Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 30, 2014 Mystery Bilge water returns

We are still getting fresh water in the bilge, only about a gallon.  Water was coming from the air conditioner.  And maybe this is still water from there that was elsewhere in the bilge until we moved the boat yesterday.  But Dave wasn't satisfied.  He dried out the bilge.  The pump would run and then the water would flow back into the bilge.  So he checked the screens and they were choking with debris that falls though the floor boards.  So much for my housecleaning skills.  

After drying out the bilge he chalked it.  He ran a line of chalk down each channel running from bow to stern.  Then if water runs in, it will smear the chalk line.  If the water returns and the chalk lines weren't disturbed, he will check the enclosed channels that separate each bilge compartment.  As a test, he filled both of our water tanks and washed the deck.  There was no moisture as far as he could feel into the bilge, even up to the ac where it had come from before.  So now we wait and see if it returns.

There is a Y valve in the bilge right under our steps in a secluded compartment from where the water has been showing up.  This Y valve is for the air conditioner or the water maker. You can only run one of those functions at a time.  They both use sea water.  It has been loosely mounted to the through hull, so Dave mounted it to the hull.  He announced that he didn't put a hole in the boat "because that is one of the rules."

He also shined up the through hull.  He explained that you couldn't just wipe it's nose, you had to give it a shiny butt.   He is planning to bond/ground this through hull, raw water screen and the ac pump to the engine.  Since it has sea water running through it all the time, it is creates a current and connects the metals.  That makes one metal corrode and builds it up on the other metal.  That's what we are trying to control.  If one of the metal fittings were eaten away, water would start coming into the boat-not good. 

Dave also sealed the gasket on the hatch over our bed.  That started leaking sometime over the last week or so.  We have left a cloth scoop over it in the meantime to protect it from any further leaks.  So after 24 hours, we will test that.  Lots of work goes into keeping the water on the OUTSIDE of the boat.   

I helped Shelly get two more cushions cut out today.  Then we made a Walmart run.  I think that took 2 hours.  Crazy. 

We used our Wonderbag to cook red beans and ham hocks.  First I soaked the beans overnight.  Then Dave added the smoked ham hocks and mystery ingredients.  You have to bring everything to a boil and let it cook for 30-60 minutes.  Then you just put the whole pot in the Wonderbag.  This was yesterday.  Well the beans still seemed crunchy, so Dave heated it again and we put it back in the bag overnight.  Today, we heated it again (just to be sure we would kill some bacteria that may have been growing) and it was perfect served over rice.  The problem with making a big pot of beans on the boat is where to store the leftovers.  I was able to rearrange the refrigerator to get it to fit.  And you know what the other problem will be with a big pot of beans on a boat.

Dave's red beans, ham hocks and ???

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 29, 2014 Potluck flyers

Today, Shelly and I continued to work on cushions.  We cut out 2 more and she headed back to sewing.  We are using the dock carts for moving several cushions to the shower house since she is tracing them for cutting the patterns.  We also have been keeping the roll of material in the car, so we don't have to store it in either of our boats.  After cutting the pattern, she takes the cushions back to her boat with her, so she can fit the cover after sewing it.  And I have been taking finished cushions back to our boat.  Kind of reminds you of the Shriners in the parades.  We have to make so many trips with things to work around our small areas to work in.  Hope that made sense.

We have also decided to plan a potluck for everyone in the marina.  We used to do that weekly in Marathon.  Miami and Shelly would also provide a sound system for a jam session.  Shelly made a flyer to advertise the potluck for this Thursday and e-mailed it to me.  We printed a few and were going to put them in the office and the shower house.  I talked to the boat yard owner about putting some flyers on the boats of those that live aboard.  She suggested I put a flyer on every boat.  So she made copies for me.  WELL, I don't think she realized how many boats she had in her marina.  I started with about 20 copies and had to go back for about 20 more.  I placed about half of them in the morning.

When Shelly went back to sewing, I went back to the fabric store for 2 zippers and some velcro.  It helps hold the cushions in place and needed to replaced on only a few.  The zippers had to be nylon with plastic pulls to keep from rusting.

Miami came along with me because he needed to get a pole for their awning.  So we stopped at Home Depot for that.

When we returned, Dave and I moved the boat to a slip.  We were on the end of a dock, but they like to have that area available for new boats coming in.  Then they can move into their slip as slack tide like we were doing today.  We thought we would be there over the weekend, but ended up in that spot for a little over a week.  Even though the tide was slow, the current was still pretty strong.  Probably because of the storm last night.  So it took us a few attempts to back into the slip perpendicular to the current.  We made it and are now settled into this slip for the repairs.

I then finished putting the potluck flyers on every boat.  I felt like a girl scout going from door to door. I knocked on the boat first, then if they didn't answer, I used painter's blue tape to tape the flyer to their boat.  It's not like you can put it under a wind shield wiper or in their door.  You'd have to climb onto their boat to get to their door.  But with only 2 days notice, we thought we better get the word out.

After that, I thought I was having a heat stroke.  It was probably in the mid 80's with the same humidity.  I had a cool shower and took a nap.  Sometimes you just need a "time out".  I felt kind of guilty when I thought about Shelly and her sewing.

Shelly sewing at the table in their salon in their boat

July 28, 2014 Haul out

Shelly, who is busy sewing our cushions, invited us over for lunch.  But we wanted to concentrate on getting the boat ready for our haul out about noon.  So she sent her son over with some warm home made bread right about the time I was going to start making French toast.  But this was better!  I think she is one of those people that fit the saying “if you want something done, ask a busy person.”

The boat yard plans their haul outs around “slack tide”, that is right after a high or low tide while the water is shifting directions.  That is when there is the least effect from current (since we are on a river).  So about 12:15 we took our boat over to the channel for the haul out.  They wanted us to back into the channel.  So Dave had to take the river current, the tidal current and the wind into consideration for backing in.  He started with the bow heading upstream, but the wind would move the bow, so we circled around and had the bow pointing downstream and backed in like a pro. 

They tied the boat so it was centered in the channel.  Then this huge lift wheeled out over our boat and they positioned two large straps under the belly of the boat.  We had them place the straps according to the directions in our manual.  It has to do with where the keel is and how the weight is distributed.  Then they brought a ladder down to our boat so we could get off the boat.  Next they lifted the 24,000 pound boat up in the air, rolled this whole thing back over the land and let our boat hover over a tarp on the ground.  It’s kind of scary watching this whole thing. 

Then our insurance surveyor and the boat yard representative both looked over the hull.  Dave checked all the through hulls for barnacles by running a long screw driver up them.  Then he greased each through hull with a brush.  The straps holding the boat in the air were actually covering some of the through hulls.  So we looked at where the best place would be to place the straps next time and marked the side of the boat with a wax crayon.  We’ll also change it in our manual.  Dave greased the prop and cleaned it off with a wire brush.  The smoother it is, the better it will run.  We found a blister in the paint on the keel and rust on the bottom of keel.  So we decided we will have them paint it here while the repairs are being done.  It will go back in the water today, and we will plan the best time for the painting to be done.

