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Thread: J. Dillon, 11 years on a 27 footer, WOW!!!

  1. #316
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    It appeared gloomy the next day. The weather fore cast promised some rain with intermittent showers, mixed with some sunshine. No, mater we were on the way south, under our green Bimini we were reasonably dry and comfortable and a good batch of pancakes rummaging in our stomachs. The long straight runs of the Pungo river canal were coming up.



    A Corps of Engineers barge approaches Cinderella

    By this time Cinderella was competent enough at the wheel to steer in this narrow waterway. Of course when on coming boats especially tugs with barges were heading in our direction, either Irin or I would edge close to her with reassuring glances. It was overtaking passing circumstances that we relieved her as this sometimes took more time to separate to a comfortable margin then on coming situations. We also had to deal well as suction from close in craft and wakes. Cinderella was not ready for that yet.

    Bridge openings all along were still a novelty for Cinderella. Most operators were very courteous always answering your hail on VHF 13. They would respond to your inquires especially when a female voice did the asking. We and other boats would sometimes have to back and fill or circle waiting for an opening. As we slipped under the massive steel structures We would exchange a friendly wave from the bridge operator . Some would have binoculars eyeing up the boaters and maybe even writing down reg. numbers or boat names.

    All boating types ply the waters of the Intracoastal, some not so caring. Too often delivery skippers and others would totally disregard posted speed limits. The resulting wakes would do much more they rock you around. . The banks would erode to the point that trees and even some retaining walls would collapse into the waterway becoming a hazard to navigation The Corps of Engineers would have to come out pick up the resulting debris and deposit it some where out of the way.



    Just one of the many piles the Corps of Engineers collects

    I remember one time in particular we were bringing a trawler up from Florida. It was a Sat. and a group of boats were waiting for an opening. There must of been a dozen or so. Well the bridge finally opened . We were among the first few. Then within five minutes, several came through all flying the U.S.P.S flag with the local squadron pennant displayed. They all hit their throttle full when clear of the bridge despite signs to keep slow speeds in the vicinity of bridges to prevent damage to workers on the bridge and erosion. Those b*******s had us all rocking in their wake . I was so pissed I tried to inform the local police by radio. No luck. Still pissed I carefully drew a picture of the squadron burgee. Later when returning home I looked up the flag , found the address of the Squadron commander and sent him as well as national commander a letter about the breach of law as well as etiquette and common sense. I got a copy of the reprimand sent to the local squadron commander as well as an apology from him. That was the only negative incident I have ever experienced in southern waters.


    Then there are the seekers , looking for a companion and why not advertising their need.



    Hey I'm not a bad guy !!

    Of course home made boats do show up here and there and this one looks like it is built for ramming or breaking ice.



    Maybe "Shady lady" hasn't met the guy above yet ?

    Grind on we went the engine humming merrily the passing scene always changing. Or not so merrily!! Exiting the canal I noticed the temp. gauge climbing not a lot but above normal. I alerted Irinn and we opened up the engine compartment and noticed water spurting out of the water pump. It looked like it had a crack in it. The situation was not critical as the temp. was above normal but not climbing. Repairs were needed or replacement. Belhaven was not far ahead . So it was decided to pull in there to see if we could get a new or reconditioned pump. We throttled down and used the jib when we could. I’ve stopped in Belhaven before and some say they have a “milk the yachtsmen attitude”. This could be true as I heard it from more then one source. However it never came to that. They didn’t have a replacement or a reconditioned pump in stock. So we could wait until one is shipped in, or move on. This was all handled with utmost courtesy but left little alternatives. Hanging out there for maybe a week was not a good prospect. We did have the availability of a courteous car ( a not so souped up golf cart) while berthed there. I put a proposition to Irin. In the local hard ware store I noticed a product called “Marine Tex” a two part epoxy compound that was guaranteed to seal leaks and cracks. I have used it before and found it worked. So I told Irin about it and suggested we take a chance , apply it. Let it sit over night and give it a test in the morning. It might hold out long enough to get to another marina where parts like a new pump might be in stock. We bought the stuff applied it following the directions to the T. Later the three of us had dinner ashore that night in Belhaven walking into town to stretch our legs as it wasn’t very far at all.

    In the morning we meandered over to the gas dock to see the military craft that pulled in to fuel up. It’s hard to describe how it looked but it was some kind of hover craft and built for speed not stealth. It’s only concession to that virtue was a drab gray. The dock fuel pump dingged away as gallon after gallon poured in her tanks I talked to one of the sailors manning the craft . He was out of his wet suit to let his skin breathe normally. He explained it was a training exercise he and one other enlisted man were participating in. The boat was skippered by an ensign fresh out of Annapolis. The drill was to make speed runs when they could, do Time, Speed Distance by math and not electronic means. Their next fuel stop was to be Oriental NC then on to Camp Lejeune NC. The three of them were quite friendly ( we were paying for all this ) Finished fueling they donned their wet suits and strapped themselves into a stand up back board to keep from being catapulted over board. They had small water proof charts clamped to the console in front of them. Part of the exercise was to figure the fuel consumption, timing to the next nav aid, speed made good, and seeing all this going by maybe at 50 KTS. One would do the computations under way, the other manning the wheel and throttle and the third turning the pages as they progressed. They would each alternate their duties. They expected to be at the USMC base by noon. Good luck I thought I also wondered what they did about commercial traffic as well as yachts and posted speed limits many on the way ahead. We shook hands with the three untied and were off at full throttle as soon as they hit the ICW.. They had a lot of open water ahead but I guess they sloweded down in the Gallant channel just outside Beaufort NC.

