Captain's Blog by chenmeixiu

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									       Captain's Blog
Sailing the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW)
           on a Catamaran
2
Table of Contents
Preface.........................................................................................................................9

   OCTOBER............................................................................................11
Day:-13 Lat:39.28 Lon:-76.58...................................................................................12
Day:-12 Lat:39.28 Lon:-76.58...................................................................................13
Day -11 Ashore.........................................................................................................14
Day -9 Lat:39.15 Lon:-76.50.....................................................................................14
Day -8.........................................................................................................................15
Chinatown Bus.........................................................................................................16
Day:-6 Lat:40.78 Lon:-73.92.....................................................................................17
NautiG.......................................................................................................................18
Manatee.....................................................................................................................18
Day -2........................................................................................................................19
Day: -1 Ignition!........................................................................................................20

   NOVEMBER ........................................................................................21
Day:1 Lift Off!...........................................................................................................22
Hurricane..................................................................................................................22
Day 3..........................................................................................................................23
Gem Party!................................................................................................................24
Weekend Roundup..................................................................................................25
Lesson for the Day...................................................................................................26
More Adventures!....................................................................................................26
Mapping Woes.........................................................................................................27
Dawn's Early Light..................................................................................................28
Deltaville...................................................................................................................30
Rudder Repair.........................................................................................................31
The Boat had a Rough Day.....................................................................................32
Day 11 Lat : 37.0954 Lon:-76.2947..........................................................................35
Norfolk......................................................................................................................36
Portsmouth over Norfolk........................................................................................37
Tossed Salad.............................................................................................................38
Post for Peter.............................................................................................................39
                                                                                                                               3
The Illustrious Professor, Dr. Amy........................................................................39
Feels Like Home.......................................................................................................41
Walmart v. Target.....................................................................................................42
On the Road Again..................................................................................................43
Anchorages...............................................................................................................44
Bad Gas......................................................................................................................44
Great Bridge Lock....................................................................................................45
I Helped Someone!...................................................................................................49
It's 70 and Sunny......................................................................................................51
The Illustrious Dr. Dad............................................................................................52
Happy Thanksgiving!.............................................................................................55
Boyfriend Tracker 1.1 Released..............................................................................55
The Repairs Continue..............................................................................................57
You Rock!..................................................................................................................58
Too Cute....................................................................................................................58
I'm Learning..............................................................................................................60
Lord of the Flies.......................................................................................................60
Cooking with Capt' Scott........................................................................................61
Drivin that Train, High on Cocaine.......................................................................62
Great Expectations...................................................................................................63

    DECEMBER..........................................................................................65
On a Gem with No Name.......................................................................................66
Status Report............................................................................................................67
This'll Give Ya Scurvy..............................................................................................68
Beaufort Blows.........................................................................................................69
Fatigue.......................................................................................................................70
Oorah!........................................................................................................................71
Waylaid......................................................................................................................72
Bridge Etiquette........................................................................................................73
The Worry List..........................................................................................................74
Wrightsville Beach...................................................................................................76
Temporary Rudder..................................................................................................77
Forgive Us Our Trespasses.....................................................................................78
Crabs for Christmas.................................................................................................80
4
Sleepless Nights.......................................................................................................81
If It's OK with You...................................................................................................82
Egg Drop Ramen Soup............................................................................................83
Oyster Bed.................................................................................................................84
Be Careful What You Wish For..............................................................................85
Marinas......................................................................................................................86
Charleston.................................................................................................................87
Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful....................................................................88
Jack, Bob and Chuck................................................................................................89
Bubba.........................................................................................................................90
Weird Christmas......................................................................................................92
Strike Four?...............................................................................................................93
Any Port in a Storm.................................................................................................94
Seashells by the Seashore........................................................................................95
Neptune Claus..........................................................................................................96

   JANUARY.............................................................................................97
Happy New Year!....................................................................................................98
Pan-Pan......................................................................................................................98
Frigid Mermaid......................................................................................................100
Twas the Night Before...........................................................................................101
Muffy Here.............................................................................................................103
The Dynamic Duo..................................................................................................104
I Like to Ride my Bicycle......................................................................................106
Hef............................................................................................................................107
Savannah.................................................................................................................108
Bring Out Your Dead.............................................................................................109
Thanks Grampa!.....................................................................................................110
Fore!.........................................................................................................................112
No Male Space........................................................................................................113
Trivial Pursuit.........................................................................................................114
Oops, I did it Again...............................................................................................116
Boatcam...................................................................................................................117
Day -1.......................................................................................................................117
Come Sail Away with Me.....................................................................................118
                                                                                                                                5
Square Waves..........................................................................................................119
Red Right Return...................................................................................................121
Sail Trim..................................................................................................................122

    FEBRUARY.........................................................................................123
Empty Pantry..........................................................................................................124
Saltier Every Day...................................................................................................125
gpsBabel..................................................................................................................126
Fernandina Beach, FL............................................................................................127
Gone Fishin'............................................................................................................128
In the News.............................................................................................................128
Moorings.................................................................................................................129
Electric.....................................................................................................................130
We Can Make It Better, Faster, Stronger.............................................................131
A Miracle.................................................................................................................132
Another One Bites the Dust..................................................................................133
St. Augustine..........................................................................................................133
Gotta Keep Them Separated................................................................................134
A Penny Saved........................................................................................................135
Riding on the Wind...............................................................................................136
What the Sea Giveth..............................................................................................137
Captain Sunshine...................................................................................................138
Dirty Laundry.........................................................................................................138
Triathlon..................................................................................................................139
Poet Laureate..........................................................................................................140
Fear...........................................................................................................................141
There are Rules.......................................................................................................142

    MARCH............................................................................................143
St. Augustine, FL to Indian River, FL..................................................................143
The Wind's a blowin', the Tide a Flowin'...........................................................144
The Real Salty Dawg.............................................................................................145
Boat Week................................................................................................................146
First Mate Fred.......................................................................................................147
Memories of Cocoa Beach.....................................................................................149

6
Rebuttal...................................................................................................................152
Odds & Ends...........................................................................................................154
T-minus 8 hours and Counting............................................................................155
That was Quick.......................................................................................................157
Banana Puddin'......................................................................................................158
Master Baiter...........................................................................................................159
Shakedown.............................................................................................................160
Biker Babe Buffy.....................................................................................................161
My Next Boat?........................................................................................................162
Kill the Krill............................................................................................................164
Eat the Krill.............................................................................................................165
Buffy Broke my Pole..............................................................................................167
Even the Best-Laid Plans.......................................................................................168
Cooking with Cap'n Scott, Guest Edition...........................................................169
Only Losers Ride the Bus......................................................................................172
Random Indian River Pictures.............................................................................173
To the Lighthouse..................................................................................................176
The New Cool.........................................................................................................180
Captain Crankypants............................................................................................182
Can You Hear Me Now?.......................................................................................183
Dinner?....................................................................................................................184

   APRIL...............................................................................................185
On a Jib and a Prayer.............................................................................................186
Float Plan.................................................................................................................188
Cheeseburger in Paradise.....................................................................................189
Far Out Dude!.........................................................................................................189
Let There Be Light..................................................................................................191
All Things Bright and Beautiful...........................................................................192
Float Plan: Part II ...................................................................................................193
When Life Gives You Lemons..............................................................................195
Render Unto Caesar..............................................................................................196
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner...............................................................................196
Captain Crankypants: Part II...............................................................................197
Lazy Man's Moor...................................................................................................199
                                                                                                                            7
No Clue What a Tack Is.........................................................................................200
Not That Guy..........................................................................................................201
Deja Vu....................................................................................................................201
The Lunatic.............................................................................................................202
South of the Border................................................................................................204
Talent.......................................................................................................................205
Yada Yada Yada......................................................................................................206
Amnesia...................................................................................................................207
Cooking with Admiral Amy................................................................................207
Day of Rest..............................................................................................................208
Steal this Blog.........................................................................................................209

    MAY.................................................................................................211
The not so Dismal Swamp....................................................................................212
Back in the Bay.......................................................................................................214
Smooth Sailing........................................................................................................215
Shhh!........................................................................................................................216
Oh, Say Can You See?............................................................................................217
I Could Use Some Advice.....................................................................................218
The Old Fart Club..................................................................................................219
Infrastructure..........................................................................................................223
Negotiations............................................................................................................223
Admiral Crankypants...........................................................................................225
New Halyard..........................................................................................................226
Epilogue..................................................................................................................227




8
                                    Preface


   In August of 2007 I bought a boat. Three months later I left Baltimore, MD
for the Bahamas. The boat and I didn't quite make it there. But we had a lot
of fun trying.
   I kept a blog while making the trip. I posted to it almost daily. What
follows are those posts, edited for content and space. At the time of this
writing, the blog still exists on the web at http:/nautib.blogspot.com. It's a lot
more interesting than this book because it includes comments from friends
and family. A lot of the comments are funnier and more informative than my
posts. Also, the blog has links to information on the web I found useful
during my trip: weather, tides and currents, nautical charts, equipment
manufacturers, etc.
    This begs the question, why a book? The answer is, because I can. This
book was edited in OpenOffice word processor, exported as a PDF and
printed through the Lulu.com website. The cost of printing the book is about
ten dollars a copy. I don't expect to get rich off the book, or for more than a
few copies to be printed. But now at dinner parties, I can say I am an author.
And I can carelessly leave copies of the book lying around my house for
guests to discover. Then I can say, “Oh, that thing. That's just the book I
wrote about my sailing voyage to the Bahamas.” I guess that's why they call
it Vanity Publishing.
   A couple other notes... There are references throughout the book to
Nautig. This is a computer program I wrote to hook up my GPS to the web
and display my position in real time during the trip. Some version of it
probably still exists at http://nautig.com. Also, believe it or not, for the
second half of the trip I had a webcam hooked up so that a live picture from
the boat was displayed online several times a minute. The blog, gps and
webcam were made possible because I was never more than twenty miles
offshore and had almost constant connectivity to the internet through a
Verizon aircard modem.
   Hope you enjoy the book. If you do, leave me a comment on my blog!


Cap'n Scott
September 2008


                                                                                 9
This book is dedicated to Amy and my dad (aka The Admiral and Grampa),
 all my old friends who accompanied me on my journey through the blog,
              and to all the new friends I made along the way.




10
         October




Baltimore, MD and New York City




                                  11
                         Day:-13 Lat:39.28 Lon:-76.58




    Got my gps working again. It was crashing my new laptop. Not sure
what the problem was. I added a kludge to my program so that it reads from
the serial port every quarter second, instead of continuously. I doubt that the
solution will work on other computers I plug it into. Now to do some
programming so that my position is relayed to NautiG and displayed on the
map online.
    Did an online safety quiz at the Coast Guard website. I am not in
compliance and am heading off to the store to get some required items. I was
going to take the boat out this morning and work on the autopilot. I'm going
to hold off on that. I don't want to risk getting stopped by the Coast Guard
until I'm in compliance.




12
                         Day:-12 Lat:39.28 Lon:-76.58




    A strong gale blew through last night. It blew me across my anchorage. I
was cursing my choice of anchorage. It's a spot I pass every morning when I
go for a run. I've never seen boats anchored here, but thought it looked like a
great spot. Boats are always at another anchorage about a quarter mile away,
by the safeway.
    Anyway, I motored to the windward side of the anchorage and tied up to
a deserted pier at a new marina and condos. When I weighed anchor this
morning, there was no anchor to weigh. The picture is of the anchor earlier in
the day when I dredged up an oyster from the harbor. Wish I had gotten the
connection to the chain in the picture, so I could see the weak link, but I was
focusing in on the oyster. If it wasn't from the baltimore harbor, I would have
eaten it. I wouldn't swim in this water, let alone eat anything that came out of
it.




                                                                              13
                              Day -11 Ashore




   My Dad and I replaced two rotted plywood panels on the barn. Actually,
I'm thinking that I did most of the work while he disappeared to lowes to get
a post we also found needed to be replaced. Also, installed a new gas tank in
my 67 sunbeam alpine convertible. The old one was rusted and started
leaking.



                         Day -9 Lat:39.15 Lon:-76.50




14
    This is an autohelm 3000 autopilot disassembled. The controller on mine
does not work :( I checked all the wires and cleaned the connections. I
checked that the compass moves freely. I'm not an electrical engineer, so I'm
not competent to diagnose problems on the circuit board level. I'll fiddle with
it some more on my way back to the marina.
    Spent the night at white rocks. I'd post pictures of the beautiful sunset
and sunrise, but if I post that type of picture too often, I think they will get
old quick.



                                      Day -8




   This is the guy in the slip next to me. He's pretty quiet. I power-washed
my boat yesterday. It looks a lot better. Even nicer than this guy's boat.
   The guy in the slip on my port side isn't as quiet as the other guy. He has
two dogs. But he's a nice guy. He's been giving me electricity. I bought him a
case of natural light. That's the swill he drinks. I'll get him a bottle of absolut
before I leave.




                                                                                  15
                              Chinatown Bus




    The Chinatown bus is a great way to get to NYC, which is where I am
now. It costs $20 one way from DC or Baltimore. It's cheaper than driving,
and you don't have to pay for parking once you are here. There are lots of
companies which provide service and depending on the day, buses leave
almost every hour. You can find schedules and buy tickets at gotobus.com
(although you can also buy tickets on the bus).
    Eastern is the most reputable company, with the best service and newest,
cleanest buses. The only problem is that most people who ride the buses
seem to know that, and Eastern buses are often crowded. I've not been able
to get on the bus because it was full with people who had already bought
tickets. Other companies' buses are often older, dirtier and emptier. And
there can be some surprises, like stopping in Philadelphia or Wilmington
along the way. Despite the name, most Chinatown buses will drop you off in
midtown Manhattan.




16
                         Day:-6 Lat:40.78 Lon:-73.92




    When I'm in NY I go running in a park by Hell Gate. Hell Gate is so
named because the tides run very fast through this area and there are a lot of
old shipwrecks. If you're in an underpowered boat going against the tide,
you aren't going anywhere but backwards. If you're running with a fast tide,
you risk getting slammed into the rocks. I went through Hell Gate several
years ago when I helped a friend move his boat from Baltimore to
Connecticut. We left Manhattan early in the morning to hit the gate at the
time known as slack tide. It's the time when the tide is at it's lowest or
highest point and the water is running neither in nor out.
    I bought a microcontroller this morning. I'm creating a Rube Goldberg fix
for my autopilot. I was going to buy a new autopilot, but they are very
expensive. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am going to make every
effort to get the old autopilot working before I drop a grand on a new one.
I'm having fun getting the microcontroller and circuits working. I haven't
done anything like this since I was a kid and I got a heathkit electronics kit
for christmas. I built all kinds of neat things with it, like a radio and
microphone, siren and other crap. But there was no cpu included in the kit. It
was back in the days when hobbyists were just starting to build crude pcs.
    I guess the tinkering is in my genes. The only tv in our house until I was
10 or so, was a heathkit tv assembled by my dad. It sat in a plywood box
enclosure and you could see all the circuits and the cathode ray tube sticking
out the back.

                                                                            17
                                  NautiG




   If you go to NautiG, you can see the route I took from White Rocks to the
Marina, before coming up to NY. Push the track menu button. The
coordinates were taken from my gps and plotted on the map by the program.
I hope to make the program more sophisticated so that it will show my speed
and perhaps some other data as well, as I go down the icw starting next
week.



                                 Manatee




18
   The manatee is a much maligned and misunderstood creature. Manatees
are frequently wounded by boat propellers. Their population in Florida is
threatened by extinction due to human activity.



                                    Day -2




   It's getting cold. Time to go.




                                                                        19
                              Day: -1 Ignition!




   Arrgh, matey! Saw this pirate ship on my run this morning. Had what
was probably my last shave and hot shower for two months this morning
and left the marina for good an hour ago. Anchored off Fells Point. I have a
bunch of loose ends to tie up at the house tomorrow, and then finally
heading out.




20
      November




Baltimore, MD to Belhaven, NC




                                21
       Day:1 Lift Off!




     Bye, bye Baltimore.



         Hurricane




22
    The track of my first day's journey has been uploaded to NautiG (You
need the latest flash player in order to use NautiG). Click the "Track" button
to see my path, as recorded by my gps. I left town in the afternoon and sailed
for about four hours. The wind was at my back at 10-15 knots, and I sailed
the whole way wing on wing or on a broad reach. I hope that's a good omen
for the trip.
    I don't think I'm going anywhere today, except maybe across the
anchorage to a more protected spot. The wind has been howling all night.
There's a small craft advisory and a gale warning for tonight.



                                    Day 3




   Either I was at a ridiculously protected anchorage last night, or the small
craft advisory and gale wind warnings were overblown. Maybe both. All I
know is that I did not sleep well the night before last, with the clanging of
the halyards and wave action. Last night I slept like a baby.
   Meeting up with my boys this morning and going down the bay. There
are supposed to be strong north winds today, calming over the weekend, but
staying northerly. Hopefully, we can get some distance covered.




                                                                            23
                                Gem Party!




   When I picked up the boys on a creek off of the Magothy, this is what
greeted us: 2 gemini catamarans, Sylkie and Double Pinocle. Passed another
gemini on the way out of the creek, but I forget it's name. Maybe Tullie?
   Lots more to blog about yesterday. Quite an adventure. But the boys are
anxious to hit the road, and the internet is incredibly slow on the eastern
shore. Spent the night at the tip of Tilghman island.




24
                              Weekend Roundup




    Saturday morning I picked up Glen and Fred on a creek in the Magothy.
As you can see from the picture in the earlier post, I backed the boat up to a
boat ramp on the creek and walked the eight feet or so to shore. The 18 inch
draft on this boat is a nice feature.
    The wind was blowing 10-20 knots from the north all day as we made our
way down the bay. The gps showed that we were consistently running 6-8
mph (6-8 mph/ 1.15 knots per mile = 5-7 knots). I highly recommend bay
sailing in the Fall. Yes the conditions were at the limit that I enjoy sailing.
And there were large swells, but they were following and we surfed down
them. The bridge deck even got a little wet as we barely breached some of the
swells. It was a little chilly too, but not bad with several layers of clothes.
    Summer sailing on the bay can be more pleasant, but it's also a lot more
unpredictable. Weather conditions on land also seem to be magnified on the
water. If it's hot on land, it's even hotter out on the water. There are plenty of
times in the summer when there is no wind and it's just hot and unpleasant
to be out on the bay. And then there are the dreaded afternoon
thunderstorms which seem to appear out of nowhere. The most harrowing
sailing experiences I've been through have been when I've been enjoying a
summer afternoon with friends out on the boat and someone turns around to
discover a really dark cloud coming at us fast. I'll take steady 20 knot winds
and four foot swells over a summer thunderstorm any day.
                                                                                25
    Unfortunately, during our Saturday sail, we damaged the rudders.
Fiberglass was torn and a metal bracket bent. I think there were several
contributing factors to the damage, including: the heavy weather, old
fiberglass, poor boat design, and strong helmsmen who didn't mind
manhandling the wheel to keep a steady course. Glen maguevered a repair
while we were underway, and we did a more substantial repair Sunday
morning, but a more permanent repair needs to be fashioned. I think it will
involve a number of steel straps and brackets to reinforce the steering
connections. I'm just glad the steering cable didn't snap. On the gemini
forums, that is a major topic, and would be a real pain to replace. The
damages and repairs will probably be a topic of a future post.
    Anyway, between the busted rudders and having three guys living on the
boat this weekend, it looks like the boat has been hit by a hurricane. Glen and
Fred brought as much stuff on board for the weekend as I brought for the
entire six month trip. There was luggage and food strewn everywhere.
Fortunately, they left the uneaten food behind and I'm stocked for the next
week. Fred also loaned me his handheld gps for the trip, for which I'm
deeply grateful. It will be nice to have a backup gps. I've spent the night at
the pier at Glen's dad's retirement home off Solomon's Island. Glen says that
when I visit his dad this morning, I can also get a shower. The pier has
electricity and water, so I can top off my water and battery banks and power
wash the boat.
    Oh, and the picture up top. That's a j boat race south of Annapolis. We
passed it on Saturday.



                             Lesson for the Day

    If yahoo maps shows a walmart at one end of a tall bridge with a
highway running over it, and I plan to ride my bike to said walmart, and I
dock at that end of the bridge, the walmart may actually be at the other end
of the bridge.



                             More Adventures!

    The days seem to be alternating between hair raising adventures and
recuperative days. Today seems destined to be an adventure day. It started at
2:30 am with a thud. A 45 foot monohull had broken free of it's anchor and
was blown into me. The young couple seemed a little distraught about the
situation. The husband wanted to start up the engine and motor off of me,
but I dissuaded him of that notion, seeing as how my anchor line looked like

26
it was pinned to his rudder. Instead, he took one of his anchors out in his
dingy and set it. He tried to pull himself off with the new anchor, but went
nowhere. Finally, I had the bright idea to set another anchor for my boat. I
then let my original anchor line free and drifted off him. Unfortunately, as I
drifted off, the original anchor line drifted off as well. It was indeed wrapped
around their rudder. And had been pinning us together.
    So anyway, at least I know that my anchor can hold both my boat and a
45 foot monohull in some wind. The bad news is that my anchor is now
attached to another sailboat.



                                Mapping Woes




                                                                              27
    This is where I anchored in Solomon's the other night. Google maps
thinks I was anchored on land. I've been let down by internet mapping the
past few days (see my earlier post about Walmart). Also tried to anchor in a
well marked creek, both on the charts and with daymarks and a sea wall in
real life. A fisherman on his way in at the same time stopped and warned me
that there were no depths in the creek. I told him that was ok, because I only
drew 18 inches. However, as I was half way down the channel entrance, I ran
aground. I decided the best course of action would be to reverse and find
somewhere else to anchor for the night.
    I've had a mixed bag of anchorages so far. I need to figure out what
makes a good anchorage. Halyards banging and bouncing up and down do
not make for a good night's sleep. When I figure it out, I'll let you know. I
think it will have something to do with getting as far up a creek as I can and
surrounding myself with tall trees.



                             Dawn's Early Light




   Did 40 miles yesterday. Point Lookout, MD to Deltaville, VA. Crossing the
Potomac was a little hairy. Winds were gusting at 30 mph from the NW. The
Potomac runs NW to SE, so the waves had plenty of room to build and the
swells were quite large. The boat took a beating on the way out of port and
28
into the wind, until I was clear of land and able to turn SE. Then we started
surfing. I was dubious of claims on the gemini forum of speeds of 25 knots
while surfing, but after yesterday, I think it might be possible. I don't think I
was going that fast, but there were a few times on some really big swells, that
I thought if the boat had wings instead of sails, I would be airborne. I did ten
miles in just a little over an hour. The pretty picture is of the potomac
crossing, and it belies the extremes of the sailing conditions. It was taken
during one of the few lulls when I felt confident to pry one of my clenched
fists from the helm.
     I would have stayed in my anchorage, and not sailed that day, but for two
reasons. One was that it was good wind, and I knew that I could make some
distance. I'd like to sail, not motor, as much of this trip as possible. Secondly,
I was anchored right off the state park marina and there was a police boat at
the marina. I think my boat is in good condition and in compliance with all
regulations, but I didn't want to chance things. I didn't know what time the
park police showed up for work, but I did know that I didn't want to be
around when they did. I'm sure they don't have much to do this time of year,
and if they saw a catamaran sitting just yards off their pier, they might think
Christmas came early this year. I did not want to spend the morning playing
20 questions with a cop.
     Anyway, the Potomac crossing gave me a lot more confidence in both the
boat and myself. We fared fine. I am getting my sea legs back! I turned the
corner south at Virginia, and the wind and seas calmed substantially. I must
have gotten complacent though, because I got farther out into the bay than I
had intended when the wind direction changed. The seas became crossing
and confused. It wasn't pleasant, and at that point, I decided to abandon my
original goal of sailing dawn to dusk. I headed towards land. When I got
near a creek, I tried to start up the engine. No luck. I took off the cowl and
there was water in the engine compartment. I would have lifted the engine
out of the water originally, but I wanted it in the water to help stabilize the
steering. There are ropes connecting the engine to the rudders, and they
move in tandem.
     I decided to try to enter the creek under sail, but no luck. The creek
pointed NW into the wind. And this boat will not sail into the wind. I left the
cowl off, for the engine to dry and kept sailing. In the early afternoon, I
reached a point where a spit of land stuck out, and I was able to get beneath
it, and out of the wind and waves. I anchored and had lunch. Took the spark
plugs out of the engine. I think I had also flooded it, trying to get it started.
The engine dried out, started up, and I headed for a nearby anchorage. I feel
like I had quite a workout yesterday. My body aches all over. But it feels
good!

                                                                                29
                                 Deltaville




   Left Deltaville early yesterday, but the winds died early too. I spent last
night in a creek a few miles south. Deltaville was a really tiny creek and the
shore was lined with marinas. There was really nowhere to anchor. If I was in
a monohull, I'd have been out of luck. But I was able to find one of a couple
spots along the shore that wasn't covered with piers, and backed into the
shore so that I was just out of the channel.
   In the morning I got some gas and washed my head under the water
spigot on the fuel dock. Brrrr. Passed what are quite literally houseboats on
the way out of the creek. That's the picture.




30
         Rudder Repair


Before




After




                         31
    Rudder repaired with a steel strap I bought in Solomon's, although I still
have some fiberglass work to do. Fortunately, the pre-drilled holes in the bar
were exactly the correct spacing to fit with the existing hardware. One of my
trusty weekend helmsman must have applied a great deal of force to the
rudder, because let me tell you, the steel connecting bar was not easy to bend
back into shape.
    No wind yesterday, so I spent the day at anchor and even did a little
kayaking and shore exploring. Also had a sponge bath. It was a lot easier
than I anticipated, and I felt quite refreshed after. I'd post a picture of it, but I
don't want to get banned from blogger. I think it's going to become standard
operating procedure. So, if you visit me on the boat, I should be a lot less
offensive, at least to your nose.



                           The Boat had a Rough Day

    I busted another rudder. Not the one I already repaired. The other one.
Also the bimini ripped and it's frame was ripped free of the fiberglass, and
the tv antenna collapsed. The entire boat is in disarray. My plan this morning
was to sail about 30 miles to a creek just north of Norfolk. I checked the
weather forecast online and listened to the weather radio. There was a small
craft advisory with winds 15-20 knots from the north. No problem. I did the
Potomac crossing in worse weather. I'm now a salty sea dog. This will be
some fun sailing.
    I got out of the creek and the conditions were exactly as forecast. The
wind was less than I had dealt with the other day, but the waves were bigger.
They had built up quite a bit as the wind had traveled down the bay. They
were bigger than I had ever seen on the bay. I was really surfing!
    My route today would take me across the mouth of Mobjack bay. I would
be way out in the bay for most of the trip. As the trip progressed the weather
began to build. The wind grew stronger and the waves bigger. If it wasn't for
my gps, I would have thought that I had somehow wandered past Norfolk
and out into the ocean. The waves were huge. I kept telling myself that this
type of boat has crossed oceans. If it can do that, then she and I can handle
anything on the Chesapeake. We were handling the conditions just fine. Then
a wave picked us up and as we came down the backside, the boat did almost
a complete 180 into the wind. I tried to turn her back around, but she
wouldn't respond. I thought maybe I snagged a crab pot, but there were
none way out there. I thought maybe somehow the anchor had leaped out of
the anchor locker and was holding us, but no. Then I looked at the rudders,
and one was busted.
    We foundered a bit while I collected my thoughts and assessed the
32
situation. The foundering actually wasn't all that bad and I contemplated the
worst case scenario that I would just get pushed down the bay until the
weather let up. The waves were big, but I didn't think they would be able to
flip the boat. Finally I decided to lower the sails and motor. I wasn't excited
about getting out of the cockpit, but thought that was the route to take. With
the sails down and the motor running, I did have some steering and I began
making progress. In a little while I saw land in the distance and knew that
this nightmare would end.
    When I told people that I bought the boat and that I was going to Florida
and possibly the Bahamas, often I would get a response of "oh you're going
to cross the ocean, how exciting." I explained to them that the Bahamas are a
day's trip from Florida, and that I would never dream of crossing an ocean in
any boat. Days like today are exactly the reason why. When you are on the
ocean, there is no port to duck into if the weather turns bad. And if
something goes wrong, you're on your own. There is no hospital to go to, or
marine parts store to pick up a few things. In the bay, I know that I'm going
to spend the night in some creek, no matter what. And if worst comes to
worst, I'm going to call the Coast Guard on the radio, and they are going to
come save my sorry ass.
    Anyway, I now have a new most harrowing sea tale. The old one was
when Glen and I got blind sided by a Summer thunderstorm. And if
someone asks me what my favorite beer is, I'm going to tell them it's the can
of Bud that I drank in a creek after crossing the lower Chesapeake in
November. I've had enough of adventures and am ready to hit the ditch and
start motoring down the Dismal Swamp.
    I'll add pictures to this post tomorrow, so that you can see the damage.
Oh, and a giant FU to the National Weather Service.




                                                                             33
34
                      Day 11 Lat : 37.0954 Lon:-76.2947




    Spent yesterday cleaning up the boat and fixing what could be fixed
without a trip to the store. Tried to watch some football too, but all I could
pick up was a home improvement show on public television. I don't know if
there's just nothing out here, or if the damage to the tv antenna ruined it's
reception.
    If you need to duck out of a storm on the lower Chesapeake, this is a nice
place to do it. There is a public boat ramp and pier which I am tied up to.
Lots of fisherman coming in and out yesterday. There is also gas and a small
store with some fishing and boating supplies and munchies and beer.
Everyone is very friendly. Also some porta-potties in the parking lot.
    The pier is very small though, and there is really only room for a boat or
two. There is nowhere to anchor in this creek. There are no depths, and if you
get out of the tiny channel, you will run aground. When you enter the creek,
the channel splits. Take the channel to the right and to the pier about 50
yards away.
    Motoring to Norfolk today. I'll be there for a few days while I fix the
rudder. There's supposedly a public pier with showers and laundry. Woo-
hoo!


