Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Preparing for the big show

And so the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show begins…

Last Friday we waited until 2:30 for our call to come into the marina at Bahia Mar. Thank God we had Jim driving. Blossom was squished into a slot not any bigger than she is, with a piling in front and a dock behind. We also got quite cozy with the 68 next to us.

Jim, our most excellent captain!

Blossom getting cozy with her neighbor

N76 and N86 across the way

We are on a temporary “F/G” dock for the show (in between “F” and “G”). Normally, there is nothing but water here. They build out several docks and then place temporary structures on top of that. They then have to run water and power out to all the boats. It’s like building a small city. Unfortunately we didn’t get power until Tuesday so everyone was running their gens all the time. It was a nice relief from diesel smells once the power was on.

View from the fly bridge

This year Nordhavn isn’t with the other “long range power boats” by Cruiser Port but rather on the north side of the marina with the megayachts. We feel a bit out of place sitting amongst huge boats and their crews. For days we’ve watched the crews clean, clean and then clean some more. I’m not a fan of reality tv but I have seen the show “Below Decks”. While I know very little of the social environment of yachties I do know this – they clean a whole lot more than that show would have you think.  

One of the highlights of our week was a chance encounter. On Sunday we went for a walk on the other side of the marina, where the other trawlers are. We were walking by a gorgeous Outer Reef 72 when we saw the owners on the bow. We commented on how beautiful their boat was, then we all stared at each other as recognition set in. It was Paul and Angela!  We met them back on 09’ in Atlantis, Bahamas. They we aboard their Tiara 43 (just like ours) with their children and we spent a lovely evening sipping sherry. Sure enough, 5 years later, we’re both in Ft. Lauderdale aboard our new boats. They spend a good deal of their boat time in the Bahamas and we’re looking forward to seeing them there this winter. It’s a small world!

Another highlight was a lovely visit on Wednesday with family friends from Leeds. Jonny, Helen, Lucy and Max are visiting Ft. Lauderdale and the timing was perfect for getting together. They came over to see Blossom and then we introduced them to our favorite restaurant, Coconuts. We had a great time visiting with them!

The gorgeous Adler family

We’ve spent the last few days tidying up the boat and making her a bit more presentable for the show. This includes picking up the clutter as well as storing our valuables. The unfortunate truth is that it’s prudent to leave nothing too tempting out in plain sight or easily accessible to wandering hands. For the duration of the show we’ll be staying at a hotel about a mile up the road. It’s easily accessible by bike so we plan to spend our days at the show, on the boat as much as possible, and at the hotel in the evenings.

The Nordhavn crew arrived today and there's all kinds of activity going on. We're enjoying our last day of relative "calm" before the crowds descend upon the show. We have several friends who will be coming by and we’re looking forward to a fun 5 days! 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Caravanning to Fort Lauderdale

N68 passing us on the river

And we’re off!  Thursday morning all three of us, an N68, N76 and Blossom, headed out the St. Lucie Inlet toward Ft. Lauderdale. We wanted to leave on the rising tide and expected about a 10-11 hour run down. The big girls travel much faster than we do (9.5+ knots v. our 7 knots) so they arrived early and waited for us to get in around 8:00pm.  We stayed at Pier 66, a marina just around the corner from Bahia Mar, where we’ll be for the show.

View from the cockpit

The seas were 4-6 again but were coming from the NE behind us, so aft quartering seas. It was a comfortable cruise down the coast. We had dolphins at the bow a couple times though they’re harder to spot in a wavy, gray sea. One managed a full breach over the waves – head to tail out of the water. Very cool.

We arrived in the dark with wind gusts 20+ and Mart had a bit of a time getting into the marina. Our forward starboard control station has been acting up (not powering up post rain) and in the middle of getting blown around while entering the marina, it faulted and he lost control of the rudder. That was a bit hairy. We’re getting it replaced in November but I don’t think we should rely on it too heavily for getting in and out of the show! We had a great dinner with the Stuart commissioning team, John, Rob and Chris, the captain of the 76, Jeff, and our delivery captain, Jim.

Update, the 86 just came in so I've added a photo!

