Friday, May 4, 2012

Grinding down.

We are grinding down to the last day here.  “Submit” will go into long term storage tomorrow.  We are not sure when we will get back to her.

The time spent coming down the ICW was slow and relaxing (except for careening on the shoal).  Life in the boatyard has been working, working, pretty much all day every day.  Delays accumulated for re-thinking projects, chasing down screws and bolts and nuts and washers and wiring and hoses and pieces of wood and on and on.  We did not bother to count how many times we climbed the 10+ feet up and down the ladder to get into and out of the boat.  I’ve squeezed, several  times a day, into and out of places a guy my size shouldn’t have to go.  We’ve sweated in 90 degree heat and high humidity and roasted in temps over 100 degrees inside the boat.

We did learn the most time consuming and potentially expensive words:  “While we are at it,”.

The engine project took on a life of its own.  It is nearly complete, and will have to stay that way until next visit.  Everything is done except to install the control panel and the engine compartment ventilation fan.  At least one if not both of these projects will require cutting holes in the cockpit seatbacks or elsewhere.

The modified engine bed is installed.  The fuel control cable was 3 feet too short so a new one was ordered and installed.  The raw cooling water hose was too short so new was ordered and installed.  A new shaft saver/transmission saver flexible coupling was added.   The driveshaft universal joint has been replaced.  The remote oil filter has been mounted.  The second alternator, dedicated to the house batteries has been mounted and wired in, and can be used to charge the house batteries.  It can charge the start battery if the primary alternator dies (dedicated to the start battery).  The fprimary alternator can likewise be called upon to charge the house batteries if necessary.  Our overkill fuel system has been hooked up, consisting of Racor double switchable 30 micron primary filters, a Racor 10 micron secondary filter and a final 2 micron filter.

The entire exhaust system was upgraded to ABYC standards with an increase in size, a siphon break in the raw water line, a new marine water lift muffler, a high rise gooseneck just inside the stern, a new 2+ inch hole in the stern and a new stainless steel through hull with flapper.  Thank heavens my old exhaust hose was too small.  When I removed it, I looked inside to find it was falling apart inside.  The outside looked fine, but the inside was breaking apart and large flaps of rubber were hanging loose to block exhaust flow.  

“While we were at it”, access to a storage cubbyhole was enlarged.  Water tank hoses were re-routed, the pump relocated and an accumulator tank installed.  Some of the wiring was cleaned up.  New lifeline stanchions were installed to replace the breaking old ones.  A new-to-us bow pulpit was modified by a local welder and we installed it along with backing plates and a new bow light (which fixes problems with the old bow lights not working).  Bow cleats were re-bedded.  The old mainsheet traveler was removed, holes filled, new holes for the new traveler drilled oversize and epoxy backfilled in preparation for the new traveler which will also have to wait to be installed until next trip.  Trim was repaired on an upper salon settee.  The refrigeration unit received some cleaning and corrosion control.  The propane locker drain was re-routed to correct problems with the old setup.  New “best quality” hoses were added to the bilge pumps and Barbara repaired the poor wiring connections.  She also cleaned and painted in the engine compartment/lazarettes.

Barbara is delighted with the “new” teak holder for the hand sanitizer in the head.  She also increased the holding capacity of her bookshelf, and is becoming a capable electrician and nut twister.  Her help has been invaluable since we have done everything ourselves except for Sean’s help when I removed the old engine.  I don’t think she had ever operated a hand-chain driven chain hoist or used her foot to push an engine into place before.

I won’t go into what is on the list for next visit.

 We’ve met people from several countries in this off-the-beaten-path boatyard:  Canada, England, Cuba, Australia, and more.   Ron lent me his car to run to Fastenal for bolts.  Cindy, from Montana, lent us her pickup for a couple shopping trips.  George, from Cuba, our next door neighbor to the west, has lent us his car for chasing parts, has taken us shopping and has volunteered to take us to our motel tomorrow.  Gordon, our English neighbor to the east, has lent me a drill and hole saws for making more holes in the boat, and given us epoxy advice.  His wife Susan gave us some delicious boat/home made dessert bread.  Steve has supplied materials for projects and probably saved our lives by buying a fan and delivering it to us.  We went out to dinner and shopping a couple times with Brian and Dawn Anne, Canadian friends who also have boats and sail on Flathead Lake in Montana in the summer, and were here to put their winter cruising boat in storage.  Our former crew member and friend Kathy dropped by to see us while vacationing in Florida.

Some folks here have been living aboard for many years and are doing maintenance or upgrades.  Others are part time cruisers like us, coming to retrieve and launch their boats for a summer run north to the Chesapeake, or bringing their boats in to put them to bed for the summer while going home for several months, then returning in the fall to re-launch for trips to the Bahamas or elsewhere.  Some have been coming here for many years.  Others, like us, are first timers.  Some live aboard their boats here and rarely or never leave.

