It’s something we all know. That the more time we have spent with someone, some group, some thing the more likely we are to notice their inherent flaws, imperfections, even shortcomings. The closer our emotional attachment, the more likely we are to accommodate them gracefully. I can attest that the Crew is very, very gracious to this Captain! In these “Dog Days of Summer” on the Chesapeake (under the ‘Heat Dome’)…Mosey On has come under such scrutiny and found needing some work…
Our beautiful stainless steel drawer refrigerator/freezers (2), once the pride of our small ship’s galley – a source of great utility and convenience, have become erratic, finicky, ultimately unreliable. The summer heat dictates, and our tolerance now gone, they must be replaced!
Fresh water (presumably from rain or a boat wash-down) is finding its way into the core decking of our boat-deck. The telltale drips (See associated blog) are colored with the tannin from the soggy wood. There’s a wound that must be cauterized and the cancer cut out. Mosey On is such a pretty boat, who knew?
Then, while we’re considering what else may be imperfect….there are the inevitable nicks in the fiberglass. Some the Captain fairly owns…some entirely mysterious. And other things… but we shouldn’t (can’t afford to) be too picky! Though Mosey’s crew endeavors to be somewhat self-reliant in her maintenance, the skills to set these things right is beyond our abilities.
Not so glamorous…
So Mosey On is in the boatyard to be fitted-out with new reefers, and to fix the Drips and nicks. It will be well worth the investment in a long and happy relationship!
Fixin’ Up To Mosey On…
Aboard Mosey On, we attempt to maintain a status of wet outside, dry within. The source of fluid without is obvious, but Mosey carries stores of fluid within like fuel, potable water, oil, and effluent awaiting pump out. This fact tends to focus my mind on the lowly DRIP.
Some random thoughts on DRIPS:
- Drips can be corrosive (depending on their content) like little lies are to trust.
- Small drips unattended can become torrents. (see above…).
- We tolerate small drips but are moved to act on ‘noisy’ ones.
- Drips are the ‘mothers’ of ice cycles.
- Can anyone accurately quantify a drip?
- Drips of life-saving serum are good.
- Drips of blood can indicate foul play.
- Drips from your car’s oil pan are annoying.
- Drips from a fuel line are dangerous.
- Drips of cooling water through a boats packing gland are necessary.
- Drips can make your nose raw.
- Stopping a drip often results in ‘busted knuckles’.
- Drips seldom get a date.
This listing is, doubtless, incomplete. Please feel free to amend as you see fit.
Chillin’ and nursing my busted knuckles…
It’s the end of June and Mosey On and crew have had a languid, lazy month. Perhaps I should use the less pejorative ‘lacking in ambition’ rather than lazy…We have not, however, been totally idle. We welcomed our five-year-old granddaughter from D.C. aboard as additional crew for a week. You have experience with small characters of 5 years? Ya’ gotta love ‘em!
Now fully crewed-up, we pointed Mosey across the Chesapeake to Cape Charles, an appropriately small adventure in light of the new hand’s experience level. After some wind, some waves and plenty of sunshine we tied-up in the inner harbor across from a cement plant on a hot and dusty afternoon in a town that could have been the setting for “The Last Picture Show”. The crew abandoned ship in search of ice cream. After two days we had pretty much exhausted the adventure opportunities remaining in this once-bustling railroad and ferry terminus. Both are long gone and only a hopeful set of boutiques and pubs line the main street.
Our new crew expressed a yearning for reunification with her mother in the not-too-distant future, so we cast-off to return to the western shore and an anchorage closer to her home ashore should that yearning persist. Mosey On dropped anchor in one of our favorite coves (from previous cruises) and lowered the dink to go exploring. High-diving pelicans, ghostly jelly-fish, high-speed runs in the dink and a French fries w/chicken nuggets lunch did much to restore the mate’s confidence! Card games, fishing, picking-up-after-ourselves pretty much filled our hours. The ‘greenhorn’ stayed her full cruise of five days and was cheerfully reunited with her mom. Mosey’s captain & mate relapsed into our well-deserved “lacking in ambition” mode!
There’s a light rain falling this morning and our cove is tranquility itself.
Moseyin’ On in a day or two….or not.