    Back to our own problems. Cinderella had a great breakfast ready for us as she shopped in town the evening before. Bacon, eggs and toast for all hands. Irin and I checked the engine. The repair looked good, felt hard, so we cranked her over. Let it sit running for five minutes and then throttled up. No leaks and the temperature was normal. The jury rig seemed to be working so off we went to pay our docking bill to the puzzled look of the marina operator who expected us to stay for a while. The day looked brighter the sun shone and the ICW still lay ahead.

    Next Aground In Beaufort

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  2. #317
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    Thanks JD, I have been enjoying your posts.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  3. #318
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    Great story. Just a note. I was very suprised to find pelicans in Granite Falls MN. I gather that they migrate north from the gulf to summer in MN and north. I had always wondered why a town in MN would be named Pelican Rapids. Now I know. J.D. thanks for the chronical.
    PetrB

  4. #319
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    ohhhhh man I can't believe it.. I have to wait for more

    I have been devouring this thread, blabbing about it to anyone who will listen..

    Reading the last entry and realizing there is no other page ..gives me the same feeling as realizing I just locked my keys in the car!!!

    a real loud ..NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  5. #320
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    Thumbs up

    Stari 27 Pelicans up in MN. Wow ! I guess that proves Global warming

    Morgoon, Glad you're enjoying the thread. Will get something out soon.

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  6. #321
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    The ICW has a wide variety of craft plying it’s waters to enchant voyagers. Yachts and various fishing craft, tugs towing all sorts of barges loaded with great variety of cargo . Also are the numerous dredges and other maintenance craft. They demand interpretation as to what side to pass on . If unsure it’s wise to have near at hand a copy of the Navigation rules to refer to. The vessel you may encounter will be displaying various shapes and lights signaling the mariner which way to go. For instance. If you encountered this vessel ,



    what side would you pass on ?
    Choosing the wrong side could ruin your day.

    Sometimes when traversing unmarked featureless regions, long winding rivers or the ICW,. you can lose track of where you are. I devised this little device easily made from scrap brass and a suitable paper clamp. I attach it on the chart and move it often to kind of up date my position. It gives others coming on deck an idea of where you are.


    ( note , chart region above not releated to story)


    As one goes along the scenery constantly changes. Narrow wooded sections give way to broad open expanses then to a lush homes with little piers jutting off from shore Even fields with grazing live stock. watched us putter by.

    I must admit engine sounds sometimes can tarnish a trip. Especially now as Irin & I had our ears cocked for any hint of trouble. Our minds now partially focused can mesmerize one, dulling our other senses to fully appreciate our surroundings. Fortunately sail boats have options and making sail, shutting down the engine is a welcome relief . We had this opportunity many times taking advantage of any favorable wind . Especially now with a jury rigged repair of “Ketch Ya Later’s engine, we rationed our engine running time. In the Pungo river we had such a wind from the NW so out with the Jenny and up with the mizzen for the run down to Goose creek. Only to take them in and power in the confines approaching the Hobucken Coast Guard station.


    Map of the area

    We kept a check on our repair as we went and it seemed OK so far. As our trio neared the open ness of Pamlico Sound, it’s vastness gave a feeling of oceans, even as we turned to the west to sail in the wide expanse of the Neuse river.. Cinderella, Irin and I were by this time completely comfortable with each other, recognizing the need for quiet contemplation and no need to engage in small talk. Off in the distance we could see Shrimp boats, their booms out on each side, attached nets reaping up this tasty dish. Monitoring the VHF scan, we stumbled on a conversation between a working pair, managing to get a gist of the verbal exchange. It was clouded by local slang and “southern drawl”. They seemed to be discussing where to fish, their loves ones and medical problems of all they knew.



    Typical shrimp boat on the ICW


    It surfaced a memory of another time on the Intracoastal. My buddy and I were moving in a 32' sail boat to Jacksonville Fla. We were south of Cape Fear. in a rather narrow portion of this waterway. Just ahead was a small 18 foot boat streaming a net from his stern.. Approaching, we eyed the lone shrimper adorned in faded overalls. Drawing close, we asked if he had any for sale ?

    He replied “Ya all hungry? ” He then reached in to his make shift well and filled an ordinary plastic shopping bag, then threw it on our deck as we drew abeam.

    I asked “ How much? ” “Aw ..... keep em I got plenty”. Now that’s southern hospitality. We thanked him and threw in his boat a spare 30' dock line, figuring he could always use it eventually. As we passed ,he looked puzzled at first but then broke into a broad grin that revealed a missing

    The wooded shores on the shores of this broad section of the Neuse seemed far away and distant. It was getting late and to push on to Beaufort and it’s long run down the Gallant channel, too much to do today . So we decided to pull into Oriental NC . One of my favorite stops on the Intracoastal.

    JD

    Next on to Beaufort
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  7. #322
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    I'm anxious to hear about your experences in Beaufort. I lived there on and off from '78 to 97.
    =~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~

    When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

    Mark Twain

  8. #323
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    Default JD

    Wonderful, interesting and well written. Thank you for sharing it with us...

  9. #324
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    Default Thanks.

    This is some fine stuff. Thanks for the effort.
    Chris.
    .
    Wind's up.
    .

