29 May 2017 | Port Royal Landing
28 May 2017 | Port Royal Landing Marina, Port Royal, SC
27 May 2017 | Port Royal SC
26 May 2017 | Anchorage at Broad Creek Hilton Head
25 May 2017 | Sap Elon Island, New Tea Kettle Creek
24 May 2017 | Fernandina, FL
23 May 2017 | Fernandina Beach Marina Morring Field
22 May 2017 | Saint Augustine FL
21 May 2017 | Saint Augustine FL
20 May 2017 | Daytona, Seven Seas Marina
19 May 2017 | Anchorage Cocoa Fl
18 May 2017 | Eau Gallie Yacht Basin
17 May 2017 | Eau Gallie Yacht Centre
16 May 2017 | Mooring field at Stuart
15 May 2017 | Sunset Bay Marina, mooring ball 53, Stuart FL
14 May 2017 | Sunset Bay Marina Stuart FL
13 May 2017 | Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart FL
12 May 2017 | Sunset Bay Marina Stuart, FL
11 May 2017 | Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart, FL
Pardon me while I scream quietly
29 May 2017 | Port Royal Landing
Mike/Hot and stickey
Last night Barb and I sat up in the cockpit after sunset and were entertained by an astounding pyrotechnic display. There was a lightning storm to the north in the area of Charlotte which easily covered 30 degrees of the horizon. It was far enough away that we heard no thunder but the lightning lit up the clouds and every so often one was a little closer and we could see the forks of light arcing through the sky to strike the ground. This went on for the hour and more that we watched and was still going on when we went to sleep. Hard to believe that there is that much static electricity up there.
We were up and away bright and early this morning with our objective to be in Beaufort NC by Wednesday AM. We took the Beaufort Channel way out and after two hours we were still heading for the fairway buoy when I noticed that our RPMs were less than what I thought I had set them at. Then, 20 minutes later, they were less again, and still less 20 minutes after that. My first thought was that the fuel filter was clogged so I went below and switched the Filter Boss filter system to a fresh filter and still no affect. So, I thought, I don't want to be out in the ocean with an engine that has just died and try to change the filter and re-prime the injector pump while the boat was rolling in the seas, we would return to the marina at Port Royal and do the work there. On the way back I relaxed enough to notice that, although the tachometer was now reading less and less, the feel of the engine, it's vibrations or rpms hadn't changed. Odd, I thought. Then I looked at the tach again and it read 0 but the engine was still happily putting away. Very odd, says I. Clearly the problem isn't the fuel supply.
We got to shore and spoke to the local diesel mechanic with whom I had a discussion on Saturday about the starting bank and the 12V system on the boat and he reminded me that the instrumentation needs power and that if the batteries are too low then then the would begin to misbehave.
So, we are back at Port Royal Landing Marina to await the mechanic who will arrive tomorrow to have a look at the 12V portion of the system. That's not all bad since the marina has a stay for two get the third day free policy and this will be our free day. Also it was my opportunity to prove to myself that cleaning the contacts on the fuse for the 30A shore charger fixed the problems that we were having with it and it seems to have done the trick. Hurrah! We are going to have 3/4" thick rib steaks on the BBQ tonight to make ourselves feel better.
So far on this trip we have alternated between hanging around on a mooring like we did in Stuart waiting for a weather window to go offshore or on an anchor for the same reason. There are two reasons for going offshore - one to make straight line time, and, two to avoid skinny bits in the ICW. I am now coming to the realization that the only reason that is an absolute MUST is to avoid skinny bits. After all, if it hadn't been for health issues interrupting us we would still be living aboard and wouldn't be in any rush at all. So, once I am comfortable that we have fixed our problem with the engine, and if there are no skinny bits to our immediate north, we will head up the ICW to St Helen's Inlet then out and off to Southport, weather permitting. Otherwise we will just continue on up the ditch until we can get home. I'm tired of feeling pressure to go, go, go. Especially as I really don't remember where that pressure originated from.
