Now just read that over again only this time using the music to My Favorite Things, because that's the only way I could find these particular lyrics charming.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Now just read that over again only this time using the music to My Favorite Things, because that's the only way I could find these particular lyrics charming.
Friday, November 26, 2010
However, I do remember the time the muffler fell off my car, and after I reattached it with a wire hanger and Duct tape (while flat on my back on my cold garage floor at 7 o'clock in the morning so I could get to work on time), Hans, who was still in his robe, inspected my work and commented that perhaps he would have done it differently.
Obviously, I didn't kill him.
When we found our port locker full of water and ended up replacing this hose ourselves, we were told not to use an elbow. Most likely because this particular hose 'bends' as a result of the wire that's spiralled around its whole.
Here are the leaky hoses we ripped out of the locker and replaced in October.
We threw them into the cockpit and even though they were already dead and rendered useless I thought they looked slightly evil, and was very happy to toss them into a dumpster.
We found out the starboard side locker hoses had already been replaced, and just this week we dug out our original survey and discovered that the work was completed shortly after we bought the boat.
Honestly, we don't even remember having it done!
Notice here that they used an elbow.
Together, Hans and I have discovered a lot of interesting things on the Knotty Cat and I'm not kidding when I say it took us two years to figure out the how the two water tanks worked as the original owners had them re-routed, and left no information behind.
But this fall found us performing our biggest repair yet as a couple and it involved our GPS antenna.
'Fritz' the GPS, decided to act up on a fairly nasty voyage in the Chesapeake and insisted upon showing us on shore a good bit of the time. Fritz became rather emboldened with his brazen ways and threatened to start up a union amongst our other electronics. I, however, who once belonged to a union, knew that if we didn't nip Fritz in the bud right now, he'd become a boil on our backside forever!
I want it on record to all union members that we gave Fritz many opportunities to mend his ways but he chose to ignore us.
So it gave me great pleasure the day West Marine personally delivered a new GPS antenna to us while we were on the hard at the Charleston City Marina.
"Well, this should be easy." Hans and I said to each other after examining the directions, and then after about eight hours of rewiring that big stinker we realized why boat yards charge so much for their work
We still have no idea why the many, many wires, deemed necessary to keep a boat running, need to be secured every three inches or so with tightly cinched tie wraps and then run deep into the bowels of the boat. After trying to fish our new antenna wire (taped to the old wire) through this myriad of craziness, we finally said the hell with it and bypassed most of them.
This was only after we realized that we forgot to thread the wire through the nut on the outside of the boat first, and then had to pull it out and start all over again.
Another problem was the fact that a running fan in the engine room (where all the fun wiring stuff was taking place) made it necessary for me (in the cockpit) to shout very loudly to Hans (in the engine room) in order to be heard.
After yanking (and swearing), pulling (and swearing), ripping (and swearing), we lost the new antenna wire in a very tight conduit (and yes there was a lot of swearing).
We figured out a way to bypass most of the tie wraps, along with the nasty conduit, and finally got the new wire through. Our joy was short lived however when we realized it still wouldn't work and an hour later found that a blown fuse was the culprit.
We walked into the boat yard's part's store at closing time, just as all the employees were getting ready to quit for the day. While they found a fuse for us I proudly explained that we'd spent the day replacing the antenna to our GPS. "Yeah, we know." remarked one of the mechanics who'd been working on our boat, and everyone laughed. "Really? How'd you know that?" I asked.
And he happily answered, "Oh, we all heard you."
Never let it be said I don't exercise my vocabulary any chance I can.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
A little winery in Maryland had been selling some of the bags I make and when I realized that we no longer had a need to stop there (now that the Knotty Cat resides elsewhere), I picked up the remainders.
I have a total of 5 bags left and if anyone wants one, they are $25.00 each. Shipping within the lower 48 states is free. Everywhere else, add $5.00.
Just send me an email (my email address is located in my profile) if you're interested.
I have one of this particular bag.
It has three pockets on the outside front and three on the outside back.
These are slip pockets, therefor there are no snaps or Velcro to secure them. They're good for stowing your sunglasses, crossword puzzles, maps, etc...
