Sunday, January 30, 2011
We motored on into Fernandina, FL and headed for the Fernandina Marina in order to rent a mooring for the night and as we were approaching the dock I could have sworn I heard someone call out my name. I looked out over the water and saw someone waving their arms at me, but I knew I couldn't possibly have heard my name and Hans told me to get on the radio in case they were trying to warn us about something. I called them and imagine how surprised I was to hear their response, "This is Bright Eyes."
I've been following the story of Joey and Christine of Bright Eyes for quite sometime and I was thrilled to finally see some fellow sailing bloggers. Once we got settled at our mooring we invited them over for a visit.
Our dinghy hangs over our stern and blocks our swim platform and Hans was concerned that they would have difficulty getting on board. I told him that if this old 50 year old woman could scramble up the back of the boat I was pretty sure a young couple in their 20's would be just fine.
And here they are!
Joey and Christine.
Also joining us last night was Drew's wife Theresa so we had a cockpit full of people and a very excited pit bull.
Wilbur is feeling extra special spiffy today after he found his picture on the Bright Eyes blog. One of my favorite posts of theirs is the one that shows their boat after they ran aground. It's pretty impressive so you really should check it out.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
And once again because of the tides I think yesterday was one of our most tedious days in the intracoastal. We had three stretches of canal that Skipper Bob warned would be very shallow at low tide.
When did we hit them?
At low tide of course!
Actually, we hit the first one at low tide due to the fact that we got a faster boost than we expected to and it's just not fun to see your depth finder telling you you're in 3 feet of water. We eked through that one and then managed to catch the other two as the tide was coming in. The wind was cold and gusting to 25 knots and didn't help things either.
After a full day of this we were thrilled to see the Golden Isles Marina in St. Simons Island, GA up ahead and just as we crossed under the bridge we were boarded by the Coast Guard (after they radioed and asked us if we had any weapons on board and was our dog friendly?). Of course we had to keep moving and it was very windy and choppy but they jumped aboard anyway. Actually, one of them nearly fell in between our boats and had to let go and leap backwards into his. They pulled up yet once again and this time he was successful.
They were greeted by many wiggles and kisses from Wilbur, and one of them had to try to write on his clip board with Wilbur sitting in his lap and after verifying that we had registration, life jackets, fire extinguishers, and peeking at the holding tank lever, they were off and running. Wilbur was sorry to see them go.
So anyway, believe it or not we had guests arrive at the Knotty Cat last night for a weekend of fun, good times, and hopefully a little bit of sailing. And even after reading our blog they still wanted to come along.
Hans is leading the way as Craig (a long time friend of Hans) and Craig's friend Drew (a fellow sailor).
Wilbur taking a rest after setting the table. He's such a good boy.
Wilbur makes a fine antenna as Drew tries to talk on the phone.
Exhausted from his day of boating, entertaining the Coast Guard and Hans' friends, Wilbur is finally able to relax.
Today we left the marina and headed out to sea. So far it's very smooth and we don't have much in the line of wind but it's still better than being stuck in the ditch that is the Intracoastal.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
As I looked at this picture, I was like... what the hell is that on Hans' head? And then I realized that peeking over his hat is a stuffed fish (designed to hold CD's) that's sitting in a basket on the shelf behind him.
Woe is me, I'll never make a living as a photographer.
Yesterday was a cold, gloomy day (we motored a whole foggy 13 miles before anchoring), and Wilbur, who usually spends his days in the cockpit (second guessing Hans' navigation), went below and hid under his blanket.
It's been years since I've played Monopoly and it may be many more years before I attempt it again after the other night (which I won't go into at this time), and I was thrilled to find that the tokens haven't changed a bit.
Hans was the battleship (go figure), I was the thimble, and Wilbur was the dog (go figure once again!).
Monday, January 24, 2011
I didn't take pictures of the blood all over our spring line, cockpit cushions, and helm pod cover.
And I think I'm kind of glad I didn't as I really don't want any visual reminders of what I consider to be one of the worst days of my life.
At the end of the day Hans received just 7 stitches in the palm of his left hand, has a very bruised and swollen knee, but he's alive and that's all that really matters.
Before I go any further though, I have to tell you the Rescue Squad was purely overkill (as was the stretcher they rolled up to us) and we were shocked and embarrassed (although Wilbur was thrilled) when they all showed up this morning after Hans informed a marina employee that he might need some stitches in his hand.
And to think that yesterday started out as a very uneventful day at sea.
Once again good old NOAA was completely wrong and the 15 knots of north wind that he promised were really 10-15 knots of south wind. I will never quite understand how these forecasts can be so wrong. The ocean was as smooth as glass so I went ahead and took advantage of this situation and made a pan of chocolate chip brownies.
