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16 December 2010 @ 08:12 pm
survived record cold snap but it's been a somewhat rough month so far  
I better write about everything I can remember since the last entry twelve days ago before I forget it all.

First of all, I got back my white Minn-kota electric motor a week ago (Thursday, December 9th). It appears to be working properly in all ways now again. The power steering failure required the replacement of two major parts, but I found no evidence that this is a common problem with these motors.

In the five or so days between the last entry and the reinstallation of the motor, I can't remember anything important that I did, except look for manatees again.

The bad news there is that they seem to have been chased out of the warm waters next to the Spring by all the noisy airboat asshole Tilapia fishermen and their bright lights shining down into the same water where the manatees were. Bob Costa said he asked the Fish and Wildlife Service to enforce the Endangered Species Act and start citing these assholes. So far we've seen no evidence they are doing anything but ignoring him and the others who have been complaining.

The water temperature has dropped to the lower 50s, so these manateees will be in great danger if they can't stay near warmer water near the spring vents. We have no idea where they are all hiding now.

The weather has been incredible here lately, even more extreme than up north.

I have been surviving it well, but it has been very challenging. The wind chill here on the boat has been as low as 19, with a low of 26, but I heard that the weather station just south of here broke a record by dropping to 18. I can't imagine what the wind chill must have been there.

I had all five of my hurricane kerosene lamps burning 24 hours on Monday, and yet at the time of that 19 windchill the temperature still dropped to 54 in the shelter.

I am not going to waste money to boost my heating capacity because these kind of temperatures are only supposed to happen every 25 years or so!

At least it has still been quite sunny:

Here is the latest batch of pictures, including ones of the fall colors now at peak here, of the new attic ceiling access I just made, and of the new anchoring system I just made to make it easier to drop and retrieve anchors at both the front and the back:

pictures -December 12th and 15th

Two very stressful things made today very difficult for me. First, I accidentally fried the 12-volt to 18.5-volt notebook power supply. I have not been able to find any of these on the market anymore anywhere in over two years of searching, so now I have to waste power by using a stupid 12-volt to 110-volt converter and then plugging the computer's AC power supply into that (two stages instead of one). I am going to check with Hewlett Packard. There must be many people who need to charge laptops from the cigarette lighter. I can't believe all of them must put up with all these unneccessary wires and the waste of energy caused by going up to 110 and then back down to 18.5. It is unacceptable to me. If I have to, I will build my own converter!

Then, the wind again! Today it was unbelievable and infuriating, because it came totally unforecast!...

It was nothing but a south wind under blue skies during the dramatic warmup from the 30s to the sixties about midday, but here, on this lake, it turned into the strongest sustained winds I have yet encountered, and it struck suddenly while I was moving the boat due to the other frustrating problem -water levels that are dropping dramatically. I don't want to describe all the details, but it was horrible! Somehow it finally died down after several hours, and I managed to get back out into deeper water where I am safely now.

I just checked all the nearby weather stations, and only I got this wind or anything even close to it.

Therefore, it had to be a microclimate tunnel effect caused by the fact that I was at the north end of a somewhat skinny lake and the wind was aiming right down the center of the lake.

It was the first time since I got here we had any wind from the south for any length of time and that's why I did not know.

From now on, I will be extremely vigilant whenever a wind from straight south might blow, and I will be sure I am around the bend near the State Park or tied up at Tedders or out in the narrow Run toward the main Saint Johns River. I must never be out here in the middle near the north lake shore ever again when a wind from due south might blow. It was absolutely horrible. My ears are still ringing from the rattling and banging I had to endure for several hours!