Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy and Grateful this New Year

Debra and I managed to make it to Florida, after we were comfortable leaving Kelly, who is doing great by the way. It was not an easy decision to leave, but Eric is taking good care of her. She just needs to rest and heal at this point. She doesn't need us staring at her while she rests on the couch. We're finding out quickly that parents are taken in small doses. Kind of like my Dad and I. We can't exist in the same space for more than twenty four hours. Not sure why. Maybe I should ask Mom.

So here we are in frosty Florida. The evenings are a bit cool, but we have a heater going, which makes it somewhat comfortable. The first thing I noticed getting back on board was the amount of humidity present. Deb had to work a few days so I opened up the boat to let the warm air in and dry things out. What a huge difference this makes. With Deb working all day, and getting home in the dark cool evenings, the boat does not get a chance to breath. I stopped at Lowes and picked up a De-humidifier, which I thought was way too big for the boat.

It's a 45 pint model, which means it can suck that amount of water out of the air in a 24 hr cycle. We gave it a try, and what a difference it makes. We ran the thing all night and in the morning there was no presence of moisture around the hatches and ports. We were dry and warm too! The unit puts out a little heat, enough to keep the cabin at 64, while it was 40 degrees outside. Not bad. Dry and warm is good, though I do wake up extremely thirsty and wrinkled. What? The wrinkles aren't going away?

Deb and I got to know each other again, do a few boat chores, then head over to Hilton Head to stay with our friends Deb and Rick. They have a beautiful place just a walk to the beach, and we hung out with them and their wonderful family, along with our daughter Nicole and Jonathan. We've known Deb and Rick for, well, ages it seems. All of our kids know each other as well. The whole group consists of four couples who have been hanging out together since college. We could not get everyone together for the holidays, but we all stay in touch. We have a lot of history together, and talking about old times is incredibly funny. We really are a unique group.

Merry Christmas from Hilton Head!
So amongst all the stress of this Holiday we received news from our Daughter Nicole, that she is engaged to Jonathan! Hooray! They have been together for some time now, and make a great couple. That was really welcome news.

We had quite the emotional Holiday. In a way I'm glad it's over. We look forward to 2013, when we become liveaboards in Florida. Happy New Year to everyone out there! Best wishes for peace and prosperity.

Only a few weeks left in Roc City. I will miss my New York family and friends, but I will  not miss the weather. I'm back in town for my retirement announcement, and then I'm packing it up and heading south.

My tiny snowbound apartment with the attic that the killer clown lives in.

At least the sky was blue for a change.

With all the snow and ice that accumulated over the last week or two, I managed to wipe out on my daughters porch steps, slamming my kidney and rib onto the last step. I bet it looked spectacular, as my feet went up in the air, as my head went back. It was a classic. I was carrying a backpack, which I think absorbed some of the contact, so I didn't break anything. I don't think. The pain has been fabulous, and it makes for quite the long evenings staring at the ceiling all night. Now I not only look like a zombie, I am walking like one too. It's probably the only thing keeping the clown in the attic from coming downstairs, assuming all the footsteps and noises up there can only come from very large red shoes. What kind of clown would be in an attic? Why, a killer clown of course.



Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas, Winter Solstice to everyone!

Due to a family emergency I am in Rochester NY and not Florida. Deb is here with me, and we are watching over our oldest daughter, helping her any way we can. Kelly is doing well now, but there was an awfully scary moment for us all, and I was in Atlanta trying to get back to her, and Debra was frantically trying to fly out of Florida at the same time. The feeling of helplessness was overwhelming. We are blessed to have had Eric and his family by Kelly's side during the emergency surgery, and we are forever grateful for that. Kelly is recovering nicely, and on her way to being healthy again. Phew. Deep breath for everyone.

As we sit here waiting for news on Kelly's visit with her doctor/surgeon, we see on the TV that our old hometown of Webster has lost 2 volunteer firemen trying to put out a blaze. They were shot to death. Two more firemen are in the hospital fighting for their lives, because they were shot at trying to save lives. There are possibly two shooters. Sometimes this holiday season brings out the worst in people. Maybe if it wasn't so much about gift giving, and more about enjoying time together things would be different.

On a positive note, we met some of the most caring people at Rochester General Hospital. Nurses, Doctors, Tech's and volunteers were very special to us and our daughter. We are forever grateful.

