Jeff, of Mezzaluna, and Steve entertain during the hurricane party.
 Hurricane Sandy has passed us by. Thank You, thankyouverymuch.  We had winds as high as 49kts, and about a 3 1/2 foot surge. Nothing to write home about, but I will anyway.  Inside the dock house, where we held the required hurricane party, we could hardly hear the wind blowing and didn't even feel much effect until the wind backed around enough to the NW that it caught the door when we had to go out to the cooler for ice.

Dock detritus.


Hurricane Sandy update.  Thanks everyone for all the calls, emails and texts. We're fine, sitting pretty in Oriental NC.  As you can see from the photo, the docks here are almost* underwater, as of 1700 on Sun. Sandy has gone by us off the coast, and is heading for New Jersey, so we're hoping the water is going to start to recede tomorrow and the wind will settle down by Tues or Wed. We had a mini hurricane party last night, drinking rum with new friends Jeff and Katie, on Mezzaluna and Bob and Monique on Last Waltz.

*almost but not all the way underwater is really neat because the docks are concrete and have slits all the way down them, you can see them in the photo, so when a wave comes underneath, it spurts up a foot or so, like a fountain at kids amusement park.  It makes for a fun dance down the docks. 


Back In Oriental

View off the front porch of the clubhouse, Celebration is upper right.

  Yes, we're back in Oriental, NC, our adopted east coast home. We're sitting in the lap of luxury, at the Whittaker Pointe marina, large clean showers, washer and dryer, beautiful clubhouse, great friends Beth, Jim and Cameron on Wild Haggis, just off our stern.  (What we really came for is unlimited power, it just seems very ungreen and unsailor-like to admit that right up front.) We have lots of things to do, large and small projects, sewing, grinding, routing and having 110 power in all the outlets is such an amazing thing!! I don't have to find the inverter to charge anything. Well, actually I don't have to check the gauge on the panel first to see if we have the power to charge anything and then I don't have to find the inverter. It's the little things in life. sigh.

We've signed up with the Salty Dawg Rally for our trip to the Virgin Islands.  A rally is a group of boats all going to the same place at the same time. In this case, about 50 boats will leave Norfolk VA and Beaufort NC on the 4th of November and head to Virgin Gorda in the BVI's.  We'll get weather forecasts and routing, daily check ins with on shore watchers, lots of good stuff. The nice thing about this rally is that there are no fees and no safety checks. The only requirement is that we have to have done a long off shore passage before this, then we're considered to be competent captains and we'll have the safety equipment on our boat that we feel we need. If you would like to see more about it go here.

Shades of blue, sunset.

We had a beautiful motor sail down the ICW from Norfolk, warm days and chilly nights. The cool weather has taken care of most of the mosquito's and no-see-um's.

More shades of blue, sunrise.

Thunderstorms forming over the Atlantic, or still more shades of blue.


New Hatch?

Almost New Again
      No...but as close as we're getting. Several years ago we found a couple new hatches for Celebration. But we never could find the exact Gebo replacement for this small one over the head, or at lease not at an affordable price. When the two new large hatches were shipped, one had been damaged. We received an immediate replacement from Great Lakes Skipper and held the damaged one for return. When the claim was settled with the shipper Great Lakes told us to just keep or dispose of the damaged hatch, so we stripped it, recycled the aluminum frame, salvaged the weather seal, hinges, and acrylic pane.

Underside View

35 year old gasket next to the salvaged "New"  replacement
    I'd looked at this 35 year old hatch many times without ideas then just this week, I finally realized how to disassemble it.  Since we're at a dock getting ready to head south out came the router (110 volt power!) to cut the acrylic to size, we replaced the weather seal with our salvaged parts, set the new pane in place with Sikaflex 291i and viola, here it is. A lens we can see through once again and a seal which should actually keep out all the water verses just most of the water. We wound up re-using one rubber gasket which is not a water seal but a spacer between the pane and the frame, and I had to drill out one of the setscrews, re-tap, and replace with new. Not too bad for a 35 year old hatch with more than a couple seawater baths.



Our RaftUp topic this month is fear: "This wasn't in the questionnaire but three different people suggested it so I thought that was probably enough interest to include it. What were/are your fears? What was scariest about leaving? Sailing? and even going home? These fears can be boat specific (big waves and rough seas), things close to your heart (family and friends), or even goals unfulfilled that may never be because of this trip."
I think I have all the normal fears associated with sailing: injury or loss of my spouse, equipment failures, running out of butter during lobster season, seasickness, being unable to communicate with the outside world, or probably the thing that makes me shudder hardest: having the last unread book on board be something hideous by Barbara Cartland or Clive Cussler (who I think are actually the same person. I mean, really, have you seen their jacket photos??). 
When I think about it, and I have to admit, I don't like to think about it, the biggest fears I have center around  missing my family. I have a large, pretty close family and thinking that I'm missing things in my daughters lives, or with my parents, brothers and sisters, or my gazillion cousins, really  bothers me. Maybe I'm just a nosy, busybody, but I like my family and I like to be involved.
After almost 10 years on board, I still have a very healthy respect for the sea and all the crap she will throw at us if we get cocky, but not too much actual fear where sailing is involved. But we've worked hard at that. We're safety minded to the extreme, careful about the weather and have provisions to last 3 months. I don't like to be afraid when we're offshore, it makes me anxious, which makes me seasick, which makes everything else worse. So we work on our fears, to figure out exactly what they are and to change things to overcome them.

This month's other writers:

1 Dana svnorthfork.blogspot.com
2 Behan sv-totem.blogspot.com
3 Steph www.sailblogs.com/member/nornabiron
4 Stacey http://sv-bellavita.blogspot.com
5 Tammy ploddingINparadise.blogspot.com
6 Ean morejoyeverywhere.com
7 Lynn sailcelebration.blogspot.com
8 Diane www.maiaaboard.blogspot.com
10 Jaye lifeafloatarchives.blogspot.com
11 Verena pacificsailors.com
12 Toast http://blog.toastfloats.com
15 Dana svnorthfork.blogspot.com


The Never Ending Cat



 As some of you may notice, the Pita Pata counter on the sidebar is gone.  Our dear little Adjima died yesterday, at the ripe old age of 21.  She was her usual gentle, but extremely persistent self, right up to the end. She had gotten to be so old, that I'd started to refer to her as the 'never ending cat'. I guess all good things really do have to end. It's amazing that a cat who weighed in at just 4 lbs last week, has left such a gigantic hole in our lives.

    In the end her little body just couldn't keep up with her big heart. We'd watched her slow down, made a trip to the vet who tested, confirmed what we already knew, and assured us she was not in pain, just old. So we changed her diet and she'd bounced back for several weeks and many additional deck walks.
Adjima loved her early morning walk abouts on the deck.

    Funny little thing she was. Disliked loud noises and stayed below when the wind blew hard or the rain pelted. Only liked to be out when it was calm, quiet and flat water. Yet if she sensed our anxiety she'd join us in the cockpit on anchor watch in spite of the 40 knot wind and driving rain. Or when I (Steve) was in Iraq she sat with Lynn every night, something she'd never done before and less often since. She loved road trips and we enjoyed having her along this summer for our 8,000 plus mile drive around the U.S. In all she'd been in too many countries to count and most of the US states including Alaska and Hawaii. She'd sailed with us for nearly every mile of our ~25,000. And she was tough, rarely off her beat in spite of all the travel and occasional puking seas. The final tally was 21 years, 1 month, 3 weeks, and 3 days. Wow what a ride. After all those years, we'll surely miss the pita pata of her feet down this companionway and her constant company.