Friday, November 6, 2009

Long Week, Short Days

Having seemingly caught a bit of the flu bug, I have time on a weeknight to type a bit, reflect on the year past, and look ahead to the upcoming journey.

So here it is, just about a year since I launched Arden. Actually her rebirth occurred on November 3rd, 2008, in Elizabeth City, NC. A lot of things have happened in the following year, I moved aboard, wintered over in Elizabeth City, made the passage north through the ditch (the Dismal Swamp Canal) and made great sail in adverse weather with my sister, Liz, to my new home in MD -Solomons Island. I have made a slew of good, and great, friends in the past 365 days, from Josh and the crew at Pelican Marina in E City: Seth, Hippy Dave, Cotton and Becca, the folks at the Marina Restaurant; Dr. Dan and Carol Terryberry - and their 4 daughters (who were my neighbors for about 4 months, all 6 living aboard Carol's dad's Mainship 34 while their new house was being finished) to my friends here in Calvert County Marina: Jim and Sue (my friends from Baltimore who have a boat here at CCM and my fishing partner, dog sitters, and all around extremely good friends), John Baum - who lives aboard a 53 foot steel ketch he had built; Chip-who stays weekends here, coming all the way from Berryville in the Shenandoah Valley, Steve and Michelene Hostetter that come out here from Rappahanock County (where I once lived, their kids and I were in elementary school at about the same time - small world huh?) who plan to sail their boat Cimaise south in the next year, and my boss and coworkers at Drum Point Marine- Gary Gateau and Katie Finnecy, both extremely good mechanics and friends, Meredith - the office girl who makes sure we all get paid; Jim, Linda, and the crew at Spyro's Bagel Shop- who feed me most mornings, and all of the customers who I have worked with and for over the last 8 months. I could go on and on listing people and folks I have meet along the way, and am now in ways playing catch up. I know I will meet a lot of new and interesting folks along the way this winter, as I head out and complete my adventure.

As I mentioned, I have the flu. Now what better time to try out the Ginger Root Tea recipe my friend Ali sent me and that I had mentioned back in the Oct 13th blog - than now? So, with much anticipation, fear, trepidation and anxiety (did I put in enough synonyms?) I mixed up a batch closely following the instructions (sort of) as given. Now, as I cut up the main ingredients, (ginger root, garlic and lemon) I very much felt like an alchemist or warlock, and thought maybe I needed a dash of bats wings or perhaps eye of newt. The old song "Love Potion Number Nine" came to mind as I put this all together and began to boil the ginger root. I mixed it all up (I took my troubles down to Madame Rue, you know that gypsy with the gold capped tooth) and after the ginger had boiled 3 minutes or so, I dumped the ginger water (root pieces and all) into the cup with the garlic, lemon juice, honey and cayenne pepper. I do think my improvisation kinda got me this time, the recipe has alot of good stuff in it, and I am sure it is quite good for you, but you have to follow the directions. It wasn't bad. It could have been better. Alot better. (ok, so the chef was at fault here) So having made this remedy, here are my observations: Go heavy on the good stuff, the lemon and honey. Use a good sized chunk of ginger root, but, a dash of cayenne pepper means just that. Dont over do it, dont fudge it, for God's sake don't wing it, unless your name is Juan or Manuel and you speak with a slight accent and have cousins across the border. That stuff is potent! My sinuses cleared, (or imploded) my throat was sore no more, and I was definitely ready for some much needed rest.

So not much to update on the progress of preparations for the trip. I hope, as long as the ginger root tea keeps my moving, to wrap up a few projects this weekend. The hand bilge pumps are almost in, the safety net for Spook is halfway on, and clean up from previous projects continues (I actually have freed up a spare birth fo'ward in the vee birth, which was, until this time, just a storage area). I really would like to get the Bruce anchor in its chocks this weekend, and I need to get the whisker pole mounted. My son Mike and his friend Neil are coming up this weekend, and I hope to get a few hours help from them. I have to pack up my storage unit here, and send all that stuff that is not going with me back to Va Beach with them.
So stay tuned, log in often, and hopefully I will be ready in time to leave right after Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fredward our Jack o'Gourd

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Rain Rain Go Away....