We are looking forward to our Croatia adventure, and our summer of sailing in Montana and all our family and friends there.  We’ll do a couple hiking excursions and perhaps a little biking.  We’ll enjoy the fall weather and the old hunting cabin.  We’ll squeeze grandchildren.

We’ll return here as soon as we can to take on our list of projects prior to heading to the Bahamas or elsewhere.  Perhaps the much touted expanded restroom and shower facilities will be available by then!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Life in a boat yard

Life in a boat yard

It has been awhile since we have sent out an update. Why? You ask. ^#@*#! We don’t talk like that, and I’m not going to now. Suffice it to say, there has been some progress with the projects, but it is slow. Why? You ask.  Remember the boat list rule? 10 items on the list, complete one and now you only have 19. The engine was as close as possible to an exact fit. However, the hoses, cables, through hulls,… need to be changed. The new lifeline stations look great, so why not get rid of that bent pulpit? And—it is hot!
Oh, right, I said I wasn’t going to go into all of that.
Everyone here is pretty much doing what we are doing, so there is a lot of discussing. We are getting some good advice and occasionally, Reggie gives some advice as well. There are no bow waves, but instead the sound of grinders and power washers. Let me introduce you to some of the people here. They are friendly, helpful and one of the main reasons we are not progressing faster.
George, on our starboard, around 70, born in Cuba, painting his boat. He is not a painter. He loans us his car-we commiserate.
Susan and Gordon, on the other side. They have at least 3 boats and no house. She has herbs growing in the cockpit.  He is building a hard dodger. They expect to be here for another year! We hope to be out of here before they are. She baked a yummy sweet bread and gave some to us. It was dinner, with some cream cheese, last night. We exchange tools, stories and advice. We seem to be on the short end of this exchange.
Cindy is a Montanan and now is living here on her boat and working at the local Military history museum. We have also borrowed her vehicle on several occasions, but were able to take her to dinner, once.  It is so hard to repay all of the kindness.
Montanan? Did that make you sit up and take notice? Brian and Dawn Anne aren’t really from Montana, but they sail out of Dayton. They were only here for a few days, but that was enough time to go out for dinner a couple of times and have lunch on their beautiful yacht. Can’t wait to see them again this summer on the lake.
Lunch on their yacht…hmmmm….seems like there was something else…Oh, right. How could I forget that? Kathy and her friend Nick were there also! Many of you know Kathy. We first met her when she showed up at our boat at Flathead Lake and wanted to know if she could crew. We said “yes” and were so pleased for a few years. Then she and Sean decided to race against us. What’s up with that?  Awesome friends, great competition.
This afternoon we were humbled when Dean and Nancy dingyed in to take us out to their yacht.  The back of their boat card is filled with my notes! They told us to call them before buying or doing anything, because they now know the best products, deals and places. Good thing we have a cell phone or our phone bill would be way out there. It was a little hard to come back to the slums, but I’m over it and loving Submit again.
The crew at the marina is great, as well as the people who have “tagged on” a business. Steve, the Monkey Fist salvage guy, is our most often visited place. We take stuff we have removed from Submit and come back with stuff we might need. We tasked him with keeping track of the revolving stuff-he may have nightmares. Jerry, the wood guy, is the one who saved hours of work and frustration, by supplying and building the new engine stingers.
So why aren’t we further along on our projects, you ask? We are too busy yakking and enjoying ourselves to work on frustrating projects.
Gotta go, Oh, Hi. Sure, I guess we could go out for a beer!

Barbara……

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Life "on the hard"


Put it in, take it out.  Put it in, take it out.  It’s too small and it fell out.  Wait!  Stop!  It’s too big!  Get an extension.  Brace yourself and strain.  No, don’t put it there.  That’s not where it belongs!

Our biggest project?  The old engine, "take it out", and prep for the new one.

Barbara in the vile bowels of the boat, already partially cleaned even though it doesn't look it.

Barbara heading donwn the port lazarette in the cockpit to get to where she was in the last picture, but this time carrying the scrub bucket to scrub the vile bowels of the boat before painting.


 

Engine "put it in", suspended by antique chain hoist over cockpit before passing into salon through companionway


Moving the engine through the companionway involves Barbara steadying the engine while I manhandle first one side of the A-fran-and -beam assembly forward 6" then the other.  then the engine is lowered to the salon flor and "worked back under the cockpit through where the companionway steps used to be, and then make a right turn as seen in the picture above.  Then, "take it out" to modify the engine stringers.


Hours over the past couple days have been spent searching, calling, researching to find appropriate wood from which to make new engine stringers.  The day was saved by Jerry, who is only about 100 feet away, who remembered a piece piled in the back of his boat repair facility.  Jerry specializes in wooden boats.  He’ll be able to bring the beams to us tomorrow.


As it was.

As it is.

Living on the boat, in a boatyard, while working on the boat means neither living nor working goes smoothly.  Half the time is spent moving things out of the way to some spot where they will be in the way later. 

