Archive for August, 2012
August 27, 2012
We had a wonderful stay at Seapath Marina in Wrightsville Beach, NC. It’s a beautiful area with water everywhere and people, kids, and lots of dogs out enjoying it every day. (Note – the Channel entrance is much better marked than charts indicate – we entered at night with no problems.) Every morning, dozens of swimmers and paddleboarders take to the water and seemingly every other boat that goes by has one or more dogs on board. It’s a casual, fun, and exceptionally friendly place full of nooks and crannies to explore and sprinkled with great restaurants.
We had a chance to catch up with some old friends and make some new ones. We were referred to this marina by our friend George, also a Nordhavn owner, and ended up docked right in front of him. George helped us with various boat projects, lending us tools, materials, and expertise. He even loaned us his crab pot, which promptly went missing! Bradley and George set the crab pot – a wire cube in which you place fish heads as bait, then let it sit on the bottom in 6-10 feet of water. Crabs can get in to eat the bait, but then cannot get out. The pot is attached to a large float so that you can find it to retrieve later. When Bradley and I went to pick up the pot, it was nowhere to be found. Several searches by George and Bradley were unsuccessful. We finally determined that the pot had been set right on the edge of a change in water depth from 6ft to 30ft and had fallen into the hole! After purchasing a new pot, we caught lots of wonderful crabs which George steamed and shared with us. My friend Nancy from Southport, just south of us, drove up for a visit. We took the tender to Dockside restaurant and had a lovely lunch right on the Intracoastal Waterway, then went exploring the area by tender.
Bradley and I went out with a dive boat about 20 miles offshore to dive two shipwrecks. The water was surprisingly clear so we had great visibility. We saw some enormous sharks (the non-man-eating kind) and lots of fish. Bradley also took a two day free-diving class. Free-diving is a sport in which people see how deep they can dive without a tank – they must hold their breath. While the “going deep” aspect of it is not of interest, Bradley did want to learn some techniques for improving his breath-holding capability so that he can stay under longer when he is spearfishing with snorkel gear. He says he picked up some good tips and is anxious to be able to test them when we are next able to spearfish.
As for new friends, we met Steve W, who lives in Wilmington, NC and is a member of the Nordhavn Dreamers group, a collection of people who have a love for Nordhavns and/or someday want to own one. Steve and I have been communicating via email for several months so it was great to meet him in person. He is an airline pilot and also a member of the Coast Guard Reserve, so he had great information to share with us and we had a very nice visit. Hopefully he will be able to join us on a passage someday. We also met Melody and Matt, who were walking their dog on our dock. They have a sailboat at the marina and a house nearby. What began as a casual dock conversation “Nice dog”, “Thanks, nice boat”, led to inviting Matt on board for a tour of the boat, then Melody coming on board while Matt took the dog. They then invited us to their home for a fabulous dinner and offered to let us borrow their paddleboards so we could see how we liked it. We did try our hand at paddleboarding and did enjoy it. It’s a sport that’s gaining in popularity as you stand atop a specially design surfboard and paddle around. The view is much better than when seated in a kayak, but it does take a little practice, especially to learn to turn! We are still deciding whether to add a paddleboard to our on-board toy inventory.
We also met Dave and Cassie on the boat next door, Aussie Rules. No, it’s not Greg Norman’s boat by the same name, but Cassie is Australian. They have two dogs, which was also the door-opener for our first conversation. We all went out to dinner and were joined by their friends, Joe and his wife Debbie. We had great dinner out and enjoyed getting to know everyone.
I engaged in a bit of geocaching, a good way to explore an area. Bradley had several nice bike rides, I went for some long runs, and we got in plenty of walking. As for work, we did a few small projects. One reason we don’t like to be in marinas is that you get a lot of growth from the warm and nutrient rich water around a marina. One project was to clean our sea strainers – these are akin to a skimmer in a swimming pool that strain the seawater coming into the boat that cools the engines and air conditioning. We did not run our engines or generators while plugged into shore power, but the hot summer was still in full force, requiring air conditioning and thus open thru-hulls with seawater passing through the strainers. Small sea critters, like barnacles and their cousins, attach to the hoses and strainers and then grow into bigger sea critters. They stink and need to be scraped off. It takes several hours to clean but also provides a good chance to check all the systems. Similarly, sea critters attach to the bottom of the tender and after two weeks in the water, we took it out to the ocean where we could see well enough to scrape the bottom. It’s amazing how much can grow in just a couple short weeks!
