LINKS FOR THE YEAR 2000
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This is the log for the week ending November 5, 2000 By APW
It is Saturday and we are motoring in total calm, partly sunny weather. We are sixth, in a long procession of yachts, heading south down the Intracoastal Waterway. Iwalani was not built for these conditions, but seems to be adapting well. Her seven-foot draft has limited the places we can visit, but knock on wood, we haven't touched bottom yet. (Whoops!! I guess I didn't knock loud enough, more to come later.)
Phil is down below with the TV going, baking bread- the total picture of domesticity. It is finally warm enough that the winter hats and gloves have all come off. They are washed and are now hanging by clothespins along the lifelines waiting to be, hopefully, placed in bags for long-term storage; maybe to re-appear somewhere near Tasmania or New Zealand, if we make it that far.
At the beginning of the week we continued sailing down the Chesapeake, with moderate NW winds. It was still cold, but nowhere near like the conditions everyone in the Gulf of Maine was experiencing. The Chesapeake seems like such a fragile environment. It is a huge estuary- or fish nursery, supplying ninety percent of the striped bass that eventually make it to Maine waters. Ninety percent. That is an awful lot. Fortunately, it seems that the Marine resources Depts. are trying their best to enact and enforce legislation to protect this fragile environment. I have been reading the book "Beautiful Swimmers" by, William Warner, which Phil has been plugging for years; about the life cycle of the blue claw crab-, it actually is a very good book and did win a Pulitzer Prize. I was surprised that the Chesapeake wasn't more rural. We missed quite a bit of the eastern shore- since the average depth on that side is no more than five feet, where I am told that time has reversed itself by twenty years... I can only hope Mac Mansions which seem to be the bane of suburban civilization, haven't found their way over there. So many huge cities- Baltimore, Annapolis, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Norfolk, to name a few- all built on rivers, eventually drain into the Chesapeake. It is amazing that the Chesapeake has survived at all. We in Maine would be wise to keep an eye on the conservation policies to our South, since they do have an impact on our own fisheries. On the TV they are addressing the problems created by the huge tankers that cruise up the Chesapeake and Delaware rivers from far away ports. These huge ships use water collected from their starting ports as ballast, which they discharge as soon as they get inside protected waters. The water ballast contains bacteria and viruses, which are already, killing off the oyster bed substrate. Who knows what other diseases and organisms are being discharged?
We sighted our first pelican, about twenty miles north of Norfolk. Norfolk itself had much less shipping traffic than I had pictured in my imagination. It was still a little nerve wracking, since we arrived on the edge of darkness. We anchored in an area called Hampton flats and the following morning used our cell phone to decide which intracoastal route to take- The Dismal Swamp, or the Norfolk cut. Unfortunately, the army corps of engineers said that a boat with 6 1/2-foot draft made it through, but another seven footer had to turn back. Once again the more picturesque route had to be avoided because we are constrained by our draft. Already, we are thinking about "the next boat" She will be a steel barge, perhaps a sailing barge, with tabernacle mast and leeboards- but shoal draft- drawing two feet, no more. When we are old and feeble, this mechanized behemoth will allow us to explore the inland waterways, rivers and canals... (poor Phil, he will never get any rest.)
