Friday, March 18, 2011

Getting Ready to Head Home

Sweetwater Rv Park – Zephyrhills, Florida
We’re getting ready to end our wonderful 3 month stay in Florida.  The weather has been great.  I had forgotten just how nice Florida winters are.  It’s been getting pretty hot during the day, but the evenings get really cool.  It’s perfect in my opinion!  I love those cool nights.
Our house in Georgia is only about 275 miles north, but it’s amazing how different the weather is.
We intend to leave Sunday, but since we don’t ever get an early start, we may just go half way and spend the night somewhere between.  We really don’t like to drive more than 150 miles a day…I know, I know, but that’s just us :)
We have a big job ahead of us when we get home and I’m not really looking forward to it.  I think living in the motor home for the past 3 months has given us a better perspective on what we actually need, use,  and have room for.  It may be a little easier to unload some stuff because we know better what we actually will need.
I have not posted for a few days or posted about our latest kayaking adventure on the new Sea Eagles.  I just haven’t had the heart to get into it until now. Here’s why.
You may remember, we got the first ones sent to us at Vero Beach and we had problems with both boats.  One had a skeg that was coming unglued and the other had a leak in the seam by where the keel is glued on.  Water was getting inside that seam making it difficult to deflate and fold the boat.  Both were minor issues, but since we just paid $1600 for brand new boats, we wanted them to be right.
We contacted Tim and Crystal from Inflatable Boats 4 Less.  They requested pictures for Sea Eagle.  In just a short while we were told Sea Eagle was sending us brand new boats and that we could keep the old ones until the new ones arrived.  They shipped the new ones Fed Ex 2 day delivery and we shipped the old ones back.  It was very good service, but still a hassle packing and shipping the old boats.
We never got a chance to try out the new ones before we left Vero Beach, but made plans on Monday to take them out to the Hillsborough River with our friends/neighbors Dean and Shirley.
We really love the handling on the new Sea Eagles.  They are stable, easier to get in and out, and handle well.  They weigh half of what the old hard kayaks did and are much easier to carry. 
Inflating them doesn’t take much time, but the deflating process it a little more time consuming.  Our Fast Track boats have a “drop stitch” floor. It gives the boat more stability and you can actually stand up in the boat and paddle if you like.  We love that feature, however it makes it more difficult to put them away because you have to make sure the bottom of the boat (under the floor) is dried out.
Our old boats got thrown into the truck bed wet and dirty and we were off. With the new boats, you have to dry them off before you roll them up and put them away.  Of course the sand is a big problem and you seem to have sand everywhere! 
Anyway, it was getting late, and while drying and deflating the boats we noticed water leaking from the EXACT same spot by the keel as the first boat.  I was extremely disheartened, to say the least.  Evidently Sea Eagle has an issue with that seam and it needs to be rectified.  I’m not sure if the other boat had the same leak or not.   By that time, we were in no mood to check it out, or even care.
I haven’t notified Tim and Crystal yet because I have just not been in the mood to deal with it.  I’m sure Sea Eagle will make it right, but it’s more hassle.  We aren’t going to be sending any boats back until we get back to Georgia though.
We did have a nice kayaking trip that day, although it was late when we started, so we just made it a short trip.  Dean and Shirley got a little nervous because the gators that had previously been hanging around on the banks, were swimming around in the river.  Dean  said Shirley was  concerned that it was feeding time and since they feed at night, maybe it wasn’t a good time to be on the river.  I’m still not convinced it was Shirley that was concerned about the gators :)
We did have a few swim right underneath us and it was a little unnerving.
This next picture is my view from my kayak. You can see the floor in this picture.  The hole you see is one of the places you inflate the keel area of the boat.  There is a valve for the keel, the floor and each side.
Here is Al on the Sea Eagle Fast Track 385.
Al in his new Sea EagleThe next picture is of Dean and Shirley's Sea Eagle 330.  You can see there is quite a difference.
Dean and Shirley in their Sea Eagle 330
Roseatte Spoonbill
It was a pretty day.  The new growth on the trees was so bright green and pretty and despite the issues with the boats and the wandering gators, it was a very nice trip.


  1. what a beautiful spot to paddle..minus the reptiles of course!!..have a safe journey home!

  2. Too bad about all the issues with the boats. They really do look different than the 330!

  3. Just a thought on the house.
    Since the people are moving from S.Carolina you might contact them and see if they are interested in any of the furnishing in the house. It could save you from getting rid of stuff and them having to move a ton of stuff or running out and spending a fortune buying stuff when they get there.

    Boats, we have the 330 which has two small skags on the rear. One is a little crooked and they tell you to heat it with a hair dryer and bend it straight but I'm not to comfortable heating an area that's glued. It tracks terrible so I guess I'm going to have to give it a try.
    Three years ago we bought a inflatable tandem from REI on sale for $100, the skag fastens on the back skirt and it tracks great and I really prefer it over the Sea Eagle.

  4. Sure sounds like a design issue on that kayak problem. Hopefully, they'll give any replacements a good test before shipping them to you.

  5. How depressing to have to deal with this issue on the kayaks twice. Just one thing you really don't want to have to deal with right now. Gorgeous pictures. But I would really be leery of the alligators. That's me. I'd think about them biting through the boat.

    Good luck at home. We'll be looking forward to hearing how it goes.

  6. Good Grief! What an annoyance to have to deal with the same problem a second time. It certainly does sound like a design flaw.

    Your paddleing trip looked really nice except for the alligators swimming under your kayaks. That would have made me really nervous.

    Safe travels back to your home.

  7. I am so sorry to hear about the Sea Eagles. It is just such a hassle but they will get it right for you. Its a good company.

    I think those gators would make me a bit nervous as well. Glad you enjoyed your trip on the water!!

  8. REALLY sorry to hear about your Sea Eagle problem AGAIN. Wonder if you should try a different boat if these seem to have recurring troubles.

    I am totally with you on 150 miles ago. So I KNOW what you are talking about. Stick to your guns. They are yours remember.

    And good luck with the house and the boats.



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