Thursday, October 31, 2013

Where the Tony Sopranos Hang Out

Rockledge Creek, New Symrna Beach, FL

If you have ever watched the Sopranos TV series, you may remember the scene where Tony and his son take Tony's boat out.  They behave like louts, and their wake swamped nearby boaters.  

Most boaters are friendly, courteous and informed about the rules of the road and etiquette afloat.  But there are always a few Tonys.  Below, I'll make a minor expose and tell where in our experience the preponderance of Tonys hang out along the east coast.

  • The Hudson River between Poughkeepsie and the Tappan Zee Bridge
  • Cape May, New Jersey
  • The Potomac River, near Quantico and Potomac Creek
  • The ICW just north of the Ben Sawyer Bridge in Charleston, SC
  • Daytona Beach, Florida
  • The Saint Lucie River, Florida
  • North Miami, Florida
  • Cape Coral, Florida

Easy Living

En Route ICW
29 29.487 N 081 08.464 W

A week ago we were agonizing about being stuck on the ICW and longed for the open sea.  Today and yesterday the weather and winds were ideal for sailing offshore, but we're content here on the ICW.  What's up?   First, the Florida ICW is much nicer and free of hazards, shoals, strong currents, and large tides than the ICW in the Carolinas or Georgia.   Second, life is easy and fun on the ICW around here.

Two days ago we did provisioning in Saint Augustine. I also picked up some key parts and materials at the Sailors Exchange there (an institution not quite unique but rare and precious).

Yesterday we stopped at the Marineland Marina for the first time ever.  We've heard good reports about that, and we can echo them.   We went across the street to Marineland (See the picture of Libby engaged in intense conversation with her dolphin.).  I went there once before 60+ years ago, but I looked a lot different then.  Marineland however is 75 years old.  Not quite as glorious as it once was, but still fun.

Today Daytona, tomorrow we'll try to have lunch with our friend Kerry in New Smyrna Beach and then on to The Indian River.  The weather remains delightful.  Easy living.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Night Apparitions

Saint Augustine, Florida
29 53.353 N 081 19.317 W

We both continue to rejoice at the nice weather here.  60 at night, 80 in the afternoon.  What could be better?

I'm writing today about how difficult to be to recognize things on the water at night based on their lights.  I'm sure you know that the basic lighting scheme for boats is the same world wide and has been uncanged for centuries.  One red light visible to port.  One green light visible to starboard.  One white light visible from behind.   Therefore, you should always be able to see either red/green, red/white, green/white, or just white and from that you can tell which way the other boat is pointing.  Things like buoys and lighthouses mostly have blinking lights.  But real life is a lot more complicated.

The other night at sea, Libby saw what appeared to be a fishing vessel.  They usually use lots of white lights to illuminate the work.  According to Libby this one showed an arrow, then it swung around with the arrow pointing the other way, so she was despeately turning Tarwathie this way and that to avoid collision..   It was time to switch watch, so when I came up, I found and AIS signal for the vessel.  It was anchored.  As I sailed past it, I could see no red or green lights, just lots of white lights.  There was no arrow.  It just seemed that way to Libby.

When it came time to anchor, I was the one fooled.  There were a whole bunch of multicolored lights near our planned anchorage.  It looked to me like one of those giant dredges, with cranes and steam shovels on deck and with a three story hotel for the workers.   I anchored far away, not wanting to be too close to such a floating city.  The next morning, when I looked it was just a cluster of anchored sailboats.  I think some of them had blue LED lights on that added to my confusion.

Numerous times at sea we have been fooled by the orange color of a rising moon.  It looks like a giant ship heading for us.

Coming into Fernandina, Libby said "Is that a cruise ship coming out?"   I looked at where she pointed.  "No," I said, "It is a paper factory on land."

Once down in the keys I interpreted headlights of cars coming up and over the hump of a bridge as landing lights of a series of planes landing.

Strangest of all was one night when Libby was alone on deck and she saw a single orange light right in front of us and very close.  It turned out to be a surfaced submarine.