  10. #325
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    I still have a sense of wonderment pulling into a new port and even though I’ve tied up in Oriental before, I shared this sense with Cinderella and Irin The town was named after a ships name plate found in Smith creek and now claims to be the sailing capitol of the south but we saw few such craft. Perhaps hidden up some of the creeks on the chart. They now boast “Tree City USA”. We certainly saw many. A sight seeing tour was not in the cards this trip, Irin was intent on just an overnight stop and on to Beaufort. We dined aboard and then walked around the marina taking a better look at fishing craft and other cruisers like us. Dusk encroached but our walk down along water street was enchanting. Soaring live oaks stood dominant. They seem to reach across to embrace their kind on the other side, still thankful they escaped the axe during ship building days. As our trio strolled the streets we noticed homes had screened in porches with folk rocking away some silent, others giving a warm hello as we exchanged comments on weather. I keep telling myself to see more of this small town that seems not to be in a hurry but we were, on our way again the next day. Back aboard crickets still sang lulling us once again to a restful sleep. I think we all has a feeling of lets get on with it and a bit of diversion that only the open sea could provide .



    A shrimp boat sketch I did on a previous dockage

    In the morning things were stirring , sounds of dock activity. engines running, talking, laughter. Things bumping. Emerging on deck, gulls, gawked as if greeting us, others, crying, anticipating their take when the shrimp and fishing boats returned. Irin and I took another look at our jury repair and it looked fine . But today we would be powering only. First across the Neuse, then Adams creek and finally down the Gallant channel The confines of this delightful water way now seem to enclose us as well as Ketch Ya later. We again longed for sea air and the motion of our ketch under sail reaching for an empty horizon . The homes on both shore ranged from stately mansions with elaborate docks to ram shackle run down hut looking affairs sprinkled with dead and dying boats pulled on the banks. They now rotted away under living trees mourning their demise. The effects of wakes became apparent once more. Trees, their roots exposed were on the brink of toppling. The failure of primitive measures to retain eroded banks also came into sight. Speed limits are prominently posted but sadly many professional skippers speed along at night ignoring all warnings.

    On the way I told Cinderella about Beaufort what a bustling place it was with lots of tourist type shops a beautiful boardwalk and many places to eat and best of all the Maritime museum just behind the waterfront. It may be small but it is well laid out and interesting to visit. Almost across the street you can see wooden boats being built. I didn’t tell her about the wild horses on Carrot Island . I thought it would make a pleasant surprise. Irin was anxious to get there in time to maybe get a replacement water pump, so we upped the throttle a bit to also have a little R&R for the Ketch Ya Later and her gallant crew.
    You do have to deviate off the Gallant channel to get to Beaufort and go under two closely spaced draw bridges. Luck was with us as we followed another yacht and both spans remained open for us to go under and then search for a suitable anchorage off the town. Dock space is a call ahead affair for a reservation but we intended to anchor anyway.



    Skiff sailing by. Carrot island in the background

    The anchorage was crowded but further to the East we found a suitable spot and dropped the hook. Cinderella was below primping her self while Irin got the Zodiac over and the outboard started. One of the welcoming things about southern sea towns is free dinghy space.


    Another sketch I did of Beaufort NC

    We intended to get underway before dawn tomorrow so our immediate plan was for Irin and I run down shops where we might get a new water pump, return aboard with the pump and provisions Cinderella obtained while scouting a suitable dining spot,. We nudged ourselves in as it was tight in there too. Then I remembered the showers provided by marina. That changed things for Cinderella. So back aboard for soap and towels for Cinderella. Irin and I would shower later . A new pump was 1st priority but not for Cinderella. I guess she got used to how smelly we guys can get. Irin and I walked the waterfront from two directions asked various shops, locals and at the marina but no luck They all seem to think the best place would be over in Moorehead city, maybe phone first . But we were running out of time the jury rigged Marine Tex will have to do. I got another can, just in case.

    Now a shower is an un herald thing not much praise in that direction but even though the available ones were stuck in a Beaufort alley it seemed luxurious. A shower can change ones out look on life.

    At Dock house restaurant ,we had a table facing the water and anchorage, the boats in plain view, but off across one could see Carrot island. It’s beach white at low water. She wasn’t certain at first but her gaze focused on long shadows cast by a lowered sun. They moved “Horses!!” she exclaimed, got up, her napkin fell but she wanted a better look from the board walk. Satisfied she returned to the table and wanted to go there but time was against it.

    “Not this trip Cinderella” said Irin” It’s tone promised hope and future sails. But she understood these things and the need to move on. She did manage during her shopping to stop at the Maritime museum and walk the entire length of the boardwalk.

    Back aboard that evening we sipped our wine .The air still warm from the sunny day filled with memorable sights. The whinnying of horses a pleasant sound as we fell asleep..


    Above , a page from Cinderella's journal

    It was black to seaward. across Carrot island. The shore still lit up our restaurant and waterfront glimmered lit by lamps suggesting the ole days. Irin and I had the zodiac stowed for sea the night before. The engine fired up , stirred the still air competing with the waves gently lapping against the hull. Buoys light blinked Our anchor was up and stowed . We were under way. I was at the wheel, Irin forward. conning me where to turn. I could barely see across the upturned zodiac. “Come more left” he shouted to me. “ Good “ ” Now go straight” OK a little to stb. On we went the buoys passed . We were at barely slow speed. Just enough for steerage way. I could hear a gentle surf off to port . Then no feel to the wheel, no movement ahead......We were aground at Beaufort inlet.

