S MINUS 4 UNTIL PHASE VII
February 20, 2012
This is the last Monday at home for a while. We are down to lasts that way. Pushback may be as early as Thursday and not a moment too soon. The mystery status of Why Knot will soon be known to us. Our imaginations have all sorts of things living aboard which will be unfriendly to the crew.
With all the time that has expired since getting here, stuff has gone missing (Don't you hate that phrase: gone missing?). Being the gadget freak I am, just finding all the charging cords is proving to be a test. A friend once said that one gets beyond the diminishing returns point if one has more than 28 spark plugs in one's life. The parallel in this case is the number of charging cords one has to manage. Almost every gadget has a special configuration. That means we have a bag dedicated to charging cords. Whatever happened to simplicity?
Our newest crew member, Scurv, ABSD is getting weird. We think he thinks that all this activity is to whip up a batch of some yummy chew toys or some new way to get at the shoes in the closet. He won't let us out of his sight. It appears he has been studying the charts since one of them has a bit of unusual page marking. Stuff we put in the various "go" boxes is subject to re-packing and theft only to be discovered in the sleeping cage. He attempts to gain insight by staring eye to eye at us in some dogging mind meld but we might be too smart to fall for that. His evil hot dog chew toy is always at the ready for a hasty departure. In short, all would be great if we could just get him to carry his own sea bag. He still does not like the life vest and most likely will take some time getting used to being "clipped on" the safety system aboard. Time will tell- or not.
S MINUS 5 FOR PHASE VII
February 19, 2012
So here we are at the week of return to Why Knot. Seems like last century since we last saw her. Gee, how time moves so slowly during our absence but some really good things came of that time if you consider the alternatives. We start to decommission the house today and load stuff into the mobile storage unit. Since we have done this a few times, we recognize the knot in the old gut for what it is worth. Our family and friends here in the Hill Country are soon to be very remote and those short notice visits will no longer be possible. In essence it is like sailing away from an anchorage full of old friends and thoughts of spring in this place will have to carry us. Leaving Texas is always that way for us. We will miss all that is home but know we can come back when we absolutely need a Texas fix.
Now our thoughts turn to what's ahead, to the reunion of crew and Why Knot, of the anticipation of getting under way again. At least for the near future, we will be delaying actual departure to give Bear more recovery time and us to work out new back friendly procedures. The maintenance list, particularly the bright work will need attention. It remains how well our new crew member will handle the small spaces and limited shore leaves. We hope he makes a quiet way of it so we do not get tossed from anchorages and marinas. As little and athletic as he is, perhaps my new invention (still in planning stages) might work. Using a heavy test fishing line and a stubby rod, together with a really nice fitting harness, it might be possible to cast him to shore rather than firing up the dink and taking him there. Awh, don't get up in arms. I was just kidding.
SHORE LEAVE GETTING SHORT
February 14, 2012
We are down to some final visits with friends and family before the long trip back to Why Knot. We are into the mode of doing that which we delayed for several months. For one, I finally completed the paperwork to send to the Coast Guard for my 100 ton Masters ticket. It seemed easier to get my pilots credentials than mariner's credentials. I considered not applying for the grade after having passed the course work but maybe someone will need a captain for more than six passengers. The Masters allows one to do so.
Now, the vision of cruising is coming back into view. We have no misconceptions this time as we did the first time. The dragon population at sea is not as great as first thought. The mystery this time is what we will find aboard after an eight month absence. Certainly, we hope there are no spontaneous organic life forms aboard. Methinks West Marine will reinstate us once they see that we need new flares, a new horseshoe buoy and who knows whatever else that has hit the expiration dates in our absence. Most likely the food stuffs left aboard that included only dry foods in Ziplocks will still be bug free. If not, we will wage chemical warfare upon arrival.
02/06/2012, Crew in Texas two more weeks
AROUND THE CORNER
February 6, 2012
Soon, very soon, we re-enter the cruising community. In a way, it is like a major home move to some remote place. Nothing is the same. Some 30 years ago, we moved to the Hill Country where cedars trees (actually Mexican Juniper) are everywhere. The unique smell was rich and enjoyable. Then with time, it faded and we no longer smell them. Such is most likely the case with cruisers that sail the same ground year after year. There are some areas of the AICW that we have passed enough to consider them beautiful but no longer mystical. The exciting thing about Phase VII is that it will be into new waters for us. As such it will be fun to connect the charts with the actual scenery. Sometimes they are close; sort of like finding he voice of a stranger actually matches your idea of how they must look. Most of the time, the actual scenery is far different than the way you imagined it before seeing it. For instance, the charts do little justice to the Keys or the Islands. They let you know the critical stuff; water depth, channel locations and harbors but they cannot describe the view of a lighthouse or the crystal waters of the islands. One can gaze at photos all day and still not really know what it is like to actually sail into those waters; not until you are fully upon them and surrounded by the total scene. So, for the crew of Why Knot, this next phase will present previously un-sailed experiences to us. There is over 1.600 miles of such waters for us to explore for the first time. As it was at the turns of the ICW West of Harvey Locks along the Gulf Coast, we look forward to seeing what's around the corner.