The point is simply that it can be devilishly difficult to correctly identify what you see at night.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Welcome To Florida

En Route, The Tolomato River
30 21.914 N 08 26.694 W

Now for the rewards.  We had an exceptionally hard time getting here, what with groundings, engine trouble and weather.  But now we're here and the rewards are flowing.

First, the weather is delightful.  Mid 70s right not, high today 80 and low tonight about 60.  The sun feels so good.

Second, we are south of the Saint Johns River and all the stressful parts of this migration.  From here on south shoals are infrequent, safe anchorages are abundant, and the weather for the next week seems benign.

Third, we are able to stop and visit with friends.  Yesterday it was Charlie and Mary in Fernandina Beach.  They are a couple we met at the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center years ago and who have become closer over the years.  They treated us to a nice lunch at a swanky golf club.  (Amelia Island has lots of swanky places.)   I was able to watch the golfers out the window as I munched.  Thanks so much Charlie and Mary.

Put all three together, and I guess we have to award Florida near paradise status.  Ignore the fact that law enforcement is nutty, and the politics dicey.  It's still great.  Oh by the way, Florida has its share of kooks and yesterday I read that some Floridians are rushing to buy Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman costumes for Halloween.  Jeez, that 's exactly what the world does not need.   They won't bother us however, never yet has a Halloween trick or treater swum out to our boat while we sit at anchor.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

We're Here! Thank goodness.


30 45.679 N 081 28.419 W


Well, it sure has been a problematical migration, but the major milestone is behind us. We are in Florida and it is warm.

Our 35 hour passage was OK. Not the best, nor the worst. We had wind, for the first 15 hours. Indeed, for two or three hours we screamed along at 8-9 knots. In case you don't know, that is much faster than Tarwathie's hull speed and supposedly impossible to achieve.

But then the wind died and we had to motor the last 15 hours. So be it. We were tired of waiting for ideal windows.

Along the way we had dolphins, no whales, and two birdie num nums. Let me explain. Num nums are the name we use for land birds that find Tarwathie as a haven more than twenty miles off shore. We presume that these birds would have died if they didn't find something dry to land on. Typically, they ride along with us until we get close enough to land for them to fly off. Can this be the mechanism for bird life to spread its genes to remote islands? Most num nums are goldfinches, as was one of these. The other was a sparrow.

I had a special treat as the goldfinch managed to catch a moth way out there at sea. He landed near my knee with his catch (by then he had become partially tame.). I watched as he waited until the moth's fluttering slowed and stopped. The the coup de grace. Then munch munch leading to the finale. In one fluid motion he flipped the corpse 90 degrees then swallowed it whole head first. Pretty slick. He did not burp that I heard.

The nighttime cold at sea was not as bad as we feared. I suppose it was the moderating effect of the water surface. Within two meters of the surface, it's hard for the wind to be significantly warmer or colder than the water.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Change Plans Again

En Route, Wacamaw River
33 22251 N 079 06.001 W

Yesterday, I decided to stay on the ICW because of cold temperatures.   But last night, I checked on the condition of the ICW ahead of us.  The ICW is in terrible shape this year.  Numerous serious shoaling places prevent passage except at high tide.

Then I checked the weather.  No chance of good winds in the next few days, until November 1 when it looks like a major storm brewing.   Yuck.

So, I changed our plans once again.   We will go to sea at the mouth of this river (at Winyah Bay) today.  I'm prepared to motor all the way to Florida if necessary, although we hate doing that.  We'll be close to the coast so that we could duck back inside if necessary.    Temperatures will hit 43 tonight and 47 tomorrow night.

I just tested our pactor modem.  That is the device that connects the PC to the SSB radio and that allows us to post blogs and receive textual weather forecasts while at sea.  The pactor modem did not work.  It has no power.  It has been more than a year since I tried to turn it on.   Bottom line, do not expect any blog posts while we are at sea.  ETA Fernandina Beach, 72 hours.

