Sunday, June 29, 2014

Binge Gardening

When people ask Libby what she misses on the boat, her answer is always "gardening." There is precious little place for a plant on Tarwathie, so she can't satisfy her urges on board. Visiting Dave and Jen gives her the opportunity to binge on gardening in their yards.
Yes "binge" is the right word. She is out there at 6 AM. She works until 7 PM with almost no break. She does that 7 days per week. In the picture, you see her at at 6 in the morning light. I'm very happy that she has the chance to satisfy those urges.
Me? What I miss is a Lazy Boy recliner chair. That is something you'll never see on a Westsail, nor in a local library, nor in any marina we know. Sigh.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Burlington International Airport (BTV)

Burlington International Airport (BTV), Vermont

My heart soars. We have returned to the proposed land.

The other day, while Libby and Vicky played at Jen's house, I spent the day alone in Porter Bay. The tranquility and the beautiful nature were wonderfully refreshing.

Yesterday I continued up the lake alone. It was a totally calm day. The lake surface was like a mirror, showing reflections of the mountain. We (Tarwathie and I) passed into the northern part of the lake filled with cool, clear, clean, sweet, fresh water. We both said a silent "Ah", just like that old man in Ipanema said as the girl walked past. The mountains looksd spectacular.

I felt sorry for a couple we met on a trawler doing The Great Loop. They passed here two days ago in a torrential rain, when visibility would be nearly zero and missed the nicest scenery of the entire loop.
This morning I am at my favorite morning place - BTV airport. At this time of day, there are alomost no people. I have an easy chair, expansive picture windows overseeing airport operations and a spectacular view of The Green Mountains. (Probably the best viewpoint in all of Vermont that is not a mountain top.). I can read the morning news, write a blog post and do my daily session of Leanord Susskind's physics courses, as I drink my coffee. It doesn't get better that this. The picture below is the view as I write this. Note the rocking chairs facing the windows. Mount Mansfield is on the left and Camels Hump on the right. They are the most famous mountains in Vermont.

We can only do this when the winds are not strong because the only anchorage for Tarwathie in Burlington is horribly exposed with a long fetch. When the weather forecast calls for strong winds, we leave here for other sheltered, but delightful, places on the lake.

P.s. Today's Washington Post has a very scary article about North Carolina's outer banks. It said that in 100 years, much of the barrier islands will be under water and that Pamlico Sound will be more like Chesapeake Bay. Yikes! I don't like the sound of that. But of course we won't be here to see it. On yet another way, Libby and I are so fortunate to live in the times and the manner we do. We are very grateful.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Double Whoops

Porter Bay, VT

I'm single handing today.  Libby and Victoria are gardening at Jen's house.   Me? I'm just hanging out in one of my favorite places -- Porter Bay.  Porter Bay is where we sat out hurricane Irene.  It is pristine, and mostly uninhabited.  I'm the only person around.   There is lots of wildlife.  The sky is blue, the sun is warm.  Life is good.

One imagines travel by boat and by air as simple straight lines.  Bumps, loops, wiggles, and jerks are not expected in the trajectory.  When they do it is a case of Whoops.  Below are two such cases from recent experience.

Whoops number 1: (below) This screen shot was taken from our GPS in Abemarle Sound, in North Carolina.  What do you suppose caused that S-shaped course deviation?   Well, I was on watch as we motored across the sound.  Then I noticed that our speed had suddenly dropped from 5.5 knots to 4.0 knots.  "Uh Oh," I thought, "the last time that happened we had snagged a lobster trap in The Gulf of Mexico and dragged it for miles.  I'll bet we snagged a crab trap and were dragging it."  Remedy number 1, I put the engine in reverse and backed at full speed trying to dislodge the trap.  Then back to forward to test the result.  No change.   I sighed.  Then I stripped (nobody was around), put on my mask and snorkel, grabbed a knife and jumped overboard to cut loose the trap.   The water was dark brown so nothing could be seen from the surface.  When I got down there, I found nothing.  There was no trap.

