Saturday, February 6, 2010


I  received an email the other day from my friends Jim and Sue back in Solomons, and it made me reflect a bit on friends, and how important they are in life. When I left Solomons I left behind alot of good friends - Jim and Sue, Chip, John, Jimmy the Greek, and Eric. I miss the get togethers and good times we would have back at Calvert County Marina, the Crab Pickings, the fishing trips, and the camaraderie of our little group there. When I arrived in Elizabeth City I reaquainted myself with some old friends - Josh, Seth, Rob, Ted, Patti, Allie and Jack - all the folks at the Pelican that were so close to me when I lived there.

I moved on to Manteo, where I spent time with my friend Ali and her kids, and then I sailed over to Edenton to see Gary and Alice, who were gracious enough to have given me this wonderful boat. Back to Manteo for a few days, and then down to Oriental, where I met Clay and Mary. Tagging along together with Clay and Mary from central North Carolina to Northern Florida, and then meeting up with Roger, Earldean, David and Peg in Fernandina Beach, and then meeting them again in St Augustine. In St Augustine I not only met an old friend Jon Scott, who I had not seen in many years, but I was also able to meet Ali's sister and her husband Tim, and, I met the owners of the boat Jon brought down, Sven and Gabi.

So here I am now in Daytona Beach, having spent the better part of a week socializing with Sven and Gabi, and they will be moving on shortly. I would love to follow them, Sven thinks I should, but funds are low and my 33 foot boat can't even come close to keeping up with their 60 foot boat. They are leaving today or tomorrow, their departure really is dependant on the height of the water at low tide under the bridges here,  and I really would like to catch the Superbowl, something that I don't think is quite as popular in Germany and New Zealand where they are from.
I met a fellow yesterday at dusk - he was pulling in to the anchorage I am in, and I had to hail him and warn him he was entering shoal water - and it turns out that Tim is from Canada, and was in the same Chesapeake Bay storm I was in so many weeks ago, and the big blow that followed me into Manteo the second time around caught him in Elizabeth City. This sailing community is certainly a small world, and we all share so many similar experiences.

One thing I keep reflecting on and coming back to is the friends that I have lost touch with, especially those that I was really close to, but for one reason or another have lost touch with or have drifted apart from. I suppose that the dynamics that make up a friendship are constantly changing and evolving, but it is sad when one loses a friend, especially one that was particularly close or special.

And so another day begins, Tim just weighed anchor and headed out, and Sven and Gabi are set to leave shortly, we will see if today is the day for them, or if the height of the tide will be against them.

To all of those I have met, sailed with and left, I miss you all, and I hope we will meet again.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Sunshine State

The weather has yet to improve much here, even though it is not raining today, it is much cooler and still overcast. So much for Florida being the Sunshine State.

I spent a good bit of time yesterday working on a boat here in the marina,  Sven and I met a really nice out going guy here named Gary, who owns a boat that has inboard engines with outdrives, and he was having problems with one of the drives. That led to me helping Gary out by doing a bit of work on his boat. I made a few bucks, and got Gary back on the water, so all worked out pretty well.

One thing that I have found I do consistently is look at the names that people give their boats. Sometimes I think that a large group of boat owners must go to the same book or list of names when they purchase a boat, I would bet that the number one name for a boat in the US is "Therapy." Therapy is not the name of a boat, it is the name for what you need after buying a boat. I think if I see another Therapy, Serenity, Talisman, At Ease, I think I'll puke. Believe it or not, I just looked for it on the net, and there are actually websites that catalog and make suggestions for the name of your new hole in the water. Sometimes you will get an owner that actually has a bit of individuality though, and you will see a boat named for someone or something of significance to them. Take Arden for example. Gary named her after Alice, as he does all of their boats, and even though I could have renamed her when she became mine, I felt it was only fitting that I continue to thank them by leaving her named as she came to me. In the website "10,000 Boat Names" there is not one other boat listed named Arden. Sven named his boat "JuCa" after his kids, Julia and Carlos. That means something to him, and is original and different. Every once in a blue moon though, you will come across a boat whos owner is not only creative, but also has a good sense of humor as well. Here at the Loggerhead Marina in Daytona, there is one that cracks me up everytime I walk past - Knot@Work.Calm. Quite a play on words, and very fitting in this internet age.

