Saturday, October 25, 2014

Can't Resist

Cape Fear River, NC
33 58.888 N 077 .56.898 W
I normally don't repost jokes, but I'll make an exception for this one.

So this skydiving student goes on his first solo jump. When the plane gets up to altitude and over the target, he jumps. Falling to the proper altitude, he pulls the release on the main chute. Nothing.

Fighting back panic, he remembers what they taught in class and pulls the release on the backup chute. Nothing happens again. Things are starting to look pretty grim as he watches the ground rapidly approach.

Then, he notices a man, rising toward him from the ground. Odd, he thinks to himself. But what the hell ..... When this person gets within earshot, the skydiver yells, "Hey buddy! Do you know how to work a parachute?"

"No", the other person replies. "Do you know how to light a Coleman stove?"

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ground ZeroPN

Carolina Beach State Park
34 10.973 N 077 48.908 W

This is a semi-mandatory stop for us. This park is ground zero for pine needles. As far as we know, there are no finer nor longer pine needles in the world other than here. I think the reason is that the park does regular controlled burns. The pine trees less than two meters tall are newborn, and it is those that have the best needles.  One needle can extend from the tip of Libby's index finger all the way to her elbow.

We're spending two nights here and we're trying to figure out how to get to Little River by tomorrow bucking tides all the way.

We have two new friends. Monty and Carol on Sea Bird are long time fans of this blog. They just started their cruising life last Monday in Oriental. How exciting. The first year is magic. Anyhow, they are full of anticipation and questions so we were happy to answer what we could.

Below are some of the most famous inhabitants of this park.  Libby tickled one with a pine needle and made it snap shut.  Tsk tsk, that's against the rules.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Surf City Here We Come

Surf City, NC
34 26.691 N 077 32.000 W

Last night in Mile Hammock Bay, we were treated to the special kind of entertainment that only Camp Lejune Marines can provide.   We were surrounded by explosions and automatic weapons fire all night long.  It sounded like an ISIS attack.  Actually, it was less noisy than a previous time in the same location.  On that previous night they were practicing rappelling down from hovering blackhawk helicopters 100 meters away.

I promised to report on our problem with salt water intrusion to the primary coolant antifreeze.  Here's the short version. We motored from NC to VA on the outside.  Midway through the trip I checked the engine.  It and the engine compartment were caked in salt!!!  When we got to the DSC canal I first cleaned up the salt, then  I investigated.  I found the expansion tank full to overflow, and I found the radiator cap's spring broken.   I emptied the tank,n flushed the engine with fresh water, refilled the engine with antifreeze, and put on a new cap.  Since then it behaved normally.  But I wanted Daryl, the mechanic at Sailcraft, to check it out.

My theory centered on the heat exchanger.  My spare exchanger is shown on the picture below.  Salt water goes through the tubes and the plenums on both ends.  The whole thing sits in a bath of antifreeze. Rubber O-rings on each end separate the salt water from antifreeze.  (I say "raw water"/ "primary coolant" sides, but some other people  say "raw water"/"fresh water."  No matter.)

My theory was that only a tube leak or a O-ring leak could cause raw water to leak to the primary side.  Daryl, had a different opinion.  He said that an O-ring might have initially not seated right.  That would be exacerbated if the radiator cap prevented the primary side from being pressurized.  Normally, there is little pressure difference between raw and primary sides.   But the O-ring should "roll" with time and seat itself which seems to be the case.   Daryl also found a leak in the raw water vented loop up high that could have sprayed raw water around causing the engine to be caked with salt.

The vented loop leaked because of a cut in the hose.  I had two hose clamps on a place where there was only room for one, and the second clamp caused a cut in the hose.  I put two there because the insurance surveyor wrote that up as a defect in our last survey and the insurance company insisted that I remedy it.   The surveyor used only book learning rather than common sense.   I remember being very annoyed that he wrote up findings that included three things that I disagreed with.  But once written, the insurance company insists on strict compliance.  I think that surveyors should review and discuss all their findings with the owner before submitting the report.

In any case, Daryl replaced the vent hose, but declined to take the engine apart to inspect the heat exchanger.   Sailcraft also installed an anti-wrap fair lead near the masthead to prevent my jib halyard from wrapping around the jib when we furl. (We had that problem for the first time in the past few weeks.)   Both jobs were one in only 90 minutes and we sailed away after paying only $150 for a surpisingly low bill.  It made for a good day.

Since leaving Sailcraft, I have been paying special attention to the engine cooling system.  It is functioning well.  The expansion tank level is constant.  Not a single drop of salt water has leaked anyplace.  Things seem good.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Southward Ho

Bogue Sound
34 43.089 N 076 54.404 W
Our southward migration is under way. None too soon I might say because it is cool outside.
Yesterday morning we stopped at Sailcraft in Oriental for some engine and rigging work. I'll write more on that later, but for now I'll tell you that both jobs turned out to be simpler, faster and less expensive than I expected. Such surprises are welcome.
Long time readers know that in recent years, we sail outside as much as possible and on the ICW as little as possible. Part of that is being jaded - "been there, done that." But often we plod down the ICW hoping and praying for a weather window to go outside. Guess what? Such a weather window began today, and it will continue for 5 days. We could sail all the way to Miami in this window. But this time we are ignoring that.
We decided that this year we will take our time and see more of the sights than in recent years. Cruisers are privileged to not being held to a consistency standard. I'm sure that there are delights on the ICW that we haven't seen yet. We will also visit with friends where possible. We will stay on the ICW at least until Beaufort, SC and Port Royal Sound Inlet.
The risk that we take is that the weather will turn cold and nasty. We don't like cold nasty weather any more. Too bad; we'll take the risk.
Last night we were comfortable and secure in Spooners Creek. We were surrounded with luxury houses and luxury yachts, but after dark I couldn't see lights on in any of the houses. None of the owners were there
Tonight we will anchor at Mile Hammock Bay inside Camp Lejune. But first we have to get past Brown's Inlet. Thst is a place that always shoals such that it is impossible to pass at low tide. Low tide today is at 1330 (1:30) and the next high tide is at sunset around 1900 (7:00). We will try to time our passage between 1700 and dark. By the way, the last time we passed Browns Inlet a year ago, we did run aground.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Promotions All Around!

Oriental, NC
With the arrival of Anna Meagley Monday in Rome, NY, Libby and I have just been promoted to great grandparents. Wow, what a great feeling. It has been a long time since our last promotion.
Most of all we are happy for our granddaughter and new mother Sara.
Of course, John and Cheryl also gain promotion to grandparents, not to mention auntie Katelyn, auntie Victoria, and uncle Nick. Congratulations one and all. This is a joyous day.
My God Sara. You are so beautiful. It seems like only yesterday that we cradled you in our arms. Well done Sara.
Don't know yet when Libby and I get to see Anna but we will find a way.