Aside from normal maintenance, the only other issue we have for now is a slight leak in a fresh water pump. Bradley has taken it apart and was able to minimize the leak and we have ordered and received a “diaphragm repair kit” that will fix it for good. But for those who are hoping for more details about problems, you won’t get them this time! Yea!
Finally it was time to depart from Wrightsville Beach and head north to the Chesapeake Bay. For this journey, we are being joined by some friends who we also met via the Nordhavn Dreamers group, Patti and John. They live in Annapolis so rented a car to drive one-way and will cruise back with us. We had planned to depart the weekend of August 25 (which is also the one-year anniversary of our lightning strike!). But Hurricane Isaac and Tropical Storm Joyce had us guessing until the very last minute. When we were sure Isaac was going west and Joyce had only a short stint as a named storm, we proclaimed all systems GO and Patti and John hit the road, arriving on Saturday, August 25th. Sunday would be spent getting ready to depart and we actually left the dock at 4am Monday morning. Hopefully the next blog entry will be guest-authored by Patti!
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August 7, 2012
The first order of business at Jarrett Bay was to have the boat hauled out to assess the condition of our bottom paint (scroll down to technical details if interested). The haul out went smoothly and representatives from Core Creek Marine and Bluewater, the paint manufacturer, were on hand to develop a game plan for re-painting the bottom. Work commenced the next day and we hoped that our time out of the water would be limited to just two weeks. Since it is the tourist season in Beaufort, our house in Sea Gate where we stayed last time was not available for rental and we stayed at the nearby Core Creek Lodge, an inexpensive motel just minutes from the boat yard. We found newly renovated and clean rooms, helpful and friendly service, a room adjoining a full kitchen, and a wonderful gas grill, all right on the Intracoastal Waterway.
While the boat was out of the water we also decided to have the hull waxed again and contacted Bruce from Ultra-Bright who had done a great job last time. Soon he was at work and pointed out some rust stains coming from the hinges on the doors to the scuppers (these are trap-doors that open one-way to allow water to drain from the decks, but do not allow water to come in the other way). This turned into a typical boat project – start one job and find another! Each door was secured by two hinges, which of course are not easy to get to as they are on the outside of the boat and way up high, requiring scaffolding to reach. Each stainless steel hinge had to be removed, buffed by Bradley on a machine, then hand polished with metal polish by Kathy. Finally each one had to be re-attached and sealed with Sikaflex, a special adhesive weather-stripping compound, that is very messy to work with. You always end up with black goo on yourself and parts of the boat where you do not want it! All told, this task consumed more than 20 hours of time.
We had a chance to catch up with many of the friends we made last time we were here, including a wonderful dinner with Gene and Pat, owners of Jenny the Sea Gate dog and their new addition, Peepers, a baby duck that Gene (a duck hunter) has adopted and is raising. Their daughter Cathy, who owns Crystal Coast Interiors, invited us to a birthday party for her associate, Beth, where we met up with many of the Jarrett Bay folks who had worked on the boat last time. We also visited with Karl and Dianne and David at Sea Gate. At the boatyard, we re-connected with Steve and Linda Dashew on their boat Windhorse. Steve is a well-known boat designer who we had gotten to know on our last visit. We had a wonderful dinner out with them and our boats were nose to nose for a few days, allowing Steve to snap a very scary photo during a storm. We also had a lovely dinner with Billy and Linda from Southern Comfort and took a trip to Southport to visit our friend Nancy where we had a nice visit. Tony, a colleague from my Landmar Systems days, now lives in Greeneville, NC and stopped by for a visit. We also took a trip to the Raleigh area to visit Jordan, our dog, who lives there with
his foster mom, Meg. Jordan, who is now 13, continues to amaze us with his good health and zest for life. His shoulder and hips are pretty creeky now, but he doesn’t want to slow down!
