If we have cooperative weather, we will leave tomorrow for the 2009 edition of what we have done so many times before. "Cooperative Weather" for sailors is, of course, oxymoronic and also it seems that our endurance is now inversely proportional to our experience. We look forward to our plans being a surprise to us.
Currently our only plan is to head East to Bay Creek Marina on the Eastern Shore at Cape Charles. We first visited there with our friends the Pantaledes last summer. Bay Creek Marina, more rather than less, defines the word "Plush" and is a great way to start a trip on a "high note." THis time we will be going with the Honeycutts our long time sailing companions.
On the positive side I am no longer a pirate. My eye patch is now gone. Sadly so is my opportunity to answer the question of dozens of little boys "Are you a pirate?" with a hearty ARRRGGH! Of course, being a pirate has lost some of its cachet what with recent developments in Somalia. Apparently a AK47 does not carry the same romantic image as a saber.
There are a lot of boats with names like "Wet _______". You fill in the blanks, but today I saw the most honestly named boat of all
NOAA Weather Report:
"Small Craft Advisory until Thursday morning.
Winds 15 to 20 from the East with 3 to 4 foot seas,"
We crossed over yesterday with very uncomfortable waves on our beam. We motor sailed most of the way so that I could keep my computer running with its large screen GPS display. I still need help in that department. I thought the low point of the trip over was when Kay told me that there appeared to be lots of "Big Ships" coming out from the channel into Cape Charles. I was wrong. The low point was when Kay went below for a moment and after rejoining me asked "Where is all the water coming from?" Now that is not what you really like to hear. I asked "You mean as in a flood?" "YEP" "Damn"
Once during the winter our boat flooded when we weren't there. Fortunately Dennis Honeycutt was up checking on his boat that Sunday and noticed my boat was down in the water. His phone call to me said "You have three to four inches of water over the floorboards." Not being even able to leap over small buildings, I could do nothing from 120 miles away but call a friend, Tom Pantalides, in Salt Ponds who graciously offered to hep Dennis bail Spindrift. After much effort on their part, it was dry and staying dry. Looking everywhere Dennis and Tom could not find the leak. In fact there was no leak. The boat flooded for no reason at all and then stopped flooding for no reason at all. People used to talk about the "Ghost in the Machine", long ago I realized that, that particular ghost had deserted their machine and joined Spindrift's crew.
So the news from Kay that we were flooding was neither good news or new news. None-the-less on we went into the entrance channel, the marina, and the slip. Power plugged in, the Air Conditioner on we prepared to meet the flood. When. Things went wrong. For seemingly no reason at all the power (and hence the Air Conditioner) went on vacation.Since the bilge pump was keeping up with the leak, at least, on "a water in. water out basis", we turned our attention to the AC power.Eventually Kay discovered that the connection to the boat was "hot" and not electrically hot, as desired, but instead to hot to touch.It turns out that a bumper had snagged the power cord and partially disconnected the boat connection turning it from a conductor to a space heater. In the process the power cord end was pretty much fried.
At this point we, along with Karen and Dennis Honeycutt, decided to to have dinner in the nice Air Conditioned restaurant at Bay Creek Marina. About mid dinner we started to notice the lightning closing in from almost all directions. Heading back to the boat, the lightening hit, the rain struck and all sorts of emergency sirens started to blare. THere were no less than 8 tornado warnings and even more numerous water spouts that night.
Today (Friday) things are better. New Power cord, dependable air conditioning and nice weather. Best of all NO Flood! It turns out that our dripless stuffing box was no longer dripless.It wasn't dripping, sputtering, spouting or even running. It was in full flow. After considerable effort and a lot of help it was again tamed. Now we can relax confident that nothing else can go wrong.
It may help to point out the peculiar "hydrodynamics" of boats of our size and type that are cruising in warm waters. Assuming the boat is afloat it has a bilge pump which ejects misbehaving, volunteer water out of a nozzle on the boats side (Starboard or right side on Spindrift). In theory it never runs. In practice it runs a few minutes a day. It is not a good sign when it runs continuously.
On the other side (port side, in our case) there is an outlet for the water-to-air, Air Conditioner. From whence, well behaved, highly domesticated, borrowed water is ejected. In theory, while in port this is running whenever it is needed and in practice this is usually 24 hours a day.
When you have been away from your boat, and are returning to the sound of water running, the question always is, which side? Left is good, right is bad. In the event that both are a flowing, you then wait a few minutes for the right side stream to cease. If not, this is definitely a mixed message. You may be sinking, but you will be comfortable in the process.Bay Creek Marina
Beautiful day. Kay is gone shopping. Somebody in the weather center is asleep when without warning a tremendous storm hits. It was somewhat like the white squall we encountered last year at Yorktown. Fortunately, unlike that time, none of the Yorkies were outside to play at being Toto. Instead, all the cushions took flight, leaving me trying to catch them, while holding onto the hatch boards and keeping our young female Yorkie, Chesie, from coming out to help. (If you are wondering, her two male companions, Mac and Hunter, had wisely chosen to hide under the table below.) This would have made a great silent movie. Hope nobody filmed it.Bay Creek Marina
We thought to leave today, but rethought about it when the weather prediction was for high winds from the NW. As we sit here now, we are clocking winds in the 20 to 30 knot range. As a general rule for boats in our size range, if your age plus the wind speed exceeds 90, Don't Move.
Since we started this cruise there has been nothing but too much wind (for us). Worse yet, the wind has been continually from the North to Northwest. We are sitting at the lowest Southeast corner of Chesapeake Bay which pretty, much says there is no way to go "but up." Which, of course means going North to Northwest. Murphy is alive and well.
We think the Honeycutts will leave today. We will be sorry to see them leave. AS always we had a great time with them including a tour of Old Town Cape Charles by motorized Golf Cart with Dennis at the helm.12:30 EDT
Winds now are in the 25 - 35 knot range and we just finished helping Kailani (Honeycutts) out of their slip. The winds were about 10 degrees port of their bow and screaming. Kailani is a 42 foot Hunter and like most Hunter's it has high sides. The slips are 60 feet long and all four of us knew that the instant the bow rope was released, Kailani's bow was going to head starboard faster than Kailani would be going forward. And so it did. Dennis got the boat out of the slip without great misadventure. Kay and I stood there holding our breath. We just heard from them on the VHF and they had cleared Bay Creek and Cape Charles and were doing fine. Bon Voyage, Kailani, we will see you in a week or two.