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Monday, October 24, 2022
24 October 2022 | Stairway To Heaven, Ocracoke, NC
BROOKE SMITH | gray and misty
If you want to hear God laugh tell him your plans. God, our plans are to go to Ocracoke by our boat Liquid Therapy for the Pirate Jamboree in Ocracoke. He laughed, We didn’t.
Susan has been having a hard time with asthma. Scary hard time. Enough about that.
Instead of coming to Ocracoke on Liquid Therapy, we came by land and some sea vessel as well today. Susan is much better, but I couldn’t keep thinking suppose she has an attack when we are 20 miles from any dock. What I’ve seen is very alarming and we were told by the doctor and pharmacist not a good idea. The 4 day travel is grueling and requires strength that is fading from both of us. We still love Liquid Therapy and will keep her for weekend and close cruising.
So, Today we left our house for a 4 hour land cruise to the Swan Quarter Ferry that we needed to check in by 1PM. Instead of my trusty chart plotter I’m using iPhone google maps. Not as friendly as WAZE, but we wanted to go a path that Waze doesn’t want to travel. That is, we wanted to avoid I64 to Newport News, Norfolk, Chesapeake and the terrible traffic of the Outer Banks, NC. We took the back roads through Franklin and lots of huge cotton fields in NC. Very nice trip with NO traffic at all. And, at 1:30PM a very nice ride on a ferry for 2 hours and 40 minutes to Ocracoke.
Yes, we rented a cottage instead of staying on our wonderful Liquid Therapy in the marina. We love the marina life. But guess what? The cottage life is great too. We drove to the marina and chatted with our friendly dock masters and saw the slip we had reserved with another boat in it. That was kind of a bummer.
We got to our cottage named, get this, STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN. At our age we were not sure what was going to happen to us climbing the stairs over and over to bring in 6 months of supplies for a week stay. WE could have succumbed any time. I hinted that we could afford to pay the 10¢ more for a loaf of bread here in Ocracoke rather than buying the bread in Mechanicsville. But like it was ingrained in us from teen years Susan had to buy everything at our local stores, bring it home, bring it in the house, pack it back into bags to go back into the Subaru, up the Stairway To Heaven;’s long steps !????!!! Was I perplexed? YEP! But hey we saved lots of money driving to BJs, Aldi and Kroger. I’m sure it was a wise move. YEP!?
Actually we had so much stuff I couldn’t pack the cooler for fishing. That’s ok I never catch anything anyhow.
The drive was wonderful through the back woods and cotton fields. Until, well, I had to pee. At 73 urgency happens. Uncomfortably we pulled in some little convenience store to PEE in a town I HAVE NO IDEA THE NAME OF. And then as I got out I reached for my wallet that I take out of my back pocket cause it hurts me with all that wad of money in it. And, I discover as I’m about to wet my pants I can’t find it. HUMM in the fog of packing the entire Outback, did I leave my wallet at home? I’ve got everything else. I man EVERYTHING, except maybe my wallet. Pee over comes me and I lock the door to go into the convenience store and find the bathroom right away. And, I go. And go, and go, Uh like olden do. And the urologist has said to linger a while longer when you think you’ve finished. I dribble a bit more. Hey, you guys know what I’m talking bout and the girls, all you have sneeze pee problems too. So, there.
So I feel guilty peeing and not having my wallet to buy something for the use of their bathroom. Don’t want the next car pulling in and seeing a sign ” Bathrooms For Customers only”
With my head clear of pee urgency I go to the Outback to see if I really left my wallet at home. $hit I hope that didn’t happen. I find the wallet not where I remember placing it. I guess cognitive tests when I get home. Anyhow, I go in and buy a cold Starbuck Cappuccino or something like that for use of the bathroom. $4+00. I don’t care. Peeing was worth $4.00
We make it to Swan Quarter, NC where the ferry is and wow on a Monday we find a little deli open. ( Whops kind out of sequence but I had another urgent peeing attack before Swan Quarter and peed on a farm road next to cotton filed. I hope the cotton is still white.)
Anyhow, we had a nice sandwich and home made chips and headed to the ferry landing with 10 minutes to spare.
“ Oh can we go to the local post office and mail these halloween cards? “ Susan knows EXACTLY WHERE THE POST OFIICE IS” No she doesn’t and a phone call confused me so much I thought I was going to have to pee again before the ferry. Confused Goole Maps was yelling for us to turn this way and that. Never found the Post office and couldn’t get google maps back on track to take us the giant 1 mile distance left to the ferry dock.