All 4 Nordies waiting to go in: 68, 76, 60, 86

Hanging out, waiting to get called into the show

Today, Friday, is our day to get put into Bahia Mar. They load up the marina by docks, we're on a "temporary" dock that is constructed just for the show "F/G". Our entry time was supposed to be noon but at 11:15 they're still on C so I think we'll be waiting for a bit. Everyone talks about how crazy it is – packing the boats in as tight as they can. We’re happy to have Jim get us in there. It’s supposed to rain with 30 knot winds today so it’ll be challenging. I think we’re going to cozy up next to the 68 in the show.  Sitting here next to the 76 I have to laugh. Blossom feels so big to me and we’re dwarfed by her. We’re going to be the minnow in the big-girl pond. I’m excited to get a close up view of all the boats and have a ring side seat for all the goings on!

For those who aren’t familiar with boat shows, the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) is the largest in-water boat show in the world and is the “world’s premier venue for superyachts”.  It’s on from October 30th-November 3rd. There are several different locations and sites for the show throughout Ft. Lauderdale. Each area highlights different boats and boating vendors. It’s the place to go to see what’s new in the industry and is attended by about 125,000 visitors.  We’ve been several times though it was as a guest and not a participant. This year, Nordhavn is having a strong presence with an 86, 76, 68 and 60 in the show. 

We'll have almost a week in the marina before the show starts so we'll be watching the set up, hope to have a few cosmetic issues addressed, and will enjoy Ft. Lauderdale.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Back in Stuart, FL

We're back in Stuart! We left exactly 2 months ago and have logged over 2375 miles.  In some ways it feels like we left a week ago, in other ways it feels like it’s been much longer.   

I left off last as we were entering Jacksonville and recuping from a miserable weekend. Life got better and better from there. It was an uneventful run though we did scrape bottom once while running dead center in the channel. We ran south all day and into the early evening, arriving at Halifax Harbor Marina in Daytona in the dark. As night fell we fired up our FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared Radar - aka secret night vision radar) and got to put it to good use.  It’s pretty psychedelic looking.

Martin and his FLIR

The marina had a night security guard meet us to show us to our slip and give us a key. We ate at the restaurant in the marina, filled up on water and washed down the boat. She was completely crusted with salt all the way up to the fly bridge.

We headed out at dawn. The forecast had improved from Cape Canaveral southward so we planned to exit at Canaveral Inlet.  We got as far south as the Canaveral canal and then missed the Christa Bridge in the canal that is closed from 3-6 for rush hour. (We’re about 35 feet high so we have to ask any bridge lower than that to open – some open upon request, others on the hour/half hour, etc).  Disappointed that we’d missed the bridge, we anchored out for a couple of hours to wait for 6pm. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  At 5:30 we pulled up the anchor and headed east into the canal. It happened to be peak high tide at +4 feet.  We had 1 to 1.5 feet under the keel throughout the turn!  So if we’d made the bridge before 3, at mid tide (low was .9) we would have been aground and waiting for 5:30 anyway.

We made it through the bridge and then through the lock where a very grumpy lock keeper works. It all went well and we were out of the inlet around 7:00. The seas were a comfortable 2-3 feet and rolling. What a difference! We ran for 12 hours and didn’t see one other boat the whole way.

We arrived at the St. Lucie Inlet in absolutely calm seas just at daybreak. Since we were a bit ahead of time, on a rising tide, and in dead calm conditions, we decided to calibrate our compass. This is done by spinning the boat around in a circle without stabilizers so we took advantage of the calm.  We’ve known that the compass is slightly off and have been wondering if this could be partially responsible for some of the autopilot issues we’ve been having.

A very benign looking St. Lucie Inlet

After the bumpy seas experienced a few days ago, we were grateful to arrive at St. Lucie when we did. This inlet is notorious for being dangerous in adverse conditions with crashing waves and confused seas while entering. It’s also known for extreme shoaling and shallow conditions. We hit it under perfect conditions - calm seas, no wind, and on an incoming high tide. We also had three “bread crumb” trails on our GPS from former sea trials and our departure that we followed in. We still managed to see .8 feet under the keel at one point in the crossroads.

