Monday, October 31, 2011
29 48.97 N 081 17.53 W
We had a leisurely day on the ICW. We decided to bypass Saint Augustine. We've seen the sights there before, and we had no errands to run on shore. The bottom line was Libby's statement. She said that if we stopped to get a mooring for the night, she would not be interested in going ashore.
And now for a topic left over from last summer:
In the picture below you see me holding Big Bertha. That’s what I call our 80 pound Luke anchor.
We bought Big Bertha specifically for Lake Champlain and places like Porter Bay. You see, zebra mussels have invaded the lake and made the water much clearer. That allowed sunlight to penetrate to the bottom to depths it never did before. That in turn caused an explosion in weeds, especially the kind called milfoil.
Many of my prior favorite anchorages were so choked with week that I couldn’t use them. I could drop the CQR anchor or the Danforth anchor but they wouldn’t bite. The problem was that the weeds were so thick that the lightweight anchors couldn’t penetrate down to the mud. I had to increase my minimum anchoring water depth on Champlain to 15’ and then to 20’. My favorite sheltered spots where I could anchor close in at 7’.
The solution was Big Bertha. She sure penetrates to the bottom. The two pictures below show us raising anchor after Tropical Storm Irene in Porter Bay. The entire 120’ of chain I had out was fouled with weeds, and Big Bertha brought up 150 pounds of weeds with her. I was sure sweating by the time we got all that on board and clear of weeds.
When not on Champlain, Big Bertha comes apart in three pieces. I store the pieces in the lazarette, down below the water line. A secondary benefit is that we have a great storm anchor if we ever need it. We felt extra secure during Irene with Big Bertha and 120’ of chain out in 7’ of water.
A fisherman’s type anchor (such as the Luke) is also useful if you must have short scope. Suppose you come into a harbor so crowded that you can’t anchor with anything more than a 3:1 or even 2:1 scope. Then the fisherman anchor can serve you well. They rely more on their own massive weight to hold rather than a clever shape.
Big Bertha is so big that she has a 7/8” shackle on the end. I use 3/8:” shackles to attach my anchors to our 5/16” chain. No way a 3/8” shackle can couple with a 7/8”. I have to tie an enormous bowline knot in our chain to attach it to Big Bertha. I wire down the loose end. It appears to do the job well. I've never tied a knot in chain otherwise.
When we are sailing on Champlain, Big Bertha can’t be left on deck. We carry her tied to the side up at the bow. I figured out how to do it in a way that isn’t loose and doesn’t scratch the hull.
When we pull into an anchorage on Champlain among all those local weekend sailors, you should see their eyes pop when I unleash Big Bertha.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
30 26.09 N 081 27.39 W
On Friday our friends Mike and Nancy took us out to a nice restaurant in Mayport. It was right next to the Mayport ferry terminal and it had a great view of the river. We were interested in Mike's stories about hiking on the Appalachian Trail. It has certain similarities to boat cruising, but many differences. Thank you Nancy and Mike.
Today we're heading down to visit Terri and Larry on the Saint Johns River. They have a place on the water just a bit west of the ICW. Tomorrow we'll head south on the ICW, hopefully with a near optimum tidal current boost. I would like to get past Saint Augustine Monday, then head for Matanzas Inlet arriving at high tide on Tuesday. We can spend a day or so exploring there.
After that what? We have no plans, no schedule, no cares. For the next 5 days or so the weather does not look favorable for going outside. Therefore we'll just poke along the ICW. Maybe we'll try the new marina at Marineland. Maybe we'll call our school mate Kerry when we're in Daytona. That's not a bad agenda; right?
Friday, October 28, 2011
30 43.14 N 081 32.78 W
My friend Don bought a new smartphone. He asked me to update my list of apps that I find useful while cruising. Glad to. Here goes:
Thursday, October 27, 2011
30 43.14 N 081 32.78 W
Well, our new mounts are in, the engine is aligned. For the time being, vibrations seem to be a minimum. We have yet to settle on the long term solution. I plan to go on the hard at Cracker Boys in Fort Pierce, but we have not net decided on a course of action. Stay tuned. I'll let you know what Beta says.