We got on the ferry and the ride was nice. We also exclaimed how calm the Pamlico Sound was and what a wonderful travel day it would have been on Liquid Therapy. I was most interested as the ferry enters the Big Slough channel that is such a pain for Liquid Therapy to negotiate. Blackbeard used to out maneuver and make other boats run around here. There was guy with me overlooking the bow and I was exclaiming to him how treacherous this channel is. He told me he was an observer for Army Corp Engineering and they were going to dredge. It really doesn’t help for very long because if you tell God your plans, He laughs.
Today’s picture is a picture inside Howard’s Pub in Ocracoke where we ate dinner. We have friends in Key West and I thought this flag odd in Ocracoke.
Saturday, June 11, 2022
12 June 2022 | Coinjock Marina
Brooke Smith | calm
”Diesels love their oil like a Sailor loves his rum!" 'Yes they do!...Why is that Captain Ron?!' "Nobody knows”.
That is one of my favorite scenes in Captain Ron. I think about that every morning when I’m doing my engine room check. And, I do have to add oil to the engine some times. Not like the Captain Ron boat that needed oil every morning before they set out. My Lehman diesel is very unsophisticated. No turbo! No common rail computer controlled injectors. It is a very simple engine. Six cylinders 380 cubic inches and only 120 HP. The engine is as old as the boat, 43 years old. But, it is the most reliable machine on the boat and I take care of it. After our 10 hour bouncy trip up the Pamlico Sound I suspected some crud from the 43 year old fuel tanks may have been stirred up and sure enough the primary filter had what appeared to be some water in the settling bowl. The settling bowl probably holds 12 oz of diesel so the small amount was not really an issue. I drained it and it may have been 1 oz of water and some particles of whatever. I did not get a chance to do my spring engine maintenance before we left on our Ocracoke trip. But the engine wasn’t quite at it’s recommended oil change etc time anyway.
So, yesterday’s trip from Manteo was EASY. The Albemarle Sound was like glass. On one 14 mile leg I worked the WORDLE puzzle that has taken the country by storm. That thing is hard to figure out. But I got it solved in 4 rows yesterday.
And, then my eyes started playing tricks on me. Way off in the distance there appeared to be a large cruise ship on the western side of the sound. It’s a UMO! Kind of like an UFO only Marine. I looked with binoculars and it still looked like a cruise ship. I check my AIS and then is nothing shown on that bearing from us. The biggest thing I’ve heard chatter on the radio was with the Gerald R Ford aircraft carrier in the Atlantic not far from us. But, nothing could I see or hear about a cruise ship stuck in the Albemarle Sound. I consult google maps and then it looks like I’m looking up toward Elizabeth City where this cruise ship could be. I only see a channel with 11 feet of water. So, I get out my real camera with the most powerful lens and snap a few pictures. I realize that whatever that object is it’s still going to be fuzzy but maybe I’ll be able to figure it out when I blow up the pictures.
So, today’s picture is the fuzzy blown up cruise ship up near Elizabeth City, NC on the Pasquotank River. Maybe?
Tuesday, June 7, 2022 Passage Ocracoke to Manteo
10 June 2022 | Manteo Waterfront Marina
Brooke Smith | Confused seas
To go or not to go. Weather looks bad, then good then iffy. Wind forecast is wind switching from the Northeast to Southeast overnight before we leave. Then 10-15 out of the Southeast later in the day. Waves about 1 foot. This is a long day for us. 66 miles. And most of it on the Pamlico Sound heading northeast until we exit the Pamlico for the confusing Old House - Oregon Inlet - Roanoke Sound channels. We decide that the ride may be a bit uncomfortable as we will be getting hit broadside with small waves in the 51 miles of the Pamlico. The wind is not to increase until we are out of the Pamlico. So we get underway just a little after 6AM. Leaving this early also gets me a head start of the two ferries docked in Silver Lake. I had taken note that the red side temporary 10A through 10D markers in Big Foot Slough channel is favored. From the fly bridge view the shoal is evident. But the deep water is very close to the shoal. There must be about a straight down ledge along the shoal.
Anyhow, we exit the channel and line up on a Northeast course leg that is 30 miles and the Garmin says it will be 4+ hours on this course. The autopilot makes adjustments to the wind and tide and we start to settle in for the ride. BUT, the wind has not switched to the Southeast yet. It is more like East and we are getting an ok ride with the starboard bow taking small waves. The wind clocks around to the Southeast and now we are getting confused seas. That is we have waves from the East and also waves from the Southeast in a cross hatch pattern. The Pamlico has 12 miles of fetch before the waves reach Liquid Therapy. Liquid Therapy is confused on how to handle this situation. Again all the waves are small. But, the boat gets rolled more when the two direction waves coincide. I am amazed how much we are rolling with the small waves every once in a while. Susan and I knew this was going to be a bumpy ride. It is safe, just not smooth.
