October, 2011 - Cruising - Life Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

Previous Log - The most recent past log

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October 9 - We are up in Norfolk after leaving on Wednesday afternoon. Ended up we needed to wait until Bob got out of rehab for his knee replacement. We then stopped at about 8 - Deb's rule. Next day we drove until we stopped then arrived on Friday. There will be much more to the story after we get underway which will be tomorrow. We will have spent 3 days working on the boat fixing, cleaning, provisioning. Tomorrow we depart at about 11 a.m. to fuel up, then catch a 12 p.m. bridge opening so we can get to a 1:30 lock opening then head down the Dismal Swamp route. We love that route. We will be meeting up with some friends who are at the Visitors Center. You will remember some of them, Fred, Mark and also Tim and Jill who were the editors of the Gemini Gems. What a great way to get started.

I have lots of pictures and much more verbiage but I'm tired and will be heading to bed. More tomorrow late.

  Oct 10 - Oops had a steering issue today and a radio thing. We are currently at the visitors Center on the dismal swamp and trying to figure out if we really need to fix the cable or if we can get it to Ft Myers where I have the tools etc where I can fix it myself. We will know tomorrow with some changes we made to the tightness of the outdrive rope steering system. Suggestion from another Gemini owner whom I know - Tim and Jill who previously edited the Gemini Gems. They are headed south this year again and are one of the 13 boats rafted up at the visitors center. You will love the pictures but it will hopefully be tomorrow when we get everything downloaded then uploaded.

 Oct 11 - Welcome to the real update. I mean - as my friend John used to say - "Once upon a time." You all know that we have been totally consumed with getting our house complete since we "stole" a new house according to our realtor. It wasn't actually theft since we did pay and had to gut the entire thing because of Chinese Drywall. But you already know that. We also took on some of those house things like gardening that you don't know about. Ah yes, I've been keeping some things from you. Don't worry, the moving the boat story will start shortly but I did say "Once upon a time!"


 Let me take you through my herb garden and some other stuff. Basically, I don't want to bend down to garden. So the answer is bring the garden to me. I built some planter boxes out of the same wood we built the fence. They are 3 feet long, 1 foot deep, and 1 foot across. That gave me 3 cubic feet of dirt for each planter. I have 4 of them plus a few broken rules where I actually have to bend over but those have to grow to my cutting height.

Starting on the left and going and going and going. Jalapeno peppers which you can barely see behind the snap peas, garlic chives, dill, cilantro, two different kinds of parsley, basis, green pepper, onions, sage, tarragon, thyme, mint, oregano, rosemary, and of course the obligatory tomato plant.

This is the way they looked when we left Wednesday. Hopefully, the 8 year old we have hired to water and fertilize will keep them alive and they will be bigger when we get back. That could also be that we are creating mulch....



 The house had to get ready for our departure and in Florida, during hurricane season, you put up hurricane shutters. Well, that is true if you have them and in our case I made them so it was a great time to have a "dry run" and put them up. Good thing we did because I ran into some glitches that got fixed. We are really ready for next time when we really need them.


 Now, what about the boat. We have a great dock and unless the water goes over 8 foot higher we are good with the long pilings we had installed for the possible future lift. You can see the fender boards and fenders that are being held off by the mooring whips. The only thing we would do differently if there was a hurricane is to put out 2 anchors to hold the boat off the dock. Hopefully, there won't be a big storm.

You can see below that we have doubled all lines too. But wait, there is more.

The extra lines that are crossing over the dock are not tied to the pilings. Instead they go to some anchors I "sunk" which are supposed to hold trailers down in a hurricane. To these anchors you can see I fabricated some metal to hold the rollers you see on the front of a boat for the anchor. Seems like a good plan to me but I guess the proof will be in the test - boy I hope we never get that test!


 What is all that "crap?" Just some of the stuff I wanted to take for the trip south. Bob only has a 2 hp engine for the dinghy so I took my 8 Hp, fuel tank, flare kit for the dinghy, anchor, and lock. Then there are the paper charts, extra propane tank so we won't need to pick up propane, pressure washer to clean up a boat that hasn't really been washed in 11 months, clothes, spare parts, 2 computers because I only use one of them for navigation, a big anchor, another rode with 40' of chain, and a bunch of other stuff that we figure we need.

