Columbus Day 2011
14 October 2011 | Whortonsville, Edenton, NC
This was a week’s vacation for me. We usually enjoy taking a week in the fall and traveling to some far away port, like Ocracoke Island. The weather in October as at any other time of year on the Carolina coast is very unpredictable. Our last trip to the coast ended up as a work weekend after bringing the boat from the yard. We had hoped for an extended stay aboard but as things go, it didn’t work out that way.
Saturday November 8, 2011
We left home at about 7:30am. We prefer not to travel to the coast at night especially when the days are short. Jonas and his parents were available for a late breakfast, so we met them at Briggs Restaurant in Cary, NC. The food was good as well as the service but the company was especially nice. Jonas is sitting in a high chair now and he likes to eat Cheerios for breakfast.
We left the kids and headed for the coast. We were in no particular hurry since we were fairly sure the forecast 20-knot Northeast wind would keep us in port on Sunday. The early to midweek forecast was for less wind but plenty of rain. Being the optimists that we are and since I had a whole week off, we figured we could wait the weather out if it didn’t wait too long. When we arrived we found beautiful clear conditions and the wind blowing like crazy from the Northeast just as predicted. The good news is that mosquitoes cannot fly well in high winds. There were so many of them that we got bit many times but it could have been much worse as we found out later. The bugs have been really bad in Pamlico county ever since hurricane Irene passed. I am not sure why but the rains that have fallen since have added to the problem. Any time a car door is opened, you can depend on at least a dozen of the little critters finding their way in. Jeanette advised us to open all the windows and turn on the air conditioner full blast to blow them out of the car. This is fairly effective except for a few that find refuge under the seat or in some other out of the way place. Oh well, the bugs were here long before humans came on the scene and they will be here after we all gone.
Before our last trip, I had purchased two specialty wrenches for the new stuffing box. Tightening the stuffing box has always been a dreaded chore. Now that I had spent all that money getting it replaced, I wanted to invest in the proper tools to maintain the seal so I could do it myself with less heartburn than using a non-specific adjustable tool. The new wrenches are made from aluminum. They appear to have been cut from a flat bar about 3/8” thick. They are both 1 7/8” wrenches. The main stuffing box adjustment and the jam nut are different sizes and neither is 1 78”. I never figured out what size they actually are. Both are bigger than 1 7/8” but only slightly. I brought a small clamp on vice along this time as well as a couple of sharp new flat files. I clamped the vice on a flat surface on the dock and carefully filed one of the wrenches until it finally fit the stuffing box adjustment. The lock nut was bigger but I ran out of time and didn’t get the other wrench filed before time to quit. Stefan was down working on his boat and Ken and Jan, our next slip neighbors, arrived a little while after we got there. We spend a lot of time talking and catching up since we had not seen either of them for quite some time.
Judy warmed our homemade vegetable soup for dinner. Nick and Jeanette joined the rest of the group in the Ensign Harbor Cockpit after dinner and we had a great time.
Sunday October 9, 2011
We woke to find the predicted high winds were still blowing. We had coffee and cereal on deck. I finished working on then new wrenches and used them to successfully tighten the stuffing box. They worked great. Don and Trish, our other slip neighbors arrived around midday. We drove over to Oriental for some supplies and a walk. Judy cooked chicken and vegetables for dinner. We met Don and Trish in the cockpit after dinner for refreshments and had a great time.
Monday October 10, 2011 Columbus Day
Again, the wind was howling when we got up. Judy made pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. The rain was coming but we figured we had time for small boat project. We have a sail track that started leaking. There were at least two dozen bolts holding it on. We unscrewed them all with Judy holding the screwdriver outside. The hard part is cleaning the old caulk before applying the new. Nick gave me an open tube of marine caulk for the job. After a couple of false starts and one trip to the hardware store we were done and exhausted. Judy warmed Santa Fe stew for dinner while I cleaned up. A light rain had started but we did get finished in time. The forecast was for rain on Tuesday. We were hoping to wait it out so we decided on a road trip to Edenton, NC.
Tuesday October 11, 2011
We spent Tuesday traveling to Edenton. We stopped for a tour of the Hope Plantation, which was quite interesting. We met a couple from Arkansas. One of her ancestors was named King and had lived in one of the houses on the plantation. We continued on to Edenton and secured lodging for the night at the Granville Queen Bed and Breakfast. We explored Edenton for a little while but the weather was not cooperating. The B&B was just delightful. It was very comfortable and quiet. It would be a great place to spend a long weekend and never leave the house. We had dinner at Waterman’s Restaurant near the waterfront. Food and service was very good but short of excellent.
Later, we got a call from our son who informed us of a medical emergency in his household. It was not life threatening but he really needed us to look after our grandson as soon as we could get there. We talked about it and decided to go back to the boat and then home on Wednesday.
Wednesday October 12, 2011
We have spent many better days than this one. We had left the boat in such a state that we could not leave for home from Edenton. We had pitched a boom tent and left a fan running. Nothing had been secured and there was even an extra dock line attached to the port jib wench. In short we had no choice but to go back. In future I will not leave the boat in such a state. Had she been “buttoned up” we could have driven directly from Edenton and been home by midday. We did take time to enjoy the delicious Granville Queen breakfast. We left in a light rain and it got worse. It rained so hard that we had to reduce speed in order to see. Traveling in that area is tricky and we missed at least one turn that added an hour to the drive. When we finally got back to the boat the mosquitoes were literally swarming. We wore long sleeves and still got bitten. The only thing that kept them at bay was the driving rain we encountered when we tried to secure the boat and load the car. Our exit was hasty. We left with the AC blasting and all windows open. Most of the bugs were gone after a few miles. We headed for home but noticed there were more bugs than usual in Kinston and Goldsboro.
We got home without incident and took care of our grandson overnight so Dad could deal with the medical issue. The outcome was good thankfully and we hope things will be back to normal in a few days.