The explanation turned out to be simple tidal currents.  I am accusomed to thinking that there are no tides on the inland waters of North Carolina, but this spot is an exception.  A 1.5 knot ebb tide flowed south and west of Roanoke Island, and that's what slowed us.  By the time I took the screen shot 5 minutes later, the speed was 4.35, and 20 minutes later it was the normal 5.5 knots.

Whoops number 2: (below) We did not do the canals last year, an I forgot some of the things I had learned before about mast stepping/unstepping, and navigating the canals.  One such thing is navigating under the many low bridges on the Erie Canal on autopilot.  You see, our autopilot steers by compass, and these old bridges are low and magnetized.   I forgot to put the autopilot on manual as we passed under the bridge and the autopilot went crazy.  That's what caused the violent and wild  dipsy doodle in the magenta track line seen below.  (look carefully, the dipsy doodle is right on top of the "73 44" text marking longitude.  The parallel wide yellow line is the bridge.) Fortunately, I did not hit any other vessels or anything on shore.

 I took the screen shot two days later as we were retracing out steps. That is why it shows us pointing toward the dipsy doodle rather than away from it.

Both incidents are examples of why a real human must remain alert on watch all the time.  Things happen.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Sailboat Once Again

Chipman Point, Onwell, Vermont
43 47.969 N 073 22.546 W
Oh, it feels so good to be a sailboat once again. The mast is up, the sails are bent and we are ready to sail tomorrow. Hooray!
It was a three person job and Victoria was great help. Thank you Vicky.
This also marks the end of Tarwathie's 2014 northward migration which started April 13 in Boot Key Harbor. As much fun as it is to migrate, the beauty of Lake Champlain and The Keys waters makes arrival at the destination joyful.
We'll be here until at least Labor Day. Nothing ahead but fun for the next 2.5 months. Libby can do gardening at Jen's house. We'll visit Valcour Island, Vergennes, our friends Bob and Carol, and Libby's cousin Jane. We have several friends who promised to come north for a day sail this summer. Good. We love having company.
But first, we have to get past tomorrow. A cold front with thunderstorms will pass. I plan to hole up in Porter Bay, and we should arrive there by 1400, hopefully before the storms. In Porter Bay we can go swimming for the first time since leaving Boot Key Harbor.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Nuku Hiva Rendezvous

Champlain Canal
423 22.808 N 073 29.245 W

We have Vermont mountains in sight!   Hooray.  

We'll spend Saturday/Sunday in Whitehall.  We get to show Vicytoria the neat Skenesboro Museum and have a formal tea at Skene Manor up on the mountain.  Cool.

I heard this morning from our friend Jill who is circumnavigating in her Westsail 32.  She arrived at Nuku Hiva in the Marquessas.  There she found 5 other Westsails and they are having an impromptu rendezvous.  I think that is so cool.

As happy as we are with the cruising life niche we found, we still greatly admire circumnavigators.  Especially Westsail circumnavigators.  Three cheers for them.

Taiohare Bay, Nuku Hiva

Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia

French Polynesia Centered in this map.

Friday, June 20, 2014

211 Feet

Waterford, NY

Tuesday night we tied up at Lock 7 in Niskayuna and had dinner with our friends Fred and Mary who live nearby.   That is always a treat to see them.

Fred is retired but he used to be a pilot and a flight instructor.  Fred once asked me if it didn't seem like magic that an airplane weighing tons could actually lift itself off the ground and fly.  I answered, "No, that seems perfectly natural to me."

What seems unnatural is that on Tuesday, Tarwathie sailed from sea level to +211 feet (64 meters) above sea level.  Today, we are doing the reverse.  Sailing vessels are meant to roam the seven seas around the globe, but to do so at sea level.

