Sunday, March 2, 2014

It is March 2nd our first day back on our 2008 Mainship that we purchased in April 2013 in Chesapeake Bay.  Rick had already brought the boat to Oriental, NC with his friend George.  When we arrived on Saturday, we were happy to be able to start both engines, and fill our tanks with water, but our hot water heater was not working.  Riley, my nephew is on board with us for a few weeks, and has been a huge help.  We finally got the hot water working, and Riley pumped out the water we had in the bilges.  On Sunday morning we left at 9:30am on a perfect sunny, 5mph winds day.  It was perfect.  Had a couple times that we were distracted and got off of our track, but we caught it.  Had a bit of shoaling and we have to watch for it.  We went about 50 miles today, and stopped at Caspers Marina in Swansboro NC.  Had the best dinner at the Icehouse.  Rick fell asleep at 8pm, long day for him, and I am following now at 10.  Love being back on the water.  By the way, Bumper spent about 3 hours up on the upper deck with us today.  6 months on the other boat and neither Bumper or Bouy would stay more than 2-3 minutes.  But today Bumper finally realized how nice it was...sunning and relaxing with us!  So here we go on another adventure!

Monday, July 15, 2013

2008 Mainship Trawler (Blue Hull)

Most of you we talk to all the time, and have become good friends, so you are aware of the major changes we made since September.  On April 1, 2013 we sold our beautiful Claret/ Red Mainship 34... Yes, I won the battle, or he got his way, but we both wanted something bigger.  We purchased a Dark Blue hull 2008 Mainship 45.  We have been commissioning her since April, and took her out for a brief 3 days in May in the Chesapeake Bay, but had to get her back to the shop for some additional work.  But the 3 days were nice, and we stayed in Annapolis 1 night, and had a chance to sleep on her at anchor also.  Everything worked well, except for a few bugs that the Dealer is taking care of.  We now have 2 staterooms, and 2 full heads.  Good Fortune has been on the hard since, but we are hoping to put her in the water this week.  This was a new Mainship that never sold, and so she has some wear and tear just from sitting, so we have updated a few things while they are working on her.  We had to replace the canvas that was tearing and leaking due to age, and I chose a nice dark blue, and it is all being installed this week.  I am hoping that Rick will again want to write the blog, if its possible, while we are out, so you need to encourage him!  

The boat does have a washer/dryer and you guessed it, I am very happy.  The bed is a Queen size and so everything on my wish list is on this boat.  We met so many wonderful boaters last year, and we are anxious to meet up with many of you again.

Bumper and Bouy will be joining us again on our journey and we are ready to go and enjoy the water, and all our new friends from last year, as well as the new ones!

I will post pictures next week once the canvas is finished and the boat has been waxed.  See you all on the water!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mile Marker 0 - We Made It...

Captains Blog -  9/ 3/12

Yesterday we hit mile marker 0 on the Intercostal. I guess I already told you that didn't I ?   1100 miles from Key West, Fl , 950 miles from Orange Beach, Al , and 140 miles to Annapolis , Md.  We celebrated last night as we went past the marker in Norfolk Harbor.  High fives and kisses all around.  No tongues !

Today we started up the Chesapeake Bay towards Annapolis.  We stopped for the night in Deltaville , Va.  Tomorrow we cross the line into Maryland and the land of pleasant living. 

The blog is officially over!  We will put the Good Fortune up for sale and try and con some other rube into trying the cruising live .  Actually, we hope to sell her and buy a bigger vessel but who knows. 

Regardless, it's goodbye for me and thanks for following us. Remember that the cruising life is great fun.  You know all that I have said was done in an effort to have fun and laugh.  Except for the part about disliking people it was all done in jest.   We loved our journey.

 Boating gets in your blood and it becomes a disease.  One that has to be  treated and the only way to do it is to up the limits on your AMEX ,  make all preparations to get under way, cast off your lines and cruise!!!!
First Mate/Navigator/Spouse:  Until next year... 
Things I absolutely love cruising; love our boat, love the water, sunny days, rainy days, editing the blog, seeing the cats laying in the sun on the deck, how the boat looks after we wash it, seeing new places, our awesome upper deck, meeting new people, new friends, our comfortable couch, recliner and barrel chair, learning about navigation, thr thrill when we hook up to electric and it works, laying on the front deck pads, anchoring, cruising when the moon is out, the feeling of always something to do, taking a nap on the upper deck lounger, docking perfectly.... Things I will not miss; showers that taste like seawater, occasional seasickness, bending to get things out of the tiny fridge, sleeping in the double bed, using the dinghy, running aground, mechanic bills, missing everyone.
So with the list being this way, I am pretty certain that we will be back next year for another cruise somewhere... maybe another boat, maybe not... I have 2 full weeks planned at the house in St. Michaels, and my brother and his wife are coming to see us for a long weekend... We will keep those 5 bedrooms filled the whole time I hope... Day cruising on the Good Fortune, and swimming, and crab feasts with my niece, andher family, and Toni's mom and dad are coming so we will explore St. Michaels, and Oxford... Rick's friends are coming and I know they will be laughing for hours about all the cruising comments... Lots of fun...  Thank you for all the text and emails... We really appreciated it, and had fun with all you...

