Thursday, May 12, 2016

The past 7 weeks...

We have been negligent on keeping the blog up to date. It looks like the last entry was from Black Point in February.  Black Point was the last place we had good internet connectivity until we arrived in Savannah GA.  By then, we had lost the momentum in keeping the Blog going.

So, in a nut shell, here is what has been going on.  After Hawksbill Cay, we  headed to the west end of New Providence Island which put us in great shape to do a double over night passage to Fort Lauderdale where we intended to stay for several days, visiting friends and generally winding down after the long passage.  From the chart, I expected to find the New River in Ft. Lauderdale a lazy slow river through a swamp to a small marina.  Boy, was I wrong!!  The real estate value was about $10,000 a foot, and needless to say, both sides were covered with mega houses with mega yachts, and mega resorts. 

 We finally found our “spot” along the northern edge of the river, dodging mega yachts, water taxies, tour boats and a host of other things that float.  It turns out that this was also Fort Lauderdale’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade so we had a good view of the prep area of the parade vehicles.  Close by was a park with food stands, music, and lots of locals enjoying the festivities.  Eric, an old friend from San Diego, dropped by and took us home for a day.  We stayed four days in Fort Lauderdale before headed out to the ocean for another over night passage northward.

The next stop was Savannah, GA to visit the sister of my sister-in-law.  We stayed four nights at Isle of Palms Marina on the ICW, in the swamp but with nice marina facilities.   Cathy and Craig were perfect hosts, showing us around the local area, inviting us over for dinner for two nights, and a taking us on a trip to downtown Savannah.  We had to stop at River Street Sweets to pick up a weeks’ supply of Pralines, a southern candy confection delicacy.  We quickly discovered that pralines are like beer…no matter how many you have, it is only a one day supply.

At this point, we had been avoiding the southern portion of the ICW, partly to avoid low bridges, shoal areas, and to make better time in the open ocean.  We do like the overnight passages as long as the weather is calm and the sea state smooth.  From Savannah, we had heard that the ICW is beautiful as it winds through the low country marshy areas.  That may be the case, but it also has its share of shoal areas that we passed through with more than a little trepidation.  We did not hit bottom, but were not sure why not. After spending a night in Hilton Head we decided to resume our cruise north, once again in the ocean to make better time and avoid more ICW shoal areas identified in Active Captain.

Charleston Maritime Center in South Carolina was our next stop. This required an overnight stop in Bohicket River to allow us to time our entry into Charleston Maritime Center at slack tide the next afternoon.  We have been to Charleston before so we were looking forward to spending time with Peggy’s sister Val, exploring the many restaurants within walking distance of the marina, and doing touristy things such as tour boats and walking tours. The plan was to head north after a two week stay for a leisure trip up to Occoquan Marina in Virginia, just south of Washington DC.  We arrived in Charleston on March 24, and it is now May 12, seven weeks later.  We are still here.  What happened?

The answer is a long story that involved coming close to losing the boat due to fire.  After being at the marina for a few days, we came back to the boat one evening after having dinner ashore to find the boat full of smoke.  A quick search found that the bow thruster had somehow turned itself on and had run until it overheated the motor and all the wiring, switches and fuses that were in series with the wiring.  We were not sure what turned it on, but the bow thruster is only supposed to run for 5 minutes or so at a time.  The 200 amp fuse initially failed to blow which allowing the wiring to overheat and the switches and fuse holder to melt before finally blowing the fuse.  We were very lucky that Knot 2 Fast did not go up in flames, and then of course, spread to the boat next door to us.

After taking a few days to calm down, I researched getting new parts and a new motor, but of course the motor was no longer made and would require an upgrade to make the repair.  An upgrade would also require pulling the boat out of the water to install a new prop and tail piece.  Can anyone see where this is going?  So rather than heading up to the DC area, we headed to Charleston City Boat Yard where we have been on the hard for four weeks now. Florida Bow Thruster Company could not get to this job till May 13, and so here we sit until they can get to us.

The bow thruster in itself was bad, but being on the hard for four weeks has not been that bad.  To try to put a silver lining on this, it is the first time we have had time to really clean, varnish, repair and replace some the old woodwork and systems that came with Knot 2 Fast.  Recall that she is 28 years old and showing signs of neglect.  After much cleaning, scrapping, sanding, varnishing, replacing, and general upkeep, we are looking Fabulous!!!  There are lots of good looking boats here in the yard, but we are right up there with them in looking good.  Peggy is a machine when it comes to doing varnish and bight work.  It really shows!!  We have people frequently stop by to throw a compliment our way.  We love it and feel good about Knot 2 Fast.

So, what is next?  Not sure how many of you know this, but my dad passed away not too long ago.  The original goal was to have Knot 2 Fast in the DC area where the internment will be.  He will be buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery, one of the last of the WW II vets.  Being that we are still high and dry in Charleston, SC, obviously we will not make it with the boat.  Instead we head up to the DC area on Monday with a car and the intent to stay there for two weeks, burying dad and cleaning out my sister-in-law’s house which is now full of dad’s stuff.

What is next?  Who knows, but a straw-man plan is to meet up with some sailboat friends in the Chesapeake Bay area and buddy boat up to Nova Scotia for a few weeks.  We might stay in Falmouth for the month of July to deal with jury duty and medical issues before heading to Nova Scotia and then back south to the Bahamas for the winter.   Anyone want to join us?