Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer update; 7/5/2010

Hi All;

Just a quick catchup on the summer so far. Scooter is snugged into a slip at Weavers Marine in Essex, MD. Activity so far this summer has been limited to a family day outing to Middle River. Persistent and aggressive snakes; OK, one snake; followed by a series of anally inspired brain burps in trying to get back into the slip (Captain's issue), to include our first real live man-overboard event, made it a fairly memorable day. Can't duck it, I suppose; nor can I blame the 20KT winds for all the problems. Suffice it to say that we'll do better next time.
Scooter has been undergoing a refit/renovate operation during the last month or so. Included is a radar swap; out with the old Vigil, in with a newer JRC. This, of course, has led to a clean up of the bridge area, holes filled in & faired, paint applied, and some extra storage built in. I'll get some pics as soon as more progress is made. Next on the list; some gelcoat repairs, clean up the teak, and do some preventative maintenance in the engine room.
Trips are being considered to DC via the Potomac River, and perhaps to Cape May, NJ. We'll certainly keep you posted on developments. Enjoy summer, it will only be here once this year.

Friday, May 7, 2010

5/7/10


We were up early, sliding out of our Rhode River anchorage in a gentle, cool, breeze as the sun started to cast a rosy glow over the river scenery. Our destination was the West River fuel dock, just down the Rhode River, into the West River. The goal was to be riding the tide up the Bay out of the West River by 0830. Reasoning: the high winds that were due that afternoon were forecast to be in Baltimore around 2pm. We wanted to be tied tightly to a dock by then. Well, as with so many plans, it did not quite work that way. We finally left the fuel dock @ 0910. Another blessing of our current economic times; low staffing numbers, complicated by some of today's WHC attitude. Anyway, press on. The ride up the Bay was fairly fast, helped by wind, tide, and seas to surf down. Of course, as we passed the Bay Bridge and turned onto the heading for Back River, the wind kicked up with a great deal of determination, turning Back River into a frothing chocolate washing machine. Up the river to good ol' Weavers Marine, our home, once more, for the coming season. With mixed feelings, we unloaded bags, and bags of stuff, closed the systems down, shut seacocks, and promised Scooter we'd be back real soon to clean, refit, renovate, inside & out. He's a great little boat, and we can't wait to go some more.

Many thanks to Bob S. for coming down to pick us up in the Excursion. It swallowed all that gear, all those bags and had room left over. The drive up 83 was , well it just went by in a blink. A quick dinner in town, a quick drive home to the greenery in Bloserville, and the day came to an end.
In the future; clean up the weeds, clean up Scooter, make plans for the next trip; hopefully in June. So, stay tuned. We'll keep you abreast of changes we make to Scooter's systems and appearance, and let you know where we'll be headed next.
Thanks so much for following along, it's been a blast having you aboard.
Be safe, keep the grass short and the beer cold. Have a great summer.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

5/5/10.

Up the Bay! Has a fun ring to it, doesn't it?Today was certainly a gorgeous day for boat travel on the Chesapeake. Cool temps, calm seas, great visibility; could not have been better. 'Course, it all evens out. We are anchored in the Rhode River expecting the wind to be calm & then shift to the W/NW. It is howling out of the S now; whitecaps and all. Hopefully it will die down, or, perhaps, switch to the other side; that would be the side we planned on for wind protection. If not, well, we'll sleep lightly, I guess.

Last night we spent the night tied to a dock in Olverson's Marina in Lodge Creek. Qaint place; all the walkways are covered, as are most of the slips. Great for a rainy day, but I'm not sure how much snow load they might take. Hope Virginia stays warm. Pretty place, tho', lots of neat old boats and friendly folks. They knew where we were from and what boat we were on in the first 10 minutes that we were there. The courtesy car we went to town in was one of several Jeep Grand Cherokees that are kept on the premises for boaters use. 'Nother good idea. Lovely countryside around Callao, VA; gently rolling hills, quiet creeks and farms. Nice place to visit. I suspect that we'll be back on our Potomac cruise.