What is Tarwathie's altitude record?  I don't remember exactly, somewhere around 300 feet somewhere along the Erie Canal.

What is the world's highest altitude that a vessel like Tarwathie can reach?  I don't know.  That's a great trivia question.   Perhaps a reader will tell me.   My guess is that it is in Europe near the Danube River.

What is the world'w lowest altitude that a vessel like Tarwathie can reach?  Being below sea level is even more bizarre, but not impossible.   Once again, I'll depend on readers to tell me.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

And Now We Are Three

Erie Canal
45 50.073 N 073 52.542 W

The crew of the good ship Tarwathie just grew by 50%.   Our granddaughter Victoria is the 3rd person on board for the next couple of weeks.   It is going to be fun.

To accomplish that, we made a side trip up the Erie Canal to Scotia, NY.  At Scotia we tied up to the town docks, and I rented a car and drove to Utica to pick Vicky up.   But as a prerequisite to that we had to wait for the flood on the Mohawk River to subside.  We were stuck in Waterford for 4 days waiting for that.   But now we're heading East again and we'll tie up at Waterford again tonight.

Like us.  Victoria has numerous ties to both New York and Vermont, so after leaving us, she'll continue her summer fun.

I really wish that I could post lots of pictures of Vicky here, but she's shy and not fond of having her picture taken.  The picture below I stole from her Facebook profile.

Welcome aboard 2nd mate Victoria Mills.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

R.I.P. Claiborne Young

Waterford, NY
42 47.286 N 73 40.813 N

We mourn the loss of a giant figure in the US East Coast boating community, Claiborne Young. 

Mr. Young was a prolific author, speaker, and advocate for boating issues, and the founder of Non-boaters won't recognize the name, but they could compare it to the sense of personal loss when a familiar figure in your daily life, perhaps Brian WIlliams, passed.

I never met Mr. Young personally, but I corresponded with him often.  He accomplished more to protect boating interests and to provide services to us cruisers than any dozen organizations like SSCA, or US Power Squadrons.   

He will be missed.  Condolences to Claiborne's family.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Just Do It

Waterford, NY
42 47.286 N 73 40.813 N

During our annual northward migration Libby and I encountered a couple in Elizabeth City just starting their cruising life. They had a new boat, with all new equipment, and all of one overnight trip for shakedown and preparation, before they set out to do the great loop. They were eager for advice and we tried to be helpful. I heard the captain say they had no paper charts. I swallowed and kept my mouth shut. But a bit later he mentioned that he had not yet downloaded any charts for his new electronic chart plotter. Their next stop was Hampton Roads. Fortunately, I was able to persuade him to not go another mile before downloading those charts.

A week later we met another couple in Catskill, New York heading south to Norfolk. They had a very worthy looking Baba 35 from Taiwan. But this couple was so green that they had never used and anchor and never stepped in a dinghy before. The captain asked me to explain how his manual windlass worked. Gulp.

In private, Libby and I expressed our doubts to each other about the chances for these folks carrying out their plans. But then two things hit me.

First, we have been full-time cruising for nearly 10 years now, but in 2005, we too were very green. That first year we made lots of mistakes and we were ignorant of many important things, but that first virgin year was magic.

 In 2005, we thought it would be cool to start with a cruise from New York to Alaska (via Panama) to visit our son. We got as far as Mexico. Then, anchored off Yucatan, we realized that was not what we wanted to do. We turned around and sailed back to The Florida Keys without ever going ashore in Mexico. As blunders go, that was pretty big. 

Also in 2005, I saw a sign in the river that said “Dismal Swamp Route”, so I took it. We discovered the Dismal Swamp Canal (DSC), and Elizabeth City and the Rose Buddies and we were enchanted. Everything we did that virgin year (dumb or smart) is etched into our brains as meaningful life experiences.

Second, we were forgetting the one rule that all veteran cruisers eventually learn. Plans are pretty worthless. So what if they don’t complete the loop, or get to the intended destination? They’ll have a wonderful time and learn many new things nevertheless. The point of cruising is to have fun, not to execute plans.