    Next at sea again

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  11. #326
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    Great stuff (as usual!) - thanks.
    [Oriental] now claims to be the sailing capitol of the south but we saw few such craft. Perhaps hidden up some of the creeks on the chart.
    Yeah - the big area for dockage/marinas etc is in Whittaker Creek, just east of Oriental. Head into there and it forks off in to West Whittaker and East Whittaker creeks and is just packed solid with boats. The wife and I had an option on a piece of property on the East branch for a while, but the developer took forever getting zoning approval, hung up on issues about whether or not it would become an official part of Oriental or not - makes a difference since that affects utilities available on the properly. It took so long to work that out that the price skyrocketed and priced us out. Darned shame - it was a beautiful site, looking across at the marinas and only a 10 minute drive to the town center.
    If you're ever back there again and don't need walking access to downtown take a short run up the creek.
    Last edited by Uncle Duke; 05-29-2007 at 09:17 AM.

  12. #327
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. Dillon View Post




    I

    Any waterfront has characters that hang out there. One individual stands out. After 20 years I remember Benny. Memorable because of the way he rigged up his motor scooter. He had a little shallow box right in front between his legs. In it was a tiny dog.
    JD
    I saw Bernie last week, he was pleased that he was mentioned, I have access to his son's email address and will email him a link, next week (off sailing again tomorrow). Bernie's wife is sick with sciatica and he's not greeting boats as much.

  13. #328
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    Uncle Duke,

    Too bad ya missed a chance to live there. At least one Forum member does . Tom Lathrop hails from there . Perhaps he can fill us in on this special place.

    Gareth,
    I hope to hear from him. Maybe I'll be able to get Donn's E mail address from him. Lost contact thru the years.

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  14. #329
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    man I'm having fun following this on google earth.

  15. #330
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    Great as usual....keep them coming please.
    Regards
    Robbie

  16. #331
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    John B,

    How do you follow this thread on Google earth ? Did you mean to post your statement in another thread and just goofed up ?

    I'll be doing "Journey to Juneau AK., soon after a yarn about my boat "Shaula "and I surviving an explosion and fire aboard.


    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  17. #332
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    I just google earth the names and places Jack. Especially with the help of your maps.

    like this..
    Last edited by John B; 05-30-2007 at 10:41 PM.

  18. #333
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    Bump. JD do really appreciate the effort you put into this. Totally enjoyable, please continue.
    Last edited by Ron Carter; 06-01-2007 at 06:26 AM. Reason: fat finger typing
    If you don't know where you're going, you might not end up there.-Yogi Berra

  19. #334
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    Caution, my IT Dept. tells me that Google Earth is spyware. Try the new interactive radar on www.weather.com It is pretty impressive. I can zoom in to see my house or cabin although it is not as good for parts of Canada. Great story. I agree, please keep it comming. What ever happened to Cinderella?
    PetrB

  20. #335
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    Stari27 - How do you get to that interactive map deal?

  21. #336
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    Thanks for the reply's . It keeps me going


    Ketch Ya Later leaned to the first gusts reaching her from the darkness to windward. The sun past the zenith shed little light, consumed by the deepening grayness. We could see the pelting rain beating the waves but hardly diminishing their size. Irin and I were forewarned as the fore cast earlier droned on in automated uninvolved tones of a cold front approaching with strong gusty winds proceeding it. The main sail was already furled and the genny rolled in some. Nevertheless the lee rail was under sending solid water streaming down the submerged deck threatening the very structure of our green house Bimini. Amid the thunder aloft and of crashing waves against our plunging bow one could hear gear below, tumbling off whatever to add another note to the symphony of storms as it hit the cabin sole. Ketch Ya later rolled to the punches recovering some degree from 90 but never attaining near that number. Lightening stabbed the sky. Wind shifts spawned the genny to luff, shaking the entire boat from masthead to keel. It made one think how a rat feels when a terrier shakes and snaps it’s neck. The sound of luffing canvas challenged the thunder. We now bore off having plenty of room to sea ward. Power in storms holds fascination for us all . Where exhilarated by it all but harboring in our minds, fear, repressed by most but some times expressed by crying out. There are safer places to be than a boat in a tempest but being there adds to the sense of total exhilaration missed if you’re on a couch.

    It has been an event full day that started with a grounding at Beaufort inlet. Some how we missed the last #1 buoy and turned southward too soon. It was low water, flooding with us on sand bar with no sea running. So getting off was just required a little patience and gentle backing to free us By dawn we were on our way freed from a Beaufort that didn’t want us to leave. We hadn’t succumbed to all her charms, so she retarded our departure. But now we’re three aboard a well found ketch at sea again in her element, a welcome change from land and it’s charms. Visibility was down to zero but we cast a wary eye all around before it closed in to determine if we had any company near by in this blow. There’s comfort knowing it’s of short duration. Irin and I harbored those unexpressed concerns all sailors think in a blow. Are the stays in good shape ? How about the turnbuckles ? Was that wear I spotted on the sheets being unduly stretched ? On it goes. Waves now had built up powered by a still rising wind that slammed our ketch sending torrents scudding back to slam their fury against the Bimini shaking the entire structure. I can imagine the sound of it all below but Cinderella poked her head out, scanned our faces searching that everything is A ok then ducked below to make sandwiches. Like all line squalls they give out after a while and this one was no different. By the time the sun was ready to dip most of it had gone by, the seas calmed down and just remnant showers kept our decks wet.