When we pull the boat our for painting, we will change the zincs on the prop.  It was amazing to see how much they had been eaten away in just 2.5 weeks. We had scoops/screens placed over our engine and air conditioning raw water intakes to keep fish and sticks out of it back in Mobile bay last October.  One of them was barely being held on by one screw.  So we will have that repaired.  And we decided to add a central hull zinc rather than bond all of our through hulls together.  That was the suggestion of the surveyor. Then we will watch the through hulls internally for any corrosion and repair as needed.  Hopefully that will stop the current leakage that is eating our zincs so fast.  I had a whole new appreciation for looking at the hull than I did a year ago when we bought the boat. 

They put the boat back in by 2:30.  We took it back to our “temporary” spot on the end of a dock.  Then at the next slack tide, about 5:00, we’ll move it to a slip. 

Dave and I headed to a restaurant with air conditioning for a late lunch and to talk through all that happened today.  We wanted to get everything down on paper while it was still fresh in our heads. 

When we returned and planned to move the boat, a thunderstorm was moving in.  So we hooked up our power again and spent the night there.  There were a few simultaneous thunder/lightning combos that had us both wondering what was going to go next.  I think we’ll feel that way for awhile. 

lining up the boat to be lifted out

24,000 lbs suspended in the air

bringing it over ground

zinc on end of prop should have been smooth

zinc on the shaft also dissoving

testing currents

lowering it back in

climbing back onto the boat, me next

July 27, 2014 Church, generator and Jerry Jeff Walker

Since we have a rental car, I went to a different Catholic church about 8 miles away, but actually easier to get to than downtown because of a highway with ramps between us and downtown.  This was St Mark’s.  It was a newer church and still very welcoming.  I also thought the homily/sermon was very good.  He talked about the good that can come out of bad situations.  It was a good reminder for me with our current situation with the boat.

This afternoon, Shelly (and I) continued to work on the cushions.  She brought 2 more finished cushions to our boat.  Then we took 4 more up to the shower house to cut out.  Then she took all of them back to her boat to sew again.

Dave spent the day finishing replacing the toilets in the heads.  Then he went back to work on the generator.  The impeller that was broken had 6 flutes.  We had a 6 flute and a 10 flute for replacement (same part number).   Dave was told that it wouldn’t matter, somewhere in his past.  So he put in the 6 flute.  Later he talked to the manufacturer of our generator, Nextgen.  They thought that may be letting in too much air, and he should never use the 6 flute (even though it had been running with a 6 flute for a year).   Dave ordered 2 impellers for spares, never know when you are going to need to replace them.  He then shortened a raw water cooling hose that may have had a leak where the clamps were holding it.  AND now it is working!!!  The boat yard will still evaluate the generator to see if any of this could have been a result of the lightning.  That never crossed our minds. 

Tomorrow we will haul the boat out of the water for the insurance survey of the hull.  So we spent the evening organizing some things before we move the boat. 

As we were walking down the dock this week, I was reminded of a Jerry Jeff Walker song "Gettin' by".  We decided this was our new motto:

Just gettin' by on gettin' bys my stock in trade, living it day to day
Pickin' up the pieces wherever they fall
Just letting it roll, letting the high times carry the low
Just living my life easy come, easy go

Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 26, 2014 Toilets and cushions

Unfortunately, we are not cushioning our toilets, if you thought the title indicated so.

Today, Shelly and I left about 9:00 to purchase the material for the cushions.  We went to the Mill Outlet Village on College Road, for future reference.  We also picked up thread, seam rippers, and a zipper for the outside piece.

We went home, finished up some computer projects on each of our parts and had lunch before starting.  Then we took the material to the shower house.  It is a building that has the dock master's office, the men's and women's bathroom/showers and laundry.  There is a deck with picnic tables and chairs.

We decided we could use the original backs and zippers.  So we started by taking 3 cushions with us to the small air conditioned laundry room to start ripping seams.  Then Shelly started cutting pieces on the table for folding clothes.  But it didn't take her long to move outside on the deck.  I picked up things behind her and tried to find a fine balance between being helpful and getting in her way.  We started about 1:30 and by 3:30-4:00, she was ready to start sewing.  I keep thinking of my friend, Cheryl, who is a great seamstress.  But when Cheryl would work on a project, I would sit in the shade and drink beer.  We're going to celebrate when they are all done. 

We each went back to our boats.  She took the 3 cushions and material.  I started taking the backs off of the other cushions.  I would also mark the front side and the top of each cushion, since she was not seeing them inside the boat.  I had a diagram with each cushioned numbered that I went by.

Dave has rebuilt the mechanical parts of both of our heads.  There were two tell-tale signs of recurring problems (you probably don't want to know).  So we had decided to replace the entire "guts" of the toilets in both heads.  And since we knew we would be here awhile, Dave had ordered parts and had them sent here.  So today, he started on the aft head.  Part way through, he needed a part from a hardware store.  So he and Miami did the parts run this afternoon.  He needed to go to a hardware store, too.

We had some Italian sausage in the freezer we wanted to make spaghetti with, so we had invited Shelly and Miami for dinner.  At noon, we realized that the sausage was freezer burnt.  So we wanted to wait to make  the spaghetti.  I also discussed with Shelly that helping with the cushions and trying to be a hostess wasn't going together well.  For one thing, all our cushions were torn apart.  But we often eat outside anyway.  So when we parted, we said "let's not worry about dinner, maybe we'll get together late to play Euchre.  They like playing this card game, and we used to love it about 30 years ago.  So we were going to refresh the rules and have some fun playing cards. 

About 4:30, the guys came home with fresh shrimp from a road side stand.  So we decided we could cook the shrimp and make a vegetable salad and they would make rice and bring the wine.  So about 6:00 they came over, with their son Ryan, and we had a nice simple dinner in the cockpit and visited until about 8:30 (cruiser's midnight).  AND Shelly brought over one finished cushion!!

Shelly on the deck of the shower house

last minute "before picture"-we had flakes of this on our floor, in our shower filter and in our bed everyday!!

Shelly enjoys what she is doing, but she's always smiling

Saturday, July 26, 2014

July 25, 2014 Electronics and Cushions

The electrician came back, this time on our dime.  Dave wanted him to check our boat for any stray currents since we were going through zincs so fast.  He put a meter on anything that touches the saltwater.  Our bonding system (grounding) for the mast, rigging, keel and engine are all good.  He recommended bonding all of our through hulls, pump motors and anything else that come in contact with sea water into our existing bonding system.  Otherwise, a metal that goes through the hull can be dissolved and you have a hole in your boat.  Not good!   We already knew that there were stray currents from other boats or the docks in a marina, but if you are sitting where there is a tidal flow or in a river (we have both here), then the movement of the salt water can increase the charge between any positive or negative.  If we have everything equal, it won't eat the metal off of our boat.  Any small amount left should be taken care of by the zincs.  That's their purpose.  So periodically you check your zincs and replace them.  They are supposed to last 3-4  months and ours were gone in one month.  So it was nice to know what was going on before we started taking on water from some metal being eaten through the hull.

