Friday, May 30, 2008

Little Miss Willow

 

We had the most incredible four days with Willow, David and Lisa, picking strawberries, looking at shells, hiking, shopping, cooking, eating, whacking a pinata, reading books, teaching Willow the hokey-pokey, singing, etc. It is amazing how in November we left this baby just learning to talk to return to a little girl who repeats everything that you say and has a better vocabulary than we do.

"I'm all troomy grammie" is one of her cute expressions, exclaimed as she is sitting in her pool. Read: troomy means prunie, or all wrinkled up!

She was able to almost memorize the words to Puff the Magic Dragon which her grandfather Aye-Aye gave her in book and CD forms, and questioned me about my broken drinking glass which she had seen on our blog. She has a memory like a steel trap.

It was soooo hard to leave but at least we can look forward to seeing her next month hopefully as we will still be "around" doing boat projects, which are still ongoing.
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Sunday, May 25, 2008

BOAT US to the Rescue at Broad Creek, Deltaville

I ran the boat hard aground trying to enter the channel to Broad Creek in Deltaville. While it is very shallow all around, as we sat waiting for BOAT US to tow us off, many many boats passed by without any complications, so I guess I just got sloppy. Oh, I was on the fringe of the channel when first aground but was pushed by a 25 knot wind further into the shallows. BOAT US provides an incredibly reasonable towing insurance for around $125 annually, and since a tow-off probably would run north of $300, it is the world's best insurance. After getting us off, they led us into the very narrow channel and marina. Although Schroeders Boat Yard closes at 4:00 they promised to wait for us to get off aground to assist in; quite a relief when you have other things to worry about.

While Peter coordinated mechanics I visited with my stepmother and Jimmy in Newport News, attended a Disabled American Veteran luncheon (Kathie is the State Treasurer of the Auxiliary), and had fun catching up with them. Over Memorial Day weekend Peter and I will get to see Willow!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Virginia!

Another long day passing through five bridges that we needed to request an opening from. Some of the bridgetenders insist that the boaters all bunch together before the bridge raises in order to get the process over with quickly and allow the waiting cars to get going again. This causes stress to me, as I am certain we will crash into another boat or the engine will die. Neither has happened. After making it through the 4th bridge, we had to kill time for an hour and a half until the next bridge opened. But then it was a short haul to the anchorage at Hospital Cove, amidst the hustle and bustle of the Norfolk waterfront, crammed with barges, warships, and millions of pleasurecraft.

Peter and I left without the other boats the following morning so that we can get closer to Deltaville, where we are having work done. It was another long day, with sunny skies and mild breezes turning into a gusty ride while entering the somewhat unfamiliar harbor at Fishing Bay on the Piankatank. When the mechanics get back to us and say they are ready to go, we will travel to Deltaville where First Edition will be hauled out of the water for the installation of a new refrigeration system.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Long Days on the ICW




We finally left Beaufort, accompanied by Sojourner, Allergy, and Far Niente, and had a long haul to Belhaven (about 13 hours, all motoring since we no longer have a main sail). The trip was uneventful and long. Today we had another long day, leaving at 5:45 and arriving at Broad Creek in NC 12 hours later. We ran out of fuel due to miscalculation of our use, and had a Chinese fire drill drifting out of a narrow channel until we put the anchor down and researched the problem.

We had previously been at Broad Creek and I recall it as a favorite anchorage, but we will unable to enter the inside creek as we could not find it without a chartplotter, or, we found it and it was blocked off with stakes. So we sit on the outside, again awaiting thunderstorms and gusty winds.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Waiting for Tornadoes and Mothers Day Calls

We attended a great pot luck this evening, held at the Beaufort Wine Shop. It was a small crowd, as there was another potluck scheduled in town. About 10-15 couples gathered here to share some good wine, excellent food (unlike most pot lucks), good company, and anxieties. Huge thunderstorms were forecast, to be accompanied by the potential for tornadoes and waterspouts. Being Mother's Day, many of the cruising women also anticipated calls from home from children or grandchildren, bearers of Mother's Day greetings.

The evening get together ended early as dark clouds filled the horizon, many of them odd shaped and the color of midnight. Just as we got aboard, winds heeled First Edition over, and when we finally turned on the wind indicator, we saw velocities exceeding 45 knots, after the initial very strong gust which we did not record. All of our waiting out the storm here proved worth the cost and the delay.