Friday, August 31, 2012

We're Alive!!!

Captains Blog - 8/31/12

The last three days were spent in the wilderness of North Carolina.  We have had no ATT wireless .  No phones, no texting and no Internet .  Sounds like a legitimate excuse for not writing a blog right?

This is real isolated country.  Check a map out of the NC coast and then look at the intercostal waterway.  We were even told today to watch for black bears swimming across the canal.  Didn't see any but apparently it happens. 

Tonight we are outside of Columbia NC and posed for an early morning crossing of the Albamarle Sound.  A crossing of only 15 miles but written about by boaters as a dangerous crossing because of unpredictable waves and currents. Some say the most dangerous piece of water on the intercostal.  Peshaw I say!  I have been in the Gulf of Mexico for 90 miles in 4-5 foot waves.  Bring it on! 

We will do an early morning crack of dawn start because of weather and knock it off before 8 am and the predicted wind direction change.  Up early! Time to make the donuts!  None of you remember that commercial except my brother who shares my love of Dunkin Donuts. 

Speaking of early morning starts.  We are not real good at them.  We kind of drag and linger over coffee.  Lots of time spent in our spacious ensuite head and in Patti's case walking to a local public restroom cause she's not allowed to use my Super Commander 1000 Yacht Toilet.  We usually get underway by 8 am.  By 10 am the local residents of the intercostal are up and moving around.  The first two hours are peaceful before they awake. 

I don't like the local people on the intercostal.  They run the gambit from rich to dirt poor but they all have one thing in common.  They bought and built on the canal which is the equivalent of buying frontage on I 95.  It's a canal established for waterway traffic ( initially commercial) and now mostly pleasure boats.  It's governed in some areas by the Corp of Engineers and States  in others.  They decide where no wake zones will be established, not the idiot residents.  The problem is the locals stick up their own no wake signs ( often designed to look official) and then stand on their docks screaming at passing boats to slow down.  I mean screaming!  They, of course are trying to protect their raggedy docks from getting damaged and in some cases boats ranging from skiffs on up.  They built on a major passageway and now want to impede those of us making our way north or south on a public regulated waterway.  I do slow down if I see boats tied to a dock, but refuse to lower my speed for docks from my normal 8-10 miles per hour simply because some idiot built a dock out into a waterway. 

The Good Fortune is not equipped with a loud hailer to my lasting regret.  My next boat will have one that will rival the PA system at Camden Yards.  Will that be fun!  Of course, I do my best now to encourage verbal exchanges.  I don't start em but I do enjoy a good verbal sparring match and I try to keep em going.  

I also slow for on-coming vessels even though a significant percentage of other boaters do not.  We have learned to hate weekends.  It's amateur days and some really close calls have occurred, including a boat that cut in front of us no more than 6 feet away while we were moving at 10 MPH.

You know what else they do or in this case don't do?  Of course you don't,  because you are in your cubicle all day.  How would you know?  Well they don't wave.  Nobody does.  Doesn't matter if their fishing , sitting on their raggedy dock by the bay or walking on shore.  They don't return waves in SC and NC.  They wouldn't wave at George Washington if he happened along. These are the only states where I have stopped waving.  Actually that suits me fine since I don't know em anyway and have no interest in becoming sociable after all these years. 

At a restaurant in SC we asked for shrimp and when they were delivered the lady said " here are your bugs" .  That's what they call them in somewhereville South Carolina.    Patti will post pictures of the many bug boats we have seen. 

Before you let your dreams of buying a boat and running the " Ditch" get out of hand, make sure you go to a local West Marine store and look at the prices.  It could make you reconsider.  For example you can get a $ 5 rope at a hardware store or a $16.95 line at West Marine.  You can buy toilet chemicals at 6 bottles for $6.95 at Walmart or the same chems at West Marine for $15.00.  Boat wash fluid (soap) at WM costs $ 29.00 a jug.   It must be made out of uranium!  Now I know what you are saying.  If ya can get it all at other places cheaper,  why use West Marine?  See you haven't learned anything these past few months reading this blog.   Status Baby!  It's all about status.  No self respecting yachtsman is going to risk being seen shopping at hardware stores and Walmart.  It's all about status.  West Marine means AMEX and AMEX means West Marine.  Let me give each of you wannabes a small list of things I need from West Marine and you shop for me.  That will cure you of the "oh just think how much fun it will be cruising without a care" dreams. 

