Thursday, November 27, 2014

November 24-26, 2014 Ready to leave NC

Dave talked to the boat yard on Monday.  He was surprised we hadn’t heard from the insurance company since the charges were sent to them before we left over a week ago.  That’s when they told us that the insurance company wanted further explanation of the charges, so the final information went to them just this last Friday.  Well, you can imagine that we were really frustrated.  We thought we would hear from the insurance while we were in Florida, come back, settle our bill and head out. 

Well, the weather looked kind of bad this week, so we probably wouldn’t leave until Friday anyway.  We spent the day unpacking and getting resettled into boat life. 

Dave was also working on our Single Side Band radio.  He is getting it hooked up to our GPS.  Then the screen on the SSB and the VHF radio will show our latitude, longitude and time.  That will be handy in an emergency.  Also, when you are listening to the radio and hear of an emergency, it is nice to see immediately if we are in the area and can offer help.  So far, I have been writing down this information when we leave and periodically though out the day.  Here was Dave’s thought for the day: Projects have to give you a little headache or else you didn’t really earn your accomplishment. 

Tuesday:  Dave needed some boat parts, so we went out for a late breakfast.  We made a grocery store run to replenish our fresh fruits, bread, milk etc.  But I also planned some food for our passage.  It is good to cook foods ahead of time that will take little preparation while under way. 

Wednesday:  We discovered the walls of the compartments along the hull are getting condensation because the water is colder now.  So  we opened a few and did some repackaging of things we had in storage.  The compartment with our canned foods was wet, so a lot of the labels were wet and some rust was showing up on the cans.  So I wrote on the lid of every can what the contents were in case the labels come off.  Then I bagged several cans in 2 gallon bags.  I also organized the cans into like foods.   Should be easier to find things now.  And I updated the "what's on my boat" list.

We decided to call the insurance company to see when they thought we would have an answer.  That’s when we found out they were closed for the rest of the week!!!  We called our surveyor.  He said he received the info from out boat yard on Friday.  But he didn’t get his part submitted until yesterday!  So now we are looking at leaving Tuesday at the earliest.  The surveyor really suggested staying here until we receive the payment, then pay the boat yard, just in case there is anything not covered.  Then we could discuss it with them.  We are tempted to just pay the bill and leave and take what ever the insurance pays. 

We did talk to the owner about how frustrated we are.  Originally we were told to expect everything to take a month to a month and a half.  Now it's been 4 months!!  So we decided to go out for chicken wings and beer.  I had a new appetizer-jalapeno macaroni and cheese bites.  They were sinful. 

view of our marina from the draw bridge
jalapeno macaroni and cheese bites

November 20-23, 2014 Florida Tourists

Thursday: Finally we get to play tourist.  We went out for a late breakfast at the Nook.  We saw a high school friend of Pete’s there, Melissa Beadle.  She is now living in Jupiter.  Small world.  On Jupiter Island, there is a section of rocky beach.  We hiked along there looking at the unusual formations.  Cheryl even climbed down between some for a few photo ops, but ended up getting drenched by a rogue wave.  It was great to check out sea shells, get our feet in the water, and just sit and enjoy the view and sounds.  We spent most of the afternoon at the beach.  We returned to the hotel and enjoyed the pool and hot tub.  Then we had dinner in our room with fresh guacamole, seafood salad, cheese and crackers, etc.  And we played cribbage. 

Friday:  We went to Palm Springs to tour the Flagler Museum.  Henry Flagler was responsible for a lot of the development of Florida by bringing the railroad south and building resort hotels.  He was one of the original owners of Standard Oil with Rockefeller.  He also built the railroad to Key West along the Keys.  His home is now a museum and very fascinating.  If you are interested, read Last Train to Paradise.

Then we returned to Jupiter in time to catch the last tour of their lighthouse.  It had 104 steps.  And the view was beautiful.  Afterwards, we had dinner at a restaurant across the inlet with a view of the lighthouse in the dark.  Very pretty.  We returned to our rooms to pack and play more cribbage. 

It had been a windy, rainy, cooler week than usual.  But it was snowing and cold back in SD and OK, so Bev and Cheryl didn’t complain.  It was still in the 70-80’s.  The dive shop said they didn’t go out again the rest of the week because of the conditions, so we wouldn’t have done any more diving anyway.