    Our squall dying off near sun down

    The welcome NW wind cleared the air, the mugginess of Beaufort a memory as this wind powered us thru the night and closer to Ft Lauderdale. In the morning a routine check of the bilge revealed our ketch was leaking. The source, our cracked pump. It was not alarming but it needed something better then Marine Tex. I guess the slamming around during the squall loosened things up. A look at the chart determined the best place to put in would be Hilton head SC . Beside Irin had friends there and would help run down a repair or replacement pump. Several marina’s just might have what we needed.

    Now Harbor marine is plush and catering to the power boat crowd and we at 46' looked like a dinghy there. Our salt encrusted hull and green stripped Bimini out of place with mega yachts with paid crews busy shining bright work and swabbing decks. They looked as though a trip on the ICW was high adventure for them. Irin was busy on making call here and there and announced that his friend was tracking leads to getting an in stock water pump today. but said it looked impossible the best was to get one shipped here air express and maybe overnight . The "maybe" convinced Irin that another dose of Marine Tex would be the best bet as he was over due into Ft Lauderdale so he opted to have it shipped down there. In the mean time liberty for the crew showers and a real chance to get some laundry done. Cinderella and I climbed the lighthouse at the marina and could see the tiny Ketch Ya later off to the side our assigned slip keeping us out of sight. Later I cleaned off the pump once again and reapplied Marine Tex . It will have to last for another couple of days at least Irin’s friend got three bikes for our disposal and so we went around sight seeing the area.

    Above from Cinderella's Journal

    If you play golf or tennis this is the place to be. We ended the day at a movie at the local theater after a dinner in a Chinese restaurant and ice cream. It was dark when we got back aborad but not quite dark enough for Cinderella’s sharp eyes. She spotted a mouse scampering aboard and going below. A first we thought she was seeing things but sometimes you can’t doubt a woman’s word or in this case demands . She insisted we find that mouse and evict him . Irin and I looked at each other and nodded we had to at least make an effort at this impossible task. We had no mouse traps aboard so we just looked and made a good show of it, knowing in the end we won’t find any mouse . The hour was getting late so finally Cinderella relented and agreed to go aboard so we could all get some sleep as it was early departure once again . Ft Lauderdale non stop.



    We were not finished with that mouse yet.


    Next Mouseadventures and Ft Lauderdale ,with some more pix of Cinderella

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  22. #337
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    "Bought me a wonderful gift"....
    SO... what did you buy her? (Did I miss that someplace????)
    You 'da man! Thanks for continuing!

  23. #338
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    Good to check in, great as always! Thanks JD.

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    More!!!!!!!!!!!!!!please

  25. #340
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    Cinderella got the galley going while Irin and I proceeded to sea getting all sail up. We had about 360 NM miles to go, plenty of food, water a fair wind, and a great fore cast for the next three days. With a little luck we should be there in that time plus or minus etc. Our routine was well established by this time and even if things worked out lots of time for cat napping on the way Cinderella was still obsessed about the mouse so we looked around a little to make a show . Irin and I even contrived a trap of sorts but our little friend if he existed at all never took the bait.

    The miles diminished each hour we figured we were averaging 6 kts all day. I took a couple of sun sights advanced it and got a moon upper limb to get a running fix. I had my small Japanese sextant and with the help of my Celesticomp V sight reduction was easy as it combined the Nautical Almanac and sight reduction table in a handy pocket size calculator.


    Plotting sheet showing running fix

    The sextant was not good for star sights being so small I found it difficult to get the star down on the horizon. However it could be done depending how well you persevere. Our plan was to head just about due south and make landfall off Jupiter inlet then hug the coast to Port Everglades / Fort Lauderdale Fla. By now the weather had settled down and warm enough to enjoy the sunshine. Now I knew Cinderella would look in a bathing suit but it was a delight to dress up the boat on deck beside Bimini green.


    Cinderella enjoying the sun

    Our NW wind modified by sun down and backed to the W. The night watches set with Cinderella now qualified standing her own . She had the 00:00 to 03:00. We took three hour watches at night I relieved her at 03:00. We exchanged small talk for half an hour. Then she went below to get some sleep. I had mixed feelings about the conclusion of this passage soon to be over . It was an artificial world of three strangers sailing together. Knowing each other but not really . It seemed intimate talk was still over the horizon for us as we each harbored our deeper thoughts and not daring to probe each other’s inner soul. Should I venture into that world of Cinderella ? What prompted a beautiful woman to set forth with two total strangers on a sea voyage far from rescue of any onslaught of weather, or two men. I know she’s wounded , in recovery. A delicate approach is needed, but do I have the right or skill to sail that course ? I earlier decided only to tack that way by revealing just where I’m from. Maybe Cinderella would pick up on that intimacy and divulge her motive in escaping her world. I almost wished I was 30 years younger. For the most part it was apparent what Irin was about . He needed qualified crew to get to his boat to Ft Lauderdale and we fit the bill . He already related his marriage was shaky but they were working on it. For them maybe absence made the heart grow fonder. The night was beautiful, starry, a low cloud here and there I’d lock the wheel ,step clear of the Bimini and stare sky ward, breathe deeply of the pure sea air and savor this three hour watch and the aloneness it offered pondering ones thoughts and surroundings. The night quiet, like the crew aboard. In our wake phosphorescence sparkled, our ketch rolled gently in rhythm with the mood . Wind, just a delicate whisper in the rigging. Some how I wished it would never end. I could hear Irin stirring below. The sky now softening as the stars went out one by one, extinguished by the sun still below the sea to port, not a vessel in sight just us, still strangers.