It felt a bit like coming home when we docked at the commissioning docks. John, Chris and Rob were here and helped us with lines. The dock is full with a 47 and then the 68 and 76 that will also be in the Ft. Lauderdale boat show. We’re all leaving together for Ft. Lauderdale at the end of the week. I’ll write about the Ft. Lauderdale boat show in another post!

Boat Business:

  • Compass has been calibrated
  • Over the next two days we’ll have some cosmetic work done, the steering pump removed and sent off for repair and our carpet for the pilot house sized.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ocean Passage Cut Short – Not yet the salty sailors we hope to be.

Well, those were two very long nights. NOAA did us a bit wrong with their forecast and we paid for it. So we tucked back in at Jacksonville, FL and are running down the inside on the ICW now. No photos – I’ve been too busy holding on, trying not to fall over.

The story… We exited the Georgetown Inlet as darkness fell and quickly experienced seas of 4-6 feet with occasional 7s on the nose. That's what was forecast, with spaced southerly swells. The reality was about a 3 second interval. That means that the boat would start at the top of wave, drop forward and immediately pop up on top of the next wave in about 3 seconds. It’s relentless, over and over, for hours and hours. Martin went down for the count from sea sickness during his first watch (even though he’d started taking Dramamine the night before) and I was at about 50% with my patch. Jim, a long time boater, was fine and had his work cut out carrying most of the driving. Some people might note that 7 foot choppy seas aren’t that big for a Nordhavn, and they aren’t!  Blossom was in her element and she felt like a ship without a care in the world, heading to Florida. The crew however, didn’t do so well. Martin and I are both prone to sea sickness and unfortunately these circumstances took us out. Patches for both of us next time and maybe a try at the bracelets too...

For friends and family who haven’t experienced joy like this, I’ll describe the past 36 hours... 

The boat is pitching up and down (thank God the stabilizers keep her from rocking side to side). Sometimes dropping hard with spray coming up over the bow. Walking was pretty tough because you’d get thrown forward and back. We put all the hand holds to use, including the undercut grips on our granite.  When on watch, you can sit in the helm chair, feet on the dash and wedge yourself in.

It’s loud too because the boat engine, blowers, stuff banging in cupboards (I need to pad a few), the waves smacking the boat and the boat smacking the waves.

It’s moving too much to prepare any food but then no one could stomach much anyway. Jim munched some prepared foods but Martin and I had a 36 hour fast. Not a bad thing for me but not so good for Martin.

The forward section of a boat moves more than the center. We found that the salon is by far the best place to be. Martin slept on the floor or a chair and Jim and I swapped out the couch when we weren’t on watch. We discovered that the storm windows stored under our bed are not secure and they caused such a racket that even if we could have stood the movement in the room, it was too loud to sleep.

We tried to trade off watches but our set 3 hours on and off went to hell because Martin was too sick to sit in the pilot house and I fluctuated between being okay and not. Jim took longer watches and then I would sit for a few hours. So even under good circumstances you don’t get much sleep, 2-4 hours at a time through the day and night.  Sitting watch was a bit more involved because our navigation function on the autopilot isn’t working right. So rather than set waypoints and have the boat steer itself to them (while you look out other ships and hazards), we have the autopilot set to point the boat in a direction toward a certain setting and then tweak it as wind/current/waves throw you off. We think we just have to mess with parameters to get it back. We’d been trying to finesse it and it looks like we put it out of whack a bit.

You’re also supposed to do engine checks regularly. Some people adhere to an hourly schedule or you can do one on the watch change, every three hours. We have a clipboard and infrared heat gun that we take into the ER and note several temperatures and several visual checks (for fluids, fan belt dust, bilges, etc).  I started out doing them but found that I had a choice – do an engine room check in a 115 degree, rolling room and then need to lay down for a couple hours from sea sickness – or not do an engine room check and be able to relieve Jim for a while.  I also dropped the infrared heat gun in the bilge so I figured it was a sign. We have several Maretron sensors so we know many of the temperatures and fluid levels as well as a camera in the engine room so we moved to quick walk through visual checks and monitored our sensors for temperatures when we had to.

