Kaimusailing

s/v Kaimu Wharram Catamaran

Vessel Name: Kaimu
Vessel Make/Model: Wharram Custom
Hailing Port: Norwalk, CT
Crew: Andy and the Kaimu Crew
About: Sailors in the Baltimore, Annapolis, DC area.
20 January 2019 | Georgetown, SC
18 January 2019 | Georgetown, SC
17 January 2019 | Georgetown, SC
15 January 2019 | Barefoot Landing, SC
12 January 2019 | Southport, NC
10 January 2019 | Joyner's Marina, Carolina Beack, NC
09 January 2019 | Camp Lejeune, NC
08 January 2019 | Beaufort, NC
06 January 2019 | Beaufort, NC
04 January 2019 | Beaufort, NC
04 January 2019 | Beaufort, NC
04 January 2019 | Beaufort, NC
30 December 2018 | Beaufort, NC
27 December 2018 | Beaufort, NC
24 December 2018 | Willoughby Bay, VA
19 December 2018 | Willoughby Bay, VA
19 December 2018 | Norfolk, VA
19 December 2018 | Chesapeake Bay
19 December 2018 | Chesapeake Bay
19 December 2018 | Bodkin Inlet, Pasadena, MD
Recent Blog Posts
20 January 2019 | Georgetown, SC

Tempest in a Teacup

I needed a few days break on this trip and I had some issues to explore, such as why the GPS dongles wouldn’t work when I wanted them to. The Panasonic CF-C1 Toughbook is a cheap and reliable unit, plus it has a smaller size that works well on a boat where things get crowded easily.

18 January 2019 | Georgetown, SC

Georgetown Layover

When I awoke in Georgetown harbor the smell from the paper mill was blowing the other way. When I arrived the smell was pretty bad. Overnight the temperatures dropped and there was frost on the deck. It was cold and I wanted to stay in my bunk.

17 January 2019 | Georgetown, SC

Barefoot to Georgetown, SC

The distance to Georgetown, SC from Myrtle Beach is more like 50 miles, Brad corrected himself. There was a strong current in the ICW due to flooding upstream, so the time to cover that distance would be 13 hours. I planned to break it into two legs.

15 January 2019 | Barefoot Landing, SC

Southport to Barefoot

Sunday was a layover day and I read and kept tabs on the playoff football games on ESPN's website. I was not feeling well due to the bad fuel issue with the outboard. It was so dependable until it wasn't and the cause was bad fuel at a high price from an unscrupulous marina.

12 January 2019 | Southport, NC

Fishy Fuel

The Joyner Marina said they close at 5 so wanting to watch a playoff football game that starts at 4:30 would be a waste of time. Otherwise it is a nice place to stop, fuel prices seem high with regular gas at the gas station costing about $2.25 and gas fuel at Joyner's gas dock at $3.99. If you were [...]

10 January 2019 | Joyner's Marina, Carolina Beack, NC

Current Events

I am reminded of Willoughby Bay where the Navy practices helicopter tactics at any hour of the day or night. This however is our remote anchorage, maybe even illegal, on the edges of Camp Lejeune. The helicopters fly over and buzz Kaimu while I am trying to get some sleep. It is cold, down to 30, [...]

Tempest in a Teacup

20 January 2019 | Georgetown, SC
Capn Andy/Cold and Windy
I needed a few days break on this trip and I had some issues to explore, such as why the GPS dongles wouldn’t work when I wanted them to. The Panasonic CF-C1 Toughbook is a cheap and reliable unit, plus it has a smaller size that works well on a boat where things get crowded easily.
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The CF-C1 I designated for navigation has a very fast solid state hard drive and 6 gigs of memory to help it boot up quickly and use very little power. My ideal would be to boot it up and get my GPS position fixed, then do whatever route planning I need to do, then shut it down till next time. What I have been finding is that the quick boot up results in the GPS dongle not getting recognized, so no position fix. As a result I have been using the Brigadier cell phone running Marine Navigation Lite, which has a stand alone GPS inside, and it faithfully tracks the course and helps make decisions when we are in confusing water territory. However, I have had a few of these smart phones and they will die unexpectedly, so they should not be relied upon without some sort of backup.
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The Getac B300 is bulletproof, but its power supply has died, so I can’t use it. I noticed the GPS dongle would light up and start blinking sometimes when I was using the CF-C1 for something other than the nav program, OpenCPN. I got the idea that maybe I had to give the dongle more time before I tried to use it in the nav program. I experimented by turning on the laptop and not opening OpenCPN and sure enough, the dongle started blinking after a while.
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The forecast was for a gale or storm offshore and in Georgetown’s small harbor it meant anchor watch. Georgetown in notorious for bad holding for ground tackle. The winds picked up in the evening and then around midnight the anchor dragged. I went up on deck and started the engine and brought us back to where we were anchored. Strangely the anchor held the boat in position once more, but didn’t hinder us from moving across the anchorage. Danforth anchors sometimes get their flukes jammed with crud from the bottom and then if they flip over the flukes do not drop down to grab the bottom, they remain up and the anchor has almost no holding capacity.
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I stayed up and once again Kaimu started dragging. I put down a second anchor and we held position. When I awoke in the morning we were about 2 feet from the town dock and the wind was even stronger than during the night. I didn’t think the engine would be powerful enough to drag two anchors back to our anchor spot, but it did. The rest of the day was spent reanchoring over and over. I decided to leave the anchors as they were and finally they grabbed and held us.
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The photo is of the town flag on a government building near the waterfront. The flag is out stiff in the breeze. I was hoping to go ashore and watch playoff football, but it would be best to stay aboard and keep an eye on the anchors, also it would be dicey rowing the dinghy in a gale wind.