The good news is that I have been asked to be a visiting professor emeritus at the ASS school for the fall semester.  For those that are just joining us, that is the Annapolis School of Seamanship, the worlds premier mariner school.  I will also be taking  a diesel class there later this year in an effort to head off any future $5,000 mistakes with my engine.  Hopefully the focus of the three day school will be on engine zincs.  Better late than----

How much is enough?  Aren't you tired of the grind and aren't you ready to chuck it for a life of cruising.  Cast off your lines and do it.  Preferably in a 2005 Mainship Trawler that is equipped with everything known to man and available in September 2012.  The owner wants to buy a bigger boat and therefore it's available .  Complete with new oil cooler and engine zincs.   Call for appointment to see her at a marina near you.  Appointments are necessary because the owner has accepted part time employment in Vegas with the group "Thunder Down Under" to help finance a bigger vessel.  

Tomorrow we will reach a marina just shy of the VA line.  Norfolk the following day and the end of the journey will be in sight.  A 125 mile run up the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis and we will have gone 2,175 miles .  Our plan is to cruise around the bay and allow the adoring crowds that we know to gather at various port towns to welcome us at the end of this most historic, epic, daring and heroic voyage. 

Bridge tender in a thick southern accent talking to a boater on the radio a few days ago.  " Hold on I got my hands full,  I just pressed the wrong button,  glad I am not working on nuclear weapons anymore! "

Kenneth Grahame-  " There's nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing as messing about in boats "
First Mate/Navigator:   First off, I saw Thunder Down Under in Vegas, and I can attest that my husband does not look anything like any of them... Jus Sayin!!!  
We went through a storm on Monday or Tuesday, that was a little scary for me.  We have been through several but this time we could not get to the marina we were headed to in time.  We turned around to go back 5 miles when we realized the storm was speeding up.  Rick was calm as could be, not me so much at first, but them I realized Rick had a plan.  Since it was foggy, and raining so hard we could not see, we just got in front of a red marker a little out of the channel and we circled and stayed right there for the 45 minutes until it past...  out of the way of other boaters, although there were none, but in water deep enough that when the wind hit us we were ok...  when we finally got on our way, and arrived at the Marina at Portside, it took 5 of us to hold the boat and tie it up.  The waves just were crashing over the dock, the boat was bouncing like Tigger...  It took 5 minutes of talking to Toni, and I met Rick at the cabin door and said, the Cats and I are out of here, are you coming?  He shut everything down, and we left within 5 minutes for the Holiday Inn Express by cab.  It was a good move... except for the fact Rick turned off everything, as in my freezer as well.  Oh yes, all the food was defrosted, and some warm the next morning.  He is also going to have to go to a Circuit School to teach him not to turn off the important items!
I am getting anxious to see all the family and friends that are coming to see us.  I had to make a calendar because there are so many wanting to visit us during the 1 month we are in Maryland.  We have talked about everything there is to talk about the last 5 months on the boat, and yet each day we seem to still have more to discuss.  How's that happen...  We look in magazines and online each night a bit for the perfect boat...  We have the perfect boat, if it was just 10 feet longer...  I love our salon, I love the upper deck, its the best ever, but I really would like a washer/dryer and a bigger bed...   
The last 3 days have been hard, with no internet or phones.  My office thinks I am kidding, because where in this day and age do you not have phone service... Crazy...
I'm looking forward to the Lock we have to go through near Norfolk.   We have never done one before, but our boat friends have educated us the last several weeks...  The cats got to play in grass tonight, but only for a few minutes.  They are ready for a break I think, although when we went to the Holiday Inn, they actually seemed happy to be back on the boat...
I have tried to load pictures the last 1/2 hour... the speed here is just too slow.  I will add tomorrow...:)


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Listen Hear Pilgrim

Captains Blog - 8/25/12

Talk about coincidences .  Last year before I bought the Good Fortune, I fell in love with a Pilgrim 40 foot trawler at Lulu's in Gulf Shores Al.  It was one of about 40 boats designed by the famous marine architect Gizzard and built in Canada.  It was called Olive Oyl and she was a beauty.  Patti will post a picture of her tonight.  I asked around about her and found she was not for sale.  Three weeks after buying the Good Fortune she came on the market.  A day late and a lot of dollars less !   

Today we were approaching a draw bridge in North Carolina. and when I called to ask them to open. we heard Olive Oyl call in and ask the bridge tender to hold the bridge because they were right behind us.  I called them and low and behold ( what does that mean anyway)  it was my Pilgrim from Lulus!  What are the chances of that?  The new owner was taking her to Norfolk,  her new home port.  We have gone days without seeing any boats because this is the off season.  Boats going north have already gone up for the summer boating season and nobody goes south because of hurricanes.  Off season, and we see an exact duplicate of our boat and the boat of my dreams.  Pretty neat.  We chatted on the radio and sent him great pictures of his new boat underway. 