Clutter on deck above and in cockpit below.






The V-berth.  Fortunately we do not sleep there these days.


Lower salon starboard setee filed with parts and "stuff".


The purpose of the above picture is to show that we live at the moment without companionway steps.  Supports for them had to be removed to get the old engine out, the new engine in...and back out...and hopefully soon to be back in again.  No steps means barbara has to step up onto the settee on the right by the throwable flotation device and butt pad.  This is a step of about 30 inches.  At 5'2", Barbara's inseam is much less than that.  Then she must reach to the coach roof and hoist herself up to exit height....every time she goes outside the boat, which is many times per day.  She rapels back in.

 The other half is spent taking several times longer than necessary to accomplish anything.  I’ve come to believe some “Boat wisdom” I’ve heard repeated:

10 projects on the to-do list minus one completed project equals 19 projects on the to-do list.

Everything costs twice as much and takes three times as long as originally anticipated.

Every major project takes a boat week and there are 12 boat weeks per year.

Costs are measured in boat bucks.  One boat buck equals $100.

BOAT stands for “bring on another thou$and”.

Down the ladder to do a project.  Up the ladder to get the parts and tools left behind for the project.  Down the ladder to get to the laundry or shower or bathroom.  Up the ladder to haul supplies.  Down the ladder to haul the trash.  Up the ladder to ask a question.  Down the ladder to take a measurement.

The broken ball valve on the cockpit drain was a bugger to remove.  In the process, the through hull, which was of inappropriate design, was probably over-tightened and stressed.  And, since I would worry about the through hull failing at some bad time, and because it is undersized and incorrect anyway, I’ve decided to replace it with a proper seacock 50 percent larger. 

Buy the right parts.  Cut a bigger hole in the boat.  For 50%?  Well, a 50% increase in diameter doubles the size of the drain.  And, if you have to go to all the work of changing, why not change for the better?  Now, as soon as we can get all the right parts, we can fill the hole in the bottom of the boat with the new drain!

Barbara did some cleaning and corrosion control on the refrigerator compressor system.  The beer is staying well chilled!

We’ve removed the old exhaust through hull leaving another hole which will need to be made larger and filled with the new “exhaust pipe” for the engine.

Barbara has modified, repaired and reorganized some of the interior shelving.

I lowered the new engine back down to the ground outside the boat outside the boat and covered it with plastic since it is going to rain.  Barbara taped over all the holes we’ve created in the deck in hopes of forestalling leaks.

We’ve decided to add an accumulator tank into the water system and have acquired the tank but have not yet installed it.

We almost collapse into bed at night.  Internet reception has been good so we’ve been watching episodes of “Green Wing”, a British medical comedy, before drifting off to sleep.   Morning brings a fresh pot of coffee percolating on the stove and more debate concerning which project to leave incomplete this day.

Thank heavens for my Bride.  She is relentlessly cheerful.  She prepares tasty meals.  She is willing to be involved in the projects.  She fits where I cannot!  She’s become a good Cribbage player.   She makes me smile and laugh every day, and I still think she’s cute!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Projecti horibili

We have been "on the hard" for 10 days.  We have torn almost everything apart.  The bow pulpit is off, along with all the lifelines and stanchions.  The old traveler is off.  The old engine is removed and gone to a new home. 
 
We've worked hard every day except yesterday.  Not much seems to be getting done.  Yesterday, Barbara requested a break.  She wanted to do something "fun".  We borrowed a friend's vehicle and did a marathon 3 hours at a Super Walmart, shopping and losing each other.  FYI, Barbara hates shopping, but compared to what we've been doing, it met the requirement of "fun".
 
Barbara has managed to comlete a couple of her special projects including expanding a bookshelf and building a wine glass storage.  She has also cleaned the engine compartment and lazarettes and painted them, cleaned the deck where the new stanchions go and drilled any necessary holes, and been a great assistant with all the other projects including the engine install.
 
We've changed some plumbing and electrical to clean things up and get them out of the way.
 
I've been working on the new engine project since the beginning of December.  It was ordered complete with custom built mounting brackets to compensate for the engine it was replacing and make it an easy repower and installation.  
I assumed, apparently erroneously, that they would mimick the old brackets in all three dimensions.  Well, they were approximately the same width as the old ones.  No problem.  They were a different length than the old ones, which, though inconvenient, would be a modestly easy fix.  However, they are almost 2 inches lower than the old ones.  Huge problem and headache. 
The most workable solution is to cut away a significant portion of the molded engine mounting rails and add new beams in their place.  A significant source of rectal discomfort. 
Tonight I feel like I have minute slivers of fiberglass in every pore of my body. 
I'll have to find appropriate lumber and shape it to fit.  I'll have to beg, borrow or rent a vehicle to go do this. 
To get to this point, Barbara and I have hoisted the engine up almost 10 feet on a manual chain hoist, guided it over the side of the boat to the cockpit, into the upper salon through the companionway, lowered it to the salon floor, shoved, maneuvered and cajoled it back under the cockpit sole, shifted it sideways onto the existing engine stringers only to find that it would not fit and had to reverse the whole process to take the engine out, begin modifications and eventually do the install all over again.  All with a solid 1/2" width to spare.
 