Saturday: We all left around 10:00 am.  Our hotel was on the IntraCoastal Waterway, the Jupiter Waterfront Inn.  It was only a 2 story unit with balconies over looking the ICW.  It was very clean and comfortable.  The staff were very nice, always helpful, and had great suggestions for restaurants.  It was really windy today.  Dave walked outside with a cup of coffee and the top of his coffee had breakers splashing the coffee onto his hand. 

The girls checked out a tourist shop next door to our hotel.  We saw a sign that was appropriate for our lifestyle: At the beach (boat for us), life id different.  Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment.  We live by the currents, plan by the tides, and follow the sun. 

We said our good-byes.  They returned to the airport in their rental car.  And we drove north in ours. 

We had a 10 hour drive so we ended up spending the night in Savannah, GA.  We had a room on Bay Street near the Riverwalk.  We had a great dinner and went to an Irish Pub for some great music.  Dave spent most of the week eating our leftovers in the room.  So he enjoyed the night out. 

Sunday: Drove home to our boat in NC.  Stopped for gas and ate at a great Mexican restaurant.  We’ll enjoy a second meal with our leftovers.  
Blowing Rock Beach on Jupiter Island

minutes later Cheryl was soaking wet

Henry Flagler home now a museum

top of lighthouse

Seafood dinner in Savannah, GA

November 13-19, 2014 Florida Vacation

St Augustine, Diving, Hospital

Nothing like taking a vacation when you are on a permanent vacation. 
Our boat insurance says we can’t go south of 30 degree latitude North until November 1, which is about the northern border of Florida. We really thought we would have our boat in Florida after that date.  Dave had a yearly exam scheduled in St Augustine on November 14 at the VA clinic.  So we drove to Florida. 

Dave’s appointment went well.  He likes his new Dr.  This was the general exam, so now he will be appointed for various things.  We hope to be back in St Augustine with our boat and not have to drive there for future appointments.

After his appointment on Friday, we drove on to Jupiter where we met my sister, Bev, and Cheryl Ulmer on Saturday.  I met Cheryl in Rapid City through the Chamber of Commerce in 1987 and we have been friends ever since.  When Bev moved to Rapid City, she also became friends with Cheryl.  She is a scuba diver and used to be an instructor.  She encouraged both of us to become divers.  We have had several dive trips together over the years.

Saturday: great seafood dinner at Food Shack.  Their local fresh fish are prepared in unique ways and served over a salad, which was also unique to each dish.  Wonderful.  Early to bed because we were diving on Sunday morning.

Sunday:  Bev, Cheryl and I went to Jupiter Dive Center at 8:00am.  We lined up everything we needed and were on the boat by 9:00.  It was about 75-80 degrees and a little windy.  We had 2 short dives.  Their reef was deep, so both dives were fairly deep.  Cheryl’s computer registered 94 feet and 74 feet for the deepest areas.  Usually our second dive is 40-60 feet deep.  Since they were so deep, it limits the time you can spend below water.  We saw large angle fish, 2 really large groupers-probably15 feet long, 2 large turtles about 4-6 ft diameter, a 6 ft green moray eel, and lots of schools of fish besides the reef itself. 

Bev gets motion sickness.  She took Dramamine, but didn’t keep it down.  She was sick before, between and after the dives, but felt great during the dives.  By the time we got back to the dive shop, she couldn’t walk off the boat and felt really out of it.  So we had them call an ambulance to evaluate her.  They decided she was dehydrated, but didn’t have decompression illness (DCI or the bends).  So they took her to a local hospital.  Cheryl and I followed and sat with her in the emergency room.  We were there about 2:00 and waited, and waited, and waited.  They were giving her fluids, but not much other attention.  About 5:00, they wanted a urine sample.  When she tried to get up, she nearly passed out.  That finally got a doctor’s attention.  They did a couple CT scans and found nitrogen bubbles near her liver.  So she did have DCI.  So they had to transfer her to a different hospital with a hyperbaric chamber in West Palm Beach. 