We are reminded again how fragile life can be. Enjoy every day if you can.

Paul and Deb

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Another weekend in Florida

I flew in Friday night and was picked up by my mystery girl. It is weird not seeing your wife for weeks at a time. Deb took me out to dinner, and drinks, and then we settled in like it was yesterday. Saturday we had some boat chores that needed immediate attention. We cleaned up the v-berth and scrubbed the areas that were getting a little funky from the moisture. With the cold nights, and the boat locked up during the day, you can get a tad moldy if you don't stay on top of it. Almost want to get a dehumidifier for these few months before things start growing in places I can't see. What do you other folks do down here in Florida to combat the winter moisture?

Today we are going to a public market, and spending some time in the sun. I think brunch is in order also. We turned on the holiday lighting last night. First time our boat has been festive.

Our Kodak camera takes lousy night photos

A little holiday spirit for Kelly Nicole.
Cheers from Florida!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Flying solo

This should have been posted weeks ago.
Just got back from another weekend in Florida with Deb. It was great to be together again. We walked the beach, talked over beers, and spent time catching up. I had a few boat chores to do, but Deb is doing a great job keeping things ship shape. The marina is pretty quiet, with the exception of forklifts moving small powerboats in and out of storage. There are a lot of people who take advantage of this ease of use, as the damn lift seems to run non-stop all day long. Our time together was way too short for two people who have been glued to each other since 1979.

 Those were some hairy times.

 The unfortunate part of these weekend fly-ins is the drain on your energy. I'm not good at air travel. In previous posts you have read that I have little tolerance for homeland security and the TSA. So the whole thing is stressful to me. This time through went pretty smooth. No lines, and the pat down was pretty comical, as my jeans would not stay up when the guy was feeling me up. We both had a good laugh over that. He said I didn't have an ass to hold them up. Maybe I should switch to skinny jeans :0

The weekend flew by, and before you know it Deb's watery eyes were left behind in Florida, and I am sitting here in thirty degrees and light snow in Rochester.  The bachelor pad is not all it's cracked up to be. The first few weeks alone I tried to live like I did when I was in my 20's. Yea, that didn't work out so well. If I keep living life that way, I'll be a fat little drunk when I get to Florida in January.
Funny thing about living like a slob, eventually you have to clean it all up. Best to stay on top of it.
 The only bright spot in this lonely life is the kids keep tabs on me quite frequently. Kelly and Eric are over at least once a week, or we head out on the town for a few laughs. We always have a good time. They are a lot of fun to be around. Eric is an excellent cook, and I get invited over from time to time. I also keep them well fed, and have been a little crazy with making soup lately. It must be some form of therapy for living alone. Soup for the soul?

Cheers from Roc City.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Here and gone

I just left Debra crying at the airport, as she takes her flight south, away from the biting cold that has hit Rochester already, and away from the lonely sailor who loves her. Her visit was way too short, and unfortunately I was way too sick to enjoy the time we had together. I'm starting to come around, and am feeling like my old self again, but I pretty much missed the best of the holiday, and her visit. It was tough to enjoy the festivities with friends and relatives when your head felt like it was filled up with goo, and every word you spoke made you cough. I'm still purging, and trying to detox from all the cold medicine that helped me function the last four days. It was so great to see Deb. It's no fun not having the love of your life by your side for weeks at a time. The remaining time in that little apartment better go by fast.

Kelly and Eric hosted Thanksgiving dinner and they did a fantastic job. The torch has been passed, and it's good to see the next generation taking charge. The sidelines are the place to be, let me tell you.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's been a while since my last post. Just wanted folks to know I'm still alive and somewhat well in Rochester. I say somewhat well, because I managed to pick up a nasty cold for Turkey day. None of the runny nose and achy fever like symptoms matter, because Debra is here! She came all the way from Florida to nurse me back to health. How about that girl?
I am so thankful :)

Monday, October 29, 2012


Well, all that worrying about Deb and SV KN, and they both got through it just fine. We were lucky. I feel for the folks in the Chesapeake area, Delaware and Jersey. They are not as lucky, and I do hope all is well, and Sandy peters out before she decides to come ashore.  Deb said the restaurant next to us got flooded at high tide, from the surge as Sandy passed. Imagine the surge as this monster goes ashore up north!

