Cool but cloudless
March 10, 2012
Tonight the clocks are back to Daylight Savings Time. Seems only yesterday we went the other way. It is good to see all the new buds and blooms in the Wilmington area especially the trees with very white blooms. I am wondering when the northern migration takes place in the cruising world. Guessing here that is very soon. We have decided to hang in here for a bit so that I can finish some projects such as the 80 feet toe rail project. Certainly, Wilmington is not the worst place to delay departure. We remember that some of the best surprises have been based on the thinking that we stay because we cannot find a reason to leave. That might work for the next couple of weeks.
A strange thing happened last night here in the marina. A work boat temporarily docked here decided to take an unmanned cruise on the Cape Fear River. To get there, it had to somehow untie itself, creep out a very narrow inlet and navigate a narrow channel that has several turns. Might this be the work of their boat troll? The owners got a call from a city tug this morning that their boat was traveling toward the sea on its own program. How did the crew manage to get it?
Scurv has had a few "puppy cuts" that basically trimmed the hair around his eyes and other spots. Now that he is five months old, his fur is getting long enough that we are studying how to trim him. He is not the least bit cooperative and seems to enjoy growling when approached by us with scissors. Schnauzer hair cuts are weird because it is a combination of near shaving some parts and leaving others untouched. I am thinking it will take both of us and perhaps some generous use of duct tape to get that done.
The tides here have been somewhat on the extreme side. Yesterday, for instance, I was walking by the boat and noticed the zinc guppy wire was loose. Then I found out it was sitting on the bottom a mere 3 feet below the surface. That explained why Why Knot was not moving in the slip. Then again, the mud is the consistency of mousse so no harm.
More later--- or not.
At Least Three Log Books
AT LEAST THREE LOG BOOKS
January 5, 2012
As I was going through some of the documents we brought home, some to stay and some to return to the boat, I was reminded of the fact that we keep three logs, of sorts. Officially, we are supposed to have a fourth and perhaps even a fifth one aboard to be strictly legal but the Coast Guard does not hassle boats, as opposed to ships. The first one is the Maintenance Log which shows repairs and upgrades. The second is the Ship's Log. Even the small versions are called that even though we use it for the boat. That one contains the abbreviated notations of significant things such as time/location entries, crew status and destinations among other things. We note some non-boating stuff such as world events of major impact to America. The real log is not a log at all but more like a journal of departure times, intermediate notes underway and general stuff we wish to remember later. I view it as important editorial stuff. That spiral notebook has other reminders of events of specific days. It has been wet, really wet a few times and actually has blood stains from the crew and mystery adult beverage stains. It is torn in places and has entries written in all sorts of ink. The big rubber band keeps it open to the page of the day. Each day underway has its own page, thus we can easily see what was happening on specific days along the way. We have noted therein the birth of grandchildren, death of friends, world events and even observations of things along the way such as really big fish.
The day we left Green Turtle Cay for Fort Pierce the entries were: (March 27/28, 2011)
0630- great to have two extra souls aboard for the passage back to the states especially seasoned sailors. May set watches and head home in one day.
0925- Away from slip with engine hours 1671.5 Bluff House Marina, Green Turtle Cay
1005- under full press (sail) with 11 to 18 kts wind. Wow! She's hooked up.
1245-Caught first fish whilst underway. 26⁰56.91N, 77⁰40.819W Not sure what it is.
1430- Boat ahead same course. We may be gaining. Five miles.
1640- Winds calm, engine on (1672). Boat ahead is still ahead but turned toward Great Sale Cay for evening anchor. We decided to continue.
1825- Barracuda on line. Fun to fight. Such a small critter to kick my rear on the reel in.
0137- Engine back on- what a sky. (1676.7)
0420- Engine off- some wind
0555- Engine back on- dead calm. Storms in the distance are spaced so we might go between. Radar is very active.
0745- In the thick of t'storms with winds 40+ kts. Big waves estimated around 12 plus in sets of three. Right on the bow and most do not board. Those that do reach the dodger intact. Pounding hard if we do not steer into them right. Too rough to use autopilot.
0955- Still raining but much quieter. Crew is tired mucho. Brighter toward Ft. Pierce. Winds down to 25kts and seas are lying (laying? Or lying?). Now we let the autopilot take over.
1045- Another catch- Bonito about 5 pounds. Let em go.
1445- Tied up at Fort Pierce. 1687 engine hours and very tired crew. Boat took a beating and only leaked through an un-dogged portlight which drenched the only clean clothes our guest had. Underway 29 hours 30 minutes.
That was a passage that gave us much excitement and took much from all aboard. In fact, 165 feet of anchor chain actually rotated in the chain locker during the heavy seas we encountered. Of course, the longer removed from the event, the higher the winds and seas and greater the danger will become part of the story. Give it a few years and it will become a passage through the eye of a hurricane.
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.