Sabatical. Retired.

I am on sabbatical now.

Ok, not really.

I retired from the military in 2002.  I quit my job at the Missile Defense Agency in 2015.  I took a job with the marina in March 2017, and stopped working on September 16th until next April when I will return to the marina.

So, I suppose I can legitimately call it a sabbatical.

My friend,  Jay calls his boat Knot Working, so could just say “Not Working” but Sabatical sounds cooler.

We’re doing our last road trip before the cruise south.  Long trip, seeing family,  friend, brew pubs, eating good food, having fun.

Back at the boat, I’ll be spending several days putting all the running rigging back together,  sails back up, filling tanks, removing extraneous gear we won’t require, and storing things we won’t need on the boat.

JoAnne will be working on provisions for the trip, probably three months of standard canned foods and things that last awhile as well as flour, sugar and things we use for baking.

I haven’t written for a time due to hurricane prep, as Irma and Maria were headed our way, so this is just a quick, short entry to remind the worls we’re alive.

 

More to follow in a few days.

 

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Minor Blog Changes

I made some minor blog changes to get our friends a bit better connected.

On Facebook, we have a FB Page for the s/v Adventure.  I have now linked this blog with that page, so that when a post (such as this one) gets posted up to the blog, it will also be linked through Facebook.

Facebook is, in my opinion pretty stupid these days, but I use it because I have several hundred friends who whom I like to touch base occasionally, and unfortunately, it’s really the only social media thing that works well right now.  And that all our friends happen to be on (or most).

I run several blogs actually, and FB is connected to each of those as well, through various means.

For our family and close friends, it IS the easiest way to stay in touch, and many don’t follow the blog directly, but can see the messages I post on the blog through FB.  So, it works.

I will be inviting all my friends to the page over on FB, and all they have to do is “Like” it to see the messages pop up (supposedly).

I also am now running the “Sailing & Cruising: Preppers” group on Facebook as well.  It is linked to a blog too.  So, if anyone following this blog is interested, here’s the link for that blog, and you can go to the group site on FB and join.

https://sailingcruisingpreppers.wordpress.com/

Blog Entry for April 2017

First, my apologies to everyone who has been so diligent in reading the blog entries and not seeing one since January or so.

Second, not making excuses, but I’ve been pretty busy and I’m going to remedy the situation right now.

I’ve been pretty busy working a part time job in the marina, as well as on the boat.

On the boat, I have been working on varnish and fiberglass, some major (attempts) at cleaning and a few minor things like doing repairs as I need to.  I’ve gotten to MOST of the teak and have three coats of varnish on them.  I’ll be adding another when I have a few days to work on it, when it’s not scalding hot, or raining and blowing hard.

I did some glass repair work on the side of the cockpit the other day.  I’m not sure about this damage I discovered – hidden under a “fake boot stripe” (I’ll get back to that in a moment).  Along the top deck, where the house part rises from the deck, there’s a wall built around the cockpit.  The coaming with a kind of removable door/wall in the cockpit has a straight crack along the length.  It appears to me that something hit the boat and did some damage in the past, though I’m at a loss where the hit could have occurred unless the boat was dropped or smacked against something like a lift.

When we bought the boat in New York, a surveyor didn’t notice or mention any problems and I don’t recall them.  Before we left Colorado in July of 2015 to collect the boat, we had a bottom paint job done by the marina.

Worst of the worst of the places we’ve been at, this marina.  I called them and asked specifically about the paint, the type, how it was applied, and asked about them touching up the waterline and boot stripe.  I paid for paint, their time and an extra $300 bucks for the rest of the work to be accomplished (this included zincs etc).

When we arrived, only two zincs were installed.  The paint was haphazardly sprayed on, and intake grids were blocked by paint runs throughout the holes.  I couldn’t find an indication where the “boot stripe” was painted/cleaned up.

It wasn’t until I made the painter come look at the boat and clean up the mess they made that they showed me the “boot stripe”.  A maroon strip of “tape” had been placed on the boat on the cabin top, along both sides.

So, when I was doing my work the other day and removed this stupid “tape” (and tape it was, a colored, stick-backed maroon-colored tape) I discovered this crack running the length of the starboard side of the cockpit and just forward of the cockpit in the coaming.

The crack was very “clean” like a break, but it wasn’t perfectly straight like a razor, but kind of jaggedy.

I ended up not being able to determine the cause, why it was there or even if they had attempted a repair (as it appeared to have some silicone material in it).  I used my dremmel tool to remove the gunk, take it to the inner wood core, clean it up and have reglassed that part of the boat.  I still need to sand and eventually paint this part of the boat.

As to varnish, I spent a few days cleaning, sanding, wiping, sanding, wiping, cleaning and then varnishing the cap rail, taffrail  most of the wood around the boat.  I have NOT finished (and have barely started) on the platform.  I have completed three coats and will probably do two more, though I’m not sure yet.  In any case it looks wonderful.

The topsides, near the waterline had a horrible, brown stain.  I guess the stain has a name.  It’s called the “ICW Mustache”, some people call it other names, which are not repeatable here.  I had a few names for it, I won’t repeat either.

Anyway, we found that by using a small amount of toilet bowl cleaner with some water in a spray bottle worked wonderfully to remove the stains.  I spritzed it on, went over with a soft bristled brush and it was gone in seconds.

I’m in the slow, laborious process of waxing the hull now, a little at a time to prevent this from happening in the future.  I’m not going to haul the boat this year and likely not next eitgher, so I’m working from the dink on and off.  A little here, a little there.  When I get tired of one job, I go do another.  And so on.

Being inside the marina as opposed to sitting on the transient dock is much better, and thankfully, cheaper too.

At this point we will likely remain here through October and depart sometime in November for the Bahamas (destinations to be determined) and stay from 3-5 months, depending on our ability to remain there.

Working at the marina has been a mix of very simple to very difficult tasks.  I’ve done everything from repair the ramp for the golf cart we use to collect and move trash to the dumpsters (about a quarter mile away) to changing flats on the cart, bringing in boats, pumping fuel (diesel, gas) to selling ice, oil and collecting money, making change, putting up and taking down flags, handling the radios, coordinating slip assignments and boat moves during the dredging.  Dredging was a royal pain in the rump too.  Everyone hated it.  Even the dredgers appeared to hate it.  The poor manager here was inundated with constant complaints about noise to hating to have to move their boat for the dredgers to get their work done.

The dredge kept breaking.  Things kept floating away.  You name it.  Thankfully, the dredging is finished.  We’re slowly getting boats back into their proper slips, a few here, a few there.

The manager has called me in for extra hours several times to assist with various things.  So, a few extra bucks is ok.  I’ll feel more comfortable when the retirement pay kicks in from the military in a few months though.

Midges.  AKA No-See-Ums.  They are demons from hell.  I hate them, and I will kill them all before I die.  I’m apparently having allergic reactions to them.  I get welts on my skin when they bite me, and they LOVE my blood type I suppose.  If there were ever a true vampire, midges would be the creature.  I am reasonably certain that the vampire mythology was built around these tiny insects.  They run away in bright sun normally, come out when there is dampness in the air, and buzz around incessantly in your face, your ears, up your nose and somehow find places to bite you that is completely covered with clothing.

Deet does NOT help.  So far, I’ve tried a dozen things.  Today I used, Picaridin, a type of “Off” type stuff, which actually worked for about 5 hours today.  The rest of it doesn’t seem to work.  Home remedies, lemoneucalyptus whatever that is, somewhat worked.  I’ve not yet been bitten by a mosquito, however, another of the creatures on this planet I’ve been trying to destroy my whole life because my body has begun to absorb deet to the point I feel I need it….. ok, maybe not true.

We went to Michigan in late January to go see my brother in the hospital.  He is doing significantly better now, even though he doesn’t remember us being there.

We went for a day sail with our friend Jay aboard “Knot Working”, a 37 Beneteau.  Beautiful boat, turns on a dime (ok, maybe a half dollar, and certainly in less than a full boat length I think – whereas we turn on two or MORE boat lengths given the conditions).

At some point soon, we hope to get out of the marina for a day or two, do a sail or two on our boat.

Finally, we’re going to try brewing beer in the next few days.  Will be the first time for us to do that since we moved aboard.  We will see how that goes.

 

Still here….

Well, we’d hoped beyond hope to either have a new part today, or have the old one fixed/welded/repaired.

Nothing of the sort happened.

They have to find a welder. Because the part isn’t available “anywhere”.  I might have been able to find one myself, but don’t have all the resources to hunt for it, and honestly, I’m just not an engine guy.  And getting it right the first time wouldn’t have happened either.

Jason called and said the welder could get the part done tomorrow probably, but the gaskets we need to seal up the manifold will not be here until Monday.  So, we’re going to be here until Wednesday now it seems.  JoAnne suggested we could rent a car and explore, so I arranged for that as well.

I’ve got some chores to do on the boat, deal with batteries, the composting toilet and maybe get some other little things done I’ve put off.  The varnish is already suffering after less than six months.  Actually, three months. Not sure I honestly want to deal with varnish, but it looks so nice.