Motoring through Norfolk, we passed many Navy ships tied to their slips. We didn't recognize any bath-built Aegis destroyers. The "Cole" arrived a few days later. "A ship on a ship" which blew Phil away. It completely befuddled his definition of a ship- "you can ship a boat on a ship, but you can't ship a ship on a ship" We saw pictures of the Aegis destroyer hole up, on a ship, on the television, but didn't get to see it in person. Norfolk's waterfront appears to be totally revitalized. It looks like an interesting place to hang around, rather than rush right through like we did. Perhaps another time. We motored on, our fishing lines still following-practically the whole way from Maine-and I still haven't caught a single fish. I lost my crab trap in the Potomac-, which was almost as bad as leaving my heart in San Francisco. I was VERY depressed afterward- even though I have never caught a crab. I know I shouldn't complain, we have plenty of canned food on board, but I am totally sick of pork, which is the easiest meat to deal with on a boat. Canned hams, pepperoni, bacon and the packaged marinated pork roasts in plastic bags all can last for weeks in the average boat. Chicken, beef, lamb and fish don't come in as many storable forms. Maybe when we get to the gulf stream again, I will go through the same aversion to meat, but right now Phil and I dream about fresh fish sushi, or drippy juicy burgers... we finally met up with the latter, in a place called "Hodads" on Halloween night. After passing through the "Great Bridge Lock", Iwalani's first lock-good practice for us, but kind of a joke, as we couldn't tell if we had gone up or down, (with the drought there was no change in water level and it hardly warranted a lock). We tied up to trees lining the canal side; faintly reminiscent of barging in the English canals. We put a candle in the ceramic pumpkin, courtesy of my sister-in-law Leo, placed the lit pumpkin on the "escargot" to ward off evil Halloween spirits and headed off in search of red meat- the modern day version of American buffalo hunters. Following our noses, we managed to track down several pina coladas, complete with a dollop of fluffy whipped cream, (like there wasn't enough calories already in the glass), and loaded dripping, juicy burgers (including crab meat); so much saturated fat, that my chilomicrons and pancreas were hollering for relief. Totally delicious! Following this meal, we didn't eat again for twenty-four hours- now that's a burger!!
Wildlife along the canal has been pretty limited-some eagles, turkey vultures, herons and egrets. My mother had warned me about one prevalent type of "wildlife"- the motor boat captain. We had our first go round with a real yahoo, just outside of Norfolk. I was lollygagging along, amazed at how clean the water seemed, relatively speaking. Sand along the canal, was pristine white, no different from the Bahamas, which was unexpected since we were just outside the most industrial fringes of Norfolk. One would think there would have been oily black water staining the banks with trash and debris floating around hung up in the brush etc.- not the case at all. In fact much to our surprise, a bottle nosed dolphin began cavorting around the boat. Our retched bottom paint (Interlux CSC Micron -green) has allowed so much slime and water flora to grow, that we must be like a floating coral reef, supporting thousands of tiny fish, why else are we so attractive to dolphins? Anyway, while we were idling back and forth in the canal, waiting for a swing bridge to open, a guy on the radio blurted out to the bridge tender that he had had enough of waiting and wanted the bridge opened-NOW! The bridge tender said, "Nope, not until some of the sailboats that were still approaching, arrived at the bridge." The fellow on the radio was in a slick bright yellow motor boat which looked like a pumpkin seed on steroids, named "Jersey Girl"; and you could tell by the way he revved his engine, that he wasn't too pleased with this information. Five minutes later the bridge opened and he was off like a bullet, only to be stopped by the next closed bridge. In the waterway, from mile 0 to about mile 75, there are quite a few older swing, or bascule bridges. A boat is really only as fast as the slowest boat in the procession, he didn't quite get that. At the next bridge he demanded another opening and got the same reply. This time he said "why bother waiting for the slower sailboats, if they can't make it, just close the bridge on them." Whewee, he must have thought he was the only one with his radio on- the airwaves were not fit for public broadcasting after that remark.
For over a week we have had NW winds, which even though we have been motoring, have helped to push us along with the staysail up. We could have put the mainsail up and motorsailed like a few other boats, but the waterway has many twists and bends and the sail would have gybed at each turn, which on Iwalani isn't the easiest or smartest thing to do. We are like a long procession of geese, following one another south. When people run aground, everyone politely averts their eyes and continues on. The ground is so soft that few people can get in danger, as a result Sea tow and boat US tow make a brisk business. Late one sunny afternoon we were reading and steering in the bow with the remote control, when we were passed by a rather ordinary looking plastic sailboat, with two men on board. They looked like they were having a rather jolly time, hoisting beer and conversing with us as the went by. Ordinarily, when a boat passes, we wave and continue with what we are doing, these guys were quite verbose and wanted a "cocktail party conversation". After they passed, I watched as they veered two the left and then to the right, unable to steer the arrow straight course that the army corps of engineers makes with their dug ditches. They ran aground a couple of times, but seemed to get off backing up full throttle. Even with their meanderings, they managed to keep well ahead of Iwalani. Nightfall began approaching and after passing under a tall fixed bridge, I saw the fellows off to the right in a spot on the chart with three feet of water. This time they looked like they were really stuck. Phil was down below but managed to pop up. He looked back at the bridge we had just gone under and noticed that the lights were reversed. I had been studying the chart for quite some time, trying to figure out why the green beacons seemed to have swapped places with the reds. Obviously, it had confused the two fellows too. I am most jealous of Phil's ability to observe, analyze and process information in seconds flat. Sometimes I wish that I could yell at the guidance councilor that in junior high, had steered him away from the aerospace industry; he would have made one heck of an astronaut, but then again, I probably would never have met him. Back to the story at hand, we decided to help these fellows, since we were practically friends after our short conversation when they had passed us. We quickly launched the dinghy, and Phil motored over to help kedge them off, while I continued on to "ten foot spot" we had selected as an anchorage. I anchored the boat and began making chicken pot pie. After a couple of hours, Phil arrived back at the boat with an invitation to join the owner of the boat in Charleston SC for dinner. Maybe we will take him up on the offer.
