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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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Last night in Tar Pit Harbor, NJ
Foggy/drizzly/rainy day; Seas nil, wind nil
09/28/2008, Atlantic Highlands, NJ

After a breakfast of sausage & eggs we lollygagged a bit. Wayne didn't want to go into town until later in the day. After noon we dingied to the marina and headed to the hardware store for replacement parts for the boat and Skip but they closed at 1:00pm and we got there at 1:10pm. The marine store was also closed, so we headed to the grocery store and picked up some stuff, then to the beer/wine store for beer and headed back to the boat. Put the pop/beer and food into the refrigerator and noted that a lot of boats were now surrounding us and coming in. It seemed prudent to bring in the second anchor that we'd put out during all the foul weather since it was becoming more crowded in the anchorage. The second anchor was stuck in the mud like it was anchored in cement and the rope had twisted around the other anchor chain a couple of times so we spent a good hour and a half getting those untangled and the second anchor hauled in. I wish I'd have had my camera ready because as Wayne hauled up the anchor there were little crabs hanging on to the rope and coming up with anchor rope. I plucked them off and threw them back in. We finally got the anchor in and washed off (what a mess). There's some mighty dense black muck under us that came up with the anchor that looked and had the consistency of tar interspersed with small white shells in it. It seemed like it took forever to get that anchor up. There was no way we were going to drag. It was set quite well after almost a week! I downloaded pictures from my camera and called Flying Pig to let them know I'd be sending them a few shots I had of them in the fog. I also wanted to touch base with them to see if they were leaving tomorrow - the prognosis is good for us to get out and head toward Cape May (finally) and I know they were either heading for Cape Hatterus or Miami depending on the weather and whether their friends could make it there or not. I'm so glad that they were one of our first contacts (as far as the cruising community goes). They set a high standard for us to emulate and I truly hope that we run into them in the Bahamas.

Steak, salad, French bread and wine as we bid our last night in "tar pit harbor" a fond farewell...

Day ? in NJ
09/27/2008, Atlantic Highlands

Had a very quiet night last night. I slept like a log. The water was very calm and the fog covered everything in a white blanket of moisture. I keep trying to take pictures of the boats in the fog, but have trouble focusing properly. Even though it's calm out, every time I go up top, I rock the boat ever sol slightly and it takes time for it to settle down again. There's a gull outside on the water, calling to someone and the sound of a fish breaking the water. The shroud lines are slapping the mast. Guess I shouldn't have gone up to try and take twilight pictures. Later... Need to check on whether Kyle has progressed from a tropical storm to a hurricane yet and see where the projections put it.

Went over to Lydia & Skips for coffee, muffins & coffee cake this morning. I cannot get over what generous spirited people they are. They don't seem to tire of our questions or my curiosity of their boat. Their kitty - Porchia - looks like a miniature version of Bubba. You know I had to scoop her up and pet her (I don't think they mined - at least I hope not). She was adorable. She has a perch above their V-Berth door and was looking down at me. It would have made a great picture. Then she started swatting at my hair from above LOL. I do miss my 2 cats. Porchia was good for the soul J Their boat - what a marvelous boat! Very well equipped for cruising and so well organized! There's room for working on things with work space! Literally! There's a wonderful workroom with shelves and drawers for storing things. Their lighting system of rope lights (yellow and red for preserving night vision as well as energy), power systems and monitoring systems - an envy, his nav-station/computer & wireless setup absolutely marvelous! They've done amazing stuff with their boat. It's definitely a self-sufficient home on the water! I also can't believe what a difference another 10 ft makes in a boat. I can see where you'd get 2 foot-I-tous or in my case - 10 foot-I-tous LOL. I could go on and on, but it really was delightful to be able to go through their boat and chat with them. I'm amazed at how much we have yet to learn about the cruising lifestyle and all we have yet to do.

Which brings me back to our problem at hand - the water pump. Skip had extra fittings that he gave us to use to fix the pump (so we never had to go into the hardware today). We spent the rest of the afternoon working on the pump, which led to another leak, which we fixed, but then when we put it all back together, the accumulator pump no longer has air. We could hear a hissing, sucking sound, and sure enough, the thing which started it all is full of water again. The good news is - we no longer are losing our fresh water from the water tank into the bilge! The other news - we need to put air back into the accumulator tank again.

The picture is Lydia and Skip (taken by his brother)

How many days in New Jersey
09/26/2008, Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Everything feels so damp, cold and wet. I need to remember to investigate replacement gaskets for the windows. I've got drips all over the place from the rains pelting the boat. One good thing, my windows are no longer salt covered J. The latest news on the weather systems we were watching - the one on us yesterday was never named (it should have been too - all you needed to do was look at the weather map and you could see it was a depression at least) feels like it's past us finally and it sounds like we have tropical storm Kyle off Bermuda that's trying to become a hurricane heading up the coast. Another low is riding up that looks like it will intersect Kyle so I'm not sure when we'll get to leave here. I wasn't far off when I was joking about "a week in Jersey" I guess. I decided that I needed to make cinnamon rolls this morning - it will heat up the boat and make it smell good too LOL. I think that the alcohol stove and I are making friends little by little. It just takes time for it to come up to speed and as long as I don't require a great amount of heat - hey, we'll get used to each other LOL. I noticed Skip and Lydia were up top when I was hanging out our wet, salty clothes to rinse in the rain this morning and after the cinnamon rolls came out of the oven waved at them to pick up the radio, and invited them over for rolls and grapes. I couldn't figure out how to invite them for coffee because we only had 2 cups but Skip was saying he was brewing his second cup so I told him they could bring them over here so that worked out well. My rolls were a little over done but I really enjoyed having them over and chatting with them. We're the only 2 boats that stayed at anchor through this mess - don't know where everyone else went but now I noticed that the single handler is back and anchored behind us this evening. I felt bad for him the other morning. He was up all night and up top a lot during that awful weather in the morning too before taking off. Since he's back he probably picked up a mooring here for last nights 2nd round of weather.

Ahhhh, clean hair again! After Lydia & Skip took off I washed my hair. The pump to drain the water out of the tub wouldn't work (if it's not one thing it's another) so Wayne took that apart and fixed it, then decided to bleed the accumulator pump to the water pump so that it would be more efficient. Next was to fix the chain back to the windlass (we had all 200 ft of chain out during the "un-named weather system that roared through here for 2 days), gas up the generator and move on to dinner. During dinner we heard the bilge pump kick on and thought it was just an accumulation from all the rain. It kept kicking on and off which was unusual so to ease my mind, Wayne had to lift up the floorboards again to show me it was dry but I kept hearing a trickle. On further investigation it looked like we had a small river running from the pump into the bilge. Some plastic fitting was broken and the water from our water tank was slowly draining out. We managed to get that pinched off and so far the bilge pump hasn't kicked back on since we stopped our fresh water leak. Hopefully tomorrow the water will stay calm enough for us to run into town to the hardware and see if they have a replacement part or we'll be toting water in plastic containers again! It's been rainy/foggy/drizzly today but fairly calm... hardly a ripple to be seen after watching waves with ripples blowing over other waves with ripples, it seems quite eerie with the fog.

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