Sunday, November 22, 2009

Getting Ready To Go On Down South

So here we are on another Sunday evening, time for another edition of Sailcloth. This week went by extremely quickly, seems like they all have been as of late. I had a fairly productive week at work, and a good week working on Arden.

I finally got the water pump in for the engine, and although the service was prompt, the pump came in a day, I was not overly impressed with the pump I got, or the way I was led to believe I would not be charged a core charge, and only found out the next day when I checked my account that I had paid a core charge. However, I have the pump, and it is on, so I suppose I can't complain too much. I also gave the engine and transmission an oil change, always good to start out with fresh fluids, and changed all the filters as well. I took the time to plumb in an oil pan drain hose this time, that way I won't need to use a pump to drain the oil from the engine, that is always a problem on boats - if you dont have a drain you have to pump it out through the dipstick tube, there is never enough room to reach the oil pan plug, if there is one.

I am trying to wrap up as many projects as I can, and it definitely seems like the clock is against me, some days I look at the time and swear those hands are just moving 100 mph. One new project I did start though, and plan to complete tonight, is a search light that will mount on the bow pulpit, it goes on a piece of plywood that can be installed or removed as the need arises. I have installed a 12v plug forward to power it, and I am running wires tonight to have that tied in to the bow lights. The 12v plug is weather proof, and installed in a compartment Gary had built into the capstan mount. It all worked out very well, and should be pretty corrosion and water resistant. I figured I really needed the search light for my run down "the ditch", I plan to make the stretch from Chesapeake to Elizabeth City in one day, and I know once I clear the South Mills lock, it will be just about sundown. We will see how that works out, and if it really can be done. I hope so, don't really feel like making the canal a 2 day event.

I have also been going over the stuff I have on the boat that makes dock life so good, that won't be making the trip with me. The list started off pretty small, but has grown considerably. The hot plate, toaster, coffee pot and microwave are all getting loaded into the van. The electric heaters, alot of supplies I haven't used so far, and knick knacks are going as well. I have not installed the Treadmaster nonsklid yet, and I doubt I will over the winter, so it will probably come off the boat and get stored as well. My library is coming off, but that is getting replaced with new books - the ones onboard have all been read, or it turns out I didn't want to read them anyway. When I am in Portsmouth and Elizabeth City I intend on hitting my favorite used book stores, Jeannie's Used Books in Ptown, and The Recycled Reader in E City. I discovered Jeannies back when I was working in Iraq, I would buy about 15 books per trip there, and Jeannie always had a good suggestion for my travels. The Recycled Reader was a recent discovery, I found them not long after I moved to E City, it was good to have another used book store not too far from where I lived, I go through so many books that I'd go broke if I had to buy them all at list price.

Party Time!
This weekend was also the time for my going away cookout - all of the marina regulars, well the folks on the 3 docks next to me, came and we had a really good season ending bbq. Chip and Jim cooked while the rest of us ate and drank, those two guys are really hot on the grill. Jim brought some marinated venison, it turned out extremely well, and I was hoping to have some left overs this morning for breakfast, but there were none to be had. The night got pretty damn cold, and of course I didn't need to remind everyone that I was heading south, where it is WARM! It is nights like the ones we have had lately that really reinforce my need to migrate. We did have a migratory visitor join us at the party, a really really big swan paddled his way over to the bulkhead near us, and of course everyone had to feed him. I dont think I have ever seen a wild swan, it was really a neat thing having him show up. I suppose there were about 15 people or so that showed up - Jim and Sue, Mr. Jim (Jimmy the Greek), Chip, Eric and his family, John Baum and his girls and girlfriend, John's friend Keith and his wife, who just moved a new boat into the marina, Steve and Mitch from Cimaise, and I think there were a few others as well. We all had a great time, and it was a really good send off. I received quite a few going away gifts, mostly of the alcoholic variety, most notable was the bottle of Ouzo from Mr. Jim. I think my wine cellar is pretty well stocked now, and with the way I drink, it will last a very long time.

So here we are, Thanksgiving coming up, and my departure from Maryland just around the corner. As it stands, my goal is to sail on Saturday or Sunday of next week, Monday on the outside. right now the forecast is clear, with winds out of the Northwest, hope that forecast holds and I will be on a beam reach down the bay.

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