When underway we know we have dolphins swimming beside us because we can hear them slap the water when jumping in the air.  Beautiful creatures both with and without tartar sauce. 

Underway, how do we stay occupied through the long hours on watch?  Well long for me anyway.  I am on for 8 hours and the Mate has a watch of 1/2 hour.  Let me tell you.  To keep Patti from getting bored, I sing love songs to her.  That's right girls!  On top of looking like Matthew McConaughey,  writing like Hemingway and buying her a yacht, I also sing her love songs.  What happened to the deal you got huh?  Makes you want to rethink your position in life?  Don't put up with his stuff!  Use me as an example and make him live up to the bar I have set for all men. 

Speaking of bars.  We could not find a marina tonight in somewhere North Carolina and Patti ended up finding a restaurant by the name of Sharkeys who had a spare slip and agreed to put us up.  A picture will be posted tonight of what we saw backing into the slip.  It was happy hour and this is a resort island so we had an audience of around 30 people on the patio.  The Captain was not intimidated and with Patti's help we glided into the slip like parking at Walmart.  The owner of the restaurant, Ray had been out paddle boarding when we called and he was there along with his bartender to help us dock.  A couple of other locals came down to help and everybody was great.  I went up to the bar to pay and met the other owner Richard.  Lots of teasing about our ugly boat because of the crimson tide colors.  Free beers for both of us.  About five people at the bar wanted to hear where we were from and bound for.   We ate at the restaurant and everybody made us feel welcome.  This turned out to be a special stop.   Now ask me if I feel that way in the morning.  A band has now set up on the deck exactly 30 feet from our aft door.  This boy goes to sleep early when at sea.  Ok I go to bed early even when I am not at sea.  I guess I will be cussing and screaming all night off the deck at the inconsiderate noisemakers but that can be fun. 

We have run into a problem in our quest for a new boat.  What to do with my gun safe?  Already the Good Fortune has a 30 degree list to the port side because of my  1, 500 lbs Winchester Gun Safe.  I am not sure we will be lucky enough to find a boat with aft doors big enough to transfer it over. The Mainship has double doors.  See there are lots of issues in owning a boat. 

The last four days we have made real progress in getting to the Chesapeake Bay.  We did 60, 80, 80 and 34 miles in the last four days.  Tonight we are in North Carolina at Beach Isle.  The last two days of cruising have been spectacular.  The South Carolina marshlands are isolated and peaceful.  Last night the temperature dropped to 69 degrees and we were in the middle of a swamp. No bugs!!  Today, Saturday  we ran into lots of boat traffic.  More then we have seen since Miami. 

All mechanical stuff is working well with no problems. 

 In 1968 I worked at Fawcett Boat Supply in Annapolis Md.  I have already told you about that job.  The assistant store manager was Dean Benham.  One of his best friends Jump also worked there.  Both of them had served for four years in the Coast Guard and were accomplished sailors.  Dean still is.  I heard from the grapevine that he is a full time sailor who winters in the islands and summers in the Chesapeake on his sailboat.  I'd sure like to run into him again even if he is a sailor.  Anyway, we were all three friends and I went sailing with them whenever we could all get off together.  We even raced in the winter frost bite sailing series off Annapolis .   Dean had been given use of a 25 foot Gladiator sailboat for a season.  It was owned by a doctor friend of Deans who was overseas for a year.  The boat was a pig of a sailor ( according to Dean and he should know)  but it was free and big time to us.   Anyway one great sunny summer day we left Annapolis Harbor  and headed out onto the bay.  We each had a few beers and the day was looking pretty good.  It actually started looking even better when we saw a  60 foot motor sailor hard aground near a place I think was called Annapolis Roads.  On board there were five (countem) girls in bikinis and one lone kid about 18-20 .  He was obviously using Daddy's yacht and probably without permission cause he was very upset.  The vessel  was stuck on a sand bar.  The vessel was gorgeous.  All teak and mahogany .  Hanging over the transom (back of the boat guys) on davits was a  pretty little 12 foot sailing dinghy.  With tax she cost a little over $1300 dollars.  I know we sold them in our store.

 As we sailed past he shouted to us and asked if we could help.  Remember this was long before tow services like Seatow and TowBoat US.  Our day was starting to look a lot better.  Both Dean and Jump figured that with a suave handsome guy like me using his glib tongue on these helpless women we were a shoe in for a day of fun and sun once we  effected or affected I don't know which,  a rescue.

Simple deal.  We motor past and take his anchor from him as we pass his bow and drop it out in deep water.  After the anchor is set, he can use his engine and windlass to kedge himself off.  Now I don't know if kedge is the right phrase or not but I seem to recall that it is.  If I am wrong perhaps a more experienced boater can comment and correct me.  A correction for something Captain Rick wrote!  Yeh let's see if I publish that.