Back in NY, I hit the storage unit with a vengeance, trying to whittle down the items to things I can sell, or give away. I think I did a pretty good job, but there is still much to do. I'm hoping friends and relatives can take some of this stuff so I don't have to cart it away. I loaded up the van twice, and tossed some stuff in a dumpster, but then realized that a security camera might be watching, so I brought the junk back to the apartment for garbage day. I felt like one of the trashmen driving around the neighborhood, picking though your stuff. A rusty old van filled with useless crap, and some old guy needing a shave. Yep, I would have called the cops on a guy like me back in the day, if I saw him driving around the neighborhood.

After. I know. It looks like I just moved stuff to one side.
We are supposed to have 20 foot waves on Lake Ontario tomorrow, so I'll have to snap a few photos of them coming ashore. Any excuse to get out of the damn apartment.


Friday, October 26, 2012


Well, I'm feeling pretty guilty and helpless and it's because of Sandy. Deb is riding this out on her own, and doing the best she can, while I sit here and watch the radar. Ugh.

I don't expect the wind to be that bad, but I would rather be there to monitor the situation. Not much sleep last night. If this tracks as predicted, then Deb should be fine. Not so for our friends up north. Hope Sandy dies quickly, and stays East!!.

I will try to keep my mind off the storm this weekend by taking care of this:

I can't take any of this with me.
I can't imagine selling all of this to Craigslist Crazies. I don't have it in me. After all these years we still have STUFF!  The apartment is getting roomier, as friends and kids take some stuff, but this will be a challenge. I think I'll have friends pick it over, then call a charity. I can sell some stuff, but I'm not selling boxes of nails, screws, and small hardware items for a few dollars, no way. Don't have the patience. I could just leave the door open for a week! Bet that would get it cleaned out.

Worried in Rochester

Monday, October 22, 2012

South, North, South, North

In the past six weeks, I have taken a boat south, driven a car north, driven a car south again, taken the boat south, hopped a plane north, driven a car south, and now took a plane north. Geez, am I coming or going?  I've also been through the TSA gauntlet several times recently, and the last time was a bit extreme. I personally do not like going through X-ray scanners. I think they are a hazard, and a scam that Bush's toady Chertoff is now making gobs of money from, so I am inclined to refuse, or "Opt out" according to the TSA lingo. When I opted out Sunday, I was told that it would be a while and I would miss my flight. Damn! So, like all the other sheep I got radiated. After I got through the cancer generator, they had me place my feet onto the yellow footprints and they frisked me anyway! I told the freak with his backhand on my balls that I went through the damn x-ray, so why do I have to get felt up right now? I was told that I would be better off just doing what I'm asked to do so I can get through without delays. Now, I think I got palmed because I grumbled about taking off my belt, and having to hold up my pants, while walking in my socks, and having my laptop, wallet and personal belongings sitting on a belt on the other side of the fence. Apparently they are trained to spot grumpy old men.

After I got felt up, I waited for my stuff to get through the damn x-ray, but the woman in front of me had an iPad stashed in her bag, which caused all sorts of concern. I had a nook in my bag, but apparently it's not as deadly as the iPad. Instead of opening the bag, and removing the damn iPad, they kept putting it through the x-ray and looking at the pretty picture. At this point I had about 5 minutes to get to my gate. "Just open the damn bag up and look inside, or take it somewhere else so the rest of us can actually make a flight today!"  That did not go over well, and I then had my bag emptied of it's stuff onto a nice quiet table away from the other folks. While I explained the small aerosol can of old spice Fiji (I like to smell like the beach), and trying to get dressed, they told me that all the delays are because of people like me carrying things they're not supposed to. "This exact bag went through last week, guess you missed it then! Just take out whatever you think would be nice to take home, or toss it in the garbage and let me make my flight please!!" My bag was given (thrown) at me, I mumbled "assholes!" and I ran to the gate trying to buckle up my pants, with one sneaker untied. I was the last person to get on the damn plane, and the door closed as I sat down. Phew!  My next flight I will be on that "list". The one containing all the angry people. I'm sure I will be felt up from here on out, on every flight I ever take. I'm usually quite polite and cooperative. It must be lack of sleep that makes me grumpy.