                                                                            35
                                    Norfolk

    I fishtailed my way down the bay yesterday. I don't know how I got this
boat into port during that storm. I have very little steering and it took very
active helmsmanship to get the boat here. My gps shows I did 23 miles, but
that's just in forward progress. I'd bet I did 30 or more, with all the side to
side action.
    Norfolk is quite impressive. There's a long row of aircraft carriers and
other military ships which greet you on the way in. Also a few other ships at
various piers and dry docks for repairs. I wanted to take some pictures for
the blog, but in this day and age, I decided that wasn't wise. On my way in, I
was greeted by a Coast Guard vessel which came up quite close to take a
look at me and the boat. Also passed several security/police boats.
    The guide books say to beware of shipping traffic on your way in. That is
an understatement. Having spent years sailing in and around Baltimore, I
thought I knew what to expect. When I owned the old Pearson Ariel, it was
docked at the mouth of the Patapsco. If you took it out for an afternoon sail,
the sail was basically a crisscrossing of the shipping channel. You had to keep
a sharp lookout for tugs and barges, and container ships as they were coming
into Baltimore. These large ships can come up on you fast. One moment you
look out and they are a speck on the horizon. The next, they are breathing
down your neck.
    Norfolk is much hairier. There is a lot more boat traffic, both small and
large (At least this time of year). Also, the channel takes up most of the river.
On the Patapsco, there is plenty of water to travel in outside of the channel.
Not so here. Then there are the Navy ships and security which you try to
steer clear of. The guide book warns that you are to stay at least 500 yards
away from the ships. That is impossible. I don't think the river is even 500
yards wide.
    Anyway, I'm here. And will be for a few days. Maybe as long as a week.
I've finished the first leg of the journey. The boat and myself need some R&R.
We need to get ourselves prepared, both physically and mentally, for the next
leg of the journey. We spent last night at an anchorage in Norfolk, which I
will tell you about in a later post. Today, I will spring for a marina where I
can get a shower and do some laundry.
    I appreciate the comments I get on the blog. I started the blog because I
knew that this would be an interesting journey, and wanted to record it for
posterity. I would be writing this journal, even if it was only in a little
notebook, and I would likely be the only one to read it, perhaps years later as
I reminisced about the trip. I know from the statistics that Google keeps that I
have had a lot of visitors to this blog. And the only place I have given any
notice about the blog, is on the gemini forums website.
36
   I've gotten a bunch of emails from friends and family about the blog.
Keep them coming. I enjoy them. However, if you have something to say
about the blog. And it is strictly about the blog. I would appreciate if you left
the message in the comments section of the blog. I think your comments
make the blog a lot more interesting. Also, if you are a lurker, feel free to
leave a comment. Even if it's just, "Hey, loved the blog."



                           Portsmouth over Norfolk

    I've now been in both Portsmouth and Norfolk. The areas right around
the waterfront in both towns are nice. But I advise against straying too far
into either town. If you must, in order to reprovision, you should do so in
broad daylight. There are a lot of people hanging out on the streets doing
what appears to be nothing. Portsmouth has an old town area, and a cute
main street with cafes and shops. It also has two small yacht basins where
you can tie up for free. Overnight stays at the basins are not permitted. If you
want to hang out and relax, I would choose Portsmouth over Norfolk.
Norfolk has more services with an upscale grocery store and a shopping mall
within walking distance of the waterfront. I stayed at the Waterside marina
which costs $1.50/foot/night. They have showers, laundry and a gym. But the
facilities are very basic. Ordinarily, I would have taken advantage of the gym.
But I've already had quite a workout these past two weeks.
    I bought the boat in July, and could tell that I had lost weight this Fall
when I switched from my Summer uniform of shorts and tevas, to jeans and
sneakers. The jeans which used to fit me snuggly, now were quite loose.
Getting the boat in shape for the trip was a lot of work. Well, I surveyed
myself this morning in the shower, and any love handles which I may have
had, are now completely gone. When I'm done with this trip, if there's
anything left of me, it will be muscles, skin and bone. I've also given up on
shaving. It is disconcerting though, that as I near 40, a good part of my beard
has turned gray.
    There are quite a few attractive southern belles walking the streets of
Norfolk (I'm just looking. I promise, Amy). Or maybe it's just that I've
already been asea too long. Although, the girls maning (womaning?) the
kiosks in the mall are a little too aggressive for my taste. No, I do not want to
listen to the sales pitch from every one of you. Also saw a guy riding a
segeway. I wish I had the camera on me. He was in a business suit and
looked like a complete dork. It's got to be the gayest thing I've seen on the
trip so far. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
    I was visited by one of my blog readers last night. She and her husband
offered me the use of their car to get supplies, and their sewing machine to
                                                                               37
repair the bimini. I thank them for their offer, but I think I'm just going to
continue slowly zig-zagging down the icw while I repair the rudder.
   And on a final note, If you see a beer called Steel Reserve, do not buy it. It
will completely F you up. It won't hit you for an hour or two, but then you
will be fall down drunk.



                                 Tossed Salad




    I recently started buying salads from the supermarket salad bar when I'm
out and about and hungry. They are delicious. The salad bar has a lot of
other things besides salad. My old routine was to get two spicy big bites for
$2 from 7-11. I'd then load them up with free chili and cheese. They are
delicious too. And I sometimes still buy them. With two, I have one to eat
now, and one for later. However, I don't think they are as healthy for you as
the salad.
    What I don't like is, when my salad gets all mixed together on the ride
home.




38
                                 Post for Peter




    This post is for Peter (not for you), so that he can see the damage to the
rudder. He's a friend of the couple who read the blog, and whom I met last
night. I'm going over to his shop tomorrow to try to fix the rudder. Man is
this blogging thing paying off already.
    Peter, I have a box of 20 four inch steel mending straps that I was going to
use to reinforce the fiberglass. I was going to lay them across the joints and
fiberglass over them. Because of the rudder design, you can not screw in the
straps. But if you have a better idea, let's do it. Also, I have all the pieces of
the rudder housing, except a small piece on the bottom. I'm either going to
have to fabricate that piece, or just live without it for the time being.



                      The Illustrious Professor, Dr. Amy

    I asked Amy to occasionally guest blog, and add her perspective of my
journey to the blog. I think you'll love her. I certainly do.
    Dispatches from land:
    When Scott began this blog, he suggested that (along with keeping the
home fires burning) I might occasionally guest blog for him. I delayed my
first installment for too long -- even though my drive home sometimes feels
like I'm navigating the shipping lane at Patapsco, nothing I do seems as
                                                                                39
adventurous as his travels. So he suggested I write up a topic we've chatted
about for a while: the culture of the marina.
    A caveat - I am a sociologist, but I don't really study this sort of thing.
More importantly, I know slightly more than nothing about boats. I can
count the number of days I've spent on boats on one hand (with a thumb left
over). For one of those days, a few years ago, I spent most of the time below
deck, violently ill. For another one of those days, I was in a Dramamine-
induced catatonia. But I did spend a handful of days reading novels on the
deck of Scott's boat while he worked on it in the marina. During this time, I
noticed one big thing about marina life: women are pretty much invisible
there.
    It's not surprising that the marina is a male space. Like sports cars, comic
books and video games, boats seem to fall in the category of boy-stuff. Yeah,
yeah, yeah, I do know there are exceptions. I love the PlayStation2 my
brother gave me, but when I go into a game store to shop for something new,
I am usually the only woman there. In the marina, men outnumber women,
and we didn't come across any boats with only women owners. Even among
the married couples who were living aboard, the men were out and about,
and we saw the women only occasionally. But even accounting for that,
initial interactions with people always struck me as strange.
    The standard interaction with a new person went like this: A man from a
nearby boat would walk by on the pier, and introduce himself to Scott and
talk about the boat. Not a word, a nod, or even eye contact in my direction
until Scott introduced me. Once introduced, the other man would say hello,
maybe add a little small talk, and all was fine.
    In later interactions, once I had been introduced, these were the nicest
people possible, warm and generous. A couple men in particular helped
Scott with a lot of repairs, shared tools and conversation, and even had us
over for a barbecue.
    One possibility I've suggested to Scott is that the boat is seen as a
potential bachelor pad for the men. You might bring your girlfriend, your
wife, your mistress, or all of the above at different times. In my mind, the
other men in the marina intentionally ignore me as a way of giving him that
privacy and freedom. A little like a "don't ask, don't tell" policy for the
marina. Once Scott introduces me to them, he legitimizes my presence, in
essence, signaling to them, "you'll be seeing her around, and it's no secret."
    Cap'n Salty Dog (as I affectionately refer to him) disagrees with me. He
recently wrote to me, "I think it's more that the boat is the woman. The
primary relationship on the water is between the guy and the boat. It's like
guys and cars, or you girls at the beach house having your nail painting
party. You just aren't relevant in that environment. If anything, the woman is

40
the third wheel."
    Now that we've got an audience of boaters, I'd love to hear what others
think... Comments anyone?



                                Feels Like Home




     Spent the day in Portsmouth. I would recommend stopping here. The
people are incredibly nice and helpful.I feel like I've been adopted by them
as a mascot, or maybe a little brother. There are two boat basins. Tie up at the
second one you encounter which is the High Street Landing. The other basin
is two blocks North, and you can tie up there too. The High Street Basin has a
coffee kiosk. This appears to be the meeting place for boating folks and
townspeople. Betsy is the owner. She and Ben kept a sharp eye on the boat
while I was out and about trying to get things fixed. I got a call from her
when there was a problem with my dock lines.
     The basins have signs prohibiting overnight stays. Apparently this is not
enforced. The signs are there to discourage folks who think about setting up
permanent residence in the basins. Also, maybe to placate the local marina
owners. I'd actually prefer to stay overnight at the anchorage just North. The
basin is a little bouncy with all the boat traffic, and the ferry toots it's horn as
it leaves the basin. I also, in general, prefer to be at anchor.
     Had dinner at the Bier Garden, a couple blocks over from the basin, on
                                                                                  41
High Street. The food and beer were yummy, even if the service was a little
lackluster. I was served a beer which while good, was definitely not the Pale
Ale I requested. The shops on High Street peter out after a few blocks, but
from their store fronts, they look eclectic and interesting. I hope I get a
chance to check them out before I leave.
    A big shout out and thanks to Maryanne who reads my blog, and with
her husband Kyle owns another Gemini. It's brand new and pretty sweet
looking. Maryanne sewed my bimini back together. Also Peter and Mike are
helping me with my rudder. And another Mike helped me with my dock
lines. The picture is of the little tugboat which Peter and Mike are building
from scratch.



                              Walmart v. Target

    I visited the nicest Walmart I've ever seen, in Norfolk today. The cashier
told me that it had only been open a few months. It was fully stocked, with a
complete grocery store and the usual other stuff, only well organized and not
in disarray. The roof had skylighting, so there was not the usual florescent
glare. The floors were an adobe color, and not the usual scuffed linoleum.
    I'm becoming a Walmart convert. It's a similar relationship to the one I
have with Home Depot and Lowes. Lowes is a much nicer store to visit.
Clean, orderly, and better stocked. But I have to search out and travel farther
to find a Lowes. When I was working on my house, there was a Home Depot
a few miles away. The Lowes was much farther. I basically would cash my
weekly paycheck at Home Depot, and go home to work on the house.
    Tried to visit a small hardware store I had ridden my bike to, days earlier
in Norfolk. Unfortunately, it is closed on the weekends. Oh my god, the
amount of money I am spending on this trip.




42
                            On the Road Again




    So, I retrieved my broken rudder from the shop yesterday and left
Portsmouth, I'm sure much to the consternation of my friends, family and
good people of Portsmouth. Peter and Mike had found a metal shop in
Norfolk which would repair my rudder. The shop is owned by a guy named
Howdy, and was full of cool tools and pictures of work he had done,
including lots of pictures of sailboats with metal hulls. If anyone could
fabricate new rudder housings for my boat, it is this guy. Unfortunately, the
estimate of time and money that he gave me to fix the rudders exceeded my
budget. Mostly my time budget. The estimate was a week and a half. And the
way things work around here (and the South in general), I feared a week and
a half could be a lot longer.
    The dream is to spend the Winter in the Bahamas. I am not spending
Thanksgiving (or God forbid, Christmas) in Portsmouth.
    If my rudder did not get fixed in Portsmouth, I blame no one but myself.
Perhaps I wasn't honest with myself and others about my limits of patience.
Anyway, I bought some fiberglass at West Marine yesterday, and will
attempt a half-assed and butt ugly repair of the rudder housing. It only has
to last a month and a half, and help me as I hobble down the icw under
motor. I promise you that before I do any sailing, or take the boat out into
any weather, I will get the rudders fixed properly. If the NWS calls for any
weather, I'll just spend the day at anchor in a creek. And when I'm at a
marina in Florida in January for a month, I will replace the rudders.
                                                                           43
   I spent last night at anchor, and already feel much more relaxed. I like
people, but unfortunately, by nature, I'm just not a people person. I'm much
more comfortable in a creek enjoying a beautiful sunset and the occasional
bird call, than I am at a marina with all the socializing. I've already done a
"duct tape and baling twine" repair to the steering, and it feels a lot tighter
and is responding better. Even if I had no rudders, I can still steer with the
engine.
   I love redundancy.
   The picture is of the boat at the High Street Landing. Friday night all the
shops were open late to start the Christmas shopping season. Most shop
owners served cider and such. There was a bell chior at the landing to greet
passengers from the ferry, and city hall was decorated with lights and
Christmas scenes.



                                  Anchorages

    I like to leave some space between myself and the next guy when at
anchorage. It's the same practice as I have driving in traffic. I don't like
tailgating (although I don't leave nearly as much space as I was taught in
driver's ed, way back when). The problem in both situations is that inevitably
some a--hole will pull in between myself and the guy ahead of me. Such was
the case last night. When I awoke this morning, I thought my anchor had
slipped when I saw the guy so close to me. But no, it was a new boat. And
this anchorage is huge, and mostly empty.



                                    Bad Gas

    So, I had lunch at this Mexican joint the other day, and later that night...
Wait. This post isn't about that, it's about the bad gas my boat had today. But
let's start from the beginning.
    I left Portsmouth early. The beginning of the icw is very tight and
industrial. I was followed very closely by a police boat while passing some
navy ships. I had to pass through a few drawbridges. One of them opened
without any radio contact from me. It was as if I had said "open sesame" as I
approached. Moments later I heard a call on the radio to "South bound
catamaran" at such and such bridge. I answered back. It was a North bound
tugboat captain. He wanted to make sure I stayed clear of him and the barge
he was pushing, as we passed each other going through the bridge.
    It was the thrill of my day. I got to talk to a tugboat captain! When I grow
up, I want to be a tugboat captain. Anyway, make sure you closely monitor

44
channel 13 on your radio while at the beginning of the icw.
     Later, I approached the "Steel Bridge" which only opens on the hour. I
had about a half hour to wait, so I dropped anchor and had some lunch. I
checked the gas tank, and it was a little light, so I switched to a new tank.
When it was time for the bridge to open, I started up the engine and waited.
There were about six of us in line to pass through. When I got through the
bridge, and about a hundred yards past, the engine died. Thank God it did
not die while I was under the bridge. I put my kayak in the water, and pulled
the catamaran out of the channel. I was pretty sure that the problem was the
gas, seeing as how I just switched to a new tank. Sure enough, the gas in the
tank was opaque and milky. I have several theories about how the gas could
have gotten this way, but have not come to any conclusions.
    Anyway, I drained all the gas from the fuel line, carburetor and such. It
still would not start. Finally, I removed, disassembled and cleaned the
carburetor. This is the third time I've done that since I've had the boat, so I'm
getting pretty good at it. If anyone needs a carb rebuilt on a 40 hp Tohatsu,
I'm your man.
     I then said a prayer and started pulling the starting cord. After a few
pulls, the engine started and ran fine. Off we went.



                              Great Bridge Lock

   Entering the lock




                                                                               45
     In the lock




     Sailboat follows in




46
Everyone in




Facing forward




                 47
     Out of the lock, bridge just beyond




     Let the tug pass first




   The lock was fun, but I'm not sure of it's purpose. It only raised us a few
inches, if anything. Maybe it does more under different weather conditions.
There is a drought now. The Dismal Swamp route is closed. It's supposed to
be a prettier route. I'm on the Virginia Cut.

48
    The lock tenders call you Cap'n, which is fun. "Cap'n tie up here. Cap'n
start your engine." You can tie up beyond the lock, before or after the bridge.
The road over the bridge is lined with ugly strip malls. Lots of chain stores
and restaurants within easy walking distance. I had lunch at Wendy's. The 99
cent cheeseburger deluxe is delicious. There were actually real, identifiable
vegetables as toppings, unlike McDonald's. I don't know why I always go to
McDonald's. The fries were underwhelming, though.
    Spent the day starting and stopping while waiting for bridges which only
open hourly. At the second to last bridge, there was a guy in a sailboat
waving to me. I wasn't sure why he was waving, but it clicked in my head
later that it might be Ron, a guy from my marina in Baltimore who is making
the trip. I had heard a call on the radio earlier to a sailboat Gypsy. Gypsy is a
boat owned by a young couple from Maryland, also making the trip. But I've
already encountered a few boats named Gypsy.
    Sure enough, at the last bridge, the couple pulled up (my boat is pretty
fast under motor, and I got to the bridges more quickly than others).
Everyone switched to another channel and we caught up on recent goings
ons, and made dinner plans. Dinner was delicious. Indian curry and basmati
rice. But the couple is hard aground about 50 yards off my stern. I think it's
my fault. I got to the anchorage first and saw that the depths weren't great. I
was going to call them, but they got here quicker than I expected. They draw
six feet. I recommend to anyone doing this trip, to do so in a shoal draft boat.
    I tried to pull them off last night. I've already forgotten what a pain in the
ass it is to be aground in a monohull. My depth meter often goes to zero, or
just registers nonsense, when I'm in an anchorage. At first, I thought the
meter wasn't working correctly. But I've been in some clear water, and I can
look down and see the bottom, and a thin line which my centerboards are
carving through the mud. I could drive this boat in a puddle, and not get
stuck. Anyway, we'll try again this morning. We'll tie a line to their mast, and
see if I can't heel them over and pull them off.



                              I Helped Someone!

   That's right. Unlike most of my other posts, this one is not about how
something broke on the boat, or some bone-headed thing I did, and how
some complete stranger helped me fix the problem I created. This post is
about how I helped Leon and Kim get their boat free from being hard
aground. Leon fashioned a harness which he connected to his mast halyard
and with the harness attached to my boat, I heeled them over and they
pulled themselves off with their anchor winch.
   Although as Amy pointed out in an email:
                                                                                49
    Me:
    I think it's my fault (they're aground). I was ahead of them. We had talked
about where to anchor. I pulled in and saw that the depths were not good. I
should have called them, and would have, but they arrived more quickly
than expected. I tried to tow them off, but they are hard aground. I've
already forgotten what a pain in the ass that is in a monohull.
    Amy:
    oh that stinks. Now that you're not in a boat that goes aground, you're
making other people do it!
    Their boat is beautiful. They bought it three years ago, and immediately
hauled it out of the water to work on it. Supposedly, most everything on the
boat had been in fairly decent condition, but they ended up replacing most of
it anyway. It's incredible inside. At dinner last night, I felt like I was at a tiny
bed and breakfast. Leon did the woodwork in the boat himself, and it's really
nice. Kim did the upholstery. They have a little stove that puts off a lot of
heat, and looks like a miniature wood stove with flames dancing inside, but I
forget what it actually runs on. There's nothing more you might wish for on
their boat, except maybe a shoal draft.
    Their boat puts my boat to shame. But there is an old saw that a captain
goes asea in the boat he has, not the boat he wishes for. I'm on this trip
almost on a lark. Yah, I had been dreaming about it for years. And I was a
hair away from doing it a couple years ago, but if you asked me in June what
my plans for the Winter were, I would not have responded that I was going
to the Bahamas in a sailboat.
    I've been looking at Gemini catamarans for a few years now. I forget
when or how they first caught my eye. I saw this boat online about a year
ago. It caught my eye because of the price. It was priced at the low end for
Geminis, but reasonably for a classic Gem. As the months passed, the boat
remained for sale, and the price dropped. Finally this Summer, the price
dropped to an unheard of level for a Gemini. I knew that it had to sell now,
regardless of the boat condition. I had a heart to heart talk with myself. Was I
serious about this dream of the Bahamas, or was I just a poser? I called the
number listed for the boat and set up an appointment to see it.
    When I inspected the boat, I knew immediately why it hadn't sold. It
hadn't even left the dock in at least five years. The steering was frozen, and
who knew whether the engine would run. The owner wouldn't let me try to
start it. The headliner inside was falling down, and the interior was
decorated like your grandma's house. Nonetheless, it was a Gemini, and had
good bones. I knew there wasn't anything on the boat that I am not capable
of dealing with, or learning how to deal with. I made the owner an offer with
a further reduction to the unheard of price. I told her that I would pay cash

50
for the boat, "as is, where is", without a professional inspection or demand
that anything be fixed. I think she had just reached a level of frustration with
trying to sell the boat, and she immediately accepted the offer.
    There's another old saw, that it's easy to buy a boat, but difficult to sell a
boat. I think that's because of sellers' unreasonable expectations of price. The
owner has usually loved the boat and put a lot of time and money into it. The
owner expects to recoup a lot of that money at sale. Well, that's unlikely to
happen. The number of people looking to buy a boat at any one time is small,
and the number of boats for sale is large.
    I have dreams of fixing up this boat, like I fixed up my house. I bought
both of them very cheaply, from frustrated owners, and they both had good
bones when I bought them. Unfortunately, I'm getting the feeling that the
experience with the boat is going to be more like my experience with my old
pickup. I've basically driven my pickup into the ground. It still runs, and is
sitting in grampa's backyard during the trip. I'd get rid of it, if anything
significant broke on it, like the clutch or engine. But everything that breaks
seems to cost me about fifteen dollars for the part, and is something I can fix
myself.
    I think there may be a lesson in this post for people trying to sell their
house in this crummy market. You might want to price your house
reasonably. Otherwise, it probably won't sell for months, and it will be for a
price a lot lower than you would have gotten had you priced reasonably to
begin with. And it will sell to a douche bag like me. But I thank you for it.
    OK, off to fix the swim ladder which tore away from the hull yesterday.



                               It's 70 and Sunny

    I've decided to spend Thanksgiving at the beach. The Outer Banks are just
off the ICW. As a happy byproduct of this decision, I'll avoid most of the
dreaded Albemarle sound crossing. Although, the weather is supposed to be
beautiful today, so I don't think the crossing would have been too bad.
    I'll probably spend a few days at the beach. I'm in North Carolina now. I
feel like I've actually accomplished something by getting here. I'm starting to
believe that I might make it to Florida by January.
    There's a long stream of boats traveling South here. I'm very impressed
with the etiquette of the power boaters. They zoom up behind you and then
power down while passing. Then they zoom up to the next sailboat down the
line. The wake still bounces you up and down, but it's not as bad as it could
have been. I wish the power boaters in Baltimore were as considerate.
    I might do some surfing this weekend, if I can find a reasonably priced
wet suit.
                                                                                51
   If you are traveling this weekend, please be safe. There's bumper to
bumper traffic on the icw, and the waves can get wicked crossing the
Albemarle sound.



                           The Illustrious Dr. Dad

    I asked my dad to occasionally guest blog, and add his perspective of my
journey to the blog. I think you'll love him. I certainly do.
    (I hope you notice the symmetry of this introduction to that of an earlier
introduction. Happy Thanksgiving!)


     Back to the Beginnings




    How does one get to be a sailing nut? Well, Scott comes by it honestly. It
started with his dad taking sailing lessons on a mountain lake near State
College, PA when Scott was just a tyke. His dad was hooked on sailing after a
sail in Boston harbor with an Army buddy in a Snipe, the weekend of his
buddy’s wedding.

52
    You can see Scott here with his first sailboat (a wooden Sailfish) with his
parents. Unfortunately he did not get a lot of sailing time in this in Florida,
where we had moved. It leaked and became sluggish in the water. He later
got a fiberglass Sailfish and sailed it on the Potomac, but Dad burned that
one up (another story, best forgot).
    Contributing to necessary skills for a sailor, his dad made sure he knew
how to swim after a scary incident. At about eighteen months old he was
walking along the edge of a Florida water-filled sinkhole behind his parents.
This was a spot where scuba divers like to do underwater cave exploring.
When his parents looked behind they did not see Scott. Running back about
fifty feet, we found him under about a foot of water, on his back looking up,
holding his breath with puffed cheeks. That started a regimen of getting him
to jump into the pool and paddling out increasing distances to me. This paid
off later as a teenager in the Washington suburbs, when he was on
neighborhood and high school swim teams and piled up an impressive stack
of trophies. This will be a fall back capability if his boat sinks!




   After his parents took sailing lessons at the Annapolis Sailing School, they
bought a Rainbow, a 24 foot boat that the midshipmen at the Naval Academy
                                                                             53
learned on. During his formative years we spent many a day on the
Chesapeake near the Rhode River sailing, swimming, and crabbing. Because
it had a 4 foot keel, we also spent lots of time getting off being grounded.
With a keel boat, they say that if you haven’t grounded in the Chesapeake,
you haven’t sailed the Chesapeake. Maybe that is why he enjoys his
catamaran so much and brags about not being grounded.




    Later when he was on his own, he bought a sailboat with some friends in
the Baltimore area. On a few sailing trips that he invited us on near
Baltimore, we brought one of our dogs along. On the first sail, just a few
hundred yards from the dock, Sho-me the dog, decided he would like to
investigate something off the beam, but didn’t realize the footing wasn’t so
great. So dad leaped in to save him.(ed. note: Another great story, to be told
on the blog, later...) Here he is with Scott, later in the sail when we were
anchored off an island, ready to climb back on board after exploring the
island. Sho-Me still looks a little uncertain about it all. I think he enjoys
visiting the Wharf Rat Brew Pub near Scott’s house a lot more than sailing.
    Scott tells me he is retired now. I’m still working, nearing 70. My friends
tell me something is wrong with this picture, but I’m thinking it’s me, not
Scott. I really envy him his trip. Good sailing!!!



54
                           Happy Thanksgiving!




   Wish you were here.



                      Boyfriend Tracker 1.1 Released




    This post was written yesterday, but delayed until BFT 1.1 was ready.
Please let me know of additional bugs that need to be fixed. Beautiful moon
last night.

                                                                          55
    I told Amy before I left that she would be able to track my trip progress
on NautiG. It'd be like she had a lowjack on me! Unfortunately, with all the
adventures I've been having, I haven't had time to work out the bugs in BFT
1.0. While at anchor here, I've had some time, and I've worked out most of
the major bugs. If you go to NautiG, and press the "Track" menu button, my
day's course will be displayed on the map. Use the forward and back buttons
to progress through the trip. There is some missing data. Sorry. If you see a
straight line, that is a period when my gps was off for some reason. Probably
my vista laptop had crashed.
    At the risk of worrying some, and confirming to others their suspicions
that I am indeed a moron, I'm going to tell you anyway... I've lost two
anchors to the sea gods in a span of less than twelve hours. Fortunately, I had
three anchors aboard, but I'm down to a pathetic little thing that grandpa
had in his garage. It seems to be holding, and the winds are supposed to
calm over the course of the day. And before you get your panties all up in a
bunch, there is a plan B,C and D etc... I'm in an inlet, not out at sea.
    I don't know why these things keeps happening. I never lost an anchor
when I had the Pearson. Now, for those of you keeping score at home, I've
lost three anchors in the course of about a month.
    Last night there were gale warnings. I moved the boat just behind a grove
of trees on shore that was blocking the wind. At about 11 pm I was awoken
by the wind. It's direction had flipped 180 degrees, and was howling. It
didn't stop all night. Needless to say, I did not sleep well.
    When I weighed anchor this morning, the secondary anchor was missing.
The line and anchor "poof" disappeared. I only tossed it out as a safety, in
case the primary failed. It had plenty of slack line, and little if any tension
should have been put on it over the night. It was connected to a cleat with a
standard hitch.
    I motored over to a quieter anchorage this morning. After a few minutes
at anchor here, I noticed that I was drifting. I weighed anchor, but there was
no anchor to weigh.
    I can't say that I wasn't warned about the anchors. I think it was
Maryanne who told me that I should have two connections to each anchor. I
guess I'm just a slow learner. Off to the anchor store tomorrow, once the
weather calms down. I'll make sure to have two connections to each new
anchor, and check them every time I use them.




56
                            The Repairs Continue




    I think I mentioned in an earlier post that the swim ladder had partially
torn away from the hull. On the left of the picture are the nuts, bolts and
washers which held one of the two swim ladder brackets to the hull. Even I,
as a layman, can see that this is pretty pathetic hardware. I think the only
reason this didn't break years ago, is simply that this boat rarely, if ever left
the dock.
    On the right is the mending strap with which I reinforced the hardware
on the inside of the hull. I have a whole box of these things which I thought I
might use to repair the rudder. Instead, I think I'm going to be using them
throughout the boat. When I was in the hull doing the repair, I noticed lots
more of these bolts coming through the hull. Apparently, just about
everything connected to the boat is connected with similar sized bolts.
INCLUDING THE MAST STAYS! The rudder breaking was about as much
excitement as I can take. How exciting would it be if I were dismasted in a
storm. I don't know what the folks at PCI were smoking in the 80s when this
boat was built, but it must have been the stickiest of the icky wicky.
    I'm leaving the beach this morning to head down the Alligator river.
Verizon's coverage looks spotty and slow in this area. If you don't hear much
from me the next few days, don't worry, I'm fine. No, I have not been eaten
by an alligator. While I motor across the remaining part of Albemarle sound
in what, according to the NWS, are to be five knot winds, I'll be thanking
God that I'm not nearly as much of an asshat as this clown.
                                                                               57
                                  You Rock!

    Thank you for hooking me up with tunes for the road. It makes all the
difference when I'm spending hour after hour motoring. I might have to put
a sidebar with "Currently Playing".