Today, Shelly and I started looking at material to recover our cushions.  Sumbrella is a strong material that is used for the outside "canvas" that is durable and can take the sun better than other materials.  They also make indoor Sumbrella.  Shelly knew there was a Sumbrella dealer in Wilmington, so we started there.  First we looked for a material that would be comfortable to sit on and then would see what colors it came in.  When we asked the price of the one we liked, it was $184/yard!!!!!  I just looked at Shelly and said "I have a lot of yards."  We made up some excuse to get out of there and never went back.

We talked about finding a similar material to what we have and just recovering the 5 pieces that are showing the wear.  We stopped at a grocery store and headed back to the boat for lunch. 

After lunch, we took one of my cushions with us.  Before leaving, we went to the BBY office and asked where they would recommend going for material that would be in stock.  If we have to wait for material, Shelly would run out of time.  They recommended a couple fabric outlets and gave us addresses.  The first one we stopped didn't have anything that would match.  But we found two that were close and they were only $12 and $8 /yard.  So we were back to recovering all of them at that price.  They gave us samples from both of them and we went to the second outlet.  They didn't have a close match either, but they had 3 to choose from that I liked better than the first two.    These were $13/yard but you could tell they were better quality than the other two.  So I took those three samples and we went home to look at the colors inside the boat and to sleep on it.

For the piece we want to add outside, Shelly had a piece of isinglass that we will be able to use.  And we have pieces of Sumbrella that came with the boat for covering woodwork that we will never use.  So we can use that material for the outside curtain.  All we'll need is the zipper for the top and snaps for the bottom.  Shelly and my friend, Cheryl, would get along great.  But I am actually going to help with this project, not sit back and drink beer, like I do when Cheryl is working on a project.

When we got back to the boat, Dave felt like going out.  He hadn't left the marina since we arrived a week ago.  We made a trip to West Marine.  I just stayed in the car and googled restaurants in the area.  We found a great Italian restaurant called Osteria Cicchetti.  The entrees were only $13, but of course we added an antipasto, one salad and wine.  So it could have been a cheap date, but you know how it goes.  They had an interesting antipasto option.  They listed about 6 vegetable choices, 6-8 cheeses and 4 meats.  You could pick any 3 for $12 or 5 for $17.  It came out on a board and we ate it with their great bread.  It was a fun, lively place.  And we each brought home leftovers. 

July 22-24, 2014 Surveyor and Electronics Technician

Tuesday:  Brian, our insurance surveyor, came to the boat at 2:00.  All 3 of us went over the timeline of events and what we have noticed not working or different or strange.  Then I left to do laundry and get out of the way.  He and Dave went through the boat looking at the various problems.  Brian would write up his report tonight and "get the ball rolling" or should I say "get the sails sailing"?  But he did want to have the boat hauled out of the water to check the hull.  So that is planned for Thursday.

Wednesday:  We talked to Al, boat yard manager, if we want to have the boat painted while it is out, we may as well wait until Monday to haul out the boat.  They can't start the painting until then anyway.  AND we can't stay on the boat when it is out.  The painting will take about 5 days.

There was a canvas man working on another boat, so Dave asked him to stop over at our boat before he left.  We asked him about adding a curtain on the stern to protect our backs from wind or rain.  We didn't do this from the start because we have so many things mounted there.  But we decided we could just to a center piece that is 45" wide.  And maybe we will check with him about doing cushions.
We were invited to Miami and Shelly's boat for happy hour.  We discussed the boat, canvas work, and getting a rental car.  Shelly has done lost of canvas work/upholstery and offered to do ours.  Also they were interested in sharing the car or putting Miami on as a extra driver.  So we went home and measured all of our cushions and the space we want to add outside.  Tomorrow we'll get the rental car car.

Thursday: Dale, the BBY head electronics technician,  came to the boat to go over the insurance list of concerns and check out what needs to be done so BBY can give the insurance company an estimate for the work to be done.
Miami and I went to get the car.  Enterprise will pick you up from certain locations.  And BBY clients get a 5% discount.  So came out pretty good.  We decided not to put Miami on and they will just run errands with us.
I went to an Urgent Care clinic to have them check out what I thought was a bug bite.  Last Thursday, we noticed a red area on my chest.  On Friday it had little bubbles like poison ivy and was really itchy.  On Saturday it was one big bubble.  On Monday it broke open.  By Wednesday, it looked like it was spreading.  They gave me an oral antibiotic and antibacterial cream, and a steroid to cover all bases.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 21, 2014 Rain check day

We spent some time this morning discussing our marina and boat yard situation with the office today.  Since we came in after hours on Friday night, they took our credit card # and said to settle things on Monday.

Everyone in the Cape Fear Marina/Bennett Brothers Yachts boat yard has been very nice and helpful.  Since we were having a survey done this afternoon, they are going to let us wait until then to decide how long we want our slip, a week or a month.

Al, from BBY talked us through how a survey and then the repairs usually go.  He said that he has worked with this surveyor, Brian, and that he is really fair.  But to remember that he works for the insurance company.  Then Al said to remember that he "works for the boat".  He will recommend what is best for the boat.  Especially if he sees lightning damage that the surveyor may have missed.  He will discuss it with them.  Sounded like a good professional. 

Did I mention that it had been raining all day?  Because of that, our surveyor postponed his 2:00 appointment to 3:00, then to Tuesday at 2:00.  So we started some new projects.

I cleaned the heads and made supper.

Dave decided to "pickle" our water maker again.  We haven't been using it because at a marina, we can get water from their dock.  And if we have to take the boat out of the water for repairs, he wanted to be sure it would be OK sitting for awhile longer.  After starting the process of running a 5 gallon solution though the system, he decided to see if there was water in the bilge.  Still trying to track down the "mystery water".  And there was!  He couldn't find a wet hose where it would be leaking, so he ran it again, and we didn't get more water in the bilge.

So he went hunting some more.  He went into a bilge compartment further forward and found water that seemed to flow to the area of the bilge pump.  So he took off the panel that covers the forward shower and could tell there was a little water following the hose back to it's connections, but not a lot.  So he checked the air conditioning unit right below that area and found a pool of water in that area!!  The filter needed cleaning!  So we discovered another maintenance issue.  If we are using the air conditioner continuously, we need to clean the filter on a weekly basis.  Add that to our list.  We will continue to check the bilge to be sure that handled it. 

July 19-20, 2014 Generator Day

Dave spent the day working on the generator.   Between Saturday and Sunday, here is an abbreviated list of what he did.  Checked all lines. Cleaned out the mixing elbow, Cleaned out the heat exchange tubes.  Sunday he had it running after running water through each step.  But when he put the casing back on and tried to start it, it wouldn't start.  So he thinks it may be bringing in air and creating an air lock.

I spent most of Saturday afternoon catching up on this blog.  We have had an active week, but not the wifi or power to post the blog.