more TSA cartoons

The drive down in the Saturn was without incident. I left work, and drove about eight hours south to just north of Richmond Va. As I passed through Baltimore I kept saying, just a little further and I'll get a room and sleep. Well, a little further and I was in a traffic jam of epic proportion. A midnight traffic jam! C'mon man! They had about four lanes squeezed down to one, and the only guy working had a saw, cutting the pavement with four guys watching, at the last few cones. As pissed off as people were, I'm surprised they weren't shot at, or run over. At two in the morning I pulled off, and fell into bed. The  rest of the trip was boring as hell, and I stayed awake with coffee, and junk food. One girl at a gas station saw what I was buying, and slowly slid a bottle of 5 hour energy in front of me. "You want my heart to explode? No thanks." She said it works great, and it will be fine. I did not take the advice from the 19 yr old Redbull addict. She had a can on the counter behind her, along with a breakfast burrito. I could not imagine what that combo would do to me. I give her praise.
To stay awake it was coffee, and junk food. Eating a bag of twizzlers was not a good idea, but they are great in making walrus tusks, or a red Fu Manchu for the other drivers. Most look away and speed up. The pumpkin seeds were addicting, but very salty, which made me drink all the water, requiring me to stop and empty the bladder, and then buy some more crap to eat. I really need to detox.

Saw some cotton for the first time. I have never seen it with actual cotton in bloom.

I was so tired, and anxious to spend time with Deb, that I never stopped at South of the Border. Something about that trashy place, and it's trashy stuff that makes me want to go there. It's not as fun as it used to be, as the trash is not so unique anymore. Still, I think in January we will pull over for some cheap stuff during our hippie trip in the van. The kids are joining me in my last drive south in January, when we hit the road in the old Chevy van to a new life for Deb and I.

Kelly and Eric and their great friends are trying their best to entertain me, and I am having fun, but I have to be honest, it's not the same if I can't share it with Deb..


Lonely in Rochester.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New York and back to work

Well, it had to end sooner or later. I'm back in the plant and doing the same old stuff I did before I left. People were genuinely happy to see me I guess. Wish I could say the same. Not many questions about the trip, as I had taken a total of five weeks off, and that's kind of unheard of in this place. Most people here are workaholics that only take long weekends, and they're treating me like some kind of rebel.  I think they're worried I may start a trend, so some of the managers are giving me the cold shoulder. Not talking to managers is a blessing for me, so I hope it continues. I half expected to be placed on second shift or something as a lesson for the rest of them not to do the same.

Debra is also working, but she gets to put on shorts after work and walk around in the sun and palm trees. I'm wearing a fleece lined jacket to work, and the heat is on in the apartment. This sucks. On the plus side I get to see Kelly and Eric. Kell feels she has to entertain and care for me in Deb's absence, and it's kind of funny actually. The apartment is quiet, and I'm spending my time cooking, so Kell will benefit from that. They are stopping by to check on me tonight, and then we're meeting for drinks on Thursday. Geez guys, I'm totally capable of living on my own... until laundry day, or the toilets need cleaning.

Friday I drive back down to Florida to deliver Deb's Saturn, and then fly back on Sunday. The Vue is bright red, and I'll have a girls bike strapped to the back. Not really liking that. I might have to wear a Bills Raiders jersey, or some NASCAR gear.  I don't need any unwanted attention at the rest stops.

So, I guess we are officially separated, for a few months anyhow. I am in charge of eliminating any trace of our existence in Rochester, by selling or giving away what's left of our dirt dwelling possessions. I look forward to meeting all those crazy Craigslist people again. Sure they are entertaining, but I might buy some pepper spray and a baseball bat. Just in case.



Saturday, October 13, 2012


After weeks on the water, with not much idle time, you can imagine what the interior of SV Kelly Nicole looks like. After we docked, Deb trotted off to work, while I stayed on the boat and tried to get her in some order. The exterior is all cleaned up, and I even rubbed out some of the canal bruises I thought were permanent. The interior is another story. I have no idea where all this stuff is supposed to go! I can't even get into the V-berth.

Nicole and Jonathan are coming to visit today, and we're going to hit the beach for some lunch, or most likely dinner by the time they actually wake up and get here. Looking forward to the visit, as I have not seen my baby girl since May. Good times.