02/01/2012, Texas- soon back aboard
THE GO BOX GROWS
February 1, 2012
Yikes! We have only three weeks left until we climb into the mobile storage unit and restart the dream! Having waited for so long to watch bone fusion happen(sort of like watching mold grow) , we did not allow ourselves to get too excited about Phase VII until the last surgeon visit.
We would like to think our go box technique is getting better. Still, that beautiful spinnaker lurks in the staging area and we have yet to decide if we should put another three thousand road miles on it. Will we actually hoist it if we do take it? That light wind passage last winter between West End and Great Sail Cay would have been the perfect use for it except for one thing: it was in the barn back home. I am thinking it might serve us well as we sail into the summer of the Chesapeake.
Our new crew member also presents some new challenges such as completing the puppy shots, training and the appointment with the IT doctor. By training I mean his training us to get up and take his fuzzy butt to shore in the wee hours of morning. We never thought we would have an animal aboard let alone a "punt" dog. We have a life jacket and a safety harness so he can hook on when we do. He definitely does not like the jacket.
Unlike the original provisioning, we have learned a few things. There are actually grocery stores and boat parts sources along the Atlantic Coast. One can actually buy paper towels and toilet paper also. That means that we are not planning on apocalypse provisioning. Our waterline (recently raised) and our boat performance will appreciate that fact. We may not really need a case of fuel filters and raw water impellers, or the three spare pumps. We may actually be able to see the sole of the midship head. Better yet, we might be able to find stuff without the inventory program. I might just start a maintenance program to use the redundant set of all the engine hoses we laid on, just in case. Those spare gallons of engine and generator oil might not be necessary. Does one actually need to carry fourteen packages of rice and a case of spam for the run up the Atlantic coast? We still have that famous case of burger meat cans that smell a bit like Alpo. How many flashlight batteries are enough? One knows one has too many when the new unopened package starts to melt. Closer inspection revealed that some were five years old. About the only thing not available on the Atlantic Coast is beef brisket BBQ. The big question is how to store beef brisket, mesquite smoked BBQ. How many will fit in our freezer?
The picture was taken in January 2010 just before starting the cruise. Most of that stuff was still on board six months ago.
The twenty ninth day of January, year of our Lord two thousand twelve
Admiral, Captain and crewe (Scurv, ABSD) of the Sailing Sloop Why Knot now berthed in Wilmington, North Carolina
Whereas S/V Why Knot, of the Port of Aransas, Texas (The Republic of) has been at rest since July, year of our Lord two thousand eleven in the Wilmington Marine Center, Wilmington, NC pending the recovery of the Admiral, it is hereby ordered that upon certification by the chief surgeon as to the safety for the Admiral to return to the subject vessel, the following directives apply:
First: The Captain will direct work details to re-commission the schipp to include compliance with the recommendations of the surveyor and to bring the appearance of said vessel up to seaworthy standards.
Second: Conduct systems tests and assure routine maintenance is performed so that a very high reliability is obtained.
Third: Conduct extensive training of the newest crewe member, Scurv so as to assure that he is capable of performing all duties associated with the rank of ABSD, Able Bodied Sea Dawg.
Fourth: Provision according to the needs of the schipp and the crewe.
Fifth: Plan (sort of) an extensive spring and summer cruise into the Chesapeake Bay and beyond.
Sixth: At such time the above directives are completely met and certified by the Captain and duly entered in the schipp's log books, the schipp shall depart Wilmington, NC bound for anchorages and ports to the north of Cape Fear. She shall sail on the morning tide once ABSD Scurv has completed duties ashore and continue toward the full circle completion of one segment of a dream hatched long ago, to wit the navigation of the AICW past the swing bridge at Onslow Beach thence to Elizabeth City and Beaufort, NC. Thereafter, without a firm schedule, Why Knot shall explore the approaches to the Chesapeake Bay thence wherever the winds and currents take her. Full flexibility is granted to sail at will and the whims of the crewe. Fair notice is hereby given to the anchorages and ports of the North Atlantic coasts north of Virginia.