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Lemons Way
The continuing adventures of a cruising sailor/family lawyer, his wife (also a lawyer), and their young children.
Another Food Picture
Overcast with spots of sun and high humidity
08/16/2008, Palmetto Bay Marina, Hilton Head, SC

I made a late dinner last night of salad and Progresso Clam Chowder. Before that we went on an after dark walk with our new German friends and their dog, Monty. It was beautiful with an almost full moon which had an orangish shade to it. After the walk, we went to the patio bar for a beer. They welcome the dogs at all the marina restaurants and bring them water bowls and treats. Amazing. I just came to this place for some quick repairs and it turns out to be its own experience - and a nice one at that. Today they took us in their car to a breach where the dogs could run unhindered by people or rules. Later I went along on a shopping trip to Sams Club and Publix, a large supermarket chain. Now I'm really stocked. We even hit the ABC store (for those who know what that is) I wanted to scoot through Hilton Head but it is beautiful here. Great parks, shopping, not too crowded - nice, happy people mostly. By the way, one of my friends mentioned that she liked the food pictures and I remember liking this book about a couple who sail far down south and the wife writes recipies in the book. My bag of grits is in the picture. My grits making is improving slowly and the dogs are happy to get some in their food at every meal lately. I wouldn't mind a Bojangles chicken, however, if there's one around. If not, I think there might be a fried chicken joint or two somewhere around these parts.

Details On The Bilge Pump Refit (Read On If You Don't Care For Tech-Talk)
An afternoon thunderstorm is passing through
08/15/2008, Palmetto Marina, Hilton Head, SC

Today was a productive day for boat maintenance. The mechanic I'm hooked up with is really experienced and knows exactly what he's doing. The packing in the packing gland was replaced and the gland nuts (so to speak) were lubricated and adjusted so that only a few drops of water come through each minute and only a bit more when the propellor shaft is turning (necessary for lubrication). This repair has stopped the need for regular bilge pump activation, which takes one more thing off my mind. While in the rear engine compartment, he replaced the main fuel filter, the heat-exchanger zink (the most important zink because it sacrifices itself to prevent engine rust), and checked the transmission fluid and alignment of the propellor shaft. All is now well in that compartment. However, the experience of the last few weeks dealing with the bilge water has shown me that my existing system was just not sufficiently safe for offshore cruising. If that one old looking pump should fail, I would be left with hand pumping the emergency bellows pump or, more likely, employing the old bucket system. It's hard to manage a boat and two dogs singlehanded while pumping water out, especially if the conditions are snotty as they probably would be in that situation. So I had a twin 1500 gph pump and float switch installed and wired directly to the battery so it will work even of the electical panel blows. I also had the float switch I bought in Beaufort for the old pump properly installed. Now I've doubled my bilge pumping capacity. I shouldn't need even one pump since essentially no water is flowing into the bilge anymore. But the Catalina 36 has a shallow bilge so if I ever do get a bunch of water inside the boat, I will have plenty of pump power to get it out automatically. And if I'm in the middle of nowhere and one of my bilge pumps dies, I've got a back-up already on line. We also installed back-flow valves in both pump lines since there is a long run to the back of the boat and the old pump was cycling on and off repeatedly as water came back down the line into the bilge after it turned itself off. The new-looking pump in the center section of the picture is now primary and activates first, so the old pump will get much less use than the primary and will only be needed as a back-up. I know this seems technical and boring and maybe a little excessive, but having experienced the need to sleep with one foot on the cabin sole (figuratively speaking - it was never even close to that bad), it is a big relief to know that the boat isn't leaking and even if it does, I've got two electric pumps, two manual pumps, and two buckets. Since it's Friday, I can't get anymore work done here until Monday. We are making such good progress that I'm going to stay the weekend and continue the refit on Monday. We should be done that day. I'm in a nice spot, I've got hook-ups for free, there are friendly people here, and I've got a court hearing that I'm appearing telephonically at on Monday, so its all good. We might get a little bored, but we'll be in air conditioning, which is nice.

One Of The Two New 8-D Batteries Installed On Tropical Dreamer Yesterday
Keith - an afternoon rainstorm is coming through today, but we are safe at the dock, the hatches are batoned, the a/c running, and NPR is on the radio
08/15/2008, Palmetto Marina, Hilton Head, SC

As you can see, each 8-D battery is like 3 car batteries. I have two 8-D batteries, plus a car battery dedicated to the starter for the diesal engine. I charged the new batteries today and just took the shore power off line a few mintes ago to see how they hold a charge overnight. A few days ago I was at the point where I could barely make it from evening to morning without running the engine or the generator (actually I was already developing electric use procedures to get me pretty easily through the night, but they excluded computer, tv, or a lot of light use. These new big boys should last a few days before needing recharging. We'll see.