A very favorable surprise was the good service from Tradewinds, a local marine service company with proprietor Wayne York. They did the job in 3.5 hours @65. Two years ago, Helseth Marine, from Vero Beach, took 9 hours @$100, and the end result was not as good. Quite a difference. Our local friend, Charlie recommended Tradewinds. Thanks for that tip Charlie.
On the social scene, we've been riding high this week. Yesterday I was using my computer in the sailors lounge here at the city marina when I heard a loud voice behind me, "You're Under Arrest." It was Darrick, the police chief from Wisconsin who is now Captain of the cruising boat Y-Knot under direction of his Admiral Sharron. They left Beaufort NC the day before we left Little Inlet. Darrick was better at reading the weather than I was. He hugged the coast rather than following the rhumb line. During the two days we were out, Y-Knot passed us and arrived at Saint Marys Inlet 5 hours before we did.
Tonight, we had a visit from local cruisers Larry and Terri. They live nearby on the Saint Johns river. We introduced them to Darrick and Sharron, and the 6 of us went out for a very nice Italian dinner. Fernandina Beach is a great place for such activities. It is also a great favorite for tourists. Every day we see tourists walking around the waterfront obviously charmed by the atmosphere. It reminds me of how Libby and I were instantly enchanted by Boothbay Harbor Maine when we first encountered it on our honeymoon way back in 1965.
Tomorrow night we have a date with Mike and Nancy. After that, we're not sure on our next move. The weekend weather is not the best for going offshore.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
30 43.14 N 081 32.78 W
I got lots of good comments and advice yesterday about my vibration problem. Read the comments to yesterday's post.
We're going ahead with the motor mount replacement without having a real resolution to the vibration problem. What choice do we have? I plan to consult with Bud Taplin and Stanley at Beta before proceeding.
In any event, we'll be here in Fernandina most of the week. We had dinner with Charlie & Mary last night (Thank you very much.) Tomorrow we're meeting with Larry & Terri, and on Friday with Michael and Nancy. That's a pretty full social calendar. We love it.
After that? We're not sure what. Remnants of Hurricane Rita may pass here on Saturday bringing gale winds. Maybe not. Weather forecasts on Rita are very uncertain. We sure hope that's the last named storm this year.
So far, we're still well ahead of the pack of cruisers heading south. Many of them are restricted by their insurance policies to not go south of the Carolinas before November 1.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
30 43.14 N 081 32.78 W
We're at the City Marina a few days. My friend Charlie connected me with a mechanic. He ordered new mounts. We'll put them in Thursday.
Jeff and Wendy commented on my problems.
Your temporary repair to your engine was very ingenious, I'll have to remember it. Unfortunately, it sounds like the problem you had with a broken motor mount may just be a symptom. When you mix it with the shaft seal leaking issue it may be a growing problem with your engine or possible its alignment.I certainly agree with them. But I'm at wits end. We had the new motor re-aligned twice already. I had the shaft straightened and checked and the propeller balanced. I've spent $3000 so far trying to cure the problem with no results. Still, the motor shakes. Evidently, it shakes so much that it ruins motor mounts in just 2 years. The previous Perkins 108 motor shook just as much, so I've come to accept it as normal. My problem is that I have no experience with an inboard diesel that didn't shake. I don't know what level of vibrations are normal.
I have two more clues. My transmission ratio is 2:1. According to Beta, all other W32s with Beta engines have a 2.5:1 ratio. I, and they, have no idea why mine came different. A second clue, if we run at more than 2000 RPM, the engine temperature begins to climb. My top RPM at full throttle is 2500. Some people say I should have the prop pitch set for 3000 RPM tops and cruise at 2400. But if I did that, the vibration and the temperature are both too high. Could it be the transmission ratio?