Continuing the procession Southward, we anchored at mile 153, my favorite spot in North Carolina, opposite Goose Creek Island. I liked it because it was so quiet. No fighter jocks, taking the top of Iwalani's mast off with their airborne souped up sports jets, which pass so low over head, that you don't hear them until they have gone beyond the horizon, leaving a huge sonic roar in their wake. No other boats, no highways, nothing but complete stillness. It was so quiet I could hear the light bulbs flashing on an antenna tower one-mile away.
This brings me back to Saturday, where you may recall, I started. Phil was down below, I was quietly typing away, occasionally looking up to make sure Iwalani was still on course, following the long procession southward. Maybe I was distracted by the now delicious smell of bread baking, (it being past lunch-time and I was hungry), maybe I was distracted by the pretty older yellow house on the shore; anyway, I definitely wasn't paying attention to the chart like I should have been; since I was following the motor boats ahead of me. Boink. I felt a shudder in the rigging. By this time Phil was on deck working on the ratlines, maybe he did that shudder. Nope. Boink again. I looked at the depth sounder-4.5feet! Which if you may re-call is actually 7.5 feet. "Oh no" I cried, "We are running aground!" My instinct was to shut off the self steering so I could get control of the tiller, and using our forward momentum swing Iwalani to the right, back to the red beacon and channel which I had strayed off of. "WHAT?" Phil cried. Running Iwalani aground was completely foreign to him. "WHAT?" again. "STOP THE BOAT! WHAT ARE YOU CRAZY! STOP THE BOAT" His normally bright blue eyes had taken on that electric color that can curdle milk. For the first time in a long time, I felt sort of seasick.
We launched the dinghy and since it was my doing I had to row the anchor out. First, I had to use the boat hook to sound around Iwalani, looking for the deeper water. My instincts and the chart were right, the deeper water lay to the right. Using the lighter 45lb anchor we tied a piece of clothesline through the trip line eye of the anchor and tied the clothesline to the thwart of the dinghy. The anchor hung about two feet off the stern of the dinghy. This sacrificial line, I would cut with my knife when I got far enough away. I began rowing. And rowing. And rowing. Still, I was only about ten feet from Iwalani's bow. Suddenly I could hear puff, puff sounds behind me- the cavalry exhaling. I turned around to look. It was a school of bottle nosed dolphins heading right for us, their dorsal fins cutting the water like dancing butter knives. "Don't get too excited," Phil said, "They are only here because you stirred up the bottom with the keel of our boat." But how could you not admire them? They swam in pairs and in triplets, breaking the water in staggered formation or simultaneously. Flipping and slapping the water with a smack, with their powerful tails. If only I could talk them into lining up on the shallow side and using their heads, push us to deeper water. Meanwhile don't forget I am still rowing. In place, like a crazed idiot at the gym on an exercise boat. Then all of a sudden one of the dolphins jumped out of the water like he was going through a hoop at sea world. I stopped rowing at that point. "Wasn't that neat?" I asked Phil. "Keep rowing" he replied. After ten minutes of penance, Phil decided I had had enough and swapped places with me. He couldn't get much further, muttering the whole time under his breath "I've never been so embarrassed, I've never been so embarrassed". After a few seconds of this approach, we loaded the rest of the chain into the dinghy, put Iwalani in gear so she couldn't drift into more shallow water, and with him rowing and me in the stern of the dinghy, I paid the chain out of the dinghy like a cable layer in the Atlantic. We cut the sacrificial line to the anchor, once we got to the end of the chain and the anchor plunked neatly down to the bottom of the channel. Then we climbed back on the boat, stepped on the windlass button and pulled Iwalani to freedom. All told, we wasted about an hour, but were treated to a better dolphin show than you could have seen at any Sea World.