By the way, we stopped at Osprey Marina last night.  We were delighted to meet six of our cruising friends there.  Among them were Ted and Nancy from Aloha Friday.  They are among our favorite cruisers.  That was a special treat.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lack of Reserves

 Myrtle Beach, SC
33 50.986 N 078 39.573 W

Well, we're still on the ICW and it looks like we'll be there another few days.  Sigh.   The reason is weather.  Yesterday it was fierce winds against us.  Today and tomorrow it is temperature.  Nighttime temperatures will be in the 30s and I am not willing to be out at sea in an open cockpit all night in those conditions.

The deeper reason is a lot harder, even painful, to talk about.  I'm afraid this body is getting old and not able to do things it once could. (Get your mind out of the gutter. That part still works fine.)  I realized this summer that I should not drive a car after dark.  I notice that I'm becoming more and more of a klutz.  I make mistakes.  More mistakes than in the past.  I noticed it in 2012 up on Lake Champlain.  It bothered me enough that I thought a winter's hiatus in New Bern might improve things.  It didn't.

More important, I don't have the reserves of strength and stamina that I once did.   I know that once out at sea, sleep deprivation is inevitable.  Add to that bad weather and near-freezing temperatures and one needs to draw on one's reserves.  If the reserves are inadequate, both judgement and performance go to hell, and I would not be a safe captain.  That's what is spooking me.  

Interestingly, Libby feels safer at sea than in the ICW.  There are not many things to run in to or risks of going aground.  But Libby does not have the burden of the captain's role.  

Many friends and acquaintances think us very adventuresome and brave to live the life we do.  We're only human and we like to bask in the flattery, so we are in no hurry to disabuse them of their illusions.  In reality, we are very cautions.  As my skills go down, I'll have to adjust the boundaries of what we will and won't do appropriately just to maintain a constant margin of caution.  That hurts.

There may be remedies, and we will explore them. Some things that come to mind are formal check lists, limiting offshore passages to daytime only, and perhaps always taking on extra crew for offshore passages.  Any or all of those things impinge on the freedom we once had.

Today's interesting sight.  The top level of those boats appear to be flying in the sky.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Saint James Marina, Saint James, NC
33 55.62 N 78 07.588 W

Now the frustration level is rising rapidly.  We sailed down the Cape Fear River today with the intention of putting out to sea.  But the wind was too fierce and the wrong direction.  It was coming from 323 degrees, when our intended course was 325 degrees, and it was blowing 30 knots.  Tarwathie can't make much way at all in those conditions.   Therefore, we'll sail on the ICW down to Little River and try to put to sea from there tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Seen and Unseen

Carolina Beach State Park


We are planning on leaving Wednesday. In the meantime, we are enjoying where we are. This park is a jewel.

We are only 60 yards from the ICW. We see cruising boats heading south all the time.

I mentioned that this place has the best pine needles anyplace. Perhaps the reason is that the park has regular controlled burns. Thus the small pine trees growing up are young and well fertilized. Below you see Libby hiking on one of the trails. A small tree with luscious needles can be seen at the left.

Also interesting is what we don't see. At least don't see very much. This park is host to numerous carnivorous plants. Pitcher plants, bladderworts, sundews,butterworts, and Venus flytraps. Of course we are curious to see such exotic plants. But hiking the trails, we were unable to spot any. I think the problem is that our eyes aren't trained. We see forest, and swamp, and lots of plants. We tend to see the plants collectively. Unless they have bright flowers or something distinctive, we don't see the individuals. Finally, I found the pitcher plant below, but only because the park built a boardwalk side trail leading to a dead end with the pitcher plant at the end.



Monday, October 21, 2013

Morning Report

Carolina Beach State Park
34 03.025 N 077 55.136 W

Things continue looking good.  I changed the oil and filter again this morning. The inventory was correct, no water pumped out, no milky oil.  I added 1/2 ounce of WD40 to the fresh oil and I'll leave it there.  Some people, notably my friend Jay, had chronic engine trouble as a long term consequence of getting salt water in the engine.  I hope to escape that fate.