Sounds like a reasonable thoughtful solution that can only end with success and handsome Rick getting pick of the litter!  Not to be.  Dean decided that on the off chance the girls were sailors and would recognize the difficulty of what we were going to do, we would attempt a feat here to fore never tried by man.  Instead of dropping our sails, both the jib and the mainsail and cranking up our outboard kicker motor we would instead sail around and come up on the stern of the vessel and pass by close enough on their starboard side for me to take the anchor from the kid while both of us were standing on our respective bows.  Are ya with me so far?  I expect not.  The non-boaters have already tuned out this story even though I have tried to hold their interest with subtle references to the possibilities of wild uninhibited adventures of the X Rated kind.  You know drunken sailors and the like!  The trawler guys are too old to be interested in that kind of stuff but they tuned me out also  because I am telling a sailboat story.  I guess nobody's left except me but I will go on because it is a memory and who knows how long I will remember anything. 

 We had light winds of 5-7 mph and sailed confidently toward their starboard side with all of us smiling and looking good in our sunglasses.  As we approached the stern out of nowhere we got caught in a luff.  That means the wind died and the boat continued forward but fell off to the port side enough so that we were propelled directly into the transom of the yacht.  Actually our bow never touched their transom and instead cut their hanging dinghy in half.  One half of the dinghy was left hanging on either side of the rear of the boat.  Looked really cool but looks aren't everything.  The kid went berserk.  The girls stopped smiling.  The three of us were pretty much in shock.  After all we were the pros from Dover.  Ex-Coast Guard and valued staff members of the most well known boat store on the East Coast at the time.  The kid recovered first and called the Coast Guard.  No worries!  There's that expression again.  Both Jump and Dean served in Annapolis and were well known to the local boys.  Thank goodness there were not many, if any water cops in those days.  Anyway they calmed Daddy's boy down after we agreed to replace the dink.  We did using our store discount and split it three ways. 

The day was over.  I mean, I think I still had a chance but Dean and Jump would not have been able to salvage anything given that I am pretty sure I was the main draw anyway.  Sail boats suck!

 Speaking of publishing comments .  No I will not publish the ones questioning my writing about the Marine Corps the other day while passing Paris Island.  Yes previously I have mentioned that I was in the National Guard.  But I watched a Discovery Channel special titled The Making of a Marine and I feel like I was in basic training on the island .  As we passed it was a vivid recollection to me.  So what?

I am going to sign off with my English writer friend Jon Burrows nautical goodbye. 

Keep your lips wet and your feet dry.
First Mate:  I'm anxious to be in Maryland.  I'm anxious to see friends and family... Boating on Saturday was absolutely the best.  We stayed at Osprey Marina and it was so secluded and pretty.  Could have stayed there for a few days, but they had to move us, and we decided if we had to untie and unhook electric, we would just take an easy day and go on.  We only went about 45 miles Saturday, but it was nice.  Cool breezes and sun.  Today was a madhouse of boaters in Wilmington, and after only 50 miles we made the decision to pull into a Marina and break for the night.  I went grocery shopping in a loaner car while Rick sprayed and cleaned down the boat.
Cats are happy, I had run out of kitty snacks for Bumper, and he has been mad for 2 days.  I tried mixing them with kitten food, like I said, and he would eat around the food, and just eat snacks.  What a stubborn, smart, beautiful kitty.  Bouy is cooperative about everything. 
I have horrible allergies again tonight, so off to sleep.  This was my ipad navigation a couple days ago... Just for you Scott...  Yes I have been taking pictures that way...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Crew Fight!

Captains Blog - 8/23/12

It's a new day and the Captain got up ready to start anew and put the major repair expense behind him.  A new attitude and a positive outlook on the upcoming days cruise.  Not to be.

Fights among the crew broke out at the 6 AM reveille.  The Captain clearly recollects a mutual agreement that we would be up and at em at the crack of dawn.  Apparently not!  As soon as I asked the crew to get up they came unglued.  In addition,  I made the mistake of turning the AC up because it was freezing in the salon when I got up. Not so with the Mate.  She was hot and made me aware of the fact that with long hair she needs to be cooler.  Words were exchanged and fisticuffs seemed inevitable.  As you would expect, my leadership skill set took over and I was able to bring everyone back to an even keel.  The day was saved.  Once again training and years of crew handling experience came through. 

And what a day it was!  The day began with a 7 am start from Beaufort SC.   Within minutes we came upon the largest herd , gaggle, flock, pod, or gang of dolphins we have ever seen in one place.  At least 40.  Amazing! 

 Speaking of Beaufort, they have one of the longest no wake idle speed zones we have come across for no evident reason.  Miles and miles of idle speed at the end of the day last night.  In most places the river was a mile wide, so there seemed to be no reason for it.  Boy are they serious about it.  The fine is $1,000 or 30 days in jail.  Give me a reason that I can understand and I have no problem, but just to establish one with no stated reason ticks me off.  I want a reason for every bit of government ill logic.  Can't be naked on my fly bridge,  just tell me why?  Life would be better with clear explanations of everything. 