That night we arrived at Beaufort (Sounds like Toe-fort) NC in the dark much to Phil's annoyance and had the nerve wracking experience of coming into a tricky unknown city in the dark. Phil steered and I shown the spotlight on the red beacons as we picked our way up the channel. Unfortunately, there are mostly red beacons and after I had to hear the lecture from Phil about not cutting corners, but going right up to each mark, he demonstrated the exact method when- BOINK, we ran aground again. Right in between two red beacons. Phil had gone to them in a straight line, but this time they marked a curve we should have been following. Iwalani had had enough of this land stuff and like a beaten dog heading for home, her bow, caught by the out going tide, swung right around back into the channel, heading for the open ocean. How lucky can you get? I got on the radio and received better instructions. We tried it again and no sooner got the anchor part way down, when we were visited by the son of one of the workers at Robinhood Marine.
We have gotten the hint from Iwalani that this ditch stuff is okay, for short periods, but enough is enough, we will be heading out on the open ocean tomorrow, bound for Beaufort (sounds like Few-fert) SC. APW
Log for the week of Nov 12, 2000 by PS
On Sunday night, Nov. 5th, we spoke with Herb Hilgenberg about the weather window for the trip from Beaufort, NC to Beaufort, SC, ( Where Amy's parents were spending the winter) outside along the coast. The wind was northeast and he predicted that by Tuesday night it would be southerly. After spending less than 24 hours in Beaufort, NC we decided to sail down to Charleston , SC in hopes of beating the wind change. I was very nervous about running aground again, on an out going tide, in the dark, but figured that I had a better idea where the deep water was then when we came in. We got out to sea without incident. I plotted our course to Beaufort, SC in case we decided to bypass Charleston. By the time I was finished, Amy had us at the last entrance buoy. We were motoring at the time and our predicted arrival at Charleston was Tuesday morning. I took the 8pm to midnight watch while Amy tried to get some sleep in the forward double berth.
At midnight Amy took the conn and it was my turn to rest. ( I've been reading Tom Clancy novels hence the reference to "Conn") Rest was really all I could do. Sleep wasn't in the picture for me. I guess I should have tried the pilot berth. The motion got gradually worse. I think it was because the water was so shallow. The entire trip to Charleston we were never in more then 100 feet of water. When I took my watch at 4am the wind had increased enough to put up sail and give the Westerbeke a rest. I didn't bother getting Amy up, as putting up the sails in light conditions is a one-person job. It seems that more often than not I get the watch under sail. It might seem lucky to you, but I think I would much rather be the one off watch. Listening to the sounds of a boat under sail alone seems a better atmosphere to get some rest, than listening to the drone of the diesel.At 7am three white sided dolphins joined us. They spent most of their time under the bow, inches away from getting run over, or so it seemed. Amy still had an hour to go before her watch, but I decided to wake her so we could share the experience. Why these dolphins would want to spend their time under our bow is a mystery. The ocean is a big place. They could have been spending their time doing anything. We watched them as they swam with us, first under the bowsprit, then darting in a seemingly impossible direction at incredible speeds. We were fascinated.
As some of you may know, Amy has been dragging a fishing line behind Iwalani since we left Georgetown, covering a few thousand miles, and has yet to catch a fish. Well, that all changed. During her watch she happened to notice the chart said we were sailing over some fishing grounds. All of a sudden there was an unfamiliar sound. Zzzzzzzzzz. It was the fishing reel announcing that she had caught something. She yells to me "What do I do? What do I do?" I said "Set the hook and stop the boat" (We were motoring at the time) The reel almost unwound all it's line before she got things under control. I haven't seen her this excited in a long time. No sooner was the fish aboard, it was a small tuna, when she had the knife out asking me how to clean it. I showed her how to fillet off the meat and her dream of fresh sushi became a reality. She has been talking about living a Robinson Crusoe lifestyle all summer. Guess she was getting tired of canned everything. That night we all feasted on this gift from the sea.