Georgetown Layover

18 January 2019 | Georgetown, SC
Capn Andy/Sunny and Mild
When I awoke in Georgetown harbor the smell from the paper mill was blowing the other way. When I arrived the smell was pretty bad. Overnight the temperatures dropped and there was frost on the deck. It was cold and I wanted to stay in my bunk.
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Finally at about 9:30 I made breakfast and tried to warm the galley with the little propane heater. The propane tanks were empty. One was completely empty and the other was only good for a flame to make coffee and cheese omelet. When I compared the weight of the two it seemed that the one hooked up to the stove still had some propane, so I brought the really empty tank and a shopping list to Walmart. The Uber ride cost about 7 dollars. After I returned I stowed provisions and took a nap.
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I awoke and something was bothering me, I had ordered spare water separation filters to replace the one I had thrown away, but when I checked the tracking number it was on its way to the post office at Georgetown, which is what I wanted, but the seller was sending it 2nd day UPS, who does not deliver to post offices. I tried to log onto my UPS account but was unable. The account information was probably on some long dead laptop. It was 2:30 AM, so I went back to sleep.
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In the morning I called the local UPS store to change the delivery location and was told that the UPS store was a privately owned franchise and couldn’t do what I wanted. I called UPS, 1-800 PICKUPS. The prerecorded menu gave no option to change delivery or talk to an agent until I went through several submenus. Then when I got a chance to speak with a human being I was told that the seller had to make that change with UPS, not me, the buyer.
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The seller had no phone number on the email announcement of “your item has shipped”. I went to their website and found an 800 number. I eventually got a pleasant customer service person who acted like changing the delivery location was something that never ever happened. “But UPS said you need to initiate that change, you need to call UPS.” She said maybe we would have to wait until the item arrived. But she would call UPS. Later my cell phone rang and yes, the product would be sent to the local UPS store and arrive on Martin Luther King Day. Perfect.
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I was anxious to get underway and continue my journey, but I also knew I was not feeling too good about things. I had a 22 gallon tank of bad fuel and had to do something with it, and there was no easy solution. The Suzuki dealer in Southport had suggested using a transfer pump to get the fuel out. They didn’t offer anything to get the fuel out, but they did get the engine running again and it was strong as ever, no worse for wear.
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Maybe I could start a siphon, which we had done several times on yacht deliveries, and put some of the fuel into the clear plastic carboy. I could see if the fuel was bad, not sure what I would do with it. It’s hard to dispose of 22 gallons of gasoline.
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I put the carboy in the bottom of the engine sled, lowered to its lowest. I took the “bad” fuel primer bulb and jammed it into a long length of clear vinyl tubing. I took the fuel barb off the new fuel hose and jammed it into the other end of the vinyl hose. If I had tried to use the new fuel hose to siphon the bad gas, the new fuel hose would be contaminated. Using just the fuel barb meant I only had to clean the fuel barb, then I could reuse it in the new fuel line.
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It didn’t work. I could only pump a little spurt of fuel when I squeezed the bulb, but there were air bubbles in the line and no siphon action happened. The end of the line was well below the level of the fuel in the tank, so the problem was with air leaks. I remembered a siphon pump that Ron the carpenter had given me some time ago in the boatyard. I had used it to pump bad fuel way back before I relaunched Kaimu. I found it. There was no way to match it up to the vinyl hose, but I took it apart and removed the input rigid tubing from it and poked the vinyl hose into it. It kind of worked but there was still air in the line and no siphon action. I taped the vinyl hose connection to the siphon pump and that seemed to work better, but still no siphon action.
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I had at this point pumped about a quart of fuel into the carboy and had spent about an hour doing that. I put cable ties on the fuel barb at the main tank to try to prevent air from getting into the line there and it helped some, but no siphon action. Maybe I had two quarts.
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I found my tube of gasket sealer in a zip lock bag with a small brush that was in a smaller bag. I removed the fuel barb from the main tank and painted some sealer where it came in contact with the tank fitting. I zip tied it all back together. Now we had siphon action and fuel began flowing into the carboy like it should.
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It was still slow going and I had time to do some reading, make lunch, and now and then pour the fuel into empty jerry cans through the Baja filter funnel. I’m pretty sure the fuel is OK. At the end of the afternoon all the jerry cans were full, we had the same amount of fuel available in the jerry cans as when we left Grande Dunes, plus the carboy was almost full.
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I had researched the next leg of the trip to Charleston and it was way more than 50 miles, plus the waterways were confusing, crisscrossing each other, I would have to be careful navigating this stretch. Probably have to anchor for a night somewhere along the way. These were not the open river waterways that I could negotiate in the dark, these were narrow canals with lots of places to make a mistake and get off the ICW.
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The image is from OpenCPN and it shows a part of the maze of waterways between Georgetown and Charleston.