We also met a third couple. The husband had extensive boating experience and a very level-headed attitude, but the wife had nearly zero experience. They have a very limited budget and a very little 26 foot sailboat. Nevertheless, they plan to cruise to Boot Key Harbor. I’m confident that they’ll make it, and that it will be the adventure of a lifetime.

The point is that these couples (green or not) were doing the right thing. Instead of sitting home year after year dreaming about cruising, they were out there doing it. I say bravo for them.

Flip the coin: We also met a man at the DSC Welcome Center. He had an extensive sailing resume from The South Pacific. He had sailed all the island groups from Hawaii to The Phillpines. But now he bought a motorboat in North Carolina and wanted to bring it to Fort Lauderdale. He was afraid to use the ICW because of all the problems he heard about shoaling, so he was going to ship his boat by truck.

I also think of all the intrepid veteran cruisers who are afraid to try the Dismal Swamp Canal route. Robert at Deep Creek Lock told me that about 9000 boats use the Virginia Cut route each year, and 1000 the DSC route. There are endless scary stories about DSC; shoaling, deadheads, snakes in the trees, duck weed. The vast majority of our veteran cruiser friends are afraid to try it.

Those who choose to not use the ICW or the DSC because of scary stories, are choosing wrong in my opinion. They are influenced by the stories, but they ignore the thousands of vessels (large and small) that successfully use these routes every year. Part of it, must be the psychology of scary stories and bad news. If you look at Claiborne Young’s you’ll find a section called “ICW trouble spots”.  Read the daily paper and you'll hear about crime.  Non-trouble and no-crime are not news. Boaters love to tell stories, and telling scary stories is often the most fun. But to judge the real risks of go no-go decisions we need to look at statistics (such as 10,000 ICW users and 1000 DSC users) rather than anecdotal stories.

This is more than a boating issue. It is a life style issue. You can sit at home watching TV magazine shows that inform you about 20 new scary risks every week. But the one warning those shows will never give you is that senior citizens staying home watching TV and dreaming rather than doing is like having one foot in the grave. Be active! Get out there and follow your dream. Do not let scary stories deter you.  You’ll not only be glad that you did, but you’ll live longer too.


Waterford, NY
42 47.286 N 73 40.813 N

This is a new experience for us.   We are trapped in Waterford by a flood!

Waterford is the place at the confluence of The Mohawk River and The Hudson River.  In recent days, they had big rainstorms west of here and the Mohawk flooded.

When we went to bed last night the current was swift.  It grew much worse as the night went on.  I got little sleep.  Then floating logs and debris began hitting Tarwathie.  I got up at 0400 to look around.  The river level went up by 6 feet overnight!   The current was pushing us away from the docks and our lines were not tight enough.  Tarwathie sat 6-7 feet away from the dock!   I remedied that, but the water is still rising.

The Erie Canal is closed this morning.  So we can't go west to Niskayuna and Scotia as our plan had been.  Neither can we change plans and go up the Champlain Canal instead of the Erie Canal because the water is so high that we can't fit under the bridge here in Waterford.    We're trapped.  Worse, the water is still rising!   Don't worry about us too much.  We are only 200 feet from the first lock and if things get really bad, they'll let us go into the lock chambers and we'll be isolated from any flooding.

This is getting to be a regular phenomenon.  Last year the Erie Canal closed three times in June because of flooding.  The year before it happened once.  Three years before was Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee which flooded the Mohawk twice in a week.   So that's 6 floods in 3 years (maybe more than 6 because I can't remember them all.).   I'm reluctant to say global warming because there may have been similar periods int the 200 year history of the canal.  But it's surely new to us.

I'm guessing we're stuck here for 3-4 days.  We'll have to make new plans after that.  