The weather forecast deteriorated.  Monday and Tuesday look less appealing.  On the other hand, Wed/Thu/Fri seems like a perfect window to head to Florida.  We'll stay here today.  Who knows where tomorrow?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A-OK All Green

Carolina Beach State Park
34 03.025 N 077 55.136 W

The boat and the engine performed just fine today.  No problems.  The oil level at the dipstick is the same as it was this morning.  I'll sample the oil in the morning.  I'll also do an oil change.
After that we have a choice.  We can leave tomorrow around 11 AM and go to sea out the Cape Fear River.  Or we can stay another day and leave Tuesday.   We'll see in the morning.

In case you don't know.  This park is ground zero for pine needles.  The longest and finest needles we ever saw grow here.   Libby already has a good supply, but I'm sure she'll want to forage while we are here.

Progress Report

En Route, ICW
34 30.531 N 077 24.077 W

We have a lot of people concerned about us, so I'll post progress reports.

We ran the engine for three hours yesterday.  I tied it to the dock, put it in gear and reved up to 2000 RPM.  That created a huge white water wake behind us, and soon brought the temperature up to 200 F.   At first there was lots of steam coming from the exhaust.  That was a sign that the engine was still wet.   After an hour, the steam went away.  That was a sign that the engine was dry.  I let it idle another two hours.

I also put two ounces of WD-40 into the motor oil.  WD-40 absorbs water.  My friend Jay expressed concern about the springs in the injector pump, if they touched water.  Perhaps the WD-40 might absorb any water in that pump.

I also sampled the oil from the bottom of the sump last night. It showed no signs of water and the oil was black, not milky.   Good signs.

We will head for Carolina Beach State Park tonight.  I'll change the oil once again down there, tomorrow (Monday).  If the sump still shows good oil by Tuesday morning, I'll say that we are OK.  That should add another 8 hours of engine time to further dry the engine.

The other good news is that the most recent weather report is better.  Every day between now and Friday shows favorable winds to head for Florida.

We are on our way :-)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Who's Fault? The Captain's Of Course

Sneads Ferry, NC, Swan Point Marina
34 32.703 077 21.644

First the good news. The engine is running fine once again and we don't think there was any real damage.
Next the explanation. The problem was a loop in the raw water cooling line without a working siphon break at the top. It allowed the cooling engine to suck water and to start a siphon. I remember now installing a new hose on that loop a few years ago, but I didn't have the parts for the siphon break. Then, I must have forgotten about it and put everything back together and departed without the break. My stupidity.

We got away with it for 1? 2? 3? years (I can't remember how long ago I did that.) What happened different the other night. We had raced to catch a draw bridge and soon after shut the engine down with the block hotter than normal.
So still good news. The remedy to prevent this from happening again was simple and much cheaper than a cracked block or other nightmare scenarios.

The bad news? $500 out today, plus $450 at Sailcraft in Oriental (I bought new engine mounts there for $300 that I won't install until we get to Vero.) That's $950 on the engine this week. Add to that $3800 in September 2012 and $1500 in May 2012, and $650 in January 2012. We use the engine a lot. About 1000 hours per year. It is becoming very expensive. The worst thing is that every one of those repairs could have been avoided if I were smarter.

But last the excellent news: We resume our trip south tomorrow. I won't go out to sea until we see the engine work OK Sunday morning, and Monday morning. That's hard to say because there is a weather window exactly those two days. But it would not be prudent with such a major thing unproven. (Suppose our theory about the siphon break is all wrong and the real cause remains undiscovered. That's the risk.)

For the technically minded, see the pictures below.  The first picture shows the top of the loop with the new siphon break installed.  That is the part that was missing.  The second picture shows the engine; the loop is the black hose that disappears up at the top left of the picture and reappears coming down at the top right of the picture.  It carries salt water from the engine to the injection port of the exhaust header.  The red hose goes from the siphon break to the cockpit drain hose.   A thin stream of water runs through that hose when the engine is running, and air can flow back up (breaking the siphon) when the engine is shut down.

A story for another day.  I have a high rise exhaust header that I bought from Bud Taplin but I have not been able to install it. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bite My Tongue

Sneads Ferry, NC, Swan Point Marina
34 32.703 077 21.644

I closed yesterday's blog saying, "One day, one grounding. Hmmmm, this could be an interesting trip. " Bite my tongue, I din't mean to call a jinx on our heads.

