Saturday, November 23, 2013

Stop procrastinating already and post something, anything.

After successfully avoiding the laptop for several months due to the fact that it is rapidly dying and its making this horrible, God awful sound that makes it seem its going to self destruct at any moment. I have decided that if I am ever going to make a post again on my blog I have to at least make an effort to retrieve my word documents and photos from it. From the moment I turned it on it let me know it was in pain and to please hurry. I was able to locate and up load a couple shots only located on that computer to the blog and also access my word document I had spent so much time typing up. I figure the longer I put off the deed, the longer and further behind I would get on the blog. I hate being this far behind and if I was a third person I would have given up on me a long time ago. I can blame it on the fact that I got a new I pad and I was having trouble using the screen keyboard. I'm sorry, I grew up taking typing in school and my fingers have to feel the keys in order to type with any speed. Otherwise I am pecking away and that kills me. So my husband got me a new keyboard for the I pad which makes a world of difference.So hopefully I'm back.....I'm back but so far behind that I'm not really sure where to pick things up. We all know that we made it back from the Bahamas just fine and after sitting a bit in Cape Canaveral we started getting that feeling we wanted to move again so we decided that we would spend the summer in Wilmington. Dirk has family there and that's where are friends Mike and Denise live. So I guess where I will start is the log I kept on the way up to that point. I don't usually keep track of a trip but this was going to be a milestone for us and I wanted to record a bit of it. Our plan was to leave the barge canal and head out to open water, hit the gulf stream for assistance and make the whole trip in one leg. We have never done more than one overnighter and never had we been 100 miles away from land. So here goes.......

We decided after being in Harbortown Marina for 2. I feel that I have put my blog readers into a state of limbo and for this I apologize. I can honestly say part of it is the fact that the laptop I have been using and storing photos on has started working on its last breaths so my husband got me an early birthday gift of a new ipad. I do love that little sucker but as you know it doesn’t have a real keyboard and I find it difficult to type without pecking on the screen. Perhaps a keyboard attachment may be an early Christmas gift. I have not decided yet and the jury is still out. Also since I am trying to do things from multiple devices I have photos on one or two and word on one. I will get organized one day. I keep hearing that one day resounding off the inside of my head over and over again as I find new things to keep my attention elsewhere. Anyway to keep moving forward with this blog I wrote on our passage up from Cape Canaveral to Carolina Beach and it is as follows. Grant it, I have never written in this perspective but I thought it might be different to get it first hand as it happened. It would be our longest passage ever, 52 hours, and the furthest off shore, 100 miles, we have ever gone.

Harbortown Marina to Carolina Beach North Carolina
Take off from Marina, 8ish then though the lock and bridge into Cape Marina to take on Fuel. Finally got off the dock at 11.15pm. As we were leaving the marina Dirk noticed the stuffing box leaking badly. After a few moments he got it to stop. After fueling up as we are leaving the channel he notices that the alternator is not charging, Dang it….What to do? We could turn around and return to the marina or we could keep going using the generator to charge batteries. We decided to head back and Dirk was below looked it over again, then we discussed it and decided what the hell. We would change our float plan and stay close to shore just in case…. So it may take us several more hours but we are on the move. First storm hit at about 12:30 passing very quickly and bringing about 13 knots of wind. It was over before we could get all the sails down. Afterwards we decided to shut the engine down and just sail. Well that lasted about 10 minutes till the wind died. Back on came the engine and wha la, the alternator decided to start working again. Here at 1:30 we see the next round of storms coming at us. This one is probably going to be a bit more than the 1st one we had. Storm hit us about 15 minutes later after Dirk reefed the main down and let the stay sail down. We saw up to 32 knot winds and the storm is still going on.