Another amazing thing today.  Coming the opposite way on the intercoastal ( southbound) was an exact duplicate of our Mainship 34 right down to the color.  We chatted on the radio for 10 minutes and then went on our way.  " Schools Out " is doing the Great Loop and they were on the way to Charleston for the night.  I told all of you non-boaters about the Great Loop in a previous blog.  Not gonna do it again.  Don't want to be accused of redundancy.

The real amazing thing today?  Patti appeared on deck in deck shoes for the first time since we started this in March.  Wow!  What's next?  Possibly she will use nautical language in describing things on the vessel ?  No more front, back, right or left?  We can only hope. 

One more pinch me moment.  I know, it's almost sensory overload ain't it?  Tonight after seeing a beautiful Defever 48 Pilot House Trawler berthed nearby, Patti began looking at bigger boats on the web!  That's right, it may happen!  That means of course we would have to sell the Good Fortune to make it happen, which leads to another problem.  Let me deal with it now.  For the record, all the boat problems I have enumerated on the blog were for comedic value only.   This vessel is as sound as the day she slid down the ways in Hoboken, New Jersey.   There was no $ 5100 dollar repair this week.  I just needed something exciting to add to the blog.  Trust me.  You know everything I say is factual and without exaggeration.  If a bigger vessel happens, I promise to change the engine zincs.  Wow!  I could be blogging from the Mediterranean !!!

I actually have a friend on the way to Med and his boat in Sept.  I have been writing and exchanging E-Mails with a writer in England for the past year .  We consider ourselves friends. His name is Jon Burrows and he wrote a great book about cruising.  He and his wife bought a Bertram cruiser in Greece and began cruising last year.  He went back to England to work on a second book, but returns to the Bertram the first week in Sept.  If you want to read a good book that will make you laugh about real cruising get " A Bertram , the Aegean and Two Virgins" .  It's available as an E-Book on Amazon.  If you have ever thought about buying a boat and cruising exotic places this is a good read.  He sent me an E-Mail the other day and told me it was hot and raining in England and that I was a " lucky sod" to be cruising.  He's right.

Yes, that was me with my real Amex card on last nights blog.  A number of people have written and asked for the last 4 numbers of the card which I had inadvertently blocked with my thumb.  They are not a secret .  Call any boat mechanic or boat store between Charleston and Gulf Shores Al.  They all have it!!

Does any one know how to remove diesel soot from ones body? 

Here's a tip if you are thinking about cruising.  Get a clipboard with a grease pen.  It's handy on the bridge to write down buoy numbers that have potential problem areas like shoaling etc as you plan the days cruise.  I have been writing all of that material on the bridge Isen Glass with a grease pen and have just about run out of space.  Also, it is beginning to impair my view.

News flash- The expensive certified Yanmar mechanic apparently kicked one of my depth finder transducers loose yesterday and now our secondary back up depth finder does not work.  The good news is I think I can fix it myself after I find the right compound to fasten it to the hold. 

A day of memories!  We cruised past Paris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot.  It was frightening even after all of these years.  The old fears could be felt in every fiber of my body.  The swamps were every bit as intimidating today as then.  Dark and dangerous and unforgiving.  I looked up one of my old blogs and the memories came flooding back.  Let me share an excerpt;

Sweat pouring in rivers down my face.  Mosquitos  and flies that actually swarm and bite making it impossible to concentrate on the job at hand. Don't let them catch you swatting them.  Noise discipline has to be maintained !  I push on  with the others and try to ignore the drill sergeant as he pushes and shoves my fellow sufferers . We stumble and fall constantly.  Two days with no bath and not enough water to drink, let alone wash our face.  My hands are black with swamp mud and the smell is unbelievable.  60 pound packs and few if any breaks.  Driven forward by my only clear thought .  The Corps, the Corps! 

Wow.   Next time we will go outside into the ocean and skip this part of the "Ditch" . 

The First Mate took over the helm today to give her Captain a break.  Two miles later we realized she missed a turn on the ICW and we had gone the wrong way.  Two miles one way and two miles to return.  Not the end of the world, but it will be noted in the log and considered as part of her quarterly evaluation.  Listen to this !  She just now told me that she has been calculating our distance each day on her IPAD using charts that measure distance in nautical miles not statute miles.  Crap!  That means for example that today when we left to do a 70 mile day we really ended up doing over 80 miles.  I was at the helm for 8 hours and 15 minutes less the 30 minutes she relieved me to go the wrong way.  This means every day we have gone further than planned and I have been forced to suffer in the heat longer.  Don't think this won't be logged !  