                                   Too Cute




    Woke up this morning and headed over to a public boat ramp in Kitty
Hawk Bay. There are no services on the water here. The depths are bad and
there are no boats besides skiffs here. I was running low on all sorts of
things, the most important being gas. My plan was to walk about a mile or so
to a gas station I saw the other day while stocking up for a Thanksgiving
meal. I took two gas tanks off the boat. I was going to put a few gallons in
each one and bring them back to the boat. They are too heavy to carry full
that distance. I knew I might have to do the trip a couple times to get enough
gas.
    Anyway, I walk out of the parking lot of the boat ramp and get about 20
feet before a car passes, stops and backs up. The driver asks me if I need a
ride. I was in heaven. I got a ride to the gas station and back. A task that I
figured might take me a couple hours, was completed in twenty minutes.
    This mirrors my experience on Thanksgiving day. I did walk all the way
to the grocery store, but as I left the parking lot with my bags, I stuck out my
58
thumb and the first guy to pass me, picked me up. Nice folks in Kitty Hawk.
    What you might not know about me, is that when I was in college, I did
quite a lot of hitch-hiking. I've hitch-hiked the entire length of the eastern
seaboard, from the northern tip of Nova Scotia to Key West. Also hitch-hiked
from DC to school in Michigan, and back a few times. That was at the tail
end of when you could hitch-hike. I think I was only able to do it because I
looked young, clean-cut and had a backpack with me.
    I'm doing a similar adventure now, only instead of riding in strangers'
cars, I'm mostly riding in my boat.
    The motor to Alligator River was uneventful except... I tried to take a
shortcut. I got too cute. I saw an inlet on the charts and on Google maps
where it looked like I might be able to cut into a creek and take a few miles
off the day's trip. If you go to nautig, I've uploaded the days track, and you
can see where I tried to enter. It was at high tide, and I thought I could do it. I
was wrong. I ran hard aground. I decided to get in my kayak and explore the
inlet to see if there was a channel anywhere in there. There was not. I could
have put my rubber boots on and walked across the inlet to the other side,
but there was no way I was bringing the boat with me. The bottom was sand.
Unlike the Chesapeake where it's mostly mud, there was no way I could
force the boat across. Anyway, I fired up the motor and backed off the sand
and out the inlet.
    Before I started this trip, I was talking to an old coot about it. He wanted
to know all about the boat. When I told him the engine I had, his response
was that it was too powerful. Too Powerful!?! That's like saying someone is
too good looking, has too much smarts, or money. Is there such a thing? I
thank my too powerful engine for easily getting me off the sandbar this
morning.
    Of course, the guy also had tons of advice he wanted to give. The advice
came with a large dose of descriptions of what an accomplished sailor he is...
How he'd go out sailing when the weather was getting rough and everyone
else was coming in. And how he didn't even need a motor. He could sail his
boat into the slip without one.
    I don't want to pollute my blog with such rubbish. Yah, I could go on and
on about what a great sailor I am, and I could leave out the trials and
tribulations I've faced while sailing. But how interesting would that be? I
think it's a lot more interesting, informative, and funny to hear about how
I've lost three anchors in the space of a month. If you get tired of that, I can
always lie. You're not on the boat. How would you know?




                                                                                 59
                                   I'm Learning

    The plan today was to head down the Alligator River to the canal.
However, with head winds from the south of 15-20 knots, and winds up to 25
knots predicted tonight, I decided a better plan would be to spend the night
at the Alligator River Marina. I haven't been at a marina since Norfolk. Me,
my clothes and the boat are getting pretty dirty and stinky. Time for a
shower, laundry and power wash. The marina is very basic, just how Peter
described it in the comments. It's nothing more than a gas station (for cars
and boats), with a laundry and showers.
    Unfortunately, the restaurant is closed. But they do have a little grill. The
cheeseburger was one of the best I remember having in a long time. The
burger didn't look like it was a prefab patty, and I had it with all the toppings
they had, and extra mayo. It was a greasy mess. mmmmmm. The fries were
actually potato wedges. They came out of the fryer piping hot. I burnt my
tongue on the first one before I let them cool down.
    I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep in the marina, while the wind
howls out on the river. Tomorrow the winds are supposed to be at my back
10-15 knots and diminishing in the evening. Don't tell anyone, but I might
put up a sail, if the wind is right. I have about 50 miles to go until the next
services. The last stretch of that is in a long skinny canal, with lots of traffic. I
have about 30 gallons of gas on board, which should be plenty. But I'm extra
careful after the bad fuel experience. It'd be a great blog post if I ran out of
gas in the canal, but I'm hoping to forgo that.



                                 Lord of the Flies

    I've been asked if I feel like I have escaped the ravages of Winter yet.
Some signs that I may already have: I wore shorts, shirt and tevas while
doing laundry at the marina. There were dandilion flowers in the lawn. My
boat suffered an infestation of flies yesterday until I opened the hatches and
shoed them away. And I had to close the hatches last night because I started
getting bitten by mosquitoes.
    I had a delightful motor-sail up the river yesterday with the jib up.
According to the gps, the jib added about a mile an hour to my speed. I
throttled back the engine, and would have liked to have put up the main and
turned off the engine, but I think the engine provides a lot of my steering
now that I have only one working rudder. I did have some engine problems
at the beginning of the day. It wouldn't start. I took the cowl off, and while
cranking the engine, I noticed fuel dripping from the plastic fuel bowl. I
disassembled it and found that the gasket was hard and cracked. I searched

60
around the boat for something out of which I could fashion a replacement. I
found a gasket kit for the Raritan toilet. It included a gasket with the same
outer diameter as the fuel bowl gasket. So now my fuel bowl has a toilet
bowl gasket.
    I disassembled and cleaned the carb for good measure. What the heck, at
this point I could do that with my eyes closed. I also thought the carb could
had gotten clogged again and caused excess pressure to build up in the fuel
bowl. Reassembled, the engine started right up. I think the ignition wiring
may also have been wet. We had steady rain yesterday and some dense fog.
Having the cowl off in the sun and wind may have dried it out.
    I saw a dolphin tracking the boat about 30 yards off the port bow
yesterday. I was pretty surprised, seeing how far I was from the ocean. No
alligators though. I don't think I mentioned that I'm pretty damn sure that I
saw an eagle while I was passing through the Coinjock strait. That's pretty
cool. I don't think I've ever seen an eagle in the wild before. Also spent the
afternoon watching fighter jet exercises over the Alligator River Wildlife
Refuge. Every twenty minutes or so, a pair of jets would pass low over the
boat and execute some twists and turns over the refuge and then fly back by
over the river. Quite a racket as they passed over. I hope they weren't
practicing bombing runs on my boat as part of their exercises.



                          Cooking with Capt' Scott




  I'm out of fresh food. I was going to resupply while getting gas in the
Outer Banks. But as you remember, I got a ride from a passerby to the gas
                                                                             61
station and back. I did not want to impose on the guy's generosity by asking
him to wait while I went grocery shopping. I figured I would be able to stock
up at the Alligator Marina. I was wrong. Although they had the space and
refrigeration to stock fresh food, they did not. All they had was an array of
sodas and beer, as well as canned and prepared foods. They did have a stack
of eggs in the grill display case, but they would not sell any of them to me.
    Note to convenience store owners: you might want to visit a 7-11, or other
national chain. I'm sure those guys have done extensive market research to
decide what to stock in their stores to maximize profit. You can piggyback on
this research for free by just looking at what they stock, and copying it in
your store.
    So anyway, I'm out of eggs, sandwich meat, cheese, etc. This morning I
made a "One Pot Scott" special. Open a couple cans of vegetables. Heat the
contents of the cans, including broth to boiling. Turn off heat. Add vegetable
oil and dried milk. Stir in instant potatoes until desired consistency is
obtained. Add seasoning to taste.
    You can measure the ingredients if you want. I'm too lazy.



                     Drivin that Train, High on Cocaine




   The first twenty miles or so of my journey yesterday were in a ditch.
There is nowhere to anchor in this ditch, until you reach mile 120. The ditch
opens up a little there, and there are some private piers. Even there, I
62
wouldn't anchor, unless it's an emergency. The charts show a small inlet
before that, and the guidebook mentions it as a tight anchorage. I don't know
how you could get anything more than a dingy or skiff into that inlet.
    The drive down the ditch was uneventful except... early on a tug passed. I
tried to get off to the side to let him pass. When I passed into his wake, and
back into the center, my steering was seriously degraded. I checked the
centerboards. They had been pushed up into the hull. They could have been
pushed up by a shoal while I was off to the side, but I actually think the tug's
wake pushed them up. The wake didn't look like much on the surface. There
were no waves. It mas just a lot of swirls behind. But I bet it's prop was
putting off a lot of force underwater.
    The wind picked up over the course of the day. It was at my back, and I
was tempted to put up a sail. You'll be happy to know that I waited until I
was out of the ditch to do so. I motor-sailed another 5-10 miles to Belhaven.
    My gas worries were unfounded. Maybe I had been leaking a lot of fuel
from the fuel bowl. Maybe putting up a sail really helped. All I know is that
the engine sipped gas compared to it's past fuel consumption. That's great,
because I spent about $100 on fuel at the Alligator River Marina. I don't do a
lot of driving on land, so I'm not used to dropping a c note at the pump. Nice
to know that I won't have to do that on a daily basis.
    The shore along the ditch was mostly undeveloped. But even there you
can't escape the billboards.



                              Great Expectations

    Belhaven, and the River Forest Marina had come highly recommended to
me. Peter had nice things to say about it. The guide book had nice things to
say about it. And the marina had a full page ad in the guidebook touting it's
amenities. I thought I would be relaxing in a jacuzzi, playing tennis (my
racket is on the boat), and eating dinner at an extravagant smorgasbord in a
Grand Southern Mansion.
    I did none of these things.
    I don't want to dissuade you from coming here. It is nice enough. But it's
nothing to write home about. The best thing was the golf carts at the marina.
You can ride them about town and to the freeway bypass where there is a
grocery store, strip mall, and a couple dollar stores.
    The town and marina have seen better days. Everything is just a little run
down. It is not without charm. You will easily find most things you need. It
just wasn't the treat I was expecting.
    On a brighter note, my anchor supply is replenished. And I have a lead
on new rudders.
                                                                              63
64
          December




Pamlico Sound, NC to Hilton Head, SC




                                       65
                            On a Gem with No Name




    I'm getting new rudder cages! Or maybe used ones? I have the contact
info for the manufacturer of the original steel cages. Richard, on the Gemini
forums, pointed me in the right direction. Thanks Richard! Another guy on
the forums is replacing his cages, and might let me have his old ones. That
would be great because new ones are very expensive, and I've been
hemorrhaging cash the past couple months.
    One of my main concerns about the cages is that my mahogany boards
will fit into them. My boards are a slightly different shape than those on the
newer Geminis. By fortuitous happenstance, there was a classic gem in the
creek with us last night. In the morning, I kayaked over and took a ton of
pictures and measurements of the rudder cages. Then I paddled back and got
one of my boards. I was able to fit it into the cage. It isn't an exact fit. I'll have
to make some modifications to the new cages, but it will work.
    I don't know who the other Gemini belongs to. The boat wasn't even
named. Whoever the boat belongs to, I apologize for molesting your boat. I
did not board the boat. I was able to do everything from my kayak on the
water. Recently, there has been some discussion on the Gemini forums about
boat security. One guy suggested he would shoot anyone who messed with
his boat. I'm glad the boat didn't belong to that guy.


66
                                 Status Report




    So, I'm at mile 200 of the Intracostal Waterway (icw). Mile 0 was at
Norfolk. I hope to spend January at a marina in Florida. That will be at mile
717+. According to the gps, I've been averaging 5.5-6.5 mph while motoring,
depending on current and wind, etc. I can comfortably motor up to 30 miles
a day. More than that and I get too fatigued. It's sort of like driving a car,
although I don't have to keep my hands on the wheel all the time. I can
scurry into the galley to make a sandwich.
    I think I should easily make Florida by January, but I don't want to be in a
rush. The trip is as much about the journey, as it is the destination. I won't be
crushed if I end up somewhere in Georgia for January.
    The traffic in the cut between mile 190 and 200 was the heaviest yet. Most
of it was small boat traffic, so it wasn't all that hairy. Although a couple
powerboats got uncomfortably close. I felt like I could reach out and touch
their bow. I don't know what their problem was. There was plenty of room in
the cut.
    Also saw a couple pods of dolphins frolicking in Adams creek. That was
pretty cool.
    And for those of you waiting for me to finally run hard aground, I've
done it, sort of... I guess I came in to this inlet at high tide yesterday. I was
planning on motoring the last couple miles to Beaufort this morning. But my
"too powerful" engine can't get me out of this muck that we're stuck in as the
                                                                               67
tide lowers. The tide will start rising again around ten am. Coincidentally,
that is when a gale warning goes into effect. Guess I'm stuck here another
day.
    The picture is me watching football yesterday. It's a little hard to make
out the game on the screen. Something about the scan rate of the camera and
tv. Reception on the tv was pretty good. It's the first football game I've been
able to pick up in the icw. The internet, tv and phone have been pretty
sketchy since Alligator River. All that should be a lot better from here on out.



                            This'll Give Ya Scurvy




    It's another episode of "Cooking with Capt' Scott". In this week's episode
we learn what to eat when we're hard aground and can't make it to the
grocery store for fresh vittles. Chop up two or more hot dogs. Boil water for
mac & cheese. Toss in mac & dogs.
    (Tossing in the dogs now will help kill anything that might be growing on
the dogs because you don't have refrigeration. Probably nothing is growing
because hot dogs are already cooked and full of chemicals. But we're just
being safe.)
    Finish mac & cheese per instructions on box. Consume. Warning: do not
eat this everyday. There is no vitamin C in this meal, and you will get scurvy
after a couple months at sea eating nothing but mac & dogs.
68
                              Beaufort Blows




    I decided to come down to Beaufort after the tide rose and I was
ungrounded. Big mistake. There is next to nowhere to anchor here and
protection from the weather blows. There are two small anchorages. The one
I'm in is full of derelict and most likely abandoned boats.
    From Dozier's Waterway Guide:
    The Beaufort waterfront is one of the best on the ICW, offering a wide
selection of antiques stores, shops and restaurants within a short walking
radius.
    If they mean a bunch of knick-knack and t-shirt shops, and a half dozen
restaurants, I'm all in. Otherwise, they are smoking crack.
    I did walk about two miles and back, to the strip mall area where I
bought groceries and some lumber and hardware to make a temporary
repair so that I will have two rudders. I'll post a report when I have that
done.
    Best thing about Beaufort, two dollar shower at the public dock.




                                                                          69
                                   Fatigue




    Left Beaufort at dawn's early light yesterday. There was a small craft
advisory beginning at 11am, and I wanted to get a few miles down the road
before that set in. Ideally, the time to go through Beaufort/Morehead City is
low tide. You can then ride the rising tide down Bogue Sound. The tide was
strong as I went against it. At times I was making less than 4 mph.
    I saw a bunch of dolphins as I passed under the bridge at Beaufort. One
surfaced so close to the boat that I could have touched it with my whisker
pole. I suppose they were feeding on fish pushed through the narrows by the
tide.
    Bogue Sound is unremarkable. It's just a wide expanse of water whose
shores are lined with nondescript houses and McMansions. I'm down where
there are some sandbar/islands. They're nice to look at, but I haven't seen any
goats on them, as the guidebook suggested I might.
    The small craft advisory turned out to be overblown. Maybe the sound is
just so shallow that there isn't enough water outside the dredged channel for
waves to build up. I spent the night in a tiny inlet. I was as protected as I
could be, but the wind still howled and I got another lousy night's sleep. This
70
morning it is very cold, and felt even more so as I made about five miles with
the wind at my back. No dodger to hide behind.
    I'm at another inlet waiting a couple hours. I want to go through Bogue
inlet at low tide. The guidebook suggests the tides can be quite strong
through there and I do have to pass under a bridge.
    The cold and sleepless nights are beginning to wear on me. I have no heat
on the boat. There is a built-in heat pump, and I have an electric space heater,
but I can't use either of those while at anchor. I'm quite jealous of the little
heater that Leon and Kim have on their boat. Recently there has been some
discussion of this model on the Sailnet forums. I grabbed the picture from
one of the postings (L&K, if you have a picture of yours, I'd replace this
picture with your picture. I don't have permission to use this picture. And I
think the inside of your boat is even nicer than this boat.)
    Everyone had nice things to say about the heater. I might have to get one
someday when I have more time and money. It's externally vented, so there
are no worries about CO and fumes. The model name is Newport, and it is
manufactured by Dickenson. It costs about $700.
    The NWS is calling for temps in the 60s and 70s, and calm winds this
weekend. They better not be lying.



                                    Oorah!




                                                                              71
    Despite a small craft advisory in effect for the entire day, the weather
calmed and the sun came out as I passed through Camp Lejeune yesterday
afternoon. Not much action going on at the camp. I heard the distant thunder
of what may have been artillery. And saw some helicopters practicing low
flying maneuvers.
    Anchored a couple miles past the camp. Soon after, a local waterman
motored up in his skiff. I was anchored about 50 yards from his dock, and he
invited me to tie up to his dock. His four kids had quite a time climbing all
over the boat that evening.



                                   Waylaid




    Plan A is usually to make 20-30 miles and be at a snug anchorage by early
afternoon. In the morning, I study the guidebook, charts, online satellite
imagery, weather and tides. Plan A works about 50% of the time.
    Yesterday, Plan A was derailed by the Figure Eight Island Bridge being
closed from 1-4 pm. During the two hour break I jumped in the water very
briefly, then paddled to shore to do some clamming and oystering. I wasn't
very successful. Although there were a bunch of exposed oyster beds (It was
near low tide), all the oysters looked a lot smaller than the ones you see at a
restaurant. If anyone has advice on how to clam and oyster down here, I'd
appreciate it.
    I got to Wrightsville Beach at sunset. The anchorage here is huge and
72
uncrowded (at least this time of year). The weather is nice, and I'm wearing
shorts and tevas. The winds are supposed to be calm all week and temps are
to reach to 80 F. I've already had two (count 'em. two) back to back nights of
restful sleep. I'm looking forward to a nice string of such nights. Already my
aching muscles which have been contracted against the cold for a week, are
starting to relax and loosen up.



                              Bridge Etiquette




    There a lot of bridges on the icw. The modern highway bridges have a
clearance of about 65 feet. The railroad and older highway bridges open for a
sailboat to pass through. Some open at convenience. Most open on a
schedule which may be on the hour and/or half. Schedules can be found in
the dozier guidebook. When approaching a bridge, you should have your
radio tuned to channel 13 (at least in the part of the icw I have passed
through. Other areas may tune to other channels).
    At all other times, your radio should be tuned to channel 16. I turn my
radio on at least an hour before I weigh anchor, and first check the weather
channel, and then tune to 16.
    As I approach a bridge, I hail the bridge tender. "Such and such bridge,
this is south bound sailing vessel Split Decision." The bridge tender will
acknowledge. I respond, "Requesting passage during your X:XX am/pm
opening."

                                                                             73
    Usually, s/he will acknowledge in the affirmative, with further
instructions. I will respond, "Rodger", and slow my engine and approach
slowly so that I will be near the bridge at opening.
    Yesterday, that didn't happen. I was informed that the bridge would not
be opening on schedule. I anchored off and waited. A little earlier than the
newly scheduled opening, we were hailed by the bridge tender to prepare
for passage. The other sailboat waiting did not respond. The bridge tender
asked me to verbally hail him as I passed his anchorage. I was able to wake
the owner from slumber. Good thing, because otherwise he might have spent
the night anchored in the channel.
    After you pass through the bridge, it is good etiquette to thank the bridge
tender for passage.



                                The Worry List




   Amy blogs again!
   I'm looking forward to Amy's future post about Christmas in NYC. We walked
Manhattan at Christmas time last year. Checked out Macy's, FAO Schwartz, etc. It
was really pretty, despite the cold. And now Amy has a new camera. Her future
Christmas post may be a little off topic, but it will remind me of xmas past.
   And now, Professor Amy:



74
    I am normally a bit of a worrier, and I come by it honestly. Whenever I
would tell my mom about what I was up to, or thinking about getting up to,
she would shake her head and call me by her pet name for me. These days, I
find myself sitting in my warm, dry, office on land, reading this blog, shaking
my head and thinking, "Oh, Scott."
    Certainly, part of the problem is my lack of boating experience (addressed
in my previous guest blog). Most of what I know about boating comes from
movies involving some sort of man versus nature plotline. Movies like "The
Perfect Storm," and "Titanic." Let me know when someone makes a movie
about a calm and happy sailing trip down the ICW, and I'll be the first in line
to see it.
    Those of you who know Cap'n Scott, and his adventures in ingenuity,
may also understand why I worry. This is the man who made eggnog by
fashioning an egg beater out of a wisk and a power drill. (The nog was
delicious, by the way.) And he dreams of making his own pressure-fryer to
make the most succulent fried chicken. I think I'm speaking for others as well
when I say that we're a little surprised that he hasn't blown himself up yet.
    I've joked with Scott that he needs to add "Amy's Worry List" as an
additional side bar on his blog. This list would be a tribute to the many times
when reading his blog makes my stomach clench (and occasionally turn, as
in the "cooking with Scott" feature). At present, this list includes: tugboats,
small craft warnings, scurvy, Southern belles, and everything on his "Lost to
the sea" sidebar list.
    More to come, I'm sure.




                                                                             75
                              Wrightsville Beach




    This is a destination. The guidebook speaks glowingly and vociferously
about towns which are not worth dropping an anchor at. I'm starting to
believe that the niceness of a town is inversely proportional to the amount of
page space the guidebook devotes to the town. If it just says that there is an
anchorage, and you can get gas and groceries, that's the place to stop.
    Wrightsville Beach has a very large anchorage. It also has a small public
dock that you can tie up to. You're not supposed to spend the night there, but
it doesn't appear to be enforced. How do I know? The guy I was anchored
next to disappeared last night, and when I tied up to the dock early this
morning, he was there. Using my incredible powers of deduction, I
concluded that he spent the night at the dock.
    The laundry next to the public dock has been replaced by a restaurant.
Too bad. All my cold weather clothes stink. But that's ok, the weather is
warm, and I've switched back to shorts and tevas. There are a few stores and
restaurants next to the dock, including a small grocery. The beach is a block
away.
    There is a West Marine, and hardware and grocery stores about two miles
away. About five miles away are all the box stores you need. If you don't
have a bike, you can rent one at a shop at the dock.
    My only complaint about this area is that the people are not very friendly
or nice. It's an affluent area and there are tons of pickup trucks with trailered
76
fishing boats using the public boat ramp. This is a class of watermen whom
I'm only fleeting aware of, but they seem to own this area. As a group, they
are not very considerate, and some take particular pleasure in making as
large a wake as possible with their small boat.
    Of course, all this has been amplified by the beautiful weather on a
December weekend.



                             Temporary Rudder




    It usually takes me three tries to get some sort of repair or home
improvement project done right. The first attempt is often a total disaster
which I chalk up as a learning experience. On the second attempt, I usually
come up with a product, which if I'm not too fussy, I can live with. The third
try is usually the charm.
    I'll call this temporary rudder the second attempt rudder. The plan was to
build some sort of temporary housing for the mahogany board. After I had
bought the lumber and was thinking about how the board would fit, I
realized that the board was unnecessary. Instead of buying these pieces of
wood and connecting them together, I should have bought a single piece of
2x10. Then I would screw in a half dozen eye bolts which would connect it to
the steel rod that it pivots on.
    Andy, another Gemini owner who is replacing his rudder cages, has

                                                                               77
offered me his old cages. I should get them in January when I'm at a marina
in Florida. But I think I'll also make another temporary rudder out of a single
board and keep it on the boat. If a rudder busts again, I'll have a temporary
rudder which I can pop in.



                         Forgive Us Our Trespasses




    Left Little River early. I had been tied up to the fuel dock at B&W marina
behind a huge gambling boat. I got in early enough last evening that I could
have ridden that boat out three miles from shore and gambled to my heart's
content until the boat returned later in the night. Fortunately, my brain is
wired in such a manner that gambling does absolutely nothing for me. Don't
get me wrong. I enjoy most vices. But gambling just irritates me. Instead, I
just enjoyed the prop wash when the gambling boat left and returned.
    I motored for a couple hours in the morning until I reached mile 387.5 on
the icw. The tide was against me, and I wasn't making very good speed. At
1:30 or so the tide would turn and I could ride it down the Waccamaw River.
The guidebook mentioned Brookgreen Gardens at mile 387.5, and made it
sound very enticing. It sounded like an interesting side trip to make while
waiting for the tide to turn. Unfortunately, the guidebook also said that the
creek leading to the gardens was fenced off.
    When I got to the creek, it was indeed fenced off, and No Trespassing
signs were posted. I decided that the signs weren't really meant for me and
my kayak. (And truthfully, fencing off a navigitable (sp?) creek off a public
78
waterway sounds very sketchy to me. If I were arrested for being on that
creek, and I had the time and money to waste, I'd fight the fence.)
   I kayaked about half a mile up the creek and found this: Brookgreen
Gardens




                                                                           79
                              Crabs for Christmas




     I haven't been very successful at living off the bounty of the sea. I've been
eating a lot more ham and cheese sandwiches than clam chowder or fish
sandwiches. Yesterday, I tied up to a dilapidated dock. When I went ashore
to stretch my legs, I found a drainage ditch full of crabs. I may not be the
most talented clammer or oysterman, but one thing this Maryland boy
knows is crabs. I grabbed my net and scooped these suckers up lickity split. I
could have easily scooped up another dozen and more. Maybe that's
breakfast this morning.
     My favorite xmas album is Crabs for Christmas. Here is the title song:
Crabs for Christmas. Oh Little Town of Baltimore is pretty strong, too. The
other xmas songs on the album are pretty funny, but the rest of the songs are
filler. If you have a Baltimoron in your life, and are looking for a xmas gift for
him/her, you won't go wrong with this cd.




80
                                Sleepless Nights




    I've had a string of nice days and restful nights. It's 4:52 am as I write this.
I've been up since 12:45 am. The wind is howling and the rain pouring. The
boat is bouncing against the bottom which feels hard like sand. I guess the
anchor wasn't able to hold us, or maybe it's just that the tide is low. I'll survey
the damage once it's light outside. I guess a lot of the country is enjoying this
crappy weather. At least it's warm here.
    I did finally capture a picture of a dolphin. It's hard to get a picture of
them with the latency on the digital camera. I've seen dolphins almost daily
since the middle of North Carolina. Some get quite close to the boat. I've
been surprised at the small creeks I sometimes find them in. I mostly think of
dolphins as ocean creatures.




                                                                                  81
                              If It's OK with You




    Per the previous post, I've been up since just after midnight. Around 5 am
I began to get a sense that the boat was listing. I checked the hull which I felt
was sinking, but there was no water in it. I decided that in my exhaustion I
was probably hallucinating. Maybe my sense of balance was off. Kind of like
when you are in a highway tunnel, and there is no frame of reference, and
you can't tell whether you are ascending or descending.
    Well the off-balance feeling got more and more pronounced. Dawn and
low tide came at about the same time. This was what I found. We dragged
our anchor last night with all the wind. This is as hard aground as I've ever
been. If no one has any objections, I think I'll stay here a while.




82
                            Egg Drop Ramen Soup




    I know the picture doesn't look like much, and if I get any comments on
this post, they will be ridiculing my cooking. But this soup and a cup of tea
are how I start many a cold morning. It's delicious and nutritious. As anyone
can tell you, ramen is a salty, yummy, and easy to prepare soup. It just
doesn't have much nutritional value. It is an excellent base for adding other
stuff like meat or canned vegetables.
    A single egg isn't very filling, but it's packed with nutrition. An egg has
everything you need except vitamin C (So again, eating this meal, and only
this meal for several months at sea, will give you scurvy). When you eat an
egg, it's like eating an entire chicken from beak to tail feather. And before you
get on your high horse about dietary cholesterol, saturated fat is a much
more important factor in determining blood cholesterol. Eating an egg a day
isn't going to kill you, like a big juicy steak and a milk shake a day might.
    I once got in a heated discussion at a party with a woman about
mayonnaise (As my friends and family can tell you, it's sometimes seemingly
innocuous things which will set me off, while the ordinary things which start
arguments, like politics and religion don't seem to affect me). This woman
worked for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. This is a group of
busybodies who condemn all sorts of foods as being bad for you. What sticks
in my mind is when in the 90s, they got lots publicity for condemning
Chinese food. How about just saying that you should eat a varied diet? I
don't know anyone who eats Chinese food everyday, except maybe a billion
                                                                               83
Chinese people, and these people look pretty healthy to me. I don't see a lot
of overweight Chinese people.
    Anyway, the woman said that around the office they had a saying that
"Mayonnaise equals death." In fact, the exact opposite is true. Mayonnaise
has every vitamin and mineral you need, including vitamin C. And besides,
mayonnaise is a freakin condiment. I don't know anyone who sits down with
a spoon and a big jar of mayonnaise and eats the whole thing, like some
people do with a pint of Ben & Jerry's. Mayonnaise, spread on a sandwich
adds a lot of flavor and nutrition to that sandwich.
    So that's my rant. Fire away in the comments section. Oh, and the recipe.
Cook the ramen per instructions on package. Beat an egg. Slowly pour the
egg into ramen while stirring the soup. The speed with which you stir the
soup will determine the consistency of the egg. I'm not too particular.



                                  Oyster Bed




    The tides here are about 4 feet. At low tide the oyster beds are exposed. I
would love to be feasting on oysters right now, but they are all pretty small. I
learned from the guy at the marina where I got gas, that that's just the way
they are.
    I had to wait until the highest of high tide to get the boat ungrounded.
Even then we did not float off. I had to rev the engine and do some rocking
and pushing of the boat. The wind had really driven her hard onto the shore.
84
Fortunately, I was on mud and not an oyster bed.
    I'm just north of Charleston now. I'm going to spend tonight at a marina
and check out the town. It's been about three weeks since I've paid for a
marina. I've gotten pretty adept at the whole sponge bath thing, but the boat
does need a power-wash, and I have a lot of laundry to do.
    For the past couple days there has been a crackling noise in the hulls.
Apparently, the noise is krill feasting on the algae on my hulls. I'll see if I can
get a picture of them for you.



                        Be Careful What You Wish For




    I got to go sailing today! Or maybe I should rephrase that as, I had to go
sailing today. It was only for a few hundred yards, and maybe I didn't have
to do it, but it made everything a little more comfortable while I worked on
my conked out engine. The engine died after I had again just passed through
a bridge. Where else would it die?
    The engine's starter motor has been on the fritz for the past few days. It
just makes a clicking sound when I turn the key. So, I've been using the rope
pull to start the engine. Of course, the time for the rope to break would be
when I'm in a channel just past a bridge, not in the morning at anchor.
    Over the years I've used numerous small engines with pull starts, and yet
somehow, I've never had to replace the rope on one. The boat engine manual
has instructions on how to do it, but I think it's one of those things which is
                                                                                 85
easy to understand if you see it done, but hard to describe in words. It took
me a number of tries before I was able to figure out how to replace the rope,
rewind the spring mechanism and get the rope pull mechanism reattached to
the engine.
    Yesterday, I was bitching in the comments about not being able to go
sailing, and how the blog has turned into a cooking and football blog. Well, I
got what I wished for, some sailing today. The pic is of a newer Gemini
which went through the bridge with me. They didn't have any engine
trouble.
    Maybe I'll start a small engine repair business when I get done with this
trip. I'll certainly have the experience.