So basically, you feel lousy while you sit watch, sleep, sit watch, sleep, etc. It was a very different experience from when we came up the coast with Jeff and Jim when it was life as normal with night shifts.  What a difference the sea can make!

The boat performed flawlessly as I mentioned above. She’s such a solid ship.  We did manage to sustain some damage though. We did well at “battening the hatches” and nothing fell off, over or broke. But a drawer full of cans made a break for it. Even with the lock engaged, the force was such that it flew out and fell down the stairs creating several gauges and nicks in the stairs and wall. Blossom doesn’t look as new as she did. I hope we can touch some of it up a bit.  Apparently there’s a wood stopper on the back of the drawer to prevent this from happening but I didn’t know about it and it wasn’t engaged.

Going in to the second night I got a migraine and became worried that Jim could be left alone at the helm. Martin was also still so sick he hadn’t even had tea in 36 hours, that’s just not right, so we made the decision to come in at Jacksonville, FL. By morning I felt better than I had since we went out, but the forecast was for up to 8 foot seas outside Jacksonville and the thought of another 36 hours like that is, seriously, sickening.

We entered Jacksonville Inlet at dawn, passing a huge and impressive Navy warship in the channel – the same one we saw as we left Yorktown, #99. As soon as we passed the breakwater it was over. Calm, quiet, you can walk around. The most amazing part is the sea sickness just disappears, as if it had never been there. You just find yourself tired, a bit delirious and very hungry.  So Jim is now getting some well deserved sleep, Martin is running the boat and I’m typing J

I don’t know when we’re going to arrive in Stuart. We were hoping to arrive Monday afternoon but now we’re shooting for Tuesday afternoon. We still have 237 miles to go. At 7 knots, that’s quite a distance. If the seas look more settled tomorrow, we may try to pop out at Cape Canaveral and run outside to Stuart. We can’t run the inside at night but we can in the ocean so we gain 12 hours of travel - if we can stomach it. We’re pushing because we’d really like a day or two in Stuart to get some cosmetic work done before the boat show and would like to pick up our packages that we had delivered to Stuart, etc.

Friday, October 17, 2014

North & South Carolina Past and on to Stuart, FL

We spent Monday night at the Beaufort Docks in Beaufort, NC.  There was a bit of current as we came in and Martin did a great job of getting us into a finger pier. He had a more challenging morning with both wind and current but once again, handled Blossom like a pro. Thankfully so, as during the night several mega yachts pulled in and he had to thread a very expensive needle getting out. We’re getting into a routine and getting comfortable with the boat, it feels great. That night we had dinner at Beaufort Grocery (again). It’s a great little restaurant and we had lovely dinner there.

We were up early and headed SW down the inside through SC. It got quite narrow and shallow at times but we got through without any troubles. Tuesday night we stayed at Harbor Village Marina in Hampstead, NC. It’s a private marina surrounded by condos but they have a face dock for transients and will also rent our private spaces if they’re available. There isn’t anything around but you do get power, trash and internet. We went in with one of Jim’s friends, Charlie, on his boat “Tonic”.  We invited Charlie over for dinner and enjoyed hearing his stories as a captain over the past many years. 

We intended to head out early on Wednesday but a nasty rainstorm came through in the morning so we waited it out. We left around 1:00pm to get past two bridges. One only opens on the hour, so timing them both to avoid "keeping station" for lengthy time was important. We anchored just 13 miles away in Wrightsville Beach anchorage. It was a nice anchorage surrounded by homes and businesses with a bit of marsh to the south. The anchorage was crowded and I was surprised to see that we were one of only two power boats amongst the sailboats.

The ICW is very shallow through NC and subject to a lot of shoaling. There are several small inlets that come in from the ocean. Mud drifts in at the inlets and comes into the channel. Fortunately, several areas we’ve gone through, including Lockwoods Folly and Shallots Inlet were recently dredged in 2014. We still managed to brush the bottom on one occasion on route to Wrightsville Beach though.  We’re finding that that Active Captain helps a lot, especially noting hazards. The content could be old (such as shoal hazards being recently dredged) but it’s useful to know where the problem spots are. I made a couple of entries to note where we saw exceptionally shallow water or where it seems to have been dredged.