This morning at 0630, we prepared to get underway.  I went to start the engine, nothing but a clunk.  Uh Oh.  I investigated.  The batteries were fine.  The starter was fine, but the starter wouldn't turn the engine.   Uh Oh. I tried to turn the engine by hand.  It was frozen.

I called Beta and described the problem.  They said water in the cylinders.  What the F*!  But it sounds correct.   I had to call Tow Boat US to come and tow us to the nearest marina.  That's where we are.  A mechanic looked at it today, but he can't help me to remove the glow plugs until tomorrow.  Then we have to figure out how the water got in there.

I drained the engine sump.  I got 4 quarts of nearly clean water plus 5 quarts of oil.  The oil was not milky.  That means the water must have leaked in overnight when the engine was not running.

Today is Friday.  Best case scenario, sometime next week (and minus a big pile of dollars) before we can get out of here.

Ay ay ay ay ay.

p.s. The marines were active last night. But modernized.  Instead of helicopters they now use those Osprey tiltrotor planes  to do their stuff.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Score, 1 hit, 0 balls, 1 strike

Mile Hammock Bay

34 33.076 N 077 19.476 W

Out first full day of cruising, and it was a very very nice one. (The hit) It started at 0630 with a lovely dawn seen through morning fog. I can't say that we've ever seen a dawn quite like that.

The day was sunny and just a tad on the cool side. Traffic was light, being a week day. The tides were more against us than with, but we are here at our anchorage 3 hours before dark.

We find that our skills are still rusty, so a few days on the sheltered ICW won't hurt at all.

The strike? We ran aground just north of the Onslow Bridge. Darn. It was in a spot that I used to have marked with a skull and crossbones danger symbol on my GPS, but for some reason, I erased that mark last year. Anyhow, it was on a rising tide. We were ready to wait until high tide, but right away along came a trawler that towed us off. The trawler was The Suzette, a vessel we met some years ago in Labelle, Florida. Once again, the community of cruisers proves its worth. Thank you The Suzette.

One day, one grounding. Hmmmm, this could be an interesting trip.

P.s. Mile Hammock Bay is on Camp Lejune property. Once before in this place we saw a show of marines rappelling down from helicopters, both day and night. Who knows, maybe we will have some marine entertainment tonight also.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Nothing serious.

Oriental, NC, Starcraft Boatyard

35 01.987 N 076 41.136 W

Our engine vibration turned out to be partially some loose bolts, and partially overly stiff motor mounts. We tightened the bolts and bought new mounts, but we can't install them until we get to Florida. As soon as we pay our bill, we can leave.

Tomorrow's weather sounds yucky. Friday sounds like the best day to be on the outside. We will see. Libby is antsy. She wants to go to sea even if we have to doggy paddle.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Big Milestone, Little Progress

Oriental, NC, Starcraft Boatyard

35 01.987 N 076 41.136 W


We are en route! After a year's hiatus, we are now officially cruisers once again. Need I say that we are very happy about that.

Not only that, but the wind cooperated and we had a nice sail down here from New Bern. It was cold and damp but we didn't care. So much to motivate us to get our butts south.

Our engine problem didn't get fixed, so we will stay here overnight. Tomorrow, the head mechanic from Beta Marine (our engine manufacturer) will come to help diagnose the problem. The symptom is vibrations at low speed, when in neutral. At cruising RPM, it is smooth as could be, Daryl, the mechanic here is stumped. I raised suspicion about the brand new transmission and damper plate that we installed in Whitehall, NY a year ago. There are only 100 engine hours since that.

But we are not discouraged or frustrated yet. We are too happy to be cruisers once again.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ready, Get Set, ...

New Bern, NC

Well, we are at the starting gate and ready to go. All chores and projects are. Complete (but not the to-do list, that never gets to zero). Tomorrow morning we leave.

We won't go to sea directly. We are going to stop in Oriental at Sailcraft first to check out a slight problem with the engine.