Barefoot to Georgetown, SC

17 January 2019 | Georgetown, SC
Capn Andy/cool and calm
The distance to Georgetown, SC from Myrtle Beach is more like 50 miles, Brad corrected himself. There was a strong current in the ICW due to flooding upstream, so the time to cover that distance would be 13 hours. I planned to break it into two legs.
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When I awoke in the morning after our previous night’s Mexican Happy Hour, I had a stupendous tequila hangover. Tequila sunrise. I still was able to get underway by 9 AM. I had done a U-turn to tie up at Barefoot Landing, now I had to do a U-turn to continue my journey. There was a fuel dock right across the way and I needed fuel. Unfortunately the did not have any gasoline, just diesel. They directed me to another marina about 5 miles up the ICW.
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On my way up to the marina that had fuel I saw some amazing houses and took photos of some of them. There was a strong current and we could only make 3 knots and change. The marina, Grande Dunes Marina, is way upscale with many large power yachts and the neighborhood matches it. The fellow who operates the fuel dock said building lots go for about 2 million dollars.
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I first went into the North entrance of the marina, but there was no fuel dock there and I had a terrible time getting Kaimu back out so I could try the other entrance. When I came into the South entrance I could not see a fuel dock there either, but the marina sign had the word fuel on it. I tied up at an empty dock and hiked to the marina office. When the manager pointed out where the fuel dock was I could see it would be a long hike. He said I could use a dock cart, but it would be a long slog. Then the fuel dock guy came by in an electric golf cart with some trash in the back. If I could wait a little bit, he would cart me and the jerry cans to the fuel dock and back again.
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Soon I was back aboard Kaimu with the fuel. When I tied up to the dock the stern was hanging out past the dock. This turned out to be a blessing, I looped the stern line around the cleat and threw it back on deck, then removed the bow line. I backed Kaimu down against the stern line and the boat swung out from the dock and pointed at the ICW. Now I could bring the stern line aboard and head out.
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It was rather tedious going along at 3.8 knots even though the engine was almost full throttle. I was putting the last of the bad fuel into the portable tank using the Baja filter funnel and all was running fine. I kept track of how much fuel we were using per hour and it seemed to be about a gallon an hour. When I ran the engine harder, it used up more fuel and did not really go much faster than about 5 knots. Capn Brad told me that I would get aided by the current once I got to where the Waccamaw River emptied into the ICW. The flooding that was causing the current was on both the Waccamaw and the Pee Dee Rivers. When I got to a swing bridge that was listed on the chart as having 11 feet of vertical clearance when closed, the scale of vertical clearance that is mounted on the bridge, “Read Vertical Clearance from Scale”, the scale said 7 feet of clearance. In other words the river was 4 feet above normal. On the NOAA weather forecasts they predicted the rivers would continue to rise. I now looked on shore and could see some homes had water in their yards. Of course the giant McMansions had raised stonework and beautiful landscaping. No danger of flooding there. One home had a giant staircase leading down to the water. No thanks, that would be like climbing up and down a mountain.
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I did finally get to that spot where my speed increased. Now I had 16 miles to go to a waypoint just short of Georgetown and I was doing 6 knots. But it was close to sundown. I looked up in the sky and the moon was almost full and had already risen. I would be navigating on the rivers, not in the narrow ICW canal. I took a chance that I could travel at night although it was always a rule, no ICW at night. There is danger of hitting unlit daymarks amongst other things.
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It was also turning into a long day. The autopilot was not working the way it had back when I first installed the new control head. My guess is that the hydraulic steering had lost some fluid and that means air got in and now there is excessive play in the steering. It is not a big job to bleed the system. I was hand steering the whole way and tired of standing in the pilothouse, but out on deck where I could sit in the helm seat it was too cold. So I went back and forth.
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The most dangerous part was pulling into Georgetown waterfront, littered with unlit vessels. With the moonlight I was able to keep from crashing into things and found a place to drop anchor. The days tally was 11 1/2 hours and about 15 gallons of gasoline.
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I made a quick soup out of shrimp ramen and a can of tuna. Just an experiment. It was OK, I could have some wine and get some sleep
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The photo is of a three masted schooner, not a common sight on the ICW.