We had a wonderful phone call from our son, Pete.  That always makes our day.  Love that guy!

After dinner, we invited our friends that we met in Charleston, Alex, Seng and Kaya, over for adult beverages in our cockpit.  It's so fun to have friends here and having the time to get to know them better. 

Sunday I took a taxi to St. Mary's Catholic church in downtown Wilmington, about 3 miles by road.  Kaya was planning to go to a museum this afternoon, so I asked Alex and Seng if they could give me a ride back to the boat.  They have a rental car.  It worked out with perfect timing.

They were going to West Marine and the grocery store and offered to take me along.  I was able to return a part and pick up some things at West Marine.  Then we started talking about grocery stores and it came up that I had never been to Trader Joe's.  So we went there for my first experience.  I only needed fruit and vegetables, milk and eggs.  Then it was fun picking up some unique food items.

After getting back to the boat, I helped Dave with a few things until about 6:00.  Then friends that we met in Marathon, FL arrived by boat after waiting for the 6:00 bridge opening, Shelly, Miami and Ryan Phillips.  We decided to order pizza to be delivered and have all 3 boats get together for the evening.  You learn so much from each other.  And they all get Dave's sense of humor.  If not,  guess we wouldn't still be friends :)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

July 18, 2014 Wilmington, NC

We checked out marinas in the area.  We are closer to the coast and the ICW in Wrightsville Beach, so the marinas are more expensive.  So we checked out marinas in Wilmington and decided to go to Cape Fear Marina.  They also have a boat yard if we need to have work done on the boat.  We have friends from Charleston that are there right now.  And we have friends from Marathon that are considering heading there next week.  Such a small world. 

We spent some time this morning talking to the insurance company and sending in the claims form.  So we didn’t leave our anchorage until about 11:00 am.  We had to back track about 10 miles (2 hours) south on the ICW.  Then we headed north on the Cape Fear river about 10 miles into Wilmington.  This marina is on the north side of the historic downtown area.  There is one draw bridge right before the marina that only opens at 10:00 and 2:00 between 6 am and 6 pm.  Well with the insurance business this morning, we missed the 2:00 opening.  We arrived at 3:15, bummer.  Our marina had said they would still meet us at the dock after 6:00 if that happened, even though they close at 5:00.  I’m sure it has happened before.   We asked our marina about tying up somewhere to have something to eat.  They suggested we contact the municipal dock’s dock master to see if we could tie up while we went into town.  We did, and they were very accommodating.  We walked a few blocks and found a fun diner and had great hamburgers. 

While waiting for our burgers, we heard “our song” and started holding hands.  The waitress noticed and thought it was so cute.  We told her how the first time we had heard this song was on our first date, Black Water by the Doobie Brothers.  Then we realized that it will be 40 years since our first date on 10-31-2014.  She went all mushy and said she hoped she and her boyfriend would be celebrating their 40th anniversary someday.  So we told her we have been married almost 37 years and now live on a sailboat.  She couldn’t believe it because it is her dream to live on a boat.  We really made her day.  We gave her inspiration.

We made it back to the boat and through the bridge and were docked by about 6:30 pm.  Our friends, Alex and Seng and Kiya met us at the dock.  That was a first, to have friends greet you at the dock.  They left for dinner and we spent time getting the boat settled.  First we positioned the boat to steady it against current from 2 directions.   The tide changes the current.  So you have to run lines accordingly.  Then we hooked up to the shore power, which involved moving the boat again to get the power cords to reach.  Then we shut the hatches and turned on the air conditioning.  I filled our water tanks while Dave put out extra zincs to protect our boat from stray currents in the marina.  Marinas are hard on boats.  They are actually safer when we are anchored by ourselves.  Besides the electrical current, you can bang against the docks in high winds.  We have fenders, but they can’t protect everything.  Also, if your boat is rocking side to side, your mast can hit the mast of the adjacent boat if you don't stagger them in the slips. 

I am reading a book that has excerpts from the log book of a couple that built their own boat in retirement and sailed form South Carolina to Maine and back.  The author was a writer, so his entries are descriptive and philosophical.  Here is a quote from it that hit home this week. 

“A lot of people wanted something else, or didn’t have good enough luck to acquire a cottage, a fireplace, or a boat.  That doesn’t mean such things are bad.  Sort of a movable place is my boat.  She’s individual, she’s a place that gives the world significance for me.  Of course I love her good qualities, her ability to fight to windward when the going is tough.  But I have a certain fondness even for her faults.”

And we will repair these “faults” and continue our adventure.  We may be in Wilmington for a while, but we will make the most of it. 

July 17, 2014 The Second Day of Discovery,

Today, Dave made phone calls for our wifi booster, wiri, and to the xantrax dealer (voltage & current monitor) and waited for their return calls, of course.  They talked him through trying to reset, but no luck.  For the Wiri wifi booster, they told Dave how to test the booster antenna and the router.  He opened the box mounted outside and removed these two items.  The booster antenna had an USB plug that we put into our computer.  But the computer didn’t recognize it as a device, so we knew it wasn’t working, probably a short.  Then he found an adapter to plug in the router to 120.  We had to turn on our inverter for the power.  There was no luck here, so the router wasn’t working either. 

Dave also climbed the mast today about 3:00.  He replaced a burnt out light bulb and didn’t see any sign of a direct hit by lighting.  He had a job years ago climbing radio towers for repairs.  So he knew what to look for if there had been a lightning strike.  At the time we all just thought Dave took the job for a thrill, climbing those towers.  But there is a reason for everything. 

We ran the engine for about an hour to charge the batteries again.  At that time, he realized that the radar and autopilot were not being recognized.  When he went to shut off the engine about an hour later, he noticed it was reading low voltage.  Also when he shut off the engine, the alarm and the display lights wouldn’t shut off, even if he removed the key.  So he disconnected the engine battery, still wouldn’t shut off, so reconnected that.  We shut off the DC Main switch on the switch panel in our navigation station, still wouldn’t shut off.  We turned off the ground kill switch and that did it.  Of course we had to turn that switch back on, and when we did, the alarm stayed off. Yeah!

After checking through what Dave could think of, we decided to give the insurance company a  call tomorrow.  We waited to see if just simple tweaks would set things right.  I had sent an e-mail to the claims department on Wednesday asking for a claims report if we would need one.      We will also move our boat to a marina tomorrow for the necessary repairs. 

Since we would be leaving this area tomorrow, we decided to take the dinghy to shore and go out to dinner.  We walked to a great little Mexican restaurant.  After dinner we had a nice walk on the beach to clear our heads.  This is a beautiful tourist spot.  It reminded me of Gulf Shores, Alabama but on a smaller scale.  

Our sailing friend, Gary, continued north on the ICW today and made it half way to Beaufort, NC.  He anchored near Camp Lejeune military installation and could hear machine gun fire from his boat.