A third possible clue. We use a shaft saver coupling between the transmission and the shaft. I replace that also, the last time we changed the mounts. To align the engine, they must remove the shaft saver, align, then replace the shaft saver. Could having a shaft saver in the first place spoil the alignment? It's not easy to remove it. Without the shaft saver, the shaft is too short. I would have to have a new shaft made to test it.
I'm at my wits end what to do next. When these mounts are replaced the alignment must be re-done, but for how long will it last? I wonder if I shouldn't take another approach. Find a mechanic to take the job on a results-oriented basis. "Fix my vibration problem. Whatever it takes. I don' pay a cent until it runs smooth as silk." I worry that they'll charge me more than the cost of a new engine to accept that risk. What do you think?
Monday, October 24, 2011
30 43.14 N 081 32.78 N
Florida HO! That's what I shouted when Libby awoke me at 0600 and I looked outside. We were only 1 mile from the jetty at the Saint Marys River entrance. I could plainly see Feranadina Beach. Thus Florida HO. It took us 47 hours to make the 250 miles here from Litte River SC.
So, why have we backtracked to Georgia? Look on the map. We are just a fraction of a mile from the Florida/Georgia border. I thought this was a nice place to anchor and take a restful nap to catch up a little on sleep.
Successful passage yes, but we came in limping. Sunday evening, the wind died and Libby started the engine. It started but we were startled by an awful noise that sounded like stones in a meat grinder. I told her to put it in neutral. The noise got worse! What the H could it be. I opened up the engine compartment and did a visual inspection. Sure enough, I could see that the right rear engine mount had broken. The noise came from vibration at the broken mount.
What could we do about that? I racked my brain. Then I had a great idea. I raised the cabin floor and pulled out two big C clamps that we store down there. I then crawled over the warm engine and used one of the clamps to hold down the broken mount. It worked! Upon restart, the engine sounded normal. Boy am I glad we had those clamps on board.
Suppose we had no clamp, what could we do? Well, sailboats have an advantage. We could just have sat out there waiting for some wind to return. At the time of the breakdown we were 45 miles off the coast of Georgia. Then we could have sailed to one of the several inlets along the coast of Gerogia and Northern Florida. Then we could have waited for flood tide to help, and attempted to sail in. That would have been problematic because the currents are swift and the winds were light. We might have failed to navigate to where we needed to go against currents. Of course, that means we could have sat at anchor still longer until a sufficiently strong wind came along. But what would keep the batteries charged all those days? Alternatively, we could have chickened out and called Tow Boat US to come tow us in.
I guess that reveals a truth about our life style. Given enough time and patience, we could of course navigate anywhere the explorers went. They had no engines, electric lights, or refrigeration systems. But we would choose to be towed instead. Our lust for our conveniences overwhelms ancient skills and perseverance. I know many of our land-based friends think us to be very primitive and adventuresome to live the life we do. That's true in one sense, but it is also true that we're still much more pampered and spoiled than ancient sailors were.
p.s. We'll stay in the Fernandina area until new motor mounts are installed. By the way, those mounts were only two years old and the second set of motor mounts since we installed the new engine four years ago. What should the normal life of marine engine mounts be? Two years sounds short. However, we put 2,000 hours on our engine in two years. That's 5 times the hours per year than typical boat engines experience.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
32 00.01 N 080 12.34 W
Well, the creatures showed up yesterday after posting my blog. I saw a dolphin.
Soon after a goldfinch came hopping into the cockpit. Several times before we have had land birds land on the boat when we're out to sea. In our first year sailing, a little bird we called Birdie Num Num rode with us from New Jersey to Virginia. The implications are sad. Every day there must be numerous land birds who accidentally fly out to sea and get lost. If they don't know how to fly back to land, they'll die. Finding a boat at sea is a refuge and can be a life saver. The goldfinch stayed with us overnight, but we have not seen him this morning. Fare thee well goldfinch.
