I was perusing my list of sailing blogs awhile back and came across the Wordless Wednesday posts from The Cynical Sailor & His Salty Sidekick. It is a collection of pictures without words to share among the group. I thought it was a pretty cool idea and wanted to give it a try for awhile. This post has a few words, but I thought my first entry warranted some to let everyone know what was going on over here at Unwritten Timeline.
It has been awhile since I've been able to write something for the blog. My work has been keeping me extremely busy the past few weeks with little promise of it letting up anytime soon. The good thing about my work is I still get to travel quite a bit. I spent a week in between Entebbe and Kampala, Uganda. I made a stop in Kenya for a couple days on my way home. It was my second trip to Kenya and I still didn't get around to see much of the country. Fortunately my extended time in Uganda made up for some of it.
Uganda is a land locked country, unless you count Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria is Africa's largest lake and the largest tropical lake in the world and it indirectly feeds much of the water for the Nile river. Uganda gained independence from Britain on 09 October 1962, so much of the country is English speaking with a little Swahili. The old Tanzanian joke that the Swahili language was born in Tanzania, died in Kenya, and was buried in Uganda seems to hold true. The farther you get from Tanzania the less Swahili is spoken and it seems Tanzanians will take offense to the Swahili spoken outside of their country. I imagine it is the same issue with someone from NYC trying to have a conversation with someone from the hills of Georgia. Sure it's the same language, but neither can understand each other.
The Entebbe zoo or Wildlife Education Center offers a behind the scenes tour in which you can feed several of the animals and you get an up close look at them. We were able to feed giraffe, elephant, and rhinos among other animals. It was the first time I was able to be so close and touch some of the animals. The Rhino felt softer than the elephant which I thought was a little surprising. If you're going to this zoo and have an extra $60, I strongly suggest doing the behind the scenes tour. It's another way to help them with funding for care of the animals and they can use all the help they can get. It sounds crazy, but Henry and James, our guides, were telling us they have problems with poachers sometimes even in the zoo. They have security guards near the rhino just to keep poachers from getting to them for their horns.
While we were in Uganda we stayed at the Speke resort which is a beautiful area right along the banks of Lake Victoria. They have a pool, marina, tennis courts, equestrian center, and many other things to occupy your time. I didn't have much time for most of those amenities, but the grounds and rooms were very well done.
Since the Kenya portion was so short I don't have much to say about those couple days. We went to Nairobi for a night then traveled north to stay at the Mount Kenya Safari Club. I will say, this is the nicest place I have stayed. It is right on the edge of Mt. Kenya with amazing views in the morning before the weather starts forming around the 17,057' peak. There are multiple locations around the club to partake in a Safari, climb the mountain or many other things. They even have a hedge grove maze near the main building. It is ridiculously nice. I hope to make my way back there soon.
I'm lucky enough to have some good friends. A few of them I have known for many, many years. A buddy of mine that I first met my Freshman year of high school recently came down for the weekend. He drove 8 hours on his Harley through rain storms to come hang out. He got to our house put his bike in the garage, dried off, and we went for a relaxing dinner. His 8 hour ride ended up being about 10 hours since every time he got too hot from wearing his rain gear while it wasn't raining, he would take it off resulting in the rain coming right back.
The next day we all woke up early, packed the car with the 3 of us and Sophia and headed to the boat. Charles took Sophia to the field to run around a bit while Lisa and I put the boat together. We then gave the grand tour and removed the dock lines. Once out of the channel we had some nice 15- 20 knot winds and were moving nicely down the river. After a couple hours we jibed and made the turn back towards Oriental. Now that we were going back upwind Lisa was enjoying herself. She loves to have the boat heeled over close to the wind. We saw 8 kts ground speed on the GPS, which is screaming along for our 32' boat. We arrived back at the slip, tied up the boat and Charles and I took the dingy around Oriental for a bit. When we got back to Starjewel it started pouring again so we sat around the salon catching up before dinner. Charles and I went to M&Ms for dinner while Lisa stayed on the boat with Sophia and watched some Netflix.
The next morning all four of us piled into the dingy with Sophia for one last ride and went to the Oriental dock right in front of The Bean for a light breakfast. Of course it rained on us halfway over, we turned back to Starjewel and it stopped. Since the weather was playing with us we decided to risk it and went to the The Bean anyway. We hung out on the front porch for awhile watching the rain and decided it wasn't going to let up anytime soon so we just jumped in the dingy and motored back across the harbor in the rain. We were soaked by the time we got back on Starjewel, but it were laughing about it the whole way.