Cheryl and I followed her there and waited again in the emergency room.  A doctor did a neurological assessment right away.  They had to get her records from the first hospital and call in a pulmonary doctor.  Then they had to call in the hyperbaric nurse on call.  So it was about 12;30 am before she actually entered the chamber.  We waited about 30 minutes to be sure she was feeling better.  This would take about 6 hours, so we called it a night.  Our hotel was about 30 minutes away.  So it was about 2:00am by the time we hit the bed.  We had already cancelled our dive trip for Monday. 

Monday and Tuesday, Bev had to go into the hyperbaric chamber twice for about 2 hours each time.  So between times, we sat with her, visited and watched TV.  She was improving with each treatment.  Cheryl and I found a couple great restaurants for early dinner each day.  Wonderful seafood-red snapper, mahi mahi, salmon, to name a few.  And they were coconut, or pecan, or macadamia nut encrusted or grilled.  Every meal was fantastic. 

Wednesday: Bev was feeling and acting like her old self.  The pulmonary doctor said she would know when she wasn’t seeing any more improvement with the 2 hours treatments and she could basically decide when she was ready to leave.  She had one treatment on Wed before we returned.  A PA stopped by to check on her, but didn’t say much.  About 3:00, we knew they would be coming to get her for her second treatment and she was ready to leave the hospital.  So we talked to her nurse.  She said her doctor was through with the rounds and she’d get her dismissal tomorrow.  We said “oh no, she’s leaving today.”  I guess the PA was the one she should have talked to.  We thought it was the pulmonary doctor.  So the nurse made some phone calls and arranged for her to leave by about 5:00pm.  We celebrated at a great Italian restaurant.  We all ordered the special-lobster ravioli with a walnut cream sauce with shrimp and crab on top.  DELICIOUS!  We ordered spaghetti for Dave, to go. 

All this time, Dave had been staying at the hotel and studying for his Captain’s license.  He had been planning to do this over the past year, but things get in the way.  This is a study course with books and an online tutorial.  You have to get 90% on each of 4 tests online.  Then you have to schedule a final exam at a testing center, like a coast guard station or an actual sailing school.  So he hopes to take that test with in a few months.  Previously he obtained a license to be able to charter boats (credit card captain).  This will be an actual Coast Guard Captain's license.  This will allow him to be hired as a captain, our insurance should go down, and he has gained overall knowledge about boating.  Now we'll see if I can do it, too, because Dave said "it's only for boys". 

view of the ICW from our room

view of the Jupiter Inlet lighthouse from our restaurant

On break from hospital duty

Breaking Bev out of the "big house"

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 9-12, 2014 SEA TRIAL

Sunday, I enjoyed singing with the choir again at St Mark’s.  I really do get enjoyment from singing , especially in parts.  It gave me something to look forward to while we were here in Wilmington. 

We spent part of the day getting the boat ready for our sea trial on Monday.  We had to have part of our “garage” emptied so the mechanics could have access to our batteries. 

Monday-the SEA TRIAL.  This is where we took the boat out and ran it through a few maneuvers to see that everything was working.  First, they tested a few things at the dock.  We discovered that our engine wasn’t starting using the starter battery, just for that purpose.  It was actually running off of our house batteries.  So Dave is going to chase down what is running off of each battery on our own time. 

Then we took the boat out into the Cape Fear River and traveled up and down the river in front to the marina putting the engine through it’s tests.  And we set the autopilot so the direction our boat is going according to the autopilot matches the standard compass and the GPS in our chart plotter.  We were reminded that when you change direction, the 3 will take a few minutes to match.  The standard compass will react first, then the autopilot compass, then the chart plotter.  But the chart plotter will be the most accurate because it is using the satellite system.  I thought that was interesting.

We found out our prop has a vibration.  That is something we will investigate when we are in beautiful, warm blue water.  There was an antifreeze leak and our air filter was loose.  Little things that were good to know above the fact that everything they fixed was working. 

Now the boat yard will put together their final bill and it will be submitted to the insurance company.  AND we keep our fingers crossed that everything will be covered.  It seemed kind of anti-climactic after all this time.  I guess because we aren't leaving right away by boat.  We did go out for chicken wings as a celebration. 

