A Travellerspoint blog

November 2008

Are We There Yet?

That Depends on What the Meaning of "There" Is!

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We hit Charleston on Saturday, 11/29/08. According to my official "Captain's Log 2008" this Sunday is day 19 of the trip. We've come approximately 300 miles and Key West is still more than 700 miles away.

The weather has been terrible... way too cold; temperatures have been 12~15 degrees below average. Al Gore: where is global warming when I really need it? On Thanksgiving day we preparing to get underway between first light and sunrise. The boat, the mooring lines, the dock.... everything was coated with a 1/4-in. of ice. We wanted to sail overnight to Charleston but the prospect of 12-hours of darkness with temperatures at/below freezing in an open cockpit with 15 knot winds was too much for either one of us... we wimped out and drove the boat down the ICW. I guess that it's called irony when the cold weather prevents you from doing the things that will get you away from the cold weather, or something. Anyway, when we left Oriental I thought that we had brought too much warm clothing; today I think that it was not half enough.

We did take the boat out one day to sail; the weather was actually too nice and the wind died. I think that we're both ready for more sailing and less motoring.

There have been good surprises, like getting the heat pump fixed. We had another one on Thanksgiving Day. We stopped at a marina near Georgetown, SC. When the dock master and his wife returned from their dinner with friends, they decided that their gift to us would be a free stay. This picture was what we saw on Thanksgiving evening. Our boat is the one on the outside of the dock. I might rather have had turkey and dressing, but the view was truly one for which to be thankful. You might notice Carol standing on the side of the boat. Ask her if she was enjoying the view. Heritage_P.._Marina.jpg

We did finally have warm enough weather to anchor out one night. We pulled in to the anchorage and checked Skipper Bob, the ICW anchorage authority. The recommendation for this location was to put out two anchors. We had never done this and decided that this was a good time to try a technique that we'll need later. Predictably, chaos ensued; the Three Stooges could not have written a screwier script. The upshot was that one anchor wouldn't set, and the other one wouldn't break loose and we had the line from one foul the propeller. So, over the side I go, wet suit, weight belt and mask into the cold water. Did I mention that I don't like being in cold water? After about 30-minutes I managed to free the line from the propeller; boat, line and LLoyd Bridges don't-wannabe are all doing fine. The wet suit must work pretty well; I expected to come out of the water a skinny, shriveled, black popsicle, but I was OK.

When we finally recovered both anchors they were covered in something I had thankfully managed to forget: pluff mud. It's great for growing rice but our nice white boat is now pluff mud brown; with the wind and rain it got onto everything. Pluff Mud --- don't leave South Carolina without it... because nobody in SC wants it.

We've seen a lot of porpoises, probably Harbor Porpoise, but I've never been able to get a picture of them; they're pretty quick and don't pose very long. Birds were rare in NC, too cold I guess. These two pelicans in Morehead City were not having a peak experience. Pelicans_i..ad_City.jpg
In SC we've seen more birds, like this osprey, along with lots of blue herons and a couple of snowy egrets. Ospreys_in_Nest.jpg

When we got underway on the Friday after Thanksgiving it sounded like WWIII, a constant barrage of gun shots. It finally dawned on me that it had to be duck season in SC. The SC boys must be really good shots or the ducks are really smart because we haven't seen any ducks.

The plan in Charleston is to hang around a couple of days, rent a car to do some errands and, finally, pizza and the new James Bond movie. Then it's off again for points south and, PLEASE!!!!, warmer climes.

Posted by sailziveli 18:23 Archived in USA Tagged boating Comments (0)

A Slow Boat to .........

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Well, we're certainly not breaking any speed records. Today is day #13 of the trip and we've covered about 130 miles.

Weather has been a big deal. We laid over in Morehead City due to heavy rains and severe thunderstorms. While there some "not too bright" guy put his wallet in the drink while getting onto the boat. Carol spent hours fixing that mess. A week and a half without credit cards was a real learning experience. And, try getting a new license without a wallet-full of identification. A US passport doesn't cut much slack with the NC DMV.

Next we laid over in Swansboro. Very cold, high winds; the weathermen were talking about polar/arctic cold fronts. We had several nights below freezing. The Marines at Camp Lejuene were firing live ordnance which shut the ICW down for most of four days. Plus, I was into high avoidance about the next stretch of the ICW which has three swing bridges and one bascule bridge.

Anyway we got to Wrightsville, NC, about 100 trip miles, at which point we had our first boat problem: the heat pump stopped pumping heat due to a failed compressor. For two days and nights we lived in the sleeping bags and were mostly frozen. Being lucky is good: the NC distributor for Cruisair, who sold us this unit through a boat-yard in Oriental, NC, is in Wilmington, NC, about 15 miles away. I called a little after 7am on Monday morning and by 10am someone was on the boat fixing the unit. We now have heat.

We also had our first navigational mishap: I ran the boat aground. However, there were extenuating circumstances: it was the dead of night in a force 9 gale; there was no visibility due to blowing snow and sleet. We were being chased by Somali pirates in a recently captured Saudi oil tanker. I headed for shallow water knowing that the pirates in a deep draft tanker couldn't follow us there and the boat hit bottom. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

We're now in Southport, NC, next door to Leland, NC; Stan and Connie are in Japan. Go figure!

It's been strange not having a car. The size of our world, outside the boat, is however far we can walk or take a taxi. The good news with this is that there's always seafood and beer in walking distance.

Charleston, SC is about four travel days away; we might make it by 12/01/08, or not.

Posted by sailziveli 08:45 Comments (0)

Too Much Work, part #2 the boat

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Sea Harbour Yacht Club is a beautiful place with many wonderful people who have also become good friends. It will be sad to leave but, if we're lucky, we'll be able to return. Ziveli_at_..bour__1.jpg

If getting the house ready was a lot of work, getting the boat ready was even more.The amount of stuff we need to cruise safely and somewhat comfortably, e.g. food, is large; the amount of space to stow the stuff on the boat is small. The technical word is blivit, or, as we used to say in the Navy, "5-lbs. of s___ in a 3-lb. bag." Things not only need to be stowed, they need to be secured for bad weather and they need to be organized so as to be located quickly in an emergency. The result is that stuff gets glommed onto the deck and pulpits about like barnacles glom onto the hull. Underneath all of the detritus is a very sleek, beautiful sailboat.Ziveli_at_..bour__2.jpg The boat 36-ft long, 12-ft. wide and the top of the mast is 50-ft. above the water. And ... I will always fly an American flag.

Posted by sailziveli 05:38 Comments (2)

The Long Good-bye

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If getting ready to leave the house was too much work, saying good-bye to friends was a wonderful, heartwarming experience. On the Saturday and Sunday before we left for Oriental, we had lots of our friends over for de facto Bon Voyage parties.PB021586.jpg In our five years in Spring Creek we have put down roots and those roots have connected to so many people that we are now privileged and blessed to call friends. The trip will be fun; but when it's done, it will be great to come home --- not to the house, but to the community and the people.

Posted by sailziveli 04:55 Comments (0)

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