Tuesday, May 30, 2006

On The Hard

Deltaville, VA Public Library

"On the hard," is boaters jardon for my boat is up on land. Libby found a place that could haul us on Saturday, so that's what we did.

We pressure washed the hull and Libby scraped off lots of barnacles. I guess the barnacles didn't read the label on my antifouling bottom paint so they didn't know that they're not supposed to cling to that copper-impregneted surface.

I also polished the prop and repacked the stuffing box. The stuffing box is the thing that prevents water from leaking into the boat from around the propeller shaft. It wasn't as hard as I thought. Next time I'll have the nerve to do it while still in the water. It takes nerve to do that because when you unscrew the stuffing box water starts pouring in until you put it back. During that time only the bilge pump or pumps is the only thing that keeps you from sinking. Now that I'm an experienced packer though, I'm confident that I can do the job in 5 minutes, 10 at worst case, so the risk is low.

I also disassembled and cleaned the head (toilet for landlubbers). We have been putting vinegar down there every once in a while to prevent calcium buildup, but still it gave trouble. When I took it apart I was shocked to find 4 to 7 mm of calcium covering everything! I scraped it out and I was amazed at how much calcium was in there. It may have been more salt than calcium but I wasn't about to taste it to find out. I'll have to use vinegar much more often.

How about strong hydrochloric acid? Do any of my readers know if that's safe for brass, rubber, plastic and bronze? There are no steel parts in the plumbing.

Anyhow, Deltaville Marina where we are staying is very pleasant. I think it is the best run marina that we have seen so far anywhere in our travels.

One funny effect. Jenny experienced sea legs after her three days on the boat, but Libby and I are pretty much immune to that. However, with Tarwathie up on the hard, Libby and I both felt that the boat was rocking when we were inside below decks. It is a strange psychological phenomena.

Late today we should get launched again and resume our Chesapeake explorations.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Photos From Jen

Elizabeth City and the Elizabeth II

Captain DAD

The Dismal (?!?!) Swamp

Hampton By Night
Sailing Among the Big Guys
Mom Sails through the shipyard; past the ships and submarines...
Norfolk By Night

Friday, May 26, 2006


Deltaville VA Public Library

We had a nice sail up the Chesapeake yesterday. Last night we spend in Jackson Creek near Deltaville. What a nice peaceful place. It's easy to understand why Chesapeake waterfront life has such an outstanding reputation.

We're going to try to do some repairs here. I have stanchions that need welds. I need to repack the stuffing box and we need to scrape barnacles off the hull. There's lots of boatyards nearby so we'll see what happens.

In any event, weather this weekend guarantees that we'll stay here until Monday.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Steve Lambert

Hapmpton, VA Public Library

Well it's getting very frustrating being without a computer. Still, we're having a good time.

Jenny flew home on Sunday after four nights with us, one in Elizabeth City, one in the NC Welcome Center, one in Hampton, and one in Norfolk. The weather was ideal the whole time.

After Jenny left Libby and I sailed up the James River to Jamestown. We spent Monday morning doing the tour of Jamestown Settlement. It was nice, but expensive. We got to see the replica square rigger Godspeed sail off on a tour, just like the Elizabeth II we saw in Elizabeth City.

In the afternoon Steve Lambert, and old friend from PTI, met us and became our host for the day. Steve's wife Susan was away from home. Steve took us to see Colonial Williamsburg which was very nice. Then he took us to Staples and Office Max where I eyeballed buying a new laptop computer. Libby was pushing me to get one. Maybe I'm driving her crazy. Anyhow at the last moment I chickened out. It seemed like a far too extravagant expense just for a few weeks.

Steve took us home to his house for a steak dinnner. We had an excellent evening. It was fun to catch up with Steve and news of common friends. Thanks a lot Steve, you can report to Susan that you were an excellent host.

Today we sailed back to Hampton, and tomorrow we begin sailing north in the Chesapeake. No destination, no goal. Just 3 days of southerly winds ahead of us.

As we sailed into Hampton this afternoon we saw the carrier USS George Washington returing from an overseas tour. She had 3,000 sailors standing at attention on deck with their dress whites on. That made a very impressive sight.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

Jennifer is here sailing with us. The weather is beautiful & the ride very relaxing. We'll be in Norfolk, VA tomorrow night.
Jenny brought my computer with her. It was repaired (supposedly). When I started it, I got the same disk error as the original fault. They fixed the keyboard, but not the disk. I'll have to send it back for a another go-around. Oh no. Another 3 to 4 weeks with no computer. What will I do? Buy another to hold me over? Stay tuned.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Charleston, S.C.

Position N 32 47 W 79 49

Heading North.

Waiting for wind.

Posted by John

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wilmington Island

Wilmington Island, Ga Public Library

Well I waited too long to fix the computer. I was getting ready to transmit a blog when my laptop said "Error during delayed write." I rebooted it and during the boot it said it was running CHKDISK (SCANDISK?) I let it run. That was a big mistake. When it finished it said "Error writing bitmap. Unable to write C:\". I rebooted again and now it just says "read error" and nothing more. I think that the disk's directory FAT is trashed. It can be recovered but it might be expensive, so I sent the laptop off to the manufacturer for repair. They will probably replace or reformat the hard disk and I'll loose all emails since last October, and loose my address book once again. Don't look for regular blogs to resume until late in May.

We've been having a wonderful time on the ICW. It started with a cruise up from St. Augustine. I wanted to sail outside, but the winds were too close to being headwinds. We stayed inside, and for a while I was in a bad mood because I thought we made the wrong choice. Soon however it turned into a beautiful day and the waterway was very nice and very interesting. We anchored at Alligator Creek (30 34.563N 81 28.285W) in the exact spot where I anchored for a week last year waiting for Libby to fly down from West Charlton.

Saturday, the weather became fierce. Just as we passed the Wolf Bay nuclear sub base, the winds got up to 31 knots and the waves were so choppy that our prop came out of the water every few seconds. We were forced to turn back and stop at the nearest anchorage (30 51.584N 81.30.257W)

Sunday it was a much nicer day and we enjoyed the different character of the Georgia ICW. The ICW follows rivers surrounded by very wide flood plains and salt marshes. There are almost no houses or camps on the shorelines on either side. It must be that the shores are inaccessible by car. As a result we saw lots of nature, lots of wildlife, lots of dolphins, and very little evidence of people. The weather was splendid. We anchored for the night on the Hampton River (31 17.069N 81.22.793)

Monday was more of the same, splendid weather and beautiful nature. We anchored at the north end of Saint Catherine Island (31 41.480N 81 09.273W) and took the dinghy into the beach. We were able to walk several miles around the north end of the Island to the ocean beach side. It was lovely, and again there was no evidence of other people to see. It was great.

Tuesday, still more splendid weather. We're stopped in Turner Creek, next to Wilmington Island GA. We plan to stay here for several days. We can take a bus from here into Savannah so there may be no need to sail up the Savannah River.

Along the way we met American Spirit, a cruise ship that cruises the ICW. Our friends Norman and Martha were looking for such a cruise. I don't know where it originates, but American Spirit's Captain told me that their destination was Charleston. They stop most nights at interesting places. Sounds like a very fun cruise.

From here we can continue up the ICW through South Carolina, or head outside to make a direct passage to Cape Fear or to Norfolk. We're still worried though about getting too far north too fast. We're like Floridians, with a new-found aversion to cold.