I recently realized that I had not written a close to this year’s cruise. It was a wonderful adventure for us both. We visited new places, met some fascinating people, and learned more about our vessel and how to care for her systems. We also learned about patience in dealing with mother nature. Our trip from New York was all about biding our time while offshore weather was rough and then pouncing on the next fair weather opportunity to make some progress further south: two overnight legs offshore. Very tiring but no drama. Mosey On is now tied securely in her slip here in River Dunes, NC. We have a significant list of regular maintenance items as well as some larger projects aboard to keep us busy through the winter months. Ship and crew will need this time for all manner of catch-up. Although Mosey On is tied to her dock, Colleen and I have continued to travel. Colleen has been out to Oregon to see her family there, while I went to Boston to see our son and his family. Last week we both were in DC to see our daughter and her family and Saturday we leave again for our Thanksgiving family gathering in Chicago. And in early December, we have a trip planned to Florida and friends to see along the way.
These connections with family and friends are essential to us. While we cheerfully escape the heat and humidity of a North Carolina summer and idyll away the summer in Downeast Maine, we do miss the connections. It’s a downside of the ‘cruising life style’….Which is why we have chosen to spend at least part of the year ashore. We live to play catch-up…
In January, I’ve hopes of getting after those boat chores….
As of this writing, Mosey On and crew have had a marvelous trip back down from Maine. Sunny days and smooth waters crossing the Gulf of Maine, Massachusetts Bay, the infamous Buzzards Bay, and down Long Island Sound, Along the way, we’ve been able to visit with family and friends, dine in old hang-outs and discover some great new ones. We took-in the bazaar that is the Newport Boat Show then cruised up the river to see Bristol, RI and sit out a strong Northerly in their sheltered harbor. Bristol was home to Nathaniel Herreschoff, the designer of many of what we’ve come to call classic yachts of America’s ‘gilded age’. His old factory is now a fantastic museum displaying not only his work, but the genesis of the America’s Cup boats from their earliest days to the present. For a fancier of beautiful boats, this was close to Nirvana.
Schooner “Brilliant” off Mystic Seaport
The weather did not provide a sufficient window for an offshore passage from Block Island to Cape May (the reverse of the route we had taken Northbound), so we adjusted our routing to proceed down Long Island Sound. Mystic Seaport beckoned and we indulged ourselves in their marvelous exhibits. Their centerpiece, the Charles W. Morgan, is the last whaling ship in existence. I saw her there when I was a kid in 1964. At that time, she was sitting on a gravel pile in the water – a static historic relic. I remember being fascinated by the complexity of the ropes and spars of her rigging. I still have a photo of just that rigging taken with my Kodak Brownie camera. In an extraordinary effort of privately funded preservation, she has been fully restored to Coast Guard standards for a commercial sailing vessel! They have wonderful video of her sailing with the migrating whales along Stellwagen Bank in Massachusetts Bay. While the slaughter of whales would sicken my 21st century sensibilities, I can only marvel at the skills and industry of the shipyards that built and maintained the whaling fleets 165 years ago.
On Sunday evening, we pulled into Port Washington, a favorite spot of ours on the western end of Long Island just short of the passage through New York City. Mosey’s crew enjoys the uncrowded anchorage, good eateries, and grocery right on the harbor front to re-provision. But most importantly, it seems to be the best place we can find to await and ride-out the approach of currently nasty weather off the Jersey shore to be followed late week by Tropical Storm Joaquin (we hope not a hurricane). Not a good time to mosey off-shore. We are advised by our weather folks that we ‘hunker down’ until the 5th – “at the earliest”! [Note: there was a short window of opportunity to make a run for it down the Jersey coast on Monday and in port by Tuesday mid-day. As luck would have it, world affairs and associated security concerns forced the Coast Guard to close the East River through New York opposite the U.N. Such are the times…] But we are not alone. Literally hundreds of cruising boats are ‘bottled up’ in protected ports in SE New England and Long Island Sound waiting on a good window to continue their annual migration south to Norfolk and beyond at this turn of the seasons. We will be here at least a week. So much for schedules. They are, indeed, the most useless thing aboard!
Moseyin’ On Hold
The local folk attested to it and now we have witnessed what a delight cruising Maine’s coast in September can be. The winds and waves have clearly picked-up offshore this week with gusty fronts working their way up toward Nova Scotia. But behind the myriad islands, in the coves dotting the coast and up the tidal rivers it has been truly delightful. We experience the same scenery, but without searching to find room to anchor. It would seem that recreational boating is finished here after the Labor Day weekend. It just isn’t done…it seems we “didn’t get the memo”! As long as we have food & drink in the ship’s stores…and there’s the rub.