All of this was in the back of an old DHL van which is being converted to a camper. Of course it was serviced before we left and it ran great for the first half day. More to the story - remember it was "once upon a time." Yes, on the 2nd day of the drive we got up and it was missing. Stopping at a Advanced Auto we found cylinder 4 was missing. Since there were new plugs put in that was eliminated so we put in a new coil on that cylinder. Problem not fixed. I'll cut this part short. It was a bad plug and I got it fixed and the van was running fine again. How many times have you gotten a bad plug? It has only happened to me one other time in my life. Wow, I had my doubts but it was true. We had a good drive up and we needed to pack so Bob could head back home.


 This is all the stuff he took back home from the boat. The engine that was replaced, an A/C, some chairs, clothes, one of the mattress's, and a bunch of other stuff. After all we needed space for our stuff. Stuff rules don't you think as long as you don't have too much of it and the boat sinks.

Bob was on his way home so he could get back to therapy from his knee replacement. We were heading back to Atlantic Yacht Basin to get the boat ready to head south. The new engine is running, transmission works, and now we need to test everything else we can think of so we are ready.



 Eleven months of sitting under pine trees takes a toll on a boat. You can see to the left and below we needed to do a bit of clean-up. This is where I figured out why a boat is called a "she" instead of a "he." Please don't give me a bunch of email about this - it's just a way to look at things. I kind of feel that one of the reasons my first wife and I didn't make it was I many times was more interested in fishing than her. You just can't ignore a woman or better stated would be a spouse. I guess I learned something and got a wonderful woman in the end who helped me through the rest of it. I guess I'm making that parallel with boats. You just can't ignore them. Then again, what are you going to do if you live 1,000 miles away and the boat yard had "screwed you" with bad diagnosis of your engine. You ultimately get the thing fixed and then get on with it. Deb and I are part of the getting on with it and Bob trusts us to make the right decisions with regards to getting the boat back up to speed and ready for his adventures with the boat.

The trip we are about to make will be the shake down cruise for the boat and I'm sure we will turn some things up. The question is what?

 Pine needles do wicked things to a boat finish especially when you couple it with a hurricane which passed this year.

 Moisture must have gotten into the anchor locker and stuck around based on the rusted out anchor line components.

A new Rocna was on the boat along with new 5/16" high test chain. All I needed to do is pick up a new nylon line, pre-spliced and we have a new anchor locker. Of course that is after we cleaned it all out. I also picked up the components to fix the old rode but that will wait until I get time from more important issues.


 We got underway on Monday from the dock in time to pick up fuel and then make the 11 am opening of Great Bridge. As we were backing out I thought, the steering isn't like mine. I wonder if they changed the wheel ratio or ?????

Deb was immediately on "point" checking for boats that are going to be peeking around the corner. We've already seen some very large yachts coming around the back side and we didn't want to meet one in the turn. Deb did this without prompting so I was feeling pretty good. However, that steering was weird.

We picked up fuel and then the bridge opened. More yachts are heading south and the only question we faced from the bridge and lock coming up was "aren't you going the wrong way?" I said, yes - we are going over to see Robert on the Dismal Swamp Route.

This is the boat heading up to Deep Creek Lock. As you will find out, this is more than just a lock. We were second to arrive but as we got closer to locking time, more would join us as you can see below.

Meet Robert - lower right. He is the "main" lockmaster for this lock. Most lockmaster's give you the bare minimum info and off you go. Robert tells you all about the swamp, how his lock works, gives all kinds of tips and has a very good talent.

Deb on the other hand was just on a mission to keep the boat off the wall. She really didn't have to push this hard but it did make a wonderful picture.

The dog? Well he just showed up one day and wouldn't leave. When Robert tried to get him to leave he kept coming back. Thus his name is now "U-Turn." If you cruise long enough you will remember U-Turn. He happened to have his eye on Jimmy Buffett. I guess he's got some bird dog in him.

To go up you have to let water into the lock. Sometimes it boils in and that's what you see.


There are only a certain number of Schucker's out there cruising and they are a distinctive design. I got to know them from our friends Garry and Shirline. When a Schucker comes up behind you, I ask "do you know Garry and Shirline on Zipadedoda? Usually they say yes. I'm pretty sure that is because you just can't forget Garry and Shirline. True cruisers through and through. I picked up the phone and called Garry and Shirline - sure enough they knew each other and said hi.