We got an early start this morning, easing by this little lady doing the home on the dock thing. Ospreys abound all around the Bay these days; neat birds. Tidal currents played havoc with our speed, so we elected to duck into the Rhode River for the night. We've enjoyed being here several times before. Matter of fact, the esteemed Mr. Strayer and I began Scooter's trip south from this same anchorage in November. For that reason as well, it seemed a fitting place to break the trip home. Tomorrow morning, wind & weather permitting we will head under the Bay bridge to Back River and our summer home at Weaver's marine service. Scooter has a refit list awaiting action before heading out again in the upcoming weeks. The captain also has a list that will need attending to! "Git 'er done" will have to be the rallying cry for May. Just gotta love retirement, sooo much spare time!. No problem, mon! Be safe, be hoppy; we'll catch you on the flip side!

Monday, May 3, 2010

5/3/10

Hey! Here we are in VA. We are in the eastern branch of the Corrotoman River, which comes off the Rappahnock River. There, now you know as much about it as I do. Let me get you there from our last posting. Last we spoke (geez, Chuckie, that's only a figure of speech) we were anchored in the Little Alligator River just south of the Albemarle Sound waiting, & hoping, for the wind to die down. Wasn't bad in the morning, so off we went, past the nasty shoal between G9 & G7 and into the sound. Wow! What a ride! And that was before the winds kicked up. Sorry, no pics, I couldn't let go of the helm. Besides, you've seen one big breaking wave beside you, you've seen them all. Suffice it to say that we were really glad to get the crossing over with. That led us up the Pasquotank River thru Elizabeth City, NC. We did not stop here, as we wanted to make the 1:30 lock opening into the Dismal Swamp Canal. Could've, 'cause we didn't. The trip up this river, thru the woods was a real eye opener. Top left is a picture of the river just north of Elizabeth City; basically the beginning of the leg to the canal. Under that is the river midway thru the upriver journey. It is gorgeous, lots of greenery, wildlife, & curves galore. Always a surprise when Bubba comes blasting around a tight corner in a full bore bass boat turn. As you will see, there is not much room. It got tighter as we progressed; but still an amazing trip that brought us to the South Mills Lock. This lock is the first lock when going north in the canal. One makes a hard right turn, then an immediate hard left turn, all blind turns due to brush and find yourself sitting in front of the lock; as did Scooter and crew. Hot 'n sticky were the operative words that afternoon. The lock keeper shows up, opens the lock, you tie up to the wall, he fills the lock up, opens the gates, jumps in his truck, & runs down the road to open the drawbridge. From there Scooter entered the Dismal Swamp Canal enroute to the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center. Great complex; had AC! We rafted to a Canadian boat for the night, as we were just a bit to long for the available dock space. Next morning, off we went, headed for Deep Creek Lock & Bridge. This leg was about 18 miles long; all of which is run at NO WAKE speed, about 6mph. While a lovely trip, it is, I must say, different. As you can see, it is a tight squeeze for a 38' boat that is 13' wide. Won't be any turning around if the bugs get bad! Thru the Deep Creek Bridge, then into & thru the lock; incidentally this lock is the oldest operating lock in the US. From there it is a mere hop, skip, & jump to Norfolk harbor & mile marker zero. Thus endeth the ICW portion of the trip. We continued winding our way up the Elizabeth River, past the Navy yards & base to the Poquoson River. Anchoring again in Cheasapeake Bay water felt pretty good in the present, sad in the thought that the trip is ending. Ah, well, press on! Today's leg took us from Chisman Creek on the Poquoson, to our present spot. Tomorrow may well find us in Olverson's marina off the Potomac River. We'll need fuel, some groceries, etc & his facility has a courtesy car & the dock is free to MTOA members. We'll see how it goes.
Be safe, be happy; we'll catch you on the flip side

Friday, April 30, 2010

4/30/10



I'm happy to report that Scooter seems well and is underway again. We were escorted out of Tooley Creek by Capt Ron in the TowBoatUS little red boat and sent on our way early this morning. 8 hours of running, some of them at high RPM, showed that Gerald's prop work is nothing short of fantastic. No vibrations or stutter at all. Technically, it seems the pitch may have come down a bit; that would result in a little less forward movement per turn of the prop, or, a higher RPM, thus more fuel burned, for a given speed. For now, I'm content that the boat is doing so well. Only down side we found was that the rudder stuffing boxes are letting in a fair amount of water. One we were able to tighten down, the other may not be so simple. My guess is that the heating on the one rudder may have cooked some of the packing. The other side remains a mystery for now; it feels like it has run out of packing material. Time will tell. In the meantime, we'll press on & keep an eye on the bilges.
Currently, we are at anchor in the Little Alligator River, listening to the wind howl as it supposedly gets ready to diminish. Tomorrow we will cross the Albemarle Sound headed for Elizabeth City, NC and the Dismal Swamp canal. Right now, we are wondering if the NOAA folks have gotten the forecast even close. Scooter is rocking & rolling, the wind is moaning through what rigging we have, and sleep is looking a little doubtful.
We'll check in again with a progress report tomorrow. Have a great weekend

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Onward?