                                    Marinas

     Having spent yesterday doing laundry, shopping and
cleaning/organizing/fixing the boat, today's post is another in a string of non-
sailing posts. I'm at Ashley Marina in Charleston. It's the nicest marina I've
ever seen. That's not saying much, seeing as I spend most of my time on the
hook (at anchor), and my marina in Baltimore was only a step above a trailer
park. But over the years, I have stayed at a few dozen marinas, so I feel I'm a
somewhat competent judge.
     The marina is a little pricey. Two dollars a foot plus electricity. But I've
made full use of their amenities, so it's been more than worth it. Laundry is
free. I've done five loads. They have a van service. They chauffeured me to
the supermarket and West Marine.
     Their bathrooms are impeccable. I'm usually happy if a marina's
bathrooms are clean and in decent repair. My marina in Baltimore had a
porta-potty. This marina has private stone tiled shower stalls, glass showers
and upscale fixtures. I'd add a picture of the bathrooms to this post, but I felt
a little weird about bringing a camera into the bathroom.
     This wouldn't be a bad place to spend January. Their monthly rates are
quite reasonable. And Charleston is an incredibly nice town.




86
                                  Charleston




     After spending the day before doing chores, yesterday I got to ride my
bike into Charleston for some sightseeing. The town is incredibly beautiful.
It's just block after block of the most adorable houses you will ever see. Lots
of trees and bushes, some in flower even this time of the year.
     The picture is of the old City Market. It's four open air buildings filled
with venders' stalls. Most of the stuff was a little too crafty and kitschy for
my taste. But it is reasonably priced, and I was able to pick up a few
Christmas gifts, including something pretty for my girl.




                                                                              87
                    Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful




     But inside it's delightful? Let it rain. Let it rain. Let it rain.
     I rarely get seasick, but I felt a bit queasy today when I was folding
clothes in the forward berth. And we weren't even going anywhere. We were
at anchor in the Charleston harbor. The problem was that the tide runs fast
through the anchorage and the wind was coming from a different direction,
so those competing forces were spinning the boat at anchor. And the wind
was kicking up some gentle swells. Of course with the crappy weather, I had
all the hatches closed, so the air inside was a bit stale. I didn't do much all
morning but sip Coca Cola.
     Between the spinning, rocking and stale air, I didn't feel so hot. Being
seasick sucks.
     Later, I drove a mile to another anchorage in a creek. I found it at
Cruisers' Net. I'd been to this website months ago, but forgot about it. It's
now added to the links section of the blog. If I'd come here yesterday, the
whole seasick fiasco could have been avoided.
     The pic is of a boat hard aground. I took it coming into Charleston. I just
thought it was funny. Ok, maybe not so funny to the owner. (There's a fine
line separating comedy from drama. Perspective may also play a part.) I
could have taken another picture of a small sailboat in the anchorage which
had turtled overnight (turtling is when your mast points to the bottom, and
your keel to the sky), but I was fighting some wind and waves as I was
leaving the tight anchorage and didn't feel confident to multi-task.
88
                             Jack, Bob and Chuck




    I often listen to my ipod while I'm driving down the Intra-Coastal
Waterway (ICW). I've got some podcasts I listen to including Car Talk, This
American Life, Marketplace and Big O & Dukes. I also listen to a bunch of
music on my ipod which friends and family have given me. But I also have a
radio on board, and I listen to that too.
    In Maryland there is an adult hits station called Jack. It's radio's response
to the mp3 player. Instead of playing the same 20 songs from a specific genre
over and over(rock, rap, classical, etc), Jack mixes it up with a much larger
playlist spanning multiple genres.
    I've now become acquainted with Jack's brothers, Bob and Chuck.
    The other day, Bob played "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred. It's a fun
song, and there are some lines about being on the "Cat Walk." Fred is talking
about models in the song, but I thought it was funny that I was dancing
around on my catamaran to the song, so I downloaded it from itunes. Amy
gave me a gift card to itunes, but it's linked to her account, so she got an
email receipt when I bought it. The next day, I got an email from her that
simply said, "Yes you are."
    I was listening to Chuck today as I motored along, and he really rocked.
There were even a few songs I'd never heard before. I was jamming to
Chuck's playlist, dancing around the cockpit and making a spectacle of
myself to the pelicans and dolphins who were accompanying me on my
journey. I was running fast with the tide. We were doing 8.5 mph at one point
                                                                               89
while the engine was running at just enough rpms to give me some steering.
At a certain point, the engine died. I'd run out of gas.
    This happens often enough. I have an internal fuel tank, but I haven't
gotten around to cleaning it so that I can use it. Instead I use five jerry cans
which I rotate as they empty.
    It's a good thing that I ran out of gas because in my clueless bliss, I had
passed my intended anchorage. Changing the gas tank brought me out of
this state, and I found that I needed to turn back about a quarter mile.
    The pic is some birds I passed when I was listening to Chuck.



                                     Bubba




    I'd rather not say where I am. I don't want to defame the place or it's
residents. My impression of this place probably says as much about me, as
about the town. And truthfully, I really didn't get off the boat to take a stroll
about and see the town or meet the people.
    I'm in the Carolina Low Country. The ICW runs through a series of rivers
which are often connected by a short cut. You run down one river and up the
next. The tides here run fast, and I try to time it so that I'm mostly running in
the direction of the tide, in which case, the motor is only needed to provide
steering and doesn't have to run very fast.
    I was running low on gas yesterday. There are not many marinas here(or
much of anything else). The marinas listed in the guidebook aren't even on
90
the ICW. The closest one is two miles off the ICW, so that's the one where I
decided to get gas.
   I pulled up to the tiny creek in late afternoon. There was a short row of
houses, docks and boats. From the first house emanated a cacophony of
barking. It sounded like the hounds of Cerberus were inside. I thought
maybe they were aroused by the sound of my motor. Maybe they thought
their owner was returning home. But no, they continued on until nightfall.
Probably someone's pack of hunting dogs. Seriously, it sounded like there
were a lot of them.
   About a hundred yards up the creek is the marina. Well, it's not really a
marina. Just a convenience store and fuel dock which I ended up tied to for
the night. In the parking lot were a group of guys hanging out around a
pickup with it's hood open. Almost a quintessential good ole boy scene.
   I had a flashback to an unpleasant experience from my younger days. I
was on a solo bicycle trip through Southern Maryland. I had stopped in a
small town and bought dinner at the convenience store. I decided to set up
camp nearby and spend the night. At dusk, a few guys showed up, and I
forget exactly what was said, but it was made clear that they didn't want me
around.
   Fortunately, there was a phone booth nearby and I called 911. By
coincidence, the police had an APB out for me. There was a family
emergency, and my dad had called them to keep an eye out for me. (A whole
other story.) Anyway, my dad ended up driving down and picking me up,
ending my bicycle tour.
   The pic is of the moon setting this morning as I left the creek.




                                                                               91
                               Weird Christmas




     I need to stop reading the guide book, and apparently the New York
Times. I was all excited about Beaufort, SC. I was thinking we'd spend the
month of January here. This Beaufort doesn't blow, like the one in NC. But
it's not nearly as great as the NY Times makes it out to be in this article. It's
just a sleepy southern town with a few blocks of picturesque houses and a
short main street. I was hoping to find some xmas spirit here, but the streets
were mostly deserted and undecorated with lights or ornaments. The aptly
named Church street had churches, but none were holding Christmas
morning services.
     I was returning to the boat in a poo-poo mood when I spotted a boat
anchored uncomfortably close to mine. It almost looked like they were rafted
up together. I kayaked over to the boat to see what was up. The young couple
apologized for being so close to my boat. They were having engine trouble. I
offered to help, and it turned out that I had the parts they needed on my
boat. Being able to help someone out on Christmas Day did give me a little
bit of a warm feeling.

92
   I was hoping to get a Christmas-y pic for the blog in Beaufort, but I didn't
see anything. Some of the houses in Beaufort are listed for sale in the
millions. I bet the house in the picture could be bought for a more reasonable
price.



                                 Strike Four?




    I came into Beaufort on Christmas day at just about slack tide. There is a
bridge just north of town which I had to pass through. About a half mile
north of the bridge was a sign with the hours of bridge operation, radio
channel for hailing, etc. It also stated that the bridge was closed on Federal
Holidays.
    I've seen similar signs at bridges often enough. I guess the Federal
Holiday closure thing just hadn't registered in my head. Anyway, there was
an anchorage just north of the bridge. From there I rode my bicycle over the
bridge to Beaufort. As I neared the bridge house, I saw that there was
someone inside.
    When I returned from my poo-poo xmas excursion into town, I decided
to hail the bridge. The tender answered that he would open the bridge for
me. The passage through the bridge was a little hairy, and going through at
that time was probably not the best decision. I was running with the ebbing
tide into the bridge. But we made it through fine.
    At the town anchorage, I turned the boat into the current and put her into
                                                                             93
idle forward gear. She pretty much stayed put as I went forward to drop
anchor. Back in the cockpit, I took the engine out of gear. Instead of just
falling back with the current, the boat twisted at about a 30 degree angle to
the current. While we had stayed put, the anchor had drifted under the boat
with the current. The line was caught on one of the centerboards. I put the
engine back in gear, and the line released from the centerboard. We drifted
back and the anchor held. All was well.
    When I weighed anchor this morning, I found it bent as you can see in the
picture. I'm assuming this happened during the incident I just described. I
doubt that I'll be able to bend it back, unless maybe I tried the same stunt,
but with the anchor line wrapped around the other centerboard. That's now
four anchors that I've gone through on this trip.



                             Any Port in a Storm




    I've secured a slip at a marina in Hilton Head for the next month. I've
instructed Muffy to pack her tennis racket, golf clubs and bikini when she
comes to visit in a week or so. I'll give a full report about the marina at some
point. It is part of an 1800 acre resort at which we will have full guest
privileges. This is the antithesis of my trailer park marina in Baltimore. One
thing I did not consider when selecting the marina is that it is surrounded by
the Disney section of the resort. Plenty of families and kids, even in off
season.
94
    I'll try to keep up with the daily posting. I'm not sure what the topics will
be. Some of them may be about golf and tennis. I apologize in advance. I do
have lots of repairs to do on the boat, so I'll post about that too.
    Pic is of a shrimp boat anchored near me last night. Earlier, I had to avoid
him and his nets as he fished around the mouth of the river separating
Hilton Head from the mainland.



                          Seashells by the Seashore




     Found these shells on my morning run. I haven't been running since my
post about the pirate ship in Baltimore. Feels good to stretch my legs. I'll bet
I'll be achy tomorrow though.
     I've met a few of my dockmates, including Einstein the cat who lives next
door, and Sasha the dog who lives two boats down.
     I haven't figured this place out yet. In the resort complex are a Marriot,
Hilton and Disney enclave. There are also three golf courses, a tennis
complex and a bunch of condo and housing complexes. Some of the areas are
clearly public. Other areas have signs that say "Members and Guests only",
and others are gated with combination locks. I don't know which areas I as a
guest of the marina am allowed in. Am I permitted to use the facilities at the
Marriot, or the pool at one of the condo complexes? I'll let you know when I
get tossed out of one of these places.
     I'm getting readjusted to life on land (re-socialized?). Marina life is much
                                                                               95
different from life on the hook (at anchor). Now I have to be considerate of
others and not play my music too loud or knock about the boat too early in
the morning.
    There are some benefits like dependable utilities. I do have a post
percolating in my head about power and electricity for the boat.



                                Neptune Claus




    I was working on another installment of Cooking with Cap'n Scott. It was
also going to be part of a series of posts about equipment on the boat. I was
going to talk about my gas grill. Unfortunately, the pictures didn't come out
well. I wasn't attentive enough to the chicken, and I let the skins get stuck to
the grill. When I flipped them over the skin ripped. It was still yummy. Just
didn't look good enough for a blog post, especially since you at home can't
taste the chicken on the boat. I'll try again later in the week.




96
 January




Hilton Head, SC




                  97
                               Happy New Year!

    New Year's Eve was a lot more festive than Christmas. The couple in the
slip next to me have been here a few years, and they invited a bunch of the
other folks at the marina over for a potluck. Festivities began around 6pm
and lasted until around 10pm. Just about all the attendees were couples. The
median age was somewhere in the 50s. I'd only met about a half dozen
people here until last night. Now I've met a lot more. Not that I remember
their names or the details of our conversations. I'm not very good with
names to start off with. And trying to remember a bunch of new ones all at
once while half lit doesn't usually work out well.
    Before I bought this boat, I almost never socialized with powerboat
people. If I passed a sailboat on the dock and the owner was there, I'd often
say hi and ask about the boat. But I didn't feel I had much in common with
the powerboat folks. Now that barrier seems to be dissolved by our common
cruiser/live-aboard status.
    In Baltimore, my boat fit in with all the others, and the guys at the marina
weren't all that different from me. It was an eclectic group. It does feel a bit
strange to be part of this group in Hilton Head where the guy or gal I'm
talking to usually lives on a a large yacht and often has a home elsewhere.
But everyone was very friendly last night and curious about my adventures.
They certainly didn't treat me like an outsider.


                                    Pan-Pan

   I was bored and surfing the web when somehow the idea to google pan-
pan popped into my head. I've heard this call a few times on my journey
south, mostly from Coast Guard stations. I didn't know what it meant. There
were a few times when I should have used this call. And I've seen, or heard
some other vessels on the radio that should have used it. I like it. I think it
should be in wider use.
   It looks like it's just a warning call and a call for assistance if convenient.
Let me know if I'm misguided about this.




98
                              Another Sh*ty Post




    The head on this boat is a Raritan toilet. This boat has a lot more systems
(electrical, plumbing, refrigeration) than I've ever had on a boat. On my old
boat the head was a five gallon bucket. When I was a kid, I think we just
jumped in the bay to take care of business.
    Having renovated a house with three apartments, I'm familiar with all
these systems. But on a boat, they are slightly different, a little more
complicated and much more expensive. Anything attached to a boat is
several times more expensive than it's counterpart on land.
    I decided that before my girl arrives on the boat next week, I should clean
and repair the head. We'll probably go out on the hook overnight, and you
know how fussy Muffy can be.
    The head has taken quite a beating on this trip, and it wasn't in all that
great a condition to start off. It looked like it hadn't seen a thorough cleaning
in the 25 years since it was first installed on the boat. If it weren't for how
expensive a new one is, I would have just thrown it out. That's what I would
have done with a toilet on land in it's condition.
    As I discovered when I needed to replace the fuel bowl gasket, I have a
gasket kit for the toilet, so the plan was to completely disassemble the toilet
and replace all the gaskets, excepting the one that I used on the fuel bowl.
    The task was completely nauseating. Particularly so, because I had to
remove the sewage line and S poured out. It brought me back to the last
disgusting task I had to perform, which was cleaning the mouse feces and
                                                                               99
urine in an oven, after a tenant moved out. I had to completely disassemble
the stove to get at all the nooks and crannies filled with tirds. Then I baked
the oven all day to get the urine smell out. I was afraid that even after all
that, an almost brand new and completely functional oven would be totaled
by mouse feces. And before you start castigating me for being a slumlord,
friends and family can tell you that I keep the house in fairly good condition.
It's just that it's over a hundred years old, and it's nearly impossible to plug
every crack that a mouse can squeeze through. If the tenants had asked me to
set traps, I would have been happy to. But they never did.
     Pic is of the toilet after I had disassembled and cleaned it. Probably
should have gotten a before picture too, but didn't. Sorry.


                               Frigid Mermaid




  It's cold here, just like a lot of other places.
  I'm just futzing about the boat, cleaning. I just feel better about life when
my surroundings are clean and orderly. Also installing the cleaned head. The
wooden base which it was attached to had rotted. I was fortunate to find a
100
piece of replacement plywood about the right size on the boat. I don't have
my sawz-all on the boat to cut a piece to size. There are a bunch of tools at
home which I wish I had on the boat. Oh well.
   I added a google news feed to the blog. It displays google news items
about sailboats. So far most of the items seem to be about sailboats sinking. I
guess sailboats only make the news if there is some sort of disaster. I'll
remove the news feed if it gets too depressing.


                           Twas the Night Before...




    As you know, I had a not very festive Christmas. But Santa is in her sleigh
driving down from NYC. It's been hinted that the sleigh is packed with toys
for a good little boy in SC. I was hoping that Santa would arrive on January
6. That's the Epiphany or Three Kings Day, which in some cultures is the
traditional day for giving presents. It's the day when the wise men are
supposed to have shown up with gifts for little baby Jesus. I don't know that
I have the self control to wait an extra day to open my presents, so we'll
either be celebrating Three Kings Day a day early or Christmas 11 days late,
depending on how you look at it.
    Pic is of Sasha the dog who lives on a Beneteau sailboat on the dock. My
neighbors feed her treats, so she's often hanging out on the finger pier
between my boat and theirs.
                                                                             101
                                Fussy Muffy




    The admiral arrived on board yesterday after a two day drive down from
NYC. We promptly took the boat out to anchor in order to get reacquainted
without disturbing the neighbors on the dock. Last night was 12th night. We
had a night of revelry after a two month separation. We cooked a nice meal
on the grill, opened a couple presents (We did save a few for today), and
watched the football playoffs. Condolences to Grampa and Brianna on the
Steeler loss.
    Muffy insists that I point out that she has not been fussy. Even though I've
had a week to clean and organize, there are still plenty of issues with the
boat. She's been a good sport and complained not a bit. She's looking
forward to pitching in on the repairs. We'll balance the work with play and
exploring the island now that we have a car.
    Having Muffy aboard when sailing makes things a lot easier on me. A
task like weighing anchor is a lot less complex. My usual routine often
requires running between the bow and cockpit to reel in the anchor and steer
the boat. I can get quite out of breath if the anchor has really dug in or there
is a lot of wind or current during the procedure. Having a mate at the wheel
makes it all a lot easier.
    It does help that both Muffy and I know that I've done all this by myself
for the past two months. We know that her presence is a luxury, and if need
be I can take care of any task myself. Before we do something like weigh
anchor, I try to explain to her what I'm going to do and what I want her to
do. I try to keep the task I give her relatively simple. In the case of weighing
102
anchor, it's mainly operation of the throttle. You hear horror stories about
couples, yelling and first mates getting turned off by the experience and
abandoning ship. So far I think the experience on the boat has been a positive
one for Muffs (excepting some seasickness while running on some swells in
the Chesapeake).
   Pic is of Muffy watching football in the cockpit.


                                 Muffy Here




    Muffy here. Scott has asked me to take over some blogging responsibility
while here. Considering some of the other tasks that need doing around here
(like cleaning out the sewage line), I'm happy to contribute in this most
undisgusting task.
    I promise (especially to Grampa) that there will be discusison of boating
and the marina, but for this post, I think I just need to pay tribute to Cap'n
Scott's skill at having the good life on a boat. Once, when I was living in a
small apartment in Amherst, a friend told me that she had much more
respect for my cooking skills once she saw my teeny tiny kitchen. Same goes
                                                                           103
here for Cap'n Scott. This boat is pretty small, but in the last twenty-four
hours, he's proved that one can be a good host in cramped quarters.
    I have been comfortable, warm and well-fed. Dinner last night was grilled
chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans and gravy. All made using a
propane grill and a two-burner propane stove, and only using one at any
time (since they use the same propane tank). He also did the dishes. All this
in a space not much larger than a closet, and without running water.
    Scott fixed the water lines today, so there is now running (cold) water.
There is electricity too, but both of these feel a little superfluous, since he's
managed to survive most of his trip without them. Although it is nice to be
able to watch the NFL playoffs together.
    This picture is of Scott wearing two of his Christmas presents from me.
He will post about his Christmas present from Grampa when he installs it,
but it is wicked cool.


                              The Dynamic Duo




    Amy has suggested that we are like a pair of super-heroes down here in
Hilton Head. Captain Gladiator and Fussy Muffy. At odd moments, she'll
come up with pieces of back story and character development for our alter
egos. I don't know about our super-hero status, but we've been very
productive today. I'll let Muffy go first with her version of the day's events
which she wrote earlier while I was still down in one of the lockers cleaning.
I've just finished washing the dishes after a spaghetti dinner which Muffy
cooked. Right now she's on deck oiling the teak. Our biggest accomplishment
104
of the day was getting the engine starter working again, even though it
wasn't what we set out to do. It was just a happy byproduct of a day of
cleaning and organizing.
     Muffy's version: We had a really nice morning at the beach, and I rented a
bike, which will improve my quality of life immensely (in another blog post,
I'll talk about the 1/4 mile to the bathrooms, or the 1/2 mile to the showers).
We came back to the boat mid-morning and got to work.
     Scott opened up the seats in the cockpit and lowered himself into a smelly
pit (the rear of one hull, I think). For a while, he handed me wet stinky things
that had been ripening down there for a decade or so. I started a pile of these
things, some of which will supposedly be useful on the boat. There was even
a snow shovel in there that I snagged and put in my car. Scott used a pumpy
thing to get the water out of the compartment, and then he drained some
really nasty water out of an ancient water heater. Once he did that, he started
cleaning out the compartment more and said he found some grounded
thingy. He seemed excited about this. I cleaned out the sun shower, and
accidentally dropped a (not critical) part of it overboard. I rinsed off a bunch
of other things and put them out on the foredeck to dry. I learned the term
"foredeck." Now I'm going to make us some spaghetti with meat sauce.
     Cap'n Scott here again. That's pretty much an accurate recounting of the
cleaning of the aft port hull locker. It's a large locker which in newer Geminis
is a berth. The locker space isn't used very efficiently in this boat. It contains
the batteries, holding tank, water heater and a bunch of wires, plumbing and
sewage lines. It's a deep locker and on top of those things, which don't take
up much room, was a bunch of crap which had been tossed in the locker.
Rope lines, water hoses, life preservers and a lot of junk, including a snow
shovel which will be useful to Muffy in NYC, but not so much on the boat in
Hilton Head.
     After removing all the junk, there was a layer of filth and scum in the
locker. Some of it was sewage which had spilt over the years. (We're slowly
ridding the boat of offensive odors.) We added to the scum when we drained
the full hot water heater. In the very rear of the hull is another deeper area.
That area was full of fairly clean water. We pumped out something like ten
gallons of water from there. The water drained, I found what is likely an
electrical ground for the boat. I'd been searching for this for awhile. I was
concerned that there was none. The bad news is that I think that the water
leaked in through the ground plate bolts and I'll have to seal the leak
somehow.
     I also found a cord and plug connected to the battery charger. I hadn't
noticed it among all the other junk in the locker. I have a Black and Decker
battery charger, but it's not marine grade like this one. If it works I'll have

                                                                               105
two chargers aboard! You know I'm a fiend for backups. I also found a
terminal wire disconnected from a battery. This turned out to be one of the
starter wires. I must have neglected to connect it after cleaning the terminals
one day. Now that I have a clean and organized locker, I doubt that it will get
lost again.
     Having a partner in crime today has made me a lot more productive.
Even though Muffy isn't an expert boater and sometimes calls stuff thingys,
instead of by their proper names, she's made me a lot more productive. Just
little things like having someone to hand stuff to while in the locker takes
away a lot of the chore of having to get into and out of that cramped space.
     And she's quite pleasant company to boot.


                           I Like to Ride my Bicycle

   I've got a new bike! Well, at least it's new to me. My old bicycle was a
Giant Iguana. I got it in the early 90s when I lived in DC and had little use for
my car.
   Back then my car sat in Grampa's driveway until I drove it to Arizona to
give to my sister, and then tried to hitchhike back. That didn't work out so
well, and I ended up on a four day Greyhound bus journey home. But that's
a whole other story. My truck is now sitting in sitting in Grampa's driveway,
and I was back to riding my Giant Iguana. At least when I was on land.
   This morning while riding my bike to the showers I got a flat tire. I have a
repair kit and fixed it. My neighbors had a tire pump. The pump had a
pressure gauge. The tire sidewall recommended a pressure of 40-65 psi.
Previously, without a gauge, I had just pumped the tire until it looked full.
This time I pumped it up to about 60 psi. Then I pumped up the other to
about 60 psi. Maybe 30 seconds later there was a loud bang. Sounded like a
gun going off. Maybe a minute later, another loud bang when the other tire
exploded. Well, it is an old bike, and the tires had a little dry rot.      Amy
was going to drive me to the Walmart to get new tires and inner tubes, and
what the hell, brakes. (Everything on the bike is old and tired.) But my
neighbors suggested that the bike rental store where we rented Amy's bike
yesterday also had old bikes for sale. They did. The bike cost 40 bucks. Just
ten dollars more than it cost to rent Amy's bike for two weeks. It doesn't look
quite as nice as hers, but it's pretty sweet. It's got a nice fat seat, one easy
gear, and is driven in a comfortable upright stance, unlike my old mountain
bike. I'm pretty excited.
   I parked my old bike at a bike rack nearby without a lock. Hopefully
someone will take it. I feel bad about just throwing it away. It's served me


106
well over the years and even provided my income during a brief stint as a
bicycle currier in my younger days.


                                       Hef




    I'm sitting in a king sized bed watching the Today show on a large flat
screen tv. We're in a fancy boutique hotel on River Street. Last night, the hotel
had a cocktail and appetizer reception for the guests. Very civilized.
Afterwards, we went out for a fancy dinner. Muffy took tons of pictures
yesterday while we strolled about town. I'm expecting a photo essay post
from her.
    When we get back to the boat, I'll start on installation of the heater. I think
I have it all planned out. Unfortunately, it won't go in the spot I originally
planned for it, where there was already a hole for the chimney. The
manufacturer recommends at least a two foot chimney. The chimney in that
location would be closer to a foot long. I'll have to cut a hole in the ceiling in
the new location. It's a scary prospect to cut a hole in my boat. I've solicited
advice online, and I think I have a good idea of the procedure, so that I won't
make a mess of the job.
    The guy in the boat next to me is going to help me bend my anchor back
into shape. He's doing some dock work for the marina and has some torches.
Also tried to fire up the fridge, but was soon overwhelmed by the odor of
ammonia. Apparently, my fridge uses ammonia instead of freon as a coolant.
Somewhere, there must be a leak in the system.


                                                                                107
      Savannah




108
                            Bring Out Your Dead




    I don't like to throw things away when they break. I prefer to fix them.
Even if I can't fix the thing, it's interesting to take it apart and see how it
works. My biggest success last year was fixing Muffy's air conditioner. It
turned out that the problem was simply a loose wiring harness.
Unfortunately, by the time I got to NYC and fixed it, most of the summer was
over.
    I fired up the fridge on the boat a couple days ago. It runs off 110 volt ac
current or propane. It's a little counter intuitive that burning propane would
cool a refrigerator. Don't ask me how it works. After a few minutes of the
fridge running, there was an overpowering ammonia odor. It turns out that
the fridge uses an ammonia based refrigerant instead of freon. There was a
leak in the system and ammonia was escaping.
    I was planning on trying to fix the fridge, but that turned out not to be
practical. First, I decided that the fridge was occupying the ideal space for
my new heater. Second, the fridge was too large to move anywhere else on
                                                                             109
the boat. It barely fit out the door when we removed it. Truly, I think the
fridge was too large for the boat. It was certainly too large for my needs.
Also, it was taking up prime real estate on the boat, just inside the salon
door. Now that it is removed, the salon feels a lot more open. I don't know
why the manufacturer installed the fridge in the salon, instead of the galley.
Not very feng shui. When I get around to it, I'll install a smaller twelve volt
fridge in the galley.
    Pic is of me hauling the fridge to a dumpster. It wasn't all that heavy,
unlike a household refrigerator. Muffy and I were able to get rid of it without
much trouble. I would have taken it to the dump, but I wasn't able to find
one. I don't know where garbage on Hilton Head goes. I do know that the
rich don't recycle. I haven't seen a hint of recycling since I've been here.
    Heater is installed and running! I'll post about that tomorrow.


                               Thanks Grampa!




    I'm writing this post while the fan from my new Dickinson Newport
propane heater purrs in the background. I've spent many a cold morning
bundled up under my sleeping bag at the salon table. Mornings are the only
time I regularly feel cold on the boat. It's a tough way to start the day. Well
no more, now that the heater Grampa got me for xmas is installed.
    The installation was incredibly smooth and straightforward. The
refrigerator removed, the heater popped right into its place. The propane and
electrical lines from the fridge were perfectly placed to connect to the heater.
I was going to remove the shelf above the heater, but it turned out to be
110
structural. It is fiberglass and is part of the hull. I drilled a hole through it for
the chimney. The hole saw cut though it like butter. I was able to use an
existing hole in the ceiling to vent the chimney to the outside. The ceiling
hole had held a non-working solar fan which was easily removed. The heater
installed, I was able to use some of the old fridge framing to form some
rudimentary cabinetry around the heater. The placement of the heater and
cabinetry are temporary. I'm looking forward to building some permanent
cabinets around the heater when I get back to Baltimore. Maybe the cabinets
will hold a place for the playstation game console and flat screen tv I dream
of for the boat.
    Pic is of Muffy dipping a celery stick into blue cheese dressing while we
watched the playoffs and ate chicken wings. The boat is getting very
comfortable. Muffy says she can imagine spending a couple weeks on it at a
time. And I'm starting to have fantasies of living on it next fall while we look
for a house in Virginia.




                                                                                  111
                                      Fore!




     As promised (threatened?) while in Hilton Head, today's post is about
golf. Muffy is leaving this weekend, and I had hoped to take her out for a
night at anchor. I wanted to show her the dolphins and do some fishing. But
it's been windy the past couple days and it's supposed to be rainy the rest of
the week. Bummer. Today we played golf and ate lunch at a Chinese and
Sushi buffet. We also picked up another propane tank so that I will have a
backup when one runs out. These are the ubiquitous tanks that you see in
front of every home depot/walmart. Amazingly, I'm still on the tank I left
Baltimore with. Muffy jokes that there are little elves filling the tank at night
while I sleep. The tank has to run out soon now that I am running my heater
for hours at a time.
     Muffy and I were introduced to golf a couple summers ago at Jones Beach
on Long Island. There's a little "par 3" or "pitch and putt" course there. Par 3
courses are a lot of fun. There's none of the stuffiness of a regular golf course.
There are people of all skill levels on the course. And it's affordable. Each
hole is 50-100 yards long. You generally get one good whack at the ball, and
then some putting on a green.
     The last time we played was in the summer, so it took us a while to get in
the swing of things today. I didn't get a nice straight drive until about hole
eight (we only played nine holes). I did get par on one hole. But I think our
overall scores were about double par. Oh well. We did have fun, and it was
the nicest course we've played on. The greens were divot free, and we didn't
have to dodge goose crap like we do on LI.

112
   Pic is Muffs driving the ball off the tee. You can see the ball leaving the
frame on the right.


                                No Male Space




   I've been meaning to write something about this marina (as a follow up to
my previous marina culture post), but we've been keeping pretty busy. Now
we're coming up on a couple rainy days, so this might be a good time.
   Let me start by saying that pretty much everything I wrote about the
previous marina has not been true here. I guess that's what I get from
generalizing from a sample size of one. This marina is not at all what I'd call
a "male space." People here speak to me and Scott equally, and there's been
no avoidance of eye contact or ignoring my presence. Women walk around
here - there's even a boat that seems to be occupied by only a woman.
   Notably, this also feels a good deal more posh than Scott's Baltimore
marina. The boats are big, bright and new looking; they actually gleam in the
morning light. We don't actually see people working on their boats here. For
one, I'm not sure there's much that needs fixing on their boats. Also, it seems
                                                                                 113
as though many of the owners hire people to do the upkeep. It took a few
days for Scott to realize that it was the same guys working on different boats
here, and not a lot of owners out working on their boats every day.
    The Balto marina felt a little more like a trailer park, with guys always out
peering under the hoods of each other's cars. Guys were always popping by
to check on Scott's latest repair project, to add their two cents or lend a hand.
This marina is really more of a resort where people happen to live on boats,
but the boat itself doesn't seem that important, or a central topic of
conversation. I think Scott misses his old fart friends from Balto.
    There are nice people in both places, and I'm definitely enjoying my stay,
but it's been a very different experience. I was hoping that this posh marina
would have some posh facilities for us. I do love a good hot shower. The
facilities are nicer here, with indoor bathrooms and showers instead of a
port-a-potty and shower trailer. On the down side, since most of the boats
have nice facilities of their own, the marina has only seen fit to set up one set
of full bathrooms (with showers) and it is all the way on the other side of the
marina from our dock (about a half mile). There are also some bathrooms
with toilets about a quarter mile away. I've taken to biking to the bathrooms
so I don't spend so much time going to and from...
    I'm thinking that at this point, we've hit close to the two opposite ends of
the marina continuum. I am still curious about the marinas that have fitness
centers and swimming pools for their residents. I think we need a place
where the other boats are nice, but not so nice that good bathrooms are
considered superfluous.


                                Trivial Pursuit




114
    The boat is getting in such good shape that while I await news of my
rudders, I am occupying my time with trivial pursuits such as repairing my
autopilot. The model I have is an Autohelm 3000. The controller is broken,
but the motor works. I also discovered that the manual override on the
controller works. The manual override is a switch that you turn to make the
motor turn (counter-)clockwise.
    As you can see in the first picture, I attached a servo to the top of the
autopilot and connected it to the override switch. A servo is just a motor that
instead of spinning continuously in one direction, can be controlled to move
only a certain number of degrees in either direction. In this application, it is
acting as my finger on the switch, pushing the switch either right or left.
    The second picture is of the micro-controller which contains the basic
circuitry and programming to control the servo. The white rectangle at the
top of the board is called a breadboard. You plug wires, resistors, LEDS and
other electronic components into it to form circuits. On the board is also a
microprocessor that you program to control the circuits on the breadboard.
The whole board is then connected to my laptop by the white serial cable
that you can see coming out of the left of the board.
    On my laptop is a program I've written so that I can push a key to send a
message to the the micro-controller to tell the servo to turn left or right. It's
pretty cool to be sitting at my laptop watching my remaining rudder turn
while I type at the keyboard. I have some more programming to do in order
to create the logic so that the boat will stay on a certain heading. When I get
the time, I'll write logic into the program so that I can plot a course in the

                                                                               115
morning and the autopilot will follow it throughout the day. I'll have a robot
boat! I can just take a nap while the boat drives itself. I hope HAL doesn't
decide that I'm superfluous and try to off me.
    In other news, Muffy's gone - For what is likely to be at least two months.
When I lived in Baltimore, we'd see each other about every two weeks.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and two weeks went by in the blink of
an eye.
    When she rolled out of the parking lot this morning, I really felt like I was
saying goodbye for a while. Two months is a long time.
    On a brighter note, she's stopping to look at a house to buy in Virginia. I
am ambivalent about the house. On the internet, it looks just about perfect:
5+ acres, old farmhouse that doesn't look to be in too bad shape, reasonably
priced. But if it really is so great, it's going to be a real pain in the ass to go
through the house buying process while I'm trying to have a sailing
adventure.
    The other good news is I can stop shaving again!


                              Oops, I did it Again




   Chip, my next door neighbor, and I tried to bend my anchor back. He's
been working on replacing some of the hardware on the floating docks.
Among his many tools he has a torch. We heated the anchor with the torch,
but the anchor ended up breaking, instead of bending.

116
                                   Boatcam




    I bought a webcam. It uploads a new image to the web every 30 seconds.
At this point you have to hit your browser refresh/reload button to get the
new image. I'm working on writing a flash program that will make viewing
the boatcam more user friendly. Maybe I'll have it ready by Saturday when I
leave the marina. Then you can really come sailing with me! Until then, the
picture will be a pretty boring and static picture of the marina from the bow
of my boat.
    The boatcam will not be operable at night (Nothing to see then), or in the
case of inclement weather (I need to build an enclosure for it). In those cases,
the last available picture will be displayed.
    Update: boatcam in sidebar is now a flash program which automatically
loads a new image every 30 seconds or so.


                                    Day -1

   I apologize for the infrequent blog posts. I've been busy playing with the
boatcam and stocking up before I leave the marina tomorrow. One of the last
items I need to get is a spatula. I've been flipping my morning egg with a
spoon. I'm getting quite good at it, but I'd prefer to use a spatula.
   I'm convinced that one of my boat guests this month coveted it, and

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absconded with it. Of course, I'll probably regret the accusation when I find
it in some crevice a month from now. You'd think it would be hard to lose
things in such a confined space, but earlier in the trip one of my tennis shoes
went missing for several weeks before it turned up under a bunch of crap in
one of the lockers.
     Probably won't go very far tomorrow. I'm sure something will break, or
I'll have forgotten to pick something up from the store. I'll try to start up the
engine today. Haven't ran it for nearly a month.


                           Come Sail Away with Me




     Successfully left the dock today after a month at Shelter Cove marina in
Hilton Head. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The
first step is usually the hardest. The boat and I did a few miles while getting
our sea legs back. The engine did give me a little trouble starting up, after
being trouble free when tested yesterday.
     Tomorrow we're going out into the Atlantic ocean. We'll be just off the
coast. The weather is supposed to be perfect. Warm and Sunny with
Northerly winds. I'll raise the jib and maybe the mainsail. I'll probably have
to keep the engine running for steering. Offshore is a much more direct and
less complicated route than the ICW in Georgia. The ICW is twisty and turny
with fast tides to deal with. It's supposedly really pretty though, with very
little development.

118
    I don't know if the webcam will work, or how exciting it will be. Because
there isn't much development and I'll be offshore, my internet connection
may not be too great. Also, unlike the ICW, there isn't much to see on the
ocean. The shoreline, bridges and boats on the ICW are much more visually
interesting.
    There's a shuttle launch in Florida scheduled for Feb 7. It would be really
cool to get down there to see that. One of my earliest memories, which I
don't really have now, but remember remembering is seeing one of the
Apollo launches. I was really young. Maybe a year old. You're probably
doubting that I could have a memory of something from that age. It wasn't a
complete memory, more of an impression of bright light and loud noise.
(Side note. Grampa, maybe you want to think about doing a guest blog about
Cocoa Beach and the Voyager launches.) If I make it to Cocoa Beach in time,
you can watch the launch with me on the boatcam!
    Pic is webcam wearing sunglasses, as mentioned in the comments of the
last post.


                                Square Waves




    I can count on one hand the number of days I've been out sailing on the
ocean. My biggest adventure was years ago helping a buddy move his
sailboat from Baltimore to the Connecticut River. We spent a few days off the
New Jersey coast, mostly motoring. So yesterday, when I left the Hilton Head

                                                                            119
area and headed out into the ocean, I was very excited. Especially since I still
haven't fixed my rudders, and had the boatcam going.
    To be honest, my first day on the ocean wasn't much fun. The swells were
quite large and reminded me of the day I broke the rudder on the
Chesapeake. At times, I felt I had as much control over the boat as someone
watching at home. As the boat and I surfed the waves at speeds up to 7 mph,
the boat just did what it wanted, which was usually to turn into the wave.
During the short period before the next wave picked us up, I was able to
steer the boat back. But it was at times a white knuckle experience.
    Today was a whole other experience. The wind was gentle and seas
placid as we sailed out of the sound at about 2 mph. I put both sails up and
turned off the engine. (Yesterday I had only the jib up and the motor running
at all times.) We had southwestern headwinds and tacked out to the sea buoy
three miles out, and then back in to the next sound.
    It was a blast.
    There were some swells on the way out, but once we got out to the sea
buoy and depths dropped from the teens to the 20s and 30s, the swells
dissipated. I'm thinking that the waves I've experienced on the Chesapeake
and in shallow coastal areas are what people refer to as square waves. As in,
"Beware of the Square Waves". I had no idea what they were referring to. I
suppose that's because they are the only waves I've ever experienced in the
shallow waters of the Chesapeake.
    Maybe I'll do a whole treatise on the physics of waves after I have more
experience with coastal cruising and the difference in wave action in deep
and shallow water. Right now I'm just a neophyte, not so much the Old Salty
Dawg.
    Pic above is a dolphin this morning. They were everywhere as I left the
sound. I took it as a good omen. Shadowy figure in the pic below is another
dolphin, F-ing with my remaining rudder, or maybe just giving me a push.
They were all very curious about the boat.




120
                         Red Right Return




You want to keep buoy six far to your right as you enter Ossabaw Sound.


                                                                     121
                                    Sail Trim

    I've heard that you can steer a boat with just the sails. But I don't know
too many sailors who take their boat out without a rudder.
    Sails can be used in two ways. Either like a kite or a wing. When the wind
is behind a boat, the sails catch the wind and the boat is pushed downwind.
As a boat turns into the wind, the sails change from kites to wings. The wind
produces lift which propels the boat. Sailboats can even sail towards the
wind. Although catamarans in general, and mine in particular, don't do this
very well.
    The sails, as I was trying to use them today, were like a kite. I wanted
them to catch the wind and pull me. Unfortunately, with the amount of wind
and waves today, I was having a tough time keeping on that point of sail. The
boat kept turning into the wind, and when it did, my sails were converted
from kites to wings.
    A few times, the wings caught the wind and turned the boat all the way
into the wind. This is called being in irons. The sails are then no longer a
wing. They are more like a wind vane. They luff, keeping the boat pointed
into the wind and making no forward progress.
    The problem was that I had the mainsail in tighter than I should have. I
had it in relatively tight because I live in fear of the accidental jibe. A jibe is
when the wind catches the back of the mainsail and swings the boom across
the boat. An unplanned jibe can be quite violent, and has been known to
dismast a boat or two.
    I let the sails further out and no longer had as much of a steering
problem. If the sails turned into wings, they did so for a shorter period of
time, and produced less lift. I was now able to turn the boat back on course,
and no longer went into irons.
    I got a lesson in sail trim today, courtesy of the sea. Did a lot of distance,
just not really in one particular direction.




122
           February




Ossabaw Sound, SC to St. Augustine, FL




                                         123
                                Empty Pantry




    It's been a week since I've been anywhere near a grocery store. I hopefully
took my wallet ashore when I tied up at Barbour Island, GA. Unfortunately,
there are no roads or stores on the island. Just a bunch of houses and a grass
airstrip. Bill and Sandy, whose dock I was invited to tie up at, provided me
with 30 amp electric, water and fresh citrus. I stayed there two nights while
waiting for winds to calm. I'm presently on a two day passage off Georgia. I
just woke from a three hour nap and am about to do some night sailing.
Should kiss Florida by Super Bowl kickoff.




124
                               Saltier Every Day




    I finished my first overnight sea passage yesterday afternoon. Amazingly,
nothing broke and no one got hurt or seasick. So this is going to be a very
boring post. The lack of excitement was likely due to my choice of weather
window. Nothing more than 5-10 knot winds were called for. I've been the
victim of bad weather predictions more than once. Most recently, on my first
day out of Hilton Head when the NWS called for northerly 10-15 knot winds.
Those winds turned out to be easterly and more like 15-20. The swells built
up quite large on the long fetch across the ocean that day.
    I figured that if the weekend weather predictions were wrong, I'd either
be motoring down the coast in no wind, or having a speedy sail in 10-15 knot
wind. I didn't think the NWS could get it so wrong that I'd be caught in a
gale. As it was, they were pretty much on target and we proceeded down the
coast at about walking pace. As Ross mentioned in the comments, this would
have been ideal conditions for some fishing, but alas my pole is broken.
    I left Sapelo Sound at dawn on Saturday and sailed until about 7pm. I
tossed out an anchor in about 15 ft depths and slept for a few hours. I awoke
around 11, had coffee and sailed from 12-4 am. The stars were pretty on a
moonless night and I saw a few shooting stars. Anchored and slept a few
more hours, then sailed until reaching Florida in the afternoon.
    Most singlehanders would have had their autopilot running and sailed
through the night, taking cat naps. My boat still requires active steering, and
besides, I felt a lot safer anchored in shallow water while I slept. There's little
                                                                                125
chance of being run over by a freighter in 15 foot of water.
   Pic is of the beer coozies I was given in Hilton Head. The dockmaster
must have thought that I would be drinking a lot of beer and needing a tow.
Neither was the case this weekend, as I ran out of beer earlier in the week.


                                   gpsBabel




    Pic is of my gps. As you might have surmised from the pic, it is no longer
functional. I left it outside for a long time. I thought it would be ok, because
it appeared to be a sealed unit. I was mistaken. It has a lot of rust and worked
intermittently until it died. I tried to clean the rust, and tried soldering a
rusted spot or two. No luck.
    Fortunately, back in Baltimore Glen's Fred loaned me a handheld gps.
(Everyone should have a Fred. Glen has his, and I have mine. They're quite
handy.) Unfortunately, the gps Fred loaned me is a garmin etrex. Garmin, in
its great wisdom, has decided that the open standard for gps does not apply
to them. To hell with the nmea standard and com ports. (I know this is
gibberish to most readers, but trust me, these are important for getting
autopilots, gps, compasses, and other marine electronics to work together.)
    Anyway, I found some open source software, GpsBabel, with which I was
able to convert the proprietary rubbish from the garmin into something
useful. GpsBabel is not the most user friendly software. The documentation
is lacking. But if you are patient and persistent, you may find it helpful in
126
translating the output of your gps into a language you can understand and
use.


                            Fernandina Beach, FL




     Took the boat into the Fernandina Beach Marina for a few hours today. I
paid for one of their moorings for the night. Not because I wanted the
mooring, but because I wanted to use their facilities. I dumped my garbage,
pumped out my poo, filled my water tanks, took a shower, did my laundry
and went shopping.
     A note about laundry. This is the second marina I've been to where the
washing machine is fed with cold water only. Please. Is hot water really so
expensive? Pulling this move marks the marina as nothing more than a
cheap ass, second rate marina. And trust me, you aren't saving any money
off of me. I just go to the shower next door, fill a five gallon bucket with hot
water, and pour it into the washer. If I weren't so environmentally conscious,
I have half a mind to turn on all the showers and leave, the next time I'm at
some lame ass marina that pulls this stunt.
     Fernandina is an interesting place. Coming in the inlet, Amelia Island is
really pretty. There are sand dunes and a nineteenth century fort. Old town
Fernandina, where the city marina is located, is a few blocks of old buildings
filled with touristy shops. The streets are filled with senior citizens. You're
unlikely to see more than a few people under 60. On the waterfront flanking

                                                                             127
old town, are two factories. When I arrived, they were emitting an ungodly
amount of smoke, noise and stink. They've calmed down now. But earlier in
the week I was in awe of the amount of pollution they were spewing. And
I'm from Baltimore, for Christ's sake.
    I biked out to a convenience store and saw the truck in the picture for
sale. I was tempted to buy it, but I don't know where it would fit on the boat.
Besides, the salt water would probably corrode it.


                                 Gone Fishin'




    I bought a new fishing pole at Walmart today. I'll be sure to post a pic
when I catch my first fish with the rig. I should have gotten someone to take
a picture of me riding my bicycle with a backpack filled with groceries and
the pole bungied to the bike. It was quite a sight.
    I kayaked back to the boat with all my purchases. There was barely room
for me in the boat. And my two loaves of bread got pretty squished.


                                 In the News

      Abandoned anchor cut Gulf Internet cable
      By KATARINA KRATOVAC, Associated Press Writer Fri Feb 8, 2:24 PM
ET
      CAIRO, Egypt - An abandoned anchor was responsible for cutting one of
128
the undersea Internet cables severed last week, causing disruptions across
the Middle East and parts of Asia, the cable's owner said Friday.

    I swear I wasn't anywhere near there, so I'm not responsible. In other news,
rudder cages are on a UPS truck on their way to Fernandina Beach. Delivery is
scheduled for Monday. Thanks Andy!


                                     Moorings




    As mentioned, I took a mooring the other day. I wasn't sure how this
would work out. A mooring is usually a sunken piece of cement with a
line/chain and buoy attached. It's more stable than an anchor. It's hard to
drag a mooring. But I wasn't sure how I would motor up to the mooring and
snag it singlehanded. Turned out not to be a big deal. I just motored along
side, grabbed it from the cockpit with a boat hook, and tied off on a stern
cleat. After we were settled, I transferred it to the bow.
    In other news, Muffy's flying down for Spring Break. We'll be cruising
around the Cocoa Beach area. No Hilton Head marina for Stuffy Muffy this
time. She's demanding a new nickname for this trip, seeing as how she will
be roughing it on the boat. Any suggestions? Also, I think there is another
shuttle launch scheduled for early March. If true, I should make this one.



                                                                                   129
                                     Electric




    I've been having some electrical problems. Nothing major, just my
batteries weren't holding a charge well. I've been running my generator at
least once a day, and sometimes twice a day. When I first left Baltimore, I
only had to run it about every other day.
    For those curious about my electrical setup, here it is. The pic is a cheapo
two cycle, one cylinder, pull start generator bought online from Northern
Tools. It's not the most environmentally friendly solution. I'd like to get some
solar panels too, but that's still in the offing. A lot of sailboats have a diesel
engine with an alternator which charges the batteries, just like a car. My
outboard engine does not charge the batteries.
    Recently, the generator has only been able to run with the choke closed. I
disassembled and cleaned the carburetor this morning, but there doesn't
seem to be much improvement.
    The generator outputs alternating current to a 10/20/40 amp battery
charger attached to two marine batteries: one deep cycle and one starter
battery. I cleaned the battery terminal connections and coated them with
vaseline. I checked the battery fluid levels. The starter battery was low. I
poured almost a half gallon of distilled water into it. I'm hoping the low fluid
was the main source of my electrical troubles. You may remember that I was
having intermittent problems with my engine starter. I bet this will cure that

130
problem too.
    The batteries run a bunch of 12 volt lights, pumps and instruments. I also
have a power inverter into which I plug a surge suppressor. The computer,
cellphone, etc plug into the surge suppressor.
    Most of my appliances, like the laptop, run off direct current from
internal batteries. My sailboat electrical setup seems a pretty convoluted
system for charging them. I imagine a lot of energy gets wasted in all the
conversions between direct and alternating current, and between chemical
and electrical energy. But I don't know of a simpler system.


                   We Can Make It Better, Faster, Stronger




   Installed one of Andy's old rudder cages from his Gemini Floridaze. I'm
waiting to install the other until I test this one out. As we all know, it usually
takes me at least two tries to get a repair right. But the installation went
smoother than expected, and the rudder looks pretty stable for the time
being. There are some issues which remain, mostly stemming from the fact
that my fittings and push rods are not in the same location as on newer
                                                                                131
Geminis. I also need to replace the connecting rod which is bent and
corroded. There's a store in St. Augustine that I've heard is pretty cool.
Maybe I can pick up some useful parts there.
   Old busted rudder cage which soon will be heading to the dump:




                                   A Miracle

     The boat has been cured of it's affliction, and can sail again. I wasn't sure
what to do with myself, and all the time I had on my hands yesterday. Now,
when I turn the wheel, the boat turns in that direction. Previously, when I
turned the wheel, the boat might some time later turn in that direction, or
depending on the wind and waves, might turn in the other direction.
     Electrical problems seem banished as well, despite fears that the low fluid
level in the starter battery ruined it. The batteries hold a charge for much
longer, and the starter worked consistently.
     The engine is giving me a little trouble. It's always a little cranky (pardon
the pun), when it hasn't been run for a few days. I decided that adjusting the
idle speed screw would solve the problem of stalling while idling. But when
I tried to turn it, the head broke off.
     Also, I don't know what to do with the NWS predictions. They seem
almost useless. Yesterday, they were calling for Northerly 15-20 knot winds
in the morning, diminishing to 10 knots in the afternoon. Instead, the wind
132
blew hard from about 8-9 am, then died. I motored most of the way down
the coast, until the wind picked up a little from the East, and I was able to
sail for about an hour.


                          Another One Bites the Dust




    Installed the other new rudder cage this morning. The old one didn't go
easy. I had to tear it apart, to free its death grip on the hull. It was holding on
for dear life, as if to say, "It wasn't me. It was the other guy." But it had to go
too.
    I used my cordless drill and hole-saw bit to cut into the fiberglass. It's not
the tool I wanted, but the one I had. There are a lot of tools I wish I had on
the boat, but are sitting in my basement in Baltimore instead. When I was
packing to leave, I thought, "What use will a saber-saw or hammer be on a
boat?" Turns out they'd have been plenty useful.


                                  St. Augustine

   So I've been here a few days. Thought I'd give my initial impression of the
place. I'm not that impressed.
   Amy suggests that I'd be enjoying myself more if she were here. She
seems to really like the place, and it's true that I'd have more fun if I had a
partner in crime. I think part of my problem is perspective.
                                                                                133
    Yah, there is some nice architecture. The weather is for the most part nice
(we just had thunderstorms pass through). There's an old fort, some streets
with touristy shops, bars and restaurants. I can see that from the right
perspective, someone might find the place charming.
    But the place reminds me a little too much of home. I had all this crap at
my doorstep in Fells Point and Baltimore. I didn't come a thousand miles for
this (besides the nice weather in February).
    What I would like, is a decent anchorage. I'd also like a dingy dock that
didn't cost ten dollars a day for access. Most public docks are free, or cost a
couple dollars a day for access. I'd like it if the power-boaters weren't such
aholes. They're doing renovations on the bridge here. I even heard a
construction worker on the radio chastise a power-boater for his wake.
    I'd also like it if Sailors' Exchange were open. But it's not. I'd trade all the
t-shirt and knick-knack boutiques for a decent, independent marine store.
    Sorry for the rant. Maybe I'm just getting crotchety in my old age.


                          Gotta Keep Them Separated




   Anon and Ross have given me some good advice on batteries and a few
other things. You guys will be happy to know that I separated my starter and
deep cycle batteries today.
   A starter battery is designed like the one in your car. An engine starter
needs a lot of power in a short period of time to get the engine started. A

134
deep cycle battery is meant to trickle out lesser amounts of power over a
longer period of time. Don't ask me the engineering or physics/chemistry
involved. I don't know. Maybe someone else can answer that question.
    But apparently it's important to separate the batteries. Because they are
differently purposed and sized, having them connected can lead to
overcharging. In my experience, the water in the smaller starter battery
boiled off over the course of a couple months. I was beginning to have
troubles with starting the engine, and keeping other devices like my
computer charged throughout the day.
    The WTF is that there is a battery selector switch on the boat. But it was
installed incorrectly so that you could select either both or neither battery. It
reminded me of the plumbing on the boat. There is a y-valve that is to divert
sewage either overboard, or to a holding tank. It was installed incorrectly, so
that sewage could only be fed overboard, or nowhere at all.


                               A Penny Saved...




   Muffy sent me this today. I wasn't sure why. But apparently she felt some
guilt for clicking frivolously on the blog ads. For the record, the ads have
generated $14.72 since I started the blog, and have been clicked on 35 times. I
don't think I'm going to become a millionaire off google ads. However, I do
find it amusing how the ads change, depending on the contents of my
postings. For that reason alone, I'll leave them on the blog.

                                                                               135
    Pic is my generator, which I disassembled and cleaned yesterday. You can
even see the piston sticking out from the removed head. It's running a little
better now. I can run it with the choke half open, instead of completely
closed. Its got a new spark plug, but I swear the problem has got to be the
carburetor. I just haven't been able to figure it out. Even after cleaning it and
adjusting all the intake screws.


                             Riding on the Wind

     My schedule is firming up. Until now, my rudder situation, newness to
cruising, the boat and the southeast coast made my schedule a little
indefinite. Friends would ask, "Where are you going to be on such and such
date?" My answer would be, I don't know. Now my schedule looks like:
     3/3-3/7 :: Fred aboard for Bike Week in Daytona
     3/11 :: Cape Canaveral for Shuttle Launch
     3/14-3/21 :: Muffy aboard in Central FL
     April :: Head North
     May :: Marina in Baltimore/visit Muffy in NYC one last time
     June :: Chesapeake to Martha's Vineyard with Muffy aboard
     July :: NE Cruising
     August :: Mass to Chesapeake
     Sept :: Richmond
     It's a packed schedule. And I am a little bummed that I won't make the
Bahamas this time around, but what are you going to do?
     Grampa sends this link which appears to be a "webcam" pic of Pluto
aboard a space mission which I believe Grampa worked on.
     Ross sends this link to a "plane" which might be helpful for fishing while
sailing. I've been unsuccessful fishing thus far. Mostly because I've been
motoring at speeds of 5 knots or so, and the lure tends to ride on the surface
at that speed. I'm hopeful now that things are settling on the boat, that I'll
have more luck on a slow overnight passage.
     Also, I know people like to email me stuff, but I'll again encourage folks,
that as long as the information isn't personal, too inflammatory or
completely off topic, to post in the comments section. I've received some
pretty funny/informative emails which I think others would enjoy reading.
I'll reiterate my invitations to Amy and Grampa, and extend the invitation to
Bill and Ross, to guest blog. I have no problem handing the wheel off to
others. Ross, maybe you'd like to do a blog post about fishing? Bill, marine
electronics?



136
                            What the Sea Giveth...




   A strong blow and some rain came through the anchorage last night. The
wake up call sent me on deck to check that everything was secure.
Unfortunately, we had dragged anchor and were only a few yards from
another boat. I decided to raise the anchor, let the wind push us past the
boat, and then try to reset. The pic is what I found when I raised the anchor. I
figured that we'd snagged a crab pot, but I kept pulling on the tangled line
and raised a chain and then a pretty nice anchor. I'd snap a pic of the new
anchor, but it's presently holding the boat.
    I'd deduct one anchor from the "Lost to the Sea" sidebar (the total had
been four anchors), but I can't find that sidebar element. I don't remember
deleting it. Maybe I'll add another sidebar "Lost to the Internet." I'd have to
put on that list, huge amounts of time.
    Earlier in the trip, weighing anchor at 3:30 am would have put an end to a
night's sleep. I'd now be writing you from a sleep deprived trance. But I've
gotten pretty good at putting myself back asleep after middle of the night
physical activity. I've perfected my own method of "counting sheep."
    Here's another reminder why I'm a coastal, not blue water cruiser.




                                                                             137
                              Captain Sunshine




     It's warm and sunny here. Though with a cool breeze off the water, it's
still comfortable.


                                Dirty Laundry




138
     It's now been nearly a month since I've paid for a night at a marina.
Marinas are expensive on a nightly basis. They generally cost $1.50-$2.00 a
foot. My boat is 30 foot long, so you do the math. Some folks have suggested
that I'd run into hassles with the beam (width) of a catamaran, and needing a
larger slip. But I haven't had any problem. My Gemini only has a 14 foot
beam and if I were hassled, I'd just go to the next marina.
     You don't get much of a price break for staying at a marina for a week.
Three weeks on the hook, and a week at a marina would be ideal for me, but
it's too expensive. You do get a pretty good break for a month's stay. It's only
slightly more expensive than spending a week. Staying in Hilton Head for a
month was about the cost of rent on a studio apartment in Fells Point.
     But anyway, being on the hook for an extended period of time leads to a
lot of issues that on land you take for granted. Among them are drinking
water, sewage and laundry. I'll address drinking water and sewage later.
They deserve their own posts.
     I tried doing some laundry at anchor. Pic is my socks drying. I haven't
perfected the process yet. I may still stink, but there is no one aboard to
complain about it.


                                   Triathlon




   Moved over to a St. Augustine anchorage in Salt Run. This place is much
more my speed. The beach is yards away. This morning I kayaked ashore,
did a morning jog on the beach, and then a swim in the ocean (in my Captain
                                                                             139
Glad Outfit).
    There's a public boat ramp where later I went ashore on the town side
and picked up some supplies. Boat ramps have been a real godsend on this
trip. With my draft, I can often tie up to offload my bike or weather a blow. I
should have been here and done that earlier. I could have easily biked to
downtown St. A for any adventures. Today, I kayaked over and some nice
folks at the yacht club let me fill up some water jugs.
    Per Grampa's comment on the last post, there has been some brief wicked
wind today. More is coming soon. Maybe I'll see a tornado. I'm tied up to a
mooring, and I have my new anchor out.
    Pic is a dead manta ray. I encountered one every hundred yards or so
along the beach this morning. Not sure what that's about.


                                   Poet Laureate

    On the occasion of our sail from St. Augustine to Daytona Beach, our
resident Poet Laureate Buffy has written a few haikus.

      Like any good vessel
      I am easy to handle
      If the wind blows right.

      On frigid mornings
      Grampa is the hero
      as propane burns bright.

      Our Captain Glad,
      as a superhero should,
      looks great in spandex.

      One more sleepless night
      Strong winds blow. Looks like we need
      another anchor.

      And Buffy says I can add the limerick that I wrote in response .

      There was a good girl from Yar
      You could sail with her fast and far
      She was easy to handle
      Bright as a candle
      And in her bikini she was the star.

140
                                      Fear




    I awoke this morning expecting to do a 60 mile jaunt down to Daytona
Beach. The wind was still blowing hard, but the weather service predicted
that it would abate. I read a comment from Bill that it would be a better
decision to go on the inside. I motored out of Salt Run and past the St.
Augustine inlet. The wind was still blowing hard and I could see breakers
out in the ocean. I decided to stay on the inside.
    It was a decision I soon regretted. I don't blame anyone but myself. I'm
the captain and take responsibility for my decisions. I've made good ones
and bad ones. But the one's I've regretted, are the ones I've made out of fear.
    I don't regret taking the boat across Mobjack Bay in November and
destroying the rudder. The boat and I are both stronger for it. Well, at least
the boat is, with the new rudders. However, I wouldn't take the boat out in
those conditions again.
    I'm writing this while sitting in Matanzas Inlet, after only making a few
miles today, a lot of it under motor. There's a nice gentle breeze blowing, and
I long to be out on the ocean right now. Instead tomorrow, I have a 25 mile
motor through the ditch to the next anchorage.
    I'm not angry about it. Just resigned. And I've promised myself that if I
find a good weather window, in the future I will take it to sail. I promise that
there will be a s*** load of sailing on the way back north.

                                                                             141
    Pic is a fish I caught today. It's the first fish I've caught on this trip. At
least I can console myself with that. Also, I did work some bugs out of the
stripped down Nautig. I think my heading should be displayed correctly,
and the sailboat icon should move along as my position changes. These are
things that I could only work on while underway.


                                 There are Rules

    Found this link off Cruiser's Net. It's about the state of the anchorage in
St. Augustine, and a public meeting about the issue.nbsp;Found this link off
Cruiser's Net. It's about the state of the anchorage in St. Augustine, and a
public meeting about the issue.nbsp;Found this link off Cruiser's Net. It's
about the state of the anchorage in St. Augustine, and a public meeting about
the issue.nbsp;Found this link off Cruiser's Net. It's about the state of the
anchorage in St. Augustine, and a public meeting about the issue.nbsp;Found
this link off Cruiser's Net. It's about the state of the anchorage in St.
Augustine, and a public meeting about the issue.nbsp; Found this link off
Cruiser's Net. It's about the state of the anchorage in St. Augustine, and a
public meeting about the issue.
    Quote:
    Among the plan’s goals are a management system determining where
boats may anchor safely, requiring that live-aboard vessels properly dispose
of waste, addressing the issue of derelict boats, and ultimately encouraging
responsible boating and increased public accessibility to the water.
    I'm not a big fan of rules and regulations. And I'm sure that whatever the
government officials decide, will make it more of a hassle to visit St. A. (Hey,
they already charge $10/day for their dinghy dock.)
    But I agree that they have to do something. It's just out of control with the
number of boats that have been "parked" there. It's unfortunate that the St.
Augustine sailing community couldn't find a way to police themselves.




142
            March




St. Augustine, FL to Indian River, FL




                                        143
                  The Wind's a blowin', the Tide a Flowin'

     I motored about 25 miles down the ditch yesterday in a foul mood. I was
still angry with myself for being a pussy and not being on the outside sailing.
I don't make good decisions when I'm angry. Yesterday the motor was
running rough. It was underpowered and drinking a lot of gas. I should have
pulled over and given it a thorough check up, but I didn't. I did that this
morning, and it turned out that there was simply a problem with the choke
linkage. Would have saved myself some grief, and the engine some wear and
tear if I had done that earlier.
     This morning I did another mile or so to a better anchorage. I accidentally
grounded the boat pretty hard. I jumped overboard to push us off and the
bottom was pretty firm. Not the muck I'm used to. I decided to get my
scraper and give the hull a good cleaning.
    A couple hours later I felt a nice breeze coming through the hatches. I
poked my head out and low and behold, the wind was in my favor. I looked
down at the water, and the tide was also going my direction. I raised anchor
and motor-sailed a few more miles to Daytona Beach.
     I'm not at my intended anchorage yet. I have two bridge openings to go
through, and thought it best to do that in the morning. The webcam should
be pretty interesting tomorrow.
     There's a constant roar of motorcycle engines in the background. In case
you've forgotten, it's Bike Week in Daytona Beach. Also, I've researched the
trip to Cocoa Beach for the Shuttle launch on the 11th. From Daytona, it's a
60 mile sail on the outside.
     I'm very much looking forward to redeeming myself, and reclaiming my
Salty Dawg title.




144
                            The Real Salty Dawg




    Grampa Speaks:
    Me thinks there is an imposter masquerading as the Salty Dawg. The real
story is this. Scott owns a row house in the Fells Point neighborhood of
Baltimore, MD. When he was in residence there, my better half and I
occasionally visited him and we had lunch at his local pub, the Wharf Rat.
Good local brews and a special rate at the right times for three at a time.
Sometimes we took a sail with Scott on a sailboat he had at the time for a day
sail. Scott has plans for installing me in an old folks home about two blocks
from the pub, but that’s another story.
    One of our (now) eight dogs, Sho-me, an American Eskimo, sometimes
came along with us for these adventures. The first time he went out for a sail
with us, several hundred yards from the dock when we were just getting
underway, Sho-me decided he saw something that interested him off the port
side and leaped off the boat in pursuit. I think he had in mind that the water
was just a puddle and he would have firm footing to give chase. Imagine his
surprise when he began to doggy paddle and we were sailing merrily away.
    Well, I couldn’t let a disaster befall poor Sho-me, and fortunately I was in
a swimming suit and tee-shirt, so I immediately dove in to stay with him
until Scott could bring the boat around and pick us up. Later in the sail we
anchored off an island and we took Sho-me onshore to do his ablutions,
explore the local habitat, and give chase to the wildlife there.
Understandably, he was a little unsure that this was safe as we disembarked

                                                                             145
(jumped into the water and swam ashore), but in the end he thoroughly
enjoyed the expedition, as did we all, and he eagerly awaited future trips to
Baltimore.
    Although I enjoy the trips to Baltimore to visit with Scott, I do not look
forward to the old folks home he has planned for me, even though it is only
two blocks from a very enjoyable pub. Sho-me has a different opinion. He
also enjoyed lying underneath the table at the pub and scarfing up treats
from the lunches we had. I think he also remembers that cute American
Eskimo he met on one of our trips, whose owner was considering breeding
her. We left contact information for Sho-me as a stud with her owner, but
alas, Sho-me never heard again from her. So goes life.
    We were in a pretty tight channel coming out of the marina when Sho-Me and
Grampa went overboard. I did a u-turn to pick them up. Fortunately, we didn't run
aground, even though we went out of the channel. Could have been an oh s*** story,
but everything worked out fine. Sho-Me wouldn't leave the cockpit during the trip
out to Hart-Miller Island. But he got his sea legs back swimming to the island, and
had more fun on the return trip.


                                    Boat Week




    Bill told me that it would be a great week to be in Daytona Beach. He said
it was Boat Week. Or maybe that's just what my ears heard. It's actually Bike
Week. After listening to the roar of Harleys all day, I can't hear much of

146
anything.

   Pic is Fred in front of the Harley Davidson shop on Beach Drive.




                              First Mate Fred




                                                                      147
    Fred speaks:
    Where it all ends I can't fathom my friends, I'll just toss out my anchor.
Oh, wait a minute. It ends in Cocoa Beach. Well, I think Scott has handled me
fairly well. It is always tight quarters on a boat. We had great weather most
of the time. It was raining as we came through the lock to Cocoa Beach which
was very fun. Got to wear my rain gear. Didn't even get sunburned which
was a concern, but the boat is well protected as one is piloting. Saw dolphins,
lots of birds, but no manatees. Bike week in Daytona was LOUD. Well
behaved for biker dudes, but since most of them were my age or older, I
guess that comes with the times. Off to land and car rental. BOO. Thanks,
Scott.
    9 holes of Tiger Woods Golf while at anchor the first night:




148
Sunrise on the North Atlantic after a long overnight passage:




                        Memories of Cocoa Beach




                                                                149
      From Grampa:

    The first time I visited Cocoa Beach area was probably in 1969. A
colleague at the University of Florida Nuclear Engineering Department had a
house in Cocoa Beach. He organized a trip for the faculty to watch the launch
of a rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS).
    We were to overnight at a government facility of some sort near the south
gate to CCAFS. We all took along sleeping bags and slept on the floor until
the time of the scheduled launch (night launch). Turned out the launch was
canceled, so we returned to Gainesville the next day unfulfilled.
    The next visit to Cocoa Beach (actually across the Banana River in
Titusville) was to watch the launch of Apollo 11, the first moon landing. Scott
was with us, and that is the topic of another remembrance.
    For a number of years, I was employed by a nuclear consulting firm in the
DC area as a project manager and lead technical consultant. I provided safety
services associated with the launch of (primarily) NASA spacecraft to the
outer planets (Mars and beyond), 1975 thorough 1990. This involved duties
during the launches, and required my presence during the period preceding
and through the launches themselves. This often was a month or so,
especially when there were two launches involved, for example the two
Viking missions to Mars and the two Voyager missions on a grand tour to the
outer planets. Other launches were the LES 8 and 9 missions, the Galileo
mission, and the Ulysses mission.
    I took the opportunity to spend time in the Cocoa Beach area in support
of those launches to combine it with family vacations. (I am still involved
with these type of missions, including the Pluto New Horizons mission that
launched in January, 2006 and the Mars Science Laboratory, scheduled for
launch in 2009).
    In those days we stayed at the Polaris Motel in Cocoa Beach. That was a
favorite of the original seven astronauts too, I understand. While there, I
remember spending time with my colleagues at the Mouse Trap (a bar and
restaurant in front of the motel), eating dinners at the Old Fisherman’s Wharf
(now defunct, but then feeding the catfish that gathered to receive patron’s
offerings), and enjoying the beach and the laid back atmosphere of the area.
    It was during one of these vacations that I took Scott when he was about 7
to a showing of Jaws which permanently traumatized him, according to his
accounts. In my defense, I also took him to a bar on the Cocoa Beach pier,
which from my last visit looks like it has also disappeared, to learn how to
play pool. Because he still beats me at this game, I infer that he had a positive
experience there. These days, Polaris is a Best Western.
    One time I recall us arriving in Cocoa Beach early in the morning after an

150
all night drive. We arrived at about 5 am, before anything opened, but across
A1A from a MacDonald’s (that I think is still there). We parked and walked
the beach some, waiting for MacDonald’s opening. While walking, someone
(either Scott or Kristin) found a $10 bill, which paid for our breakfast. No
such thing as a free lunch, but maybe there is a free breakfast!
    Scott asked about breakfast spots in Port Canaveral. I remember a place
where the breakfast chef did a mean omelet and I stopped there every
morning. But that was in the days before Port Canaveral became the home to
major cruise ships. Commercial fishing boats were the mainstay of Port
Canaveral, and their crew frequented the establishment. Haven’t been back
to check on the old breakfast spot.
    I missed the webcam shots from Split Decision during the sail past the
launch pads on KSC and CCAFS. I have always seen the pads from the
aspect of the road from the south gate up to the industrial area, and from
inspections of the pads themselves, never from the sea. Hopefully Scott will
capture some images on the way north.
    Other tips for Cocoa Beach:
    Denny’s has a great Key Lime Pie (or at least did the last time I tried it).
About a mile south of the causeway just north of the A1A split.
    Bunky’s Raw Bar; nice ambiance and good prices for good food (520
causeway).
    There are a couple of other seafood restaurants near Bunky’s which are
also good.
    Pig and Whistle English Pub, just south of the A1A spit. However, they
have been in the process of relocating and I’m not sure that they have
reopened. But this is a pub that the locals have recommended to me and I
have enjoyed it while it was open before the relocation.
    All of these would require some local transportation, if Scott's budget can
afford it. Of course, a visit to Ron Jon’s is almost mandatory.
    Pic is the Apollo 11 launch, computer enhanced from a faded snapshot.




                                                                             151
                                    Rebuttal




    Getting to Cocoa Beach has often required pulling an all nighter. When I
was a kid, we traveled in our land yacht, a Pontiac Safari station wagon.
Some sailing purists might suggest that I am again traveling in another
bloated boat with my Gemini catamaran. I remember on one of the trips as a
kid making a game out of finding the cheapest gas price. The winner was 54
cents a gallon. Now the game is to find the most expensive. Winner so far is
$3.85 a gallon. You do get gouged on the water.
    I had a blast staying at the Polaris Motel as a kid. The beach was yards
away. I would spend the days making sand castles (really just digging large
holes in the sand) and body surfing in the ocean. Grampa bought me a
styrofoam board on which I surfed the waves. I'd also stick it in the motel
pool, get a running start from the deck and jump on it trying to surf it like a
real surf board. I cracked a couple of the boards in half trying this stunt. It's a
wonder I didn't crack my head open on the pool ledge.
    I got so sunburnt on one of the trips that it was difficult to climb the stairs
to our balcony motel room. I couldn't bend my knees, I was so sunburnt. You
wonder why I have so many freckles. Of course, parents weren't nearly as
careful with their kids in those days, as the "helicopter parents" these days.
My sister and I would climb all over the station wagon while traveling down
I-95. We never wore seat belts in our land yacht.
    One of the highlights of those trips was a bus tour of the Kennedy Space
Center. By myself at about age 8. I'm pretty sure that I saw the inside of the

152
vehicle assembly building. And I have a definite memory of the dual roads
and the huge tractor which carries the rockets to the launch pad, one tread
on each road. And of course, there were the launches. I have a definite
memory of what must have been one of the Voyager launches. And believe it
or not, even though I was only about a year old when it happened, I used to
have a sort of memory of the Apollo 11 launch. It was really just an
impression of light and noise.
    Even though I didn't like seafood as a kid, I always looked forward to
going to the Fisherman's Wharf and feeding the catfish. It was an amazing
sight. The fish would be so packed together competing for the scraps we
would toss them. I think the restaurant sold bundles of old hush puppies and
fryer scraps that we would toss to the fish.
    Grampa insists that he wasn't trying to traumatize me by taking me to see
Jaws. But what kind of parent takes their kid to such a movie while at the
beach? I think the next day was our last of the trip, and I was afraid to go in
the water. It was a windy day and the surf was kind of rough. Grampa
assured me that the surf conditions were too rough for the sharks, and that it
was fine to go in the water.
    I won't even go into the bars that Grampa took me into to play pool at
that age.
    A Shuttle fuel tank going through the same bridges the boat and I went through
to get into the Banana river.




                                                                               153
                                 Odds & Ends


      Free Stuff

    The past few weeks, I keep being given free stuff and keep turning it
down. The first time was in Jacksonville. I filled up with 15 gallons of gas.
The dockmaster only charged me for 5. Actually this time I did take it. I
didn't realize I'd been undercharged until I was on the boat and looked at the
credit card receipt.
    The next time was in St. Augustine. I filled up with 20 gallons of gas. The
first pump shut off at about 19 gallons, and wouldn't restart. The attendant
and I got a second pump to start and got the last gallon. I went to the marina
office and the woman only wanted to charge me for the last gallon. It was a
whole thing figuring out how to get the bill right.
    When I dropped off Fred, I had to resupply. We had drank all the beer
aboard. I went to the marina office/bait store to buy a couple 12 packs. I put
them on the counter to pay, the woman was on the phone, looked at me and
said you're all settled. I think she had somehow confused me with Fred,
whom I later found out had also just come in to buy a couple 12 packs to
resupply the boat before he left. I straightened out the situation and paid.
    Today, I ordered some take out from a Mexican joint. It took about ten
minutes to prepare. Again, the woman just handed me the bag and said "here
you go". Again I straightened out the situation and paid.
    I don't know what's going on. It's very strange that I'm being offered so
much stuff for free. My honesty is preventing me from taking it, but I keep
telling myself that I should just take it. If this keeps up, at some point I am.

      Steering

    I have an older Gemini 3000 catamaran. I love to hand the wheel over
when I have guests aboard. Singlehanding as much as I do, I'm pretty tired
of being at the helm, but it's a thrill to guests. I have a hard time prying them
from the wheel.
    One thing I've noticed is that people tend to over-steer my cat. I know
that if I have the sails set right, not much steering is necessary. On a broad
reach she'll steer herself for as much as an hour at a time. She'll drift a few
degrees back and forth, but pretty much stay on course.
    New helmsmen always seem to be furiously turning the wheel back and
forth to stay on a constant course. I try to assure them that isn't necessary.

154
But it's hard to convince them of this. And unfortunately, the wheel doesn't
give feedback like the tiller on my old Pearson Ariel.
    I overestimated how much help Fred would be on the overnight passage.
This is no slight to Fred. I think it would be true of anyone unused to sailing
at night on a strange boat in the ocean. The conditions seemed very easy to
me, but then I've been on this boat for about 6 months now in all sorts of
conditions. There is a learning curve for people who come aboard, and I need
to respect that.
    Here's a link to the entire thread, if you are interested. Bill, I know you
are a trawler guy, but I think you would find some of the threads on sailnet
interesting, and the guys who hang out there are very knowledgeable and
have a great sense of humor. There are a few motorboat guys on the forum.

   Hull 108

    I'm in the Cocoa Village anchorage. It's a nice anchorage. There are at
least two other Geminis here. Maybe three. I met Al who owns Hull 108. I
didn't think I'd ever meet anyone with an older Gemini than mine. He
bought it in Arnold, MD in November and sailed it down here with a buddy.
That's the same time I left Arnold with Glen and Fred. Weird. He has the
same fiberglass rudder cages I had, and they are also falling apart.
    Somehow the launch has crept up on me. It's tonight. I was hoping to go
ashore today and explore Cocoa Beach. But that's not possible. I was even
thinking of stopping by Carla's place of work and possibly getting a tour of
the ship. Carla, I don't think I'll be able to stop by and say hi now, but maybe
Amy and I will cruise up while she's here. Or I'll stop by on my way back up,
when I have a looser schedule. I definitely want to take a couple days
exploring my old Cocoa Beach haunts.


                       T-minus 8 hours and Counting

    In position for liftoff. Had a great sail today. The Indian River reminds of
the Chesapeake a little. Just an easy place to sail.
    Here's a post that Grampa sent me about a month ago. I was saving it for
the launch. Some of the info is redundant to his last post, but there's lots of
new stuff.
    Scott was about a little over 1 year old when Apollo 11, the first NASA
mission to land on the moon was scheduled to launch in 1969. I was an
assistant professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Florida, and
had been interested in space science and exploration ever since I was in high
school (Sputnik was launched when I was a sophomore in college). Being so

                                                                              155
close to Cape Canaveral, my thought was that Scott would kill me later if he
learned he was so close to such an historical moment and did not get the
chance to see it (on reflection, my own interests surely were a factor, but his
reactions are a definite part of my recollections). We chartered a tour that
included lunch and a viewing site that was about 20 miles from the launch
pad, and included flights to and from Gainesville. While I am pretty sure
that Scott doesn’t remember, the ground shook, the noise was tremendous,
and the launch was like something I have not experienced since.
    Not experienced since, has some history behind it also. I left the
University of Florida in 1973 to join a nuclear consulting firm in the
Washington, DC area. One of the things I was asked to do in about 1975 was
to take over a project in support of the Department of Energy (AEC, ERDA,
in previous lives) that developed and manufactured radioisotope
thermoelectric generators (RTGs) fueled by plutonium-238 that provide
electrical energy to spacecraft that go to the planets beyond the earth’s orbit
(Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto, and beyond). Solar energy just doesn’t cut it for
most of these missions. As part of this project, we analyzed the risks of
launch and mission risks associated with the use of plutonium and provided
real time launch accident analyses so that if an accident were to occur,
accident response actions could be appropriately directed.
    So I got to go to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and the Cape Canaveral
Air Force Station (CCAFS) in support of the launches of the Viking mission
to Mars (two landers), a couple of Air Force missions (Lincoln Experimental
Satellites), the Voyager missions to the outer planets and beyond, the Galileo
missions to Jupiter, and the Ulysses mission around the poles of the sun
(from about 1976 through 1990).
    These missions and my support of them provided opportunities for
family vacations at Cocoa Beach, usually lasting two weeks or more. Scott
and his sister, Kristin, and their mother got to enjoy the beach while I was
working. We stayed at what was then the Polaris Motel (used by the
astronauts then) that was behind an establishment known as the Mouse Trap.
The site of the Polaris is now occupied by a Best Western motel, and the
Mouse Trap may still live in another incarnation. We certainly enjoyed the
town and the beach. Many memories of body surfing, eating at Bernards Surf
and Old Fisherman’s Wharf, including feeding the catfish. One time, when
Scott’s mother and sister left to return to DC, and Scott and I were batching it,
I took him to a showing of Jaws after it was first released. He claims it has
traumatized him ever since! How could I have been so insensitive a father? I
really thought it would be a fun movie for him, but so goes the judgment of
fathers. If that’s the least of the misjudgments that I have made, I feel ok
about it.

156
   To complete the story, I left that consulting firm in 1990 and joined the
Department of Energy. There, I have been a member of an Interagency
Nuclear Safety Review Panel (INSRP) that reviews the safety analyses for
those nuclear missions, for the Pluto New Horizons mission that was
launched in January, 2006 and now with the Mars Science Laboratory
mission scheduled for launch in September, 2009. I still enjoy my visits to
Cocoa Beach. I hope Scott gets a chance to refresh his memories of Cocoa
Beach.


                                That was Quick




    Had a beautiful sail from Cocoa Village to Titusville yesterday. At first, I
put the sails up just for form while motoring along. The angle of the wind
appeared too tight to get much momentum. I was wrong. Turned off the
engine and sailed the whole way north in the channel.
    Once past the NASA Causeway bridge, we started beating east against
the wind. I wanted to get closer to the launch site. And besides, the weather
was just perfect for an afternoon sail. I was in no hurry to get anywhere. The
conditions reminded me of the Chesapeake Bay and the boat pretty much
sailed itself.
    I've heard reports that Geminis will sail as little as 35 degrees off the
wind. Mine won't. It's closer to 75 degrees when forward speed falls off
drastically on Split Decision. If I take my hand off the wheel and let her sail
herself, she wants to go pretty much perpendicular to the wind with sails
close hauled.
                                                                               157
    I anchored near some other boats and went to bed.
    I got a call just before 2 am, and another soon after. Thanks again Grampa
and Fred for the wake-up calls. Fired up the computer and boatcam, and
waited. At 2:28 am there was a bright light and the Shuttle took off. It was
eerily quiet as the Shuttle rose. It soon disappeared into the low clouds, and
that's when the sound hit. The roar probably lasted longer than the view of
the Shuttle, but it was all over in well less than a minute. It was
disappointing how quickly it was over, but still very impressive.
    Grampa says he was able to see the launch on the boatcam.
Unfortunately, I screwed up the boatcam settings, so I don't have any saved
images. And I didn't have time to snap a picture, it was over so quick. The
image is one I stole from the NASA website.
    Update: Grampa again saves the day, and the image from the boatcam.




                              Banana Puddin'

   I can't get the song Banana Pudding by Southern Culture on the Skids out
of my head. Except in my head it goes "Banana River, Banana River". This
makes even less sense considering that I'm no longer in the Banana River. I'm
on the Indian River. Oh well.

158
    Looks like we've got NW winds 10 knots. Perfect weather for a 40 mile
sail down the Indian River to Melbourne. I don't need to be there until Friday
to pick up Bikini Boat Babe Buffy, so I don't feel compelled to do the whole
thing today. But we'll do a big chunk of it. I'll turn on the gps and boatcam so
you can come along.


                                Master Baiter




    Spanish Mackerel and as yet unidentified fish caught today. Mackerel was
caught while cruising at about four knots in the channel. Didn't really know
he was on the line until I reeled him in.
    Other fish caught while cruising slowly through the bridge by Cocoa
Village.
    Bon Appetit




                                                                             159
                                 Shakedown

   Buffy's due aboard tomorrow. I hope she enjoys Spring Break on the boat.
This will be her first experience cruising. I took her out overnight in the
Chesapeake last summer, and she spent a month aboard at a marina in
January. Spending a week aboard without a hot shower and a host of other
inconveniences will be a lot different.
   The Indian River is an almost ideal location for an introduction to
cruising. There's little tide to deal with, and I've yet to encounter any
tugboats or commercial vessels to steer clear of. Yesterday, when I was sailing
down from Titusville, a stiff breeze kicked up which carried us quickly down
to Melbourne. If I'd been on the ocean, the wind would have kicked up some
seas. But with the shore close, the most the waves built were a light chop.
   Fred said that after his week aboard it took two days at home before the
ground stopped swaying under his feet. Hopefully, Buffy won't have the
same feeling. I want her to return to work tanned and rested.
   I consider this a "shakedown cruise" for Buffy. She's thinking of sailing
with me from the Chesapeake to Martha's Vineyard this summer. If this week
goes well, maybe she'll even consider spending a larger chunk of the summer
aboard.
   Hopefully this week, the worst that will happen is that we'll run aground,
snag a crab pot or two and get jostled by some motorboat wakes. That would

160
be pretty much par for a week aboard sailing in my usual cruising grounds
on the Chesapeake.


                              Biker Babe Buffy




   Buffy made her connecting flight in Atlanta, but her luggage didn't. Here
she is in the Biker Babe t-shirt I bought her in Daytona. Of course, cheap-ass
sob that I am, the year on the t-shirt is 2007. I don't think you or she would
have noticed, if I hadn't pointed it out.




                                                                            161
                     My Next Boat?




      Thanks Rose.




162
Spring Break




               163
                                Kill the Krill




    I scraped the hulls a couple weeks ago when I ran aground, but I must
not have done a thorough job. At the very least, I wasn't able to do the
insides of the hulls then. When the wind turned against us today, we
anchored and I jumped in the water to scrape the hulls. They were covered in
algae like gunk. The warm water here must also encourage fast growth. It
was very satisfying to see the large hunks of gunk floating off the hulls as I
scraped away.
    When I came aboard I found that I was covered in krill. It had felt like
something was nibbling on me while I was in the water. Kind of like ants
were crawling on me.
    I suggested that we collect them and boil them with some ramen, but
Buffy vetoed that idea. Too bad, it would have made a delicious and
nutritious meal.




164
                                 Eat the Krill




    The definitive krill recipe resource? I'll ask the dolphins.
    From Krillco:
    The best source for krill recipes is the "Martha Stewart Cooks with Krill"
episode of her television cooking show. Martha prepares krillcakes, chilled
krill cocktail, roast krill in puff pastry, krill flambé, and is midway through
preparing krill sushi when she is eaten by an X/19 Giant Mutant Krill.
                                                                              165
    From EatingAsia:
    Krill - It's Not Just For Whales Anymore
    From ChowHound:
    Krill are tiny, shrimplike creatures ... that swarm in the Antarctic south of
Tierra del Fuego. In other words, whale food."It is rich in Omega-3 fatty
acids which repair aging cells,"
    Well, that could be true. I've never seen a wrinkled whale.
    San Fran ChowHound:
    Should the desire hit you, Eon Cafe on Hayward serves krill ... in almost
everything ... cookies, clam chowder, sushi, tuna salad.
    Krill Recipes:
    Chili Sauce Stew with Krill Meatballs
    Krill "Shaomai" - Chinese-style Steamed Dumplings
    Krill Egg Rolls
    Krill Canneloni
    My only concern about eating krill scraped from a boat is that a lot of
boat hulls are painted with a toxic paint meant to prevent barnacle and algae
growth. Probably little, if any of such paint exists on my previously
neglected boat. I'll be sure to let you know if and when I build up the
courage for a Ramen and Krill meal. Any suggestions for a wine pairing?
Maybe a nice Chianti?
    Pic is what we had for dinner last night instead of Ramen with Krill.
Buffy cooked up some fettucini, mixed in a bottle of Ragu, and added some
sliced roasted red peppers.
    (Thanks Rose)




166
                            Buffy Broke my Pole...




    But she helped fix my vhf. So I think her karma is in balance.
    Bridge tenders recently have complained that my radio breaks up and
that they can't hear me when I try to contact them. I hear them and a lot of
other radio traffic fine. But the fact that multiple tenders complained,
pointed to a larger safety issue.
    Yah, I have a cell phone aboard. And I've had almost constant internet
access on my trip. But the main means of communication with other boaters
is through a vhf radio. The Coast Guard broadcasts alerts, you can call for
assistance from towboat US, hail a marina or bridge, check the weather, or
just talk to your buddy in another boat to arrange plans for anchoring.
    And of course, if the s*** hits the fan, you can call for help. But obviously,
if a bridge tender a few hundred yards away couldn't hear me asking for an
opening, no one was ever going to hear me calling Mayday out in the ocean.
    I bought a new antenna and with Buffy's help installed it. When I turned
on the radio, it was like having the wax removed from my ears. It was the
weekend, and the airwaves were filled with chatter, most of which I hadn't
heard before. I asked for a radio check and the reply was instant from
towboat US.
    I feel a lot safer, and I don't think the bridge tenders will be complaining
about me anymore.
    Buffy only lost a bolt from the pole. We'll find a replacement tomorrow. It
won't look good as new, but it'll add character to my pole.



                                                                               167
                         Even the Best-Laid Plans...




      Buffy speaks:

    Sometimes work better than they're supposed to. We had been thinking
that we wanted to spend at least a couple of days in Cocoa, and decided on
Sunday night that we would head up there and hang out for the rest of the
week. I'll try to get a rental car on Thursday so we can run some errands and
I can drive myself back to Melbourne on Friday.
    We left our anchorage on Monday morning and began what would be a
(mostly) charmed day. The winds were strong, but not too strong, and in the
perfect direction. We sailed, no motor, sometimes going as fast as 7-8 miles
per hour. While we were on the way, a couple on a motorboat waved at us as
they passed. It took us a couple of hours to get almost all the way there, and
find an anchorage near the Cocoa Village dock. I was pretty excited to go
ashore, since I hadn't really been off the boat in a couple of days and I
enjoyed the chance to walk around town.
    When we were ready to go back to the boat, we prepared for what would

168
be an onerous process. Scott was going to kayak back to the boat, weigh
anchor and bring the boat over to pick me up on the dock. As we were
walking back to the dinghy dock, the couple that had waved at us earlier
were coming up from their dinghy and introduced themselves. They have a
dinghy that is almost real-boat-sized, and they offered to give us both (and
the kayak) a ride back to the boat, saving us a lot of trouble and time.
    They came back later and picked us up to hang out on their boat to watch
the sunset. Our luck almost turned here, when Scott thought I was fully
aboard the dinghy and pushed off from our boat. I came within a hair of
falling into the water. We had a nice evening on their boat, which was very
posh - like a floating condo. Then they dropped us back on our boat, and as
they were pulling away, Scott yelled, realizing he had just left his cooler on
their dinghy. They circled back and held the cooler for him to grab. He
reached out, grabbed it, lost his footing and went overboard, cooler and all.
And in even worse luck, I didn't have my camera handy.
    Still it's been a pretty smooth trip for me so far. I've only touched one
tablet of Dramamine, and even though we've had a lot of chop for the last
day or so, I'm adjusting nicely.
    (The pic that I think Scott plans to attach to this post is of me steering on
our way up the ICW, trying to avoid crab pots.)


                  Cooking with Cap'n Scott, Guest Edition




   This week's cooking column is guest-written by First Mate Buffy.
   As the Cap'n mentioned, this week's trip is a trial visit for me to test my
                                                                              169
boat-living skills. I am considering spending a good part of the summer
living aboard. One of the few reservations I have left about this is the
cooking-and-eating situation.
     Over the past few months, I've been trying to watch what I eat for health
reasons. I've forsaken take-out and prepared foods almost entirely, and have
been doing more cooking at home with fresh vegetables and meats. I've been
eating pretty well and learning new recipes. This week on the boat has
thrown me off the wagon almost completely. I told Scott that I wasn't sure
whether I was more opposed to the Krill or the ramen in the Krill and Ramen
meal.
     Here's the challenge. Without refrigeration, most of our food is coming
from cans and boxes. Add the humidity, and even onions don't last long. And
our cooking appliances are one propane grill and two propane burners, and
it's tough to get the heat very high on them. No working oven. A very limited
amount of space = limited supply of staples also.
     These have been our top meals this week:
     Spaghetti with sauce from a jar, with roasted red peppers (also from a jar)
- a pic of this was on a previous post.
     Cheddar sausages with onions and peppers
     Steamed clams (picked up from a seafood shack within kayaking distance
from our anchorage today)
     Scott's famous egg sandwich
     Grilled brats with a side salad of black beans, canned tomatoes and
avocado.
     It hasn't been too bad and I think it will be better this summer. We're
going to try to get Scott a 12-volt fridge (an early birthday present) while I
have the rental car tomorrow, which will help somewhat. I think I also need
to do a little more research on stove top meals, good recipes using non-
perishable ingredients, and figuring out a stretch of menus that use the same
(short) list of ingredients. If anyone has a reference for a good "sailboat"
cookbook, let me know.
     Once I get home, I'm not eating cold cuts with processed cheese on white
bread again for a very long time.




170
171
                          Only Losers Ride the Bus




    We rode the bus out to Cocoa Beach today (as we did earlier in the week).
Buffy had reserved a rental car in Cocoa Beach for us to do some errands,
and for her to drive to the airport tomorrow. It was an economical choice,
seeing as how the cab ride from the airport cost $17, and a rental car cost $36.
The rental car turned out to be a school bus orange Mustang in which she
chauffeured me to the laundromat, Target and Walmart. My clothes are
clean, my larder stocked with non-perishables and my tackle box stocked
with lures. She also bought me an early birthday present of a Coleman
thermoelectric cooler.
    We celebrated our successful shopping expedition with an early dinner at
Bunky's Raw Bar. I had a tuna sandwich and Buffy had a blackened Mahi-
mahi. The food was good, but not nearly as good as the meal I had at JJ Grills
when I first came into Port Canaveral. The fish sandwich I had at Grills was
flaky, pink in the middle and perfectly seared. I'd guess the fish was fresh.
The tuna at Bunky's was cooked somewhat rare, and was probably a frozen
piece of fish. Still good, just not memorable.
    Buffy says she doesn't like driving the Mustang. But I don't think there's
anything hotter than a chick driving a Mustang. Except maybe a chick sailing
a catamaran. Vroom, vroom.




172
                     Random Indian River Pictures

Picking up Buffy in Melbourne:




Puffer fish on the line:




                                                    173
      Pelicans and fisherman:




      Fast trimaran:




174
Scott drives the boat:




Buffy drives the boat:




                         175
    Buffy made it home safe and sound, if a little worse for wear. She only
took one dose of seasickness medicine while on the boat, but she told me she
took another today in NYC. Seems the ground won't stop swaying under her
feet (and she's fighting a cold she picked up on the airplane).
    The ground swaying is the same thing Fred complained about after his
week aboard. I think it's caused by people trying to compensate for the
movement of the boat while aboard. Maybe it's some muscle memory of the
compensation. Just a theory. I don't have this problem. I think it dissipates
after time aboard.
    So much for returning Buffy home tanned and rested.


                              To the Lighthouse

     I left Baltimore the same time and from the same marina that Leon and
Kim did. I really thought that if one of our boats didn't make it to the
Bahamas, it would be theirs. They had bought their boat, hauled it out of the
water, and done an extensive refit. They had only very recently put the boat
in the water before setting out down the ICW. In my mind, that spelled
trouble. I thought it would have been better to have spent more time sailing
the boat before setting out on a long cruise.
     Things break on a sailboat, no matter how new it is, or how well prepared
it is. It's just the nature of the beast. I think it's best to do some sea trials
before heading out. Banging about the Chesapeake is a much better place to
learn what is going to break, and the weaknesses of a boat, than miles from
home on the ICW, or out on the ocean.
     But enough of my yammering. They made it to the Bahamas. I didn't.
And we all know my story. Leon and Kim have been sending out periodic
emails about their status. I got one today, and asked permission to post a
couple of their emails.
     2/25/08
     Greetings everyone,
     The sun is setting off to port, a 10knot breeze from the NW drying our
hair from an afternoon swim in warm crystal clear turquoise water. There's a
few people from other boats having sundowners under the palms on the
small white sand beach a couple of hundred yards away. And I'm hoping
something bites the chicken fat I put on the hook hanging off the stern.
     WE FINALLY MADE IT! Made it to the kind of place we've been
dreaming of since we left Gregg Neck Boatyard some 4 months ago. The
perpetual winter we thought we were in has turned into a beautiful summer!
Per our last note, we did indeed leave Ft Pierce around 10pm on 2/15. We
had a relatively pleasant crossing despite the Gulf Stream rolling us around a

176
bit. We mostly motored through the night, but a welcome sunrise found us
raising all sail and we arrived on the shallows of the Little Bahama Bank
around noon, even almost exactly where we planned! The Bank is about 50
mles of open water, so we had to anchor for the night with no land in sight
and an uncomfortable roll. But nothing could dampen our spirits after
greetings by pods of dolphin in water the colors of which we had never seen
nor imagined.
    A couple of days sailing found us off Foxtown, where the anchor holding
wasn't great, but there was a cell phone tower! Families were informed of our
safe passage thanks to BaTelCo who will of course be getting their $2/minute.
The next day we pulled into a slip at the Spanish Cay Marina, where we
spent the night after checking in with Customs/Immigration and having a
delicious (and expensive) meal prepared for us by Spanish Cay Richard, the
Dockhand/Desk Clerk/Bartender/Chef, but mainly Chef. We awoke to a
strange situation the next morning, one we had yet to experience the whole
trip... we had nowhere to go. Finally, we didn't have to "make southing",
"beat the cold", "get to the anchorage before dark", or lastly "check in". All we
had to do was raise our Bahamas courtesy flag along with the sails and look
for a nice place to put the hook down and cook some din-din.
    We did find a very nice place, a little bay between Manjack and Crab
Cays. Besides a short jaunt across the Sea of Abaco to Cooperstown, we've
been anchored here most of the time. We've been resting up with lots of
reading and naps, interspersed with dinghy expeditions up magrove lined
creeks, explorations of the coral lined Atlantic beaches, and hunting for sea
creatures for the dinner plate. Only a Spanish Mackerel caught so far, but it
was gooood; tomorrow we might try to spear a lobster or three.
    It looks like we'll be leaving here tomorrow, fresh winds coming in ahead
of a strong cold front won't be good for this anchorage, but we may be back.
Our only appointment on the calendar is to greet Brenda Beck in a couple
weeks at Marsh Harbour. We all anxiously await her arrival when she'll
finally get some payback on all those dues she paid in the Cold North a
couple months ago! Otherwise, we'll meander our way south, probably to
Eleuthera and the Exumas, returning to the States sometime in May or June.
    Hopefully, we'll find some more internet access along the way. I'm getting
this email out to you as soon as I could, but we were quite a while getting to
civilization and a little longer figuring out how to "enable" the computer's
wireless network card (damned Bill Gates!). I've got a great wireless signal
here, broadcasted from the island to the anchorage by the very friendly and
inviting couple (the sign on their dock says "Yes Trespassing") who have
settled on it after sailing many a year. We were invited to and accepted a tour
of the island via jungle paths and soft sand beaches, complete with a

                                                                              177
hurricane-hole anchorage up the creek, chicken-coop, equipment sheds,
hydroponic vegetables, and beautiful landscaping to boot. All that AND free
internet access to all visiting boaters! I think we'll be back.
    Until next time...
    Kim and Leon
    3/23/08
    Greetings,
    With cool rain tinkling on deck and low clouds scudding overhead, it
almost feels like spring here in the Abacos on this Easter morning. We hope
this note finds you all thawing out from what we hear was a relatively mild
winter overall in the Northeast. Generally, it seems to be getting a slight bit
hotter and muggier down here, and we start to think about our return trip
north bound towards home.
    We've enjoyed our time in the Bahamas... though, compared to snow, ice,
frigid winds, slick roads and chopping firewood, how could we not? We will
miss the warm breezes, clear water of a dozen shades of blue, white sand
beaches and tradewind clouds over the sunset. However, we will indeed be
very glad to get back to the "good, old U.S. of A." Although it may have a
slight bit to do with missing family and friends, Kim is particulary surprised
at how much she misses her home country. She dreams of friendly
neighbors... a nice, clean and cheap Walmart... filling the water tanks for free
with GOOD water... and showers! Oh, showers!!! Who knew we would miss
Walmart, of all things?
    And so, it must be time to move on as wanderlust pales our current
surroundings and the hills over the horizon turn greener. We hope to leave in
the next few weeks bound for Florida, back across the Banks and into the
Gulf Stream which will carry us the right way this time. Conditions (seas,
wind AND crew) will determine how far north we go, but we have a
hankering to get back to St. Augustine for Harry's Bread Pudding (what do
you think, Katie?). Then, we'll meander north off or in the coast. We're sure
there's a few places along the ICW we'd like to see... this time in summer
rather than winter weather.
    You should find us in the Chesapeake sometime in May, maybe June.
Gypsy will stay there for the summer and maybe winter. Our "cruising kitty"
needs some replenishment, so we'll get some work for the summer and start
on the incredible list of boat-jobs I've developed. Depending on how the
summer goes, we may then stay the winter in PA, helping out with the leaf-
collection this fall at the Carlile homestead. Kim is smiling nearly ear-to-ear
thinking of holidays at home!
    Considering the lack of reliable internet service, the next time you hear
from us, we should be in Florida. Wish us a safe journey, and we'll see you all

178
soon...
    Leon and Kim
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Scott
    To: Gypsy
    Sent: Sunday, March 23, 2008 12:07 PM
    Subject: Re:
    Thanks Kim and Leon! And happy Easter. I'll look forward to meeting up
with you guys on the way north.
    Would you mind if I
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Gypsy
    To: Scott
    Sent: Sunday, March 23, 2008 12:34 PM
    Subject: Re:
    No problem... please include as much as you like. By the way, your boat
would be ideal for the Abacos. I don't know how many times I said I'd
charter a catamaran if I were visiting here on vacation. You see, there aren't
many good anchorages with all around protection. Of the handful there are,
several are guarded by shallow (and sometimes hard) bars, which us deep-
drafters couldn't get past. The few that are available are thus VERY crowded.
With your shallow draft, you could get into many that most couldn't and
even in the crowded ones, you could anchor in the shallow perimeters which
are usually empty. Otherwise, sailing here is very safe. I think it's safer than
the Chesapeake. It is basically an inland sea, with Great Abaco Island on one
side and the outlying Cays and reefs on the other. The winds follow a very
predictable pattern, and all you have to do is pay attention to when the cold
fronts are passing over and bringing in the big blows.
    Of course, you do have cross the Gulf Stream to get here, and we were
thankful for that heavy, deep keel when things got a little bumpy. But, if you
choose the weather right, you can have a pretty easy sail across in less than a
day, with conditions much milder than the worst you've seen on the Bay.
And so many people go across that finding another boat or two to travel with
is no problem.
    Just a few bits to chew on until next winter!
    Leon




                                                                             179
                                The New Cool




    Amy bought me a thermoelectric cooler as an early birthday present. I
saw a couple for sale in a Target a little farther north. We went to the Target
in Cocoa Beach, but the only coolers they had ran on AC current. This seems
a little pointless to me. If you have unlimited AC current, you probably
should just run a regular refrigerator. They're a lot more efficient under those
conditions.
     I was bummed, but we went to Walmart, and they had a couple 12 volt
DC coolers to choose from. I could go on a tangent here about how Walmart
has upped it's game, and Target seems to be slacking, but I'll curtail that.
Let's just say that I've visited a bunch of both stores on my trip south and I'm
impressed with Walmart's newer stores.
     If you're interested in how a thermoelectric cooler works, here's a
Wikipedia link. Basically, it's a solid state device which when powered, cools
on one side and heats on the other. I'm thinking that it is the same type of
device which Grampa said powers outer planet space missions. I imagine
that the degrading Plutonium on the spaceship heats the device and causes
electricity to flow. I think it's the same device, but used in reverse. But I'm
sure Grampa can clarify that.
     This is one of the cool things I've learned from my limited engineering
experience. A lot of devices work backward or forward. A generator is just a
motor in reverse. A microphone is just an amplifier in reverse. You can take
your ipod earbuds, plug them into your computer microphone jack and use
180
them as a microphone. The sound quality won't be great. Probably because
of design to make them work best as an amplifier. But they will work.
    But anyway, so far I've been powering my new refrigerator only while I
have the generator running. Cooling the stuff inside even for an hour or so
makes a big difference over having no refrigeration at all. But I'm looking to
get a solar panel to dedicate to the cooler.
    Here's a photo of a radio shack thermoelectric device connected to some
old solar cells I have aboard. If you place your fingers on it, you can feel one
side cold, the other hot.




                                                                              181
                            Captain Crankypants




     Amy took this photo while aboard. I think I was just posing then, but it
accurately reflects my present mood. I have a bit of a cold and am feeling a
little under the weather.
     I'm going to power through it. The weather looks a lot nicer this week for
some distance making sails north:
     WEDNESDAY
     EAST WINDS 5 TO 10 KNOTS. SEAS 4 TO 6 FEET. A LIGHT
     CHOP ON THE INTRACOASTAL WATERS.
     WEDNESDAY NIGHT
     EAST WINDS 5 TO 10 KNOTS. SEAS 4 TO 6 FEET.
     MOSTLY SMOOTH ON THE INTRACOASTAL WATERS.
     THURSDAY
     EAST WINDS 5 TO 10 KNOTS. SEAS 3 TO 5 FEET. A LIGHT
     CHOP ON THE INTRACOASTAL WATERS.
     THURSDAY NIGHT
     SOUTHEAST WINDS 10 KNOTS. SEAS 3 TO 5 FEET.
     MOSTLY SMOOTH ON THE INTRACOASTAL WATERS.
     FRIDAY
     EAST WINDS 5 TO 10 KNOTS. SEAS 3 TO 4 FEET. A LIGHT
     CHOP ON THE INTRACOASTAL WATERS.
     FRIDAY NIGHT
182
   SOUTHEAST WINDS 5 TO 10 KNOTS. SEAS 3 TO 4 FEET.
   SATURDAY
   SOUTHEAST WINDS 5 KNOTS BECOMING EAST 5 TO 10 KNOTS
   IN THE AFTERNOON. SEAS 3 TO 4 FEET.
   SATURDAY NIGHT
   EAST WINDS 5 TO 10 KNOTS. SEAS 2 TO 3 FEET.
   SUNDAY
   EAST WINDS 10 TO 15 KNOTS. SEAS 2 TO 3 FEET. SLIGHT
   CHANCE OF SHOWERS.


                           Can You Hear Me Now?




    Motored up to Port Canaveral in the expectation that the winds will shift
to an easterly and (hopefully) southerly direction tomorrow. I went through
the Barge Canal bridge. The bridge tender had no complaints about my
radio. In fact, I think my radio may be too strong now. I think I had two
bridge tenders respond to my initial contact.
    From my experience, the antenna on a radio is just as important as the
radio itself. Maybe more so. I had the idea that an antenna was just a piece of
wire that you plug into the radio, but apparently there is more to it than that.
In fact, I'm thinking that if you are on a budget, more money should be
allocated to the antenna.
    I bought a $40 rail mounted antenna in Melbourne. Really on a sailboat,

                                                                             183
the antenna should be atop the mast. But I've only been up the mast in a
bosun's chair once before, and it scared the bejesus out of me. As I get older, I
have a little more fear of such things. The nice thing with the stability of a
catamaran is that when you go up the mast, there is less rocking of the boat.
The bad thing is if you were to fall, there is a lot more deck to fall on.
   I wasn't really surprised by the easy contact with the bridge. I've been
doing radio checks daily, and instantly have gotten a "loud and clear" from
SeaTow (I think in Port Canaveral).


                                    Dinner?




    But seriously, seas are pretty calm. East winds diminishing. I'm a little
farther out than ever before. No one else in sight. I'll be pretty content to bob
around out in the North Atlantic tonight.




184
            April




Cape Canaveral, Fl to Belhaven, NC




                                     185
                            On a Jib and a Prayer

     My Generator is dead. It blew its head gasket. I just picked up some
gasket material at Autozone from which to fashion a new head gasket. The
material is gasket material, but not specified as head gasket material, so we'll
see. I'm also ordering a couple new head gaskets from the generator
distributor.
     So anyway, I now have next to no electricity on the boat. (I'm at the St.
Augustine library charging my laptop.) And you thought conditions on the
boat were basic before. When the sun goes down now, it's lights out. And I've
been doing a lot of reading. I've been reading some food book Amy left
behind, and a catamaran book that someone gave me at my marina in
Baltimore.
    Also, my outboard is dead. So I will be spending at least a few days in the
lovely town of St. Augustine. I've diagnosed the problem as weak spark.
Actually, no spark. Although, I have determined that some voltage is coming
through to the plugs.
     I've become quite good at reading electrical diagrams. I could give you a
pretty good electrical tour of my outboard. But although I know the names of
all the stuff, I'm not sure exactly what they do, or how they work. For
example, there is some dohicky called a rectifier. And the manual refers to
something called a C.D. unit. I think it's a distributor, but I'm not sure.
     Coming into St. Augustine in rough weather, without an engine was an
adventure. Anyone who has navigated the inlet will tell you that it's not easy
under the best conditions. It's narrow and guarded by shoals. The boat and I
entered the inlet on a jib and a prayer, and not much else. The one thing I had
going for me was a rising tide to help carry me in. If the tide had been going
against me, there's a good chance Split Decision would be grounded on one
of those shoals, and I'd be writing you from a cheap motel room.
     I'm working on an account of the passage from Port Canaveral. I promise
it soon.




186
                              Purrs Like a Kitten




     Outboard's Running! It was just corroded spark plug boots. Ordinarily, I
would have replaced the spark plug wires as a matter of course during an
electrical tune-up. But the spark plug wires seem to be integrated with the
C.D. unit. From my research online, a replacement C.D. unit would cost a
couple hundred dollars, at least. I ran over to autozone this morning and
bought a couple spark plug wires. I bought a couple where the boots seemed
to fit my spark plug (of course autozone does not carry the specified
equipment for a Tohatsu outboard). I stripped the boots from the wires and
clamped them onto my outboards wires. I said a prayer (the boat has been a
prayerful place recently), and pulled the cord. Engine started after a few
pulls.
    You can see my repair, and the bubbling water from the prop in the pic.
Of course this is one of my duct tape and baling twine repairs. Hopefully, I'll
eventually fix it properly. I have some dielectric lubricant to put on the
connections, and I need to figure out how to get the rubber boot over the
connections for protection. I'll probably tape it up really well too.
    I don't blame my outboard for quitting on me. The boat took quite a bath
on the way into St. Augustine. A lot of water came over the bridge deck and
the forward berth was soaked so that I couldn't sleep in it for a couple nights.
We took water over the stern too, and I took a couple baths. I probably
needed the baths. I haven't been keeping up with my sponge bath regimen.
But I don't think the outboard appreciated the hosing down. I'm not sure
                                                                             187
what the generator's excuse is for choosing this time to quit on me. It was just
along for the ride. New head gaskets should arrive tomorrow.



                                    Float Plan

     It's a good idea to file a sail plan before you head out on the ocean. This is
just letting someone on land know where you are going and when you
expect to arrive there. I admit that the comment I left on the blog to Ross that
I was going out on the ocean for a night or two, was not the most detailed
sail plan.
     Amy got worried after she didn't here from me for a couple days on the
ocean passage. She called the coast guard. Let me clue people into the fact
that there are not a lot of cell phone towers out on the ocean. Amazingly, I
occasionally had some cell phone service as far as 20 miles from land. Not
enough for a phone conversation. But enough to send a text message.
     I guess I have conditioned folks that there will be constant contact from
the boat. I'll take the blame for putting up a webcam, hooking up my gps to
the internet, and posting daily to the blog. But let me tell you now that there
will almost certainly be periods of days on the trip north when I will be
incommunicado. While there was daily internet on the ICW on the way
down, there will not be on the ocean trip north.
     And as distressing as it may be to loved ones on land, there isn't much
you or the coast guard can do to help if I get myself in a jam. You may have
some expectation that they are going to send out helicopters and boats to
rescue me, but I think that is mostly the stuff of movies. I don't know what
their protocol is, but when a sailboat is overdue, all I've heard is a pan-pan
call that vessels should be on the lookout. Also if a boat is in distress, I've
heard pan-pans that other vessels in the area should assist if possible.
     Trust me that as long as I'm alive and the boat is afloat, I'm doing
everything I can to get the boat safely into port. And I wouldn't really expect
someone to come save my sorry ass anyway. I'm the one who made the
choice to go out in the ocean. And if weather conditions deteriorate to where
it's unsafe, I would feel really bad if someone came out to help me and ended
up getting hurt. I don't care if they have trained for it and it is their job.
     Anyway, Leon and Kim are anchored a couple hundred yards from me.
We're going to happy hour. I'll talk to you tomorrow, as long as my head
gaskets arrive and I have some electricity.




188
                          Cheeseburger in Paradise




    Enjoyed happy hour at the Oyster Creek Marina with Kim and Leon and
Bob and Ovida (I'm not sure who the guy on the rope in back of us is, or the
chick sitting on my head). A lot of the conversation was spent bemoaning our
engine problems. Kim and Leon were stuck in Charleston earlier in their trip
with engine problems. Bob and Ovida have just fixed theirs, but will be
remaining in St A for another month. I feel fortunate that my engine was so
quick and easy to fix. But those guys have monohulls with big diesel engines.
    I found out that Kim has a sewing machine aboard and has been picking
up work making sail covers, biminis, etc. My bimini is again in tatters.
Hopefully I can work out some sort of bargain with Kim to get it mended a
bit. Bob and Ovida have a blog too: hakunamatatayellowboat.blogspot.com.
Try saying that three times fast. Lots of pics of St. A on their blog.
    Cross your fingers that my generator head gaskets arrive today.


                                Far Out Dude!

    At long last I'll start on the account of the passage. I left Port Canaveral
around noon on Wednesday. The wind and waves were from the east as I
motored out past the Cape Canaveral Shoals. It was a slow motor into the
wind with some bridge slap onto the waves. Once past, I turned NE and set
sail.
    One of the things I learned on the trip was that my boat will pretty much
                                                                              189
sail itself. Until the last day, I seldom touched the helm. The boat likes a
beam reach, wind pretty much perpendicular to the boat (60-100 degrees off
the wind).
     The boat will sail itself for hours at a time. It will wander 10-20 degrees
around a compass heading, especially if the wind shifts. But it won't go into
irons or tack. And I can adjust the point of sail with the rudders and sail trim.
     I was never able to do this with my old boat. Of course, time aboard
could be part of the reason. The old Pearson monohull I day sailed and did
weekend trips. After six months aboard Split Decision, I should have some
more familiarity with its performance. But I also think there is a difference
between monohulls and catamarans.
     I've been trying to think of some sort of physics explanation for this. I
think a monohull wants to be in irons (pointed directly into the wind). That
is its most stable position. To take it out of irons, some force has to act on it. A
back winded jib, motor or wave. Under sail, there is a balance of forces which
keep it moving forward through the wind. The wind pushes the sails, the
keel keeps the boat relatively level and the rudder keeps the boat pointed.
     My catamaran seems to want to sail. Its most stable position seems to be
perpendicular to the wind. I think that this is because there is no keel and it
doesn't heel. The force on the sails is dissipated throughout the boat in
contact with the water. It's a simpler physics system than a monohull.
     Anyway, my plan had been to get far enough out so that I could hove to
(stick the bow into the wind and stop forward progress) to get some sleep.
This turned out to be unnecessary. Unfortunately, when I awoke around
midnight, the boat had decided to sail not only north, but quite far east and
out into the ocean.




190
                              Let There Be Light




    The power company finally turned the electricity back on. Unfortunately,
the electricity is provided by a new generator which I bought at Home Depot
today. Not by the old generator which I tried to fix yesterday.
    I replaced the head gasket on the old generator, said a prayer, and started
pulling the starter rope. On the third pull the rope broke. I tried to fix it, but
the recoil spring unwound on me and I was having a tough time getting it
back together. I decided to just hand wind the rope. Trying to start the engine
this way was a tedious process. Every time I pulled the rope, I had to unbolt
the pulley from the engine and rewind the rope.
    The engine still wouldn't start. I removed the spark plug and sprayed
starter fluid into the cylinder. Still wouldn't start. Removed the spark plug,
and saw there was no spark.
    I know this was not the original problem. I ran the engine fine for twenty
minutes the other day with a homemade head gasket, before that gasket
blew. Anyway, I think the engine was telling me that it was finished. Kind of
like a car that six months out of warranty everything starts breaking.
    Fortunately, Kim and Leon had a car today. Among other places, we went
to Big Lots. I'd seen an off brand generator at the store in Melbourne for
$150. But the Big Lots in St. Augustine didn't have one stocked. I knew I was
going to have to bite the bullet and spend some serious cash for one at Home

                                                                               191
Depot.       The smallest, cheapest one at HD was $400. But then I spotted one
of the generators out of the box. It was reconditioned and priced at $200. The
service tag stated that a broken fuel valve had been fixed. High Fives all
around! A big thanks to Kim and Leon for helping me get it back to my boat
in their dinghy, and to their friend Katie who lent us her car.
    It's a really nice generator with an engine by Subaru. The manufacturer is
Coleman. Coleman is taking over the boat. My fridge is Coleman brand too.
I'm going to turn on all the lights tonight, watch tv and play golf on the
playstation.
    No more reading books by flashlight for me.


                       All Things Bright and Beautiful

     The memories of my first extended passage are becoming dim. Must be
time to get back out there and create some new ones. I'll attempt a short
account of the passage, but I'm sorry it will lack the immediacy that it would
have had if I had written about it earlier.
     Although winds were forecast to be southerly, they were westerly. While
making progress north, I was also getting pushed farther out into the ocean.
     During the trip, I found that I needed some sleep between the hours of
nine and midnight. I'm more of a morning guy and fade during those hours
in social situations anyway. I owned midnight to four am and enjoyed the
star filled sky and watching the moon rise. As far out as I was, I could still
see light pollution from land. I needed an hour or two of sleep towards
dawn.
     Sleep was not very restful. It seemed every time I awoke, the light of
another boat was visible on the horizon. There is a surprising amount of
traffic twenty miles out. If I stay closer in, I don't see nearly as many boats.
     I saw a manta ray, a sea turtle and a right whale! The right whale was the
coolest because it broached the surface close to the boat a couple times.
     I had the fishing pole out the entire time. At first I had the lure trailing
some 50 yards off the stern. But then I saw little fish swimming behind my
rudders, and then a big fish appeared behind them. I reeled in the line so that
the lure was closer to the boat like the little fish.
     I think the big fish was a cobia. I've been told that they hang out around
manta rays. My boat might look something like a manta ray to the fish. And
it is a movable feast for the fish, with all the algae attached to the hull.
Something bit off the back half of one of my lures, but not the hook. I also got
a hard hit on another lure, but instead of picking up the pole and setting the
hook, I just sat there watching it like a dummy. The fish must have spit it out.
     The water was clear and a beautiful aquamarine color. According to

192
NOAA, I was not out in the gulf stream, but the water was still very different
from the stuff you see closer in.
     The first three days and two nights were an almost perfect cruise.
Certainly a new and wonderful experience for me. I listened to the weather
radio, and predictions to continue were for winds 10-15 mph. Up until then
predictions had been 5-10 mph. I thought 5-10, 10-15, what's the difference?
I'll continue on.
     I think the rest of the trip has been hashed out enough. I certainly don't
want to talk about it any more. Let's just say that as I entered the St.
Augustine inlet, the computerized voice on the weather radio was describing
current conditions as sustained winds 20-25 knots with occasional gale force
gusts.
     There are standard navigational buoys marking the St. Augustine
channel, but there is also a large cross on land. To navigate the channel, you
basically steer towards the cross and pray. At least that's what I did on my
way in with that weather and without an engine.


                              Float Plan: Part II


     Found a float plan form at United States Power Squadron. Unfortunately,
filling out and submitting the form does not produce a page which is easy to
copy and paste. When I have more time, I'll maybe make a form which
produces a more useful page.
     Anyway, below is a copy of the float plan I filed with Amy last night
(minus some personal information). I promise to file something like this with
her every time I go out into the ocean.
     FLOAT PLAN for Split Decision
     Complete this form before boating and leave it with a reliable person who
can be depended upon to notify the Coast Guard or other rescue
organization in case you do not return as scheduled. Do not try to file this
form with the Coast Guard, they do not accept float plans. A word of caution:
In case you are delayed, and it is not an emergency, inform those with your
float plan, the police and/or Coast Guard of your delay in order to avoid an
unnecessary search!
     Person filing this plan
     Name: Scott
     Telephone:(Including area code) xxx-xxx-xxxx
     Description of boat
     Type: Catamaran Sailboat
     Hull Color: White

                                                                            193
      Trim Color: Black and Red
      State/Registration Number: MD xxxx xx
      Length in feet: 30
      Name: Split Decision
      Make/Model/Year: Performance Cruising/Gemini/1983
      Persons Onboard
      Name Age Address Telephone
      Scott xx 111 S. Any Street Baltimore, MD xxx-xxx-xxxx
      Engines
      Type: Outboard
      Horse Power: 40
      Number of engines: 1
      Fuel Capacity in gals: 25
      Survival Equipment (Check as Appropriate):
      PFDs X Flares X Signal Mirror X Horn X Smoke Signals Flashlight X
      Raft or Dinghy X EPIRB * Paddles X Food X Water X Anchor(s) X
      * Frequency's: VHF-FM 15/16 121.5 MHZ 406 MHZ
      Radio:
      Type (Check as Appropriate) Marine VHF: X SSB: CB: Cell Phone: X
      Frequencies/Channels used: 16,
      Call sign/number: Split Decision
      Trip expectations
      Leaving from: St Augustine, FL
      Going To: Cumberland Island, GA
      Leaving(Date) 4/6/08
      Leaving(Time) 10 AM
      Return by(Date) 4/7/08
      Return by(Time) 4 PM
      But no later than(Date) 4/8/08
      But no later than(Time) 12 PM
      Other Pertinent Information:
      Automobile
      Make/Model/Year:
      Color(s):
      State/License Number:
      Trailer State/License Number:
      Where Parked:
      If not returned by
      Date 4/9/09
      Time 12 PM
      CALL

194
   Coast Guard Tel # 305-415-6670
   or Tel #
   Created: Sat Apr 5, 2008 14:6:59 EDT
   Courtesy, United States Power Squadrons®, Inc.