One of the really cool parts of going through Deep Creek Lock is Robert playing the Conch Horn. He requests that cruisers heading south bring back a conch shell. He has them laying everywhere, nicely, on the property of the lock. This is one place a cruiser just has to pass through!

In case you can't cruise through, I was able to capture this video of Robert playing the conch horn. Click Conch Horn Robert.

Then we were off into the Dismal Swamp.

 Let me get back to that steering part that was weird. Figured it out. The cable controlling the port rudder is broken. Lot's of Gemini's have had this problem and I can't explain why I never have since I have one of the oldest 105's out there. Still, I have it now on another person's boat. Darn, Bob won't like this but it is what it is.

You can see several things in this picture. The wonderful vanishing line created by the long parallel line of trees and of course the second, the clean boat - thanks to the pressure washer and a number of gallons of bleach.

Bottom right, we are seeing some color changes on the trees. This will probably be the most we see but at least we are seeing some of the changing season on this trip.

We don't go that fast through the Dismal Swamp even though this time the water was up. You always seem to bump things. Fortunately we didn't. We arrived at the Visitors Center only to find it was pretty full. That is to be expected and it typically you will raft up with another boat. This time we hit it big. There were 13 boats here this evening and rafting has become a sport.

Why are these guys smiling? The guy in the hat to the left in both pictures is Robert. You see when I was at the lock I told him that he missed Fred and Mark. Fred is sitting in the picture above and to the right while Mark is the guy in yellow. Robert said, "are you sure they are still there?" I called and Fred said, yes we are still here and he said hi to Robert. After I hung up he said, don't tell them but I'll be at the Visitors Center tonight. You see, Fred and Mark have been stopping by for a number of years. They were both surprised to see him.

We left early this morning to head for the next lock. We happened to be on the outside of that rafting experience and it just takes time to get things all taken off and people underway. We locked through with 14 boats and 2 of them were rafted to others.
Boats in front of us and boats behind us. Doesn't this look like fun? Let's just say it is an accident waiting to happen and the only reason it doesn't is people don't like to swap gel coat on their homes.

In case you just want to know what Duck Weed looks like, this is it. Fortunately we have all those boats in front of us making a path. So none of it is going into our cooling system.

Around a corner we encountered a person who had a sense of humor. I just was wondering if this was a tree stand for a person hunting boaters on the trip south. Looked like they had a good shot.

Then we arrived at Elizabeth City. We elected to dock at the last place before the bridge because of the wind strength and direction tonight. We should be pretty protected. We may move tomorrow so we aren't held up by the bridge schedule on Thursday morning. I'm hoping for a just before light departure.

You can see in the lower low pictures where we tied up and a picture of the boat we are on. Yes, a Gemini.

The rudder worked pretty good today once we really tightened up the lines to the outdrive. I think we can get to Florida and I can fix it over a couple of days. That will save Bob bundles on someone else doing the job. We made up the "punch list" or "squawk list" before we headed over to the reception for cruisers put on by the Elizabeth City. They love cruisers here.and show it which is why everyone stops and spends their money. Are you hearing this other towns?

Tomorrow we are awaiting a better wind system to cross the sound to our south. Thursday should be just fine and we will leave early, early, early.

Next update won't be as long.

  Oct 12 - Some people left today but I think they were all first timers. Deb and I had a list of projects that needed to be accomplished accumulated from the two days with the boat. Of course the top of the list was check out everything on the engine which is looking good except for some predicted maintenance items which I got completed. I also fixed a number of things on our list. Besides taking care of the boat, we just didn't want to get beat-up out on the Albemarle Sound. Tomorrow was predicted and still looks like the best day to cross between the last few days and the next 4 so we are leaving the free dock at 6:30 a.m. to beat the afternoon winds that should move in around 2. Hopefully we will get through the canal too which will make it about a 70 mile day. Long yes, but we have several anchorages we are familiar with at the other end which are nice. I won't go through the list of what was accomplished but will say at 4 we were done with what we had parts for and went over and had a nice visit with some friends we knew from our cruising days. We'll keep you updated and our goal at this point is to be in Myrtle Beach by Wed or Thurs of next week for the engine service required by Westerbeke. Hopefully it will just be nice days cruising, getting fuel, water, disposing trash, great dinners at anchor, and good seas when underway.

