It is with the greatest sadness that I make this last post for Why Knot. My Mate of 54 years has gone Home. She passed in her sleep on Sunday morning. The crew of Why Knot is now dissolved. God bless my Bear. Thanks my Love for all the memories in our life's cruise
To Do List and old baots
Cold front just passed
02/16/2015, Port Aransas
We have not been advancing very well on our to do list resulting from the cruise. Only yesterday did I manage to get the anchor windlass back aboard and installed. For well over half of the cruise, our windlass chose to misbehave. I attempted several times to overhaul it but had only temporary success. The major challenge was getting my carcass in the anchor locker to unbolt and unwire it so I could work on it. It required mostly indirect, out of sight work in some contorted position always causing severe cramps at the most critical moment, lest I drop the part. That said, I finally decided to take it home and work on it in the lights with the right tools. It was a success.
We still have six sticky notes on the cabin bulkhead with fairly critical stuff to fix or maintain. Of course none of them would prevent a daysail. I am embarrassed to that we have not been out of the slip since our return to our Home Port. We have managed to offload stuff not needed for local sailing which includes some heavy things. Each time we leave the boat, we take a few pounds home. It helps to have a dock box to store things and Why Knot is rising steadily toward her old water line.
Being back home still provides opportunities to meet interesting boaters not known to us before. Our wharf has a former submarine sailor, a former Crusader pilot, two former military academy, grads, a couple that volunteers lots of time to the local marine life rescue, three crews who have done extensive cruising and a once beautiful Cal 28 (we had one and loved it) that has not moved in twenty years. Speaking of that status, every marina has many such boats. One across the fairway from us is a wooden sloop that also has not moved in decades. No one can remember ever seeing anyone aboard. Bear was sitting out the other day and noticed that the mast was leaning and the boat was not. Over the next few days, it leaned more each day. We thought it might just fall over. Marina staff attempted to stabilize it but it continued its move overboard. Finally, someone untied to the boat and pushed it far enough into the fairway to safely cut the mast free. Then they hauled it back aboard, ten feet at a time and cut the mast up to haul it away. Others went aboard to see what happened and they did not stay long. Seems all the wood below, including the mast base, had become a sort of balsa that had no structural integrity. Oysters were actually growing in the bilge, big ones. Now, she is a threat only to herself. Supposedly, the slip fees are current, most likely by an estate with no interest. How sad. Right next to her is a good looking older sport fishing boat that was also taking on water and was down by the bow about two feet. Whats with that?
At the risk of sounding a bit spoiled at the fine weather we usually have this time of the year on the Coastal Bend of Texas, a few days ago a frontal passage brought about several days of 45 degree temps and a constant drizzle. It was not enough to get one wet very fast and reminded me of the initial onset of monsoons in the jungles of SE Asia. Stay out long enough and even one's soul gets damp. That was the kind of wetness Bear and I enjoyed starting the second day after leaving Port Aransas (Port A) a few years ago. We left on a very sunny day and two days later that changed. We spent a week in a port waiting for the winds and bitterly, at least for us, cold winds to lay a bit. For the next two weeks, February had its way with us as we sailed through the swamps of Louisiana. It was not uncommon to have the droplets freeze overnight on the dodger. We actually sailed little since we were in the traffic of the ICW west of Harvey Lock. Had it not been the start of the great adventure, we most likely would have stopped and waited for warmer weather. We had no idea just how far our cruise would take us nor how long it would last.
Why Knot now sits as she did before we left without all the solar panels, fuel cans on deck and generally all the stuff on deck such as bicycles and such. To look at her now, she appears to be a weekender never to sail beyond the sea buoy at Port A. She looks like she has spent sixteen years just day sailing. A closer look reveals dings and scratches, spider cracks in gel coat and a dodger in need of replacement. That will happen perhaps this next year.