Hap and Alice did decide to have hospice care come into their home.  He has cancelled all future doctors appointments. He and his family are very comfortable with this decision.  He has 2 sons and 3 daughters that live in the area.  Dave was able to talk to him on the phone today.  Kind of puts our problems into perspective. 

"selfie" taken on Wrightsville Beach, NC

July 16, 2014 Day of Discovery

Dave decided to call this our “day of discovery”.  He needed to start poking around to see what was or wasn’t working.  Our wifi booster and external GPS are not working.  Dave was noticing a problem with our engine battery.  The wifi booster was getting power but not turning on.

Gary, our buddy boater, was looking for a small motor for his dinghy.  So we started talking about getting a smaller one, too.  Right now, we have to use a lift to get our 100 lb 15 HP Mercury outboard motor off of the motor mount and onto the dinghy with a pulley system.  That’s ok when we are going to be using it for a week.  But when we stop somewhere overnight or for a couple days, we would rather have a quick way of getting the dinghy in and out.  They found a good deal on 2.5 HP propane motors here in Wrightsville Beach at the West Marine.  Someone at the store would deliver them here and throw in some free fuel.  So the two of them took off to wheel and deal.  Dave had to row to Gary’s boat and then row to shore.  With the threat of rain, I chose to stay on board the boat.  They made it to shore just as it started to rain.  The wind and waves made it an exciting trip.  Now for their mile or more walk in the rain.  So much fun when you don't have a car. 

Both the main and auxiliary batteries were reading too high.  The main went back to normal with a reset, but not the auxiliary.  So before Dave left to get the new dinghy motor, he shut off the solar panels.  While he was away, the monitor started flashing because the batteries were too low.  So I called Dave and he had me shut down all power but the essentials, like the bilge pump and the refrigerator/freezer. 

When he returned, Dave decided to run the generator to charge our batteries to at least make it through the night with the lights, fans and the water pump as needed.  Now the generator wouldn’t work.  He dug into that and found that the impeller had blown.  So he took that apart to replace the impeller.  While doing that, he found pieces of old impeller still inside the unit.  That is a “no-no”.  You are supposed to chase down all the parts so they don’t clog something further down the line.  He said we were lucky that that hadn’t already caused problems.  Also the internal zinc was missing.  So we are getting stray current through here that could now start eating away on other metal parts.  That being said, he found salt in the bottom of the generator case, which indicates that salt water has entered the boat somewhere.  He replaced the impeller and added a new zinc but wasn’t going to do any more this evening.  Now we decided to run the diesel engine to charge batteries.  At this point, I was using my phone in the dark and realizing I couldn’t charge it.  So I decided to go to bed.  Dave spent some time reading up on how to further check out some of our problems. 

Along with all of the boat issues, we received an e-mail from Dave’s mom.  Dave's step father, Hap, may be starting hospice care.  We will learn more tomorrow.  He is in his 90’s and still at home with Alice.  But it is getting more difficult for him to sleep and he doesn’t have an appetite, and now they found cancer in his liver.  They have been married over 40 years, so he has been a major part of our lives.  And such a kind, dear man.  We wish him comfort in the days to come.

Dave rowing to Gary's boat-second one

Dave showing off his new propane motor

July 15, 2014 Lightning Storm

We woke up to thunder and lightning about 2:30 pm, only 2 hours of sleep.  We had to close hatches because of the rain.  We decided to make breakfast.  Our schedules were really out of whack.  We had some English muffin bread that we wanted to make French toast with.  We decided to try making it with our powdered eggs.  It actually tasted pretty good.  The storm was getting more intense with lighting, then all of a sudden there was an instant boom with the lightning.  We didn’t think we had a direct hit, but we heard a strange beep or pop.  I asked Dave “how would you know if we had a direct hit?” He said “you would see water rising over the windows.”  I had forgotten that a lightning strike can put a hole in the hull of your boat, depending on where it travels through. 

We noticed that our Single Side Band radio wasn’t working.  There wasn’t anything we could do about it now, with the rain.  So as long as we were still afloat, we went back to our naps.  I woke up at 8:00 pm and stayed up a couple hours, but Dave slept straight through the night.   I turned on our anchor light, but couldn’t tell if it was on.  So I checked with our friend who was anchored near us, and he said it was not on.  Not sure if it was damaged by lightning, because we haven’t had to use it for the last month in Charleston.  I thought I heard something hit our deck a couple mornings ago.  So we’ll have to check that out. 

We noticed before that when we do an overnight sail, it really takes a day to recover.  But it was good to get here before this storm arrived.

July 14-15, 2014 Overnight sail to Wrightsville Beach, NC

We had a good weather opportunity to leave today, but Tuesday and Wednesday looked worse.  So we decided to do an overnight sail to Wilmington, NC/Cape Fear area.  We left the marina about 10:30 am, but it takes an hour to get out of the harbor.  We passed Ft Sumter on the way out.  So much history here.  Once we were out of the harbor and heading north, we tried to set the autopilot and it wouldn’t work.  And the boat symbol on the chart was pointing about 120 degrees off course.  Dave had replaced the autopilot drive, but it tested ok while in the marina.  He upgraded the firmware and software for the chart plotter, so maybe they aren’t communicating properly.  He tried recalibrating the autopilot, but no luck.  This made the trip much longer mentally and physically because we had to manually steer the boat for 24 hours. 

We raised our Genniker sail about 12:00 and with the south east wind, we were able to reduce our RPM’s from 2200 to 1200 and still get 6-7 knots.  Saving fuel!

Dave decided to go below to check on the autopilot controls and discovered water on the floor splashing up from between the floor boards.  So he opened the bilge and found about a gallon of fresh water in the bilge-about the same amount of mystery water we had in Charleston.  So he cleaned that up and put it on his list of projects.  After later discussing it, we think it came from our aft water tank.  We have not been using it unless we are in a marina and can fill it with a hose.  The water maker fills our forward water tank.  We have had a poor seal on the tank cap, and if we overfilled the tank, water would then leak into the bilge.  We thought that was taken care of but will follow up on that theory later.

About 3:00 the winds picked up from 10 knots and below to a 12-17 knot range.  That increased the swells from 4 foot average to 6-8 foot swells.  The boat moved smoothly because the waves were behind us (following sea).  But it was a constant struggle to keep the boat on course. 

About 6:30, Dave was below and was able to get the boat symbol to point in the correct direction.  Funny how you can get excited about such a simple adjustment. 

We had unusual watches throughout most of the day because of the work Dave was doing on the boat.  But throughout the evening, we were taking 2 hour watches.  You were physically tired after 2 hours.  And there was quite a bit of rocking motion with the wave action.  During my 1:00-3:00 am watch, our AIS started beeping alerting us of a ship in our area.  It was far enough off to our port side, that we wouldn’t cross paths, but our friend was closer to it’s path.  He was on his boat alone and had an autopilot for the first time.  So we called him on the VHF radio to be sure he was awake and saw the ship.  He did, but he had nodded off a few times, so he appreciated the call.  It was a large cargo ship from the Netherlands (the AIS told us that info).  By 2:30 am I could see the light house at Cape Fear where we would go to anchor and catch up on our sleep.  Always a comforting sight.  I was feeling good, so let Dave nap a little longer so he could bring our boat into the harbor on his watch.  About 4:00 am, we started entering the shipping channel outside Cape Fear and Dave started his watch.  I just stayed awake with him, since we would anchor once we arrived and would both sleep then.  Well, it took us about 2 1/2 hours to get into the Cape Fear River. 