I guess I should tell you about my sailing story that took place in Annapolis in 1968 that ended up costing me money but I am really tired.  No nap today, apparently because we calculate everything in nautical miles instead of statute miles!!!!

Good night dear sweet reader,  we will chat again tomorrow.  Where does that come from? How do these people that write blogs know the people that read them are dear sweet friends and readers?  Heck I know a lot of the bozos that read this one and I guarantee they ain't dear sweet nothing.  Some of them carry guns and are meaner than snakes.  But I guess reading a travel blog has its redeeming qualities and I too must bow to the accepted practice of treating all with respect and courtesy .  Good night dear reader. 
First Mate:A barge being worked on... never saw one out of the water...
 These seagulls are following us because I threw my crust from my sandwich overboard.  That did not make Rick happy at all!
 The longest docks I have ever seen before.  They also have lots with no side rails.  Sure bring the grandkids, take them out to the end of the dock...  It would make me very nervous..
Okay, so today did not go so well...  My fault on alot of things... but in my defense, I have been starting up 2 new clients this week with the help of my office staff.  We had 3 staff members pregnant at the same time, and the 3rd one had her baby this week, so we are short staffed...  Toni is buying a house, I'm trying to finish my taxes, we have people looking to buy our house, and Christian has his first day of school for kindergarten on Monday, and I want to be there...Rick said fly home...but
Those of you who know our cats, you are aware that Bumper eats primarily snacks that we pretty much hand feed him, such a brat.  Anyway, we are down to 1 pack left, and to conserve I mixed in some Purina Kitten Chow so I would have enough until we hit the grocery store.  So I put them in the container without him seeing me, (yes, I waited until he was on the upper deck) and then when he made his little cry for food, I shook out 6-7 of the mixed morsels, and he proceeded to eat only the 4 snack pieces and left the other.  Bouy came behind him and ate those 3.  How can he be so smart?  How is that possible?  Did I mention we give him his water from fresh water bottles, in the caps... Yes he drinks out of the cap 12-18 capfuls about 3 or 4 times a day... Why we thought this was cute when he was a kitten I don't know, but on a boat, cramped in our little minus double bed, with 2 cats and I'm giving water to one, I really want to kick myself...
I will do better tomorrow on navigation, and truthfully, I never noticed the difference between nautical and miles... and yes, I am wearing deck shoes like I should finally... But I will not accept the AC being higher than 72 when I sleep... It's just not going to happen....



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

OnTo The Chesapeake...

Captains Blog - 8/22/12

Repairs completed this morning at 9 AM. Total for four days came to $5,200. 

Blog over for the night. 
First Mate:  Tomorrow's a new day!!!  Some pictures from last 2 weeks...

 One lonely tree near Beaufort SC...
 Happy Cat....Bumper
 My family when I was 3... Ok, not so recent, but my nephew sent it to me the other day...
Boat at the dock where we had lunch....
Self Explanatory....

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Backwards We Go...

Captains Blog - 8/20/12

Progress is not always measured by the distance traveled, but in this case it is.  We left the Westin Marina in Savannah late this Monday afternoon and traveled south on the "ditch" back close to a marina we were docked at three nights ago.  That's right, we lost 10 miles of north progress and went back the way we came.  All because our certified Yanmar mechanic found a major issue with that wonderful power plant I bragged about several blogs ago.  When he was doing the routine maintenance on the main (actually only) engine, he found that the zincs on the engine were corroded and broken apart.  This led to the discovery of pieces of zinc in the engine oil cooler and significant corrosion on the underside of the cooler.  It was leaking significant amounts of water.  In addition, he found pieces of an old broken impeller and lots of zinc in the heat exchanger.  The oil cooler needs to be replaced.  We ordered a new one air expressed today and it was installed this afternoon.  Meanwhile we moved off the Savannah River and away from the horrendous wakes that bounced us all night long.  That required a step backwards to still be in range of the mechanic and hence the loss of 10 miles forward progress.   The good news?  There isn't any!!  The part alone is 1875 dollars.  Labor will be another 4 hours.  With Fridays bill of over 1100 dollars and today's plus what is expected tomorrow, I need to go back to work .  I know .  After writing about my work history and my propensity to take off without permission and go boating, I have done myself no favors with this dumb blog.  Please kind readers who are also employers, have mercy and consider me.  I promise this boating stuff is out of my system forever! 

I am looking for a job where I do not have to answer phones or talk to customers.  I should mention tha  interaction with other employees is not my forte. I would like something where watching my daytime shows on TV will not be a problem.  I enjoy lots of coffee, but I have to warn you that my back and knee will not allow standing or walking for extended periods.  Respect is a big issue with me.  In elementary schoo,l all of the kids had nicknames like Speedy, OJ , and Bo.  Mine was Mister.   Salary expectations are modest.  Somewhere around  120,00 with bonus will work for me.  Hopefully one of you rich yachties will find something for me and soon.  American Express this month is going to be a hurtful communication.  Oh yeah, I will be available to start as soon as this cruise is over.  You will need to be flexible on that, but I am sure you will understand. 