But this morning we also picked up a gorgeous moth as a hitchhiker. I presume he has the same problem as the birds. Hopefully, he'll stay until we get close to land.
Our AIS is working well. There were several ships coming in and out of Charleston as we passed by last night. Using the AIS I was able to track each and to determine that they were no threat to us. The peace of mind AIS gives is is much appreciated. It would be better still to transmit our own AIS info, but one small step at a time.
We made 120 miles in our first 24 hours. If that keeps up, we'll arrive early Monday morning. Unfortunately, ebb tide at St. Mary's inlet is 0730-1330. Hmm, can we hurry? Should we delay? The answer is neither. Winds are highly variable. We'll take what we get and decide on when to enter the inlet when we're within a couple of miles.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
33 25.01 N 078 53.48 w
Ah it feels good to be out here again. We like the sea, albeit in small doses and when the weather is nice. It is sunny day, but a little chilly. Tonight should be spectacular, very clear, very dry and very cold. That's OK, we'll put on long johns and several layers so we'll be comfortable.
There's a meteor shower going on but I neglected to look up which direction to look before leaving. Oh well.
A power boat just zoomed past us 100 feet away. Other than that, we're totally alone out here. No ship, no dolphins, no whales, no traffic, no radio calls. No radio? You know there must be something wrong with our VHF. We should be picking up radio traffic from the ICW which is less than 20 miles away. Coming down from NYC to Norfolk we also had trouble receiving VHF, but not transmitting. We get strong signals, like NOAA weather radio, but not weaker ones. I'll have to look into that; not sure what the problem could be.
Just because we don't see fish doesn't mean they're not here. I was watching some nearby terns. They were having a grand time diving on the surface to snatch something to eat.
By the way, I saw a scene this morning I wish I could have caught on film. As we left Little River Inlet around 0700, a little aluminum boat was coming in. In it were a couple about as old as we were. Between them was a net bulging with fish. I guess 300-500 pounds of fish. It was a big catch. The fish were all small, 305 inches long. I don't know what one would do with them other than make a grand fish stew. There are famous seafood restaurants near there, perhaps they sell the fish to them. Anyhow, the boat, the fish, the net, the couple, the light and the morning mist would have made a grand photograph if only I had a high quality camera at hand. Perhaps even a fine camera would not be enough; a rocking sailboat is far from a stable platform for taking great pictures. If I was artistically talented, I could paint a picture from memory. Alas, my art never progressed beyond stick figures.
Friday, October 21, 2011
33 51.50 N 0778 34.16 W
Whew, we finally escaped from Carolina Beach. Our original intent was to stay there 1.5 days; enough to have dinner with Tom & Kathy, plus time to explore the nature trails. It became 4 days because of weather and it started to get boring. Yesterday, it was really nasty out on the river. A really strong wind opposed the tide and whipped the water into a froth. The humid wind was bitterly cold. Nobody in the marina wanted to leave, including us.
Today, was nice. Highs about 75F and low 45F. It will be like that the next three days at sea. Light following winds, following seas, and almost warm during the day. Night watches out in that open cockpit will be very cold. However, we hope that each night will get warmer as we move south. 250 miles to go to the Saint Mary's River Inlet, estimated time 48-60 hours. We leave at first light tomorrow racing a falling tide.
Congratulations to Mabrouk and all our Lybian friends. Weeks ago, I asked Mabrouk if he was happy at the success of the revolution. His grim reply was, "He's still alive." For many Lybians it was more than a governmental revolution, it was a violent and just end for a hated cruel dictator. I think the Lybian people were entitled to it.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
34 03.03 N 077 55.14 W
Last year, one of our friends sold their W32 for $70,000. It was a very nice boat, but in our (unbiased) opinion, not as nice as Tarwathie. Today, I got word of another nice W32 that sounds very good but for only $4,000. There must be a reason, but I admit to being puzzled. The details follow.
