Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Carolinas

Every once-in-a-while we speed her up to clean out the engine. The engine experts say that the engine likes to run the boat at 10 - 12 knots. Our budget says that WE like to run the boat at 7 - 8 knots. At 7 knots, we get about 4 miles per gallon. At 12 knots we get less than 2. Besides, we get a lot better view along the way at a slower speed, to say nothing of the fact that it is far easier for older minds to navigate the slower the boat goes! Power boating is a new world. Many of the boats who pass us are amazed at our fuel economy. They are all talking about gallons/mile rather than miles/gallon. As former ragbaggers (sailboaters) we were used to using about 3/4 gallon/HOUR and getting nowhere fast.

Another reason that we push her a bit is that the cold weather keeps trying to overtake us. We woke up one morning in Oriental, North Carolina to heavy frost all over and the temperature INSIDE the boat at 39 degrees f. The Admiral didn't even THINK of getting out of her bunk until the skipper had turned on both the reverse-cycle airconditioner (which works off the engine) AND the little propane heater we carry. A few days later at Lady's Island (across from Beaufort, S.C.), we plugged into a dock and turned on the air conditioner to cool us off for a while. Go figure!

We plan to get off the boat for a week starting the Thursday before Thanksgiving and driving a rental car to daughter Elizabeth's house in Kissimmee, Florida where we'll visit with her, husband Chris, and baby Mikey. We're also flying son Sean and his family down for a few days for a really festive holiday. We have no idea where we'll be since we often have to wait for a "weather window" to avoid proving how macho we are. For instance, we had planned to leave Lady's Island (across from Beaufort, SC) today and proceed past Savannah, but, with a strong northwest wind blowing down Port Royal Sound which we have to transit, we're spending another day at the marina. Weather permitting, we'll do a few long days to get to a decent spot to leave the boat for a week. This means we'll leave Allen's brother Jock behind for a while, but he'll catch up while we're in Kissimmee and join us for the Thanksgiving festivities.

Our mascot, "Bernie", playing with our frost ball.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Heading South

We're finally on our way south after spending a long time in Chesapeake Bay taking care of various things, including getting trim tabs installed on the boat. Now we can go faster more efficiently and with greater stability, but we still can't afford the fuel to go fast unless we really have to! (The boat is FAR more effficient at 7-8 knots than she is at 12 knots.)

We met up with Allen's brother, Jock at Kent Island, MD and have been travelling with him ever since, including a great visit with friends of his while we anchored off their house at Point No Point. From there we went to Jackson Creek (Deltaville, VA) where we anchored off the Marina after spending top dollar for fuel there. Then off to Hole-in-the-Wall at the entrance to the Dismal Swamp. We spent two nights at the North Carolina Welcome Center free dock half way through the Swamp waiting out some gale force winds in the real world. The next day we went past the free docks (along with the free wine and cheese) at Elizabeth City and anchored in Campbell Creek. We were in Oriental before noon (November 1), filled the fuel tanks (at a MUCH better price than the last fill up), and took a slip for a couple of nights. We've showered, done the laundry, had a great lunch "out", feasted on ice cream cones, and done a little boat shopping at a neat chandlery/hardware store/gift shop/department store. Tomorrow we might break the bikes out and head for the grocery store. We're here for at least two nights while another major northerly blows through. After that, we'll be in "the ditch" for a while so the weather shouldn't be a major factor. (We can ride INDOORS in cold and rainy weather with a heater!)

Our mascot, "Bernie", keeps watch for us along the way. So far, except for some very minor problems, the boat has been great and has performed FAR better than we could hope. She is REALLY superb in foul weather, which we never play with on purpose but find all too often anyway. Sorry we can't come up with a more exciting narrative, but our major goal is to AVOID exciting whenever possible. To this point, we have been quite successful in that goal.

See photos at: