Sunday, October 8, 2017

End of the 2017 Cruising Season

Blossom is all tucked away and prepped for her winter hibernation.

We went up to Baltimore last week to finish up a few tasks that we hadn’t had time to finish with our quick departure in September. It was beautiful in Maryland, with fall creeping around the corner, the temps dropping and leaves starting to hint at the colors to come.

We ended up finishing our work much more quickly than we’d expected and welcomed having some down time. This was especially true as we experienced yet another “boater’s small world surprise” and were able to meet up with old and new friends on our last night there. The back story: we had stopped by a fellow Nordy early this summer and said hello to Gary & Tina who were heading north for the summer. Other friends of ours, Tammy & Tom, recently left land life on the west coast and were cruising New England on their catamaran this summer. It seems the two were moored next to each other in Annapolis last week and got to chatting and realized they both knew us. A quick email “wish you were here” was replied with “oh my God, we are, for just 2 days!” And so we all went to a wonderful dinner together 😊 It was the best way to end our 2017 season!

While it still smarts a bit to be missing the gorgeous fall in the Chesapeake, we’re looking forward to digging in to continuing renovations on our home, spending our first fall in our new home town and to not traveling quite so much for a few months.

We wish everyone a fabulous fall and winter and look forward to returning to Blossom and the blog next April!

Boat Business: Final preparations included:
  • Pulling impellers from both generators and the wing engine. 2 of them had little life left so it was timely
  • Replaced all zincs
  • Cleaned out all the strainers
  • Washed down walls and ceiling with vinegar
  • Removed all batteries from all devices in the boat
  • Replaced Damp Rids
  • Put out ant and roach traps
  • Placed Sun Pacs (mildewcide) in all outdoor lockers
  • Turned off fresh water pumps and relieved pressure in all water lines

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Irma and a Change of Plans

Once again, I’m very behind on our blog. Well, our cruising season ending up taking a bit of a detour this year!  Here’s the scoop:

We returned the end of August from a (Fabulous!) vacation in Bordeaux, France. We stayed with friends aboard their boat and had the most amazing time...

 The water mirror in Bordeaux

 Boats in Bordeaux (that's the color of the water - solid silt!)

 Wine school and workshops...

 Yes, even cheese classes!

 Voyaging down the Garonne. Talk about current and silt!

 The French seaside village of Royan

A brief tour de Paris

As soon as we got back there was talk of Irma. We did a bit of sightseeing, like visiting the National Air and Space Museum in DC (which was amazing!!).

Blackbird and the Space Shuttle Discovery in the background, pretty darn cool

We decided, however, to stay in port as we watched her track and tried to make the best decisions as to what to do. It’s not an easy task when you don’t really know where it’s going to go until you’re about 3 days out. With a new home in St Pete, FL, a mother in SC and a boat on the Chesapeake, we were fearful that one or more would be a target of such a monster storm. We ended up renting a car and made sure my Mom was safe, returning to Blossom in case we needed to prepare her for high winds.

Then Irma moved west and we had a pretty miserable weekend as we waited to see what she would do to Florida. We crossed our fingers and I got little sleep but in the end, the storm spared our new city the worse of it as it passed the Tampa area as a Cat 1. My heart breaks for the folks who weren’t so lucky. News and video from the islands and southern parts of Florida and Puerto Rico are distressing to say the least.

As we were waiting to see what Irma would bring, we were also watching Jose, close on Irma’s heels with early models hinting a possible northern landfall. And thus, I reached the end of what little resiliency I have and we decided to pull the plug on our 2017 cruising season a bit early. I take full responsibility – the stress of having two homes and family spread over 1000+ miles, all potentially in harms way was too much. The idea was that if we could get Blossom out of the water and safe, we could better focus our energy. 

Blossom on her way to her hibernating home for the winter

I found a marina in Baltimore that could haul Blossom out and put her on the hard, in a storm-rated, heated shed. Initially they said we could stay until mid-Oct, when the winter boats would be coming in. Then they said that there was room and we could stay for the winter if we wanted. Anyone who’s hauled a boat knows it’s a harrowing experience so the thought of doing it once and letting her be was appealing. Though we’d played with the idea of bringing Blossom down to Florida this fall, the logistics were proving difficult because of our schedule and so we made the decision to end our season.  

We raced through 3 days of moving to Pleasure Cove Marina, hauling the boat and prepping her as best we could. Then we drove the 1000+ miles to St Pete.  We found our home in good shape and still with power and internet. We lost one sickly tree and had a messy yard - we were incredibly fortunate. I'm happy to be back in Florida for the rest of the season so we can board up if necessary and be properly prepared if the Gulf kicks up another storm this year.

We’ll be returning to Blossom for a few days in early October to finish prepping her. In defense of mold, mildew and all things stinky means I need to give her a proper vinegar wash down and put our anti-mildew packets in all the lockers. Martin has some work he’d like to do while she’s above ground and can access strainers and the like. We’ll post a final blog entry once that’s been complete.

Stay safe everyone!

Boat Business:
  • Oil changes. Martin changed the oil on the main, wing, and both generators
  • Bathroom sinks. Though Martin had done much investigative work, our sinks were still draining way too slowly. This time, we disassembled the drain in the sink and oh, let’s not in to detail. Suffice it to say, the sinks are clear and draining easily now! Give that man a beer…
  • Windshield Wipers. Blossom needed new ones so Martin replaced them.
  • Lines, Balls and Fenders. Impending storms motivated us to purchase a few things… We now have another gi-normous 3ft ball, 2 large horizontal monsters and 4 exceedingly expensive 1 inch storm lines. I don’t want to “bring it on” but if we’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, we’re better prepared.