The short list of things I wish I had during our trip down. Not in any priority:
  1. Auto Pilot. Amazed we did 2 hr shifts for the offshore. We were totally beat.
  2. Tide and current tables handy. Deb had an app on the iPhone. The Raymarine software that comes with the E7 did not have it. It's a $199 upgrade per region. We would of had to buy  three regions. A$$holes. If I was any kind of mariner, I would have had all the tables in printed form.
  3. Windlass. The manual worked well, but I was lucky the anchor held every time. Quite a workout. My heart was beating like a bunny rabbit a few times.
  4. Instrument lighting. Ours is quite bad. The depth/speed came and went randomly, and the compass light crapped out. 
  5. Washdown for the anchor chain. We picked up this black muck in one of the anchorages, and it got everywhere when I tried to use a bucket to wash it off. It later dried to a hard coal like substance, in small chunks. Still see some.
  6. Dual fuel filters. I have them mounted, but not plumbed. My bad. Should have been done before we left. I can change one now in under a minute. Keep a small easy pour container of diesel handy to refill the Racor.
I'm sure there is more, but it's early in the morning and I've only had one cup of tea so far. The sun is coming up, and I need to go out and enjoy it in shorts and a T while I can. The next time I see it will be on a weekend in Rochester with a coat, gloves and ear muffs. Pants too, no shorts.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We made it!

Sitting in Fernandina Beach, resting, relaxing, reflecting. The trip from Charleston was interesting. We were close hauled for half a day, and making seven and a half knots, then the Coast Guard relayed a special weather statement. Heavy storm off of Hilton Head heading East slightly. Any boats in the area are advised to seek safe harbor, and any sailboats to drop sails and run under motor. Damn! We dropped sails and powered along in rolling seas. The storm got close enough for us to wince at the lightning hitting the water, but then it started moving south, closer to shore. We were about five to seven miles out, and we followed that damn storm all the way to Florida. So we had lightning every few minutes, which lit up the horizon nicely. The waves were lifting the bow, and slamming us down for hours, until day break, when we finally had some following seas. The weird part of the night was the stars above us shining brightly, and then lightning arcing overhead as well. Veins of lightning spreading out across the sky. Mother nature really put on a display for us that night, and I hope we never experience that again.

Entering the St Mary's river we were contacted by the USCG, and were requested to hold our position until a naval escort proceeded before us. There were several mean looking small warships coming in, and they were escorting a Nuclear Submarine. Pretty awesome, but it delayed our arrival by an hour, and more storms were coming in. We rolled in behind them, and proceeded on a flood tide, with heavy current. When we arrived at the marina the current was only about half a knot, and we docked for fuel. I just got done filling the tank when a squall hit. It was on and off squalls for the rest of the evening.

We are all tied up and safe and looking forward to more adventures. Unfortunately it's time to go back to work, and earn some cash. I am not looking forward to that. Manufacturing car parts just seems so meaningless now, but it is what I do, and so it goes.

I'll be back with more reflections on the last five weeks of travel. There are some issues with the boat, that need to be addressed. Most systems worked well, and fuel issues aside, the Yanmar kept performing, but I sense some overhaul is needed. Yesterday the starter did not kick at the fuel dock. It took several attempts to get her to turn over. Oy.

Thanks to everyone who followed along, and we appreciate the advice along the way. It really did help.

SV Kelly Nicole

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Charleston, SC

Having some tea in the cockpit this morning, surrounded by dolphins having their breakfast. Meanwhile, the snapping shrimp continue to feed on the bottom of our boat. They never stop.
We are docked at the Charleston Harbor resort Marina, out on the long floating pier. Nice place. It's across the river from the city, but we can take the water taxi over in minutes. Along this pier, the dolphins feed, and seem to play around. They gave us a show yesterday, swimming by us upside down, watching us try to take a photo. So, can I tell you how bizarre this feels?

Two weeks ago I was sitting in my office, overwhelmed with work and trying to get it all done before I left for the second half of our four week cruise down the coast. Today I'm having breakfast with Dolphins!