 Oct 15 - So here is the scoop. I have two videos that I am posting and they will be linked below which explain our dilemma of an emergency steering system which we have developed. Yes, the steering has jammed and we can only turn to starboard (right) so that is a problem. We anchored yesterday and were here all day. Most of the time we were having a good time with Tim and Jill - past editors of the Gemini Gems who have rafted up beside us. The other time we were setting up the emergency steering system that I kind of dreamed up with suggestions from Walt who is best known for his videos about the Gemini. If you can't fix your boat from his video's and my website then you probably can't fix your boat. Anyway, I will catch the trip up on the details when we arrive in Oriental tomorrow. In a wonderful gesture, Tim and Jill will be following us in their Gemini just to see how it all works. But you will see, it's going to work just fine. Of course we will have updates on Monday after we have arrived tomorrow and celebrated our first major event on this boat. Now the videos.

Video One - This is the first solution for emergency steering that would have worked but not as good as what you will see in the next video. By the way, this is a pretty good size video.

Video Two - This is the add-on after talking to Walt - Thanks Walt - whom I respect after seeing some of his videos and the great conversation this morning. You will see that it will be even better since we now have a rudder working with the outdrive.

Tomorrow is proving point since we will have 25 miles to make before getting to the marina where we have a T head for dockage. Actually, this has been interesting and should be even more interesting proving out the system tomorrow!

 Oct 16 - We made it. 4 hours underway. The system worked but improvements can be made. I'll do a complete report tomorrow with my lessons learned.   Oct 18 - I'll actually do the complete report when I finish the job. Let me give you another very brief update. Had to walk to a hardware store and buy a grinder to grind off one of the cables so the other one could retract. That was cheaper than paying a mechanic. Everything has been removed and the parts should arrive today or tomorrow morning. We'll get the new cables into the helm system tomorrow then start the reinstall. Will be finished on Thursday and then clean up the boat from the grease. Hopefully we will get underway again on Friday.

Oct 19 - Still waiting to go pick up the cables so I figured now is time for an update. I'll finish up the emergency steering section and then move on to the cable change out.

This is a closer shot of the tiller arm I made up on the first and second versions of the emergency steering. You saw the video's above but I wanted to show a couple of items up close. In addition to the lashings to the left, I also added some more duct tape so it wouldn't slip back.

Below you can see how I started to attach the "tiller" oh I mean boat pole to the aft rail. I started with duct tape but quickly figured out the forces will be much more underway so I added the lashings you see in the picture to the lower right. This proved to be a good move and it held just fine. However, the boat pole - the only thing I had on-board that I could use for a tiller - was too flexible to do this off-shore. It was flexing quite a bit underway.


There are a couple of other things that were not quite right. Again, let me say this worked so not quite right means it can be improved upon in case this happened off-shore. I used nylon line because that was all I had without cutting up the owners Jib line that pulls the Jib back in. Nylon line is designed to stretch and stretch it does. It is not the right line in this application. Bottom line, use dacron line under whatever name brand you want. I am going to make up a kit for the emergency steering. This kit will include an aluminum square tubing for the tiller with two turnbuckles to attach the steering lines similar to what you will see in the next video. These two lines will be long enough to go down to the rudder arm once the rudders have been disconnected. Again, the third video will show you the system which is what I will be making my kit up for.

I also found that because I connected the steering lines in the first two videos directly to the outdrive, I lost the 2 to 1 advantage that was caused by what would have been a block "rove to advantage." This means the forces were pretty darn strong when actually underway. They could have been half of what I experienced. To be redundant, tie it to the cleat.

You can see a picture of me to the left and I am underway. I started out with the second version of the emergency steering and sitting down. After 30 min I quickly figured out the forces were too strong and my left arm would give out way too soon. My solution was to pull the port rudder up so it had less effect which lessened the force on the tiller. It also meant that in effect, I was using a mix of the first and second version of the steering system. I also had to stand and use my hip to push on the tiller. The rag is a pad of sorts that I was using so I wouldn't get bruised. Again, the system worked so I'm not complaining.

Here is the third setup video which I think is the best of all. As a side note, I now have a YouTube channel but no videos on it yet. I'll be working on that as time permits which should make it easier for you to see videos.