As we were passing through a storm

Cant really see if anything is coming, thank goodness for radar
Storm passed as we sailed a little into it so as not to catch the wind broad side. All calm after that till almost 5pm. Thunder started rolling again and it started to drizzle. Cockpit enclosure is nice but it gets very warm inside when closed up. Waves started picking up a bit and we are taking them on the beam which makes for a rolly ride. Butters is doing fine, he went to the bathroom about an hour ago but he still hasn’t eaten or drank anything since he threw up this early afternoon. Guess he hasn’t gotten his sea legs yet. Me with the vertigo, I have been experiencing has made things a bit interesting. I find I can’t look up or tilt my head in certain ways without that falling effect. Been popping Bonine every 4 hours or so just to help. 5 pm Dirk checked in with the cruisers net and gave our position. Bad reception but Rick from s/v Naked Lady in Panama City Florida said he copied. 6pm was suppose to check in with Bob on s/v Moondance but could not get radio contact. About 7pm made the 1st round of coffee. Right after coffee and sandwiches Dirk took the reef out of the sail and put the stay sail up. By 8pm the wind piped up very quickly to 30 knots, sometimes to 32 so stay sail was lowered and the reef put back into the main. Better safe than sorry. We knew better, is the bad thing, we were already seeing 9 knots of speed but was trying to get more. During the evening we did see 11.8 knots of speed which is about hull speed for us. We simply can’t go any faster and it’s the fastest this boat has taken us. About 7:30ish in the morning after setting the alarm every 30 minutes and catching a couple cat naps we found we had reached the furthest distance from land we would be at 100 miles. New record for us, there is no one except flying fish and an occasional ship or two out here. Once the winds picked up last evening so did the waves. We are seeing some possible 5 footers with the weird interval, 1 wave good, 2 wave good, 3 wave roll, before we could steady out, 4th wave, really roll. So we sit wedged into the cockpit, Butters has blessed every mat and floor surface we have here. It smells like a litter box up here but there is nothing I can do at the time. Just swap out a new towel in his carrier and clip the soiled one on the lifeline and wait for the next thunderstorm to roll in and rinse them. I think when we hit land they will all need to meet a bucket of bleach water. Going below has been a task and I’m sure once I get back to shore I will have many bruises erupt from running into everything we own. I thought I had everything pretty well tied down, but after chasing clangs, bangs, and crashes around all evening I can see I was mistaken. My pots and pans keep flying out of the oven so they now live on my bed. The boat looks as if someone took it, turned it upside down and shook. No coffee this morning as I think it’s too dangerous to have hot liquid in the works when I can barely stand upright. So it was water for Dirk and an energy drink for me. Plus a new round of bonine for both of us. I feel like I have been doing palates for a day straight and when it’s time for my muscles to relax I think I will sleep for a day. As our course now has us pointed toward land once again we hope the sea state will improve soon. Although on our course with our speed it says we will arrive tomorrow in the morning sometime, although now that we are no longer getting that push from the gulf stream we know we will slow back. We have been motor sailing just about all the way. Occasionally we shut the engine down for a while so Butters can get a bit to eat, when he will eat. At this rate he may lose a few pounds. 8:30 am Dirk checked into the cruiser net and when he was done I managed to sit down on the floor of the cockpit and proceed to shower. If anything could give me a fresh outlook, it would be a shower. Winds are in the high teens, low 20s with what appears to be building seas. It’s not bad, just still the succession we are taking them, nothing really to do but try and rest. I would like to start reading a new book but I don’t want to risk staring at a kindle in these waves and don’t want to tire my eyes as I need my vision for nighttime. We were lucky enough to have a close to full moon last night rising at around 8pm and set shortly before dawn. Minimal cloud cover so we had a lot of illumination. There’s nothing much else to do but watch the little boat on the screen move ever ever so slowly closer to shore and tick off the miles. 10:40 am just had a bite to eat, curried chicken salad on crackers. Easy and that’s what it’s about when you need 4 hands and 5 feet to get around. Dirk just said we are approximately directly straight out from Cumberland Island about 90 miles. Got a big 656 foot ship heading our way and were keeping an eye on it. We know we see them on our AIS but not sure if they see us so it’s better for us to be on our toes.