Tuesday morning, on the approach to Charleston, the same dolphins paid us another visit. We could tell by their markings. They didn't follow us into the harbor. I guess they don't mix with the bottle nose dolphins there. Hopefully they found another boat to follow. I wish I could read their minds and find out what possessed them to follow us for hundreds of miles.
We had been corresponding with Amy's dad by e-mail for a rendezvous at the Charleston Marina. He wanted to join us for the passage to Beaufort, SC. After dropping anchor and taking a well-needed nap, Amy and I went ashore and picked him up. After settling him in, I went to visit an interesting steel schooner anchored nearby. It turned out that they had just installed a used self-steering gear and weren't sure how it worked. Having researched and designed the self-steering on Iwalani, I was able to explain what they had. They were very grateful. As there were only two crew, they really looked forward to getting away from staring at a compass and steering for their entire watch.
The trip to Beaufort was a nerve wracking, two-day trip. Seven feet is just too much draft for the ditch. We managed to arrive without touching bottom, which was a miracle.
Friday saw us at the local Mailbox etc. We had to send back the Spectra water maker pump. Despite the application of silicon spray it still squeaked. We kind of shook up the staff because we were also carrying our outboard gas can, which they thought we were trying to mail! When they asked how much the pump was worth, we said $4,000. I think that bothered them more then the gas can. It took three of them 30 minutes to box it up for shipment. They were not taking any chances about having it get damaged on the way to California. $200 later it was on its way. Friday night I spent a few hours trying to get on the Internet to update the log. I finally got it updated using a credit card call to our provider in Bath, Maine. Expensive, but worth it. I feel bad about not getting it posted every week. Hundreds of people look forward to reading it. I worked on the problem of getting onto Amy's fathers Internet account most of the weekend. I kept getting "User Logon" windows, which I couldn't seem to get past. I had never seen them before and they were also causing problems with other programs. Just by accident I located some information in the Windows Help file. My son says that if you need to use the Windows Help file you are really in trouble, (He's a MAC user) inferring that it's really not much help. Actually, he is right, I have never been helped with any of my Windows problems using the Help file until now. I solved the problem by locating the .pwl files and deleting them. Once I restarted the system, new files were created and my problem was solved. Anyhow, it's time to get this posted. Thank you for your patience. In the future, if we are at sea, we will post a short log from the boat and add the long version to the archives when we reach port. PS
Log for the week ending Sunday, November 18, 2000, by APW
We are still anchored in front of downtown Beaufort SC, just a short walk from my parents house on the point, where we have been eating lunch and dinner and giving the washer, drier and TV remote control a good workout. I have never before seen a TV with over 85 working channels. Just a few doors down is the best chocolate store in the world. How easy it would be, to become a bon-bon popping, channel hopping TV Trivia queen.
It is cold, windy and raining. The boat is healed over ever so slightly, even at anchor. The wind generator is humming and putting out heat in the resistors, since the batteries aren't very low. Stew and I are sitting huddled next to the wood stove. We have burnt up almost one whole L.L.Bean bag of cut up drift wood- a one bag day. It is twenty six degrees below normal. Phil has been in bed all day with a fever and abdominal cramps. Yes, lower right quadrant. I am giving him no meds, because off to our South is a very good hospital where we shall go if he doesn't improve. He is not as sick as he was off Georges' Bank, where I had to blast him with the medium sized cannonballs kept in my medical arsenal. I can feel a firm loop of bowel which he doesn't "react to" when palpated. By react, I mean, try and bite my hand off like a painful beagle. He says it hurts, but I can still palpate it. Husbands don't make very good patients and wives probably make lousy nurses. My mother had the stomach flu yesterday, so that is probably all it is. But, if it does turn into appendicitis, this is the best place to be.