I will probably add a bracket of some sorts that can be mounted to the aft rail to attach the tiller. I may have to fabricate my own clamp and gooseneck but it will give me more strength. Couple a better tiller and bracket with dacron line that can be tightened by turnbuckles and I think I will have a very good system. To counteract the forces on the tiller, I may make up a bungee system to hold the tiller to the starboard which will counteract the prop's effect. If the forces are still very high and you have a long way to go, you can always pull both rudders part way up to make the forces less of a factor then use the turnbuckles to tighten up the line further.

I'll be copying this emergency steering system into my projects at a later date. In the mean time, email me any questions/constructive comments and I'll be happy to respond and add it to the website.

Here is my overall take on the three systems. System One - Very easy and would work just fine if you are moving a half hour or so without having to take the rudder arm systems apart.

System Two - Good in case you loose a rudder or if a rudder gets jammed.

System Three - My choice if I can get the rudders disconnected. It will give me the most control. But if you are in six foot seas and worried about falling overboard - be sure to use a jack line for you or go back to system one.

In all three systems, connect the control lines through the outdrive and up to the cleat.

Changing out the steering system - 2005 Gemini 105Mc

As you know by now, the rudder cable broke on a boat I am delivering from Norfolk to Ft. Myers, FL. The boat was steering fairly well even with the broken cable so we were heading south hoping to make the repair at the home dock. After the 4th day, the cable jammed some way which caused us not to be able to go straight and only turn to the starboard. We were trying to approach an anchorage so we dropped the anchor in a fairly protected spot. With the Rocna, I wasn't worried about holding. Once we reached Oriental on the emergency steering outlined above, we took on the job of changing cables. Researching the process, I found some excellent resources. First off are Walt's videos of the process. Second was a video done by Will who was previously at Performance Cruising which shows how to install the cables into the helm station. And third was a PDF file that was emailed to me about the process. All the links are listed to the right so they are all in one place for people who have this in the future.

Walt's Videos

Video One - http://youtu.be/bargTmIZCeI

Video Two - http://youtu.be/vj3ISuu_pBM

Will's Video - http://vimeo.com/3081377

PDF File of process - Changing Steering Cables

After I posted the original version, Walt sent me some failure analysis videos to add to this compilation. Great stuff. So I'm adding them here again, to create a complete set of data.




Overall, this process is not unlike any other process on the boat. It seems difficult when you look at the entire thing but the bottom line is it's just a bunch of smaller steps. This can be done at anchor or at a dock. All you need are the right tools, patience, and of course some new steering cables. The numbers for the steering cables are in the PDF file listed above right. However, they didn't give you the number of the new helm control if you have a boat like me that is an older Gemini. That number by the way is a U-Flex T72FC and you can find it at this link:


So, you have all your cables and possibly new helm system ordered. You can get started anyway. In each of the aft berths there are some access plates that can easily be removed. This provides access to the cable and just clip the wire ties holding it to the wall. You'll need some new screw on wire ties to hold the cables in place when you finish the job.

You can disconnect the arm from the cable on each of the cables. This will allow you to remove the cable through the assembly that holds up the rudder. You will have to loosen both of the nuts on the arm side and remove them. Next pull that tube up to but not through the fiberglass verticals. Remember, this holds the rudder up and if you pull the tube out then you will be swimming to reinsert the rudder. Of course you have to rotate the wheel to retract each of the cables inwards. Otherwise you will not be able to remove the cables.

The next step I accomplished was to remove the wheel. Easier said than done. Back out that screw you see to the left and remove the cover plate. Next, back out the nut in the center and see if you can jerk the wheel off. In my case - Nope. I connected a rope to one side of the steering wheel, around tubing near the track for the mainsail then back to the wheel so it had tension on it. Next, I simply turned the wheel a couple of times to tighten it more. Then I used a hammer to hit the nut and shaft until it came off. THIS IS IMPORTANT - you must have the nut on so you don't distort the treads. Otherwise you will really mess things up. After a bunch of banging, it came off. Trust me, I'll use some synthetic grease when I put it back together.

Next remove that bezel that is behind the wheel. Two screws.

You can see the tapered shaft which is what ensures the wheel is locked on not to mention the key way. Don't drop that key and lose it.