There are some events in the Albany/Troy area that have emptied the lots of the car rental companies.  That was the reason we planned to move west to Scotia to be able to rent a car.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Not a Sailboat

Catskill, NY
42 12.651 073 51.381

It always feels cruel to mistreat Tarwathie so badly as to take down the mast.  I would use the word emasculated except that she's a she.   The consolation is that we'll restore her as soon as we get up to Champlain.

The trip up The Hudson was fast.  We got up at 0430 two mornings in a row so as to make use of the long days, and to make best use of the tides.   Tidal currents in the Hudson are swift and one best pay's attention to them.   It paid off.  We made 75 miles on Wednesday, and we made 35 miles today arriving at noon to get the mast taken down.

The weather remained cool and wet both days.  But visibility was good enough that we thoroughly enjoyed the scenery from the GW bridge north.  For tomorrow afternoon they say heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Now we're free to plan the next phases.  I have an invitation to tour the new ISO control room.  We eant to visit John and Mari in West Charlton.  We want to spend a day with my sister Marylyn, and we are going to pick up our granddaughter Victoria to ride with us up to Vermont on the boat.  Whew, that's quite a lot of stuff.   The rules on the NY canals is that you are not supposed to stay more than 48 hours at any one place.   We'll have to do some creative thinking.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Another Passage Complete

Liberty Landing State Park, NJ
40 41.760 N 074 03.854 W

Well, here we are behind The Statue Of Libery, 48 hours after exiting The Chesapeake at the Bridge-Tunnel.   The trip was boring.  We had to motor-sail all but 6 hours of the passage.  I guess that's what the weather is expected to be mid-June.  

Now, we have to face The Hudson.  Our timing with respect to tides is not the best.   Right here, the slack before flood tide is at 4:30 AM and 4:30 PM, neither one is a good time to leave.  I think we'll try the AM one.

Friday is supposed to bring heavy rain.  That would not be a good day to work on the mast.  Maybe Saturday, if the marina works on Saturdays.  Otherwise, Monday.

Verraazno Narrows Bridge

Our anchorage behind Lady Liberty.  Note the new WTC building at ground zero in the background.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Off We Go

Portsmouth, VA
36 50.117 N 076 17.79 W

Well well, so often we wait for days for a weather window, and write blog after blog complaining about the wait.  Not this time.  We arrive) d in the Norfolk/Portsmouth area around noon.  Checked the weather and the tides, and decided that the window begins today at dinner time.  Very cool.

Right now, we are tied up in the basin in downtown Portsmouth just killing a few hours until the tide turns.

Winds will be light.  We may have to do a lot of motor-sailing, but by Wednesday (hopefully) we'll be in New York City Harbor.

Don't look for new blogs until then.

Health of The Dismal Swamp

Great Dismal Swamp
36 31.453 N 076 21.879

We spent Friday night at our favorite anchorage.  A place so beautiful that we marked the GPS waypoint "Pearly Gates"  It is a place guaranteed to calm the most agitated soul.

But this time, one of the Pearly's best spectacles didn't appear -- the frog chorus.   On a previous visit, we sat and listened.  After a time, one frog would start to croak.  Then another would join and another.  Within a couple of minutes the local colony of a hundred or so frogs would all be making as much noise as they could.  It was overwheming.  The chorus lasted about 10 minutes, then it tapered off and ceased.  But not entirely,  the next colony of frogs a few hundred meters down the river would have been stimiulated, and they started their own chrous.   For nearly an hour, we could hear a series of choruses from farther and farther away.  It was like a frog smoke signal relay.  Then the locals would start again.

This time, nothing. Only an isolated frog croak once in a while.  My theory is that it is all sexual.  In the spring they croak like mad.  As each frog gets laid, it is satiated and it stops joining the chorus.  In the previous trips, we were there earlier in the spring.

We saw a furry animal swim by.  It could have been an otter or a nutria.  Both populate the area.  