Anchorage in Wrightsville Beach

Thursday morning we got an early start, hoping to reach North Myrtle Beach before dark. We passed through some very narrow and very scenic spots including the “Rockpile” which is a very narrow stretch with rock cliffs said to extend under water. We stayed in the middle of the channel and had no problems.  We arrived at the Grande Dune Marina in N. Myrtle Beach, SC in the early evening. Grande Dune is a large, well maintained marina. The folks working there were great. We pulled out the bikes right away and found a Fresh Market a couple miles away. We did some last minute provisioning before heading out to a great dinner at the Ruth Chris Steak House right next to the marina. On Friday morning, my Mom and her friends, Marge & Dave, drove up from Murrells Inlet. We had a really nice visit with them and had breakfast at the Waterscape Restaurant next to the marina.

Waccamaw River (ICW)

We headed out about 11:30am. As I write this we are cruising down the Waccamaw River, heading toward Georgetown, SC. Our plan is continue straight on to Stuart. We’re thinking that it will take about 3 days and are hoping to arrive in Stuart Monday afternoon on the rising tide.

Happy to have put blinds in the pilot house!

Since we won’t have internet or phone service for a few days, we spent the day sending emails and doing some business housekeeping. I also had plenty of time to tidy up, tie up and put things away. We'll be doing three hour shifts for the next few days.

We’re expecting 4-5 foot seas tonight (Friday), with up to 6 further south but then diminishing to 2-4 by the time we get to Stuart. The forecast is a moving target so I’m not sure what to expect, except that I’m sure we won’t be hula hooping on the bow! This will be our longest ocean/over night passage and "biggest" seas in the 2 months we've had the boat. Jim just smiles at me when I say I'm a bit nervous. It's nice having him aboard!  

Boat Business: 

Nothing new to report and no work done. Blossom is running like a champ.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Coinjock, cooking and running aground. Oops.


Leaving Coinjock

On Saturday we took off and headed south to travel the ICW heading toward Beaufort.  It was an uneventful day and I had a bit of a headache so it was a wash other than the guys taking us south.  

Passing through the Great Bridge Lock

We docked in Coinjock, NC, a sleepy little town nestled on the ICW. There’s a restaurant there that’s known for its 34oz prime rib. Martin was willing to give the smaller, 16oz cut, the old college try but alas, they were out of prime rib. A sad evening.

I was happy that we had to dock port side at Coinjock. I was going to ask that we do that while Jim was aboard with us again. Blossom is asymmetric, which means that we can only walk forward on the starboard side. This makes docking on the port side more difficult because we have to go up to the boat deck to hang fenders and put out the center line. We also removed the stairs in the cockpit that lead to the boat deck so we have to run around the starboard side of the boat to get from the cockpit to the upper boat deck. We made the decision knowing that it would be a pain and that we would always prefer a starboard tie. We’re hoping the added room and drier cockpit will outweigh the inconvenience we encounter when we have to tie port side.  So it was good to have the opportunity to practice. It’s definitely more complicated and not preferred, but it wasn’t horrible.

Sunday, we headed out early to get through the Alligator Canal and anchor in the same anchorage we stayed in on the way up.  I decided to make my favorite Tom Ka Kai soup for lunch. It was quite rolly as we crossed the Albermerle Sound and I got to use our stove fiddles – tightening them up to keep the pot from sliding across the stove top.

Using the stove fiddles

Tom Ka Kai, best soup ever

Oops, we’re aground!

That got your attention, didn’t it?  It did us too! 

By early evening we had made it to the Alligator Canal. The Alligator is a very narrow waterway lined by forest. The center channel is narrow and dredged to about 12 feet so the barges can come through. The sides shallow quickly and are lined with old tree trunks and stumps.  Martin was below doing an engine room check and I was in the pilot house poking through quilting books looking for a design for my salon door panel as Jim captained Blossom.  All of a sudden an alarm sounded that read “rudder limit reached” and she took a hard turn to starboard (right). I looked up as Jim was trying to take control of the boat from the autopilot. In a matter of seconds, womp, we were at a dead stop.  The canal is so narrow it didn’t take long to hit the side. Poor Martin came running up from below with a look on his face that I hope I don’t get to see too often.