I attached a pull line to the end and pulled the port cable out of the aft area. Deb was helping and we got the thing out. Since this was the cable that was stopping the wheel from turning to the port, I hoped that cutting it off on up the cable would let me turn the wheel far enough to get the other cable out. I needed a side grinder so I walked to a hardware store and bought one. A friend of mine once told me, "Jim, the only difference between you and a mechanic is tools. Buy the tools, it's cheaper than a mechanic." Thanks Gary.


So, I decided to put that port cable out the side window and put it up on the dock to grind/cut it off. You can almost see it coming out the port window. I just had a hard time thinking about all the sparks inside the boat so this was a good solution.

The good news is it worked. When I got the end cut off about a foot away from the crimped part it made the cable free. I was able to turn the wheel completely over which meant I didn't have to cut the other cable off inside the boat. I hate sparks inside a fiberglass boat. But then again, that's what water is for.

If you look closely, you can see the grease is dried up. Now comes the guesses. Almost everyone has their cable break on these U-Flex systems. I'm not an engineer and will leave final conclusions to those that are better than me. However, I have opinions. First, the grease that dried up came from somewhere. I don't know if it was the manufacturer of the cables, or if it was put in by Performance Cruising, or ???? What I do know is that I remember a guy by the name of Rob who first suggested putting the zerts into the nuts on the cable so it can be easily greased. Performance Cruising quickly followed his advice. Rob used Royal Purple grease which is synthetic. My opinion is that most people don't use synthetic - either Royal Purple or Mobile 1 grease. Instead they use a cheap grease from Wal Mart and it hardens up just like the grease on our outdrive's. My message is spend some money here and get an excellent grease. I'm still using the same cables on my 96 Gemini and I only grease with synthetic. Ok, the second issue that contributes to a broken cable is when the outdrive starts to freeze up on that vertical pin. If your outdrive doesn't flop side to side then you are in for a cable breakage especially if you use cheap grease. So, use the same synthetic grease on the outdrive and you will always be happy. Money spent early in this case saves money spent later. Ok, just an opinion. Just look at that dried up grease below and make up your own mind!

 On this 2005 Gemini, it has the box you see to the right which gains some access. I removed the box as you will see below and that way I didn't have to completely remove the refrigerator. I only had to slide it forward about half way. That, along with my long arms allowed me to remove the helm system after cutting a bunch of wire ties through the access.

If you don't have the access, like me, then you may or may not have to completely remove the refrigerator. Fortunately, they have provided a nice loop of copper tubing so the refrigerator can ge pulled out without disconnecting the gas line.

In the lower right picture you can see the screw that must be removed so the refrigerator can be pulled out. Of course you also have to remove the two screws in the bottom of the refrigerator along with the two bolts at the top once you remove the teak trim piece. To remove the teak you have to remove the 3 bungs then the 3 screws so the trim can be removed.

All of this is shown very well in Walt's videos.


 To the left you can see a large black cable which is one of the rudder cables. The other one is somewhat hidden with all the wires that are wire tied to it.

After you pull these all off, then you can remove the helm system. I pulled it out this access hole. Next you need to remove the existing cables then install the new ones.

That is exactly what I did this afternoon. Since I had Sailcraft order me the cables while I was out playing with the emergency steering system, I had them help me put the new ones into the helm station. Well the truth is that I needed their vice and having them help take care of this installation was worth the time we spent. They are wonderful and we took less than an hour doing the entire process of cable removal and reinstallation. I then hopped on the bike I borrowed and brought the cables and helm station back to the boat.

I'll have more pictures tomorrow when I get the project finished. Right now the helm station is back in, wheel on, refrigerator installed and cables are in both of the berths. Tomorrow should be wonderful when I reinstall the cables onto the rudders, test it, then clean up some grease on the outside along with the rest of the mess we've made. Looks like we will be departing on Friday.

Thanks for checking our our adventures.

 Oct 20 - The steering went back in just fine and there really weren't any pictures to take since you've already seen it all coming out. We are out of here in the morning. It has been blowing like stink for the last two days. Regardless, I got the cables routed and installed. Then all the stuff went back on. Had to pick up some washers to realign the rudders and thanks to the Provision Company who are open again - they provide some bikes for cruisers free - I was able to pick up the washers up from the local hardware store. I then pumped out the holding tank with a manual pump out system and re-watered the boat. Of course I picked up a bit of food for the next 5 days. Our next stop will be North Myrtle Beach where we will be getting the new engine service and hopefully installing that cable I ordered.