It was only a short weekend, and I laughingly blame Charles for bringing all the rain, but I'm glad he was able to make it down to see us. It's so rare in the military when you can still keep in touch and visit with your high school friends over the years. Can't wait to have him on one of our nicer, rain free trips. Maybe in the Bahamas. Fairwinds my friend!
Lisa invited a few of the ladies from her office for a day sail along the Neuse River. I was in charge of ensuring everyone had a great time while on the water. Lisa and I drove to Oriental Friday night with a car full of food, drinks, towels, a brand new beach cabana, and of course a new raw water pump, because you can’t visit a boat without working on it in some fashion. We arrived late so we unpacked the car and got ready for bed. The next day I installed the raw water pump and cleaned the outside of the boat while Lisa was busy preparing the inside for the party girls.
Elizabeth, Chevonne, Tiffany, and Rhianna arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule. I guess they were ready to get the show on the road (or the water in this case). The forecast was calling for 50% chance of storms, but we pressed on with the sail. When we were outside of the Oriental channel the dark clouds started forming. Our plan was to go back to “Alligator Island” put up the cabana, inflate the kayaks, have some sun, and all day sundowners. With the storm approaching the river was slowly building and the anchoring spot in front of Alligator Island has no protection at all and would be a rocky one with the wind and the waves. We decided to take a detour down South River instead. We found a quiet anchorage with one sailboat already there and a third followed us in from the storm. I think it was a sound decision as the water in the anchorage was smooth as glass with a refreshing breeze coming off the storm along the Neuse river. We had some dingy rides, a few swims in the river and a feast consisting of; mets, brats, hotdogs, potato salad, baked, beans, Oreo dirt cake, watermelon and some delicious homemade Sangria. We never made it to a sandy beach to try out the cabana and catch some sun, but it worked out to be a great day trip and I believe fun was had by all!
On the way back we got the sails up on a nice beam reach on the winds from the ending of the storm and made it back to the Oriental channel with just a couple tacks. Rhianna took a turn at the helm while the ladies were busy capturing lots of photos on the bow, attempting to strike a pose and recreate “The Titanic”. We had a great time and can’t wait for them to head back down for another sail.
After the hard work in the boatyard and with the Independence Day holiday Lisa and I wanted to get out and enjoy the boat for a few days. My mother also wanted to come down to visit and see the boat. She brought along my niece Abigail to spend a week in North Carolina. I had to work the day after she arrived so Lisa took the girls for a spa day getting manicures and pedicures in the morning then went grocery shopping to provision the boat for a long weekend for four people. Then they spent the rest of the afternoon lounging poolside.
Bright and early Friday morning, before the crack of dawn, we got the car all packed and headed for the coast. When we arrived to Oriental it was a quick unpacking and readying the boat to push away from the dock. The sun was peeking out from the clouds and the wind was around 10 knots. Near perfect weather for sailing. We crossed the Neuse River and were just starting down the ICW when the storm hit. We didn't have a sheet of sail out and were heeling 5 degrees to port as the winds blew from the West. Lisa was at the helm and taking the wind and waves in stride. Unfortunately this would be a preview of things to come.
After about an hour the storm subsided and the trip down the ICW was much smoother, until we hit the mouth of the ICW and Beaufort inlet to the Atlantic Ocean. The storm had whipped up the water and the tide was coming in forcing the seas up into our bow. Once in Onslow Bay and the open waters we attempted to put up some sail. As we were unfurling the main the furling line came off the wench. I immediately went up to secure the sail. I originally thought the line had snapped, but it just slipped off the wench. With the waves and our new sailors under toe we opted to just finish the last few miles under power.
We arrived at Cape Lookout to calmer water and pristine beaches. We set our anchor and settled in for the night. The next morning was beautiful. I love being at Cape Lookout early in the morning to enjoy it all for myself before the daily crowds of power boaters arrive to party the low tide away. We spent the day at the beach taking the new dingy to shore so we could relax in the sand. Abigail was swimming in the bay and searching for sea shells and sand dollars. After collecting a full bag of precious shells and working on our tans we headed back to grill out and relax before getting ready for bed.
Sunday we pulled anchor and moved closer to the lighthouse so we could more easily go to shore and explore the Eastern beach of Cape Lookout. After a few hours walking, swimming and exploring the lighthouse grounds we made our way back to Starjewel. When we went to raise anchor we realized the anchor rode had become wrapped around our keel due to conflicting current and winds. Luckily I had seen a video by the crew at Wicked Salty and knew immediately what was wrong. After a dive under the hull to free the boat our anchor was up and we were on our way home.
