Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To Be Sailing Again

I spent yesterday getting soaking wet - first it was trying to fit the new zinc on the shaft, and then I was caught up in a down pour that lasted through the afternoon, and then into the evening.

The day began as planned, I watched the tidal flow and took Arden aground around 0930, just at about the middle of the low tide ebb. That part went off without a hitch, I was pointed into the outgoing flow, and was able to put out an anchor fore and aft. After waiting a few hours it seemed that the tide was as low as it was going to get, unfortunately the temps did not reach as high as they were supposed to, so I knew that I was going to get plenty cold trying to get that zinc on. I got everything set, hopped into the dinghy and tried to put the zinc on the prop shaft, only to find that the zinc I thought was 1 1/4 inches was really 1 1/8. Damnit. So I grabbed my foul weather jacket, closed up the boat, and headed to shore to walk down to West Marine and exchange it. No worries. Well I am glad I grabbed the jacket, because just as soon as I hit land, it opened up and began to pour down in buckets. I got soaked on my way to West Marine, and then even more soaked on the way back. And it was a cold rain at that. About half way back the phone rang, and after pulling it out of my pocket, I realized it was getting wet in the waterproof pocket of my foul weather jacket. Great.

So I ducked into the nearest shelter, pulled out the battery and wrapped the phone up as well as I could, and headed back to the dinghy. By now the dinghy had 2 inches of water in it, and I was starting to get cold. Nothing like having to stand in 2 or 3 inches of freezing water and trying to get the dinghy going. I was praying that the outboard would start easily and I could get back to Arden sooner than later. The outboard suprised me and I didn't have to mess with it too much, and I was back on Arden in no time. I stripped off the foul weather gear, put the phone in the rice bin (yes rice does dry out a wet cell phone, trust me, it works) and I went back out into the rain to try and get the zinc onto the shaft. No luck. The water had started to rise, I could barely touch the shaft now, and it was extremely cold on top of all that. I was more out of the dinghy than in, and I was getting wetter by the second. So back onto the boat I went, to dry off, change clothes and try to get warm. It seemed like it took hours for me to warm up, I had hot tea going, the stove on, and the cabin temp was near 70, but I was shivering for the better part of an hour. I don't think I really shook that bit of cold, I was still very chilled when I woke up this morning. So overall, yesterday was a bust, but I did careen the boat and get her back off the shoal pretty handily, so at least that all worked out.

I got my spare phone out and working and then I started to recieve birthday calls from all over. Thanks to all that called, wrote, emailed and texted, it really just seemed like another day, but it was good to know I was thought of. Liz did a great job with the revised Irish Blessing, I definitely got a kick out of that.

I also received a few emails regarding the decision I have to make as far as going north or south, and by bedtime last night I had come to the conclusion that I need to go south. I heard from my buddy Jon Bergman back up in Solomons, he went to school here and his boat was built in St Augustine, between Jon, my sister and another reader, they really got my head back on straight and I am going to finish out this trip with as much fun as I can have. I have about 6 weeks before I need to be back in my neck of the woods, and I might as well have some fun, and get a bit warmer while I can. I know that when I head back it will still be cool in NC and VA, not to mention MD, so I better enjoy the warmth here while I can and maybe finally get to working on my tan.

This morning I was in no shape to leave, I was still a bit chilled from yesterday, and the wind was blowing at around 20-25 knots here on the river. I figure with the windchill I was looking at about 35 degrees, and despite the sun, I would have been in for a long cold day sailing. So I canned the idea of leaving for today, and took Spook in for a walk after a big pancake breakfast. We hit the used book store, even used books are more expensive here in Florida, and I called around to some marinas to check on fuel prices. Way too expensive here at $2.97, but there is a marina down in Port Canaveral that has diesel at $2.55 a gallon, so I guess I am going to top off there. Once again the water tanks are full, in the 2 weeks since I left St. Augustine I used just over 15 gallons. I also got a call today from a guy I know of in Port Canaveral down by Merritt Island, so it looks like that will be my next port of call. Maybe get in some fishing, and hit the beach again, start to enjoy my trip once more and get out of the funk I have been in for the past week. God knows I could use a bit of fun after the roller coaster I have been on, and I definitely can't get warm enough.

There are some days when I really miss the 115 degree heat of Iraq.

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