Because we have been on the go constantly, and seeing nothing but intracoastal waterway marks and the depth sounder, we have not had time to stop and smell the roses. Most of our town visits were for dinner, and a quick tour, and that's OK, but nothing like a few days of not thinking about your course to make you feel like you're on vacation. So, today is our day off, and it feels great. We went into town last night and had a great meal and a few brews, and looked around a bit at some of the cool old French styled buildings they have here. I had been up basically for twenty four hours, so two beers did me in. Today we'll pop over to town and sight see, and relax.

Our offshore went as well as can be expected I guess, with the exception of wind constantly on the nose and the diesel running all the time. We're hoping we get some wind to move us a long for the next hop. Not too much though.

As the sun started to set on our night out on the Atlantic, we saw this large object floating in the water, and could not figure out what it was. As we got closer we saw it was a Turtle! A huge turtle. It popped it's head up to nod at us when we went by. I had no idea they could get that big. Later on in the dark we heard a loud bump on the hull, as I was finally about to nod off, and I ran below to check everything. No water intrusion, except my leaky stuffing box, so I wonder if maybe we knocked a turtle on the shell possibly. They like to float around on top of the water at night?
As we got into the morning hours, some lightning appeared to the east. We still had stars above us, but the storms out on the ocean were a sight to see. They got closer for a bit, and then seemed to move away, which was a relief. A bright orange light appeared behind us, and it looked like the bright lights of a huge ship, and  Deb looked at it with binoculars and thought it looked like a cruise ship all lit up. I couldn't make out any nav lights, so I watched it some more before I realized it was a rising moon. I think you get a little goofy out there at night sometimes. Once I saw a light in the sky race by across our bow, and wondered what the hell that thing is. Deb then asked why I was turning. It was a light onshore, and I was unknowingly turning to starboard, after looking at the chartplotter for too long. Oy.

So, we continue on tomorrow, after dealing with some work issues regarding my absence. They are none too happy, but after thirty years are cutting me some slack. It is appreciated.

I really wish we were cruising at this point, as even our little vacation has been amazingly fun, and I can imagine how nice cruising will be. Economic realities, and the fact that my pension was stolen from me by Wall Street assholes makes cruising unattainable for us at this point. Another year? Still 2013? Not sure, but taking the boat south seemed like a good plan for us at this point. Leaving Kelly Nicole frozen under a tarp for eight months just seems like a bad idea now. How will you ever get her ready to go, if you can't work on her for that whole time?
Other potential cruisers take note. We did not feel our boat was cruise ready for heading offshore, as in the Islands and beyond, but for coastal cruising we feel she is fine. Safety, power independence, and a good powertrain and sails will be fine. We can now jump to the Bahamas for our vacation time, and get some good experience before we can finally untie the lines. It's been fun, and the stress we've felt has been good stress. I know you've heard it a million times, but if you can afford it now, just go. It really is fun. We will go as soon as we can.


Oops. This one has been there for some time.

Nice homes along the way

Coasties parked behind us, then ran the engine for an hour, trying to asphyxiate us

No words

Parked in Southport


Sun getting low on the way to Charleston

Red sky at night

I think the camera enhanced this one

Fort Sumter. Looks boring.

My only Architectural shot, and not a very good one.
Time to refuel and other activities. Next stop Florida??


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Offshore to Charleston

The ICW is starting to get on our nerves, so we're going to bypass the stressful parts, like the rockpile, and possibly all of Ga. Waiting for slack to head out, then overnight to a nice marina for a refuel, then maybe hop out again if the weather is right. Not having autopilot makes this a little tiring, but we'll be careful with shifts. Deb can sleep anytime she wants, and I usually catch a few minutes here and there.

The bridges were a pain in the ass, but manageable. I love it when you are trying to keep distance from the bridge and other boats, and then several powerboat speed in to fill up the space. In Wrightsville, I had to turn around and backtrack to avoid any dirty dancing. The powerboat that squeezed us out took our space at the marina, so that we were at the fueling portion. Pissed me off. Everything was cool after all, and dinners have been great, as well as the service.

Not many photos along the way in this section, as it was too stressful trying to avoid kissing the earth. A cat behind us, who was all over the channel ran hard aground, and had to be towed. A big ass powerboat passing us on starboard, slammed into the earth, with a lot of smoke emanating from the stern. Both boats were OK. I think.
I really wanted a photo of the giant giraffe in the yard of a house near the bridge, but Deb would not get the camera. No time for photos I guess. Then we came across a metal Mermaid, and I really wanted that camera, but the dirty dancing was going on, so I relented. I'm guessing that the one neighbor wanted the ugly giraffe removed, as an eyesore, but the guy refused, so he put up an uglier sculpture just to piss them off.