The handles are knotted rope that have been run through grommets.
Each bag closes with a magnetic snap and has an inside zippered pocket with a cork zipper pull.
I have 4 bags featuring wine cork fabric for the body, and wine cask fabric for the outside pockets.
These bags have two pockets in front and two in back.
Three have gold handles.
One has a cream and white handle.
This one has gold handles.
The outside pockets.
Again, a magnetic snap closure with an inside zippered pocket.
This is the only bag that has cream and white handles.
This much I know; if these don't get sold, everyone in my family is getting one for Christmas and will be sporting about with wine themed bags whether they like it or not.
I'm just not sure which one Hans would like!
Monday, November 22, 2010
One of the things I like about the Chesapeake are the many anchorages that can be found just about anywhere.
But, I've discovered that the ever popular St. Michael's, Maryland, might just possibly be the Bermuda Triangle of anchoring.
We found this out for ourselves a few years ago. After hanging lazily on the hook for a whole weekend, our Knotty Cat waited until 3 AM and then quietly lifted her anchor and innocently drifted into a sexy french catamaran that Hans and I had gushed over earlier in the day. Using her swim platform, the Knotty Cat neatly punched two holes into her rival, just above the water line. The owner was extremely nice about it and thankfully our insurance company made everything all better.
Then a couple of years ago we decided that it would be uber fun to watch the Fourth of July fireworks from the bay of St. Michael's. I have no idea why, since this is tantamount to being in Times Square on New Year's Eve when idiots who otherwise never get out, do, and create mayhem for everyone in their vicinity.
We weren't disappointed.
The above picture shows just a few of the boats that anchored that weekend. Anyway it was a dark and stormy night (I've always wanted to write that!), and a powerful storm complete with wild bolts of lightning and slashing rain ripped through the bay long before the fireworks were due to start. Suddenly, like a bunch of earthquake evacuees, everyone (except us) frantically tried to weigh anchor and beat feet out of the harbor (I'm not sure why, as all this meant was they'd be underway in some pretty crappy weather). We immediately noticed that a boat had drifted uncomfortably close to us and was having some difficulties. The captain was running fore and aft in a wild attempt to unfoul his anchor, and I couldn't help but notice that his female counterpart sat on the sidelines and did absolutely nothing, leaving me to ponder the intelligence of women who wear hot pink velour sweatsuits in public.
An anchored yet unoccupied boat on our port side suffered two separate assaults from renegade escapee vessels gone wild, and the offenders didn't even bother to leave polite notes of apology under the windshield wiper of the victim! I've often wondered how long it took the couple of that particular boat, who rowed back after the storm, to discover the damage that had been inflicted upon them.
A motor boat full of drunks just scraped past us and I swear I saw the nasty tonsils of the chick who leaned over and screamed, "You need to have more lights on!" And I screamed back, "We have our anchor light on you idiot! Maybe you need to read Boating for Dummies again!"
And as suddenly as the storm started, it ended and we enjoyed an incredible firework display.
For some sick reason we went back the following year only this time with my youngest college age daughter and a couple of her friends. The only irritation we suffered that night was the party boat that anchored right beside us. Complete with bad '80's music, pulsating disco lights, and hysterical drunks, they were kind enough to leave us in peace at midnight.
Other than that, Hans and I have spent many peaceful nights at anchor and we have our system pretty much down pat. With some simple signals from Hans, I maneuver the boat to port, starboard, or straight ahead, and before you know it we're on our way.
Or at least I thought so.
How well I remember the weekend when some of Hans' hockey friends sailed with us, and with Hans at the bow and me at the wheel, I was smugly explaining our system to them when Hans made a signal I'd never seen before and unfortunately, I'm one of those people who speak before thinking and everyone was treated to, "What the F#*@ was that!?"
One of the funniest (and saddest) anchorings I've ever witnessed was during our last weekend on the boat this summer, and yet once again St. Michael's played a starring role. It was late in the evening when we heard what was obviously a domestic squabble aboard a boat quite close by, and I was immediately jerked back in time to my bartending days where I was often forced to witness abusive behavior between couples thus leaving me very grateful to be poor and single, yet not stuck with an idiot!