After 30 mile leg we change course 8º to port and just that small change makes the ride much better for 17 more miles until we enter the Old House Channel. The ride will be much better from here to Manteo in the protected channels within the Roanoke Sound.
So, as certain as the sun will rise tomorrow the wind picks up as we dock at Manteo Waterfront Marina. This marina has NO DOCK MASTER and is being totally run with an online APP. That APP does not help with tying lines in docking. I try to turn Liquid Therapy’s bow into the wind to back into the assigned slip. The wind is too strong and that is just not going to happen. The face dock that we wanted is vacant and we tie up there realizing we will have to move when the boat that has reserved it shows up. In this wind that boat may have canceled. I message the APP of what we did and get an ok to stay there. We get the electric plugged in and the AC running and have a cold drink before setting off somewhere to eat. We will be staying 4 nights in Manteo because the Albemarle Sound is next and is not having favorable crossing weather until Saturday.
Today’s picture is Silver Lake channel at sunset.
Wednesday, June 1, 2022 - Docked Anchorage Marina, Ocracoke, NC
01 June 2022 | Anchorage Marina Ocracoke
BrOOKE SMITH | NE 15KTs
Yea -yes I know it's not June 1 today. But we've had company. So, a bit behind
After a nice cool overnight I turn on the main cabin AC and it runs a few seconds and cuts off. I check the breaker and it had tripped. I reset the breaker and it tripped again. I then reset it and checked the water flow coming out of the side of the boat and it’s just a trickle coming out. I cut the AC off before the breaker trips again. OK the difference in a heat pump compressor at your house vs a marine heat pump is it uses seawater to exchange the heat inside the boat to seawater. Your home compressor does this with outside air blowing across the compressor coil. So, low water flow and the unit cannot exchange the heated cabin air. Low water flow is almost always because the water strainer has a jelly fish, seaweed and other things caught in the strainer and has reduced the water flow through the compressor. I take the top off the strainer and hand Susan the strainer basket to clean while I stay in the bilge and clean out anything else in the strainer. We put it all back together and hardly any water is being pumped. Air lock at the pump is the next step to get the pump to working. I take the top off the strainer with the seacock open to allow water to overflow the strainer before putting the top back on. No are in there now. Turn the AC back on still no water flow out of the AC. HUMM, maybe underwater there is a plastic bag covering the intake or something. I take the top off the strainer and with dockside water and a garden hose shoot water through the seacock and through hull path to blow anything stuck underwater away from the boat. This is messy but I’m convinced I’ve pushed anything away from the boat underwater. And, I notice that there just isn’t much water coming into the boat. With the seacock open and the end of the hose below water level we should be sinking from the inrush of seawater. Not going to sink with this low flow. So, SOMETHING else that I’m incapable of fixing without having the boat lifted out of the water is blocking the water flow. Sometimes an oyster will grow up inside the through hull opening. The diver that cleans the boat bottom cannot see or get I try a few more times through the hose and n the bilge up to Susan to clean. This is our ritual of AC maintenance.
So, guests are arriving tomorrow and I need another solution. I look around for other seawater sources and actually find one that we have abandoned long ago. I wonder if water will come through this seacock. It is SMALLER than the normal supply hose. VERY LONG story to get the hose size to fit on the strainer, but since I have most everything that Lowes stocks on this boat I actually had adapters and spare hoses. So, success.
Today’s picture is today’s (6-1-22)sunset over Pamlico Sound.
Tuesday, May 31,2022 - Docked Anchorage Marina, Ocracoke, NC
01 June 2022 | Anchorage Marina
BrOOKE SMITH | beautiful
I don’t usually have much to write about when docked. Sometimes it’s just mundane cleaning and eating. The 112’ large yacht FIGARO docked this afternoon. We watched as the crew and the marina guys tied this super yacht up. The principal woman appeared on the back deck with two small dogs in her arms and another larger dog bounding about watching as the lines went around the dock pilings. I’m wondering if the dock can actually secure this size vessel. I google the yacht ( https://www.yachtcharterfleet.com/luxury-charter-yacht-24210/figaro.htm ) and find out it has two 2000HP motors. Pretty sure in gear Figaro would take the dock away at dead idle. The yacht looks out of place. We see yachts like this in Charleston, Miami etc. Later I pass the Dockmaster and ask is this the largest boat he’s ever had at the marina. He tells me he had only one larger a 125’ boat once. I ask is Figaro here for the OcraFolk festival. Dockmaster says no just here for a few days. The yacht is right in front on us so curiosity makes me keep track of their actions. The back deck has visible glassware on a table with napkins stuffed in them ready for wine or champagne.The 5 person young crew is always busy cleaning squeegeeing glass and wiping everything down. I see one take the larger dog for a walk. Near sunset I see the principals sitting at the aft deck. It’s too windy to eat there even though the sunset and view is great. Susan and I have a cocktail on the fly bridge to watch the sunset and harbor activities. Always a boat or ferry moving in Silver Lake.
