80 Feet of Wood and Strange Wire
Overcast and rainy
03/09/2012, Wilmington, NC
80 FEET OF WOOD AND STRANGE WIRE
March 9, 2012
The toe rail, cap rail or whatever you call it is two decorative pieces of beautiful teak about four inches wide that caps the deck/hull joint (outside edge of the deck). There is much discussion among cruisers as to whether or not it is fitting and functional to keep it varnished. Some boats manufacturers have eliminated that wood in favor of a way more useful aluminum extrusion that needs no upkeep and is handy to attach rigging. During our days of weekending, Bear insisted on that wood being bright and shiny which is no small task. That wood takes a beating if one sails much. Or at least it did with us. Finally, after years of negotiation with Bear, I was allowed to let it weather, to shed the Honey Teak finish. In so doing, it became less than attractive. I know, I know if I had done annual maintenance on the finish, it would still be nice. Remember the mindset that one should never do today what one can do tomorrow? Classic example, huh?
I must admit that the silver look of weathered teak is attractive but not with touches of bright varnish like stuff randomly sprinkled about. I ran across a boat in the islands that had her toe rails simply cleaned and oiled. Thinks I: now there seems to be a grand, relatively easy solution. Besides that, the oil has to be good for the wood. As I found out, it better be at $30 a liter. So now and for the next few days, old Bligh is preparing the 80 feet of wood for the oil which means taking a scraper and knife to the wood to remove all the little specs of leftover varnish. Then the rail is carefully sanded. To me it is sort of like polishing railroad tracks. The end is nowhere in sight. Wish me luck since neither Bear nor Scurv want any part of the exercise and my A.D.H.D. is barely under control.
Last rain event, we had the usual drips which are all on the list of things to fix. One new one was really strange. Just at the place where the mast wiring enters the main cabin, I noticed a drop of water on the cover plate on the inside. I removed the cover plate thus exposing the wiring. There are six of them. One has a large radio connector which was taped to prevent any corrosion. But the really unusual thing was evidence that water was dripping out of the tape. Further investigation (sounds scientific, huh) revealed that indeed water was dripping out of the connector. Might we have found a dual use cable? Water and radio signals from the same wire? That one will keep me busy for a bit. Not a good thing and most likely the work of Little Prick our boat troll. Can't you just see him on the masthead with a tiny little funnel pouring water in the other end of that cable?
PS: I would be posing more photos except I left a critical cable at home and am waiting for it to catch up.
March 5, 2012
Today is one of those days when it is good to be tied to a dock. The winds are in the 25 knot (not MPH) and gusting to 30 plus knots. It is forecast to be that way all day. Was sort of planning to go up the mast today but methinks I will do something else. The long fetch of the Cape Fear River just outside the marina breakwater has provided about two feet seas with white caps and an occasional breaking wave. Even big bird is hunkered down behind the berm. I think we will follow his lead. Scurv votes with us on that.
We took a ride down the Cape Fear River road to Fort Fisher, the fort on the Eastern bank of the river. It was placed to enhance Fort Anderson on the West bank in the old town of Brunswick, NC. Fort Anderson was a pre American Revolution fort later rebuilt on the old Brunswick town site. Together these two forts formed what was called the Confederate Gibraltar. The mission was to protect the Cape Fear River approach to Wilmington open for blockade runners whose efforts was the sole supply route for Robert E. Lee in the latter days. Both being earthwork forts they did withstand the Union assaults which helped seal the fate of the Confederate cause.
Colder than a well diggers rear
March 4, 2012
It started raining yesterday around noon. That is not always a bad thing since it helps wash off the salt water from the rigging and makes for really good naps when the gentle rain is hitting the deck. It is a sort of white sound that helps mask all the other sounds aboard. Into the evening, the rain pace increased but not the kind we have back in Texas where buckets are involved. It was just a steady rain, thankfully no lightening, that kept Scurv on short notices for quick trips to land. Speaking of that, he has learned to use the boat deck for certain things. As the evening came, we settled into a movie and the rain hitting the deck. Most sailors will tell you that when in port or anchored safely, the rain is ok. We retired not long after the sun left this side of the planet. Thanks to the sounds, sleep came on like fog bank. Even Scurv welcomed the "lights out". We made several trips to shore yesterday and his sniffer needed recharging.
We were into deep dreams being gently rocked in the slip. I was awakened from my dream into some huge warehouse in which I was breaking stuff to get away from the bad guys (not a good dream at all) to the sounds of the signal flags strumming the other stay on the starboard spreader. It was loud and even with ear plugs, I could not ignore it. Try as I might I could not dig deep enough a sleep hole to escape it. Dang, thinks I. The wind has shifted and the rain is set on steady soak. What to do? There is only one fix and I know it. The next question is where are the foulies? I could just jump out there in the old sleep gear and fix it quick, sort of cat like. Wait a minute. I have not used "cat like" in a long time. I doubt I could even find it. The possibilities are starting to diminish. Take the time to fully suit up or just go for it. Anyone, especially an old grunt can put up with a dunk into 40 degree rain for a minute. Yeah, that's the plan. Just as I scoot over Bear and put feet on the deck, the rains increase. Now there is some question as to the sanity of the plan.