We had hoped to sail as far as St. Catherines but since the winds didn't cooperate and it was getting late, we headed into Ossabaw Sound inlet. We decided that after days of cold nasty nights a marina might be a welcome relief, and with shore power Hans could watch the Steelers.
Here's a bit of trivia; water depths in the Ossabaw inlet can vary by 9 or more feet with the tides, and the currents just rip. We discovered that low tide is very low and at 6 PM we found ourselves aground at the entrance to the marina creek. And we draw two and a half to three feet!
Hans immediately shut down the engines so as not to suck a bunch of sludge and sand into the engines and we thought, 'Now what?' Just then a small motor boat came down the creek and the owner, a former tow boat captain who was on his way home managed to pull us off. By now it was dark and he led us up to the marina, helped us tie up, and absolutely refused payment. "We've all been there," he laughed.
After anchoring in three nights of bitter cold temps, we were so happy to finally be able to relax and use our space heater, I made Tuna Tettrazini (Tuna Helper!), and we watched the Steelers beat the Jets. All was well.
And then at 4 AM everything went wrong.
What happened next is exactly what boaters should never do.
Hans woke up at close to four o'clock and realized that our space heater wasn't working. A glance at the navigation station revealed that our shore power was no longer connected and our inverter had shut down our batteries.
That's when Hans broke our iron clad rule. Never go above at night unless someone else knows about it. I was apprised of this situation when a huge bang woke me up. Hans wasn't in bed, he wasn't in the head or salon, and then I found the cockpit door open.
"I'm in the water," Hans shouted when I emerged from the cabin, and there he was, pinned between our boat and the dock in at least four knots of bitter cold, outgoing current.
He looked stunned and I knew we didn't have much time. I didn't agree with him but Hans felt he should try to get to our swim ladder while I hysterically babbled about throwing him a life preserver which would obviously not get him out of the water. Somehow he managed to pull himself along the dock (against the current) and then lunge over to our stern which was swinging well away from the dock, and partially swim and grab at our boat until he reached the starboard side. I dropped the swim ladder and up he came. His sweat pants were down around his knees and he had to strip them off before he could heave his way into the cockpit.
I managed to get on the dock, reconnect our power, and tighten the stern line. It wasn't until I was back on the boat that we realized that the palm of Hans' left palm was slashed wide open and bleeding everywhere. We bound it shut and after getting the rest of his sopping clothes off I stuffed him into our bunk and made him a mug of hot chocolate. Even with blankets, Wilbur, and me draped all over him he shook for a good long time.
This morning it was obvious that his hand needed medical attention and that's when the cavalry descended upon us. Even after all that the paramedics were not permitted to suture his wound and Hans had to take a cab to an Emergi-Center and get stitched up.
How did this happen?
Upon realizing that our electrical cord had pulled free from its source, Hans decided to simply jump onto the dock and reconnect it. He didn't count on the icy conditions and his feet went out from under him and he dropped straight into the water. It was a very narrow slot and I can't believe he didn't hit his head on the boat or smash his jaw onto the floating dock. We're pretty sure his injured knee is what hit the dock first and saved him from being knocked unconscious.
This one simple act could have killed him. He could have been knocked out, he could have suffered from hypothermia (the water was 46 degrees), and if we hadn't been at a floating dock he could have been swept away with the current.
Don't think I haven't given him hell for this.
Hans has been around boats all his life and this is what happens when you get complacent and careless.
I'm still a bit shaken over all this and as embarrassing as it is to post, if this keeps someone else from pulling the same stunt, it will be worth it.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Last night we ended up in a much more quiet spot in Bass Creek just off of Parrot Creek. We were up and moving at 7:30 this morning in order to take advantage of the currents and we are currently freezing our butts off! Right now we have little pellets of sleet all over our dodger.
So for your viewing pleasure here is a video of us rappelling Wilbur off the boat when we were in Charleston. Everything went very smoothly and a couple of employees gave us a hand. You can see that since they are so much taller than me Wilbur didn't have to stay suspended for very long.
We just passed Beaufort SC and hope to anchor in Skull Creek by mid afternoon. At that point we just want to get warm.
Wilbur is an excellent heating pad!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Joining Hans, was Chuck the man who remounted the propellers, and Jason, who I think just wanted a spin around the river. After our insane trip on Sunday, Wilbur and I opted to stay ashore.
Since she had an audience of many, the Knotty Cat oozed off the dock, purred her way around the river, and came back for a very uneventful landing. In other words, the complete opposite of what we experienced on Sunday. What a show off!