We are right now finishing up baking some chicken that will be dinner, with the left over's tomorrow making up the base for a great soup. It is cold up here and we need to bring some more warm clothes next time. In case I haven't said it, we are open for delivery's and you can tell we do more than drive the boat - fixing and more importantly teaching is our specialty.

Since I can't imagine what else can break I am ready to declare everything except the leaks we've found have been fixed. As we move south I'll try to figure out what is causing the leaks we've marked (mostly windows but even more) and get some repair parts when we pick up the cable we've ordered from the West Marine in North Myrtle Beach.

We should be in some better climates in a week or so. It will be so nice to be warm again.

Better yet, the owner, Bob, looks like he may be joining us in about two weeks for the final part of the trip. By then, everything should be working and it should be a great trip down the coast of Florida and across the Okeechobee with the water rising.

It's been fun so far but we are actually looking forward to a week or two of things not breaking.

Our adventures continue.

 Oct 21 - We made over 66 miles today but that is after we had to wait almost an hour and a half for fuel. We were behind a mega-yacht and they took on over 3,000 gallons. Nothing like a $10,000+ fuel bill. I saw the sun rise as I left the dock this morning. Since there wasn't any wind, I told Deb to go back to bed. Then we anchored just after the sun set making it two beautiful set's or orange sky pictures.

We are anchored in Mile Hammock Bay and will be off tomorrow to anchor just before Cape Fear. We are trying to make up some time since we are behind about a week. We are hoping to have at least 4-5 days at our house before we take off again for Thanksgiving. For the most part, that means no stopping except to get the engine service done and to get food. Regardless, it should be a good trip from here on out - afterall, nothing broke today! That is a good day!

There are 19 other boats anchored in here with us so the southern migration has begun in full force. Anchorages after this will be an issue. 

 Oct 23 - Hi, we are still moving. Let me catch you up. I guess I did take a few pictures of the reinstallation of the cables. Sorry, I forgot.

This is one of the new cables that are installed into the helm assembly. This is the way I carried them back over my neck on the bicycle.

Then as you can see immediately below, or at least just see, the helm assembly is working it's way up that access hole and the refrigerator is not totally out.

Then below right you can see Deb pulling the cable through on the port side. Ok, don't worry - I told her to act like it was hard. Good actor don't you think. That said, she is a good helper.


I mentioned before that we anchored just after the sun went down. This is a picture of some of the boats that were anchored with us at Mile Hammock which is inside Camp Lejeune. It was a beautiful sunset but more importantly it was an anchorage we needed at that time. The bridge tender held the bridge for us about 3 minutes otherwise we would have been arriving after dark. Good think I brought my laptop and gps puck just in case. In this stretch, there just aren't a bunch of anchorages so you have to do what you have to do.

Below left you can see a beautiful cat that came by us. I really liked the extra nacelle that is between the hulls. This provides additional buoyancy and as I understand it, reduces the pounding. I would like to try this on a Gemini but would rather talk to a maritime architect first before building one.

Lower right is a picture of some of the people who we anchored with at Carolina Beach. This is a deep anchorage and we set in about 16 feet of water so we put out 120 feet of rode.

We left this morning with our eye on Cape Fear. You really want to time the current down this river and especially want to have the wind and current in the same direction. We have some memories of this river when they were opposing but I won't take you down memory lane right now. That said, I've really enjoyed the memories I can recall of some of our trips up and down the coast. You can go back into our logs if you can't sleep but for me it is fun remembering some of those trips. I must digress, I see things visually so I have ton's of memories that just pop up for me.

On Cape Fear, you have to expect some shipping traffic. In addition, they have car carriers that move from one bank to the other. You can see one of those car carriers to the right.

Then we had the wonderful encounter that says "you aren't in Kansas anymore." Yes, this ship was coming in from sea and heading for Wilmington.

It is amazing because the wakes from these boats are much less than the pleasure boats you see out on the water, especially the fishing boats. Makes you think they could work on their designs a bit. Then again, I guess they aren't designed for fuel efficiency.

Don't you just love that bow wave along with the visibility from the bridge. Beam me up Captain.

This is simply a picture of ICW (Intercoastal Waterway) as we were nearing the southern end of North Carolina.