Note I have no interest in that boat, or the broker, nor do I recommend anything. I'm posting it because it is curious. From here.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
34 03.03 N 077 55.14 W
The nature here is very beautiful and varied. Down at the river bank are barrier dunes and sea grasses. Behind those are salt marshes. Only one half mile inland are strictly fresh water cyprus swamps. In between are a half dozen other ecologies.
Even the river water is a mixed environment. We are about 10 miles from the sea. Powerful outflow currents exist, but also powerful tides come in. As a guess, I would say that the water here is fresh 1/3 of the time, brackish 1/3 and salt 1/3. Only highly adaptive species survive here but the ones that do are especially robust and prolific.
One mile behind us is Carolina Beach and the Atlantic Ocean.
|Long-leaf Pines, Reindeer Moss, small Live Oaks dpughphoto.com|
|Pitcher plant en.wikipedia.org|
p.s. On a completely different subject. I reserved a couple of easier to remember URLs for this blog bit.ly/tarwathie and bit.ly/dickandlibby
34 03.03 N 077 55.14 W
If anything can go wrong, it will. And at the worst possible time.Well, back in my engineering days I was fond of saying that Murphy's law is recursive. In other words, it applies to Murphy too. Whenever you are certain that you know things will go bad because Murphy predicts it; you get surprised and they go right. I have three cases in point from recent days.
One thing we have not fared well with in 6.5 years of cruising is house batteries. We bought so many batteries, I can't count. They failed left and right. Most recent was a battery that died from a cracked plate. Such a demise is abrupt and easy to diagnose, that battery will not make 12 volts any more. If run in a parallel bank with other batteries, it pulls down the voltage of the whole bank. Well, the other day in Wrightsville Beach, I thought it happened again. Within minutes after shutting off the engine after a full day motoring, the bank voltage dropped to 12.10 volts. Uh oh. Sure sounds like another bad battery.
Monday I had an idea. Maybe we could buy a new battery locally and have it delivered to us here a thte state park. I got my tools and volt meter and set out to make sure both batteries had adequate water and to figure out which was bad. To my surprise, just as I removed the battery box tops, the bank sprang back to life. It wasn't a bad battery after all, it was a lose wing nut on one of the terminals. Got you that time Murphy.
Tuesday I set out to fix another problem. Regular readers know that in recent weeks I removed the water tanks twice in a futile search for a leak. Before putting them back I re-plumbed them with new hoses and clamps. That's a lot of work. Alas, Libby discovered that all our water use was coming from one tank, the second tanks was not participating despite the fact that both valves were open. Darn, I thought. I'll have to take them out a third time to find where I screwed up.
When I lifted the floor to do that I instantly spotted the real problem One of the hoses was bent too sharply and formed a kink. That only took 10 minutes to remedy. No removal of tanks was needed. Got you again Murphy.
Today, we were supposed to leave this place and continue south. We already sampled the pleasures this place has to offer. However, the weather forecast was grim. Very heavy rain, severe thunderstorms and headwinds up to 30 mph. Also, we would have had to leave early at first light to catch the tide. I got up at 6AM, and yes it was raining heavily. I decided we would stay another day. At 8AM I went up to the office to pay for another day. I lingered in there 15 minutes listening to local history stories from the two rangers. When I stepped back out, the rain had stopped, the sky was blue and there is no adverse wind. Murphy got me.
p.s. We're still hoping to get out to sea on Saturday. However, yesterday's forecast showed that we had an 80 hour window. In this morning's forecast, the window shrank to 40 hours and Saturday is still 3 days away. Keep your fingers crossed and don't think about Murphy.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
34 03.03 N 077 55.14 W
One of the delights about USA East Coast Cruising is that there are so many places to see. No matter how many years we keep at it, we discover some new ones each year. This time it is Carolina Beach State Park on the banks of the Cape Fear River.