Tuesday, we spent finishing a radio project.  Dave has been experimenting with the Single Side Band radio for weather, but also checking in with HAM nets.  It helps their nets know how far their signal can be heard.  And they register that you have checked in.  So if you have an emergency in the future, they recognize you.  They specifically asked if there were any marine mobile users to check in, that was us.  The net moderator that night was from San Diego, CA.  And there were people checking in from all over the US. 

So Dave started adding a 3 inch copper strap from the antenna to our dyna plate on the bottom of the hull.  We’re trying to take stray noises off of our radio.  This will ground the radio and the antenna directly into the water.  But he couldn’t finish the project tonight because the “no see-um” were eating him up. 

We made a trip to Home Depot to find some “beefier” rubbermaid totes for spar parts and tools that we store in the “garage”.  We are trying to get more efficient with our storage, so we can actually have guests some day.  Plus they totes will be easier to move out of the way when Dave does need access to the engine, batteries or other electrical connections. 

Dave has been researching a dual filter system for the engine to be able to bypass a clogged filter and change it later.  If the engine stops in rough weather or near rocks, you’d want it running again  quickly.  Not in the time it would take to change the filter.  Thank you, Ron & Libbo for that idea.  I think we’ll end up adding that to our boat.

Wednesday was spent packing for a trip to Florida.  Dave has another appointment with the VA in St Augustine.  So we are driving there tomorrow.  Then my sister, Beverly, and a close friend of ours, Cheryl Ulmer, will be in Jupiter, FL for a week vacationing.  So we are going to join them.  The girls plan to scuba dive.  And Dave is going to do some studying for his Captain’s license.  (His ears can’t handle diving anymore).  So the next entry in my blog will probably be at the end of the trip.  Then we will be moving the boat south. 

So the rest of the day was spent doing little projects so the boat will be ready to leave here when we get back.  Dave ran around trying to find an electrical part for one the lights in our boat.  He also had to take the rental car in to the agency to rewrite our contract.  I think they just wanted to be sure it was still in one piece, since we’ve had it so long. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

November 2-7, 2014 Still in Wilmington, NC

Another week in Wilmington!

Sunday, I enjoyed singing with the choir again at St Mark’s.  Then I spent a little time shopping before returning to the boat. 

We didn’t receive the parts we wanted until Tuesday and Wednesday.  So spent the first couple days cleaning, again.  We are cleaning the outside of the boat as well while we have unlimited water, and it needs it. 

Wednesday night, Dave was trying to finish a project outside.  He was making a hole in the transom for an electrical through hull.  It was getting dark and the bugs were biting.  So he was trying to hurry.  He was drilling on the outside with his left hand and holding back a hose on the inside of the lazarette (storage areas in the cockpit).  As the drill bit went through the fiberglass, it caught a piece of uncut fiberglass and went right for Dave’s finger.    It went into his first finger on his right hand at the nail bed.  He came inside, and I cleaned it and bandaged it right about the time he thought he was going to faint.  I gave him a cold wet cloth for his head and started fanning him while he had his head between his legs in our aft head.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with him if he did faint.  It would have been awkward to get him to lie down from there.  But he came through OK.  He still went out and finished the job. 
Thursday, we were going to return our rental car, since things were wrapping up.  But I was feeling kind of claustrophobic without it.  I have gotten spoiled having it.  Since we feel “stuck” here, the car has been my “escape”.  So we talked through the reality of leaving here by the weekend, and decided it wasn’t going to happen.  Then we hopped in the car and went out for breakfast. 

I was able to go to choir practice on Thursday night.  That  always lifts my spirits. 

On Friday, we thought we were going to have our sea trial, where we take the boat out with the boat yard mechanics and test all the systems that were replaced.  The electrical man called about 8:30 and asked us to start the engine about 9:45 to let it run about 30 minutes before it would be tested.  Well it was blowing about 15 knots, so I wondered if we would actually take the boat out.  Since we are on a river and the tide affects the area, it can be difficult to get back into your ship on a windy day.  Well, the engine mechanic came and tested a few things.  But he said he wanted to come back on Monday when the engine was cold for another test.  And he would have to have access to our batteries (in the back of our “garage”).  So that was it for a sea trial today.  We were kind of pissed off, because this part could have been done today had we been better informed on what he needed access to.  We had things tucked away thinking we were heading out to sea.  Had we known he needed to have access to the batteries, we would have had that ready for him.  POOR COMMUNICATION at our expense. 