My parents left today to return to Vermont for Thanksgiving and Christmas, which they will be spending with the rest of my siblings. Before they left I got "The Lecture" from my mother. The kind that always begins with "I know you won't listen to any advice from your mother, but... "She went on to say that she wishes Phil and I would abandon our plans to sail around the world by ourselves, she wants us to stay in the Caribbean and return to Maine in the summer. It is tempting but... I still really want to get to at least, Sydney Australia- "There are airplanes, you know" she said; yes, Ma, but…if all of histories organisms listened to their mothers we would all still be swimming in the primordial soup. "Land? Are you nuts? Why would you want to get out of this goo and be dry? Listen to your amoeba-mother."
We probably will take on some crew members for the longer passages. We came close to getting Mike Rowland to accompany us for two weeks after Thanksgiving. But a scheduling conflict came up for him. That is the main problem with flying in temporary crew members. Most people have jobs and limited vacation time, which can lead to the deadly disease of "get-there-itis"
We've gotten the ball rolling to start our publishing company. Part of the reason for doing it now, is that we can treat the web page as business, which we hope will legitimatize what we are doing. I am seeing more and more decrepit "live-aboard" boats, which at the risk of sounding like a snob, scare me into avoiding the no work, hard drinking lifestyle, that so many others fall victim to. As much as I balked at first, when Phil suggested we keep a weekly log, while the entries may be boring to some, they have actually been handy for us. Phil was having trouble with my computer again and I told him I was sure he had written how he fixed it in one of the logs, sure enough, he found the information he was looking for and the problem was solved.
We also bought some new software for our new Publishing business- Adobe Photoshop, Acrobat and a CD writer, from my buddy Gabriel at Zones.com. We wanted a CD writer so we could put FTP Voyager (the program Phil needs to update the web page) on the various computers we find in ports. People have no idea of the nightmare Phil sometimes goes through to get the web page up-dated in a timely fashion. FTP voyager is too big for a floppy and a zip disc is to hard to work with on someone else's computer, so carrying the program into a library in a tiny little CD case seemed ideal. We had wanted a Hewlet- Packard CD writer, but Gabriel talked me into a !Que! brand. For those of you who don't know Spanish, that means What! Which pretty much should have been a heads up for me from the start. Why would anyone name their product a what!? No one's ever heard of a what!... with good reason. Phil spent the better part of two and a half days (and nights) trying to load the !What! program onto Arnold (My computer) with no success. Finally, after many calls to tech support at Zones, including the final call when the tech couldn't stop laughing after I told him what! we had bought; and many calls to !Que! tech support, which were never returned; Gabriel at Zones agreed to take it back even though it was over the 14 day limit and replace it with an HP, which he overnighted to us with no shipping fees. The HP arrived from California the next morning and after 10 minutes Phil had it up and running. I packed up the What! and mailed it off via Airborn Express. The next day my parents told me a package had arrived- we had hoped it was the Clark pump for the Spectra watermaker, which was shipped off to California getting its squeal fixed and an upgrade-no such luck. It was the box containing the !Que!, returned once again to haunt us. Evidently the folks at Airborn read the wrong label; after several phone calls and profuse apologies the same Airborn lady returned once again and off it went, hopefully for good.
While the Watermaker was off getting its up-grade, my mother sprang for an up-grade for me a- "day of beauty" This included a manicure, facial, hair-do and massage. I must have looked like a wreck when I arrived in South Carolina. But after a full buff and polish, I felt like a million bucks. I had never had a manicure and I can't remember the last time I had someone other than Phil, do my hair. It was a real treat and I am convinced that if men got facials, there would be no world wars.
While I was off getting scraped and puttied, Phil was helping my poor father deal with his motor boat- "Creeker". Dad had written the Marina at Dataw Island, with a work order list and a launch date so he would be able to use his boat for the short time he was down here. Before our arrival, my Dad took Creeker out for a spin, only to break down in a puff of smoke, not far from the marina. The water pump was shot and so was the impeller, fortunately the engine was intact. Phil and I became bystanders in a play of professional ineptitude. We finally couldn't stand it any longer and ordered an impeller from Hamilton Marine in Searsport Maine, for my Dad; which arrived the next day, much to the amazement of the marina, as it was both cheaper and better quality than their replacement. Creeker was relaunched, supposedly running like a top and Phil and my Dad set out to bring it around to the Marina at Lady's Island. When Phil got on Creeker he noticed it was sinking- the marina hadn't even bothered to make sure the bilge pump was turned on, before they left for coffee immediately after the launching. The source of water was coming from the exhaust hose and elbow. Creeker was pulled out once again. We are now sending the elbow off to Steele and Marshall in Thomaston Me, the same place that fabricated our exhaust elbow, because the fabricators down here, said the 3 inch pipe alone, would cost $500. Hopefully Creeker will be running in January when my Dad returns.