In his fashion, Jim was calm, explained that the autopilot had gone bat-sh*! crazy (my descriptive words, not his…) and explained how we would try to get back in the channel.  We turned on and revved the wing engine so we had our thrusters. He thrust the stern into the river (deeper water) and then put her in reverse. We slowly slid backward into the river and went on our way. Yikes!  It seems to have been an anomaly (solar flare we could hope?). I’m very thankful that it happened with Jim aboard so he could show us what to do to, and so calmly!  It reminded me of when I had vertigo for a couple months and tried to go jogging. I looked down at my watch, looked up, and then must have looked like I just threw myself into a flower bush (to starboard no less!)  I think that’s what Blossom looked like – jumping to shore.

We exited the canal a short time later to find our former anchorage filled with boats. The “southern migration” has begun. This is the time of year when all the boats from Canada and the NE states start heading south to avoid the cold weather that’s coming.  Hurricane season, as defined by boat insurance companies, ends anywhere between Oct 15th and Nov 30th. So everyone starts heading to the southernmost point that their insurance will allow (Georgia, Hatteras, Beaufort, etc.) so they can pop down to Florida and beyond when their insurance allows.   

We cruised down river just a little ways and found a lovely anchorage with no one in it. Strange how everyone flocks together when there’s plenty of other places to go.  Martin cooked up a great meal on the grill, was visited by bird-sized hornet (at night no less), and we decompressed from our stressful evening. We were in bed at “Sailor’s midnight,” as Sean calls it, 9pm.

Sunrise sky

This morning we woke up to a pretty, but strange sunrise. The sky looked cut in half!  And our autopilot freaked out again, but in more open water this time, and we were prepared for it. Thankfully I had taken the early shift, driving us out of the anchorage, so I wasn't at the helm for that one. Looks like we’ve found another gremlin...

Southward Bound

The weather isn’t looking great for an ocean passage on Tuesday or Wednesday so we’re thinking of heading down the inside to Georgetown, SC. It’s very shallow and Martin and I wouldn’t likely do it on our own but with Jim we may give it a try. That means we’d go right by my Mom’s house so hopefully I’ll get to see her! 

Boat Business

  • We’ve switched over to the other autopilot to see if the "anomaly" happens on that one. We don’t want to throw ourselves onto a bank again in SC…
  • Gray smell returns. We’re getting some odor in our master state room again, but it's not from the closet. Now it seems to be coming from under the floors in the master and in the "basement". Martin tightened a bunch of clamps this morning. Fingers crossed…
  • The 9k gen is running like a champ after Martin installed the new wavenet panel.  The panel was definitely the issue.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Yorktown, VA

Vector and Blossom at Riverwalk Pier Marina

Our time in Yorktown really flew by. We’ve been so busy that I wasn’t able to blog until now, as we’re heading down to Beaufort. So let me back up…

We arrived in Yorktown in the evening after the slack tidal current so we anchored out within sight of the marina.  We were thrilled to be escorted into the anchorage by a pod of dolphins!  A very auspicious greeting J  I tried to get a photo but it didn’t turn out so well, they’re hard to capture at just the right moment.

Dolphin welcoming committee

Tuesday, we waited for slack, entered the marina and sidled up nose to nose with Vector. The current wasn’t bad and we were pleasantly surprised. We had read that the current can really rip through here, especially when there was high wind. We got to experience that a few days later!  Riverwalk Pier is a nice marina right in the heart of Yorktown. It’s walking distance to several restaurants, museums and a historic battlefield.  The docks are also home to two large tall ships that give river tours. They make for a beautiful view from the docks.

Tall ships

Wednesday and Thursday were quiet, as I posted a few days ago, because we lost girl George. We also got to meet and visit with some of Sean’s family who were visiting Colonial Williamsburg. They invited us over for dinner twice and we really enjoyed our time with them!

On Friday, my Mom arrived for the week. We had a great 5 days.  Friday evening there was a band playing and Saturday there was a Wine Festival right at the marina so we attended that.  Virginia wines are a tad sweet for my taste but it was a festive afternoon in the sun.