So now it’s 6:30 am, we are getting close to our anchorage, we are tired, and talking about cooking a breakfast and going to sleep.  Gary calls us on the VHF.  He just checked the weather, and the anchorage he had in mind would be exposed to the south winds from this storm moving in.  So he wanted to go another 20 miles to a more protected anchorage in Wrightsville Beach, NC.  Now remember 20 miles by boat on the ICW will take about 4 hours.  We decided if he could keep going, so could we.  So we had cold chicken for breakfast and continued on.  I took over the helm the first two hours and we swapped for the second two.  I really slept hard during my off time.  We anchored about 11:30 am on Tuesday the 15th.  It took about an hour to settle everything and take showers.  Then we crashed. 
Gary's boat mid day

Gary's boat at sunset

Sunrise after we entered Cape Fear River.  That's why there is land to the east of us.  Threw me off for awhile

Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor

July 11-13, 2014 Last Days in Charleston

I putzed around this morning.  Then I walked about 30 minutes to my massage.  This massage therapist has an office in West Ashley, across the Ashely River.  But she sees clients on Mondays and by appointment at the Wentworth Mansion Spa.  It was going to be $87 for an hour, more than I have ever paid, but I could walk there and I was in pain with my back.  Well, for $87 you get a locker room with shower with shampoo, conditioner and body wash, robes, towels, & slippers.  I loved it.  Since I was sweaty from walking there, I took a shower before and after my massage.  It was great to have the luxury of a full size shower and all the water I wanted.  Amazing how the simple things tickle you. 

This was the best massage I have ever had.  And as a dentist, I had massages regularly.  Afterwards, I was light headed, so I walked about 6 blocks and caught the trolly home.  Then I was worthless for the rest of the day.

I checked out the Wentworth Mansion online.  It is rated one of the top hotels on the east coast.  There were 21 bedrooms in the original mansion.  Each room has a fireplace and king beds.  Looks like they added bathrooms.  Weekday price was $400/night. 

Dave always has projects for the boat to work on.  Looking back we’re not sure what he did that day.  If I don’t write things down, the days just run together.


There had been a new boat in the marina for two days.  Today I noticed they had left.  I said to Dave “well, they weren’t very sociable.”  He replied “they couldn’t afford to be.  When you make friends, you stay for a month.”  At least that happens to us.

We spent the morning sorting through what other important documents we should put in the computer in our Evernote files.  Then I can finish them around other projects.  Before leaving a port, I stock up on groceries as needed.  Then I usually cook up a few things that we can eat while underway. 

Dave helped our neighbor, Gary, install an autopilot.  He and Dave are going to take a diesel engine class in Annapolis, MD the end of July, so he decided to move his boat back there along with us instead of driving and getting a room.  We are making plans to “buddy boat” to the Chesapeake Bay.  Since he has sailed this area a few times, it will be nice to have his local knowledge. 

We joined Gary and his date, Katherine, for dinner and a couple drinks on his boat tonight.  There was a beautiful full moon.  I guess it is closer to the earth than usual and will affect the tides, being higher and lower.  We learned that years ago, but it didn’t have any significance until now. 

I went to my favorite “southern” catholic church this morning, St Patrick’s.  I love the music and everyone visits afterwards wondering where I am from or asking me to join the church.  Then Dave and I met at a restaurant on Broad St that Gary and Katherine had recommended, but it was closed on Sundays.  So we took another recommendation and walked to the Blind Tiger.  It was an old place built in 1803.  Their Bloody Mary’s were voted #1 in Charleston several times.  And they were good.  We had a great brunch.  In the days of prohibition, people would pay an admission to see the “blind tiger”.  While waiting for it to appear (which it never did), the establishment would serve “refreshments”.

The plan was then to go for a walk around the southern tip of the peninsula that Charleston is on.  Battery park is there and south of Broad street is where the big money was spent on homes in the early years.  We have both driven through the area, but wanted to go for a walk though there.  Well the rain turned that into a quick walk between showers.  Then we took a taxi back to the boat so we could see the second half of the final world cup soccer game.  Congratulations Germany!

We then spent the evening finishing little projects to ready the boat to leave Charleston.  We have said 4 times that we are leaving, so stay tuned to see if we really leave this time.

Today was my mother’s birthday.  She would have been 96.  A dear lifelong friend of hers passed away at 97 this week, Kay Nelson.  Our families grew up together, and the bridge club helped raise all of us.  They had a bridge club that played together for 50+ years.  Kay was the last charter member to pass away.
locker room/shower at Wentworth Mansion Spa

Best Bloody Mary in Charleston

full moon on Charleston Harbor

Thursday, July 10, 2014

July 10, 2014 Pedi cab

Today, Dave finished cleaning the hull with the hookah system.  Our marina has harbor tours on a replica of a paddle boat that leaves about 4 times a day.  And there is a water taxi that leaves from here.  So there are always tourists on the dock above us.  Dave uses a wet suit when he cleans the hull, so he wears a tight fitting swim suit under it.  When he went out into the cockpit today dressed in his suit he said “did you hear that collective moan from the tourists when I stepped outside?”

I spent some time on the computer continuing to organize our documents on Evernote. 
It seemed like I was working on 3 things at once today.  I guess it was because we received our mail today and there were things to follow up on. 

We went out to a Mexican restaurant tonight.  It was very good and I am always surprised at how cheap everything is on the menu.  And their happy hour went until 8:00pm.  We ended up carrying a heavy bag of leftovers home again.

After dinner, we walked about 6-8 blocks away from our marina to find the place I am going to tomorrow for a massage.  We got about 2 blocks into our walk home and Dave flagged down a pedi-cab.  We have seen them around town and this was one of the things Dave was looking forward to doing while we were here.  He was tired from being in the water today, so he decided this would be a good time.  The temperature was in the low 80’s with the humidity close to 80%, so I didn’t argue. 

July 9, 2014 Hookah day

July 9, 2014

Today, Dave and our neighbor, Gary, used our hookah system for diving the hull and helped each other with projects.  Gary needed to replace his prop.  So they took the 50 lb air compressor hookah system over to his boat.  Dave was his assistant on the boat helping with tools.  Then they brought it back to our boat for Dave to clean the hull, especially our prop.  I had the important duty of preparing lunch.  If you didn't know, the hookah is a system like scuba diving, but you are connected to the boat/compressor that is providing the air.