I decided it was time to finish off our companionway ladder. We had originally planned on making a new one last summer out of Southern yellow pine, but we used all the wood we had and couldn't get anymore at John Morse's mill in Bath.
We brought the ladder to my parent's house for sanding and painting. I picked out the only pinky- maroon color I could find on the color chart, which we both agreed would be a nice contrast and wouldn't make us too sea sick. By the time I was done the ladder looked like a psychedelic relic from the seventies, I tried toning it down with the addition of brown, white and blue pigment, only to turn it into an even uglier color. "This was your intention all along" was Phil's response when he saw the new and 'improved' ladder, "I am now forced into making a new ladder." It is fortunate that we are in Southern Yellow Pine Country. We phoned around to several building supply centers, but no one had non-pressure treated Southern Yellow Pine. We finally found a lumberyard in Savannah called T.H. Geary, that had plenty of yellow pine. We borrowed my parents van and headed to Savannah, which is one of my most favorite cities in the U.S. Even in the ghettos of Savannah, the architecture is great. With all the huge live oaks covered with Spanish moss and squares laid out all over the city, you never really feel like you are in a city, even though there may be a huge industrial factory spewing stinky smog just a half mile away.
At Geary's we found the pine we needed. I think Southern yellow pine is one of the most beautiful woods created. Iwalani is made solely from native north American lumber, I didn't want even a teak napkin holder on her. Frank at Geary's explained that yellow pine is the only wood in the world that will accept the arsenic bath that leads to "pressure treated". It seems like a crime to take such a pretty wood and poison it with arsenic, but I must admit I have used pressure treated wood myself for some outdoor projects. We ended up spending less money on the wood for the new ladder, including the gas to get to Savannah, than I spent on paint for the old one. Phil had it made in a couple of hours and it is up to me to varnish it in between rain laden cold fronts. The pink/purple ladder will reside in my mothers garden in Beaufort, as a "vertical garden element".
The patient seems better. He is eating some Cream of Wheat, and can actually walk and talk; but we are going to get him to a gastro-enterologist before we leave here. I really don't want any repeats of our nightmare episode off George's Bank, even though I run through the procedure of doing an appendectomy on Iwalani's dining table in my mind, like a female Walter Mitty, I really would prefer not having to do it in real life. APW
Log for the week of Nov 26, 2000 by PS Beaufort, SC
Well as you may have read in the previous log, I was pretty sick over last Sunday. Monday was a washout for me. Amy spent the day feeding the wood stove and locating a gastroenteroligist. She was able to make an appointment for me on Tuesday afternoon. Of course by then I was feeling better. After a brief but thorough visit it was decided that I would get a few blood tests and have a CT scan (high tech x-ray). Well I really don't like having blood drawn. I told this to the nurse. Big mistake! She proceeded to stick a needle in my left arm, but pushed through the vein and out the other side. Besides hurting quite a bit, she wasn't getting any blood. Aggg. "Looks like you will have to go down to the lab" she said. Darn, I wasn't going to get out of this. Down at the lab I explained that I had already been stuck in the left arm once, so they went for my right arm. No problem this time. A follow-up visit was scheduled for Monday. I was to have my CT scan on Wednesday at noon, which meant that I couldn't eat or drink anything after midnight on Tuesday.
Wednesday the Clark Pump for the water maker arrived. Hopefully it won't squeak anymore. I guess the only thing I am upset about is why we had to pay for the shipping(200$). We have used the water maker for only 6 months, and the problem was with the manufacturer, not my installation.