The trip to the ICW was fairly calm and we managed to raise the sail with no issues this time. Upon entering the Beaufort channel we had a few accidental jibes trying to keep the wind at our back quarter for a deep broad reach. Perhaps I should rig a preventer sometime soon.
That wasn't the end of course. It stormed for about 30 minutes after passing the I70 bridge Northbound and continued to rain until we reached the Oriental channel markers. The ICW hated us over the weekend, but we prevailed. Any sailing is good sailing, I say.
I don't know if Mom and Abigail had quite as much fun as Lisa and I with all the rain and winds but it was good having them on the boat. Hopefully we can talk them into sailing with us again sometime in the near future. Maybe in the Bahamas during the nice season for the next trip.
We had the boat out of the water for 28 days. I think the haulout turned out to be a pretty good couple of weeks. Being new boat owners, it was our first time going through the process which turned out to be fairly straight forward. We sailed into Sailcraft and they pulled us into the lift and had us power washed and blocked within the hour. Being put back in the water was even easier. We had scheduled for a Friday splash and they put us in Thursday afternoon without us there, to get us all cleaned up before we were ready to depart.
The metal fabricator started working on the dingy davits and outboard hoist while I started to knock out some of my projects. I sanded the bottom and applied a couple coats of anti-fouling paint. Then I replaced the exhaust elbow, exhaust hose and replaced the manual head with an electric one. I was going to replace the lifelines with some Suncor lifelines from Sailrite, but I talked to the rigger at Sailcraft and he was able to swage some lifelines for about the same price. He also gave the standing rigging a once over and said it all looked like it had another couple years left in it. We had to remain at the boatyard for a few days after I was done with my work so the davits could be completed. Good work takes time.
Once Starjewel was put back in the water Lisa and I were getting ready to motor back to Pecan Grove and were letting the engine run for a bit before we took off. We had been having some problems with the fuel system. It would sputter out, then I'd bleed it and it would work fine. However, this time the engine ran for about 15 minutes then died and could not be revived. I started diagnosing the fuel system and the engine guy came to see if we were ready to go. When he realized I was having some issues he jumped onboard and helped me troubleshoot it. Turns out the fuel pump had been going bad for some time. He replaced it for me with one from his shop, bled the lines and we were up and running. When the old fuel pump was pulled the diaphragm wouldn't budge. It was seized up for some reason and wouldn't pump any fuel. Good thing it happened tied to the dock of a boatyard rather than in the middle of a turn on the ICW.
It was hot most of the time since the boat wasn't in the water. Many trips to the hardware store or West Marine were in dire "need", but I'm glad it's all done now. It's a good feeling knowing the boat is ready to go for the summer.
List of projects completed:
Added arch and dingy davits
Moved lifeline gate
Resealed all deck hardware
Removed state registration numbers
Polish and waxed deck and topsides
Replaced manual head with electric head
Added inline strainer for head
Replaced all sanitation hoses
Replaced exhaust elbow
Replaced all exhaust hose
Replaced fuel pump
Oiled all wood inside
Cleaned all cushion covers
You can checkout the video of part 2 of our haulout here.
This chant was first started way back in the day. I was stationed in Germany and it took Lisa a few months to get everything tidied up stateside to make her way over to Europe. I had already started assembling a great group of friends to take her out and show her a good time when she arrived. We would frequent a very high class drinking establishment known as the Green Goose in Nuremburg, Germany. Well it may not have been exactly high class but there was a lot of drinking that went on down there.
Lisa flew into Germany and I allowed her just enough time to throw the bags into our apartment in Mittersthal then it was on to the Goose. We met up with about 8 of the guys from work and proceeded to have a great ole' time drinking the night and the morning away. Sometime during the night, after I had introduced Lisa to our regular bar waitress Phyllis at least once or twice, someone in the party wasn't keeping up with the drinking pace. To encourage them to keep up we bought everyone drinks and started chanting, Be one of us. Be one of us. It must have looked utterly ridiculous, but soon everyone was back up to speed. I think we left the bar at closing time of 5am then caught the train back home to sleep the rest of the day away. Oh the memories.
This brings me to the situation we found ourselves in now, hearing that familiar chant in our mind as we read more about sailing. Some people refer to it as a cult, and it can easily feel that way. But, when you are wanting to be self-sufficient nothing compares to being able to repair or create canvass on a sailboat. I've scoured the interwebz and can't find anyone that doesn't like the Sailrite sewing machines. So in order to be one of them, we capitulated and got one for ourselves. Lisa is teaching herself to sew by using the Sailrite YouTube videos. She is diving in and learning a lot more now that we're going to be retiring to a sailboat. The LSZ-1 we purchased has been fantastic so far. It runs very smooth and is built like a tank. Many sailors have them on board, and the one's that do swear by them. Hence, the feeling to "be one of us". Lisa has already created a fantastic cover for our portable generator. We'll need to leave it outside on the boat and we wanted to make something to protect it from the sun and the water when it's not running. She used some Sunbrella fabric and stitched together a cover that has a leach line along the bottom to cinch it snug. Maybe she can make something for your boat when we see you out the seas.
