I thought I would never get another entry on this blog. After getting to Deltaville and starting the repairs,I got called back to the mountains. Jan had to go to hospital with heart issues. Her heart issues turned into seizure issues and the whole plan looked dead in the water.
but no, trooper that she is, we eventually moved onto the boat full time and began our simple life as cruisers, even though still dock bound at J & M marina.
If you read the last part you'll know the outboard broke it's transom mount. I fixed the transom mount and the engine has now decided to break itself. It runs, as long as you don't try to slow it down. No slow idle. Many have looked and tried and all have failed to solve the issue of the slow idle that wouldn't.
So, with a petulant motor hanging off the back we began our journey south
Getting down the Chesapeake to our first anchorage in Mobjack bay was the stuff you find in cruising magazines trying to sell the lifestyle. Nice breezes led us down to a picture postcard anchorage and then stirred us with the most awesome sunset. Ahhhhh indeed. We had made the right decision after all. The cruising life was for us.
Up anchor and away down to Hampton Roads. Not the sweetest place in the world. Full of naval vessels and cargo ships we rocked our way in for hours under the bow waves of huge ships. At one time we had a huge warship on our stern. The radio announced the 500 yard limit and how deadly force might be used to enforce it. " How the hell do I keep 500 yards away if the bloody thing is chasing me up the ass? " shouts Jan.
We hung a right and he went passed. Giggling to himself I imagine.
So the engine wont idle. Which meant every bridge and lock we had to wait for we lost the engine power. We would float aimlessly, hoping we could keep the boat pointed somewhere near the bridge for when it opened. Total farce at every bridge and looks of total pity from the lockkeepers as they bellowed "Just tie up near the back Mystic we got all these others waiting"
After Great Bridge, it was a pretty straight forward run into Midway marina. We'd called them on 16 and they were expecting our floating heap to bouncing into their marina dock with no power. The owner and his staff were totally unfazed and tied us off. If you are ever in the area this is the one to stop at. Great staff, Great facilities and Crabbies bar with live music on Saturdays.
tomorrow we move south to an anchorage before taking on the Albermarle sound. Next big stop is Oriental I think.
This is the storm that swept across on that Friday night. It left millions without power and Killed many.
It was one helluva ride tied up to that marina.
The really last bit
09 July 2012
The last bit.
I'm calling it the last bit, but really it's the first bit because now we are lined up to begin our great adventure and a total lifestyle change.
So where were we?
I was riding the bucking bronco out on the edge of the moorings. Mystic had been groaning and moaning through the night as her sides were scraped up and down against the wall and I dropped some cushions on the floor and lay there exhausted. I left the hatches open to let the breeze blow through the boat and looked up at the night sky as the lightning flashed in every direction. I'd seen earlier in the marina the rows of other much larger sailboats and was just happy they had more chance of a lightning strike than me. In fact they were the ones that were protecting us from the worst of it. That was dandy, they had the insurance. The storm raged. The wind was just a solid wall that hit like a truck every few minutes. The lightning forked in every direction at once. No big single fork, it exploded and looked like a Tesla coil on overload spreading all over the sky. It was beautiful and powerful and humbling.
We'd set off at six the previous morning and neither myself or Mac had had anything to eat or drink since we set off. It was beginning to show so at six the next morning I was ready to go hunting him down. The storm had passed and the boat was pretty much settled just a bit sore around the edges like I was.
I'd not really got any idea where I was headed but assumed following the creek up I should come to the marina I was supposed to be at. As I walked along the road I could see all the damage the storm had caused. Tree limbs everywhere and the odd yard that has lost all it's fourth of July furniture.
I found the marina and found Mac. He was curled up on the drivers seat surrounded by all the bags and gear we should have offloaded when we got to the boat.
He gave a big,"HOLY SHIT and THANK FUCK" grin as he recognised me. I'd gone to the passenger side so I didn't catch a frustrated fist when he saw me.
He'd spent most of the night trying to hunt down a phone or a drink or at least something to give him a bit of hope. He got an invite to watch a game on tv but decided to spend the night on a patio lounger watching over the river in the hopes he would see me coming in. he'd eventually gone back to sleep a while in the truck when the storm got bad but when he looked out the windshield he was looking at a huge fir tree that was bending over him. He spent the storm waiting for it to crash right through the roof.
We drove down to the 7/11 and loaded ourselves with soda and crappy sandwiches. We got back to Mystic and I went to talk to the marina owner there. He wouldn't budge on the price and as it was still June thought I would be happy to pay for that month as well. Lovely as it was, with a bar, swimming pool and all the amenities I told him to blow it out his ass and we eventually got Mystic to our less desirable but more affordable berth.
The owner and the folk there were brilliant. They all came to listen to the story and are all waiting to help get Mystic rebuilt and back one her way to the Bahamas. We done good picking this place.