Dave spent part of the day “cleaning our fuel”.  I think I mentioned this before, but we have “algae excrement” in the fuel in our jerry cans.  When he noticed new crud in our new jerry cans, he decided we needed to do more.  If this is what we are getting at a station in Wilmington, what will we get in the Bahamas and beyond?  Now Dave is concerned about the fuel in our tank.  Our neighbor, who has been sailing around the world for over 20 years, said he has always used a Baja filter along with a biocide.  Well, we have a Baja filter with one screen, but they don’t make the one our neighbor uses anymore, the Grand daddy with 3 screens.  After more research, we decided to buy a portable fuel polisher-a pump with a couple filters, along with using a biocide.  When you polish the fuel, it runs through a couple filters to clean all the gunk that could have come from the fuel source or has grown in your tank, and it removes water from the fuel.  Dave said it also has a “voodoo filter” that lines up the fuel gremlins and marches them right out of the tank, making the fuel even more efficient.  We inquired at our marina and it would cost us about $500 to polish our fuel.  So we feel comfortable that our own polisher will pay for itself.  And we’ll sleep better thinking we are preventing our engine from stalling with clogged filters.  The fuel runs through the polisher and back into our tank.  The process takes about an hour.  And we will do this occasionally, especially after we've been out to sea, because the fuel will have been "stirred up" from the movement of the boat. 

I, on the other hand, went to see a matinee movie.  I had just read The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks and didn’t realize it was showing in the theaters.  I picked up the book at our marina.  The laundry room has a book exchange area.  Since many Nicholas Sparks’ books take place in North Carolina, I felt I should read one of his books while I was here.  The location in the book was Oriental, NC.  But the movie location was Louisiana.  It was a typical N Sparks love story, but just what I needed.

Afterwards, I pulled Dave off of the boat to go out to dinner.  I swear, he would never leave the boat unless he needed a boat part.  Our neighbors had recommended Elizabeth’s Pizza.  It is in a strip mall, but you would never know it once you step inside.  And they had Dave’s favorite wine, Lambrusco, from his brown bag days.  It’s just a sweet, fruity red wine, like Dave, sweet and fruity.

November 1, 2014 Polish Festival

Saturday, we went to the St. Stanislaus Catholic Church Polish Festival.  It is in the little town of Castle Hayne, which is right down the road from our marina.  It was raining when we arrived about 1:00, but there were still a lot of people there.  They had food stations (under tent awnings) serving different foods.  There was a Knights of Columbus hall where you could eat inside.  There was also a large tent with tables, a dance floor and a band.  There were tents selling frozen food to take home.  And there was a dessert tent and beer tent. 

We stood in a light rain to get the dinner plate for $11.00 each.  The plate included kielbasa sausage, sauerkraut, stuffed cabbage roll, 3 pierogi and a dinner roll.  We were lucky to find a place to sit inside.  The meal was delicious.  We have had pierogi in Canada.  It is similar to ravioli.  These had a cheese filling.  And I know cabbage rolls take a lot of work to  make.  The best I can ever remember were those made by Anna Moore, my sister’s mother-in-law. 

After eating, the rain had stopped.  I went to the beer tent and bought one of the St Stan’s Baltic Porters that were brewed especially for this festival by a local brewery.  Dave went to the dessert tent.  For the same price as my beer, $5, Dave got a cup of coffee and 4 different desserts.  Then we met by the music tent.  The polka band was from Ohio.  They were a young group, probably in their 20-30's.  It was fun to see so many families enjoying themselves and dancing the polka.  They did a medley of gospel songs in polka style.  I guess I would expect that in the south.  We didn’t stay long, didn’t even dance.  But with the right bunch of friends, I can see where this could have turned into the German tent back in Rapid City.

food tent for the meal

clockwise-pierogi with onions, cabbage roll, kielbasa sausage and dinner roll, saurerkraut

coffee and dessers

working on getting this video to play

Saturday, November 1, 2014

October 29-31, 2014 Happy Halloween

UGH!!   Another week waiting for repairs.  It took all week for the insurance company to OK 2 more parts for our boat by Thursday.  But the parts won’t be here until Monday!  We are getting so frustrated.  I guess the weather wouldn’t have cooperated for us to leave this weekend anyway. 