Ok folks, today's blog promises no new news, (is it news if it is old? I may book mark this thought and revisit that idea later) and might just be full of complaints, belly-aching and crankiness.

I went to Annapolis yesterday, as I am known to do on bad weather Saturdays to go visit my friends at Bacon Sails and Marine Supplies, where I can easily spent hours digging through nautical and sailing gear treasures. Bacon's is probably best known as a purveyor of used sails, however, they are also a boating consignment shop, and have great treasures for a practical (read tightwad) sailor. I have gotten many items for Arden there, my safety harnesses and tethers, a lot of rigging items - blocks, cleats, pad eyes, etc - if you need it for a sailboat, they probably have it. Back to the bitching. So I head up to Bacons yesterday morning in the mist and rain, and lo and behold, they are closed. Now, I dont expect them to personally inform me of changes to their hours of operation, however, I am completely mystified as to why they would be closed on a Saturday. I mean come on, most of their clientel are probably folks like me, working stiffs that have a tight budget and a passion for boats. It only makes sense for them to be open on a Saturday, thats when guys (and gals) like me have time to go spend what we worked to make all week. And I had a good bit of spare change to spend, and a shopping list that was fairly wide open. So, all complaints aside, I called a friend of mine that had mentioned another consignment shop he knew of not too far away. I got directions, and stumbled through Annapolis, over to Eastport. It turned out that the place he knew of only dealt with small boats-kayaks, Hobies, and other small fun knock abouts - but it was in the same funny waterside shopping area that housed Sailrite, a supplier of sailmaking and canvasmaking supplies and gear. I found there the main items I was looking for at Bacon's, nylon webbing for Jacklines (the lines that you attach your tether and harness too) and lifeline netting for Spook. Both of these are extremely important safety items, I think there would be nothing worse than to see your boat sail off into the distance - without you. So, now Spook and I will be able to sail with a much better margin of safety. I also bought a book on making courtesy and signal flags. Again we touch on what a tightwad I am.

Nautical etiquette requires that sailors entering the territorial waters of a foreign country fly a small flag of the host country. This can translate into quite an outlay of funds - consider that there are over 20 counties that comprise "the Caribbean" (28 to be exact) and if you bought a flag for each country - at about $30 a piece - your tour of the Caribbean would cost you $840 in flags alone. Consider the fact - again - that I am a tightwad, and you can see where a book on making courtesy flags has "me" written all over it. So, with a much smaller expenditure, and a bit of work, I will have a complete set of courtesy flags. Besides, what better way to wile away the hours at sea than to make flags for the countries that I will soon be visiting.

The icebox test is finished, actually it was finished sometime around noon on Wednesday, roughly 5 days after it started. I figure that was a fairly good result for my box, not quite the 7 days I had hoped for, but not bad all things considered. It wasnt an exactly scientific test, but it did demonstrate that the new box is more efficient than the original box by a factor of 5, and the air temp in the box hovered around 42 degrees, and stayed at 46 degrees for another 12 hrs or so after the ice had completely melted. It did show that there are a few improvements that I can make, I do not have any weatherstripping around the door, that will help a bit, and there are no partitions that divide the box, that might manage the cold a bit better inside the box. There is a test my boss has told me about that will actually measure the efficiency of the box. You weigh the ice block prior to putting it in, and then weigh it again after a 12 or 24 hour period. A little math and calculation, and it will tell you just how efficient you icebox is. This will help determine just how effective it would be to install a cold plate in the box, making it a true refridgerator.

Yesterday was one of my favorite holidays - Holloween - and I was able to help Liz and her family celebrate this year. I was tasked with helping Emily carve the pumpkin, and through creative compriomise we came up with a great Jack-o-lantern. Someone came up with a novel idea of cutting out the bottom of the pumpkin to remove the innards instead of the top, the idea being that the seeds and such were only attached at the bottom. It didnt quite work out that way, the seeds and goop are attached throughout, but, it did make lighting the candles that much easier, no reaching into the pumpkin with a hot match burning hands and hair.

So here it is, another rainy weekend, and I am feeling a bit stir crazy knowing that there are a multitude of things I should be doing to get ready, that I can't do because of the weather. The water tank still needs to be installed, and the length of the working day just got rearranged thanks to daylight savings time. is it 1130 or 1030, or maybe it is 1230...God if I know.