Ok Bligh, put on yer war face and get out there. I stumbled past Scurv that was not offering any encouragement from his warm berth under the nav station. In fact, he closed his eyes and resigned himself to the inevitable stream of newly invented words sure to fill the cabin on my return. OK, self---execute, execute. I started up the companion way steps and popped the hatch open. The cold air enveloped me and the mist coming around the dodger hit me in the kisser. My resolve melted away with thoughts about having a psyche exam. But that would have to be some other day. I did make it to the combing and around the corner to come face to with the rain/wind. Those flags were a mere three meters away. It was the moment of truth no different that the Kennedy/Khrushchev confrontation over the Cuban Missile Crisis. Fortunately, I blinked and stopped right there.
The rack felt really great once dried off. Those flags can stay right where they are and the crew will have to endure them tonight. Back to the great warehouse caper it was. Note to self: part of the pre bed checklist is the removal of the signal flags.
Rainy Carolina Day
Rain and cooler
03/03/2012, Wilmington, NC
RAINY CAROLINA DAY
March 3, 2012
Really bad weather has come to the south and we seem to be on the tail end of some of those systems. Yesterday was warm and quite nice. It is raining today which curtails some of the projects topside. Not to worry since I have a box of parts to do several minor repair projects. I don't mind the delay in topside work since part of it was to continue the never-ending toe rail project. We originally thought that we would let them revert to bare teak but we decided that Why Knot deserves a better finish. To that end we have decided to completely strip the varnish and oil them. Several boats we have seen have oiled teak and it looks very nice. Since the toe rails are subject to wear and tear, the oiling treatment seems appropriate both to preserve the wood and make it look loved.
Anyway, it is raining and promises to do so for the next day or so. That concentrates my boat ape duties below. Door gaskets on the both the freezer and the refrigerator as well as a minor repair to the stove should take the rest of the day---- or weekend. Scurv seems to like his time off and is taking full advantage of his nap space below the nav station. As long as I keep him in chewies, all is well. It is 1500 and Bear is inspecting eyelids in the forward cabin. That leaves me free to roam about the cabin and make some noise.
We think we will have had enough tourism time here by the end of next week. That means that we will actually start the movement north- or not.
The picture is of the Mary Elizabeth docked WMC. Photos do no justice to her.
March 2, 2012
Yesterday while working topside, I heard a really big explosion. Having heard a few in my life, one cannot mistake such sounds. In fact, many of us still twitch a bit even after forty years removed from events that used large explosives. Yesterday was one of those days when a very large, close explosion took place which was definitely not fireworks. I thought it was right next door to the marina but there was no large plume of dust. I mentioned it to the harbormaster. He said in a quick response that it is a local phenomenon called Seneca Guns. Rather than attempting to explain it, he said I should look it up on the internet. It seems that in several areas of the world including the Carolinas loud booming sounds similar to sound barrier booms are common. Seismic events are ruled out as are man-made explosions. Seems no one can really explain them. I can say that the explosion sound was very loud and real. They have been occurring since Revolutionary times, well before aircraft. Might it be the Bermuda Triangle abductors starting their engines?
On another note, I asked the harbormaster when the gators appear. He said around the end of the month. Well, this morning, I saw Mickey the small gator from last summer. Warm weather must have awakened him (them). My guess is that young Mickey might be a bit hungry. Maybe that is why he was eyeballing Scurv. Little does he know that Scurv is a dangerous predator that has no fear so far.
Photo is WK in the slip
Margaritaville on XM
MARGARITAVILLE ON XM
(This should have posted yesterday)
March 1, 2012
Even this time of the year, one may just be rewarded with spring like temps and a sunny day. We will take it since all that is supposed to change tomorrow. It has also been another learning day for Scurv. He got his first close introduction to the Great Blue Heron yesterday but there was some conversation between them this morning. Not sure what was said but Scurv seemed to take some offense at it. I am guessing Mr. Bird might have questioned Scurv regarding size. Since Scurv does not know he is size challenged, he took offense. He might have mentioned the scrawny neck on the bird. Anyway, it was not a casual conversation and Scurv proceeded to demonstrate what the bird meant to him, so to speak.
Today was the day to unroll the dodger parts and see if I could get them to flatten out enough to zip. I managed to do that but it took, as do all boat projects, longer than it should have. The zippers are showing their age and that means that this is most likely the last season for the present dodger. In favor of cleaning up the foredeck, we decided to put the remaining bicycle in the MSU. Besides, the once very white canvas tarp we used to cover stuff on the foredeck is now spotted with something that even straight bleach won't touch.
Bear is being careful in her movements and seems to have mastered the act of getting on and off the boat without causing me a heart attack. I did not say it was graceful but it works. The four-step dock ladder is the difference. The boarding bar on the dinghy will allow safer boarding too. Speaking of the dinghy, I will tackle that one tomorrow. I am not sure how long it has been flat but I am guessing several months. Who knows if it will recover. Anyway, the mission for the next few days is to put things back in working order and checking systems.