Found them on another blog.

Mertallica? Metalmaid?

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Yes, Swansboro. We are at Caspers Marina. We ghosted to a stop, and were greeted by a friendly assistant. A little pale, but cheerful and eager to help. We checked in, and found out the Bills tanked in the second half to the Brady Bunch, and felt we needed a drink or two. Our friend Rick told us no way on a Sunday in the "South" will we find a place. Ha! The Saltwater Grill was open and had fantastic food and service. We overlooked the water from a second floor deck, and enjoyed a great meal.
Swansboro looked like a nice stop in the future. Caspers Marina is more geared toward fishing vessels, but it's clean and neat, and has good staff. Easy in, easy out. Good stop.

Onward tomorrow. Hopefully our engine burping will not return. I think it's water, but not sure now. Filters look clean, and if I run the lift pump, the problem goes away. Fuel pump problems?? Oy.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Thank God the Tiki bar's still open.

Wow, where has the time gone. We're at a Tiki bar in Oriental NC, sitting next to a dog at the bar. Yes, the dog has a seat next to me. Months ago I would never have imagined riding out a thunder storm on the Neuse river waiting to get into Oriental so I could party with a dog at the bar. It would have been a weird dream at best. We stopped at the Oriental Marina and Inn, and it's great. Russ took care of us when we arrived, and we're stuffed from the great food at their restaurant. So, looking back on the last week, I would say we've made some progress.

From Annapolis to Oriental in one week. We've anchored out most of the time, in some pretty nice spots. Been in some nice marinas with great staff, and enjoyed some great weather, with the exception of the wind being on the nose almost all of the time.

Today the good weather ended with one hell of a thunderstorm while we were in the Neuse River, trying to get to Oriental. We were about a half hour too slow, and we got whacked. We throttled down, and withstood the wind and rain for about a half hour. We kept our bearing towards Oriental, but also slowed down enough to maintain steerage, but not get too close to the shallows in case the wind really started kicking butt. We put a radio, and backup GPS in the oven, got flares ready, put on lifejackets, and held on to our butt's. The storm blew through quickly, and the lightning never struck close by. Phew. We survived so I could have a beer with a dog.

We had a sailboat swing by to say hello after it passed. They were from Fairhaven NY. More neighbors out here!

Some observations so far:

Shoals. If you don't pay attention, you're going to bump. More like plowing through pudding.
Canals in the south. Only deep in the very center. Must be V- shaped.
Don't stare at your chartplotter! Just like TV, it's sometimes meaningless.
Don't tip so much! People down here are just nice. Get used to it.
Anchoring. Getting easier, the more we do it. Slept pretty good the last few nights on the hook.
Fuel. Make sure you have clean tanks before you leave! I've gone through 5 filters!! I think there is a water issue too.
People. People are nice. TV makes you think everyone wants to stab you and steal your stuff. The people we've met are great. A little weird, but nice. We're not all the same, but that's the nice part.
Scenery. Canals are boring. Deb said I missed the bear swimming across when I went below. I told her she missed the dolphin pulling a squirrel on skis. We've had some nice anchorages, but for the most part it's been flat, with scrub brush. Not much to look at.
Crab pots. I hate 'em. You see a nice spot on the charts to anchor, and you find it filled with pots. Didn't stop us last time. We danced around them and dropped the hook. I guess you get used to them...I guess.


Portsmouth shipbuilding

Not a scenic spot, unless you're into heavy metal

Nice place. Rustic, but nice.

Typical canal


Earl Grey River

Stained our boat.

Pungo something canal

No gators. Very disappointing

Deb has some canal excitement. See it?

There's always an old Morgan for sale

Successful anchoring is rewarded

Pungo creek anchorage

Pungo creek

More Pungo creek.

Again with the Pungo. I guess we were just so happy there were no crab pots

We passed them in the canal. They never made the anchorage before dark.

But here they are in the Neuse! Guess they never stop.

This will be good, this life afloat.

Paul and Debra