Not a happy camper.

Reggie

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cautions and extractions

I’ll be playing catch up in this posting since I’ve not posted for over a week. Photos and additional comments will be included in the blog sv-submit.blogspot.com.  As a reminder, if you follow the blog and want to be taken off the email list, just let us know.

All good plans require occasional revision.  A week ago, we had things perfectly timed for arriving in Jacksonville, FL to spend a night at the dock, do some shopping the next morning, and then on to our new temporary home at Green Cove Springs Marina.  The traveling days would be a comfortable length, the tides would be flowing with us, etc.

Do not become complacent about the width and depths of the waterway.  Do not be distracted by the pretty white birds along the shore.  Do not forget to review and follow your charts.  Do not muse about the forlorn sailboat washed up high and dry. 


(What time is it now, kids?  Its music trivia time!  Name the song, artist and next line: "She used to be somebody's lady")

Do not run soft aground and then compound the error by heading towards the shoal.  Do not call TowboatUS, for you are a cruiser and supposed to be able to handle situations like this all by yourself.  (One of their boats did pass by and never even bothered to check on us.)



Where were we supposed to be?

Do watch the water around you gradually recede.  Do feel and see the boat slowly leaning farther to port until it is heeled about 30 degrees. 


She's just starting to heel.  She goes over much farther and receding water leaves the shoal exposed in front of her.

Do set the kedge anchor in preparation for the high tide later.  Do watch each boat going by and thinking they are so glad they are not you.  Do take advantage of the enforced break to have lunch at the dining table, which requires non-skid for the dishes and a throwable life cushion under one cheek.  Do waste a few hours and upset the perfectly timed schedule waiting for the tide to fill back in and then proceed to kedge off and head a little more cautiously on your way.

We did not make it to Jacksonville on Tuesday.  A very long, slow Wednesday, upwind and against the tide, brought us to just outside the marina.  Sean and Jean came over from the Tampa area Thursday to check out our engine which they were considering buying for their boat.  The deal consummated they returned home.  They would come back later with a trailer to pick up the engine.

“Submit” was hauled and blocked in the work yard late morning Friday.  I began that afternoon and evening disconnecting everything from the engine and transmission in preparation for removal. 




I found his knee.  Where is Reggie?


There he is, sardined into the engine compartment.  At 6'3" and 280 lbs, we may need to use the hoist to extract his size 14's!

I arranged to have an “A” frame and rusty chain hoist positioned over the boat after measuring to see if it could lift the engine and transmission assembly high enough. I should not have been so concerned.  We had a full 3 inches to spare.

Have you really ever tried to thread a camel through the eye of a needle?  This engine was installed in the hull before the top half of the boat was set down over it 43 years ago. 


In theory, it could be extracted if necessary if you had some way to reach into the salon, under the cockpit sole, to raise the engine a couple inches, rotate it to aim it at the offset opening created when the companionway steps are removed, raise everything high enough to clear the salon sole, shift everything about 5 feet forward so it ends up in the salon, hoist it high enough to clear the companionway threshold, use brute strength to move the A frame assembly back 5 feet while it is carrying the engine assembly, to get the engine to pass aft through the companionway suspended in air over the cockpit, roll the chain hoist to one end of the A frame stand, and lower the engine onto Sean’s trailer.  Theoretically.  With a whole 1 inch to spare for width of the opening.

Thank heavens Sean was eager to get his engine and volunteered to assist in its removal.  We took them to lunch to bolster Sean’s courage and strength.  Then, while Jean took Barbara shopping for provisions, the extraction began. 




It fit through that opening, will it fit through this one?


Sean prays and uplifts.


Its out!

You never saw a happier face than Barbara’s when she returned from shopping to find the engine out and being lowered to the trailer.  Thank you, thank you, Sean for your help.  Off to take them to dinner to celebrate!

I want to add a clarification. This sounds like I was sunbathing and shopping while Reggie struggled with the extraction. I forgive him for this, as he truly was engrossed and encased.  I washed clothes for the first time since we left home and shopping was only to provide sustenance and libations for the “strugglers”.  The happy faces were on Sean and Reggie when we drove up and they popped a beer. Provisioning was past due. We had been eating a can of this added to a can for that for the last two days. Getting the new provisions into the boat is a little bigger challenge when she is on the hard.  It reminds me of carrying the grocery sacks up a ladder to put them on a roof, then rappelling with them down into the salon because the steps into the interior are gone.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Horses, Lizards and Ticks, Oh my!

Horses, Lizards and Ticks, oh my!

