FayKeith, rainy last night - Anne came up into bed with me as she doesn't like the thunder
08/17/2008, I'm in Hilton Head, she is in Cuba but evidently coming this way
Well, well, well, what do we have here. I spent some time early this morning studying this system and it isn't likely to hit us hard, but it seems were likely to feel its effect more or less. The predictions for this area are 20-30% chance of heavy winds later this week. However, if it does turn into a hurricaine and tracks as predicted, we will be on the top right portion of the system, which is the dangerous side. I'm in a pretty safe place now, but this thing isn't supposed to come our way until Wednesday or Thursday. Lets just take it one day at a time. If it doesn't look good to head south again on Monday or Tuesday, perhaps we'll be here for longer than expected. I've discussed with my German friends an action plan in the even a hurricaine hits in this area. We will anchor our boats in a protected spot near here, get the dogs and ourselves and the most important things in their Ford Explorer, and evacuate away from the shore, leaving the sailboats to sink or swim. And we're not going to leave the dogs even if the shelter won't allow animals. Probably nothing will happen and the system will dissapate long before it gets here, but just in case.
Jake Rolling Around On The Dock And Anne Exploring08/16/2008, The Bridge And Boat Ramp Down The Street From Palmetto Bay Marina in Hilton Head, SC
The Forward Cabin (Where I Sleep When I'm Not Sleeping With The Dogs)Keith, hazy and humid
08/16/2008, Hiton Head
I've shown the forward cabin several times in the blog. It's an important spot I guess. With the air conditioning the last day or two, the nights have been oh so comfortable. Last night I slept almost 8 hours straight, which is really unusual for me. When we're anchored and without a/c, that comforter gets put to the side and I use only a sheet - sometimes even it is too hot and I sleep with nothing on top of me. With the switch to digital tv in a few months, both tvs on board will be obsolete and may need replacing with flat screens. I hardly ever watch TV though, so that won't be a priority - well maybe one nice flat screen in the forward cabin - but the other TV is destined for salvage and towels will go in its place.
Breakfast Today08/16/2008, Hilton Head
While I'm on a food picture thing, this was breakfast after a full morning of walking and playing with dogs and friends. Eggs (mixed with a dollop of 1/2 and 1/2), a little vidalia sweet onion, the last of my green beans cut into pieces, broken up sausage link, and some diced tomato. Yummy with some ice water and lime. Eating well (not always in a heart healthy way, but often) is turning out to be an important part of my cruising experience. It's really nice to have the time to cook whole foods without all the added salt and fats that came from all the fast food I ate - especially those working lunches - those were killer, literally.
Another Food PictureOvercast 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 YesterdayKeith - 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, SCAfter the low pressure system passed through
Dolphin SafariKeith, 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 TooKeith
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.
Singer Family Adventures
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