Most folks look at cold, wet days as a reason to stay indoors. Most do not know what a joy it was at the time to have cup of really hot coffee at the helm during a drizzly time at sea. As much as I seldom wear socks these days, Bear came down stairs yesterday morning with a really thick pair for me to wear inside. Dang, I forgot how comfortable socks are on a cold morning because socks on deck in a drizzle have just the opposite effect.
12/02/2014, Port Aransas, Texas
December 2, 2014
Today is Bear's birthday and we decided that even though it is cold and windy, we would spend it aboard. In these conditions, it is not uncommon for the crew of Why Knot to retire very early in the evening which makes it inevitable that I get up early. In this case at 0400. That's it, I am done sleeping for the night. As mentioned before, such hours provide a special perspective on the boating experience. Except for the crews that make a living from the sea, there are few others up. The night belongs to us, the early risers. We get a special reward by watching first light and first awakening of the sea creatures and birds. That first bugle call of the seagull starts the chorus of the birds who own the air above the water.
I guess we are fully settled into home port boating now. Why Knot has enough dings to keep me busy at least until the next urge to clear the jetties and see what's out there. There are those that shove off this time of year heading to warmer waters even from the Gulf. We had the pleasure of meeting one such fellow that shared the finger pier between us. He and his boat
are seasoned. By that I mean lots of sea miles and many ports. Best I can tell, he arrived here about the time we sailed away. Soon after getting here, he told others that this was to be just a quick stop. Four years later, he is still here but making progress toward departure. It is common for a boat to sort of sneak away lest others make a big deal of it. We arrived yesterday to find his slip empty. He will spend a few days at the transient docks since it is the new billing cycle and he will leave very soon. So, where is he going? He said he has a skippers job at one of the sailing charter companies in the windward islands of the Caribbean-said he might just have to stop by Cuba on the way. So, there you have it: a plan, a destination but no schedule.
Speaking of the departing skipper, another old sailor said that twenty years ago he might have been excited by such plans but no longer. Time and sea miles have taken a toll and it shows in his face and his boat. That is the way it goes with cruising. One has just so many sea miles in them and age limits how long most can tolerate being cold, wet and bruised. Of course, there are some that start earlier and stay longer such as a fellow we met who has seen 88 full trips around the sun and is still sneaking away from his kids for weeks on end. As for us, we might have one or two shorter cruises left, even a Caribbean charter or two on top of that. For now, we will take it easy on Why Knot and continue on the to do list.
Photo: can you spot the leaning mast? Not a good thing.
Having Never Been There Before
Our cruise started in familiar water where we knew the anchorages and destination without charts. As we headed east, then north then east again, we sailed into places for the first time. Having never been to any of them, we were rewarded with the experience of viewing them for the first time, to smell the "cedar" of those places we read about for years before. Until one has approached New York City from sea, one really does not get to understand the attraction of that place from the early days of European visits. That place is steeped in history so rich that the sight of the Statue of Liberty or Governor's Island for the first time is truly a dream come true. Mind you, this crew is from the rural "fly over" country and we have no desire to live in such a place. We wonder why anyone would want to be in such a congested city but I am sure they feel the same way about where we live. We only hope they have not forgotten the first time they came and smelled the "cedar" for the first time.
Hot for October
10/09/2014, Port Aransas
This is Harvest Moon Regatta weekend and this harbor is expecting 170 guest boats for the weekend. As a local, so to speak, we get to watch as boats arrive from the same place from which we sailed last month. For some, it will be a duplicate course. Unlike our little passage, the weather promises to be better. Promises of good weather are often broken in the Gulf this time of year and past regattas have offered broken gear and bones when Neptune did not favor the endeavor. So, this weekend will see a thousand extra story telling liars to add to the ambience, especially if weather thumps the fleet.
Of our last posting "Butt Kicking", I omitted the fact that I also had to change a sea water pump impeller whilst being bludgeoned underway. It took twenty two minutes. That was not my best time but given the boat movements, at least I did not drop tools or screws in the effort.