Southport to Barefoot

15 January 2019 | Barefoot Landing, SC
Capn Andy/Cold and Windy
Sunday was a layover day and I read and kept tabs on the playoff football games on ESPN's website. I was not feeling well due to the bad fuel issue with the outboard. It was so dependable until it wasn't and the cause was bad fuel at a high price from an unscrupulous marina.
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I called the Suzuki repair guys and although it was very chilly they said they were going to test a boat at the marina next door to where I was anchored and after the test they would come over an take a look at the outboard.
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About 2 hours later a boat from the waterfront came over with 4 people on it, two mechanics and two boat operators. It turned out the owner of the test boat declined to go out in the cold, so the mechanics hitched a ride with buddies from one of the waterfront businesses. It was a Carolina Skiff with a Suzuki outboard on it.
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The mechanics pulled a small fuel collection tank from my outboard and emptied it, then flushed fresh fuel they had bought with them through all the fuel lines. Then they tried to start the engine, no go. They tried ether and spent the better part of an hour trying to start the engine. They took the side cover off which was difficult the way the engine was mounted in its engine box. I went to the galley and heated up some chicken soup and heard the engine put putting. They had spent altogether 2 hours and said the problem was dirty fuel with some water in it. I should not use my fuel lines, they needed to be replaced, no ethanol fuel, and they gave me directions to an auto parts store that was within walking distance to get the parts I needed.
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I walked to the store and got carburettor cleaner, blaster penetrating oil spray, a Baja fuel funnel, and 10 feet of 5/16" fuel line. Back on board I took apart the old fuel line which consisted of a Yamaha fuel fitting on the tank end, a primer bulb that was purchased new in Beaufort, and a Suzuki fuel fitting on the engine end. The line went through a Sierra water separator filter and I had a replacement for that, although the parts store didn't have a replacement for the replacement.
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The Baja fuel funnel, Mr. Funnel brand, is a funnel that has a built in filter that will pass fuel but not water and will filter out debris also. I had already poured the contents of the small portable day tank into a clear plastic carboy so we could see what was in the fuel. There was a small puddle of water on the bottom of the carboy and some debris. I cleaned out the portable fuel tank and poured its gas back in using the filter funnel. I primed the fuel line to the engine and started the engine, ran perfectly. Now I poured a jerry can of fuel into the carboy using the funnel and the fuel looked good. The 3 gallons in the portable tank and the 5 gallons in the jerry can are enough for tomorrow's run to Myrtle Beach. When the jerry can is emptied I can pour another jerry can into it using the filter funnel and eventually I will have all the jerry cans with clean fuel, then I will have to tackle the main fuel tank somehow.
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In the morning I got underway after oversleeping a bit. After breakfast, warming up the engine, and raising the anchor, it was 9 AM and we went out into the ICW and turned right. There was a lot of marine traffic, tugs, fishermen going out to fish, and after about 1/4 mile the engine quit. What the? I thought about the mechanics and if they didn't really fix the real problem. But the portable fuel tank was dry, I thought I had filled it. I poured more fuel in and started the engine. I saw a sheen on the water, leaking fuel. Was there something loose inside the engine? I had to dive into the engine box headfirst with my hips keeping me from going all the way. I found leaking at the fuel barb into the engine. I had a brand new Suzuki fuel fitting in a box in the galley and went and got it, replaced the one that was leaking. That seemed to fix the problem, which was good, because a huge barge with tug alongside was coming down the channel. No room. I did a U-turn at the entrance for the Southport Marina and then headed back up the ICW. We were making about 4.5 knots against an ebb tide. I went back inside the pilothouse which was warm from the little propane heater.