                       When Life Gives You Lemons




   Scrape the hulls
   Canceled the sailing plans and headed back to St Augustine. The weather
looked to be deteriorating, and I didn't want to get hit hard twice on the
same stretch of ocean. It turned out to be not much. I could have continued
on. Most of the weather passed south. But it looked like a lot on the radar.
And the radio was starting to talk about heavy downpours, flooding, high
winds and frequent lightning.
   Coming into the inlet with the tide running against me turned out to be
an adventure in and of itself. I had the engine running full and the
centerboards up, but still we were going no more than walking pace. If I
never have to come through this inlet again, it will be fine with me.
   Coming into Salt Run I decided to go out of the channel. I was having a
hard enough time making forward progress and thought steering in the
channel and close to land was a bad idea. I ran hard aground on a large
sandbar which extends all the way to the channel.
   I decided to get out and scrape the hulls. The tide continued to go out and

                                                                           195
the picture was taken close to low tide. This is the first time I've really
beached the boat. I'll have to do this more often. It was a lot of fun and the
hulls are now cleaner than they've probably been since Split Decision left the
factory.


                            Render Unto Caesar

    Folks at home may have the expectation that every day on the boat is an
adventure. Unfortunately, even on a boat life goes on and the drudgery of
paying bills, doing taxes, managing the apartments in Baltimore, etc. still
needs to be dealt with.
    And so even on a boat, you have to pay your taxes. Although, I've heard
that if you are out of the country you get an automatic extension. Maybe I'll
have to sail out of US waters on the 15th. Anyone know how far out that is?
    Just kidding. Started on my taxes yesterday and continuing on them
today while waiting for the tide to turn in my direction. I'm getting a late
start this year, but I've been pretty busy with other stuff.


                        Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner




   These guys thought the lure was their breakfast. Instead, they will be my
lunch and dinner.
   Now where's the tartar sauce?
196
                          Captain Crankypants: Part II




    I thought this comment by Lou might have gotten lost to most blog readers, and
that it deserved a more prominent place on the blog. I really enjoyed reading it. I
know the main thread of the blog is my trip, but the comments are the payoff for me.
    I found a picture of a Venture 21 to go along with the post. Louie, if you have
another picture you'd like to substitute, or object to my making your comment a
post, let me know.

    Scott,
    Your picture brought back memories of my first overnight stay on a
Venture 21, 23 years ago. It was the first night spent on our (new to my Wife
and I) venture 21. We set out at dusk with a pre cooked meal for dinner, and
to spend our first night on a boat. The venture was the first boat we owned
that had a table to eat at and a bunk to sleep in (wow).
    By the time we were out in the bay, it was total blackness, no moon, not
even sure exactly where we were (long before gps, did not have a loran

                                                                                  197
either). This was a very basic boat, not even a depth finder. I tossed out an
anchor and the rode ran for a while, so I guessed we were in plenty of water.
    We sat down in our tiny little comfy dinette and enjoyed our first meal on
a boat. The noise of waves lapping the hull lulled us to sleep. I awoke around
6:00 AM and noticed the boat was not rocking, and waves were not a
lapping. Slid open the companion way hatch, and was not prepared for what
I was about to see. The boat was high and dry, the anchor rode was
completely visible right up to the anchor that was smartly dug into the mud.
We were around 200 feet from any water. We were both glad we cranked up
the center board before we retired (not sure if it would have retracted on it's
own).
    Clammers were driving by, laughing and enjoying the moment, we were
not however. Nothing to do but wait for the tide to come up. I made 1 big
mistake. It looked so ridiculous seeing the anchor and rode, so I pulled it and
stowed the anchor.
    As the tide came in it just kept pushing us further up on the sandbar, and
could not float her off. Tossed out the anchor reset it and waited for more
water to come, finally a couple hours we were afloat again and sailed off the
bar.
    Take Care,
    Louie and Meg
    P.S. You should have never made the blog about "Captain CrankyPants".
It seems that my Wife asks every day "How is Captain CrankyPants doing
today" Lol! So it seems the name stuck with her. Maybe she is trying to tell
ME something, huh? Hmmm, maybe Captain CrankyPants has a distant
relative in NJ? I do not think there is any sailor in the world that has not had
the cranky syndrome at one time or another.
    April 8, 2008 10:51 AM
    Blogger Split Decision said...
    Great story Lou.
    That's funny about your wife asking about Captain Crankypants.
Hopefully, you and I won't live to regret the title of that post. Tell Meg that
Captain Crankypants says hi!




198
                              Lazy Man's Moor




    Motored up to Fernandina Beach today. Caught the tides well and made
good time. Passed very close to a large container ship in the
Jacksonville/Mayport channel. I thought about taking a picture of the ship,
but there was a fast current and the channel is tight. Also caught another
Blue fish for lunch. I'm crossing my fingers for good winds tomorrow. I
really want to sail.
    The Bahamian Moor is a two anchor system. There are long articles
written about the system, but I think my anchoring system achieves pretty
much the same result, without all the fuss. At least I have yet to drag anchor
using it.
    I never had a problem with anchor dragging on my old Pearson
monohull. But I almost always sailed her in ideal conditions. The upper
Chesapeake has little tide to contend with, and good anchorages are never
far away. On this cruise, I've experienced some strong tides, nasty weather
and crappy anchorages.
    Also, catamarans swing at anchor more than monohulls. The wind affects
them a lot more. As I've mentioned, of the few times I've felt seasick, a
number have been at anchor.
    Anyway, my system is simply to set my large danforth anchor with a long
line. That's as much as most people do anyway. But once settled, I drop a
smaller anchor on a shorter line. I don't bother setting it. It seems to
eventually set itself as I swing about the first anchor in the changing tides
                                                                           199
and wind.
    When I weigh anchor in the morning, the two anchors are almost always
set at a nice angle.
    Ross emailed me that he and his wife left today for a week's charter cruise
in the Bahamas. The boat they chartered is a catamaran a little larger than
mine. Maybe when he gets back, he can give his impressions of anchoring a
catamaran in the Bahamas and the Bahamian Mooring. Not having made the
Bahamas on this trip, all I can give is an account of my mooring system on
the ICW.


                              No Clue What a Tack Is

    This post written from the Atlantic Ocean, about three miles east of Cumberland
Island, Ga. Sailing up the coast at about two knots. Conditions look favorable for an
overnighter. Currently sunny, 70s with east winds 5-10 knots.
    From the New York Times Opinion Section:
    Lately I’ve been thinking about the word “vang.” It is a sailing term, and if you
look it up in the glossary of Royce’s “Sailing Illustrated,” you find that it refers to a
line to prevent “the peak of a gaff from falling off leeward.” That is how it goes when
you’re learning a new technical vocabulary. The language seems self-enclosed at
first, each new definition an opaque cluster of words that themselves need defining. I
was taught, during vocabulary in grade school, to try using a new word in a
sentence. “There is a vang.” “Can someone show me the vang?” Those are my best
efforts so far.

     I struggle with the language problem when I write the blog and when I
have folks on the boat. Yesterday when I wrote about anchoring, I originally
called the rope connected to the anchor a "rode". This is the correct nautical
term for it. But I know that there are readers who wouldn't know what I was
talking about. So I changed it to "line", which is the more general term for
any rope on a boat. I figured most people would be familiar with that term.
     I don't know a lot of the terms myself. I learned a them as a kid at sailing
camp or in some class, but there have been periods of years when I didn't
own a boat and didn't go sailing. It's easy to forget all the correct nautical
terms when your boating experiences are mostly casual.
     I'm relearning a lot of the terms now that I'm on the boat every day. In
case you didn't get the pun in the title to this post, the clue, tack and head are
the three corners of a triangular sail.
     Also, I'm getting pretty good at tying a bowline knot quickly. I was taught
it in the Boy Scouts, but in a pretty useless way. I never had reason to tie a
bowline until recently.

200
                                Not That Guy

   But now I am. "That Guy" talks about how fast his boat is, and how many
miles he did in a single day. Maybe you're that guy. That's fine with me.
Whatever floats your boat.
   I prefer to stop and smell the roses. My ideal cruise is doing 2-3 knots in
5-10 knot winds. Do some fishing, see some dolphins and other sea creatures.

    But now I have a schedule to keep. I have to be in Baltimore in May. And
Martha's Vineyard in July. I'm not complaining about it. It is what it is. I'm
actually having some fun with my routine shook up. Although it's
exhausting me too. The state of Georgia is a blur. I slept twelve hours last
night. Zero offshore the night before. Today I did sixty miles on the ICW. A
lot of it sailing, if you can believe that.
    The tides were fast and the wind brisk out of the west. I raised the jib and
timed the tides whenever I could. Most of the miles between Savannah and
Hilton Head, I did on the tide and a jib. No engine. And pretty fast too.


                                   Deja Vu




  I spent the afternoon in Beaufort, SC.
  I tied up to the free dock, took a dollar shower and did laundry at the city
marina. I even got a ride to the grocery store in the marina courtesy car. John
whom I met through sailnet, is staying the night at the marina and gave me a
                                                                             201
ride.
    I'm back in territory I covered last Fall. But I'm seeing it backwards,
traveling north now. And the weather is nicer. It all looks vaguely familiar,
but still new and different from this perspective.
    It is easier when every day is not into the unknown, like the trip south. I
now anticipate a bridge ahead, an area of fast tide, or a stretch without a
marina to gas up at. I'm not constantly checking charts and bridge schedules.
    But I have had some trouble adjusting. On the trip in the ICW south, the
red triangles are on the right, green squares are on the left. Going north
they're opposite. Lulled by hours of motoring, I sometimes revert to that old
habit. Lucky I only have a two foot draft, or I'd be stuck on some sandbar in
Georgia right now.
    Pic is a nice wooden sailboat and a cruise ship in the ICW by Hilton
Head. I've seen these small cruise ships a few times. If you wanted to travel
the ICW but weren't up to doing it on your own boat, this would be the way
to do it. You would miss the fun of running aground, engine troubles and
powerboat wakes. But you'd still see some of the sights.


                                 The Lunatic




202
     It drives me nuts when people say "tough road to hoe". It's "tough ROW
to hoe". When someone botches this saying, it's clear they've never used a
hoe and have no clue what would make a row tough or easy to hoe.
(Although I do imagine them hoeing a road. That makes me chuckle.)
     That's what happens in a (sub)urban culture. People lose touch with the
roots of a saying. It amuses me when I'm able to use these sayings in their
original literal sense. Back when I did the farming thing, I literally hoed some
tough rows. Now that I'm doing the sailing thing, I've used some figurative
expressions in their literal sense. (Although none are coming to mind now.
I'll come back later and edit in a couple when I remember them.)
     But anyway, yesterday I didn't get as far down the road as I wanted. It
was very windy. I got to a spot where I had to go several miles straight into
the wind. I went a few hundred yards along this length of the ICW, decided
it wasn't worth the trouble, and turned back to a nice anchorage I had just
passed.
     Tired from all the wind and waves, I went to sleep early. I also woke early.
Usually when this happens, I make myself go back to bed. I can usually fall
asleep and wake at a reasonable hour.
     But last night when I awoke, the wind was calm, the tide in my favor, and
the moon shining. I decided to weigh anchor. (Weather reports were for
another windy day today, and I had a ways to go to Charleston.)
     I've never done the ICW at night before. I've seen tugboats do it. I don't
know how. About half the daymarks were lit with flashing lights which
helped. But half weren't. I almost ran over a couple. Also, watermen love to
set their crab traps in the channel. Somehow I avoided entangling my prop in
a crab line.
     At one point I was lost. The handheld gps has preloaded maps, but they
aren't very detailed. When on the ICW, it often looks like the boat is on land.
This was one of the few times the little NautiG program was actually useful,
and not just an amusement. It quickly got me back on track.
     The moon set before dawn and for awhile it was just me, the boat and the
stars. Fortunately soon after, I was in a ditch. The dark outline of the shore
was visible yards away on either side. Hard to get lost in a ditch.
     When I originally set off under the moon and stars last night, another
boat was anchored yards away. I tried to be as quiet as possible, but I was
still plenty noisy with the anchor chain clanging and the engine running. I
thought I might have heard the folks in the other boat cursing the lunatic in
the catamaran. I couldn't blame them. That's what I literally was.




                                                                              203
                             South of the Border




    Sorry for the infrequent blog posts. I've been on the move. I did an
offshore overnighter from Charleston to Georgetown, SC. And today I
motored on the ICW from Georgetown to the Little River Inlet. I motored
about 60 miles in 11 hours, and only used about twelve gallons of gas. A new
ICW record for me. I timed the tides well and with fair winds was able to put
up the jib about half the time.
    I did this stretch of the ICW in two days on the way down. It helps that
the days are longer, and that I'm familiar with the territory. I went up the
Waccamaw River, which is very pretty and undeveloped. Then down the
Little River, which is very developed and basically a ditch (Myrtle Beach
area).
    There was lots of traffic on both rivers. Blame it on a beautiful Spring
Saturday. My whole body aches from the long day of motoring. But the most
tired part of my body is my right hand. Everyone waves as they pass. I also
achieved a personal record of amount of waving in a day.
    Pic is a boat I passed on the way out of Charleston harbor. Also passed
Fort Sumter.
    I'm monitoring the weather. It would be a nice, easy day sail to the Cape
Fear Inlet tomorrow, if the weather cooperates. Soon I'm going to take a day
off and maybe even a night at a marina. I think the last time I was at a marina
was when Fred and I went to Bike Week in Daytona.

204
    Oh, and the title of the post. I'm on the NC/SC border. If you've traveled
I-95 down here, you know what "South of the Border" is.


                                    Talent




    No, this is not an old picture of the other anchor I bent. This is a new
picture of the anchor I dredged up in the St. Augustine harbor, and have
been using as my primary anchor. I bent it a little the other day, and it's been
bending more and more until now it is useless.
    This anchor bending incident was really dumb, and would lead you to
question my sanity and competence. But in my defense, I was really tired
when it happened. I'm not going to recount the incident. There is only so
much public humiliation I can take, even if it's almost all self-inflicted.
    Some of us discover our talents late in life. I never would have discovered
my talent for losing/destroying anchors if I hadn't embarked on this cruise.
    But anyway, a bunch of other things are broken on the boat. I'm looking
forward to a little R&R (resting and repairing) tomorrow. Ross might come
down for a visit too.
    I caught two more bluefish on the ICW today. One of them is pretty big.
But I don't know that I have any fishing talent. I'm not sure trolling a lure
behind the boat for hours is a talent. By the law of averages, any moron
would eventually catch a fish. But at least this one can console himself with a
fresh fish dinner tonight.

                                                                             205
                               Yada Yada Yada




     I'm at anchor on the ICW in Camp Lejuene, NC. I'm surrounded by a
dozen other boats. We've been stopped because there are live fire exercises
ahead. It sounds like a war zone. A guy on another boat says it'll be three
hours before we'll be allowed to pass.
     Nice. I'll be motoring in the dark to the closest anchorage.
     Ross and his buddy Tom visited the boat two days ago. It was a pleasure
to meet Ross who has contributed a lot of good information to the blog. We
had an enjoyable time eating dinner at a dockside restaurant, driving to West
Marine to buy a new anchor, and hanging out on the boat watching the
sunset.
     Ross mentioned that one of the reasons he likes the blog is that it is
relatable. It's not just about what I did today and who I met.
     I do try to have something to say when I write a post. I don't post just to
hear my own voice. Unfortunately, I haven't had much to say recently. Maybe
it's because I'm tired with trying to do lots of miles. Maybe it's because I'm
covering the same territory again on the way North. And while I still run
206
aground, drag and destroy anchors, and do lots of other dumb stuff; I've
done it all, and written about it before.
   Anyway, I'm thinking that if there is a book in the blog, it's already been
written. Now I'm just writing the denouement. Or maybe I need a break. I'm
sure there will be another chapter to write this summer with Amy aboard.
   Ross took the pic after I attached my new anchor to its chain.


                                   Amnesia

    Just passed Swansboro, NC and mile marker 230. I don't remember this
stretch of the ICW at all. I looked back at the blog post for this section of the
trip on the way south. It is entitled Fatigue. On the way down I was cold and
tired. Now I'm achy and tired. I've ran aground a couple times in the past
few days. I've had to jump out and push the boat off the sandy bottom. My
body aches like the day after going to the gym after a long hiatus.
    Maybe there is something about this stretch of the ICW that encourages
fatigue: Its middling distance from Florida and the Chesapeake, or its
straightforward and featureless landscape which encourages long hours of
motoring.
    I took a day off from traveling in Wrightsville Beach. But it wasn't really a
day off. I biked ten miles round trip to Home Depot and Walmart, fixed a
bunch of stuff on the boat, and had dinner with Ross and Tom. I think I need
a real day off of doing nothing. I'll look for an opportunity to do that soon.


                         Cooking with Admiral Amy




                                                                              207
     This was my lunch yesterday. The recipe is to open one can of black beans
and one can of diced tomatoes. Cut up one Avocado and mix it all in a bowl.
It takes about a minute to make.
    Amy made this dish when she was aboard for Spring Break. By chance I
had an avocado aboard then. I'm an avocado fiend and buy them whenever I
see them reasonably priced and ripe in the supermarket. Usually I just cut
them up and sprinkle with salt. It's a high fat, high sodium meal, but still
good for you. But that is another rant.
     The black bean, tomato and avocado salad is delicious, nutritious and
easy.
    Amy just started a blog about cooking and photography. I'm sure the
picture would be better if she took it with her fancy camera, and the meal
more delicious if she made it. I hope her own blogging won't take away from
guest blogging here. But if it does, I'll just steal her content and post it here.


                                  Day of Rest

    I left St. Augustine, FL about three weeks ago. I'm amazed by the distance
I've covered. I'm in Belhaven, NC now. That's about 700 miles of
sailing/motoring. I'm pretty confident about making Baltimore in a couple
weeks and taking care of business.
    This is the first real day off I've taken since Florida. But even on a boat, a
day off is not really a day off. My primary electrical inverter died this
morning. (An inverter converts the DC current from the batteries to AC, so
that I can run my computer and other regular appliances). I have another
inverter, but it's a little finicky. Also, my holding tank overflowed. I had to
pump out the tank and clean out the mess in the locker. My bad. I pumped it
out recently, but I guess I've been full of s*** recently.
    Also went ashore to resupply in Belhaven. At first I tied up to what
looked like the town dock. I was chased out of there. The guy would only let
me tie up if I paid to spend the night. I only wanted to tie up for 15 minutes
to pick up some stuff at the hardware/general store.
    There is a public boat ramp about a hundred yards away, so I anchored
and kayaked in. The general store has a few foodstuffs, but not much. The
closest grocery store is on the highway about two miles away. I don't know
why Belhaven doesn't get it's act together. It's a cute little town, and there
isn't much else along the ICW here. A little effort on their part would help to
revive the town and their economy. Thousands of boats pass by here, but it
doesn't look like many stop.



208
                                 Steal this Blog

    I'm in a ditch and barely have internet. But Admiral Amy does have the
internet. So I stole her blog post today about spending the summer on the
boat
    About my summer adventure… I’m spending the month of June and July
living on a sailboat with the Captain. (For those of you who are properly
horrified to hear me refer to my boyfriend as the Captain, it’s important to
note that he refers to me as the Admiral.)
    The Captain (also known as Captain Gladiator or Captain Crankypants,
depending on his mood and mine) has been living on the boat since October
and chronicling his adventures here. I’ve spent a little bit of time on the boat
with him (two weeks in January and one week in March), and I’m pretty
excited to move on to the boat with him for a couple of months. In part
because I haven’t seen very much of him recently, and I’m looking forward to
some quality time. But more and more, I’m getting excited about the boat trip
itself, learning how to sail and having a mostly carefree time.
    I’ll have some materials I need to prep my fall classes, and I have some
research work that I’ll do on board. Outside of that, our only agenda is to sail
north to meet friends for the Best Vacation Ever in Martha’s Vineyard at the
end of June, and then we’ll probably stop a couple other places up there
before a nice sail back.
    I expect I’ll have (and will write about) a lot of challenges, too. (Strangely
enough, the one thing I’ll rarely have to go without on the boat is internet. If
only we could get pipeless hot water as easily as one can get wireless
internet.)
    In a move I can only interpret as preparation for the summer, my TV died
yesterday. And there’s no way I’m replacing it now, just before I put all my
things in storage for the summer. I really need to get the carcass out of my
living room, as my eyes keep wandering over to it, hoping for some sort of
resurrection.




                                                                               209
210
               May




The Dismal Swamp, NC to Baltimore, MD




                                        211
                        The not so Dismal Swamp

   Rafted up with some trawler folks and enjoyed happy hour at the visitor's
center.




212
Went through a couple locks




                              213
      Entered Virginia




   The Dismal Swamp Canal reminds me of the C&O Canal back home, but
without the towpath and with more boats.


                           Back in the Bay




214
    Sailing out of Norfolk I tried to stay on the edge of the channel. When I
saw this guy coming towards me, I moved over even more. Then he sounded
four toots, and the two tugboats pivoted him directly towards me. I looked
over my shoulder and saw a side channel leading to a landing where
hundreds of containers were stacked.
    Fortunately, he passed in front of me, not on top of me. I snapped the pic
after he passed.
    I enjoyed an easy motor-sail into the mouth of the bay, listening to A
Prairie Home Companion on the radio. But when a cooking show came on,
the wind started picking up. In a matter of minutes, the cruising went from
enjoyable to white-knuckle. I can imagine how nasty the conditions could be
on this part of the bay, if the weather turned bad.
    Oh wait, no need to imagine. This is the stretch of the bay where I busted
my rudder. In fact, I'm holed up in the same creek that saved my ass that
time. I might spend the day here. It looks like conditions will be more
favorable tomorrow on.


                               Smooth Sailing




    I'm in Maryland! Actually dipped the hulls into Maryland waters before
tucking into Smith Point last night. (The Potomac up to the Virginia shoreline
is part of Maryland.) Unfortunately, I'm only in Solomons Island. I've got
another 70 miles to go to Baltimore. A small craft advisory was issued
starting at 6pm today. I decided to duck in here rather than searching for a
port on the Eastern Shore. (The Western Shore lacks inlets between here and
                                                                           215
just south of Annapolis.) The weather looks to be unsettled for the next few
days, so I may be here awhile.
    I'd be pulling into Baltimore now, if I'd done an overnighter last night.
But I've put the kibosh on singlehanded overnighters. At least while I'm
cruising day after day. I've had a couple scares on my past overnighters. I get
too fatigued at a certain point and am apt to make bad decisions. Once I get
myself in a bad situation, adrenaline kicks in, I get pretty clear-headed, and
am able to get myself and the boat out of the jam. But I'd like to avoid those
bad situations altogether.
    Passed the boat in the pic down by Deltaville, VA.


                                    Shhh!




  The Admiral will be aboard soon. We celebrate her half birthday in June.
Her birthday is in December, and its conflict with xmas is a sore spot.
  I got her this wetsuit today. I hope it fits. Also picked up another anchor.
Don't ask.
  And please don't tell her about the wetsuit. I want it to be a surprise.
216
                           Oh, Say Can You See?




   I bet I've now seen all the lighthouses on the Chesapeake. And of course,
coming into Baltimore I passed Fort McHenry and the location where the
Star Spangled Banner was written.
   I motor-sailed this morning from the West River to Baltimore, about 40
miles. Before this trip, I would have considered that a long cruise and quite
an accomplishment. Now it's just a morning's work. I sure am a lot saltier.
My new major accomplishment is cruising to Florida and returning with the
boat and me still in one piece.




                                                                           217
                                 Home Sweet Home




    I spent the first few nights back in Baltimore, tied up to the Broadway
Pier in Fells Point. Checked up on my house, and did a bunch of laundry.
    Today I cruised over to my old marina. I hadn't called in advance, but
figured they would have room for me. I motored down my old pier, and my
old slip was empty. Hurray! My neighbor in the photo is still here, as is Bill,
the old coot who helped me get the boat in shape for the cruise. Sadly, my
buddy Mike in the slip on my other side, is gone until June. But his boat is
here, and Bill ran an electric line from Mike's boat for me. Guess I'll have to
buy Mike another case of beer.
    Seems like nothing has changed since I've left. Except they're replacing
the decking on the piers and installing new electrical pedestals. I hope
they're not going to start raising the rates at my trailer park marina. Even if
they are, the dockmaster was nice enough to pro-rate my slip fee for the
couple weeks I'll be here. Nice.


                            I Could Use Some Advice

      Another post stolen wholesale from Admiral Amy's blog:

      A variation on the desert island question, only for real: If you were

218
moving yourself to a boat for two months and knew you had limited kitchen
space, what items in your pantry would you not be able to do without? I
have a pretty standard cupboard of condiments and spices, and have to
decide what to pack and what to give away/throw away.
   I don’t need to bring any cookware, since we already have the basics on
board: cast-iron fry pan and a couple of sauce pans. There will be no baking,
and we have limited and erratic refrigeration. So far, my list contains:
   -cornmeal (for frying fish and other things)
   -bouillon cubes
   -any pasta, beans and canned goods I have in my pantry


                               The Old Fart Club




    Grampa Speaks:
    Visit with Scott on the occasion of his officially joining the old fart club (as
he puts it)
    The Salty Sea Dog, Sho-Me, and I paid a visit to Split Decision today to
celebrate the big 40 and inspect the boat to see how he and it survived the
                                                                                 219
trip. Both look in fine shape.
    We embarked on a short sail (motoring) over to the Broadway Pier, where
we expected to tie up and walk the short distance to the Wharf Rat, a favorite
of Scott, me, and Sho-Me. Unfortunately we did not get far before the motor
began missing and stalled out. Scott observed that we were apparent jinxes
for his boat and began working on the motor after anchoring. I guessed that
the problem sounded like water in the gas, and that may be it, but the full
diagnosis is not in. After drying the spark plugs and letting the cylinders dry
out (while we enjoyed a beer), we started up again toward Broadway.
    But alas, the same thing happened again after beginning well. So repeat
the previous paragraph, but change the last sentence to back to the marina.
    And alas, again, repeat the previous paragraph, at almost back to the
marina. But we did finally make it back.
    When we (Scott, me, and Sho-Me) went to Nick’s, the bar/restaurant just
up from the marina, we found discrimination is alive and well in Baltimore.
Poor Salty Sea Dog was not permitted to join us on the outside patio and had
to sit out lunch in the truck (more to add insult to injury, the truck belongs to
Wookie, my regular truck dog).
    But we enjoyed a couple of beers and fish sandwiches and good
conversation about Scott’s adventures and plans, and my plans for
retirement.
    See the attached photos to see Scott actually at work.




220
221
Pic of Grampa and his Admiral:




222
                               Infrastructure




   Just because I'm taking a break from blogging doesn't mean Amy is.


                                Negotiations




    Amy and I are trying to adapt to life aboard and going forward together.
It doesn't help that I've lived alone for seven years and that we are now
constantly together in a confined space.

                                                                          223
    One of the minor issues I'm trying to resolve is whether to steal Amy's
boat posts from her blog and post them here, or just link to them. In any case,
if you want to comment on her posts, you can do it here or there. We read
each other's blogs and comments. Amy just

                          CWCS: Nectarine Chicken




    Cooking with Capt' Scott (CWCS)
    Grill chicken
    Cook rice
    Make chutney sauce to pour over chicken:
    Chop up nectarine and zucchini. Mush equal parts banana and water.
Add nectarines and zucchini to banana mush and heat in pot until hot. Add
hot sauce until desired spiciness is reached.
    Grill nectarine garnish:
    Cut a nectarine in half. Stick a fork in each half and grill over stove top
flame like you would a marshmellow. Try to char the nectarine a little. It's
done when it falls off the fork.
    I like to grill chicken thighs and legs because they are nearly impossible
to overcook. They are so fatty that they don't dry out. The only problem is
that they are so fatty that they start grease fires on my gas grill.
    At the supermarket we smelled the nectarines as we passed them in the
produce aisle. That's always a good sign of a fruit that is ripe and will be
flavorful. We passed strawberries, raspberries and blueberries too. They all
looked good, but had no smell.

224
    The zucchinis looked good at the market. My initial plan was to slice and
grill the zucchinis as a side dish to plain grilled chicken. I didn't have a plan
for the nectarines.
    I guess the nectarine chicken idea was inspired by our dinner at Bicycle
last week, and the mix of flavors in their dishes. I like the balance of sweet
and hot in a chutney. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any hot sauce on the boat.
I ended up borrowing a couple packets of Taco Bell hot sauce from a marina
neighbor.


                            Admiral Crankypants




    Yesterday we hauled a bunch of my toys off the boat. Golf Clubs, Bow &
Arrows, jib that needs repair, etc. Today I organized my remaining stuff and
cleaned out a space for Amy to use as a closet. Amy speaks:
    I’ve been a little out of sorts for the last couple of days. As Scott has
mentioned, we’ve both spent the last several years living alone and now,
we’re together in a space no larger than about 150 square feet. We’ve had a
lot of errands to run before we leave Baltimore next week, and so have been
running around for much of the day. On top of that, I was still living out of
my duffel bag, and feeling not at all settled in. Most of you that know me
would also know that this is a recipe for crankiness.
    More on Admiral Crankypants' blog
    Eyes of a Beginner
    Bought a new Delta anchor from West Marine. Any advice on its proper
usage is much appreciated. It's made of thicker and higher grade steel than
                                                                              225
the danforth anchors I'm accustomed to. But if anyone can find a way to
bend the shank, it would be me.
   Also bought a new main halyard line, which I'll replace today. The old is
almost certainly original to the boat, and is beginning to disintegrate.


                                New Halyard




   The old main sail halyard (line with which you hoist the sail) was
beginning to disintegrate. The halyard runs from a cleat at the bottom of the
mast, up to a pulley at the top of the mast, and back down to the sail. You
might think that you would have to climb to the top of the mast to replace
the halyard line, but that's not the case.
   Sewed the ends of the old and new halyards together.
   Taped the ends together.
   Pulled the old halyard and then the connected new halyard through the
mast. Cut the old halyard away. Tied the new halyard to the shackle with a
bowline knot and cleated the other end.




226
                                 Epilogue
    Sorry the book ends so abruptly. I thought about editing in a climax,
denouement, and a bunch of other literary crap. But really the book is like
life, just one god damn thing after another. If you want to know what
happens next, you can go to the blog to read about our trip to Martha's
Vineyard and back. Or, you can wait for the sure to be best selling sequel to
the Captain's Blog: “The Captain and the Admiral”




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