We spent a full day in the boatyard today, doing boatyard things: watching, waiting, hoping, then, gasp, paying. Scooter suffered some damage in this episode; bent rudder(s). Bent props, etc. Actually, as bad as it seemed, it could have been a lot worse. The port shaft miked out just about zero, while the starboard shaft miked out at 8. The interesting thing is that shaft was a bit out of true when we bought Scooter 5 years or so ago. Consensus of opinion was "its your call. capt'n" . try making sense out of that one on the spur of the moment. So, anyway, Scooter sat in the slings all day, much to the pleasure of the marina bookkeeper. But, in all honesty, it may have been probably good that it all happened when it did. Scooper's bottom was pretty cluttered with growth; so much for much touted Pettit bottom paint, and all the zincs were shot. The shaft zincs were actually gone, while the rest were all but gone. Obviously we replaced all that while the boat was hauled, cleaned the bottom, straightened the starboard rudder, & redid both props. The port rudder has a slight twist in it, but there is not much we can do about that unless we replace the rudder, Since the starboard unit also has some imperfection in it (ie, twist), maybe they'll balance out & Scooter will go like a train. Our thanks to all the guys that worked on the project; JW, Gerald, and Jake, the resident Golden retriever, and captain Ron, the BoatUS guy. A really great bunch of folks, that did a great job at a reasonable price.
Tomorrow calls for an early get up'n go; stop up the road for fuel, pump out, & water, then back up the Alligator/Pungo canal again to the Albemarle Sound & possibly Elizabeth City. Try, try again; hopefully we'll do better this time.
We'll check in again with a report on the effectiveness of the repair, and our progress thru the logs, stumps, and waves of the Alligator/Albemarle area. Be safe, be happy, we'll catch you on the flip side.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bad Day on the Pungo Canal


Great day to start; cool temps, breezy, but not over whelmingly so, boat running well. So off we went, out Slade Creek, into the Pungo River and north to the Alligator River -Pungo River Canal, a narrow, tree & stump lined canal running from the Pungo River , yep, you guessed it, Chuckie, the Alligator River. So, off we went, up the canal headed for the Alligator River swing bridge & an anchorage behind Durant Island to await calmer winds on Thursday for the Albemarle Sound crossing on the way to Elizabeth City. Plan was to be in the lower end of the Chesapeake by Saturday or Sunday, and Essex by the end of the week or so.
Great thing about plans: not many get to survive combat, or, in this case, real life. Just after we passed under the Fairfield Canal bridge we hit a submerged log that was apparently lying along the edge of the channel. One minute 12' of water, the next minute; THUNKety Thunk. Our Verizon network abandoned us, no one answered channel 16, we were stuck in more ways than one. We wiggled around, moved weight forward, drained the fresh water tank, and put the dink in the water. That seemed to lighten things up a bit, so we tried to idle off the log; Thunk, no dice! Altho' we had tried kedging earlier, only to lose that anchor, we decided to try that again. By some judicious use of passing boat wakes we were able to get Scooter floating properly again, and, joy of joys, recover that anchor. Unfortunately, when we powered up to start down the canal, there was a lot of vibration; possibly bent shafts, possibly bent props. In the interim, a kind hearted sailboater had managed to make contact with TowBoat US, our AAA of the waterways. Once we arranged the relays & made contact, we limped in their direction, picked up the towboat and were towed to what we hope will turn out to be a reasonably priced repair facility with the time & parts to get our work done expeditiously.
I guess the next few days will be interesting, possibly frustrating, but certainly part of our ICW
experience.
Have a great week, we'll send some pics & keep you tuned in to all the upcoming events. Be safe, dodge the logs, and keep the faith!