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I started projecting where we would be or what time it would be at Calabash Creek or Barefoot Landing. My old friend Capn Brad, of Bombay Duck fame, would meet me for food and drink, if I could make it. I was using the cell phone as an aid to navigation, it would run forever on its USB/cigarette lighter cord, except that it turned itself off from time to time and needed about a minute to reboot. A minute can be a long time. On the cell phone I can lay out a marker and get lat and long and distance and bearing, but I can't use the measure function that I have on the computer. With measure I can drink and dot right up the ICW, following all the turns, and come up with an accurate distance to whatever is up ahead. But, all these calculations are useless because of the tidal currents that push or slow down the vessel.
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I was looking at 3.8 knots and then a half mile further 4.8 knots. Then low 5's. Then back to middle 3's. After a lunch of Ritz crackers and tuna salad I calculated 36 miles to Barefoot Landing, and at 4.5 knots, 8 hours. I would get there at 8:30, well after dark. I texted Brad that I wouldn't be able to make it today. I would have to anchor somewhere.
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It was tedious having to stand in the pilothouse steering. The autopilot could not keep a course within the banks of the ICW. I couldn't see the compass or out the pilothouse windows unless I was standing. There was a view through the galley and out the portlight at the front of the galley, but it was a narrow view and difficult to steer the boat by it. But I did use it for brief interludes to sit for a few minutes.
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The engine stopped again and it was the fuel connection again. I clicked it into place, must have become unclicked, and restarted with new fuel in the portable tank. We had lost about 6 gallons from loose fuel connections. I was playing with the cell phone's nav program and dropped a mark at Calabash Creek and surprise, it was only about 2 nautical miles away. I texted Brad.
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It was still a long way to Barefoot Landing, 16 miles, so that would put us there in the dark. I thought about navigating in the dark on the ICW. Not a good idea. The sun was getting lower and the clouds overhead were changing color. It was getting close to sundown. I turned on the nav lights. I had turned up the Suzuki full blast, but there was not much change in the speed of the boat. 5.1 knots. I poured more fuel into the tank. I was pouring from our last jerry can.
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The main tank was suspect. It was on the main tank that the engine died on Cape Fear River. There were at least 20 gallons of fuel in the tank, but how do we get them out without contaminating our new fuel hoses. Maybe a siphon. Any fuel that goes through the Baja filter funnel is not going to have water in it or any large debris. I can see a double filter process, first through the Baja funnel, then through the Sierra 10 micron fuel filter. Need to get a spare for that.
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We came to a low swing bridge. The bridge communication channel on the ICW is VHF channel 9. While trying to find out that channel number, I found out that the swing bridge was the Captain Poo Swing Bridge. They opened quickly when I hailed them with their correct name.
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Then my marker on the cell phone chart indicated Barefoot Landing was coming up. But when I used Google Maps, it said .6 miles, like a half mile. I did a U-turn and tied up at a brightly lit row of floating docks that had "Dockside Village" banners above them. It turned out that this was Barefoot Landing. I texted Brad, I'm tied up. He said he was on his way.
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I did a quick sponge bath of the gasoline, etc. and got into fresh clothing. Then Brad hailed me while I was brushing my teeth, off we went. There was a new restaurant called Tacomundo, or something like that and we had a great time there. It was happy hour. I was happy to hear of Brad's latest boatbuilding escapades, and he had to endure my litany of how not to go boating. Dismasting, the original Fernandina jetty collision, the boat engine maladventures.
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Brad said the next leg of the ICW voyage was only about 6 hours to Georgetown, SC, one of my favorite ports. Also I needed fuel and there was a fuel dock right across the channel. My hopes were up.