I’ve been looking over our trip and we’re probably going to do three outside jumps.  Short ones, to take us to Charleston.  None of them will be over about 35 nm in any given day, and working out some anchorages to stop in for the night.  After Charleston, it looks like we will make one large overnight to Florida to skip over most of South Carolina and all of Georgia.  Might be a full 24 hours.  I haven’t calculated that far ahead though.  My brain is already fried from dealing with the engine.

Won’t be going anywhere until at least Tuesday for sure… and then we have to see what the weather is bringing then anyway.  I can get a 10 day out forecast, but they are rarely what is predicted 10 days away.  So, I’ll deal with it a bit closer.

Slow Boat to China….

I’d love to get you
On a slow boat to China
All to myself alone

Writer · Frank Loesser
Singers: Jimmy Buffett, Ela Fitzgerald, Bett Middler, Bing Crosby, myself and numerous others….

I used to sing this to JoAnne as a fun thing to do.  But, it’s funny actually BEING on a slow boat to China (or in this particular case, Florida).

We’ve dilly dallied a lot coming down from New York since last year.  We’ve had dangerous things happen, we’ve had scary things happen, we’ve had terrifying thing happen, we’ve had wonderful things happen, we’ve had health issues happen, we’ve met a lot of wonderful people, a couple of “interesting characters” and we’ve enjoyed most of the journey.

Yesterday we finished going over our charts, anchorages, weather, you name it… and decided to hang out here in Morehead City (Beaufort) a couple more days so JoAnne can have some fun and do a Thanksgiving Dinner on the boat, without rocking, without worrying about anchors, winds or wakes.  At this point we’re planning to pull out of here either Friday or Saturday morning (we’re paid up through Saturday here).

And it’s chilly here.  It’s actually colder inside the boat than outside today. haha.  Thursday should be in the 70s though.

Our instructor from San Diego from a few years ago used to say, “Get the boat that’s right for your voyage”.  Ralph Waldo Emmerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”

It’s about the people you meet, the things you see and do, it’s about making friends (and occasionally in my past, I’ve found, fighting enemies).  Fortunately there is much less of the “fighting enemies” parts these days as I age.

Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. We’ll spend a quiet one here on the boat, the second time ever in our lives we’ve both been away from our family on this holiday.  Over the years we taught our kids to get together on Thanksgiving, spend the time together, get over your differences, and take the time to communicate about family things.

This year it appears there won’t be much “gettin’ together” for our kids.  Guess they’ve moved on from the family stuff.  We’re sad about that – but, they’re adults.  They can do whatever they feel is right, or not as they see fit.  We gave them the tools and brains to thin, to make their own choices.  I personally can not say I’m happy with many of the choices they and the grandchildren have made.

I’m unhappy about the fact the entire family has a few little bones to pick with each other, whether over politics, each other, grand kids, how-to-do-things… I guess it’s irrelevant now.  They are equipped to deal with life.

And the Journey.  If only they grasped that the Journey is life, and not the destination.

JoAnne and I happy together, happy on the boat today.  I have been personally frustrated over and over about various things.  About the ICW (it’s too shallow, the boat is too deep), about the weather (it’s too cold, it’s too hot), about the boat (this is broken, that isn’t working, I have to fix that thing for the 4th or 5th time) and I don’t know what day it happened but suddenly, none of that as important as living and going and doing.

We do have a destination.  Bahamas.  Florida.  Someplace Warm.  Anywhere Warm actually will do now.

So – after Thanksgiving, we will set out again and head south.  We did decide to spend a bit more time in the ICW though.  Surprisingly, it’s becoming fun and less nerve wracking than it was at first.  Even getting stuck again at Jarret Bay.

The side story here on Jarrett Bay is that we were supposed to be on the dock until 9:30 or 10AM the other morning.  But instead they Dockmaster knocked and told us to move to another dock, right away.  We were still preparing the boat to move and we certainly weren’t ready to pull off the dock.  I wasn’t sure about the currents, and then the slip he pointed to was by the land.  Not good.

So I asked, “How deep it that?”

“Plenty of space for you, I’ve put a lot of boats in there your size before…”

“But, how DEEP is it?”

“You won’t have a problem getting in.”

I noted the tide was coming up, about half tide, rising.  Good enough I said.

And pulled off the dock, the current preventing me from getting off easily and backed hard into the  channel, into a cross current.  Turns out it was swirling in there.  Ok, I managed to keep off everything, spun the boat around and headed south.

I turned nicely into the slip watching the water depths.

Water was at 17′, dropped rapidly to 13′ and then we slammed into the mud.

When the water cleared the depth finder was reading 4.5 feet.  Nice.

The Dockmaster was waving us in.  I yelled to him to say “We’re aground.”

His response?

“Well, what do you want me to do about it?”