    Sunrise at sea

    The sun was still struggling to reach it’s zenith I rocked the sextant to best determine Local Apparent Noon Cinderella held the stopwatch. Mark ! I cried. She wrote the reading on the sextant. and the time of the sight. Irin had a NA aboard and I showed Cinderella how to do a latitude noon sight. We plotted the LOP on the chart and compared it to a reading of the Sat Nav. We were two miles off. Not bad but I guess a better sextant or user could get us closer. For the fun of it I rang eight bells and explained nautical bell time to Cinderella. She went below to make us lunch. A scream rang out It was Cinderella a knife in one hand and the loaf of bread in he other. Irin was at the wheel. I just loafing around. I went below to see if she had cut her self expecting to see blood some where. She held up the bread for me to see. It had a hole or rather a tunnel from one end to the other. It was stored in a small hammock net hanging near the galley. That friggin mouse discovered it and ate his way through from one end to the other. Cinderella was right. We had an unwelcome thieving probably dirty, maybe pregnant beast aboard.. It had to be found and cast overboard or dispatched by some means. Then it occurred to us he might not be alone there could be more. I could see the look of deep concern on Cinderella’s face. It was probably a phobia of her’s something developed from early child hood . What to do ? The welfare of the entire crew was at stake . If the cook is not happy, it will be an unhappy ship. Ketch Ya Later was indeed in deep trouble. Cinderella took the wheel. Irin and I went below and turned the boat insides out . We discovered all sorts of things probably missing from builders or tradesmen long ago. Bobby pins, screw drivers rusted through, congeeled gook, pieces of soggy paper. a cotter pin or two pieces of wire insulation old lifeless rubber bands. a screw and two 3/8" stainless steel nuts with a socket to fit. Now who gave up on that item ? But no mouse . He /she was always one step ahead of his searchers. It looked hopeless. Irin and I thought of a way of fumigating but lacked any potent gas we could con cocked with what we had aboard. There was one hope starve him out but where could he go, not overboard for sure. Cinderella could see we were powerless. Internally I thought she must think “ what a couple of dunces she shipped out with” They can’t catch a mouse” I looked and Irin and he returned the glance. Make all speed for Port Everglades and get a mouse trap , cat, snake, falcon whatever it takes. Cinderella resigned her self to her fate . She would have to put up with a couple of jerks. A mouse defeated them both. I took consolation, mumbling out loud that this tiny creature had defeated all of man kind since the days of Noah. Well a biblical reference did it and broke the doom aboard . We all had a good laugh and tried to get along with this creature and told him /her to stay quiet out of sight and go on a fast from her to tie up time . Then he/she could have permanent liberty in the sunshine state complete with a blessing from the three of us ... including the good ship Ketch Ya Later.

    A ships horn broke the silence. Port Everglades is a busy place. Ships going in and out bound for ports all over the world . Cruise ships, Men O War, Tankers as well as Container ships. We were in the middle of it all. Ketch Ya later and her gallant crew and mascot ( might as well bestow a friendly title) probing our way in straying off channel where we could . Our mission to free one mouse to the delights of this port. The sails were down and covered. Our engine with patched water pump purring away and Cinderella gracing the decks. I imagined many binoculars from high up bridges scanned our decks. Irin skillfully conned the Ketch Ya Later in the various canals to her Fla berth. He backed the engine I jumped on the dock and tied up our home. Our voyage over but never in our minds.



    JD, Cinderella and Irin, Ketch Ya Later behind us ( notice the green Bimini)

    About two weeks later I received in the mail a package from Cinderella. In it was this journal and a tape of the following song Cinderella sent both of us. After the fire aboard my boat I lost their address and all contact with both Irin & Cinderella. Through the power of the internet I was able to reconnect. Irin went on to be a hero by rescuing a party of two off a burning and sinking yacht in the Atlantic. He eventually sold the Ketch Ya Later which went on for more adventures in the Med. and can be Googled by that name. Cinderella sailed with Irin again and now lives in a mountain state.

    Here it is the song she sang for us





    Next Explosion and Fire aboard “Shaula,” she and I burned, a stay in the hospital

    JD
    Last edited by J. Dillon; 06-04-2007 at 02:35 PM.
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  26. #341
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    Thanks JD, that last chapter was wonderful.

  27. #342
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    Very nice
    Thanks for that
    Robbie

  28. #343
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    Sorry for intruding on the thread. Andrew- go for www.weather.com then get the weather map and click on interactive. It is impressive.
    http://www.weather.com/outlook/trave...MapLayer=radar is the full prescription but will also get you the St. Paul weather. Good lick. PM me if you have problems.

  29. #344
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    This is a great read...


