Today we were consumed by the "Head Project". Suffice it to say it went better that I expected. As soon as I say that, I'm sure my boat will retaliate, but at this juncture, all seems well. Pictures and story to follow. Here's what I have today:
Posted by Monty
Got up this morning, went to the store to provision and took off to spend a couple of days “out”. For this first day we cut across the Neuse and explored the South River on the other side. Anchored in a cove where we sat out a small rain shower. We are having a cold snap here so we didn’t really spend a lot of time in the cockpit. Watched Star Trek. They made it home again. I was worried this time. We finished the evening with brats on the grill topped with sauerkraut, served with Doritos and brownies for dessert. Depending on the weather tomorrow (forecast calls for partly sunny) we may stay here another night or we may go towards Oriental. We’ll see.
Posted by Monty
A somewhat windy night. As we were coming in, I spied a great anchorage on the southwest side of the river. We pulled in and anchored in a cove in about 8 feet of water. Perfect, except that I did not heed the weather forecast for 10-15 mph winds from the northeast. It made for a rather choppy night as there was enough fetch for the waves to build to just under whitecap size. In addition, we are just beginning to believe in our anchoring abilities in this soft mud, so it was a rather uneasy night (more so for Carol than for me). The gusts were forecast to increase during the day and we had decided to stay in the area, so we raised anchor and motored to a new location on the northwest shore. Carol saw a pod of dolphin on the way as I was trying to clean some of the mud off the anchor and chain, so that alone made the trip worth it.
We had a much better day in the lee of the shore, even though it was too cool and windy for a lot of outdoor activity. We lounged in the cockpit in the sun and napped. Carol continued in her still unfulfilled quest to catch (even one!) fish and I got a couple of boat projects done. Hamburger steak, salad and sweet potato for dinner and then I reset the anchor for the anticipated wind shift to the south. Killer sunset that pictures do not do justice to. Audrey, maybe I need a lesson,
We had a very quiet night last night. Good sleeping weather. When I got up this morning, while making coffee, I took a look out the ports. The bugs were everywhere. So I took a peek into the cockpit. No longer white, but black with bugs.
In their defense, these particular bugs, while they look like mosquitoes, do not bite. They are also not very fast. They are also not very smart, and will sit happily while you get out your swatter, cloth, or paper towel and kill them. They don’t have to be fast or smart. They will overwhelm you with sheer numbers. So (after coffee and breakfast) I climbed into the cockpit armed with a rag about the size of a hand towel and commenced with the carnage. After slaying a couple of million (as witnessed by the bloody gore on the fiberglass) I declared myself defeated until we got moving and I could call upon the wind gods for assistance. Then Carol decided that I had not used sufficient caliber, so she took a bath towel to the fray. After about 10 minutes she returned, also defeated. So we shipped anchor. (Ask me sometime about the primordial ooze they have around here on the bottom of the river. Around here they call it “mud”. Sort of like calling the total destruction of Los Angeles a “seismic disturbance”. Some new life form is going to climb off of my anchor chain one day and ask for citizenship.) Fifteen minutes or so of motoring into the wind and the air began to clear. When Carol saw a pod of dolphin I knew that we had won the war.
We motored back to the dock through some traffic on the ICW and one guy under sail in the creek that we yielded to as we were under power. A thorough deck scrubbing by Carol while I attended to a couple of other projects and all is right with the world.
So what did we accomplish with this trip?
Nothing broke. (Well, Carol broke a port dog, the part that holds the port shut.)
We are learning to trust the ground tackle.
We are beginning to communicate better on boat handling skills.
We are gaining confidence in piloting the boat.
We crunched the grill coming into the dock.
OK, that last may seem like a bit of a downer. I took the grill off the rail still ensconced in it’s protective cover (body bag). A quick assessment, however, revealed that it was not dead, just in a coma. A little work with a hammer and a new bolt and nut (or two) and we had chops on the grill tonight.
Now that’s a good day.
First of two project days. Today it was deck fills. The original deck fills were chrome plated zinc. Any engineer will tell you this is a bad idea around salt water. As soon as the chrome is compromised, the zinc starts to degrade as it is one of the least noble metals. As a matter of fact, I have a zinc ball on my prop shaft as a sacrificial metal so that stray currents will eat the zinc instead of my prop. I don’t know what the engineers in the eighties were thinking about. Well, it was the eighties.
So we replaced two of the deck fills the other day. The other two today went pretty well. I did break a vent fitting (also chrome plated zinc) and had to replace it. I could not find the correct one (surprise) so I had to adapt the “in stock” fitting until I can get the correct one. I am beginning to understand how boats (or anything else) gets “jury rigged”. (This is a nautical term for a knot, by the way. Look it up.) Once the temporary repair gets installed, it sort of moves down the priority list until it one day fails (usually catastrophically and at sea). This is something I will have to guard against. I don’t really think the vent to my fresh water tank falls into the “might sink the boat” category, but still.
Tomorrow is the “Big Day”. We are replacing sanitation hoses, trying to get rid of “The Smell”. Most other boats are leaving tomorrow or the next day for a few days on Oakracoke Island for Memorial Day. We will be dealing with all things smelly. I am considering facing tomorrow with a slight hangover, as it will be a shi…ummm… bad day anyway. Replacing lines, valves, and rebuilding pumps. Looking forward to the sweet smell of success.