The Sailrite YouTube page is a fantastic resource for learning how to use their machines and how to make your own creations. They have DIY videos and kits for everything from hatch covers to full sails. If you're feeling froggy you can order a kit and make your own sails onboard with their LSZ-1 machine. That seems like the ultimate self sufficient sailor and pretty amazing to me. Lisa's to do list is growing by the day as she watches new videos and gets more ideas. By the time we sell Starjewel the entire thing may have its own Sunbrella cover.
Just to start the summer off right while owning a sailboat we decided to put Starjewel in a yard so we can work on her for a couple of weeks and dream about all the fun times we could be having instead of actually having fun times.
I complain, but I am enjoying getting the boat in ship shape to sail around all summer. One of the major factors in driving me to lean towards a new boat is deferred maintenance. Unless you find the small number of boat owners who dutifully maintain their boats there is always a lot of deferred maintenance and you seem to find it constantly. It's little things like; seemingly never replacing something easy like an air intake filter to more important things, like not replacing sheets or anchor rode until they fray in your hand.
I'm glad to have some time to get a bunch of projects completed. We're going to have an arch with davits installed so we can raise and lower our new dingy and outboard. We're going to sand and paint the hull, rename the boat, do some engine maintenance, and replace the manual head with an electric head. Since we'll be keeping the boat for a couple years longer we're working on getting it ready to liveaboard in May 2018.
We used Sailcraft Service Boatyard in Oriental, NC to do our work. They allow you to do all the work yourself and have plenty of good shipwrights to help you out with any jobs that are out of your wheelhouse. The stainless steel arch is one thing I'm not skilled at doing, so we're having Dan put one together for us. He came highly recommended around Oriental. He showed me some of his work around the yard and I'm impressed. I can't wait to see our final installation. I don't think we'll do solar panels this time. With the price of panels, charge controllers and everything else, I think that's a dollar too far this year. Maybe next haulout we'll get them installed to better prepare us for living aboard. For now our portable generator will do for our short stays on Starjewel. I'm going to be doing everything else myself...hopefully. I purchased a Dewalt DWE6401DS 5" sander to use with my Dewalt DCV580 cordless Wet-Dry Vacuum. They work well together and keep down most of the dust. I still use a respirator and Tyvek suite to keep a little clean. I used a 3M Stripe Off Wheel to remove the old name and registration number. The state registration numbers must be removed when the boat is documented with the USCG when the name and hailing port are installed.
We'll post again after we get a little more work done. For now you can click the link to see a video of our haulout and how we removed the old decals.
I was able to travel to Zadar, Croatia this past week for work. It was fantastic. I absolutely cannot wait to travel back when Lisa and I are retired and sailing around the world. I didn't get to do any sailing during the trip, but from what I've seen around the city and the waters surrounding it, I would guess it is fantastic sailing. If you are spending time in the Adriatic you should make a stop here.
The ancient city of Zadar was settled as far back as 9th century BC and is the oldest continuously inhabited town in Croatia. Zadar is situated along the Dalmatian coast and has the Mediterranean climate you expect from places like Italy and the French Rivera. I spent most of my time walking around the "Old City". This is a walled city that has buildings dating back through the ages. There are a few open air markets scattered about and many restaurants offering sidewalk seating so you can enjoy the comfortable breezes while you partake in a variety of Mediterranean fare. Fresh seafood is the standard course throughout Zadar, and with good reason. The people of Croatia have been fishing the Mediterranean for centuries, and it shows. There are people still spear fishing right off the seawalls. While the abundant history is a great attraction, there are more than a few modern sights along the water. The Monument to the Sun consists of 300 glass plates right on the stone-paved waterfront that represents the Sun and other planets of the solar system. At night the glass lights up producing a show of light. Adjacent to the Monument to the Sun is another recent addition to the spectacular waterfront. The Sea Organ was opened on 15 April 2005 and consists of a series of tubes located underneath the marble steps that run to the water. As the tide comes in and out pressure creates different notes via the air being pushed up the tubes, much like the popular blowholes in the Caribbean.
Click the link to see a short video of the sights around the city of Zadar. If you've been to Croatia sailing please let me know the places you enjoyed the most so we can plan our return trip.
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