Today is hot and humid and I really wish we had some form of AC on the boat. I never thought that I'd say that, but there you go. We are on shore power so at least we have a little fan running but that is only moving the hot air about. Even Barb, who normally eschews alcoholic beverages is asking me for cold drinks, and we are lying in the shade of the cabin wiping the perspiration off our faces, our necks, our.......well, our everywhere. This is still May! I don't want to find out what July is like down here.
The mechanic will be here tomorrow morning and I hope the problem will be fixable and we could be off by afternoon.
We will let everyone know.
Day two at Port Royal
28 May 2017 | Port Royal Landing Marina, Port Royal, SC
Mike/ another hot humid one
We have committed ourselves to another day here at Port Royal and have occupied ourselves in doing boat chores that you can only do alongside, such as, making use of abundant running water to clean the salt off the deck. I also fixed the old Force 10 BBQ so we now have two Qs on the boat for those occasions that we entertain crowds. I also looked at the starting system and lo and behold it seems to have fixed itself. Also it looks like Tony and the guys at the Deltaville Yachting Centre who installed the engine did all the right things so the actual cause of the problem remains a mystery. Now, at least, we have a spare battery in case this happens again so I won't have to jump from the house bank. We did try out the macerator for a while when we were offshore so it may be that was enough to pull the lower 12V down for a while.
We also have some local Intel about when we leave tomorrow. If we go out Beaufort Sound as I originally thought I will be heading backwards for as much as ten miles before we can turn to make northing. However, if we head briefly up the ICW, and go out St Helen's Inlet we will be traveling mostly to the north. Further research obviously required today in preparation for tomorrow's departure. That research has indicated that there are some shallow bits of the ICW between here and St Helen's and as one cruiser pointed out for the ten miles offshore to clear the Beauford shoals the distance of our objective of Southport of Beauford NC makes this really insignificant.
I have also been looking at the long range forecast and from Monday forward it would appear that there will be little to no wind so it will be predominantly a motoring event. Not my dream date to be at sea but much better than 30+knots and confused seas.
Oh, and remember the overturned boat with deployed liferaft that we came upon off Tybee Island? We have an update. It was a shrimp dragger and although it is only educated speculation, it is thought that it was caught up in a water spout that happened when we were hearing all of those thunderstorm and tornado alerts. There was a crew of three aboard and since they weren't in the life raft that we saw, the Coast Guard gave up the search after four days and unfortunately assumed that the crew had been lost. After that length of time the possibility that they were able to have found their way ashore was so remote as to be impossible. And unless they had somehow managed to be picked up by a passing ship and will be left off at their next port of call they have to be assumed to be lost.
I would expect that if they were indeed caught in the water spout then the end would have come very quickly. Our sympathies to the families of the crew and we are very grateful that we, ourselves, had heeded our little inner voice and stayed inshore.
I also looked at the 30A Freedom 20 shore charger which hadn't been working since we put Nelleke back in the water. I suspected that the problem had something to do with the fuse, so I took it out and tested it. It hadn't blown, so I had a look at the terminals and everything had an oxidization sheen about it so before reassembling it I took an emeryboard and cleaned off all the contacts. Now we will see.
We made a couple of trips into town using the courtesy vehicle and bought provisions and even a few things from West Marine including a pivot shackle for the anchor that almost came loose. Now we have a greater degree of confidence that we won't lose it overboard in rough weather.
We have also discovered that we do indeed have to call in to Customs and Border Protection every time we stop on this trip. We had thought that was the requirement, at least it was in the past, but after our conversation with Officer Hurst in Fort Myers since he was the one that we would be speaking to for all of Florida from St Lucie Inlet north and he didn't want to hear a thing from us until after we had left Florida. So technically we should have been calling in from Sapello Island onwards.
Oh well. We confessed. We were forgiven. We were also given a 1-800 number to call every time we stop to report in which is good for the whole trip north. For other Canadian cruisers following us, that number is 1-800-973-2867 and ask for the duty supervisor for the location you are in. You have to do this every time you stop, even if at anchor and have no intention of going ashore. I guess that will keep the citizens of the surrounding communities safe from marauding Canadians.
We are ready to go tomorrow if the weather holds. So, if you don't hear from us for a couple of days, fret not. We will be underway coming home.