The wind forecast doesn't look promising. No wind. We may have to spend a few days on the ICW. So be it.

Thanks Dave for helping us with the final batch of chores.

Oh boy. Oh boy. We are really up for this. It has been roughly a year since we pulled in to New Bern. That's much too long for a cruiser to stay in one place.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Lake Champlain in October

Zebulon, NC

Jenny send this picture today of Lake Champlain.   The vantage point appears to be just off Burlington, looking at Shelburne Point.

A lot of my passion for sailing came from a series of one week vacations spent sailing on Champlain in October.   The lake is at its best in all respects that time of year.   Each week brings every possible kind of weather, from storms to dead calm.   The fall foliage is at its peak.  The migration of geese is at its peak.  Plus that, the luck boater has almost the whole lake to himself.

p.s. We sold the car today.  Now we are once again carless and homeless, and only a couple of days away from resuming our crusing life.   We really look forward to that.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013


Zebulon, NC

In the previous post, I talked about day people versus date people.   Actually, the piece was too short.  I should have mentioned the date problems we have ourselves.   In particular, we have a whole slew of date problems related to our departure from North Caronlina next week.  In my defense, I'll say that go/no-go decisions are still based on weather.   However, that does not make us immune to anxiety regarding when we will be ready to go.

My original thought was to leave this coming weekend.  To prepare for that, we had to accomplish four things.

  1. Check the weather.
  2. Finish boat projects.  I need to put some hardware back, including the dodger.  (p.s. the primer coat of white paint on the top decks is done.  Tarwathie's top decks look lovely at least from a distance.  I'll post a picture.)  I also need to go aloft for a full rigging inspection.
  3. Provision the boat.
  4. Sell the car.
The first threat to this plan came last weekend:
Atlantic Tropical Weather Discussion October 6, 2013
An area of disturbed weather now located well to the north-northeast of Puerto Rico is forecast to track west to west-northwestward this week and be located pretty close to the coast of North Carolina late this week where the majority of the guidance are now pointing to a scenario that this storm which will stall near the coast of North Carolina during the upcoming Columbus Day weekend and combine with strong high pressure over New England and produce gale to possibly storm-force easterly onshore winds along the coast from New Jersey to North Carolina throughout the Columbus Day weekend.
Fortunately, when I rechecked the weather just now, that threat is gone.

Next, selling the car.   Libby was anxious that I not sell the car too early because we needed it this past month.   So I waited until the last minute.  However, I forgot one detail, to pay off the loan so that I had the title in hand to be prepared to sell.  I called the bank last Thursday.   They said the only way to do that in a hurry was to send a cashiers check for the total balance.  I did that.  I spent $20 for a cashiers check and $20 for express mail.  The post office guaranteed delivery by Friday noon.  Fine.

I called the bank Friday afternoon.  "Nope, nothing in the mail from me.  Try again after the 3PM mail pickup."  I called that evening; nothing.  I called their 24/7 number on Saturday, still nothing.  I checked with the tracking number.  It said "Available for pickup 10:59 AM Friday."  Then I realized my mistake.  It was sent to the only address I had for the bank; a p.o. box number.  But the post office won't put express mail in the box, it needs a signature.  They put a notice in the box to come to the counter.  But the bank person who gathers mail from the box, doesn't read the mail, he just takes it back to the bank.   So by sending the check via expresss mail to a p.o. box, I did not speed things up, I inserted delay one or more business days into the cycle.  

I became frantic.  I called a half dozen bank phone numbers and Portsmouth, NH post office numbers on Sunday and Monday.  But it eventually worked out, and by 1 PM on Tuesday, I had the title in my hand.  This illustrates, a big weakness of mine -- I am very poor at dealing with bureaucracy.  I imagine the worst, and my blood pressure soars just in anticipation.  By the time I speak with a real person, I'm already an emotional wreck.

But now I have a buyer for the car, and we will close the transaction on Friday morning.  Whew.