I waved him off, and instead of cussing, or kicking something I laughed, walked back to the cockpit and assessed the situation.  We were on rising tide.  I only needed a foot to pull the bow out of the mud.  So I placed the boat in reverse and ran the rudder back and forth to wiggle us. Then I used the bow thrusters (probably NOT the best idea I’ve ever had but it worked) to blow the mud away from the bow.  In about 5 minutes we started moving slowly back.

So, after “I don’t know how many groundings” in mud I’m getting the hang of getting out of it.  Just not getting the hang of not getting stuck yet.

One thing I learned is to stop listening to others. Period. I always assumed that a dock master would know their depths and widths at a dock, how to tie a line, how to take a wrap on a cleat or piling to slow or stop a boat.  The answer to that is “Nope”.  I’m sure MOST do, but I seem to keep getting my share of folks that actually have no clue what’s in the water near their docks.

Ok, side story over.  Why continue down the ICW?

10 hours of day light.  If we pull out of Beaufort Inlet and can do 5 knots (pretty much our cruising speed either under sail or engine power) it’s 72 nautical miles from inlet to inlet (Masonboro being our next stop).  That gives me (assuming I started and stayed at 5kts) 14 hours to get there.

So we have to leave at about 0200 (that’s 2AM) to be able to arrive with enough light left to get into an anchorage.  Leaving in the dark isn’t keen from my point of view either, as I’ve not see the inlet yet except on charts and satellite photos.  Not happy with doing it.

But, we can drive 25 statue miles down the ICW a couple of days and still make it there.

In the Day Light.  I’m good with that.

After Masonboro is Cape Fear River.  And Cape Fear inlet.  And we’ll be on the inside and can go out on the other side of Frying Pan Shoals.

We’re looking at heading off shore after Cape Fear and just spending the next few days sailing now.  I think we’re both ready for a few days of actually SAILING and no motoring, and so we’ll look for the right window and go as soon as practical.

Aiming for St. Augustine, Jacksonville, or Titusville.  Don’t care.  Just want to go.

I hope my kids read this, get the message and have at least a quick get together for Thanksgiving Day.  It would mean a lot to JoAnne and I. And I hope they understand we’re fine, that we’re going to be fine, and that we’re going to continue doing what makes us happy.

Communication will beat demons.

To all my friends and family that follow the blog, have a very Happy Thanksgiving this year, spend time with your families.  Spend time listening to them.  Spend time putting up with the “nonsense” and remember, as Jeff Foxworthy says, “We’re ALL crazy!”

Fair Winds!

Rick

 

 

Matthew, Dodger, Sewing…

I’m not in the path.  Didn’t hit me.  Beat the snot out of Bahamas though.

That’s the weirdest hurricane I’ve ever watched.  Hanging JUST off the coast and traveling up it toward NE Florida.  As of right now, watching radar, the hurricane is running off to the NE away from the coast.  I can’t find any of the track information showing how close it came, but it appears the eye remained off shore and came closest at Daytona Beach (in the place I SAID it would land).

Now it’s headed NE and if it continues on this path will touch GA or maybe SC.

There’s a cold front pushing it back and away though.  The hype about this one being dangerous kind of panicked a lot of people though.  Folks around here were rushing to have boats pulled, and removed from various marinas.  We’re a long way from Florida, but they SAID it was going to come right up the coast at first.

I still think something is up with these people running the models.  I think they are scared after Sandy and won’t tell people the facts.  They blew Sandy off and it made a mess.  Katrina too before Sandy.

So, now is the M.O. to panic the public to make them “prepared”, so they buy everything out of the stores, go out of their way to spend money on things they won’t actually need (this time around)?

Not sure.

I put my enclosure back up today.  I think we’re safe enough now, and I doubt we’re going to have another one like Matthew this year.  It’s getting chilly at night here, and I don’t want the rain that’s going to hit us tomorrow soaking the cockpit and equipment.  So, I made the decision to put things back to normal.

I also spent part of the day sewing my dodger windows back in. The canvas is getting old and will need replacing soon.  The threads are rotting and coming lose.  I managed to rip it taking it down, and didn’t realize how badly it was messed up.  So… a few hundred stitches later, and the isenglas is back in place.  I’m getting a lot better at stitching too.  I was impressed.  I didn’t even stick a needle into my hand once, and the thing is solid now.

Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain.  If it’s not too bad I might reinstall the head sail.  If it rains too much I’ll wait until Monday. I think we’re going to see some strong winds on Sunday.

I’m still watching the hurricane, but that front is really playing hell with it, so I think it will push off to the east never to return.

USS Forecast Map

Hopefully, it keeps going….

Fair Winds All.