Being on a river in a harbor, they had to plan work around slack tide.  Otherwise the current would be too strong.  So by the time Dave started, the current was getting a little stronger.  So he only finished cleaning half of the hull.  His main objective was to clean the propeller.  Sailors place zincs on the boat to protect the metal prop.  In a marina, there is a lot of current in the water from the boats using the shore power.  Dave noticed all of our zincs had been oxidized and disappeared.  So he replaced them, but that’s a signal that it’s time to leave the marina. 

I had planned to do laundry after Dave finished cleaning the hull, but it was getting late.  So I left anyway while he was under water.  I positioned myself at the laundromat so I could see the back of the boat and flailing hands.  But he survived.

Dave also placed the new circuit breaker today.  He had to shut off the air conditioning while he did that, so that was when I planned to do laundry.  He finished shortly after I returned, so all was well.

We enjoyed the soccer game between Argentina and the Netherlands on the computer in the comfort of our air conditioning.

July 8, 2014 Jestine's Kitchen

Our new circuit breaker arrived, but we had to pick it up at an electronics store a few blocks from here.  Dave still wanted his southern fried chicken, so we thought we’d go out for lunch.  We had walked by Jestine’s Kitchen a couple times and finally looked it up on the internet.  This was exactly what we were looking for. 

Jestine’s was named after Jestine Matthews, born 1885 and lived to 112.  In 1928 she went to work for the Ellison family.  Jestine’s Kitchen is owned by the Ellison’s grand daughter.  They played music from the 30’s-40’s, like you would have heard in the south.  Jestine’s table wine was their sweet tea.  Dave ordered the fried chicken dinner.  It came with 3 huge pieces, a breast (which we took home), thigh and leg.  His sides were mashed potatoes and gravy and okra gumbo.  I had a pecan crusted chicken breast with the okra gumbo and black eyed peas.  They brought us a bowl of sweet pickles before our meal.  They had t-shirts with 10 questions asked at Jestine’s.  Some of them were “what’s fried orca, how big is the 4 oz meatloaf, what’s the difference between the 4 and the 8 oz meatloaf, are you Justine, which beach is closest to the ocean?”

After walking home in the heat and humidity of the day, and after a big meal, I had to take a shower and a nap, just because I can.  Maybe going out for lunch wasn’t such a great idea.  (Or maybe it was the big meal.  I felt fine after my salad yesterday.)

We met an older sailor from the south that once told us “if your projects aren’t done by 10:00 am, they aren’t going to get done.”  Now I think I know why he said that.

July 7, 2014 Boat Cards

Another boat neighbor asked me to join her for lunch today.  Bev was from Minnesota and had spent the last 23 years sailing around the world.  We visited with them last week on our boat.  It was fun to visit more about their adventures and how they handled some routine things.  I then showed her how to use the free trolly in Charleston.  Then at the visitor’s center, she showed me how to use the city bus system to go beyond the historical part of Charleston.  I should have checked into that sooner.  I guess if we unexpectedly stay longer, I will check out the surrounding area. 

When the UPS truck arrived today, no one was in the marina office, so they didn’t leave our packages!!  Dave is going to camp out at the office tomorrow.

One thing I did accomplish was to input “boat cards” into a system on our computer called Evernote.  Everyone we meet gives us a boat card.  And they keep telling us we need to get our own boat card.  It’s like a business card, but it has your contact information for you on your boat.  I am sorry, but I am not going to carry around a stack of cards to hand out, or put their cards into a card holder to refer to in the future.  This is the 21st century people!  What I have done so far is take a picture of their card and give it back or throw it away.  Then I can contact them with my information (if I choose to).  I met a guy in a bus stop that gave me his boat card.  I am not going to hand out my contact information to everyone I meet.  I have been planning to come up with a spreadsheet where I could input all this information.  

We recently read a tip about using Evernote for important documents.  Then if we are away from our boat, we could access this information through our phones, since it will sync with our phones, or through another computer.  We are always trying to figure out how to store important documents.  Some you need to have with you, but you could lose them if the boat goes down.  So while I was working with this, I saw where you could upload photos of business cards, recipes, instructions and warrantees, etc.  So I decided to try it with the boat cards.  It is fantastic.  I upload the boat card photo.  Then I can add where I met them and when, maybe some info to help remember them, whatever I want.  Each card is a “note” in my boat cards “notebook”.  And I can search by any word, even if it’s in the text of the boat card photo.  So in a year from now, if I want to remember the name of the guy we met in Charleston, I can search Charleston.  Makes so much more sense to me than flipping through a book of boat cards.  Besides, I couldn’t remember how to do a spreadsheet, so this saved me.  I am still computer challenged, but I am learning. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 6, 2014 southern church

I didn’t expect to be here another Sunday.  But this gave me a chance to visit another church.  Today I took the trolly to a church in the central part of Charleston.  When I got off the trolly, I walked the wrong direction for a few blocks.  So I ended up being late.  This catholic church was the closest you could get to southern Baptist and still be a mass.  I was definitely in the minority.  What a great choir AND the whole congregation was singing.  They sang fun songs that had a lot more soul.  They asked visitors to stand and be welcomed.  They had anyone with a birthday in July stand and we sang Happy Birthday.  Their recessional hymn was “Soon and Very Soon”.  We sang that in SD but not the way it was meant to be sung.  It was so fun to sing it with spirit and clapping.  After mass, the man I sat behind brought me information about jointing their church.  Someone else invited me to their annual picnic on the 20th.  It was the most welcome I have felt in all the churches I have visited since leaving South Dakota.  What a fun way to start the week.

We figured out how to get free movies through Amazon.  So just hung out this afternoon watching the latest Star Trek movie.  But I refused to watch a second movie.  I got Dave to go for a walk to a restaurant we wanted to try for southern fried chicken.  We should have made a reservation.  We ended up walking to a Sticky Fingers BBQ restaurant.  Either our waiter was new, or he was ready to be done for the day.  The food was good but lousy service.  Any way, we had a nice walk in part of Charleston we hadn’t seen. 

Happy 40th Wedding Anniversary to Janice and Jim, sister and brother-in-law!

July 5, 2014 Soccer and water pumps

I joined the neighboring boaters at a local sports bar to watch the soccer game between the Netherlands and Costa Rica.  It was especially fun since Burt was from the Netherlands and he also picked up the tab after the Netherlands won. 

I walked back to the boat via the grocery store.  All we need to restock these days is milk, fruit, veggies and bread.  So I was OK with carrying those things about 8 blocks.  I also found out that we can take a shopping cart back to the marina and they collect them once a week.  May have to do that if we need to stock heavier items before we leave instead of taking a taxi.

Dave replace our water pump.  Ever since we had the water in the bilge, we have been trying to improve our water system.  It’s amazing how quiet this pump is.  When one of our water tanks empties, the water pump continues to run.  So we immediately shut it off so as not to burn out the pump and we switch tanks.  Now we are concerned that we won’t hear the pump continuing to run.  We will have to be more aware when we think a tank is getting low.  But with the water maker, we don’t usually let the tanks get too low anymore. 

July 4, 2014 Independence Day

After our late night last night, we were pretty lazy today.  We just hung out at the boat researching things on the computer and cooking. 