Fishy Fuel

12 January 2019 | Southport, NC
Capn Andy/Cold and Windy
The Joyner Marina said they close at 5 so wanting to watch a playoff football game that starts at 4:30 would be a waste of time. Otherwise it is a nice place to stop, fuel prices seem high with regular gas at the gas station costing about $2.25 and gas fuel at Joyner's gas dock at $3.99. If you were filling up a big sport fishing boat it would really cost you. For me it is something like 60 bucks I didn't need to spend.
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Things change. The marina changed hands and last time I was here a lady manhandled Kaimu to the dock. She's gone and now the guys didn't help me tie up, but they were gone at 5 before I carefully tooled into the gas dock. The rest rooms, on the male side, have one commode and one shower. It is off season so it doesn't cause a problem right now. Laundry is free. Not much in the way of business around the marina, you have to go out and about to provision or for entertainment.
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I felt the need to do some walking. There was a small grocery called the Kupboard about a mile away so I went out on a trek for that. It turns out the Kupboard is just a couple of blocks from the town's dinghy dock, so it is convenient for dinghy's and kayakers. But, I did not buy anything in that store. It was under provisioned. I spoke for a while with the owner and he made his money during the season with street traffic that were looking for a snack or beer. The reviews on Google Maps didn't jibe with what I was experiencing. At least I was getting exercise. He said the Cafe next door was good if I wanted a quick lunch. I did, but now I said I was going up to the fishing pier, about a mile North, because I had been there before, it was funky, and I like it. He said maybe not the fishing pier. I set off and when I got to the fishing pier, the bar and grill had an OPEN sign that was not lit, you could walk in and say hello, but it was closed till tomorrow, the weekend, it was the off season. There were piles of pilings and big heavy planks in the lots next to the fishing pier, maybe it is a bit shorter now.
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This area was hit by hurricane Florence last autumn at the same time I was scurrying North, that's why all the construction I was seeing now was new, also the boats in the marshes, the docks that were banged up, and the fishing pier that seemed shorter. I was able to make my way back to the marina on the trail I took 3 years ago, but now the boarded walk was new boards, same walk, posted "Private Only", but I went anyway. At the end there was yellow police tape blocking the way and I had to scurry around through someone's landscaping project to get back on the streets and back to the marina.
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I had missed lunch, but I needed to relax a bit and go on the internet and try to see what was up ahead on the ICW. I had to reregister with active captain, but the results were not as good as the app used to be before Garmin took it over. Up ahead was Southport which Capn Neil said to try. It looked like the businesses were closed for the winter.
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I needed to go shopping. I was almost out of wine. Also bread. I Ubered a ride to the Food Lion about a mile away, but 6 miles by road. There is a canal... The Uber driver was an older lady who suggested I might try the Chinese restaurant next to the Food Lion for lunch. I went in and had Shrimp with Garlic Sauce. It was very good. Then I shopped in Food Lion and got some shrimp ramen soups, ham, eggs, 15 liters of wine, but I forgot to get more water, and some Gouda cheese. I figured the upcoming forecast of 30 degrees in the morning meant I didn't have to worry about refrigeration.
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The Uber ride back to the marina cost about half of the ride to the store, what gives? I gave the driver an extra 5 bucks. He could not have been making much for his effort. Bring the groceries, and wine, down to Kaimu and start loading it on deck, then get distracted, it's about 3:30 and the marina closes at 5, let's get gas flowing. I loaded the dock cart with empty gas cans after draining one of them into the main tank, then went up to the office where my gas man was on the phone with one of his friends. He finally broke that off after we walked back down to the gas pump and I nodded to him to begin pumping gas. 5 gallons in the big jugs, 2 1/2 in the small one, and I have to pour them into the main tank back on the boat and return for more. He pumped, I ran them over to Kaimu and drained them into the main tank.
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A large power boat came up the channel toward the marina. I had heard chatter on the VHF radio of someone coming in for fuel. They blared their loud, locomotive style horn, and made a big wake as they curved around to come into the dock for diesel. I said to the guy pumping gas, that is a jerk. Why do you say that? He is blasting us with his wake and blasting us with his horn. Not cool.
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I got my fuel and returned to Kaimu, passing the newcomer who was getting diesel. Getting diesel. Getting diesel. How many gallons? The marina gas jockeys were catering to the big power yacht. I could tell right off they were delivery crew. A skipper and a crew. The insurance company always requires a minimum of crew.
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I asked if they were delivery crew or did they own the boat. They said they were going to meet a friend. They must be delivery crew.