A mega yacht docked beside us at the Westin had the name " Who Cares" .  The home port was listed as Aurora Co.   It was 106 foot long and easily the ugliest mega I have ever seen.  Google it and see.  On top of everything, he names it that and gives it a home port 11 million miles from water.  This guy is a real mariner!!   No regard for tradition, no taste and clearly he has ticked me off.  The crew of the barge were nice guys and asked if I wanted a tour.  Shameful to admit that when I declined, I did not have the courage to speak my mind and tell them there was no way I would tour something as offensive to real boaters as that.  Why not put Death Valley , CA on the transom?  I have observed big boats with stupid non-nautical names before, but usually it is nouveau rich euro trash that came into money ( who knows how) and had to have a boat to display new wealth.  To buy a yacht, even an ugly one and do this is classless. 

Yesterdays's cruise was 10 miles in the wrong direction, but still very pleasant.  The new marina is dead calm and relaxing.  We are the only transients in the marina and the place is empty.   After repairs,we should be able to head to South Carolina on Wednesday morning at the crack of dawn.  Tonight reading and relaxing and reflecting on boat bankruptcy . 

PS -  Before filing the above news flash, another day slipped by.  We are still in Savannah and expect to leave tomorrow morning after a sea trial with my new best friend the certified Yanmar mechanic.  He has been here since 1 pm today and is now on overtime at 7 pm.  Why not?  We stayed too long in one place and word has spread.  New salt water boater in town!  School clothes for the little brats.  Trips to Branson MO to hear bad country music for the adults. Dinner at Bubba's.  Good times!!!  This guy has deep pockets and is dumb as a clam.  I expect a total bill for the last three days of approx. 4,000 dollars.   The zincs in the generator and the engine were so bad they came out in pieces.  The new oil cooler had to be air expressed at the Good Fortunes expense.  

We left on this voyage on a Friday from Key West. Big time no no for mariners.  I knew you never leave on a Friday, but I said Peshaw to superstitions.  Peshaw is so a word. 

Last nights dinner was of note for those cruisers or wanna be cruisers that think life at sea is all boat drinks and gourmet meals.  Marconi and cheese followed by corn dogs.  Oh yes this is the life.  

I cannot write anymore.  I am at a loss for words.  I am overwhelmed by impending doom.  AMEX is due on the 18th of Sept and I have until then to find 1/2 a million dollars for boat bills.  Sad, cause I had a true life sailing adventure to tell you about that took place in Annapolis and involved girls in bikinis,  a mega yacht sailing vessel and the Coast Guard.  That one cost me 1/3 of $1250 dollars.  Sailboats suck!

Another time.  

First Mate:  As you can see, my husband (Captain) does not handle repairs well.  He never has.  Not car repairs (so we buy new cars every 3 years) not house repairs, (we have never stayed in one longer than 5) and he is not handy himself so that is not an option...  With that being said, he worked very hard during his career and supported not only my son and I, but my mom and dad lived with us starting in 1986.  After my father passed away, my mom stayed with us until around 2004, and then was in assisted living until she passed away in 2007.  He is a kind kind man..   Don't let him fool you.  He has allowed many of our friends and relatives to live with us over the years, and if anyone needs help, he is the first to offer.  I cannot even count the vacations we have invited others on because we just wanted them to be with us and experience different places and enjoy time with us.  He would never admit to all of this, but its true.  I know Scott and my niece and several others who have known him forever know that boating has been in his life always.  I was in the front of a Mad River Canoe at 21 shortly after I met him, and we have been avid boaters ever since.

With that being said, I want a bigger boat...  I love this boat, I am learning its little nuances, but I need more room...  I want I want I want...I want a washer/dryer, I want a galley that I can work with a little better, I want a bed that we both fit in comfortably with 2 cats... I want Trac Vision..  He has spoiled me for over 33 years, and he told me the boat was for weekend trips.  That would have been fine, but months on end is not working for me..  I think some days I am getting cranky.  Yes, I know double the engine expense, more cost for a slip... I know... but if he wants to spend this kind of time on the boat... its got to be an option...  Right?  He lived in a Silo apt. once, so maybe thats why he can handle the space better than me!!!

Comments from Others:  Our friend Erin sent to me saying that BOAT (Bring Out Another Thousand) like the other boater commented is true, but  she said look on the bright side, think what you are saving on dry cleaning!

Keith, a fellow boater responded to Rick, in response to the Manatee Video, "Wow, Amazing, the most interaction that we have had with aquatic life here in the Severn is sucking a jellyfish through the raw water intake?"  

Very funny!!!