So yesterday at high tide we actually cast our lines and headed for the Charleston City Marina. It was a very uneventful trip (thank God!) and Wilbur forgot for a moment that he was absolutely freezing when he made his very first dolphin sighting. He stood stock still and then snorted so hard that I feared he would hyperventilate.
Two Marina employees helped us dock and immediately set forth pumping out our holding tank, filling up our diesel, and hooking up our hose so I could finally have water for the first time in a week.
We took advantage of the laundry facilities and hauled everything off the boat that had been left two months ago and I ended up washing three loads. A courtesy van got us to a grocery store where we picked up a few things that we'd forgotten, and then a liquor store for some things that should never be forgotten! In between all of this I ran Wilbur up and down the Mega Dock a couple of times and he had a blast.
Even though we arrived pretty early, all of this work took almost all day and we didn't get to really enjoy Charleston like I had wanted to. This morning Hans caught the van to West Marine (oh how I wish we'd bought stock in this company when Hans purchased the boat!), I took Wilbur with me to take a shower (he doesn't like showers but he does like to drink the water), and then ended up getting a lot of sewing done. I love shore power!
We finally left the dock at 1:30 this afternoon and thanks to Skipper Bob's book on available anchorages in the Intracoastal, we hope to drop the hook at around 6PM.
At least we hope so! Been there done that!
No he's not being sick over the side, he's filling up our water tanks.
Tell me she doesn't look smug!
Monday, January 17, 2011
I took this video on Friday when The Knotty Cat was initially dumped into the water. She was hauled out again today, and Honest to God I don't think there's a boat on earth that's been hauled out more times than our Knotty Cat.
According to the experts today is supposedly the most depressing day of the year and I would imagine the folks at the boat yard might concur with this notion after Hans wandered up to the office at 7:30 this morning. Very soon thereafter the manager arrived at the Knotty Cat, assessed the situation, determined the problem to be on the 'outside' and promised a haul out as soon as the tides lessened. And let me tell you Tide is King in this river. Even the TowBoat US guy told us he hates getting called to this neck of the woods because of them.
When the travel lift finally hoisted our girl out of the water I fully expected to find that she'd shed her propellers but sonofagun they were still very firmly attached. The only problem was; they were on backwards and apparently our girl doesn't like her shoes on the wrong feet.
Hans immediately noticed that the propeller blades weren't lined up properly and couldn't be put into their feathering position, and he's now blaming himself for not noticing this before the Knotty Cat was launched, but I think he's being too hard on himself. The mechanic who originally did the work is off until Wednesday so the manager and another mechanic went to work. They started talking about pitch and angles and diameters, and did we have any specs? Unfortunately these details were left out of all the literature we received when we bought the boat but a call to Island Packet and VariProp (a company that offers some support for the now defunct propeller maker) answered our questions, and let me tell you that the people at VariProp are wonderful!
So in the end what we've learned is that propellers are actually quite sophisticated and not only were ours improperly aligned they had different pitches. This caused our engines to scream in outrage and our boat to race with the mercy of the current because they were of absolutely no use to us whatsoever. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we go back into the water and this time we'll have company (most likely in the form of the manager) for a bit of a sea trial to see if all is well. We're a bit puzzled over this situation and really don't understand how it happened but we also know that sh** happens and as long as everything works out in the end we'll be happy.
However, Wilbur is not at all happy with his situation. I mentioned yesterday that while we were on the hard we had to rappel him on and off the boat. Apparently Wilbur has a very good memory because tonight we had to once again hoist him up via the gennaker halyard and as soon as Hans dropped the line overboard Wilbur went nuts and tried to get away. I jammed him into his life jacket anyway, hooked up the halyard, and when he tried to flatten himself into the ground, Hans started hauling him up. Even though Wilbur was paddling the air like crazy, all was going well, and then Hans' phone rang as I was scrambling up the ladder to finish hauling my baby on board and he dropped us both like a hot potato in order to answer it (I forgave him since it was the man from VeriProp). He didn't actually drop Wilbur but it was now up to me to free a very strong and frightened pit bull from his harness and safely deliver him to the cockpit.
Tomorrow we'll have to drop him overboard when they move the Knotty Cat again and I will try to get a video.
I'll try but if he does a mid-air flip on the way down like he did yesterday, I'm not promising anything!
Sunday, January 16, 2011
First of all, today is Wilbur's first birthday. Look at his sad baby picture taken at the vet clinic when he was 11 weeks old. His former owners left him alone with a pregnant female dog and she promptly tried to kill him.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
"Are we there yet?"