And congratulations to Julia on her first communion. That only happens once which is what makes it special.
Port Royal Landing Marina
27 May 2017 | Port Royal SC
Mike/hot and sticky again
It's always an adventure when you anchor, isn't it?
I'm not referring to the actual act of dropping and setting the hook, but rather in finding out if you've done a good job of it or not. Such are the things that dreams are not made of. This is especially true of those places where there is a significant tidal current. In those instances you arrive, drop anchor, set it in by backing down on it, and then for as long as the current runs in the same direction all is well. But what happens when the tide changes and the flood current ebbs? Have you done a great job and the anchor merely twists in the mud and corkscrews itself in deeper? Or does it pop out and bounce along the bottom without resetting itself? Yesterday, after we got in from the yuck trying to get to Southport the anchor set perfectly but that doesn't means it would again last night. We have had two horrible experiences with a dragging anchor: one in Ketch Harbour at home where we were saved by our friend Vince who rowed his dingy over and pounded on our hull to wake us up so we could reset the anchor and the other in North Lake Worth when Barb happened to look up from reading and wondered why that boat was passing us so quickly and wasn't making any noise and didn't leave a wake. Of course, it was us who was moving and she quickly roused me from slumber so, again, we could re-anchor. I didn't get much sleep after that as you can imagine. Notice a common theme here? In both cases I was asleep. We were saved by luck and by friends. So, now I am a little paranoid. I mean, how much can you rely on luck, and a friend who, first will notice, and second, is prepared to launch his dingy and row over to warn you. It's nerve wracking!
So, I stayed up to watch the current shift from flow to ebb and see what happened and to get new points of reference that I can check the anchor set by and see if we're dragging and, whew. We're not! The only other thing that I would have to worry about would be if there was any strong wind blowing which, fortunately, there wasn't.
Huzzah! Funny, isn't it? How sometimes, apparently small things can make us happiest?
Anyway, by 1130 we we tied up alongside at Port Royal Municipal Marina again. I think this is the second time that we stayed here - a really nice spot with great facilities within easy walking distance from groceries, hardware, machine parts, and the all important alcohol. Not that we had to walk anywhere since Bill and Ann Robertson, folks we met here in 2012 at our last stop, were kind and gracious enough to not only host us to dinner but also to drive us about to buy various provisions. They have recently moved here from Atlanta and have a magnificent new home with an astounding view of a salt water marsh from their dining room, living room, guest bedroom and master bedroom. I would never have thought that a marsh view would be an asset until we saw this place - birds, deer, raccoons, etc in abundance all by just looking out their window. They BBQed us a wonderful dinner and as an extra attraction we met their daughter, Christine, who lives just south of Saint Augustine and among other things works taking care of nesting turtles. A fascinating woman to speak to and to learn about what that entails.
One issue on the boat is that the cranking bank wasn't doing its thing this morning and I had to jump start it from the house bank. This is the second time that this has happened. As some of you may know, when we bought the Yanmar to replace the Perkins it came with a 12V starter. Instead of waiting the week or so to get a 24v starter I chose to simply patch into the lower 12V of the cranking bank and still charge the overall 24V cranking bank from the 24V alternator. In theory this should work but this is the second time that the lower battery has failed. I spoke to a local diesel mechanic and learned that he had seen this before and advised me to check to see if the solenoid was also keyed by 12V or 24V. I seem to remember that when they installed the engine back in Deltaville they used the existing wiring that was in place for the keyed system that came with the boat. If that is the case then the solenoid is activated by the 24V system which the mechanic said is what caused similar problems in the past in his experience.
As we were being driven home by Bill and Ann I was giving this much thought and have decided that tomorrow, instead of charging off, we will fix this problem once and for all. First I will make sure that is the issue with my VOM, then I will figure out how to re-wire the whole starter circuit. Hopefully it won't be too hard to trace.
This marina has a deal that if you stay here for 2 days the 3rd is free so unless I can get it fixed tomorrow AM we might end up here for a couple of days. I keep having to remind myself that we are retired and what is the rush? The answer, of course, is that we miss our family, we miss Canada, and we miss our friends in Shelburne.