Many times before, we passed by this spot on the banks of the Cape Fear River. We always knew that there was a park here with a marina. However, we were warned of shallow waters at the entrance and we were afraid of going aground. Then, we heard a notice that the park would be closed for several years for renovation and dredging. Now for the first time we were able to come in to the park for an overnight. Bonus: it costs only $30/day to stay here; half the cost of a regular marina. Bonus: Al the facilities are brand new, hardly used, and very nice. Bonus: On a weekday we had almost the whole place to ourselves. See the picture below.
What a delight! The park is full of nature trails. It was fun to walk around. Bonus! See the picture below. I found a stand of pine trees with the longest needles we've ever seen. Libby is a happy camper.
Monday, October 17, 2011
I might opt for $300 a ruggedized Olympus or Panasonic camera, bI'm a bit skeptical. Waterproof items are not necessarily e-wasting disease proof.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
34 28.80 N 077 28.99 W
A great advantage to writing your own blog is that your can air your pet peeves without contradiction. Today, I'm going to indulge.
The waterway is not a superhighway. It is not a highway at all. People who drive their boats as they do their cars on the highway are a menace.
- The other day, coming into Beaufort, two sailboats and a megayacht came up behind us. Megayacht? Yes, it was maybe 80 feet long and according to our AIS, even its dinghy towed behind was equipped with it's own AIS transmitter. That's right. We saw both the vessel Twilight and the vessel T/T Twilight on the AIS about 50 feet apart.
Anyhow, as I approached a bend in the channel they all caught up with me. Twilight got on the VHF and asked for permission to pass, very professionally. I said, "Come ahead Captain on my port side. I'll slow down for you." But I looked behind and the first of the sailboats was less than one boat length behind my stern, and the second sailboat a boat length behind the second boat's stern. I called on the VHF; "Sailboat on my stern, I'm going to slow down." No response; I dared not slow. He probably didn't listen to the radio. So what happened. Both sailboats pulled out to pass on my port simultaneously with Twilight passing. Twilight was forced to the extreme port side and Tarwathie forced to the extreme starboard.
Even though the channel may be as wide as a three lane highway, it isn't It is more like a one lane highway with wide shoulders. The shoulders may or may not be dredged to minimum depth. The overtaking boat has the burden. The overtaken boat has the privilege of maintaining course and speed right down the middle. It is a courtesy to ask the overtaken boat to move to the side and/or slow down.
What did those sailboats do wrong? In chronological order: 1) They should have anticipated Twilight would pass, and hung back. 2) They should never have planned to pass exactly on a bend. 3) They should have listened to Twilight on the radio. 4) They should not have tailgated me or each other. 5) They should have listened to me on the radio and acknowledged. 6) They should not have passed me while Twilight was already passing. That's an awful lot of errors in 90 seconds.
- On two occasions yesterday sailboats passed us as we were passing under a 65 foot bridge. That's an absolute no no. When passing under a bridge you are likely to encounter sudden, strong, unexpected gusts of wind or bursts of cross currents. You must be at highest vigilance and ready to correct course deviations. To pass another boat at that time is lunacy. Even meeting a boat coming the other way under a ridge is something to avoid if possible.
- Approaching the inlet near Swansboro, the waters were mobbed by small boats. Most of them were anchored and fishing. There were hundreds of them. Other boats were in a big hurry to get out to sea via the inlet or in a hurry to get to some other fishing spot. They zoomed past at speeds between 30 and 65 miles per hour, weaving in an out among boats. Libby and I were horrified. That's much too fast for congested conditions. Fatal accidents are likely.
Also, even though high speed boats make very little wake, that does not mean that they should come as close as 3 feet to other boats. Good grief. That close at that speed even a sneeze can lead to a collision.