Monday, January 10, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
And my daughter did not have food poisoning by the way.
Ask me and my trusty bucket how I know.
Here are some highlights.
Thursday, Baby Girl shows up from college break so she can party all weekend with her friends.
Thursday night, Baby Girl gets home at 11:30 with funny stomach pains and by 2 AM has become best friends with our one and only toilet. All night long.
In the morning and thinking I'm being funny, I ask her if she'd like some Gorgonzola, olive, and pimento spread, on crackers. She almost cries, and don't worry, God got even with me later.
Friday. New Years Eve, Hans and I (slouching in our sweat pants) watch Dick Clark welcome in the New Year. We then try (unsuccessfully) to get a good nights sleep on our living room futon (with Wilbur firmly ensconced between us) because Baby Girl is languishing away in our King Sized Bed!
Saturday. New Years Day, I throw a pork loin and sour kraut in a crock pot because we all know eating pork on New Year's Day is supposed to bring good luck. Well, for everyone except the pig that is.
Then my vet tech daughter calls in hysterics because "I just totalled my car and I need you to come and get me!"
I go get her and Duncan (her pit bull) who she claims was scared to death, but judging from the tail and tongue wagging appears to have viewed the whole episode as one giant thrill ride. Luckily she's insured (for now anyway) and in her words, "I should be okay. None of my other accidents have been my fault."
Sunday. It's not until I've eaten my french toast and coffee that I realize my arms feel like rubber and it's now my turn to hog the bathroom.
Baby Girl decides this would be a good time to go home and leaves. A half hour later she's back because she can't find her wallet. A quick toss of the apartment does not produce said wallet and now it's back out to her car and our SUV to see if it might be there. I leave all this fun to her and Hans and crawl back into bed.
On my next potty race I find Hans looking baffled and Baby Girl in tears. They inform me that Baby Girl has now locked her keys in her car. Before we can all panic Hans remembers that I always keep a spare set of keys in a magnetic box attached to the frame of the car.
Except Baby Girl has that evasive look on her face and when asked if she's looked for the spare she says it's not there and, must have fallen off.
I point out that those boxes don't just fall off, she starts bawling, and I run to the bathroom.
Sunday Evening. After spending a freezing afternoon trying to break into the car Hans finally calls a towing company (which I'd said to do from the very beginning) which arrives a few hours later The car is unlocked within seconds and I get the fifty five dollar invoice. I'm hoping I won't be able to smell the pork and sour kraut that I know is being reheated now.
Monday Morning. After a restless night I wake up and tell Baby Girl to get her butt out there and tear that damned car apart and make sure her wallet isn't there. My Vet Tech daughter calls and asks if she can borrow one of our cars to go to the store, and I wonder why the hell we didn't try to get down to the boat last week.
Still Monday Morning. Eureka! The wallet is found! It was in a pocket in Baby Girl's computer bag. Hans makes the mistake of asking why she doesn't always keep it in the same place and didn't it even occur to her to look there first? I ask her why the hell she can't be bothered to carry a purse and her brilliant reply is, "Because I'd lose a purse." (Keep in mind she's from the generation that we hope will save us from ourselves!)
For this I make her use her car to take Vet Tech Girl to the store.
Tuesday. I'm no longer sitting on the toilet with a bucket in my lap but all I can do is sleep and try to drink gingerale, orange juice, and club soda.
Wednesday. Even though I was able to get a shower and do a much needed load of laundry (and of course the lock on the laundry room door broke and I couldn't get my key out!) Hans calls the boatyard and cancels our Thursday (tomorrow) launching. Which is a good thing because by late afternoon Hans inherited the throne and bucket. This is a bit scary because about 12 years ago Hans suffered from an esophageal tear after a bout of throwing up and received many pints of blood during his stay in the hospital. This is the first time he's thrown up since then and it's very nerve wracking!
Thursday. Hans doesn't like being sick, I need to get to the store today, and I just noticed that Wilbur didn't eat his breakfast this morning. I hope this has nothing to do with that clothes pin he ate or the fact that he de-maned Hans' Christmas lion, and plucked the eye's and nose from our little sailor bear.
We are now due to drive down to Charleston, SC on Monday, and hope to have the Knotty Cat in the water by Tuesday.
One of Hans' friends just called and invited him to go skiing on Saturday. What do you think I had to say about that?
UPDATE: Friday AM. My Vet Tech Daughter just called to let me know she spent the evening in the hospital last night. She's been throwing up for a few days and thought it was the flu. Now it appears it may be her gall bladder. Her car wasn't totalled but did suffer $6,000 worth of damage and will be gone for two weeks. I told her to please be careful with her rental!