    A groan goes out from the crowd.. then the chant MORE MORE MORE

  30. #345
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    There was a bit of frost in the air, Thanksgiving a week away I could hear the wind stirring my winter cover. The memory “Ketch Ya later” and crew still lingering in my mind. It was so cozy I delayed getting out of bed to face the day. Yesterday I applied insulation, covered “Shaula”, winterized the engine, and, tucking in her and me for the coming winter. Now lying here I was thinking cruising southern waters . I had friends in Fla and we had made tentative plans for some sailing in the Bahama’s and the Caribbean

    Well, I’m hngry, time to ooze out of the sleeping bag and get some breakfast going. The calender read. Nov.19th. Better put on a flannel shirt I thought. Fully dressed I got out the sparkler I use to light my propane cooking stove. I pulled the trigger and BOOM! I was engulfed in flames my shirt on fire and flames all about me aboard Shaula. all I could think of was to get out, no heroics like saving valuable papers or things. The possibility of being trapped inside flashed in my mind I didn’t even to reach for the near by fire extinguisher. I stumbled out on the dock, the pain of my burns searing into my consciousness The cover over Shaula was on fire. I remember John who lived on his boat nearby putting the fire out with his extinguisher. I sat on the steeply inclined ramp off the dock to the shore. Looking at my shirt I could see the burnt skin showing through the flame tattered sleeves. My face pulsed with the throb of my heart, hands numb but in tune with the same rhythm. The distance sound of an ambulance reached my ears. I thought my eyes and sight were working. Maybe it’s not so bad. The EMS people arrived coming down the steep ramp to get me, Gurney in hand. The fire aboard seemed to be out thanks to John who heard the explosion and called 911. No sign of the fire company. I was fully conscious . I could see the struggle the EMS people would have taking me up the steep incline, the dock was at low tide. I offered to climb up my self then get on the Gurney . They said OK mumbling “ Thanks that will make it easier for us”. Me too I thought as a miss step would land me in the water at least. The ambulance took off the siren again wailing or was it the engine company finally responding. I heard the EMS people saying “He’ll be needing skin grafts”. .They stuck needles in me and checked out my breathing, listening with stethoscope here and there. In no time I was in near by Stamford CT hospital and the emergency room nurses and doctors looking me over. They bandaged me up I could hardly see out as my whole head was swathed in bandages . My son arrived . He’s a teacher in a near by highschool. Some one all ready had my wallet out and found his number to call as well as taking ID and any medical information I carried. By this time I was in little pain and not remembering things too clearly, probably doped up with morphine or what ever they give you for pain. Then there was a lull. Activity all about as any emergency room had others in distress. I found my self back in another ambulance and on the way to NY Westchester County Medical center burn unit maybe 25 miles away. They had a bed for me there as the nearer Bridgeport CT burn unit was full. There I was under go treatment for 3rd burns to face, hands and arms It proved to be a most painful experience.

    Mulling it over

    I thought to my self . How did this happen? I smelled nothing when I lit my stove . My thinking was propane gas has a detectable odor for just that reason. When this is over I must investigate, go to the boat or what’s left of it to determine the cause of the explosion. The hospital staff were un doing the bandages the EMS had put on to obtain a full evaluation of what course to take.

    Grafts would be necessary but the pain full process of debrising you would be the first item on
    the road to recovery..

    I guess coming into a hospital or maybe this just a one time event but I recall not getting any food until the next day. I was starving . The incident didn’t effect my appetite a bit. I kept telling the nurse to send me something, any thing to eat. I was so tapped up I could just see out of my bandages. . I could just barely open my mouth. I told the nurse I needed to pee. I managed to assume that posture in the bathroom but nothing came out . I told the nurse. She looked worried and after a consultation with colleagues they had a catheter up me so fast it made my head spin. Now the thought of any stranger getting to ones private parts without their consent or approval may seem humiliating or demeaning but the relief it gave proved a blessing . The attending nurse was pretty, shapely but not in the least inhibited. Under different circumstances it might well ... You know what I mean. It was the next day or over 24 hours without food that I got on the “feed em list”. A nurse hand fed me and brushed my teeth.. Due to the amount of drugs given, elimination of body wastes were effected, normal bowel movements ceased. A permanent IV hung from my shoulder and when about to undergo debrising, the nurse would give you an added dose of morphine or some form of pain killer. Then it started . Probably the most painful experience one can have picking off the dead skin with a pair of tweezers. This was done three times a day for three days. My male nurse was a Vietnam vet . He assured me they all scream out when under going this treatment even when I begged for more pain killer he explained they cannot give you more as it might have the effect of shutting down some vital functions. After this my bandages diminished in size some what allowing limited self feeding and grooming . The doctors came by with daily inspections and explained I would have to undergo some surgery and get skin grafts to portions of the hands, wrists and arms. The hair on my head will grow back and face burns heal on their own . “ You were lucky “ one doctor said. and added “You will be receiving hand therapy probably for a year.” I thought to myself “ Yea there are several ways to take that, lucky you’re not dead or more serious burns or unlucky that it happened at all”.

    The precautions in a burn unit sometimes is a joke. Infection is the biggest worry so you have an isolated room surrounded by sterile objects and equipment. Visitors have to scrub up and wear a gown. Some how visiting doctors on rounds would be excluded from this precaution . One day a shrink visited me He produced a card and began asking dumb questions. like “How does it feel”. “ What were you thinking about “. I later got a bill for 500 bucks from him, which I ignored. In a few days I was encouraged to walk around the burn unit. There were two little girls there about 4 years old. Together they had pulled a pot of hot soup from a stove . The handles turned outward some how aroused their curiosity( those with young children take heed ) the contents of the pot falling on them. They were a cheerful pair always wanting to play and they adjusted quickly to the hospital routine. When they spotted the debrising nurse approaching them they cried terribly. They knew what it meant. The staff were especially intent on keeping them amused and happy despite the coldness of the hospital condition when they could. Another man off in the corner was in a tent with 80% burns. I couldn’t even get near him. Not good, I never found out what happened to him. The skin graft operation was still a couple of days away . I had plenty of time to think between visits from friends and relatives. On Thanksgiving day my son brought in the a complete turkey dinner with all the trimmings. We even had some leftovers for the hospital staff.