Friday, October 14, 2011
35 01.49 N 076 41.73 W
Is is worth it to bring Tarwathie on a 4000 mile round trip to Lake Champlain every year? Was it worth the trouble and expense to put the mast up? Yes yes yes, thousand times yes. Sometimes, it only takes one magic moment to make everything worthwhile. So was the case August 22, on Lake Champlain in Shelburne Bay. The picture of Tarwathie below is not faked or retouched in any way.
Click on the image to see it full screen and uncropped. Look closely at the upper right and you can see a second rainbow. The wide angle lens was not wide enough to capture the 2nd of the double rainbow. It really was a magic moment.
You can download a high resolution copy of the picture here. It was taken by, Brian McPhee
firstname.lastname@example.org; a professional photographer. He just happened to be anchored near us that evening and in a perfect place to make the shot. Professional photographers can be prickly if their work is misued. Brian gave permission to post it to my blog.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
35 01.49 N 076 41.73 W
Yesterday, George and Carol from Traumeri drove down from New Bern to say hello. We all went out for pizza. Oriental is a fun place.
It was our plan to leave this morning, heading for a weather window starting Sunday to go out to sea from Cape Fear. Well, this morning when I got up, I rechecked the weather first thing. The supposed window on Sunday vanished. Now the earliest possible window is a week from today. So, we changed plans. We'll stay here one more day. I'll wave to the web cam.
That is a recurring pattern in our migrations. We hope for a window. When it doesn't come, we stay on the ICW and motor. After a while, we begin to get frustrated; longing for the open sea. Oh well, such is the life of the East Coastal Cruiser.
I have a mission today. Al, the previous owner of Tarwathie, has a new boat, Maylay, that is up on the hard here in Oriental. He asked me to check her out. However, he can't remember which boat yard it is in. I'll visit them all until I find the right one.
By the way, Libby and I got our morning belly laugh from this article. Read it out loud to your partner, you'll love it.
My Droid is misbehaving. First it was the on/off switch, now it is the touch screen. I think it has salt air disease. (Most consumer electronics on board suffer that fate.) I pay the insurance fee for all hazards, but to invoke that, I have to have a new phone sent to a snail mail address. What address to use when we're on the road? I have a good candidate in Fernandina Beach, FL. However how long will it take us to get there? One to three weeks. That's not precise enough for the insurance company. When they send out a new phone, I only have a few days to return the broken one or else they charge me $500.
Snail mail is one of the most vexing problems when living a nomadic life. It was much better in Sweden in the 80s. There, any ordinary letter mailed today, would reliably get to the destination anywhere in the country the next morning. All mail was express mail. I don't know if they still maintain that today. It was nice.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
35 01.49 076 41`.73 W
See us on the Oriental Harborcam. Until Thursday morning.
Well, it's been a busy few days. We had a great time with Dave & Cathy. They like to spoil their guests and we didn't object.
Dave drove us back to Hancock Creek Monday evening. Soon after he left to drive home I realized that our bag containing computers, wires, batteries, phones, and cords of all kinds was left in David's trunk. Oh no! Could I live with no Internet for 24 hours? It was hard but I did it. Dave mailed the bag to general delivery Oriental, and I picked it up this morning.
Also this morning we left Hancock Creek Marina. Jeff & Wendy and all the other people there were great. We said it before and we'll say it again -- North Carolinian hospitality is the best.
I also got a delivery from Beta Marine with new air cleaners at Oriental. That's been on the list for a while. Auto parts stores were unable to find an equivalent size.
Good news -- The Provision Company is back! Since 2005, The Provision Company in Oriental has been our favorite alternative to West Marine for all things marine. Last spring it closed, apparently out of business. Today, it's back -- apparently with new owners. I bought a new bilge pump and float switch.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Yesterday Dave and I did something we've never done before. We built a new PC from components. We had parts and advice from my grandson Bobby. Guess what -- it worked first time when we turned it on! That is despite the fact that we had lots of leftover parts, and leftover wires that didn't plug into anything. Then Dave installed Windows 7, piece of cake. Then we plugged in a network cable -- bingo we were online. I installed Google chrome and AVG antivirus. We're in business.
