In the Midsts Of My First Tropical Storm Experience08/22/2008, Hilton Head
The general consensus among those living at this marina is that "this is nothing." One neighbor just told me of a time when she had to crawl down the dock to get to and from her houseboat. It hasn't been even close to that bad, just rainy and windy. Right now its just cloudy and not raining or windy at all - but it comes in bands. And it looks like I'm staying until Monday at least and possibly until Tuesday. There's one more project that I want to get done here (replacing the old chart plotter with the new Lawrance color one I salvaged from the Catalina 25 - my other sailboat, for sale at the sailboat shop in Phoenix). Practically, it just doesn't make sense to rush south tomorrow or Sunday in light of what you see above. It means I will have been in Hilton Head for close to two weeks by the time I depart, but holding for a bit this far north is probably a wise idea this time of year as the nice gentleman wrote in the comment below. I really should hold here until October, but I don't have that many boat projects and I think I would start to get bored. It has been an interesting experience with all this time on my hands. Somehow the days slip by even though I'm not doing much of anything productive. I read in another blog that the most dangerous piece of equipment on a sailboat is a calendar. Fortunately, I have time to waste, I've got nowhere to be and nothing much else to do. Last night I was invited to dinner at the boat of the kind German/Canadian couple I've been dog walking with. It was so nice and civilized. I discovered that salad on a sailboat is a very special treat. And ice cream - they served ice cream for dessert after a great fish, sauce, and rice dinner. My freezer could take some fudge bars if I sacrificed an ice tray or two, but I'll need to get a separate freezer unit if I want to freeze foods in bulk. The only other relatively interesting thing I have to report is that in the heart of this tropical storm, my three water tanks comprising over 80 gallons of water went dry, so I stood out there in the drizzling rain with a hose filling up the tanks. It's been two weeks since I filled those tanks at the gas docks in Charleston. Without conserving water I went that long between refill. If I seriously conserved water, I could go a month - especially if I add four 5 gallon reserve jugs (which can be brought by dingy to the shore for filling - more about that later). I would say 75% of the water went towards washing dishes so if I used paper or stopped being so liberal with my water use when washing dishes I could go a whole lot longer on the water I have. Probably 20% is used for drinking for myself and the dogs, and another 5% for showers. I haven't used any diesel in well over a week, so I've got that going for me. On a completely different note, my high school 20th year reunion is taking place this week. I've been getting back in touch with a lot of old high school friends through Facebook. It's nice. I'm very glad I'm here and not at the reunion in Tucson, but there is a scintilla of nastalga...
The Knot Meter Gets CleanedKeith, Tropical Storm or what's left of it
08/21/2008, Hilton Head
With a bit of time on my hands this afternoon, I got some help servicing my knot meter. This is a mechanical bit that turns as the water goes past the boat. It is an important component because it helps me determine the difference between my speed over ground (obtained by the GPS) and the speed through the water, which ultimately tells the tide speed. I've been having trouble with the knot meter. It sometimes hasn't worked and sometimes it just comes on randomly after a bit of cruising. It is designed to be serviced by pulling the unit out and sticking a sophisticated plug in its place but I was reluctant to do it myself for fear of flooding the boat. With some help, I was able to get the unit out and the plug in. Sure enough, it was heavily blocked with gunk. There was even a complete barnacle growing between one of the blades. I cleaned the whole apparatus with Q-tips so that it works like a top again. The stuff that came off it it smelled very fishy. Supposedly they are bringing some special paint to protect the paddle wheel from further growth. From what I've seen so far, I don't think there's a good way to avoid build up. It is placed in a spot that will catch a lot of water and thus also all the microscopic sea life that lives along the way. Anyway, its still blowing away and raining from time to time, but we're technically ready to travel. Maybe one or two more mechanical fixes before we head out in a day or two. In the meantime, I've been puttering around and watching movies off the of the internet. It's been so long since I watched movies. What a relaxing treat. The dogs have been great, just hanging out with me. Later tonight I'm invited to dinner with the kind and generous German couple.