We are checking things off of our “to do” list.  Dave replaced the pump for our shower sump in the forward head.  When you shower on the boat, you have to turn on a sump to drain the water out of the shower stall.  Earlier this summer, we noticed water backing up into the shower stall.  So Dave researched different pumps and found one he thought would work on our boat.  And this week it was installed.  Our previous pump had a filter screen that had to be cleaned.  It had rough edges and I was always worried about getting scratched and picking up a disease.  This one doesn’t have that, yippee!

Dave made a motor mount on our stern for the new Lehr dinghy motor.  He found a leak in the wash down pump at the bow.  The leak had actually drained our forward water tank into the anchor locker, which went overboard.  Good thing to find and fix before we needed that water.  We had one outlet plate that was loose.  It finally quit working, so Dave fixed that.  Funny how you can put off some minor things like that.  Dave cleaned the air conditioner filter. He also checked the water maker filters.  Wanted to be sure they would be functional when we leave here.  We “pickled” the system when we stopped using it 3 months ago.  So we are anxious to use it again to see how that worked.  It should have kept anything from growing in the lines. 

My focus has been on the galley.  I am trying to use up things in our freezer, since we have found some freezer burn on some meats.  Plus we want room for fish when we head south.  I am planning some meals for when we leave here.  We hope to make a couple over night passages.  So it’s good to have meals prepared that can be eaten cold or easily warmed up.  It's nice to need very little preparation because if the water is rough, you don’t want to be below deck for very long.  I even made home made noodles for the first time.  I have never been very domestic, so I am having fun with this.  Not bad for my first attempt, but they need to be thinner. 

used the glass for my rolling pin

Dave had actually made the chicken soup while I was in SD and put it in the freezer

I am also working on consolidating our addresses and cleaning up our contacts.  I had gotten rid of my address book that I had for over 35 years.  The addresses were in a document in our computer.  But I usually needed an address when away from the boat.  So they are all going in our phones.  I’m sure most people figured that out years ago, but it was never a priority. 

Halloween was the 40th anniversary of our first date.  I got the trick and Dave got the treat!  We were running errands that afternoon and ended up having lunch about 3:00, so no going out for dinner.  When we returned to the boat, we continued with projects and got ready for our one trick or treat-er.  There is a family here with a 5 year old son.  They had spread the word around the marina that he would be trick or treating.  If anyone wanted to take part, to have a light on their boat.  I moved my Halloween decorations from inside to the outside just to add a little to the festivities.  I now buy my holiday decorations at Dollar General and throw them away afterwards.  

Halloween garland on the life lines

Edward, the star of the day

Sun setting behind Dave as he finishes mounting the motor before the bugs start biting.

We ended up just having a few snacks and watching a movie.  But we had a couple drinks of something we invented.  I had a Moscow Mule back in SD at the Vortex in the Alex Johnson Hotel.  It is a vodka drink with ginger beer and lime and served in a copper mug.  I have only seen it in a couple places since then.  While we were in Charleston, Dave had a Kentucky Mule, same drink but made with Kentucky bourbon.  Dave likes Crown Royal, so we thought we would try the Moscow Mule with the Crown Royal.  We tried it with ginger soda in July, but weren’t impressed.  I had bought ginger beer at Trader Joe’s a couple months ago, just waiting for the right opportunity to try this.  Times have changed, can’t believe it took us this long to try this.  I had limes in my refrigerator wrapped in foil (helps keep citrus fruits), that were over a month old, but still good.  So what the heck.  The drink was delicious.  You use 1/2 lime, 1/2 bottle of ginger beer and 2 oz crown royal (or vodka).  I thought we should come up with our own name.  So we started brainstorming.  Since Crown Royal is Canadian, we started with Canadian Mule, but finally settled on “Royal Ass”.  They are very tasty. 

Happy Halloween!