Then the thought runs though my mind that it’s an oligarch yacht avoiding seizure. Figaro is Cayman Island registered. Yep maybe that’s why they pulled in here. Hiding? Now I’m waiting for the Hyde County Sheriff to arrive on the next ferry to seize the yacht. This is exciting!
Today’s picture is the stern view of Figaro.
Monday May 30, 2022 Manteo to Ocracoke 66 miles
31 May 2022 | Anchorage Marina
Brooke Smith | 5-10 Knots out of the East
We left early. 6:12AM because it’s a LONG day. We travel about 7MPH so it’s gonna take really about 10 hours, fighting currents and winds and slowing for car ferries. Yep all of that and a slight miscalculation at a junction of 3 channels caused the water's bottom to come up and smite the hull for a few seconds. Bottom was not where the electronic charts ( completely updated ) indicated. Shoals occur and disappear often near Cape Hatteras.
We only got severely waked by one sports fisher. I’m not turning him into the Coast Guard but rather the owner, the owner’s insurance company. Not sure why, but sports fishers in the Roanoke Sound do not slow down for their dangerous 22 knot 4’ high wakes. But I got one of them on video camera and may follow though with the owner and insurance company for reckless operation.
OK, enough about $h!T head captains.
After we got into the Pamlico Sound it seemed we had the entire sound to ourselves. We saw two shrimpers and a few ferries and far away boats. But I only had two course changes in 47 miles. Some people love their dogs. I love my autopilot. I mean steering a single course for 5 hours and never being more than 15’ off course is a lot better than I can do. Mr. Autopilot is 11 years old. He shows no signs of failing. I really like the old fella.
So, I did have to dodge one shrimper. Nice to see them in the Pamlico. I’ll be having Pamlico Shrimp later at SmacNally’s. Yep I did and Susan had Spanish mackerel. We love seafood at Ocracoke restaurants. It’s always local. And, tonight, Tuesday, I’m cooking more Spanish and some tilefish from the local seafood co-op. Fish being taken off a boat, filleted and put in the case as we are buying tonights supper. But, I digress.
So, we are about 6 miles from the Ocracoke entrance channel and I can see a ferry about 12 miles away going twice as fast as we are. So, I slow to allow him to enter the channel ahead of me. The automatic calculations are amazing on my AIS figuring all the vectors out for me. Still I have to adjust my speed so I don’t end up there ahead and being in the way of the ferry. I get a 4 minute arrival solution with my reduced speed and just wait for the ferry to cross and then I speed up.
The Ocracoke Big Foot Sough channel is a real mess. Many, many temporary markers. I’m too far to the right apparently showing 3 1/2’ under the keel. I wonder how the ferry ever makes it in and out of here. Amazingly they only draw about 6-7ft fully loaded with cars. So, now we enter Silver Lake in Ocracoke harbor. Of course the wind picks up and the ferry I was following in is now loading cars. This means he is in gear pushing against the dock so that cars putting on brakes don’t make the ferry move away from the dock. He is also pushing a current all the way around Silver Lake. I get docking instructions from the marina and he lets me know this is not going to be a good situation. 1st I have to pass extremely close to a 55’ Hatters yacht with the owner’s wife in consternation. I try to turn to go in stern 1st and there is no room in the tight fairway. Instead of being a bit off, I’m about 90º off with the current pushing me sideways. No way this is going to work. The dock hands get the stern lines and I shift back and forth with full rudder and them pulling. I gain some and loose some. Finally, I get far enough in the slip that my rudder can actually help. We are tied up and both dock hands get good tips for their shoulder horse power efforts.
Hey, No insurance claim = good docking.
We get our golf cart and ride to the general store. I’m out of shaving cream. Back to the boat and actually stop at SmacNally’s which is completely full with a giant waiting list for a table. We see a corner vacant at the bar and the hostess says go for it. A corner at a bar is better than a table. We sit closer together with goo goo eyes you think and that is sweet you think. Hey we can hear each other better than sitting across from each other at a table. Nice shrimp for me, Spanish Mackerel for Suz.
We tried to stay awake for Mrs Maisel streaming. But both of us crashed fast.
Today’s picture is sunset over the Pamlico Sound.