I also sincerely hoped I wouldn't hear a splash in the night and wind up being a witness in court.
Come morning, I informed Hans that one of the nearby boats was a lot closer than it'd been the night before, and it only took one bellow from the captain to realize this was the domestic squabble boat.
Then the fun began.
The captain went up to the bow and the little woman (surely his wife because no man would ever treat a date in such a nasty manner) sat at the helm. He then screamed out signals complete with intense fist punches and the poor woman reciprocated by flooring the engine. The boat responded by flying in reverse thus yanking the anchor line tight and I felt myself holding my breath because I just knew what was coming. I wasn't disappointed and the captain started bellowing again. This time the boat shot forward causing the anchor line to stretch in an alarming fashion along the starboard side. This went on again and again, and all the while the captain continued to scream and punch the air.
Finally (and most likely out of sympathy), the anchor gave way and the (un)happy couple sailed off into the wild blue yonder.
I'm just glad I didn't have to testify in court because I'm afraid I would have been tempted to show that idiot some real punching!
Saturday, November 20, 2010
And I'm sure anyone reading this and who's spent any amount of time on a sail boat is splitting a gut right now.
But let's talk about about docking the boat, lifting the anchor on the boat, and (gasp) attempting to make repairs on the boat, as a couple!
This particular post will address docking the boat which is very much at the bottom of my 'let's have fun' list. Winds, currents, and narrow slips have created many heart thumping moments for me.
Actually, my issues with fenders (while docking) are something new. In the first two years we owned this boat we almost always tied up at the same docks so of course I knew exactly where to place the fenders. The thing is though, that no dock is ever the same. Some are floating and therefor the fenders have to hang way over the side nearly at water level, while some docks are fixed and depending on the tide, the fenders might need to be just over our deck. This means that each fender needs to be retied to the rails which isn't a big deal but when you only catch sight of your dock moments before tying up it can be quite a race.
A few days into our trek on the Intracoastal we were quickly approaching a dock when Hans told me to toss the fenders over the side. I realized that it was a floating dock and that our fender lines needed to be lowered but I hadn't had a chance to touch even one when he yelled, "What are you doing up there?"
Me (quite incredulous): "Getting the fenders!"
Hans: "What the hell's taking so long, just drop them!"
Me (wondering if he could possibly be serious): "They need to be retied, they're too short!"
Hans: "Just throw them over and get that bow line ready!"
Me (not sticking my tongue out and retying a couple of fenders anyway): "I'm going, I'm going!"
Afterward, Hans was very puzzled and once again asked me what the hell I'd been doing up there.
Me (quite angry by then): "I was doing my hair, that's what!"
Hans (genuinely puzzled): "Really?"
The only reason I didn't throw him overboard is because he knows how to parallel park the Knotty Cat and I don't.
A similar event occurred in Swansboro, North Carolina when, during a rain storm complete with gusting winds and strong currents, we shot into Dudley's Marina like an Indy Five Hundred race car. One second Hans was telling me to drop the fenders and the next second he was yelling, "What are you doing? Don't worry about the fenders! Throw them the bow line!" But we had swooped in so fast that one of the guys on the dock actually reached out and snagged the line leaving me to run as fast as I could to the stern where I'm embarrassed to admit that that line promptly got hung up on an old GPS antenna (BTW, that antenna is going to get ripped out as soon as we get back on board after Christmas). With Hans putting our girl into reverse the helpers were finally able to secure us.
If I ever win the lottery I'm going to buy a ton of fenders and tie them at every possible level they'll ever be needed.
That should give me plenty of time to do my hair while docking.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I've been thinking about it and have come to the realization that traversing the Intracoastal via boat is a lot like driving your RV off the Interstate and taking a back road instead.
Gone are the wide open spaces in which to sail and all of a sudden you're motoring along in single file among a variety of other boats you might otherwise never see, along a very narrow strip of water, leaving no room for error.
Given the close proximity of your fellow travelers, you really need to make an effort at being polite, and after applying your deodorant for the day you should also respect each other's space.
This brings me to AquaMan.