Anyway, we went to the hospital an hour early, as we were told, I had to drink two bottles of "Diet Snapple". It turned out that they added a "contrast" (Barium) for the CT machine. Now I don't like "Diet" anything, so it took a while for me to get it down. After an hour someone was supposed to bring me in for the scan. After an hour and 15 minutes Amy began asking around. Finally the technician came in hurriedly, obviously having been out to lunch. "We just have to get a catheter into your arm, then we can get started." the tech said. What? I kind of knew about the drink, but a catheter? I knew what that was from working with Amy. They were going to stick another needle in my arm, only this time it stays in. This was so they could insert a tube with dye in it to look at my blood. I almost bolted but was afraid I would faint first. The CT scan went smoothly, and I was out in 10 minutes. Now all we had to do was wait till Monday for the results.
Thursday we spent with friends of Amy's family. Knowing that we would be alone for Thanksgiving, they invited us to "Lady's Island" for a buffet. Lady's Island is a gated community not far from Beaufort. I didn't have a dress jacket, but as luck would have it Amy's dad had one that fit me. It was a bit soiled, so he took it to the dry cleaners. I guess it was a little worse than we thought. The person at the dry cleaners said that it should be shipped back to Brooks Brothers for repair. We had a nice time at the dinner and got a driving tour of the local sites.
Friday we went to the beach to gather more firewood. We were almost out. The weather has been 15 degrees colder then normal. Not the "South" I had expected. I am getting used to cutting wood on the beach with a handsaw. I don't feel so much like a homeless person anymore. We stopped at the local fish shack to buy some shrimp for dinner. It was also an excuse for Amy to talk to the fishermen about teredos, "shipworms" as most people call them. Amy has been sure that she has heard them chewing on the planking in Iwalani. Well, the news from the fishermen wasn't very good. "The worms are the worst I've ever seen." said one. "The EPA doesn't let us use good bottom paint anymore. We have to re-plank our boats every six months." Ouch! I hope they were just having fun with a pretty girl from "up north".
Saturday, Amy painted some small watercolors of Beaufort in hopes of selling them to the local galleries. I worked on our web page. It's been almost a year since I put it together. I never dreamed we would have the following that we do now. I have some ideas for sprucing it up a little. I also want to update where we actually have been (which, so far, is not where we planned to go). I do all the work on the laptop before I change the actual site. We have had problems getting to our site since Wednesday. It seems that our service provider has been having computer trouble. I received an e-mail from them on Saturday, stating that the fastest way for me to get my site up and running again was to re-load the entire site myself. It's a large site, so it took me over an hour and a half. Luckily I didn't have to pay a cafe' for the up-load time. We are using Amy's father's account.
While heading out to Iwalani to feed Stewart and light the anchor light, we spotted our friends John and Val on the Alice Wragg. We hadn't seen them since Sandy Hook, NJ. We had a Key Lime Pie from the Publix market, so we brought it by for desert later that evening. It was good to catch up on our travels. During our conversation, John mentioned that he was having trouble with his high output alternator. I told him I would come by in the morning to have a look at it.
By the time I got there on Sunday, John had all the lockers cleared out so I could get at the alternator. It was obvious what the problem was, as John quickly pointed out. The main battery lead was broken right off. Also a small fuse wire was broken off. It seems that the vibration from the engine fatigued the lug end where it had been flattened to take the bolt on the alternator. I believe the cause was two fold. One, the flattening of the lug end caused the metal to be stressed. I know a little about this kind of thing from my experience building the forty-two foot rotating globe for David DeLorme. The space truss (skeleton), made from three-quarter inch aluminum tubing, consisted of thousands of such ends. I worked with an aviation engineer to eliminate this very problem. Second, the 2/0 wire (very heavy) was not well supported. After salvaging a new end from another piece of unused wire and putting in a new fuse holder, the Alice Wragg was charging once again. John was very grateful and paid me for my time. This is a start for my boat repair business from Iwalani.
When I returned to Iwalani, Amy was in a tizzy. It seems that her dreams of hearing worms chewing on our planking might not be unfounded. She made me stick my head down near the planking and I could hear something munching. We have just spoken to some friends ashore and they assure us its shrimp eating the growth on our hull. They have heard the same thing on their fiberglass boats. I hope they are right. It looks like we will be hauling Iwalani out to have a look. Well, I've blabbed enough for this week. Stay tuned for "The repair of Phil and his boat". PS