100 miles off shore and this guy came this close.
Dirk said that by tonight we should be about 30 miles off shore. Whoo hooo. Im ready to get this ride over. No Thunderstorms yet this morning but the day is still early. Several times we have buried the right hand rail and filled the gunnel's. Keeping an eye on the scuppers to make sure they are clear and continue to drain. Have only noticed small leaks around the ports below which is amazing and wonderful seeing as the seals need to be replaced in all of them. Renegade is doing great, even if the ride is uncomfortable, it doesn’t feel unsafe. I always know when she rolls really bad she is coming back. The engine and auto pilot is doing great also and we don’t seem to be having anymore problems with the alternator since Dirk did some rigging with it. A project to add to the list….. Finally around 2pm we say the sea state starts to lay down more to our liking. We shut the engine down for abit with just the stay sail and reefed main up. We were still getting 9.3 knots with only about 12-15 knots of wind. Surely we still couldn’t be getting a push from the Gulf Stream. But perhaps we were. At 4pm we find our selves about 65 miles from shore. Cloudy skies that threaten rain. Earlier in the day we watched as a water spout began to form and as we began evasive measures it dissipated, thank goodness. I didn’t want to see one of those up close and personal, not today. We both have been doing surprisingly well with the lack of sleep. Just a case of the grumpies which happens to both of us due to lack of zsssssss. We don’t take it personal. Dirk did manage to go below and get a semi decent nap and now with the cooler overcast afternoon we find ourselves cat napping in between watching for traffic. Poor captain Butters, he has barely eaten anything today. At least he has enough body fat to keep him healthy for at least 2 weeks. I am trying to get him to drink as much as I can as I don’t want him dehydrated. The accident he had in his carrier has gotten ripe. I pulled the liner out of it and replace it with a fresh towel but anyone who has a cat knows that cat urine is strong…. Wish I could let him out and put him in something else but I have nothing and even with the door open he wants to be inside it as it is his security. I like the fact he feels safe in there because God forbid we have to abandon ship, he is easy to gather up and keep contained. As soon as we get into the land waters though I think it will get stashed in a garbage bag along with all his towels so I can spray this cockpit floor down and defunk it. It is close to 5pm and Dirk will check in with the cruisers net with our current position. The end is in sight and we have both decided we don’t care for long passages. I really don’t know to many people that do, but sometimes it’s necessary to get from point A to B. At least we can say this hasn’t been a horrible passage. We have had those in the past, but it wasn’t and it never is what you expect. 7:45 pm and we are about 45 miles from shore. At about 7 we were doing one of the catnaps in between alarms when one alarm went off that sent us scampering. I'm looking at engine gauges and Dirk runs below looking for high water alarms but neither of us can find the source. Finally Dirk finds the cause and says that it is the VHF with a severe weather alert. Damn, I don’t remember ever hearing that ear piercing siren sound come out of anything unless it was ready to detonate. Whew, were up, were up. The sun is setting, Butters ate and drank a bit, but each time I haul him down to his litter box he just lays in it. He has this thing he does when he doesn’t want to do something such as get put in his carrier before going on a trip in the car. He plays limp kitty as if he thinks because he is limp we can’t pick him up although it does make it tough when one is trying to navigate 6 steps in rolling seas, one hand on the boat and one hand trying to cup a 20 pound cat who is hoping that if he doesn’t move a muscle he won’t go. I always win but it’s a game I wish he wouldn’t play. Anyways, the sun has set and light is fading until the moon rises at about 9pm. should be a bright moon if the clouds hold off. Should see land in the morning sometime. Hoping for the city glows tonight as you can usually see them miles and miles off shore. 