Today I helped Sven go retrieve his dinghy that sputtered to a stop yesterday afternoon at the Halifax River Yatch Club, and we tried to get it going, but it looks as if that might be a lost cause for now, turns out that the engine may have taken a bit of freeze damage while they were in Norfolk, there is water in the cylinders and she won't start. Perhaps later today I may help Gary get his boat pulled out of the water and check out a hydraulic leak on his outdrives. Not a huge problem, but not a good situation, so perhaps I can get a bit more work getting him a bit more squared away. I picked up that new bilge pump at West Marine, and when I get back to Arden sometime tonight I'll install that and get my bilge situation squared away finally. Sven and I might even take a walk up to a ship's chandler's that is another place that has used gear much like Bacon's in Annapolis.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Raindrops Keep Fallin on My Head....

Yet another rainy day here in Daytona. Not a whole lot of news to report, the weather over the last 3 days, actually make that 4, has really put a damper on any traveling (walking) and work on Arden. So the majority of my time has been spent with Sven and Gabi, and aboard Arden reading. I have also spent a bit of time at the marina bar (Sunday night was a baaaaad night) and in the marina captain's lounge.

I have had to use the captains lounge as my internet cafe, as a few days ago the USB cable for my internet antenna died. I hope to get up to Best Buy today sometime to try and get a new cable, so I can have 'net onboard again. It also seems that the net provider here at the marina has crapped out a bit, so there are a few of us in the lounge at a time doing our internet thing.

Hopefully the rain will let up and go away sometime this evening, and I plan to hit the streets trying to find some sort of employment tomorrow. I think I am going to suspend the voyage, stock up on fuel and funds, and then begin my trip back north. Not exactly the trip I had intended on, but it is the voyage I am going to have. As things change and evolve I will keep the blog updated, but I seriously doubt I will venture too much further south from where I am.

My friends Sven and Gabi, along with their kids Julia and Carlos, will be leaving tomorrow for Ft Lauderdale where they have business to conduct, and then they will be heading out to the islands. Sven has been having a local company doing some boat work for him, and that is why they have been here so long, and why their departure may be delayed just a bit. I wish I had known he needed the work done, as he is not pleased with how it is going, and I can understand why after seeing the quality of the work. No where near the quality of work we were doing up in Solomons Island.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Changes in Latitude....Change in Attitude

My day yesterday evolved much differently than I had anticipated, I had fully intended to get a good bit of boat work done, some maintenance that was highly neccesary, but thanks to good old mother nature, nothing quite turned out like I had planned.

The weather yesterday developed into a very wet and nasty day, warm but with lots of rain. I left Sven and family mid morning and walked down to the farmers market, in search of some fresh veggies. By the time I got there the weather had started to deteriorate, and the vendors had started to pack up. I did manage to find some small tomatoes, ones that fit the fact that it is just me and Spook aboard, but that is about it. So I took my tomatoes and went on walk about again, and I ended up over the bridge and out on the beach front once more.

While I walked the beach, looking to see if I could sight the migrating Northern Right Whales, the rain came in, a few drops here and there, and then, a downpour. So I started to trek back to the boat in the rain, and got completely soaked. I had planned on getting to the boat by low tide, but because of the full moon the tide was running full bore, and the current was running too fast for me to careen the boat. I had to row back to Arden as the dinghy motor must have gotten some water into the fuel thanks to the heavy rain we got. Another lesson learned, do not leave the dinghy without closing the vent on the fuel tank. So against wind and current I rowed back, it was a tremendous workout, because rowing an inflatable dinghy in the wind is like trying to push a car up a hill with the parking brake on. It took a bit to get back, but thank God the rain had stopped by the time I made it to Arden. However,  I was pretty tired after 20  minutes of non stop rowing, so I pretty much decided to take it easy the rest of the day. So I read and cleaned and tried to sort a few things out while I rested, and came to the realization that I really need to stop for a bit and try to generate some funds. The sailing kitty is about empty, and I have a few personal things to take care of as well, so I might just be here in north/central Florida for a bit while I take care of these things.

This morning I was awoken by a brisk breeze from the north / northeast, and the boat was rocking pretty hard. It had cooled down considerably, and was just as ugly out this morning as it was beautiful yesterday morning. Very grey, very windy and quite choppy on the river. So today does not look like a good day to get any boat work done either.

I am not sure if I will stay in Daytona, or venture a bit further south, but today I will run a few errands, get a paper, and look for a job of some sort. I don't have any intention of staying here too long, just long enough to put together a few things, and I will need to start back north in another month or so.