Monday, October 17, 2011

Sabbatical is for Sale

She carried us in safety and comfort on a 4,000 mile round trip cruise to the Caribbean.  You can't find a more stoutly built, comfortable and updated boat for the money.


Price reduced 5/24/12
Price reduced 6/29/12

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cruising Parents

My parents are following in my footsteps. Check out their blog here

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Return Trip

I left Oriental the morning after Nicole's departure. It was difficult heading north through the familiar territory. I remembered heading South through the same area ready for an unknown adventure with endless possible destinations. Each turn in the ICW I was reminded of the excitement that existed as we headed south. Now there was a deadline and a destination. I didn't regret turning back, but in hindsight I really wish we went offshore from the Carolinas to the Virgin Islands.

The Bahamas were great, but expensive. They also didn't provide the same cultural experience and opportunities as countries further from the U.S. I return with the belief that the thorny path is not impossible, just much harder than necessary.  The offshore passage to the virgin islands would have provided much easier access to the Eastern Caribbean, but we lacked the experience (and some equipment like an SSB transceiver) to make that decision on the way south.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Beaufort to Oriental

Beaufort was much more alive in June. On the way down the town was pretty empty. We stayed in Beaufort for an extra day because of Thunderstorms. They would end up haunting me for the next week.

I think we may have been hit in Beaufort harbor. There was incredibly loud bang and everything outside flashed red. The anonometer never worked again after that.

We left the next day despite the chance of more T-storms. Nicole had a flight back to NY for new teacher orientation and we needed to make it to Oriental to get her close to the airport.

When we got to Oriental we found the town dock (5 feet of water alongside at mlw) past all the shrimp boats directly in front of The Bean. The Bean is an amazing coffee shop (they use frozen coffee ice cubes in the ice coffee - brilliant.) There were a number of liveaboards that hang out at The Bean and are happy to lend a hand and happy to see a cruiser passing through. One liveaboard even offered to give Nicole a ride to the Airport the next day.

Of other nautical interest is an amazing marine consignment store about a half mile from the town dock. I wish I had found it on the way south. They had charts, cruising guides, outboards, stoves, heads and anything else you can think of.

It was pretty at the town dock, but it didn't always smell great
Oriental is a great stop for a cruising sailor and well postioned between Beaufort and Belhaven.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Wrightsville to Beaufort

After Writghtsville beach we went outside to Beaufort, NC. This outside leg easily saves a day or two on the ICW. This was our first outside trip on the way down and it wasn't possible to get the 60 miles done in the daylight in November, but we were able to do it during daylight hours in June.

We had a great sail with the wind behind us all day. The wind really started to pick up as we made our way into the Beaufort channel. I probably should have reefed the jib, but we were having too much fun. Nicole is at the helm here surfing down 6ft seas. That's my girl!

I am going to try to finish the posts of our return trip as time permits. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 23, 2010

We Love Wrightsville Beach

We thought we would only be in Wrightsville Beach for a day, but we had so much fun we stayed for three days.
Wrightsville Beach looking south

Wrightsville Beach is a small beach town located at the Masonboro Inlet.
You can save time using the ICW between Masonboro Inlet and the Cape Fear River Inlet. If you go outside in the Ocean you must make a 20 mile detour around Frying Pan Shoals. There are several inexpensive and very good restaurants and bars along with one of the best beaches I have been to in the U.S.

This dog was actually trained fetch beer from behind the bar
The second day in Wrightsville Beach I had an appointment with the World Cup finals so staying wasn't a difficult decision. We enjoyed $2 beers at Lager Heads and met Lauren and Ben who invited us to go surfing after the soccer game.

The water was warm and there was a perfect size swell for learning to surf. We didn't feel like we had enough time surfing so the next day Nicole and I rented our own boards. The restaurants we went to (22 North, Mexican and Jerry Allen's) were all good and they all had deals to try to bring in the beach crowd.