We regrouped with the neighbors to watch the fireworks.  They launch the fireworks from the USS Yorktown air craft carrier across the river from our marina.  Our neighbor that had lived here for 5 years told us that over a week ago.  But we never thought we’d still be here for the 4th. 

We put our cockpit cushions on the deck of the boat and had a great view.  I played my John Phillip Sousa CD of marches during the display.  Have to play that on the 4th every year.  There was a real patriotic feeling in the air when you think about how many battles had been fought in this harbor. 

After the fireworks, I joined the new neighbors from New York.  They have a 50 foot boat.  Wow, is it ever spacious compared to ours.  I shouldn’t  look at boats that are bigger than ours.  But we wouldn’t want to handle that large of a boat by ourselves. 

The owners bought the boat in the Baja area of Mexico.  They hired someone to take it through the Panama Canal and bring it to Florida.  They joined the captain and a crew member there and they all came here together,  along with a nephew.  Captain Kirk and crew, Burt, are from the Netherlands.  Kirk left a couple days ago, but Burt will be with them as they move the boat north. 

I had a great conversation asking them all about choosing a captain and crew AND how you become captain and crew.  Dave and I have thought about doing that as a supplemental income- move boats for people.  Of course we would need more training and experience, so it’s not going to happen soon.  But what I learned tonight was that you have to deal with a lot of mechanical issues.  Especially if a boat has been out of the water for several years and now you are taking it somewhere for the owner.  All kinds of things can show up once it’s in the water again.  You can also return boats for people after they have sailed it somewhere and don’t have the time to bring it back.  Then you would know that it was a working boat ( and you can still have mechanical issues).  So we'll see if we ever go that route.
Happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 3, 2014 Hurricane Arthur

Well, this post is kind of anti climatic, but in a good way.  We made it through our first hurricane.  We subscribe to a weather service.  So we get weather updates usually once a day.  But Chris Parker steps it up during rough weather.  We were getting notices 2-3 times a day this week.  He gives us his predictions, then compares it to NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) and a couple other sources.  The TV stations get their info form these guys.  So we don't feel bad not having a TV to watch the weather.

Dave got up during the night to check the weather and how the boat was tied up.  He said there was an eerie feeling in the air, like before a tornado.  We thought we would wake up with high winds in the morning, but it was like any other morning.  We could see stormy clouds off the coast.  We even sat outside for awhile and watched the weather and other boats.  The cargo ships were still moving.

We watched a sailboat out playing in the strong winds.  Dave was missing his buddies from back home that would normally go play with him when the wind would come up.

About 5:00, it was beautiful and calm.  We were really lucky that it stayed off shore.  I guess that is why we stayed here.  We didn't notice if there was any surge involved with this.  It was predicted that Charleston would get 3 feet.

Well, about 8:00, the dock decided we needed a hurricane survival party.  We had 8 people in our cockpit until way past our bedtime.  It was fun getting to know the neighbors, where they are from and where they are going.

We were grateful for all the well wishes we had from people that were in land locked states.

we expected rougher seas

Dave would have liked to play in the wind
2:00 radar-strange to see the eye of the storm so close to us

4:00 radar-decided we were in the clear

what we could see of the sunset that night-calm waters

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 2, 2014 Hurricane preparation Charleston

We planned to spend the day preparing the boat for a hurricane.  But first Dave had to fix the circuit breaker.  He was about to beg our boat neighbor, Gary, for a ride for parts when he showed up at our boat.  He was more than happy to help us out.  The two of them took off to get parts.  Sounds like they ran back and forth between a few places.  Dave ended up getting a 25 amp circuit breaker for our 30 amp connection and he has to order the part we need.  So we are running one air conditioner until the part arrives on Tuesday.  Guess we'll be here a while longer.

I walked to the grocery store for a few items.  Then I spent the day tucking things away in case we really rock and roll through this storm.

Dave thinks the previous repair didn't cut back the damaged wire far enough and it caused it to over heat.  Otherwise the circuit breaker would have popped.  So when he places the new 30 amp circuit breaker, he will watch to see if it overheats.  If so, there may be a deeper problem with the connection to our air conditioners.

Late afternoon, we started retying fenders and adding spring lines from the boat to the dock.  We topped off our water tanks and put away the water hose.  We brought the cockpit cushions inside along with other small loose items in the cockpit.  We taped down covers and lids that could fly away or flop in the wind.  We taped over the engine and diesel blower vents to prevent water getting into them.  We made sure the dinghy was secure.

As we were doing this, so were the neighbors.  Everyone was helping each other.  The salty sailors were giving advice or letting you know you looked pretty good.  You want to make sure your neighbors boat isn't going to come loose and damage yours.  Then we just stood around and visited for a while, hearing stories about riding out hurricanes in the past. 

Tropical Storm Arthur is predicted to pass us off shore.  The worst prediction is 40pmh winds and 3 foot surge.  We are on a floating dock, so the surge shouldn't affect us.  We'll just move up as the water rises.  And I think we had 40mph winds in Mobile Bay.  So we feel pretty confident about our boat doing just fine.

July 1, 2014 "Town Day" Charleston

Our boat neighbor, Gary, was heading out to run errands and offered to take us along or wherever we needed.  Making friends has its perks.  He works about 3 months off and on, so moves his boat and truck when he can. 

We headed to West Marine and Lowe’s.  We had lunch in a German themed local bar.  Of course we offered to pay, since he was driving.  You should have seen the look on his face when Dave’s two meals arrived.  He packed one up to take back to the boat.  He figured he wouldn’t get back there, so leftovers would be great.  I gave up on telling him how to order years ago.

We also stopped at a U-Haul to fill our propane tanks.  I never have asked why those two businesses are together.  We weren’t sure how we were going to get our tank refilled.  Most taxis and trollies don’t want you to take the tank in their vehicle.  Our plan was to put the tank in a rolling suitcase since they aren’t real big and take it aboard the trolly.  We’ll keep that in mind for the future. 

We watched the disappointing soccer game between the USA and Belgium. 

About 8:45 our air conditioner stopped (luxury when you are at a marina) and we had an electrical burning smell!!  The circuits inside were ok, so we checked where the power cords plug into the boat.  The circuit breaker over heated and melted.  Dave checked it all out and went online to see what he would have to do to repair things.  We have two 30 amp power cords coming into the boat.  One is for the 2 air conditioning units and one is for all other AC current.  There had been a problem with this connection when we bought the boat, but they assured us that it had been taken care of.  Well we have found other electrical problems, so Dave is going to see if it wasn’t fixed correctly, or if we have to go deeper to find the source of this problem. 

In the meantime, I opened all our hatches and put on the bug screens and turned on the fans.  We hope to have this fixed before the rains with the squalls hit us Thursday.  Sure would be nice to have air conditioning if we have to have all of our hatches closed. 

That being said, we still believe the storm will pass us off shore.  We will get wind and rain.  If it should unpredictably change course towards us, we will move our boat up the Cooper River or leave it.