So what's the point of this long story?   Our adaptation to the cruising life has made us even less competent to deal with the date-centric realities of being a citizen in the modern world.  It has become worse in the past year since staying the winter in New Bern, and buying a car.   We desperately need to get back on the boat, and to resume our cruising life.  It may take a year or so to erase the effects of this hiatus.

Once you have achieved the tranquility of retirement and cruising, guard it carefully.  It may be fragile.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Day People Versus Date People

New Bern, NC

We invited our grandson Nick to come visit and take a day sail this weekend.  Nick is a soldier stationed at Fort Bragg.   I checked the weather, Sataturday looked like zero wind, and Sunday 10-15 knots.  I told Nick that Sunday would be better.

But Nick is a date person.   He had plans for Sunday to get errands done in preparation for Monday.   He came for a Saturday sail.  Well, the forecast were right, we were skunked on the weather.  Zero wind, hot, humid and unpleasant.   Poor Nick, he didn't get a good day.

You see, there is an impedance mismatch between boaters and "ordinary" people.  Boaters (not just cruisers) look at the weather, and pick a good day.   Other people look at the calendar, choose a day by other criteria and hope that the weather is good.

It is not just Nick, we encounter this problem all the time when we make plans to share things with non-boaters.   They use calendars, we use weather reports.   When we traveled the country by car last spring, we kept our boaters habits.  We were going to visit friends.  When would be be there?  Say, somewhere between 1 and 3 weeks, is that OK?   No, that's not OK, our friends lives were dominated by calendars.  They had to fit us into available slots on their schedules.

Many times we have invited friends to share passages with us, both offshore and inland.  9 times out of 10 it doesn't work because their schedules are too busy to allow spontaneity.

Is that part of the magic that makes cruisers so lucky, and that makes so many others dream about cruising some day?   Slavery to the calendar is slavery indeed.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

All Warnings But One

New Bern, NC

On our road trip we of course saw lots of road signs.  We saw signs warning us of almost all possible things.

Low shoulders, no shoulders, damaged road, narrow road,  low gear required,  water on the road, no water next x miles, reduced speed ahead, reduced speed.

Steep road, 4% grade, 6% grade, 8% grade, 12% grade, brake checks required, runaway truck ramp.

Deer crossing, panther crossing, alligator crossing, cow crossing, bear crossing, antelope crossing, bison crossing, moose crossing, pedestrian crossing, school crossing, railroad crossing, airplane crossing, sheep crossing, bicycle crossing, coyote crossing, horse crossing, tractor crossing, snowmobile crossing, off road vehicle crossing.

Free range

Children, deaf children, prison no stopping.

Falling rocks, fallen rocks, mud slide, blowing sand, blowing smoke, high cross winds, bridge freezing, icy roads, tire chains required in winter, avalanche, turn around and go back when flashing, fire danger today X%.

Road construction, repair in progress, road work, detour, road closed, wild fire, crime scene, loose gravel, broken pavement, bump, hump, dip, blasting, excavation, grooved pavement, do not follow me, stay back 500 feet.

No outlet, dead end, private road, caution, lane ends, merge right, merge left, exit left, no exit, no reentry, toll road, motor vehicles only, no motor vehicles, trucks entering, one way, wrong way, wrong way go back, restricted area, entry restricted, entry forbidden, traffic signal ahead, be prepared to stop, dangerous intersection, low bridge, sharp turn, no trucks or RVs allowed, 4 wheel drive only.

Slow, stop, yield, maximum speed, minimum speed, slow down, no turns, all turns, exit right for left turn, no left turn, no right on red, right turn only.

Speed bumps, speed humps, traffic calming device, do not back up.

One of my favorites was the one in the picture below.  The sign was accurate.

Hurricane evacuation route, winding road, steep curve, curves, Amish wagons, tipping trucks, motorcycles use caution, cattle guard, flash floods.

Speed enforced by radar, speed enforced by airplane, increased fines in work zones, sobriety checkpoint, customs and border protection checkpoint, border crossing.

No hazardous material, hazardous exit here, truck route, no trucks, no engine breaking.

We did not actually see this sign; just heard about it.

I'm sure there are many more I can't remember.  But I'm reasonably certain there is one sign you'll never see.