For a while we had been feeling the pressure of a schedule to be back in NY by August. It had been a long time since we stayed in a place because we were having a good time and it was great. That is what sailing is all about.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Southport Marina – Two thumbs down

At first the Southport marina seemed like a great place. We just completed a major passage and we were tired, dirty and hungry. The facilities there were very nice. The docks were new, there is free wifi, cheap ice and it is walking distance to downtown. Everything was great until we filled up with water.

Like many boats from the 70’s, our boat doesn’t have gauges to show the level of fuel or the water in the tanks. I can usually tell when the water tanks are full by listening to the rising pitch of the water as I fill it up. This time I slightly over filled the water tanks, which is not usually a problem. The extra water spills into the bilge (the lowest point in the bottom of our boat) and an automatic pump sends it over the side. This time when the bilge pump came on it also pumped out a few table spoons of diesel fuel that spilled into the bilge days earlier when I bled the engine and changed the fuel filter. There was a patch of water with a sheen behind the boat that looked much worse than it really was. After I filled up the water tanks I asked the guy at the cash register, I will call him Jerk #1, if we could buy some diesel fuel. He was not friendly and very short with me. He came out to turn on the pump and saw the sheen behind the boat for the first time, at the same time I did.  I explained that it may have come from our bilge after filling the water tanks, but it couldn’t be more than a few ounces because the float switch on the bilge would have cycled on days earlier if I had spilled a great deal of diesel. I apologized and shut off the bilge pump thinking that would be the end of it.

I completed filling the fuel tanks (without spilling a drop) and when I gave him back the nozzle he said, “this is really bad, I have to have someone come down here to take a look at this.” I immediately think of the fine for dumping oil which can be thousands of dollars. I grabbed the 409 from the galley and gave a few sprays behind the boat. It is incredible how quickly the spray disperses the oil. It’s not very environmentally friendly, but I only gave about 10 sprays. Instantly the area of sheen is almost gone. I see Jerk #1 run down the dock shouting, “stop spraying that you are going to get a fine”, as though I was destroying evidence in a murder case.

At this point two other Marina employees have taken a work boat out and circled around behind our sailboat. After their investigation they report back to Jerk #1 that “everything is fine, it’s not that bad.”

I was very confused and a little scared by the serious and accusatory tone that Jerk #1 had taken with me from the beginning. He seemed out to get me. I don’t know if he is unhappy with his lot in life, if he has a deal going with the local Environmental police, or if he was honestly confused by the nature of what happened. Working at a fuel dock, he should have a better understanding about how small a spill occurred based on the small area of water affected. In any case, I was ready to leave as soon as possible. After hearing the report from the other two workers, Jerk #1 let me pay for the diesel fuel I had just taken on board. I started the engine and began untying the dock lines.

Enter Jerk #2. He is older, not wearing the Marina uniform, doesn’t identify himself as working for the marina or having any authority whatsoever.  “You can’t leave yet captain, stay right there.”

Now I really feel like there is a conspiracy taking place. Two marina workers and Jerk #1 already cleared me to leave. I respond to his command by asking, “why?”

“Don’t go anywhere, just wait there.”

It’s never good when someone answers a question about a command with the original command. It reminded me of an episode of cops when a civilian tells the suspect to wait right there when they call the police.

I politely told him, “I already paid, so I am going to leave now”

He said, “If you leave we are going to give your information to the Coast Guard and they will track you down.”

I said okay, pushed the boat off the dock and never looked back. Well, that’s not entirely true. I looked back many times to see if the Coast Guard was coming - they never did. A powerboat from the Marina followed us for a mile, but turned back.

Southport Marina gets two huge thumbs down from Sabbatical. By virtue of running a marina and a gas station located over the water their environmental record is already a bit suspect. We all try our best to not put chemicals into the water or the ground, but it is going to happen from time to time when you run a gas station. I have never heard of a gas station or a marina calling the police when someone spills a few tablespoons. I can’t help but feel like they had another motivation for attempting to get us in trouble that wasn’t rooted in a desire to protect the environment.