I was surprised at how few birds we heard, mostly one at a time (even at dwan).  After dark we heard a few crickets, but not many.  There were also a few mosquitoes after dark, but no clouds of insects.  I began to get concern ed for the health of the Dismal Swamp wildlife.  But I talked to a forest ranger at the Visistor's Center today and he said, the health is just fine.  Good.

Friday Elizabeth City, Friday Night Pearly Gates, Saturday Dismal Swamp Welcome Center, tonight Hampton Roads anchorage.  Monday (hopefully) out to sea,  Wednesday (hopefully) New York City.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Snowden's Options

Elizabeth CIty, NC

We have returned to one of our favorite stops, Elizabeth City.  Did you know that Elizabeth City is the home town of Edward Snowden?   I've said publicly that I support Snowden.  Many of my friends vehemently disagree.  Let me briefly explain my reasoning.

First: Snowden's basic complaint about NSA was that what NSA is doing goes beyond the line of what the American people think should be within the powers of government (even in the name of national security).   Further, that The President, The Congress, and the FISA court had all (secretly) signed off on approval of those activities.  That is not a matter that your boss at NSA, nor the NSA inspector general, nor the staff of a congressional committee can fix.  Therefore, the idea of going through channels with his complaint would be absurd.

Second: Responding to public anger over bulk surveillance, The President and The Congress have both moved to shut down bulk surveillance, and a Federal District Judge rules that the bulk surveillance was unconstitutional and "outrageous."  In other words, Snowden was right about what the American people won't tolerate, and The President, The Congress, and the FISA court who had approved it before were wrong.  Is is not a narrow question of law as the government would have you believe, the question at stake is government submitting to the will of the people.

Third: Snowden is charged under the espionage act.   If he was brought to trial, evidence against him would be classified.  Snowden's attorney, and sometimes even the judge would not be allowed to see the evidence.  He would not be allowed to assert a defense that his actions were justifiable.

Snowden should be charged under a law that allows him to argue to a jury that the public benefit of his whistle blowing outweighs the damage to national security.  To convict him, the government would have to do more than assert that security has been damages; they would have to prove it.  That is very far from giving a green light to all federal employees to willy nilly ignore their oath to not reveal classified information.  Facing a jury in any circumstances is a big roll of the dice that you might lose no matter what the facts.  A person who faces that risk is not getting off scot free.

I'll end with a quote from Nazi Reichsmarschall Hermann Wilhelm Göring:
Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
We need whistle blowers.  National security is not an exception.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

The Better Route

Roanoake Sound, NC
35 47.719 N 075 34.761 W

There are two choices for traversing the inland waters of North Carolina.  You can follow the ICW.  That takes you through two very boring canals and the boring Alligator River.   Or you can go around by the outer banks, visiting Okracoke and Manteo, and sailing on Pamlico Sound.   We have come to strongly prefer the second choice.  It's much nicer.

But first, on Monday night we visited our friend Ken.  He has a new place on Broad Creek that we haven't seen before.  All I can say is WOW!  I expected a shanty.  What he has is a beautiful house on a spectacular lot looking out over a well sheltered creek.  Waterfront locations don't come much better than that.  We'll be  visiting Ken again in the future I'm sure.  Thank you Ken.

On Tuesday, we left Ken's en-route to Okracoke Island.We love visiting that place.   But there is a festival there starting Friday.  Also, the federal docks there are closed for repair.  By mid morning we were passed by 8 vessels headed for Okracoke, and the bell in my head rang.  "Uh Oh, it could be so crowded there that we wouldn't find a place to anchor.   So, change of plans, we skipped Okracoke.   No time to reach Manteo before dark, but I did find a bay where we could anchor for the night on the chart.  Head for that.

