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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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Hey Jersey
Sunny, nice, windy, poopy
09/24/2008, NJ (where else)

Started out nice and sunny again, but breezy. The weather reports are still reporting tropical disturbances and Gale warnings on the coastal area so we're still going to be here for a couple more days. We checked our battery and knew it needed recharging (as always). When we went to start the motor, to charge the battery, all it did was go bzzzz, bzzzz, whirrrrr, whirrrr... not a good way to start the day. Tore the stuff out of the battery compartment, then into the engine room (dog house). Spent most of the morning diagnosing what it could be. After rewiring all the rewiring, we moved on to the starter. After Wayne gave the solenoid a few whacks and a few choice words, it started varooom.... During the course of our investigation, Wayne discovered what we intuitively already knew... The starting battery wasn't hooked up to the starter... Fixed that, then put the boat back together. After a break, we then got the dingy in the water to go into town and pick up some groceries. Chatted a few minutes with Skip in the dingy, got directions on where to park the dingy, and where the stores were, then rode over to the dingy dock and walked into town. Skip had offered us the use of the car that he had access to (so very generous) but we felt funny about accepting it because if anything happened he'd be in dutch with his brother (I think it was his car).

What a pleasant surprise. They have a nice little park and senior citizens building right on the park. There was a group of kindergarteners (or preschoolers) there with their teachers doing a running broad jump for a foot or so. It was so cute to watch them - they were so excited as the teachers cheered them on and applauded as they leapt over that one-foot line.

The walk down 1st Ave was really nice. They have a lot of older buildings here and stores that reminded me of the old "Plum Street" in Detroit. Nice little unique shops, along with a hardware, marine store, movie place, lots of little restaurants, etc... Some of the sidewalks had intricate brickwork designs and I was really regretting leaving my camera on the boat!

The grocery store was a "Super Food Town". This is a store I haven't been to before. One note for my lady friends (and males that like discounts): A lot of these stores have their own discount cards. If you don't have one, you don't get the sale or discounted prices. Therefore, check before you go to the checkout, at the service desk - if they have a discount card. If so, fill out the form and get your card. I now have 3 different ones in my possession and am going to have to get a special coupon tote or something to keep them in, for shopping excursions. Then when I get to a store that I already have a card, I get the discounts and don't need to fill out another card. Hey those of you that remember S&H Green Stamps - Food Town has S&H Green Points! Those that don't remember - if you spend x amount of money, you earn x amount of points that give you bonus dollars off your next shopping trip - you can save them or spend them...

Got pop & food and headed back towards the marina. Man that bag got heavier and heavier. We used the bag Steph got me a few years ago (a very large, sturdy canvas one that we've used in the past for just such occasions). With the pop in it (2-12 packs) plus food on top, we had to keep switching sides (Wayne had one handle, I the other). We passed a police officer that gave us the strangest look, and a good Samaritan that pulled over and asked "do you need a ride back to the marina"? We should have said YES, but said No thanks - we need the exercise, even though we had to stop every 100 feet or so to switch arms (yes I have wussie wrists) LOL.

Once we got back to the dingy, and loaded it, the excitement began... The winds had steadily increased while we were in town (which we enjoyed - while walking). We were at the farthest point in the marina where the ferries come in, which was a little over a mile, downwind, down fetch from where we were anchored. Imagine if you will, waves rolling at you, while sitting in a flat, rubber dingy, with a blunt front end, the wind blowing against you, pushing the salty, wave spray into your face. Brisk, huh? Now imagine that salty wave spray turning into buckets being splashed into your face, all over your clothing, food, etc... for about a mile ride. At first Wayne went fast, but the waves came rolling at us. Then Wayne went slower, the waves kept rolling us. I had to keep wiping the saltwater out of my eyes and blowing out of my mouth. By the time we reached the boat, we were two drowned rats, smiling and waving at Flying Pig's guests as we passed by. Don't know who she was, but I figured might as well act like we're having fun!!! It took a couple of tries to actually make it to the ladder and then we had to unload that humongous bag, from the dingy to the back of the boat, because we couldn't lift it - especially now that it had salt water added to the contents. And as we all know, salt water is dense as well as salty (yum).