We had a couple days of travel without much to report, except the two real live alligators swimming in the river. The last one I saw was only about 15 feet from us when he disappeared. I got a pretty good look at him!
I wanted to visit Cumberland Island, which is the largest and most southern barrier island in SC. It is a National Seacoast, has wild horses and the ruins from when the Carnegies, the brother of the more famous one, lived there.  We first saw some of the horses on the beach as we went by the northern part of the island, but we were headed for the southern portion.
We arrived, dropped anchor and went to get a closer look at the Island Packet’s bimini, dodger of the neighboring boat. They, of course asked us on board. They have been living aboard for about five years and love it. He had his sewing machine set up and was recovering their cockpit cushions. Their bimini/dodger was really a cockpit enclosure-all one piece. We may have to incorporate some of their ideas! Their water catchment system was quite simple and apparently efficient.
The next morning we dinghyed into shore as the ferry was unloading a boy scout troop. There was a steady stream of scouts carrying boxes, coolers, etc for about 30 minutes? I was becoming concerned, as in all of those supplies, I hadn’t seen one sleeping back or tent. Finally, they made one last trip and got their backpacks with bags, etc. Don’t they have a motto that says something about being prepared? And boys that age do eat a lot, but it was a very long parade.
We walked on the River Walk, but there were no pamphlets, so we had to make up our own reasons for the numbered stops.



There were lots of lizards skittering through the brush.

one of the lizards not in the bush

At the end of the River Walk was the Ice House museum, where we learned the history of the island. Mrs. Carnegie was the one who wanted to live on the island. They had to be pretty much self sufficient, which required something like 400 slaves for the family. They even had a heated indoor pool. After she died, the house fell vacant. Unfortunately, it caught fire and was pretty much destroyed.  We spent a leisurely morning exploring around all of the ruins and even remembered to take pictures.

gates leading to the front of the mansion




you may be able to see a little of how the rear of the mansion looked in this picture of a picture.


this picture we took from a similar spot as the picture above.


We had a rather close encounter with a small group of horses. We could hear them running, but it was rather thick foliage right there. Suddenly, they burst into an opening about 15 feet from us. There were four or five and the lead mare was not happy-head down ears back. I thought for a minute we were going to get run over, as they seemed confused about where to go. The rest of the horses we saw were just grazing and seemed content. We saw two small foals. There are around 136 horses on the island, as well as deer, raccoon, armadillos and fowls. We saw turkey, an owl with a mouse or something, raccoon and, of course, lizards.
We took a different trail back.



(Reggie here.  Our wanderings of the Carnegie mansion grounds made me Tara a bit and contemplate the wonderous things we mortals create which, sooner or later, are Gone with the Wind!)

This trail had a pamphlet, so we read about all the different kinds of trees and bushes. I had read that there were ticks, which carry Lymes disease, but figured that it was too hot for them. Wrong. We each found a few crawling on us. They are much smaller than our Montana variety and sort of red in color.
That was more walking than we had done is some time, so we returned to our little home afloat and had a quiet evening. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Port Royal

Port Royal may be our favorite spot so far. When eating low county boil at the Dockside, we obtained permission to dock there in the morning, as they don’t open until the afternoon. We were interested in visiting their wetland area which has walking paths. We took off on foot, but became lost, so asked a couple of men in a pickup truck where it was. They had no idea. Strike two, our lovely waitress didn’t know either. Undaunted, we walk on until we see the postal employee loading her truck. “She’ll know!” and she did. It is mostly closed right now, getting ready for the Grand Opening. It is a small area and we saw trees full of egrets



and had a quite walk. Back in town we stopped at an antique and consignment store. It is housed in the old fire hall, courthouse, water department and municipal offices. This made for small room after small room of an eclectic collection of things to purchase. We wandered and poked around for quite a time. The friendly owner, who described Port Royal as “our Mayberry”, encouraged us to go to the local café for lunch and the fried pickles with mild horseradish sauce, another southern treat we had heard about and never tried. “I’m not ready for lunch, yet, but we have to have a fried pickle!” says I. We see the café on a side street, but Reggie wants to walk to the end of the street to see what is there. Then back towards the café, but he now wants to sit down on the bench. I’m a little slow, but I do catch on in time. “Do you not want to go to the café?” He grins sheepishly and admits that a pickle dunked in hot oil and dipped in horseradish, just doesn’t sound very good to him. When I pointed out that he liked all of those things individually, he pointed out that I like chocolate and I like garlic, but did I want them mixed together? Good point, but I’m determined. We walk in and see people eating fried pickles. In fact, I think everyone who came in ordered fried pickles. Much to our surprise, they don’t just dip a whole dill pickle in hot oil. They slice them thinly, dip in flour and then fry them. They taste sort of like a vinegar potato chip, I guess. Quite good.
Since then, we have been winding our way through Georgia.

(which marker numbere are we trying to find?)

