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Lemons Way
The continuing adventures of a cruising sailor/family lawyer, his wife (also a lawyer), and their young children.
Tow Boat US
Keith, late October, 2007
10/20/2007, Oriental, NC

Everyone told me it was just a matter of time until I grounded on the ICW and that I should buy towing insurance, so I did for the peace of mind. When you have towing insurance, you don't have to have a panic attack every time you approach the side of the channel and your depth meter reads 2 feet under the keel. This is one of the ubiquitous tow boats driving out to get somebody. I didn't ground this trip, but as I was getting pulled out of the water to store the boat, another very large power boat was coming in (probably the boat this tow was going to save) that had grounded at night due to following electronic charts instead of the actual markers. That boat had around 5-10 thousand dollars in damage. One prop had a blade completely sheared off. The folks at Deatons Yacht service estimated that the prop alone would cost 2-3 thousand to replace. Kind of puts things into perspective in terms of the costs to maintain Tropical Dreamer.

Lateen Rigged Sailboat Cruising the Oriental Harbor
Keith, late - October, 2007
10/20/2007

I spent the last few nights of this first trip down the northern section of the ICW in the Oriental Harbor just off the docks of the Oriental Yacht Club. They sail these cool little sailboats with one sail and a little inboard engine. This guy was sailing with his girlfriend. In the light wind conditions and the shallow water, this guy took his girl on an evening cruise that was sure to win her over if she had an ounce of sailer in her.

The 8 foot Walker Bay Dingy at the Oriental Town Docks
Keith, late-October, 2007
10/20/2007

I have a bit of a love hate relationship with this dingy. Putting aside the age old debate about inflatable vs. hard dingy, I like the Walker Bay because it is rugged and it rows well. So well its 3.5 hp outboard engine is often not needed. However, this dingy leaks water. I think I need to replace or silicone seal the drain plug assembly at the back. Didn't get around to it this trip. For now I use a hand pump to clear out the water before I get in. The dingy is also tippy, especially when you're not used to it. It came to me with a heavy duty inflatable ring that Ken admitted had a slow leak he couldn't (didn't) fix. I'm sure the addition of the inflatable part would make the Walker Bay a great Dingy after I fix the leaks. The last thing I did before heading out of Oriental was to drop the inflatable section at the local West Marine Outlet for repairs. Once it is repaired, I will clean it with Acetone to make it look pretty again, install it on the dingy, fix the leaking drain, and I'll be styling. With the inflatable attached and working, this dingy could serve as an inadequate life raft in an emergency, which is better than I have at present on Tropical Dreamer. All I have at present is a tippy dingy that leaks water and would surely sink if it took on too much water or tip over and sink in heavy seas.

The Nav Station
Keith, late - October, 2007
10/18/2007, Oriental, NC

Looks like a mini navy war ship... a very small one. Unfortunately, most civilians no longer use those type of screens with the green and black. It's an adequate back-up GPS because it has an external receiver and it includes a rudimentary world map and it plots the boat's GPS coordinates on that map, but there are much better modern plotters, depth finders, and radar systems available these days. Do I need them... no. Not at this time. So for now I will keep things as they are. But when I cross oceans in this machine, it would be useful to upgrade. Nevertheless, I won't stop watching the actual navigation aids when possible.

The Other Boat Anchored Next To Me On The ICW
Keith - mid-October, 2007
10/17/2007, Somewhere in North Carolina

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Mile Marker 110 ICW
Keith - mid-October, 2007
10/16/2007, Somewhere in North Carolina

They actually have mile markers every five miles when possible (some areas are not conducive, like 20 mile wide sounds) so you can track your progress. As of this moment, I'm about 170 miles south on the ICW. Only about 800 miles to Key West!

View of the Canal from the Bow Forward
Keith - mid-October, 2007
10/16/2007, Somewhere in North Carolina

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Canal View From the Bow
Keith - mid-October, 2007
10/16/2007, Some Canal in North Carolina

The autopilot has a remote control that lets me go almost to the front of the boat and still maintain some degree of directional control. Canals are straight, but relatively narrow. I can't let the boat drift too close to one side or another because snags of various kinds line the shores.

Another Picture of the Forward Birth
Keith, mid-October, 2007
10/16/2007, Somewhere in North Carolina

This is a closer-in picture of the forward birth. As you can see, Tropical Dreamer needs a nice new down comforter. The existing array of blankets at least keeps me cozy at night.

Forward Birth and Storage Underneath
Keith - mid-October, 2007
10/16/2007, Somewhere in North Carolina

The previous owners replaced the standard padding on the bed with a custom mattress that is extremely comfortable. Thick, firm, they even had custom sheets with anchors on the pillow cases made for the bed. I've slept there every night since the first night and it is nice, even when a chop kicks up outside. Those cabinets below hold shoes and dirty laundry. I replaced one of the light bulbs with a brighter light, but otherwise I haven't changed a thing with the forward birth. That TV is a great little add-on. The boat is equipped with a powered TV receiver so I have tuned into the network channels almost everywhere I've been. I generally resist watching TV while cruising, but sometimes it is perfect to pass the time or reconnect to society.

 

 
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Port: Tucson, Arizona
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