From the back of the boat, we pounced down the stairs leaving a salty trail of wet clothes to the bathroom, then wet salty food to the frig. Remind me not to salt the food... I made salmon burgers for dinner and we polished off the (salty) French loaf that we bought from the grocery store. I guess you can now really call us a couple of old salts. I can suck on my hair and it tastes salty - yum... Wayne says it still needs pepper though LOL

Cold, wet, salty, and that should have been the end of the day, right? Wrong... After going to bed, the wind and waves were still were growing. The high-pressure system from the north and north east was being met by the low coming up from the south and the boat really began dancing on its anchor. We checked on it at 10:00, 12:00, and at 1:45 we noticed that we were dragging a bit and getting closer to Flying Pig, so hoisted anchor and reset it (no small feat in the dark bucking the waves and wind). Then stayed up top until 4 am to make sure we were okay and didn't drag. It looked like Skip & Lydia had let out some scope in their chain because they got farther away. We figured that it was now safe to go back to bed, there was no chance of dragging into them now. Not long after I saw an anchor light streaking past my port window and sprang up thinking oh my god - we're dragging. But it was Skip and Lydia circling us. They must have decided to re-anchor also or were dragging when we thought they had let out scope. The single handler was also up most the night, dragging and resetting and staying up top to care for his boat, the trawler and aluminum boat were also up. I used the trawler's position under a light on the hill most of the morning to make sure we weren't dragging. Several cups of tea, and hot spiced cider kept the chill partially at bay, and it's now 6:30 am and I'm starting a pot of coffee... Longggg day....

Atlantic Highlands Anchorage
depends on who you ask
09/23/2008, Atlantic Highlands NJ

What a beautiful day out it is in the Atlantic Highlands anchorage. I can't believe that it's that much different off the coast of the Atlantic -but - wait we will - until the forecast calls for more moderate weather. We used the day to straighten up the boat. Things seem to get disorganized so quickly if you don't put things back when done.

I got out the ole kit and fixed the snaps on the dodger that had broken. Wayne started taking some rubbing compound and polish to the cockpit area (in bad need of a cleaning). I'm noticing some salt crystal growth on the windows from the saltwater spray but that will wait until the rain. Pumped up the fenders, cleaned the floor and rugs, galley, then head area. The boat looks good when she's cleaned J

We met Skip and Lydia from the boat across from us (also SSCA members). The boat name: Flying Pig; You know we had to ask how they came up with that name... They told us: "When Pigs Fly" I loved it! It's a pretty little Morgan, quite equipped for cruising. Looking at it makes me really feel like a "Newbie" but hey, we are newbies at this LOL. Skip and Lydia are my heros!!! They went to Walmart today (they have access to a car) and we now have in our possession hair cutting tools (to make Wayne pretty) and Da Da Da Dahhhhh.... a 400 watt inverter THAT RUNS MY COMPUTER AND CHARRRRGGGESS IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was such an unexpected surprise and so terrific of them to pick one up for us. Especially since we didn't ask them to. We had just lamented that we couldn't charge my batteries and run the computer at the same time or any other time, unless the engine was running... So, this will make my life a little easier. I take that back - a LOT easier (Wayne will agree).
New Jersey, New Jersey, New Jersey... I look across the water and can see NYC. Hmmm... a week here, or a week there... hmmmmm.... I do like the neighbors though in Jersey. We noticed Lydia and Skip have a cat (I miss my two - they were very special). We actually noticed something hanging off the back of the boat that looked like a knotted rope and both remembered reading something about that (allowing cats to get back on board) and weren't sure where, but it was probably from the SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Asso.) bulletin. Later in the day we saw the little fur ball sitting on the back of the boat and wondered if they were the ones that wrote the article on traveling pets...

Fog is coming in - the picture is of the Flying Pig

A week in Jersey
Windy and fussy
09/22/2008, Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Well, we haven't headed out yet. Refueled, etc... but when we got up yesterday and heard the weather we'd be going into we decided to stay put until we get the right weather window to venture out to the Atlantic. Right now we're under a small craft advisory and looking down the coast that we'll be traveling it looks like we'd be facing 10-12 ft waves and gale force winds until the end of the week. Soooo.... I think we may be at anchor for a while. Today or tomorrow we'll put the dingy back into the water and visit the shore - look for a grocery store...

hmmmm... "A week in Jersey" sounds like a book title LOL...

Alli if you're reading this - email me - how do I increase the saturation?

09/23/2008 | Mother Mary
Hey there, I have got to find time to read your blog more often....it takes a long time when I wait a week or so....Did you ever think of being an author...YOU write such good descriptive verses. I am so appreciative that out in that water world you remembered my birthday...I told Elaine, Lisa and Dawn I was going to write you and tell you we MISSED you at CC's for my birthday lunch....maybe next year. :-) Sounds like you are enjoying life to the fullest...KEEP IT UP!!! Love and safety to you......Mother Mary
09/24/2008 | Jackie Yaroch
Yea, I heard the weather will be rough around there this week. Good idea, no sense "Rocking the Boat", lol Stay safe!!!

Jack
09/29/2008 | Pat Hock
Finally caught up with all your adventures. You really should publish it. I had my own advneture. I was in Texas, Florida and Texas again for Gustov, Hannah, and ike. I kept missing the storms until Ike, but again I was in San Antonio and it came to Houston. Did work in a shelter for awhil. Really enjoy your adventures. I am going to show John how to use the computer as I'm sure he will enjoy the trip seeing as how he took it many years ago. Keep up the good work and enjoy. Pat

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