(nice of them to install all these Osprey nest sights and bird perches



Most of the time the weather has been “not too hot, not too cold, not too windy, not too rainy, juuuuust right.” Georgia’s stretch of the ditch is more serpentine and has more inlets, which can be rough if the wind and/or current is wrong. We are going through one right now, but it is calm. We topped up the fuel and water and will anchor on the other side of this inlet. All is well. It is a good life.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I've finally had it and I'm fed up!


            The day started out just fine.  Barbara was delivered two cups of fresh perked coffee to her in the berth.  She completed a Sudoku on her Nook, which usually means a good day to come.

We enjoyed a quick breakfast before hauling anchor in Factory Creek by Lady’s Island.  Our plan was to head to the municipal dock in Beaufort, SC.  They offer free day time docking.   We would then do a little wandering around town.

Our trip across the Beaufort River was somewhat delayed by a half hour wait for the Lady’s Island swing bridge to open.  We spent the time charging the batteries by motoring in circles.

After passing through the bridge, we approached a dock resembling the description of the municipal dock.  We approached dead slow and were set for a perfect docking when a fellow started walking down the dock towards us.  Barbara elected to not step off with the breast line until we could speak to him.  It turns out, you guessed it, this was not the municipal dock.  We could tie up and leave the boat for as long as we wished.  The first hour was free, and thereafter it was 50 cents per foot of boat length each hour.  Our old boat is 36 feet.  You do the math.

We didn’t even touch.  We glided on past to find the much smaller, 140 foot dock, 110 feet of which was poorly taken up by 3 other boats.  This one took a couple tries to get right but we made it without damaging their boats or ours.

We walked through a very appealing small town already beginning to swarm with tourists.  The horse drawn wagons were filled up for town tours, and the air conditioned busses had folks standing in line.  We chose to amble along looking at the beautiful flowers and trees and mansions and tiger (made of drift wood outside a gift shop). 

High on our list was our ongoing quest to find someplace to have local cuisine for lunch.  We hit dead ends when passing through northbound two years ago and weren’t doing much better this trip.  Historic local fare is known as “low Country”.  I guess the premium example is a dish called Low Country Boil, or occasionally Frogmore Stew.  We have checked out numerous restaurants and have never found it on a menu even though we have seen it touted in guide books and tourist information.  For lunch, Barbara finally settled on a sandwich called the “Ooey Gooey”, pimento garlic cheddar cheese and bacon grilled “low country style”. 

Lunch was settled by walking through the downtown “Tree Walk” maintained by a local ladies garden club. 



Then we headed to Bay St. to find the local wine tasting and dessert shop.  After walking Bay Street certain we would see it, and not seeing it, we look up the address and head back up Bay St. to the right spot.  It no longer exists. 

Time to regroup.  We peruse the restaurant information trying to find a place to which we could walk or boat.  They are all too far away or not boat accessible.  Then we see there is a well reviewed seafood restaurant on the water with a floating dock in Port Royal, just a few miles south.  We remember having anchored overnight in the bay containing the restaurant when we were headed north.  And, since low country boil is mostly a seafood dish, decision made.  Fill a couple gallon jugs with drinking water at the local fountain, cast off and away we go.

We glide up to their dock and have it all to ourselves.  We try a docking trick about which I‘ve read.  I need to re-read and practice.  We tie up and head up to the restaurant.  The smell of delicious seafood is in the air.  We have arrived at dinner time.  The staff is cheerful and gracious.  We take seats on the sun porch looking out on the shrimp boats.  Our waitress, Christine, brings us tall glasses of ice water with lemon and menus.  Everything looks and sounds delicious.  Many items are listed as Southern style or low country, but NO LOW COUNTRY BOIL!  Christine knows of it and its alter ego Frogmore stew, but they don’t serve it.  Drat!

We decide to stay for dinner anyway since there are other items on the menu we have yet to try.  We order a bottle of wine.  I’ve heard about fried green tomatoes for years but have never had them and this is supposed to be the area where they are best, so we’ll share an order of those.  She Crab Soup is a local specialty so we’ll share a bowl of that.  Both are tasty along with the cornbread and bread sticks.  Barbara decides to order Shrimp and Grits dinner, with a grit cake, a popular local meal.  I opt for the broiled Captains platter with all manner of tasty stuff.  We ask Christine if there is a restaurant or café in tiny Port Royal which might have Frogmore stew available for lunch tomorrow.  We’re determined!  She’s not sure, but she’ll ask the manager and staff and cook.  She comes back with a giant smile and “Good news!”  The cook says he’ll make low country boil, aka Frogmore stew for us!  Just for us!  No captain’s platter.  Goodbye shrimp and grits.  Hello two orders of Frogmore stew!

I’ve finally had it!  And it is delicious.  And I’m fed up! 

Each order included a half pound of large fresh local shrimp plus fresh red and green peppers and onion and chunks of corn on the cob and potato and sausage all boiled in a spicy sauce.  More than any regular person could eat.  The hunt is ended, the hunters sated.