New Raw Water PumpTropical Stormy
08/21/2008, Hilton Head, SC
Some of you may be wondering, what's with all of this engine work. He's only getting started and he's already having all these problems. Well, I don't think so. This boat is 12 years old. I would have liked to buy a new Catalina 36, but it would have cost double what I paid to get this boat and there still would have been maintenance issues to work out. Although I'm started on the cruising adventure, this is really just the testing out phase for all of the boat systems. If I can get everything in good running order before I leave for the Bahamas, I will have a lot more confidence when we do more offshore type sailing. Speaking of which, I expect that at some point there will be another refit to get the sails, standing and running rigging, and mast the once over. That probably won't be necessary until later when we actually start using the sails more. Although I would rather be cruising, getting all the maintenance and mechanical kinks worked out now is a good thing. Also, I'm learning a lot about the boat that may help me when I get farther from outside help. So here's to lemonade!
The View From Outside My Window Today08/21/2008, Hilton Head, SC
This certainly would not have been a nice day to be on the water. There are periods where it stops raining, but the bad weather is slowly coming more and more. No big deal. We are cozy inside the boat. I just heated up the leftover chicken and vegetable fried rice I made this morning (from the stir fry last night) in the microwave. The mechanic is coming back after lunch to finish some more things.
Abandoned Row BoatKeith, wet and windy
08/21/2008, Hilton Head Near The Boat Ramp
Every once in a while you see an abandoned boat at low tide. I just thought this made a nice photo. Jake naturally walked down into the mud to check out what I was so interested in so I had him wash off down the boat ramp nearby.
Stranded In Hilton HeadKeith, see below
We're not going to get a hurricane here this time but it is getting rather blowy outside. I wouldn't want to be traveling some of the more technical and narrow parts of the ICW with gusty conditions - especially not our next leg through Georgia, where the ICW is reputed to be in its worst state in terms of unmaintained shoaling. No, we are stuck here and the system is presently stationary - just sitting there churning out bad weather. It's going to be cloudy, windy, and rainy for the next few days or more according to the forecast while the thing moves slowly west. Part of me wishes I didn't have so much information from the internet about the weather so I could assure myself however falsely that I'm leaving real soon. But, as I said before, there are certainly worse places to get stranded. I've got four secure dock lines and 5 bumpers between the boat and the dock. The a/c is still working. It seems we'll survive this first serious storm of our sailing adventures.
Another Ho Hum Hilton Head Breakfast08/20/2008
Thems my homemade grits and, of course, low fat turkey sausage and finally the hand picked (from Sam's Club) blueberries.
Better Break Out With The DVD MoviesDark clouds and then it lightens up and then gets dark again - hard to find a good time to walk the dogs
08/20/2008, Hilton Head
It's going to be a rainy gloomy next several days. We'll keep ourselves busy (at least I will - the dogs mostly hang out whether we are at shore or at sea).
Jake Rolling Around On The Ground Near Mushrooms Growing In The Park08/20/2008, Hilton Head
It's raining here now, but the photo above is what it looked like before we started experiencing the leading edge of a tropical storm. Whow, we just took some wind and the boat leaned over at the dock. I think I will secure the boat even better today to minimize the chance that it will be damaged by rubbing. Back to Jake, he's always been one to roll in things like mud or much worse, but since we've been away from home, he just rolls because he can and to express the joy of life and the ability to run free for some time.
Morning Porthole With A/C Related DewKeith, unsettled
08/20/2008, Palmetto Bay Marina, Hilton Head
We've been in Hilton Head just about a week, believe it or not. Time flies. I'm officially getting work done on the boat but unofficially I'm waiting out the remnents of Fay in a safe and comfortable location. We are already starting to get the outer bands. Nothing serious, just rainy unsettled weather. I've been trying to get non-boat things done, but that work is slow going. So is the boat work for that matter at this point. My mechanic told me straight out that he is deliberately slowing down on the final things so I will stay through the storm. I can't complain. Free dock space near the Hilton Head Yacht Club to get fixed up and to wait out a storm. The dogs have gotten excellent walks with and without their friend Monty (I just saw him go by for his morning walk but Jake and Anne are sleeping and I am blogging, so we'll go later). Sleep is good, including a nap on occasion. Frankly I'm ready to head on and have been for days, but if we're going to get stranded somewhere, here is better than good.
Singer Family Adventures
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