    Next continued recovery

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  31. #346
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    How did this happen was the most dominant thought. I searched my mind and boat mentally going over every inch of the propane hook up. I did the job myself and had a plumber /heating contractor friend of mine look it over, test it and he gave his complete approval. Not only that I was living with the installation for eight years and it never gave me any cause for concern. Something in the hook up failed was the only conclusion I could come to for now. I had a solenoid switch with remote control in the boat. The tank was in a separate vented compartment in the cockpit . I always shut off the valve on the tank when leaving the boat.


    A complete change of plans

    I also thought about my cruising plans and determined to see more of the inside of the USA coast to coast National parks a top priority . The Eastern seaboard coast line was pretty much visited but the internal US now was the goal. I had all ready rigged up my van with two bunks, lockers, a place to dine and a galley with a “propane stove“. I had roster list of former shipmates addresses and would visit some on the way out to California to see my daughter and other shipmates on the way back. The plan sounded feasible to my mind while living in the burn unit and helped make the hours go by. One day they announced it was time for the skin graft and away I went to the operating room The operation went smoothly only now I had a new wound to nurse . They took two strips of skin from my right thigh and now that region had to be changed daily to ward off any infection. The time went by . One day I got a visit from Bill whom I sailed with to Bermuda before my solo sail. He had a scheme to charter a trawler and do the inside passage to Alaska. Boy I thought that dovetails with my scheme but would I be ready for that in the spring. I showed him my hands bound up and barely useable. Bill’s plan was that several of us would pool our resources to finance the voyage. He and I would be the principal charterers and pick up and drop off others along the way. A dream cruise It didn’t take much convincing on my part to go with the proposition. Later I asked the doctors about it . They said go for it . If you are determined and do the hand therapy you should be OK to go.

    In about two weeks I was almost ready for therapy but first my male nurse had to remove the staples holding the skin graft in place. This was quite bearable and he even allowed me to do it. Then came an introduction to my hand therapist. She would have the final say as to any travel plans depending on how the hand therapy went. She eyed me up, a stout gal of about 45 I’d say, and bulging with muscles I would soon find out she knew how to use them. My first session connived me she was a reincarnated inquisition torturer. My hands were her only concern. With the bandages off and new skin not matured she would bend each finger backwards until I’d cried for mercy. Then she would bend them back a little more all with a big smile on her face . Others in the room were waiting their turn for her therapy. Some recovering in the corner with tears in their eyes. All were not burn patients. One patient cut his had off with a portable circular saw and his therapy had to do with prep for his prosthetic. “Sue” my torturer also took careful measurements for compression gloves . A special glove of slightly elastic material custom fit, designed to keep the healing skin from growing in “wild”. The gloves guided the new skin to the correct feel and fit to grow back normal . They told me without them your hands would be useless as the new skin would draw up tight and unable to do anything with them. My immediate future looked bleak indeed but the thought of a cross country trip , seeing old shipmates and a passage up through the Inside passage to Alaska a warming thought. My therapy at the hospital was a three times a day treatment. Sue looked forward to her “clients” assuring each one that it was for the best. Another patient was from a nearby prison, a young black woman, in shackles wearing an orange jump suit and an armed guard right along side. Her wrists bandaged. I could only guess what she was here for. My son had a bed for me at his house as living aboard Shaula was out of the question. She needed fixing up and the prospect of repairing her was another dimming thought. I’d not put in a claim to my insurance company as I figured my live aboard status might jeopardized when I move back aboard..

    One of the therapy treatments was a machine that looked like a Ferris wheel about 4' or so across each “car” had an implement designed to force the hands to do a number of tasks, like turning nuts, bolts , twisting things as well as pulling and pushing and griping stuff. It was quite a gadget. It recorded the strength of the grip in all of the above maneuvers. One particular one was like pulling on a halyard. The end of the rope needed whipping so I got my son to bring over some whipping twine and fixed that up. Of course Sue was always up to bending your fingers in all directions as well a the wrist and measuring the amount the hands could be bent back at each session as well as the grip of each hand as well. Little by little she and I were making progress. Under neath her rough exterior she had a warm heart . She did what she had to do to get her patients back to normal. I knew that I would be discharged soon, maybe tomorrow. Body functions returning to normal as the medication was slowly withdrawn. But as it turned out the hospital needed my bed, a new burn victim arrived with no bed . They asked if I could arrange to leave in an hour. A few phone calls and I was at my sons house and away from the hospital to continue my recovery in his home. I was anxious to visit Shaula and see how the boat faired.

    Next

    Shaula's recovery

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  32. #347
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    well! Well!
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  33. #348
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    Chuck , What in the heck does "well well " mean.

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  34. #349
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    If I were to shake your hand, would I in reality be grabbing your thigh?

  35. #350
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    Gareth, maybe that's where the term "Shake a leg" came from.

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

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