As an aside, I’ve been wearing a Montana Grizzlies t-shirt to town.  It never fails to attract comments.  An older gentleman saw it at the restaurant this evening.  He stopped to talk about his cousin in Hamilton and his retired boss in Whitefish.  Another fellow in a men’s room in Charleston talked about his daughter doing post graduate work in Missoula.  Another fellow in a store noted “they have a pretty good football team”.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

after the storm

The storm clouds dissipated which were over us last night as I wrote.  They left behind a crystal clear sky full of brilliant stars, and one storm cloud way off in the distance back lit by intermittent lightning.  After the tense afternoon, it was easy to relax and fall asleep
     We were awakened near midnight by howling winds, rain, black clouds and lightning.  I had to go on deck to secure a loose sail cover in the dark, for which the world is thankful. 
 
     At times like those, you begin to ponder the merits of going on deck with no shoes, no life vest, no tether, no knife.  It seems like it will only take a short time to do whatever the task is.  Why delay while grabbing and getting into all that stuff when the problem could be getting worse as you waste time preparing for things which have never happened to you.....yet.  So, you rush out not thinking about slipping or tripping or losing  your balance or being knocked overboard where you would be swept away by the current and storm.  Most of us think the guys who "safety up" even in benign weather are rather foolish, but who are the smart ones?
 
     Today was to be light winds and temperatures in the upper 70's.  We never saw it that way.  We were able to motor-sail for about a half hour.  The rest of the time was mostly cloudy with a head wind, and sometimes adverse current, the combination of which could slow us down to under 4 miles per hour unless we pushed harder, for which there was no reason.
 
     We were just turning in towards our chosen anchorage for the night when we ran solidly aground.  Barbara calls it "dropping Florida anchor".  There is an unmarked shoal stretching out into the marked channel.
 
     The tide was going out and a blustery breeze was blowing towards the shoal.  We were fortunate we were at only about 1 foot above low tide, so it would eventually reverse and raise us off the mud.  However, as the incoming tide raised us, the wind could push us farther up the shoal.  What to do, what to do, what to do???
 
     Kedge!  I climbed into the dinghy and maneuvered it to the bow of "Submit'.  Barbara lowered the anchor plus its 100 feet of chain plus 60 feet of anchor line into the dinghy.  I then backed the dinghy towards deep water and upwind while the anchor rode played out over the dinghy's bow, before dropping the anchor overboard.  After I returned to "Submit", we took up tension on the anchor rode and settled down to a couple games of cribbage while waiting for the tide to come in.  As the tide lifted us, we hauled ourself free with the anchor, "kedging off" for our non-sailor followers.  It was good practice for some time when things could be way more serious than this was.
 
     A tasty dinner, a glass or two of wine, and a -so far- quiet evening at anchor in Beaufort, SC.
 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

traveling day 3/24/2012

     We arose fairly early for us.  The tide had almost filled and we needed to get to, through and somewhat beyond an old bascule bridge on Wappoo Creek.  The ICW passes through a narrow cut which is difficult if you are transiting against the current.  It is not any too wide  to allow private boats to pass each other, and recommended not to try to go if a barge is passing through.  We were on time and had it all to ourselves.  The barge was just approaching to enter as we exited.
     Today was predicted to have showers and thunder storms.  We had several morning and early afternoon showers where I would don my fouly jacket to break wind and rain.  Around 2, we could see a doozy building.  Around 2:20 the radio began passing along severe thunder storm warnings.  We were not going to outrun it, but hoped to get to an anchorage before it hit.  The wind hit with a vengeance as we were about a half mile from the anchorage, and the rain followed.  Storm warnings predicted gusts up to 60 miles an hour, and some of ours felt as though the prediction was correct.  Our dinghy with outboard engine on it was being towed short behind the boat.  Each blast of wind raised the bow up as though it would flip over backwards or do cartwheels at the end of its painter.  I think the only thing saving it was the short painter, although Barbara insists she was holding it down.
     We made it about 1/4 mile off the ICW, up the South Edisto River, before dropping anchor in 15 feet of water and a gale.  I was delighted to have a good anchor and 100 feet of chain, and let it all out.  After all, what good is keeping some of the chain dry if you drag anchor and wreck?  Hand signals worked OK between me at the bow and Barbara in the cockpit.  Words were impossible to hear.  She had to motor forward to get enough tension off the chain for me to set the chain lock.
     We went below and removed our wet foulies and heaved a sigh of relief.  We watched another boat motor past us and eventually anchor.   We chose marks on the shoreline to watch for confirming the anchor was holding.  As the storm abated, we had a cool one and treats.  Cribbage lessons were also given (mostly to me).
     The sky cleared and everything was bright and shiney!  Babara prepared a spinach stuffed pork tenderloin with salsa and served it with a glass of wine.  We adjourned to the cockpit to watch the beautiful sunset.  I carefully arranged the cushions and sat down only to find the sunset obscured by the fouly jackets hanging in my face! 
     Just as we stopped laughing at my inability to look up before choosing a seating site, the Prairie Home Companion was interrupted by the alert system.  Severe thunder storms with possible quarter size hail were passing nearby.  We could see the thunderheads and lightning in the distance.  As I write, we've battened down the hatches and the wind is building.