The wind picked up powerfully.   Pamlico sound is a delight to sail because you have open waters, good wind, and no ocean swells.  But it can get rough.  We flew along under too much sail, but we managed to get to the anchorage.   But the shelter of that bay from waves was marginal.   Poor Libby got queasy.  It is not our standard practice to take anti-seasick medicines on inland waters, but that day she needed them.  Finally, long after midnight, the wind and waves subsided and we got some sleep.

Right now, we're heading toward Manteo.  But I believe we'll pass it up also.  Too early in the day to stop.  We'll continue toward Elizabeth City.

One more thing.  The local temperatures have been in the 90s this week.  Very hot.  But out in Pamlico sound it was very pleasant.  Water temperature 68.

One other thing.  We were amazed to see the lights of houses bordering the bay last night.  That land is swamp and barely accessible by road.  The bay is too shallow for boats to approach shore.  Finally the insect population is intimidating.  Yet, rich people are building luxury homes on the waterfront there.  Too many people on this planet and too much money in this country.   Another example, they are building luxury homes on a sand bar island next to Old House channel.  That island had been uninhabited heretofore.

I'm strongly opposed to redistribution-of-wealth politics.   But I must admit, I think there are far too many rich people with too much money.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Ah Thank You Suh

Neuse River, NC
35 03.545 N 076 59.414 W

We departed from New Bern this morning.  After passed the Cunningham Bridge, I called the bridge operator on VHF and said, "Ah thank you suh."   As soon as I said it, I realized what I said.  It was completely natural.  I was not trying to imitate the NC drawl.   Uh oh.  We've been in North Carolina too long.

We are remedying the situation right now.  Today, we hope to visit Ken C who has a new house on the water out near the mouth of the Neuse.  After that, Okracoke, Manteo, Elizabeth City, Dismal Swamp Canal, Norfolk, and out to sea heading for New York City.  We should make Waterford NY in about two weeks.

Actually, if we went out to sea today at Beaufort, we would have a beautiful sail with SW 15-20 for 30 hours.  That would get us past Cape Hatteras, but then the wind will reverse and we'd be stuck in the middle of nowhere.  The longer the passage, the longer the weather window we need.  (By the way, contrast that with blue water sailors who cross oceans.  They get to choose the weather only on their day of departure.  We are definitely not them.)

We have come to be very fond of New Bern.  Like Marathon, and Lake Champlain, we leave it only with a twinge of regret.

Last night we went to a free concert by the North Carolina Symphony.  It was held on the lawn of Tryon Palace.  They played Beethoven's 5th. At the conclusion of the symphony, a fireworks display started.  It was lots of fun. There was a big crowd.  I estimate 8,000 people.   But to be honest, it was nowhere near as fun as the Boston Pops playing the 1812 overture on the banks of the Charles River on July 4 to a crowd of 200,000 people.   That's about the only context where you'll catch me enjoying a big crowd.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Snaking Wires

New Bern, NC

We're getting ready to leave New Bern; possibly Monday.

Today we completed a new project.  I installed a blower fan between the cabin and the engine room, plus a vent from the engine room aft to the outdoors. The idea is to get some through ventilation in the engine compartment to reduce it's temperature while operating all day long on hot days.  A comment from a blog reader tipped me off that excessive temperatures might be what led to short lifetimes for our batteries.   Ask me in two years if it made a difference.

When I went to college to study electrical engineering, the main thing I learned was ohm's law in many forms.  That worked well, giving me a solid career that lasted 45 years.   But now, I wish I had more electrician skills.  Snaking wires in particular.

I've never understood how they manage to snake so many wires through so many impossible places. I suspect that part of the answer is something my mind rejects; that they put the wires in first, then build the walls and furniture around it.   I was reminded of that yesterday when I came upon a plumber replacing a faucet in one of the showers in the hotel.   He had used a hammer anc chisel to destroy the beautiful white ceramic tiles covering the wall behind the fauced.  Wow! I would never think of doing that.  It seems so destructive.  It also requires the skills to rebuild whatever you destroyed, which magnifies the job and the skill set needed.