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It was getting dark and cold. I had the task of putting the dinghy on the foredeck, but without a halyard or a mast for the halyard, I would use the gantry I had hoisted the outboard motors. I boathooked the Coast Guard mandatory life preserver out of the water in the dinghy and put it on the dock before it could sink, it was heavy. Then the two water jugs from Coleman that I had taken ashore in Beaufort only to find Beaufort had shut its water off at the dinghy dock. My dinghy was now empty except for the water in it. I strung it along out back of the stern, up the port side of Kaimu to the bow. There I had the gantry set up to hoist the dingy on deck.
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It didn't work out very well. At times the gantry which is like a large 6 foot high sawhorse would "step" off the deck and try to fall into the water. I would lunge and hold on and somehow get things stabilized. It was now dark and I struggled. Finally the dingy was on the fore deck and I was putting the gantry down next to the dinghy.
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The crew on the large power boat were arguing about something that I understood as a squabble about smoking dope. What? I didn't want to hear what I was hearing. Then they left the boat and went out of the marina. They returned asking about the key sequence for the gate. What gate? I told them how to walk out of the parking lot as I had done earlier in the day, they grumbled and went along. I knew they didn't have much to look forward to out there. Their boat was from New York, NY.
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I filled my two Coleman water jugs and stowed them on deck. We were ready to leave in the morning.
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The next day I got ready at about 7:30 to depart. The flood tide that surges here toward Snow's Cut was running. I was tied off at the dock heading into it, as well as a stiff breeze. Behind me was the large Oceanis power yacht, not much room. I took in the stern lines and singled up the bow lines, looping the line around the cleat so I could whip it off the cleat from up on deck. The motor was warming up and the wind was blowing us off the dock at an angle. I jumped aboard and gave a little spurt forward and ran to the bow and removed the line, then ran back to the helm station and kept us on station in the current, turning left until we were perpendicular to the dock. Then we departed full power into the channel and down Snow's Cut. Running with the wind and current we were at 8 knots and better. We quickly went down the Cut to the Cape Fear River, which should have the flood going against us.
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We stayed in the channel that leads to the shipping channel of the river. Sea going vessels can go up the river to Wilmington, NC. I tried to use the autopilot in the river, since there was room there to wander along, the way the autopilot wanders. Then the engine made a sickly sound and stopped. I could not restart it. The wind pushed us across the channel and I tried to steer us in a general course down the river. The flood tide was not yet strong and we were making about 1 knot progress as I pored through the Suzuki owner's manual about what might be wrong with the engine.
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A red hulled boat that might be a tow boat was up river from us and started to come closer. It was not a tow boat, it was military police boat. They had a machine gun on the bow and a soldier with an impressive weapon was standing by in the cockpit. Do I have any weapons on board they asked, no. I was in a military restricted area and I would be given time to get out, drop your anchor now, so I did.
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There was a thing in the book to reset the motor's brain, if that's what was keeping it from starting, but that wasn't it. I called my towing service and got an ETA of 45 minutes. I radioed the military boat and told them so. The replied they would stand by in the mean time.
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The tow boat arrived and I told him what happened and he hooked up to tow and I hauled in the anchor. He towed me about 10 miles to Southport, which Capn Neil had recommended as a stopping point. The towboat captain said anchor in the boat basin and I could use his dock, which was there, as a place to debark to. There was one restaurant open, Fishy Fishy, and the rest of the Southport waterfront was closed for the season.
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The towboat captain was familiar with the 3 Suzuki dealers in Southport and he gave me a direct line to one of them, who he recommended, and I called, it was Saturday, the dealer had no one on duty and he himself was not even in town. He said he had an identical customer with a problem of bad gasoline from Joyner's Marina just a week previous. I had 38 gallons of their $3.99/gallon gasoline and all my tanks and jugs were full of it. Grrr.
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I spent the rest of the afternoon going on line and reading about water in fuel and Suzuki outboards. Then I went ashore to the restaurant and had a nice time drinking beer and watching a football playoff game. I noticed a woman looking at me, and when I went into the rest room looked in the mirror, nothing to report there. When I came back there was a discussion about that weird boat right outside the restaurant. I said it was mine, but the flood of questions could only be answered by, "Read the blog".