That's pretty much all there is to tell now, apart from the trip home all the gas stations were without power and gas due to the storm. We eventually got home and collapsed into bed. the next day another storm came through and knocked the house next door straight through our downstairs bedroom. It smashed the A/C unit straight onto the bed. The walls are full of asbestos so we have some issues with that. Seems someone is telling us,"Ok you got your boat where you wanted it now get the hell out of this death trap". Some days the Goddess sends less than subtle messages.
Next stop Florida. That trip was about ten miles so I reckon we might have a book in the Florida eight hundred mile trip.
Tied up but it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings
09 July 2012
As I mentioned before, for you meteorologist types, there is a reason why wind starts to gradual increase over a given period. It usually means there is one mother of a storm following it.
I had been tied up to the outside wall of the nearest marina to the entrance. The mooring lines I had were a bit on the knackered side but I was there. Job well and truly completed. But, before the coasties left, they mentioned something in passing. "You might want to get battened down and check your lines, there's a bit of a thunderstorm on it's way later". Later turned out to be about fifteen minutes. Like a sensible chap, I got the sails stowed and the covers on and ran out a few more lines I could find. "OK, lets go find Mac and get some food and a damn drink, I got a throat like a camels ass in a sandstorm" I said to myself. I said it to myself because there was nobody else there and I tend to ramble to myself like an idiot. I had no real clue where I was so I just set off following the road nearest the creek. I'd gone about half a mile when it started. First the wind, then those huge drops of rain like some elephant is crapping on your head. I turned round and ran. By the time I got to the boat she was leaping about in the water like a salmon on crack. I jumped aboard and slammed the hatch cover over. Then I heard the grinding. We were getting pounded up the transom by huge waves that were lifting us up and dropping us like a rock. At the same time the side of the boat was grinding against the wall. No fenders. Shit. I grabbed one of the couch cushions and sprang outside. Sprang as in ripping my legs to shreds as I missed and slid down the steep steps. Got back up and got outside. It was howling now and the rain was just some old dude throwing buckets of water at me. I was totally soaked to the skin. I rammed the cushion between the boat and the wall and for about an hour sat there playing human fender.I decided I felt a bit of a nipple sat out in the rain like that so I dragged one of the jib sheets down and tied the cushion to that. Then, the only bit of safety equipment worth showing the coasties, my horseshoe life ring got rammed in there as a fender too. I got back inside and Mystic and myself spent the next couple of hours flying up and down and holding onto each other. If you ever fancy paying a few thousand to go to Disney, forget it. Just get a ride on a boat tied to a wall in a storm. an experience for all the family.
Final final part later
Dville part three
09 July 2012
Thought I'd write this sat in the bath. All this water helps me remember hehehe
Ok lets move down the river a couple of hours. apart from it being dark and the passing dredgers it was just a slow boat ride.
Off in the distance, I could see the shape of two headlands meeting. I was pretty sure my marina was on one of then so point and shoot and on we go. Eventually I saw the first flashing red marker. I lined up with the headland and the tower I'd noted earlier and decided that was good enough for me. good enough in it was red and it blinked and seemed like a good place to be a light. I trudged on and eventually saw the marina lights. I knew I was low on fuel and fortunately low on draft so i short cut up to the marked passage. I was about 100 yards away from the markers when BANG !!!< the sodding engine slipped off the ropes and smacked into the rudder. I was floating around like a spare dick at a prostitutes wedding with nowhere to go. Out in the river I heard the gentle groan of a high powered engine. I turned on my useless phone and waved the light at them. " Going my way?" I asked politely. "ARE you in difficulties sir" came the reply.OOOOOOOOOOOOOOH SHIT !!!!!!! It's the coasties.
"Ahem, yes sir I seem to have got meself stuck here and have no steering or power, any chance of a little tow?"
"Stand by sir we shall review the situation. Do you have a life jacket sir". "Yer of course I do"...."Could you put the jacket on sir". Well no I couldn't because I didn't have one. I actually had sod all but a big stupid grin.
They towed me into the nearest point on the marina and began their 500 point boat inspection. These are the inspections that land you fines of thousands of dollars, boats impounded and general upset in your day.
"So this is gonna cost me how much?" I asked one of the crew as I flopped down on the cockpit seat and rolled a cig. It was game over of course. "Dunno sir, that's the skipper has to deal with that".
The skipper returns. "Ok Simon, I'm writing you up for a warning this time. Get all that gear sorted and don't let me see you back on that river 'til everything is done"
I was close to tears. Not sure whether to laugh or cry, but too damn tired to do either.
"Ya kiddin right?"
"No Simon, your story just broke my heart, now lets try and find your buddy".
They tried every phone number they could and were even prepared to get me a taxi to go find Mac. I declined but thanked them profusely, by laying on the ground and licking their boots . I'll never ever have a bad word to say about the coastguard again.
The final act follows shortly.
Simon is a confused, wandering Englishman that ended up in the wilds of West Virginia.
Janise is his American partner, who's sole aim in life is to stop him petting the dangerous wildlife or some other stupid whim he may pursue.Like boating perhaps......