We were back in the water in just two weeks, a major accomplishment, and headed out to Cape Lookout for a few days of fun. Cape Lookout is just a two hour trip from Jarrett Bay so soon we were anchored and enjoying the chance to swim, kayak, and explore. We went ashore to see the Cape Lookout Lighthouse and museum and took the tender to Harker’s Island. Cathy and her husband Cory came out for a visit and delivered a part we had ordered and Pam, Lenny, Danny and Carole from Sea Gate came out in their boat for a visit and a day on the beach. They left us with delicious tomatoes and cantaloupe from their gardens – very yummy!
Next up was a 70 mile trip to Wrightsville Beach, about a ten hour trip. We planned for an 8pm departure and were actually underway by 7:30pm. Despite slowing the boat to less than 6 knots for the final two hours, we still arrived at the entrance to Masonboro inlet before sunrise. Fortunately it is well marked and gave us a chance to practice our entrance skills. Soon we were safely docked at Sea Path marina, where we left the boat for a few days to fly to Naples, FL to celebrate Bradley’s father’s 79th birthday. We will stay here in Wrighstville Beach for a couple weeks before heading north to the Chesapeake Bay. We don’t want to get there until September as we have very bad memories of being on the Potomac on August 25th last year! Speaking of which, I have now completed the epic saga of the lightning strike and ensuing repairs.
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- Bottom Paint. When in Jarrett Bay for the lightning repairs, we had extensive work done on the bottom (unrelated to the lightning strike). When we had purchased the boat in 2010 we knew it had some blisters on the bottom and had planned to address them at the next haul out. These were caused when during the fairing process in the initial build, the wrong kind of filler was used and it absorbed water, causing blisters. As a result, we had to remove all bottom paint, including the barrier coat, sand the bottom to remove the blister causing filler, then re-apply three barrier coats and three coats of bottom paint. The first coat of bottom paint was green and the second two were black. This allows you to tell when you are down to the last coat as the green will begin to show, at which point you would re-apply the bottom paint (but not usually the barrier coat). How long this takes depends on many factors, but generally we would expect at least 18-24 months before needing to re-paint the bottom. However, just two months after leaving Jarrett Bay, Bradley inspected the bottom (which we always do when at anchor) and noticed bits of green already showing through. He notified Core Creek Marine, the yard that had done the bottom job, and the paint manufacturer that we may have a problem. By the time we reached the Bahamas, we could clearly see green showing in many places. We arranged to return to Jarrett Bay and have the boat hauled out so the paint company representative could inspect it and determine what had happened. Sure enough, when the boat was hauled, it revealed that the bottom paint had in essence “fallen off”. It had been applied exactly according to manufacturer’s specifications for temperature, time between coats, etc. The paint company has no reports of similar problems. Everyone was stumped as to what had happened, but we agreed to a plan whereby the paint company would supply more paint and the yard would provide the labor to apply it, all under warranty. Obviously, we will monitor it very closely.
- Sea-Tel. Upon arrival at Jarrett Bay we were unable to get a DirecTv signal. We had replaced several components of our Sea-Tel satellite system while in Florida. While this normally would not have been a critical problem, the Olympics were about to start! Steve, our electrician in NC and his associate Fran were finally able to track down two problems. First, there was a bad motor in the antenna unit, resulting in a “dead spot” during the search process. Second, there were two wires leading into the multi-switch that were reversed. Soon we were back on track with TV, ready to record all the Olympic events!
- Frequency Meters. I previously reported that the new frequency meters on our main power board were not working. We ordered new ones from Nordhavn (under warranty) and replaced them. They seem to be fine now.
- Spot lights – our outdoor spot lights had been blowing out bulbs. Steve tested the lights and found no significant problem – he suggested that we upgrade to a heavier duty bulb so all bulbs have been replaced.