6:45 am Thursday well didn’t see the city glows but then again didn’t see much of anything. The winds died to about 9 knots and the sea state had nothing more than gentle rollers. There was a fog fairly thick but everything was visible. Once the moon came up and things cooled down a bit we were able to work on some 30 minute naps we have been taking. Been working out…30 minute intervals are set on the timer, nap or rest for 30, beeper goes off and is reset. We sit up, scan the horizon, check radar and repeat for another 30. I actually found myself dreaming a couple times so I know I slept. At one point we got up and Dirk adjusted the sails, I gave Butters some food and he ate as if he was hungry. He drank some water and proceeded to bathe himself. He must be feeling better. During one of the nap cycles we awoke with the lights of 4 vessels among us. Not close but in visual distance. We were close to Georgetown area and figured it was the fisherman headed to open sea for a day of fishing as we are still 30 miles from shore now as I write this and in around 80 feet of water. The sun is rising and there are just some small scattered clouds around. Looks like it will be a nice day. Guess I need to put some celebratory beer to toast with when we get to the dock in the fridge to cool. We will call our friends and family to let them know our ETA. Was able to make some coffee this morning as I didn’t have to worry about the espresso maker flying off the stove. Even with the guard in I was afraid to make it yesterday. Those of you unfamiliar with it, there are two vee shaped arms that attach to a bar on the stove top that you can adjust around the pot or pan that your using, thus locking it in place on your stove top. So now I sit in the cockpit while Dirk and Butters sleeps to enjoy my solitude with my coffee and nature. 10:30am had some boiled eggs for breakfast and had changed our course a bit as the wind shifted to right off the nose. Once we got set I went below and washed up some dishes, changed the bed and cleaned and vacuumed the aft head, our bedroom and the galley. Just enough so that when it’s time to sleep in a bed tonight that I will fall into a wonderful slumber. I always sleep better in clean surroundings. The cockpit cushions which we have been sleeping on have not been bad but they are a bit narrow and leaves your hips to ache a bit. No land is seen yet but there is a bit of a haze this morning. We are about 9 miles off shore and all I’m seeing is freighters. We should see it soon and also begin to get and Internet signal on our phone. 1st thing is to update face book and let everyone know we made it safe as my spot doesn’t report to face book anymore. Who know why and I guess that will be something to look into. Just after putting this down Dirk spotted Land, Yea!!!!! Land Ho!!!!!! Our day would not be over though once we got to South Port. After finally making it into the inlet we still had another 2 hours to go against the current to get to our marina. Our friends Doug and Tina that purchased our last boat Tybee Time were at their marina and went out to snap a photo of us going past as Dirk blew his Conch horn..Thanks guys….We made the turn down Snows Cut and I knew we were getting close, at the end we cut a right headed past the mooring field and searched for our marina. We had phoned Denise and she would come down along with Dirk’s folks to welcome us. There are so many small marinas and seems none are named so we waited till we saw Denise standing on the Tee dock waving her arms. She and a dock hand pointed us to our slip as we turned down the tiny fairway wondering if we could make the turn. Once we got Renegade tied up we realized that the finger piers were not going to be long enough for us to get off the boat and our only option was to go back out and back in. Whoa……We have never backed this boat anywhere. As usual it was a very anxious time but Dirk got in with no problems. Thank God the wind wasn’t blowing or we would have been in some deep poop. Finally we made it, about 52 hours and 400 miles later we were here. If we had taken the ICW all the way up we would have been looking at around 3 weeks to get here going for 5 to 6 hours a day. After Gunther and Janet got here we all had a toast to a good passage, sat around and talked before everyone excused themselves to allow us to rest. I was ready…..Close to the evening we had Dirks sister and husband want to come by so we had to wipe off the grumpies and try to stay awake for a bit longer. Sleep would come easy tonight…..After we said our goodbyes showers were taken and time to crawl into a nice clean cool bed. Ahhh, it’s the little things. We have decided to stay here in Federal Point yacht Club for a couple months and it seems like a good location. We can dinghy or walk most anyplace we need and we are really close to lots of stuff and beach side. Perhaps soon I will catch you up on our activities here and projects done and in the process of doing. Hang in there guys, I haven’t forgotten about the blog but I have had many irons in the fire.  months that we wanted to take the boat up to North Carolina for the summer where we could visit friends and family and have a change of scenery for a bit. We did do a few items to the boat while in Harbortown but I must push ahead in the blog as I have gotten too far behind to remember small details. Don’t worry I will fill you in once our other summer projects are completed and do it in one blog