some weatherproofing easily enough.

Thanks again.

Wayne said...

Gringo,

You would be very wise to stay away from any type of swinging door system. I'm not aware of any type of hinge that would support the weight of a wood door the size you need. I hope the Richards-Wilcox people will be able to help you.

My best regards,

C. Wayne Floyd
Birmingham, Alabama

Gringo said...

Hello Wayne,
Yes, Dan Lorden of Richards-Wilcox has been extremely helpful so far. We are now looking at replacing the overhead door and opener with a wooden door on tracks, using their stainless steel hardware.

It's now looking like we will also have to replace the two 8 foot overhead doors eventually, as well.

Installation errors and a series of blunders by subsequent 'experts' have damaged them to the point where they are beoming unsafe. I don't have room for sliding doors there, so those will likely have to be hinged doors.

Anyone interested in three brand new expensive overhead, electrically operated, hurricane rated garage doors? Only six months old...barely used...

Gringo said...

Hello Wayne,
Yes, Dan Lorden of Richards-Wilcox has been extremely helpful so far. We are now looking at replacing the overhead door and opener with a wooden door on tracks, using their stainless steel hardware.

It's now looking like we will also have to replace the two 8 foot overhead doors eventually, as well.

Installation errors and a series of blunders by subsequent 'experts' have damaged them to the point where they are beoming unsafe. I don't have room for sliding doors there, so those will likely have to be hinged doors.

Anyone interested in three brand new expensive overhead, electrically operated, hurricane rated garage doors? Only six months old...barely used...