I have a feeling that years from now many a sailor will reminisce about the legendary autumn of 2010 when AquaMan wreaked all kinds of havoc while roaring down the Intracoastal and leaving many a damaged vessel in his wake (and I mean that literally!).
My first hint that something odd was afoot came one morning from a few random radio transmissions. And I have to tell you right now that travelling along the Intracoastal really isn't very relaxing. When we were out in the Chesapeake and Potomac this summer we hardly ever had to listen to our VHF and instead, enjoyed a variety of radio stations. But in the Intracoastal you constantly have to listen for the captains of boats who want to overtake you, and also get updates on what's ahead of you.
Anyway, I started hearing some odd chatter on the radio. "Hey! Cruiser who just passed marker twenty, this is a no wake zone!" Then a diesel dock shouted out the same concern. One woman came across loud and clear with, "Hey Dirt Bag! What's wrong with you? Slow down! I hope you never need help from anyone because you'll never get it." This marauder of the water was finally identified and I hoped that AquaMan (whom I envisioned wearing a blue Anti Super Hero costume) was heading away from us and not toward us.
But then I heard a captain warn, "Attention everyone in the vicinity of fixed bridge Such and Such, AquaMan just went past me and refuses to comply with the no wake rule." We had just passed a fixed bridge and I got that Uh-Oh feeling and when I looked behind Hans I saw a huge Cruiser bearing down on us. I watched the captain of the monohull who'd made the broadcast try to steer into the huge wake that AquaMan had created and his mast whipped back and forth like a metronome.
"Holy crap! He's not slowing down!" I shouted and watched in horror as AquaMan roared straight for our stern. I grabbed our air horn and while standing on a seat in the cockpit I gave it five short blasts. AquaMan didn't slow down so I blasted it five more times. By now he was just off our starboard side and I added huge, slow down gestures with my arms and since I was wearing my foul weather gear I probably looked like a giant Tweety Bird flapping hysterically around the cockpit. I was so pissed off by then that when he finally roared past us at about 20 knots of speed, I turned the air horn on him full blast.
My ears were ringing but AquaMan and his Boy Wonder never even glanced at us giving us the impression that they were either completely deaf or just totally rude. They didn't even have the decency to wear blue Anti Super Hero costumes either!
I jumped down off the cockpit seat, hurried down below, and spread eagled myself all over the galley in an attempt to keep everything (including my computer) from flying all over the place when the resulting wake hit us.
The Coast Guard had been informed of AquaMan's behavior and radioed everyone that they needed to know the type of boat and registration number if possible and that a picture would be of great help. I'm just mad that my camera battery was dead because I could have gotten a really good video! Shortly thereafter AquaMan's registration number was broadcast for anyone who might need to file an insurance claim.
We didn't suffer any damage and I was finally able to locate my coffee cup in the garbage can where it had been tossed during the wake.
Here I am at the helm with my trusty binoculars as I keep a sharp look out for markers and future trouble makers.
I almost look like I know what I'm doing.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Let me show you what MapQuest looks like on my computer.
That little red figure is our Knotty Cat!
Isn't she cute (Please say yes!! She's quite vain and every little bit helps)!
When we entered the Charleston Harbor, Tuesday afternoon, we only had about eight miles to go in order to get to the boat yard, but the current was so strong it took us three hours to get there. We tried to take advantage of the small amount of wind we had and put up the jib.
I swear we cheered when we hit 3 knots of speed!
This is the 186 foot bridge we passed under on our way up the Wando River.
Once the Knotty Cat was hauled out and we realized she had some missing and loose bolts on the plates that held her prop shafts in place, we had hoped things could be tightened up and we'd be on our way.
Well, it wasn't to be.
Wires that should have helped stop corrosion had been cut by the previous owner (which explains some of the problems we've been having), our propellers (lying in pieces on that cardboard) are no longer manufactured so the mechanic will have to be creative for the couple of parts we need, our engine mounts should have been replaced 500 hours ago, and the forever leaking stuffing boxes are going to be replaced with Dripless Shaft Seals.
This shaft was ripped out the next day. It was corroded and needs to be cleaned up.