Grocery stores, as most of you know them, simply don’t exist in the fishing villages that dot Maine’s coast and islands. Of course they exist, but are always located out near the highway (10 minutes by pick-up truck ). On the other hand, raw lobsters can be had (literally) anywhere and homemade blueberry pies baked that morning. But if you need some butter (to melt), corn on the cob, red potatoes, and cold beer to make a proper dinner of ’em, they’re not to be had…unless you’ve a friend with a pickup truck! To be fair, the big cities of Bar Harbor, Belfast, and Rockland have small markets within walking distance of their docks….but even in these cities the supermarket is ‘out near the highway’. It’s a story of economics and local markets everywhere, not just the towns and villages of Downeast Maine. So to expand our diet beyond a lobsta’ and blueberry pie regimine, Colleen insists that we periodically plan a ‘major provisioning’ to acquire vegatables, dairy, and the like….even non-blueberry fruit (to prevent scurvy, I presume). So we have had to add “grocery store” as a criteria for picking our anchorages enroute back home to North Carolina. I suspect it was ever thus. Note: Before setting-off, adequate stores of rum were seen to by the Captain for an extended voyage.
All of which ties in to today’s mini-adventure. We’ve found a beautiful and totally secure anchorage for Mosey On in a cove quite aptly named The Basin a short way up the New Meadows River. It’s reported to be a rough day offshore…so we’ll sit here and enjoy our surroundings. But for a treat, we left Mosey On at anchor, and hopped in the dinghy for a quick ride across the river to the village of Cundy’s Harbor and their highly reputed lunch counter cum hardware store. Lobster rolls and pie a la mode were on my mind! We couldn’t identify this gastronomic oasis from the water, so we pulled alongside a lobster boat refueling at the local gas dock. “Can you point us toward Holbrook’s?…We hear it’s good food?” we asked. “ayeah…(Maine for ‘yes’)…but it closed Tuesday.” “Was there anywhere else to eat?” we presssed. “Ayeah…pizza or hotdogs at the gas dock…” For the “full Maine experience” we split the last available piece of pizza and a hotdog off that roller machine…
Maine is as beautiful as ever this September!….and the tourists are gone, and Holbrooks of Cundy’s Harbor has closed for the season. That pretty much sums it up!
Moseyin’ On…in search of provisions
A good friend of ours, when talking about calling in a contractor to effect some ‘minor’ repair, describes that moment when (after peeling away however many layers to get at the problem) they say something to the effect that its a bigger problem than originally thought (hoped). Not a ploy or swindle, it’s usually just an honest assesment of the mess they’d found. It’s not gender-specific….The ‘Oh, Mister…’ is also in common use. We’ve all been there: the ‘small water leak’…somewhere, the electrical outlet that ‘doesn’t work’, the ‘funny noise’ from the furnace. Such a call from your mechanic is almost expected with today’s cars. We all know this, and learn to live with it.
And of course, so it is aboard Mosey On. I’ve written how we prefer to anchor out on our own ‘hook and chain’ as opposed to taking a mooring ball or tieing to a dock for the night. And we’ve done a lot of that this summer. But as we’ve cruised Maine’s coast, the anchor windlass (‘winch’ to landlubbers) has grown progressively noisy and its clutch more prone to slipping. I would tighten the clamping mechanism a bit and the slipping would stop so we could raise the anchor and its lengthy chain rode. We were having to do this more and more often. I knew there was ‘a little problem’ when a small metal clip fell out of the mechanism. After that, the anchor could no longer be raised by normal means. No trivial matter, our main anchor weighs 90 lbs. plus the weight of the chain (approx. 4 lbs/ft) between the deck and the bottom (typically 20′).
Once safely stowed back aboard, it was clear that another anchoring was not an option. As parts for this windlass are not readily available, I knew we would have to find a boatyard with ‘sources’. Kinda’ like the parts ‘jobber’ that only your favorite mechanic knows about.
Mosey On at Front Street Shipyard
Which has brought us to the nifty, small town of Belfast, ME and a boatyard with a reputation for quality work. As their mechanic set to work disassembling the mechanism to replace the broken part I’d identified, we had our first ‘Oh Captain…’ [more nautically appropriate & gender neutral]. More little parts were missing than just that metal clip. Soooo… the requisite parts were tracked-down, ordered and delivered. Today he would assemble them and we’d be on our way. You gotta’ know it doesn’t end this way…With the new parts neatly assembled in accordance with the manufacturer’s manual, one major part would no longer fit! ‘Oh Captain…!’
Not Moseyin’ On Just Yet