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Careening Seabird a DE32

Last weekend we decided to inspect our under-the-water hull. We had prepared for weeks, and found a spot where the tide would leave us high and dry for a few hours. Even better, it was right around the corner from our “normal” slip. In the middle of the night, we snuck away and motored down the long, narrow piece of water between two wharves, finally meeting a seawall, which we tied up to. I put one piling near the mast and let the others fall where they might, hanging a fender on the two that touched our hull. We set our spring lines and secured our baby with care and waited for the tide to drop. I set my alarm for four hours later. When it rang, I hopped out of my pilot berth to see what the tide was doing. Once on deck, I tied a line from our mast to the piling and cinched it tight, helping us lean into the pier. Over the next ten minutes, I stood on our cap-rail, ultimately stepping onto the land to check for movement. When finally there wasn’t any, I knew our keel was on the ground and we were beginning to stop floating. Hopefully, now I could rest.

My next alarm was set for two hours later, a.k.a. 6am. I barely caught a wink of sleep the entire night in anticipation of what might happen and what I might see. I would think of all possibilities, one being the entire hull is one blister, and many other extremes including nothing being wrong. Every time I would turn over in bed, I would think of something else. what if someone tried to steal my boat? We were right in the middle of a sketchy part of town. “How are they going […]

A warm port on Thanksgiving: By Mitch of s/v Shadow Marie a DE32

Sunrise over the Chesapeake

It is cold out on the water of the Chesapeake.  On Monday, Nov. 22, the first day of my 48th year, the sun was shining and the wind and waves were blasting me in the face.  Hiding behind the dodger did nothing, I was soon shivering involuntarily thinking there were better ways to spend my life.  The cold literally sunk into my bones. At the suggestion of both Michelle and my boss, I turned into Deltaville, Virginia, for a rendezvous with shore power at a dock.  My electric blanket was looking pretty good.

I let a strong norther pass — it would have been a sleigh ride south but being a singlehander, it would also have meant going out on deck (and out on the fairly long bowsprit) to raise sails.  With the waves growing, I decided against it.  Falling off the boat would be A Bad Thing.  No one would even know until Shadow Marie crashed into some rocks somewhere.  That’s not a thought I like to conjure up.  Being frozen fish food doesn’t sound so great, either.

The winds calmed and I took off for Norfolk.  Of course what wind blew was on the nose and the cold was back with a flourish.  I was happy to emerge from a gloomy day at sea to see a large American Flag flying at Hampton Roads.  The electric blanket again sounded great so I decided a marina would be best over the anchorage I had planned.  Michelle began calling around but, being Thanksgiving, none were open.  She left messages, though, and one called her back.  David Briggs, owner of Rebel Marina, invited me to tie up at a floating dock in his marina.  When Michelle asked for the rate, he told her that he couldn’t […]

Clean Towels: By Mitch of s/v Shadow Marie a DE32

There is something magical about having a locker full of clean towels on a cruising boat. Not only does it mean that the laundry has probably been done recently – it means something far more important than that: It means that there hasn’t been a crisis recently.

The towels seem to come flying out during many boat crises – both large and small. It could be the refrigeration water filter gets clogged or perhaps there is a problem with the fresh water system. Or worse, there could be diesel or oil to clean up. Or, horrifically, there may have been a problem with the plumbing to the head or holding tank.

But having a locker full of clean towels – as I have right now – means that none of that has happened recently. Of course now whatever force in the universe that causes such problems knows I have a locker full of clean towels – and is plotting a way for me to use them.

The fuel dock at the Georgetown Yacht Harbor is an extremely convenient place – it is sitting out as a pier with the ability to dock for fuel on three sides. Apparently the hiring guidelines dictate that only cute young girls need to apply for the job as fuel dock attendant. Well, perhaps anyone can apply but it seems that only cute young girls are hired.

And that is a good and bad thing. It’s good because I’m a male and like almost all males, cute young girls are a good thing. It’s bad because the pump out station is also at the fuel dock. That means that all of the middle age men that come through, enjoying seeing a cute young girl, have to ask the cute young girl to pump […]

Cracking Skulls: by Mitch of s/v Shadow Marie a DE32

There must be something black hole-like about boats and places named Georgetown.

In the Bahamas, George Town, on Great Exuma, is the winter refuge for hundreds of cruisers. The harbor is large and reasonably well protected and the town offers pretty much everything a cruiser could need – including flights home, if necessary.

It is also known as “Chicken Harbor.” George Town, Bahamas, is the last stop in the protection of the Exuma Islands chain. To continue on from there, you are in the open Atlantic. Many, many cruisers sail in with dreams of heading south into the Caribbean but find their anchors stuck in the sand. The temptations and relative security of George Town overshadow dreams of new islands and new adventures. Life is easy there, if not occasionally annoying (due, of course, to a bizarro handful of the hundreds of cruisers).

Our anchor got stuck there for two months. In our defense, we were waiting for some friends to sail in. But we, too, found life easy there. Entire days spent enjoying the beautiful tropical scene – a beach bar, new friends, a decent grocery store, and so on. But finally we did leave – and I’m glad we did.

I’m now in another Georgetown – this one in Maryland. I’ve been here for several days now – I would have to look at a calendar to tell you exactly how many. I didn’t expect to be here still but here I am.

A few days ago I was clipped by a tornado or a funnel cloud or a microburst or whatever. In my mind it doesn’t matter – it came from hell. But that’s not the reason I’m still here. Earlier that day, it was hot and muggy and I had found an old Windscoop on […]

Back to Kiwiland by Jason Rose of DE32 Bodhran

The people of Fiji are in general amazingly friendly and the customs folks were as well. Unfortunately while I was clearing out, it came up that Bodhran was at Vuda Point marina 12km down the road and not in front of the customs dock. The rule is that you need to be anchored in a specific spot off the dock for customs to clear you out, but they usually don’t leave the building to check if you’re there. I’d never heard of any boat actually being inspected before departure. They were very friendly and polite, but they wouldn’t clear us out with the boat in Vuda Point.  Tiffany and I had taken a cab in to Lautoka to get our final provisioning done, clear customs and get off before noon so we could clear Nuvula Pass and get out of Fiji’s reef system before dark. Now we had to go back to Bodhran, motor 2 hours up to Lautoka and then deal with customs. There was a chance that we’d still be able to make the pass before dark, but alas when we reached the darkened customs office, the power was out and they couldn’t print off the form we needed. We waited for an hour or more before the power came back on, but then needed the immigration officer to return to stamp our passports. Finally everything was in order and we were all ready to go when they decided to inspect Bodhran. No big deal, but normally you do that with incoming vessels and there was no way the 3 of us would fit into my little skiff. So Tiffany stayed on shore while I skiffed the official out into a 15 knot headwind trying my best not to soak both of us. The inspection lasted all […]