Since the estimated time for all this to be done will take a week or so we decided to come home. We'll head back down after Christmas and resume our trip at that time.
Friday we ended up renting a car and then drove to Florida where we spent the night with some friends. Off to the airport the next morning for our flight to BWI, and then an airport shuttle to Kent Narrows where our car was parked. Five hours later we walked into the apartment and I realized I'd left a bunch of paperwork on the boat. Nothing valuable, but I wanted to file a health insurance claim and now I don't have any of my forms! We also had very little food in the cupboards and ended up eating cheese and crackers for dinner.
The good news is, we get to pick up Wilbur this afternoon and I only hope he remembers us!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
We then rejoined the wagon train heading south, with Myrtle Beach being our next goal. We were in a rather narrow stretch of water when we realized a barge with a large load was coming up behind us and sure enough the captain hailed us. What was disconcerting was that he asked us to identify ourselves and then wanted to know just where we were as he couldn't see us (I bet he has cataracts and drives a Buick on his days off!). We provided him with our location and then slid over to starboard as much as we could and watched him run over a big green can as he plowed on by.
We listened as he radioed other boats ahead and gave them directions on what he wanted them to do. Upon being told to please move over and let the barge go through a bridge opening first (at 65 feet it's a fixed bridge and doesn't raise but the channel was very narrow right there), one captain radioed back that he was certain he didn't need to move as he was traveling along quickly at 5 knots. The tug boat operator said too bad; he was going 7 knots and to please move over. The other captain once more said he was just fine and then the barge operator told him to KINDLY MOVE ASIDE OR I'LL RUN YOU OVER. He moved.
We ended up seeing the barge again as we approached the Swan Creek Bridge (a swinging pontoon that opens hourly unless you're a barge and then it opens up period!). We're not sure what happened but we could see all kinds of mayhem going on. The barge was almost sideways and big plumes of diesel exhaust belched from its innards as it tried to reverse, and the boats hovering around it looked like a bunch of rubber-neckers at a wreck. Someone even had the nerve to radio the bridge and ask if they could pass behind the barge. I don't think anyone even bothered to answer him.
Unfortunately we hung back too far and with the current working against us we were unable to reach the bridge in time to get through. But luck was with us because since it was an hourly bridge it had to open in ten minutes anyway.
This got me to thinking about the three mile stretch of waterway just ahead called The Rock Pile. Our cruising guide says to monitor the radio and make sure no barge traffic is coming towards you as there is not enough room to maneuver. I hope no one was heading north when that barge went through because it really is narrow with big flat rocks jutting into the water from the shore and I was very relieved to get through it with very little boat traffic.
Last night we ended up docking at Bare Foot Landing in Myrtle Beach, SC, and for the first time in a week we went out to eat because Hans wanted to watch the Raiders. The Raiders won, the wrap I ate was really good but made me sick, and we were up at 6 this morning and on our way again.
Today we are headed for Georgetown, SC, and our guide says there are some good anchorages there. If all the good spots are taken maybe we'll pretend to be a barge and tell everyone to move over.
Friday, November 5, 2010
By the way, if you ever want to be thoroughly entertained; find your nearest drawbridge, make some popcorn, pull up a chair, and be prepared to enjoy yourself.
I got out my trusty binoculars and saw that the captain and his 'woman' were standing in the cockpit and apparently weren't taking calls. Just when it seemed like the big boats were going to charge through, the two little sailboats got into the act and like two little old jaywalking women, crippled their way through the opening.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
In order to preserve our salon seats (mostly because of Wilbur) I made covers for them out of a couple of old king size sheets.
Here is a before picture.
And the after. If I ever do this again I will use better fabric but this will do for me now.
I bought these bins at a Dollar Tree and they fit into the refrigerator perfectly!
And what a difference cooler weather makes. We only bought one bag of ice and my handy dandy little ice maker is taking care of the rest!
We saw our first pelicans two days ago. This little guy shivered on top of this piling while his friends chased a crabber's boat.
After motoring 41 miles in ugly gray rainy weather we are staying at Dudley's Marina (there is no anchoring here as the water outside the channel is one foot), and I really hope I get to wash my hair!