March 15, 2012
I will be in trouble for mentioning this but there is a point. At 0600 we, that is the entire crew, awoke to a very loud thump followed by a moan. Bear's day started with a face plant after rolling the wrong direction in the rack and verifying that it is a full three feet from the start to the finish of the fall. Not only that but ensuing nosebleed indicated that the first thing to hit the sole was her nose. Good thing we have carpeting in the cabin. After doing the ship's doctor thing and discovering that nothing was broken (neck or back) she decided to go back to sleep. It remains to be seen if she will get the black eyes that sometimes accompanies such events. Scurv was big time concerned and kept his ears pinned down until Bear assured him that we were not under attack. Not a good way to start the day.
This is definitely the age of discovery for Scurv. He is starting to get calibrated as to his position in the animal kingdom. I am delaying telling him that the only place he is top dog is with the crew of Why Knot. Yesterday, for instance, he was patrolling his usual territory ashore and had his head buried in the tall clover. He did not see the large chocolate lab heading at flank speed our direction. When I noticed the perp, I had just enough time to yank Scurv off the ground and into my arms. Scurv did the spider man jump in fine style and let the perp know that sneak attacks are not in the rules. Once the owner of the perp called him back, Scurv mentioned a thing or two about his parentage and his manners. Mind you, he was still in my arms at the time.
The boating world seems somewhat asleep. I am not sure if it is still too early or the price of fuel is the reason. Diesel is $4.20 here and I am sure that keeps some boats tied up. The mariyna owner mentioned the other day that industry wide, the average occupancy is 40%. Three years ago, this marina had a sizeable waiting list. Today, slips are abundant. Motor vessels are going on the market at really discounted prices. Methinks there may be far fewer go fasters on the AIWW.
I will finish the toe rails today. That makes over five days spent stripping, sanding and refinishing. It tested my A.D.D. We really like the way the teak oil looks and it is very easy to apply. The finish is not shiny but the wood looks new. We are not sure how long it will remain so.
Gnats--- today was a hot day with no wind. I kept feeling small bites by the flying critters some of which could barely be seen. By the afternoon, all those bites were itching lick crazy and I counted a representative sample of my hide to learn I had over three hundred such itchy spots. Smart huh? Scurv really liked being topside until he inhaled a few hundred of those pests and then it seemed better to be below. By the way, I finished the 80 feet of toe today so we don't have to sneak into port.
This afternoon, Bears snoz is looking better. We are sure now it is not broken.
Importance of the Water Surface
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE Surface
March 11, 2012
I decided to work on the 80 feet of toe rail today, the third day in a row. To get to the side away from the finger pier, I splashed the dinghy and was into the exercise of removing the last of the Honey Teak. It was a nice afternoon to do the work and I did not look around for several minutes at a time. Bear was in the cockpit making her Sunday family calls. Scurv was enjoying his new found freedom strolling the decks. Perhaps that contributed to the next event. I sensed a presence nearby and looked down from the dink into the eyes of Mikey, the gator. He was submerged except for eyes and nostrils not three feet away. I am not sure if he wanted to get in the dink with me or just hoping for Scurv to miss a step. Either way, at the moment of consciousness of his presence, it was like walking down a dark hallway and feeling something tapping on the back. After that, old Mikey and I kept an eye on each other. As quickly as he appeared, he was gone. Scurv was at the rail paying close attention and not barking. Methinks the two of them exchanged subliminal thoughts and Scurv, for the first time, realized he is not at the top of the food chain. It is a fact that humans are no longer at the top of the food chain once they are below surface. Things change drastically at the water line.
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.