Saturday evening the wind kicked up and we got to see just how bumpy the marina can get. Waves were braking over the dock and boats were rocking violently against their lines. We were pulling hard on our lines but as Vector and Blossom both weigh over 65 tons, we gently rocked through the evening. I was shocked at how differently our boats reacted compared to all the others in the marina. Size and weight matter on a boat!

Historic Jamestowne

Jamestown Village

Colonial Williamsburg

The following days we visited Yorktown, Jamestown Historical Park, Jamestown Village and Colonial Williamsburg. We had a fantastic tour at the Historic Park by a ranger who was both knowledgeable and enthusiastic. It was a highlight of our sightseeing. We’d both like to go back and take the archeological tour the next time we go. Louise’s Mom also came to visit for a few days and we enjoyed meeting her and all had dinner at a nice restaurant at the marina.

We enjoyed free entertainment a couple of mornings as the coast guard was training their newbies at the docks. It was fun to the watch these (very young) people learning how to dock and tie lines.

Coast Guard Training

Then, suddenly, it was Thursday, the week was over, and it was time for Mom to head home.  It was a great visit and we’d all like to return to Yorktown again!


On Friday morning we took off for Portsmith and Vector headed out to the Deltaville area. We cruised about 5 hours to Tidewater Marina.  As we entered the marina we saw a large Nordhavn and found that it was Shear Madness. I’ve enjoyed following their blog for quite a while now and was thrilled that we got meet Bradley and Kathy and got a tour of the boat. She’s a beauty!

Shear Madness

Jim flew in Friday evening.  It’s great being reunited and we’re happy to have him aboard for the rest of the trip to Stuart. We’ll spend the next three days going down the inside to Beaufort. There’s a tropical storm out east near Bermuda that is going to kick up the waves early next week so we may stop in Beaufort for a day or two to let things calm down before heading straight to Florida. It’ll all depend on the weather…

Boat Business:

While my Mom and I learned about and experienced American history, Martin was hard at work and got so much done.  His list of accomplishments includes:

  • Cleaned tops of gray, black and fresh water tanks
  • Reconfigured and installed the old router, ordered a new router, returned the broken one and configured and installed the newest router when it arrived.
  • Cleaned the lazarette and all the bilges
  • Installed the ultrasonic barnacle preventer system
  • Replaced wavenet panel and broken 15amp breaker on the 9K generator
  • Caulked VIP hatch and it stuck!  It doesn’t leak any more – we know for sure after a very hard rain last night.
  • Raised the one way valves on the anti-siphon loops on the gray and black tank overboard pump lines. We were getting stinky gray smells in the bedroom and found the valves in the clothing cupboard.
  • Pulled out and marked the anchor chain. The white 50' paint marks were not 50 feet apart. Now the chain is marked with colored plastic inserts.

Daily Highlight:

Watching a bald eagle swoop into the ICW, grab a fish, land in a tree and eat his afternoon snack :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

RIP (girl) George

Today we said goodbye to another sweet furry soul. Girl George passed away this afternoon. George has suffered from kidney for several years and through loving attention and care, she has done well for so long. But illness has taken its toll and Sean & Louise had to make a most difficult, loving, and compassionate decision to let her rest. My heart aches for Sean & Louise. They adore their girl and their hearts are breaking today.

Martin and I had the pleasure of hosting George and her sister Angel for two weeks over the holidays a couple of years ago. We have warm and smiling memories of their visit. Girl George immediately took to the house and established herself as the matriarch.  A known “nipper” we introduced her to our home grown stash that we grew in the yard and I must say, I’ve never seen such a reaction. She loved her nip J By the end of the two weeks we had both Georges sleeping on the bed with us, an uneasy truce, but every day they got more used to each other. 

I took the picture above of girl George yesterday as she was looking out the window, nose twitching from the smells blowing in off the river.  It reminds me a bit of the picture I took of boy George in the car, heading to his new home in Florida.  Sweet souls, peering out at the world, looking into the bright day.

It’s been a tough year losing George and now girl George, two very special companions. I hope they’re happy together sharing nip, a soft bed, and reminiscing…