And from
Ray V.,




Submit and I are straining, all the chain is out
Come ahead, I signal, cause She can't hear me shout.
Up South Edisto, we endure a fierce squall
The dinghy is bucking like a bronc in his stall
Then calm...a brief respite...before the next bout.

boat names

SV "Escargot"

Barbara

the Admiral conning the helm admiralably

 

Charleston 23 march 2012

This morning we prepared to do the tourist thing in Charleston. This involved a dingy ride to the dock and a shuttle ride to the visitor center, where we learned a little bit about the city, watched a women making sweetgrass baskets, purchased a guide booklet to do a walking tour and then took the trolley to the City Market. The Market is typical, with booths of crafts, food, pottery, etc. Sweetgrass baskets everywhere. They are amazingly beautiful and quite expensive. I’m sure that they take a really long time to make and we were told that some of the grasses are becoming harder to find. I wish we would have remembered to take a picture of them to share with you.
We have learned that it is often a good idea to take some kind of city tour in order to get a lay of the land and discover where we might want to go visit in more depth. We decided the horse drawn tour would be fun. This included several churches, for which Charleston is noted, and lots of single houses. The single houses were designed to be a single room wide for maximum air flow. There is a portico (porch) all along one side with a door from the street as the main entrance, the portico being one of the nicest “rooms”. (Hope that is a good word picture, because we forgot to take a picture with the camera.) The next stop was for a cold libation and a chance to sit down to develop our plan of action. It turns out that we saw most of the places suggested while letting Barry pull us around. Here is a picture of Reggie “on the walking tour” accompanied by a glass of microwbrew Stout.

I guess we are not city folks. I’m sure that the shopping would be great, as there appeared to be many unusual shops and the architecture was interesting, but our knowledge is limited. We would have had more fun if Colin had been with us.
Continuing south.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fwd: Re: marinas

you'll want to start at the bottom of this update to see what precipitated the below response.

Reggie

From: mike
 
Even at the Government Floats in most marinas, if I expect to have shore power (never used however), a secure tie up generally with ease of access to the local micro brewery, restuarants, shopping, etc.,  flushing latrines (heads for you swabbies), hot running water for showers (aaahhhhhhhhh:-)) that last as long as my quarters do, a basic chandlrey in the Harbour Master's office and other luxury items such as ice, soap for the washing machines and dryers, fresh water to refill the holding tanks, and the nearby convenience of fuel docks for diesel and possibly beer, .......then I expect to pay a reasonable sum for the rental of my now-private space in order to take full advantage of all the preceding described amenities.
 
However, should I prefer to wallow in the misery of my damp quarters, attempting to dry soggy clothing by hanging everything from the shroud and safety lines (assuming that the rain from the preceding three days has finally abated), luxuriate in the two gallon sun shower from the foredeck (which has seen none of its heat source for the past three days), brew my Top Romain and Couscous over my single burner sterno stove or attempt to ignite my kerosene stove without causing a major explosion or flames leaping up to inflame the headliner of the salon......., not to mention having to re-inflate the now-deflated dingey filled with at least 2" of cold water, clambor overboard to row some indeterminable distance against the always prevailing headwind and chop (previously described by the authors) seated on cushions of several life vests in an unsuccessful attempt to keep my bottom dry, find a secure place to leave the craft whilst walking the extra distance to said micro brewery, restuarants and liquor store, and especially, being able to CONTINUE TO USE my wonderful on-board hand pump toilet and self-contained holding tank (or composting device, whew!), then I pat myself on the back and congratulate my sailing companion on having saved another moorage fee.  And then, late at night and well after dark, returning to my dinghy and (assuming it is still where I left it), re-rowing back to where I thought I had left my floating home (before discovering that the anchor had dragged and that it is now quite some distance from where I previously left it - occassionally impaled against someone else's floating mansion or the rocks of the now-too-near shore), against the always prevailing head wind and chop that has turned 180 degrees, and somehow managing to re-board without going for a swim first, and finally climbing into my damp bunk where I can drift off to fitful sleep eventually, by mentally counting up the money I've saved today before rising again to check that anchor that feels like it's dragged again. 
 
After all, in the age of our middle sixties, why should we either want or expect to enjoy some of life's little comforts when we can go to sleep in our damp underwear knowing that when the final moment arrives, we CAN take it all with us??
 
mEm

From: Reggie

Thanks, Brad.  I knew I could count on you for perspective!

Reggie From: Capitalistic bastards!


 
>Do we have yet more proof that I must be a bit of a cheapskate in
>some ways?  I find it difficult to digest that I should pay $75 or
>more per night to sleep inmy own bed.  Anchors away!
>
>Reggie