Hats off to Bobby for the encouragement and good advice.
Dave's real objective with this PC is to dedicate it as a games machine. Somehow I doubt that. It will get used for lots more than games.
Doing all that is easier and cheaper than I imagined. If I were a landlubber today I would set up my own dedicated games PC with 3-5 video monitors and run the flight simulator programs.
Something else new. blogger.com now offers many ways to format and to browse this blog. Some of them look very useful and very attractive to read on a large monitor. However, I think regular readers are used to the way it looks and feels today so I'm reluctant to change. What a shame they don't offer the option for each reader (as opposed to each blog author) to choose the look and feel.
Sunday, October 09, 2011
Friday, October 07, 2011
We remarked several times before how hospitable the people of North Carolina are. Noplace is is more evident than here at Hancock Yacht Club. We come here foremost to visit with our friends Jeff and Wendy on the W32 Calypso. However, once we get here all the other people at the club are wonderfully friendly and welcoming.
The club is on the property of the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. It can be noisy. We're near the end of the runway so low-flying military planes are passing over all the time. Also, at times we hear the boom boom of artillery and explosive training.
They have a tradition of meeting at the yacht club tiki bar every day at 1630. That's very nice, at least on warm days. But even on cool days they bundle themselves up in extra layers of clothes and sit there on the waterfront.
The marina suffered damage and sunk one boat during Hurricane Irene, as did almost everyone along the Neuse River. Where Tarwathie is tied up, the pilings stick 8 feet above the water. The piling next to us has scrapings of a sailboats bottom paint on the top of the piling. Imagine what it must have looked like out here when that happened.
Saturday/Sunday we'll be in Zebulon with Dave & Cathy. :) Probably no blogs those days.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
We spent the night at Oriental. (Sorry, we're not visible on the web cam.) Lots of Hurricane Irene damage here.
I very seldom repost news stories on this blog. Today, I found a story so astounding, I'm making an exception. See below from The Navy Times.
Posted : Tuesday Oct 4, 2011 9:57:30 EDT
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
35 06.73 N 075 58.61 W
Yesterday I went to the beach on my bicycle. I've never been there before. What a great beach! It looks much like the beach at Cumberland Island. It is about 16 miles long, nice sand, backed by a barrier dune, and populated by lots of birds and shells. The water was pretty warm too. We are really close to the Gulf Stream here.
I think I'll go back to the beach again this afternoon.
This morning I worked on a stack of three electrical problems that needed repair. My list of projects never hits bottom. On the other hand, I never give up. On the average, I think the backlog of projects waiting attention stays about constant.
I also found that our engine air filter was very dirty. I never checked it before. I figured (incorrectly it seems) that there was no source for dust in that engine compartment so the filter would never get dirty. Wrong. There's no place on Ocracoke to buy a new one so it will have to wait a few days.
Libby found a roadside taco stand called Eduardo's. She bought two burritos for supper last night. They were huge. We got two meals out of each.
Tonight we have a Balderdash tournament arranged. We have a pretty cosmopolitan Eagroup too. Ourselves, a couple from Prince Edward Island Canada, and a third couple from The Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islanders came here in a little motor boat that doesn't look at all like a cruising vessel. They are intrepid though. They watched carefully for a weather window and made the ocean passage from Cayman to Cuba, then they did it again from Cuba to the Florida Keys. After that it has been ICW all the way. Cool.
So, I did three hours work in two days and here I am complaining about how hard life is.
p.s. The fresh water leak I repaired last week is diminished but still leaking. It leaks about a gallon per day. Sigh, I'll have to remove, inspect and re-plumb the after tank. That's a lot harder than the forward tank.