Sunset In Beaufort, SC
After the low pressure system passed through
08/15/2008

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Dolphin Safari
Keith, nice day today
08/15/2008, Palmetto Marina

They have all sorts of tours and watersports and things to occupy and entertain the people who come to vacation here. One popular one is the Dolphin Safari. The dolphins come right up to the boat, even when it is at dock. Jake and Anne have become used to them. I never cease to be inspired when one comes up unexpectedly and breathes before heading below.

The Dogs Eat Well Too
Keith
08/15/2008, Southern, South Carolina

That's a dog food base, with some grits (yes, I purchased a package of grits to make for breakfast - when in Rome...) and a dollop of the meat sauce for taste. I try and always add something interesting to their food and they never seem to complain.

Still Eating Well
Keith
08/15/2008, Southern, South Carolina

I do make more than pasta (recall my hotdog phase), but its just a convienent and hearty boating food. I made my own meat sauce with onions and mushrooms and ground beef, a sausage link, and packaged sauce. It was good.

Parked At The Service Dock At The Palmetto Marina In Hilton Head
Keith, hot and humid
08/15/2008

The ICW follows the Beaufort River Past Port Royal and across the Port Royal Sound for a total distance of about 30 miles from Beaufort to Hilton Head. The Sound crossing is about 5 miles and takes an hour just to do that crossing. I took a wrong turn and would have headed out to sea had I not figured that I should be seeing land. Otherwise, it was a great cruise and the weather cleared up along the way. I made previous arrangements to stop at a marina/boatyard here that seemed motivated to assist me with the minor mechanical and maintenance issues that were building up. I arrived yesterday afternoon and their crew got right on the job. Tropical Dreamer now sports two new house batteries and a fully functioning primary bilge pump with working automatic float switch to turn the pump on and off when needed. Today they will install a secondary pump just in case the first one fails while away from repairs. That will give me well over 2000 gallons per hour in case I spring a leak or something while offshore (assuming I ever get offshore, but that's another discussion). The packing gland problem is on the agenda today, as well as new engile oil and all new filters. I rely a lot on the engine and want to keep it in as good working order as I can. There are several other small jobs that I may have them knock off depending on how they do on the bigger stuff. Last night I met a nice German couple who live on their boat with their dog here at the marina when not cruising up and down the east coast of the US. They've never crossed to the Bahamas or gone further than Florida. They took me with them to this incredible park where a group assembled with their dogs for an informal dog park. Then the German couple walked me back to the marina, stopping along the way at a great place to let the dogs swim (evidently one needs to be careful of gaters here). They offered to take me to the grocery store, but I'm pretty stocked for now. Last night I had all the power I could want for TV, computer, lights, even air conditioning. It got so chilly I had to put on flannel pants. Nice change of pace. This morning I awoke and took the dogs for a walk before meeting the mechanic to review the day's jobs. We'll be hanging out here for at least today, and perhaps until Monday, depending on how long it takes to get things done. That's ok. This is a really nice area. Just this dock space would cost $100 a day in this neighborhood but it is free while I'm getting service. There are several restaurants and a general store and a few bars in the marina complex that I might try while I'm here. Being parked in a safe, stable place with electricity is also a good opportunity to get some business-related things done. Then, once I depart here, I'm going to make a sincere push to get through Georgia and begin to bear down on southern Florida.

Honda Generator Called Into Action
It's Raining Again After The Short Break
08/13/2008, Beaufort, SC

I bought this 2000 watt Honda Generator for Singmeaway, the Catalina 25. That boat had no internal charging system and the (car) battieries that ran its electrics needed to be taken home to the charger after a day of sailing. That didn't work for cruising in Mexico so I got a high quality gas generator (there were certainly less expensive generators). It came off of Singmeaway when I brought that boat to Phoenix to sell in early May. I put the generator in a compartment in the Rebounder and drove it all the way across the US (from San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico mind you) and stored it on Tropical Dreamer in case it was needed. It's needed already. Since one of the house batteries has died, I can only go a day or so without charging. The Honda Gen has performed well. I'll turn it on again after dinner tonight.

Marina Weather Receiving Station (And Jake)
Rainy
08/13/2008, Beaufort, SC

I listen to the US National Weather Broadcast every day on this handheld VHF radio. I also use it to ensure my house VHF is working properly.

 

 
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