Then we found this boat that was on the side which is very similar to that power cat we showed you earlier. It isn't the same one but the similarity's are remarkable. Probably the same designer. That isn't why I took the pictures. I took the pictures to show you the anchors. When you consider the owner has all the money to spend on any anchor they want, you have to be impressed they chose Rocna's. Of course that was my favorite anchor and has never let us down.

The picture to the left is all that is left of the last pontoon bridge on the east coast. We traveled through it 4 times and this is the first time we didn't have to wait for it. Now there is a 65 foot bridge that has replaced it. Sorry to see it go into history but then again, I'm pretty happy I don't have to wait anymore.

Tonight we have anchored in Calabash Creek and these folks are behind us. We have made up some time and have a call into the Westerbeke mechanic to see if he can get to the 50 hours engine service tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday morning. Hopefully it will be tomorrow afternoon. We are really trying to make up for some lost time while we where held up on the steering cable issue. So far we've pulled off a 77, 66, 66 and 55 mile day and will be holding here until we get word from the mechanic. We've got a marina that is close to shopping so we can get reprovision and then we are off again as soon as he finishes.

So goes the adventures so far on this quick trip down the east coast.

 Oct 26 - We made it to Calabash Creek and left a message for Steve at Sea Pup. He has been waiting on us to get here and wondered if we ever would. He told us on Monday morning that he would be with us on Tuesday morning so we left the anchorage just before 10 am and motored against the current to Dock Holidays. This marina has easy access to lots of stores and is close to their shop. Let me say right now that if anyone has a problem you should consider Sea Pup for service in this area. Steve arrived at our boat and this is what I saw the entire time. He worked and wasn't into talking. That means he wasn't building up time he was earning his keep. So, if you have a Westerbeke use Steve.

He left and we quickly backed the boat out of the slip to get headed south again. Things are just too cold up here for us. We aren't really happy wearing sweatshirts, but then again we do have them along with a generator to keep us warm. As we turned the boat south we saw the sign you've seen before - this warns you of the "Rock Pile." That is where they blasted through the rock to create this channel. Don't go through there with commercial traffic unless you really want to call Boat U.S. or Sea Tow for a salvage job when you "hole" your boat.

Then we entered one of the prettiest stretches on the waterway. The trees were just starting to turn and it was just beautiful through here.

 As we moved on south, just before our anchorages, it seemed like we found a guy with a new toy. Yep, he was running a two cylinder engine on a small race boat and testing things out. He ran buy us going south then turned and came back at us heading for the dock. The lower left picture is when he was running at 10-12,000 rpm and just after than the engine quit. Did he run out of gas or blow it up. Don't know but just after I took the picture below he pulled out the paddle and started rowing to shore. You see, he had people watching him on a dock about a half mile up but he was going against the current. Better go to shore and either drag or paddle the way up in less current.

 This morning I awoke ready to depart before the sun came up. We are in a wide, deep river and it would have been great to leave and watch the sun come up again. I was ready to go at 6:30 with sun-up at 7:10. However, this little thing called fog kept us in place until 8:20.

After we got underway we encountered the rowers you see below. We all waved then they stared rowing for my picture. Thanks for the picture!

We are back in alligator country and you can see one that just got done with a swim trying to sun themselves on the bank to the lower right.

 Have you ever wondered just how accurate the markers are? This red is supposed to be the edge of the channel with plenty of water for us to travel through. I think they need to relocate the marker - don't you?

 Then tonight I just had to get this picture of the sunset for my friends Garry and Shirline who should be up in Marathon after leaving Key West with the approaching hurricane. It is forecast to do a bunch of things and one of them is dissipate but why risk your boat?

I think this makes 567 pictures of sunsets on this site. Well, maybe more and maybe less.

Since we didn't get away until late we only made 50 miles today. The anchorages on this stretch are limited so we took the last one we were comfortable with.

Tomorrow, Thursday, we will pass by Charleston and find an anchorage somewhere south. We are still running behind and trying to make up a bit of time. We will be stopping at Hilton Head to meet up with a friend - Bill, who is arranging for a dock for us. Bob, remember Bob, who is the owner of the boat insisted that we take Bill out to lunch or dinner in appreciation. Thanks Bob!

We may have some weather coming on Sunday so we don't know if we are leaving on Sunday or Monday. Regardless, we will be at the Florida boarder in time to pick Bob up for the rest of the trip on Thursday afternoon. We should have a good trip to Ft. Myers.

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