Current Events

10 January 2019 | Joyner's Marina, Carolina Beack, NC
Capn Andy/Cold and Windy
I am reminded of Willoughby Bay where the Navy practices helicopter tactics at any hour of the day or night. This however is our remote anchorage, maybe even illegal, on the edges of Camp Lejeune. The helicopters fly over and buzz Kaimu while I am trying to get some sleep. It is cold, down to 30, and I awaken again at 2 AM and take ibuprofen and benadril with Ritz crackers and p-nut butter and a glass of wine. This always puts me to sleep, until the ibuprofen wears off.
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I don't want to get out of the bunk in the morning because it's so cold, but I have to pee and then I start the Little Buddy propane heater and make an egg and cheese sandwich and a half liter of coffee which warms up the galley. Now I feel energized and ready to go out on deck and get underway. After a minute or two on deck I am back in the warmth of the galley. Well, it is earlier than when we started yesterday, so what's the rush.
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We are anchored in front of a swing bridge and I don't know their hours of operation. I hem and haw.
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A trawler comes up the ICW and I figure it will be simpler and vex the bridge operator less if we both go through the bridge together, so I soldier on and start the Suzuki and then start hoisting the anchor with the windlass. The windlass uses the same battery as the engine, so it is good to have the engine running when operating the windlass, plus it gives the engine a chance to warm up. The anchor is up.
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I can't pull forward because the trawler's right in front of me, I slowly swing around aiming at his stern, then power up to keep up with him toward the bridge. Then he slows down about 200 yards from the bridge and I slow down, keeping pace.
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The bridge has a clearance of 12 feet when it is not swung and I have already measured the highest point on Kaimu, the top of the Yamaha on the foredeck. It is even higher than the pilothouse. As for me, I can duck if I have to. So, we pass the trawler and put put under the bridge. I didn't even have to duck. On the other side I get us up to around 5 knots into a brutal cold wind and then retreat to the pilothouse where the heater is providing warmth.
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I have the cell phone plugged into the pilothouse cigarette lighter socket. I have Marine Navigator Lite running on the phone. It is a stand alone app that doesn't need actual cell phone coverage, it uses the phone's built in GPS and free downloaded marine charts from NOAA. It uses very little power and the cigarette socket charger keeps it fully charged. The phone does go dead from time to time, but it is a problem with this particular phone, I should get a replacement.
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There is a gale warning from now, all day tomorrow, and then lifting during the weekend. I can't imagine trying to go outside in the ocean. It is about 7 miles shorter, but the wind is from the NW and seas are described as 6 to 14 feet. Very rough. In the ICW it is not as bad. There is a wicked chop that shuts the propane heater down and the changes in wind make it impossible to use the autopilot. I try it from time to time but it always gets overwhelmed. A human can take dramatic action at the helm, I know when that patch of dark water gets here I got to steer into it. The autopilot isn't so aware, just of compass direction.
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So I am on my feet steering full time. Yesterday was 9 hours and I don't feel any bad effects today, but I do notice it is more annoying today than it was yesterday. I try stretching my leg and calf muscles, going up on tip toe, trying to keep those tired muscles from cramping. I find out that when I sit in the captain's chair in the pilothouse I can see through the opening into the dinette right through the dinette, right through the galley, and out the window in the front of the galley. I can see the bow of the boat and whatever is in that small area of view. I try to steady the boat and use that view to steer but there is too much side to side movement of the boat and I have to return to my stance at the helm.
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With the cell phone as my reference and a sunshiny day to see the ICW day marks it is easy to keep in the channel and negotiate some of the strange buoys. What happens is the waterway runs parallel to the coast and here and there are inlets that enter into the waterway or even cross it, like a four way stop. There are red and green buoys for the inlet and for the ICW and the inlets often dump silt and create zig zags in the ICW, so of course the Corps or Engineers put buoys to mark the channels and the markers are all in the same spot. Which ones are for the ICW and which ones are for the inlet? The confusion would be complete except for the little cell phone showing that I should just drive through and ignore the buoys. It's possible to actually run aground by following the buoys.
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I don't have any gauges for the Suzuki yet, but I could never get the gauges that came with the Yamaha to work, so I rely on the sound of the engine and the wake of the boat to get a feel for how much power to summon. We seem to be hitting adverse currents a lot. The inlets pour water into the ICW and also allow the tide to drain out, so as you come upon and inlet you might go up to 7 knots and then on the other side go down to 3.8 knots. Also there is watershed that pours into the ICW and causes a current. My calculations of fuel usage are impossible, the only calculation can be gallons per hour. It looks like the Suzuki is running at about a gallon per hour, which is good.
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I am glad when we get to what I think is Masonboro Inlet, because that is where I would have come into the ICW if I hadn't tried to sail into Beaufort. It is close to the end of this leg at Carolina Beach and as the sun gets lower I start figuring out our arrival. I remember the place closing at 6 last time I was here in September, so I phoned them. No, they are closing at 5 now, out of the season. I get the secret code for the bathrooms and laundry, and say I will be in touch with them in the morning.
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Now it is a race against sunset, don't want to dock in the dark. I risk running aground as I prepare dock lines at the starboard bow and stern. I don't know what the situation will be at the dock, there are strong currents there, and there will be no one to help tie up the boat. I go into the pilothouse to correct our course, then run out and get lines ready. Do we have enough fuel? I switch the fuel line from the main tank to the day tank, which has 3 gallons. Enough for 15 miles or so.
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The sun sets and I turn on the nav lights. The depth sounder which has worked perfectly when it was working comes on and off much like the cell phone. Chinese conspiracy? On the last run up to the marina, Joyner's Marina, I keep the pace on right up to the last buoy, then I kill the engine and let the boat glide, slowly turning to the left. There is a current running from left to right as I approach the dock. The old man said approach the dock at the speed you wish to hit it, and we slow almost to a stop. Give a little spurt, try to get as close as you can, then sprint like hell, go to the stern and throw the stern line onto the dock, run up to the bow and jump on the dock with the bowline. Tie it down, run down the dock and get the stern line before it is lost in the water. Tie the boat up and tie some spring lines to keep it fore and aft.
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I won't be going to showers tonight, it's into the bunk with the ibuprofen, etc.
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The photo is of a magical pink house that sat alone on the NC ICW with a pink lighthouse. I guess Hurricane Florence took away the light house. I noticed a lot of damage, some damaged boats, and damaged docks. Houses with blue tarps on part of their roofs. What other wreckage is there that we don't see.
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