Now many of us are thankful, while some of us rewrite our wills.

The Speck at the Top of the Mast

 
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Another day in Beaufort and an opportunity to repair the sail track. Having received the necessary parts from Harken, who incidentally is fantastic to do business with, Peter was hauled to the top of the mast, tightened down all of the screws and applied silicone or locktite, and fixed the thingie at the top that hauls up the halyard. Thanks Rick on Sojourner for relieving me of this duty.

For the last two days and the next day and a half, high winds with tornado potential are forecast, so Beaufort is our home until this all blows over.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

TinkerBelle, Master and Commander

 


Here in Beaufort we docked near to Far Niente, whom we had met at Pineapple Cay in the Bahamas. TinkerBelle lives aboard with his parents, Diana and Jay, and as the boat name may indicate, both are some what familiar with the fruit of the vine. It was inevitable that we would like them, and share a cuppa at some point. We dined last night at Aqua, a fantastic restaurant in town, and we got lucky to visit on a Friday when the wine is 33% off. So we treated ourselves to a wonderful Malbec, two bottles no less, and today we are sharing hangovers. Tornadoes nearby are keeping us bound to our slip, and once again, waiting for weather.
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Sunset, War Ship & Mast Climbing

 
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We left Charleston Tuesday May 6 around 2 in the afternoon and motored for 24 hours, then sailed for 18 hours, arriving Beaufort, NC in the early morning on Thursday. We were exhausted following a sunset attempt to lower the main sheet in order to reduce speed to time a daylight arrival; the sail was caught on a screw which had worked its way out of the track. As the sun was setting and rollers were knocking the boat around, we dug out the device that is supposed to be easy to use to raise the Captain to the top of the mast. No choice, the sail had to come down in order to enter Beaufort inlet, and 25 knots of wind were forecast. We tried for about an hour to figure out the mastclimber, and once it was properly rigged, the seas were so rolly that Peter kept getting banged against the mast, as it swayed from side to side. So we determined to leave the sail up, sail to Beaufort, and call for help once we arrived. This ordeal took about 2 hours, and fortunately Sojourner and a US War Ship stood by, the latter unhappy with our location but apparently understanding our predicament. While Peter was trying to climb the mast, fighter jets were taking off like the proverbial bat out of hell, and landing for another take off. Very impressive, had my husband not been swinging from ropes in a rocking sea.

Fortunately, we were able to shake the sail off of the screw some time later in the evening by tacking from side to side. This having been accomplished, we sailed under headsail only and made good time to arrive in Beaufort at slacktide.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Charleston

 


We eventually had to have mechanics at Fernandina, and Miller Electronics from Jacksonville visited and ran an upgrade on the E80 at the helm which was hoped to cure the issue. They pronounced the E-120 dead, and requiring a return to Raymarine, who had issued a bulletin about the blinking screen problem. We decided to hang onto it rather than have them return it, not knowing exactly where it should be passed back to us.

The next morning we took off at sunrise, but without the chartplotter which would not power on. Unfortunately, we found that yesterday's fix failed to get the autopilot working without the chartplotter being on, and every five minutes the autopilot gave up, requiring us to reset the button. This would get very old over the 30 hour trip, but fortunately, the duration of the time the pilot was working increased and lasted about 15 minutes before the chartplotter decided to turn on, restoring the pilot to full functioning. Now, we no longer had to reset the button, but instead could sit there waiting for it to fail through the night, which it never did. We left Fernandina at 7-ish and arrived Charleston the next morning at 10 am-ish, having sailed a good part of the way.

We found Sojourner when we entered the harbor, and anchored behind them in front of the City Marina. Holding is good but the currents are fierce and you swing to the current and not the wind. We got lucky and hitched a ride on the City Marina shuttle to West Marine, and then to Harris Teeter. Peter and I strolled the aisles of this fully stocked grocery store, complete with every item you can think of, without regard to the arrival of the mailboat.

We stopped at Bubba Gump's for a drink and some shrimp, and are pictured here with one of the employees who did what we call "an Aunt Selma" by running to become part of the picture. Today, Linda and I are doing the market, leaving the boys to do boat chores.
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