Belhaven, NC to Beaufort, NC-Day 5

Woke up early and Dad wanted to go for a walk.  I relaxed on the boat for a few hours while he explored the town and bought a new toilet (tupperware pitcher).  We only had 65 miles or 165 miles to go depending on where we went.  We decided that 165 was too far, so Beaufort NC was our destination.  The weather was perfect, very slight breeze and about 75 degrees.  We shoved off at about noon and went to the gas dock one marina over.  I hailed them on the VHF and asked if they had gasoline.  She said “Negative Captain, we are all out”.  I responded with “Bummer.”  I guess I should have known looking at their sign which was pretty much blown away.

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Dad is pretty sure this boat has a 100 gallon tank, but according to the gas gauge it seems more like 75 gallons.  When we filled up on the Chesapeake the gauge showed an 8th of a tank and fit 65 gallons.  So either we have a 75 gallon tank or the gauge is wrong.  Hopefully it’s the latter.  We have a little over a quarter of a tank showing on the gauge, which means either 50 gallons according to dad, or about 20 gallons if the gauge has been right all along.  I looked it up later, and it is in fact a 100 gallon tank, so we were fine.  But at the time I wasn’t so sure.  I wanted to stop at Oriental NC to fill up, but Dad was so confident that he said lets just get to Beaufort.  We made a deal, if we ran out of gas, he would give me $1000 for not listening to me.  With that, I didn’t care either way so onward we went. 

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At some point after cruising for a while, dad mentioned that one of these nights we needed to drink the bloody marys he had prepared.  To which I replied bloody marys are for morning, not night.  So he decided no time like the present and made us each one.  “Just one”. 

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It was an absolutely gorgeous day and four bloody marys later we were feeling great.

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We arrived at Beaufort, NC at about quarter to 5pm.  It’s a beautiful town with lots of café’s etc.  It seems like a great small town to live in.  He hung out on the boat for a while and then went to a delicious little bistro and had some apps and a drink. We decided we were going to go to a few different places and get an app at each one.  The second place we went to was our marina’s restaurant.  We ordered two more apps, including the giant nachos.  We also got 2 free drinks for staying at the marina and cashed our coupons.  The nachos were disgusting, but we ate them anyway.  The view from the restaurant was amazing though and I am sure that is how they stay in business.

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After nachos and sunset, dad decided he was ready for bed.  I decided I was ready for the bar.  So I went and found a bar.  It was huge, but only had 3 patrons.  2 girls and one guy.  They reminded me of the type of people who would be on the Jerry Springer show.  I didn’t even try to break into their weird idiotic conversation.  I was drinking my beer and I puked a little bit of nachos in my mouth and decided that it was also time for me to go to bed.  So I left my half remaining beer and went to bed.

Great Bridge, VA to Belhaven, NC-Day 4

The day before, since we didn’t get very far I made a bet with Dad.  If it was over 70 we would just go to Coinjock, which put us another full day behind.  If it was under 70 we would cruise to Belhaven, which was about 120 miles away, a little further than we planned for any one day.  As you can tell by the title of this post, it was under 70, supposed to get up to 68.  So we would go to Belhaven.  We did however have one giant body of water to cross, the Albemarle Sound.  The people we talked to the day before said to be careful there, they had crossed in there 70’ boat once and actually had water splashing over the flybridge.  On our little boat that would definitely be too rough.  So when we got to Coinjock we would stop and see how it looks. 

Oh, forgot to mention, at some point the night before I fed the toilet a bunch of used beer and pushed the flush lever and half of it went down and then a it back fired and shot used beer all over me.  That was the end of the toilet.  It doesn’t work anymore.  Dad is peeing in a water jug now, and I, being the Jacksonville redneck that I am, just pee over the side.

We topped off the fuel tank and resupplied our cooler with beer at the gas dock.  When I started the boat to head on our way, the engine buzzer wouldn’t turn off.  Something was wrong.   This made me nervous and reminded me of Explorer Spring Break 09.  The oil pressure was fine, the temperature was fine so we had no idea what it could be.  We were a quart low on engine oil, so we added one.  It made no difference, the buzzer kept sounding.  Dad, against my better judgment added another quart of oil.  No change.  We got out the owners manual, and there was only one other reason the buzzer goes off… Low drive oil.  Sure enough, it was a little  low, so I filled it and it solved the problem.  And we are off.

The ride to Coinjock was very nice.  We had to get under our 2 bridges which took the better part of an hour.  This is the Centerville swing bridge opening.

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Once we got past the bridges, it was narrow cuts for a while, then it opened up to a wider river.  There was a slight chop in the river, maybe 1/2 foot but we were following it so it didn’t affect us at all. 

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Once we got to Coinjock, we checked the fluids again and topped off the tanks.  The drive oil was a hair low, but I think that’s were I left it last time, or maybe the drive sucked some of it down.  Nevertheless I topped it off right to the full line so I had a point of reference.  The engine oil was of course a quart overfilled which isn’t good, but not much we can do about it now.  Toilet still is broken.  Dad asked the fuel dock people about Albemarle Sound.  The guy said that its usually about 3 times what we just went though, but that the waves were heading south, so once again it would be a following sea which makes for a much smoother ride.  That added up to 1.5 foot chop, nothing to us after the 7 foot seas in the Chesapeake.  So we decided to go for it. 

Here is a small house in Coinjock.

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3 times bigger my ass.  There were probably 6 foot seas and the waves were headed south, east and north.  We were getting it from nearly all sides.  And we had about 20 miles of this.  I tried my best to read the waves and keep our speed up so we could get it over with quickly as possible.  Our speed dropped by 10 mph even though the throttle was about the same.  20 mph for 20 miles, we had about an hour of this, but it wasn’t scary like the Potomac was, just uncomfortable. 

After Albemarle Sound we entered the Alligator River which is still pretty wide open but much less sloppy.  The waves were about all the same size as in the sound, but they were uniform and following so it was much nicer.  The river narrows and eventually we get to another canal and we figured once we made it there, it would calm down considerably.  But before we did, the winds really picked up and it got a little violent.  Luckily we weren’t in the Sound at this point, I don’t think we would have made it.  This area was much more sheltered so the waves weren’t bad, but the wind was howling and it was hard to control the boat.  The wind kept pointing the bow wherever it wanted regardless of the direction I turned the wheel.  We didn’t have much of this however because we arrived at the canal, which is protected enough that there was virtually no wind.  We slowed it down and cracked some beers.  Time to relax again.   

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The sun was out, we lathered up in sunscreen and relaxed.  This was the nicest part of the trip so far.  From the entrance of the cut, to our destination, Belhaven, it was about 30 miles, most of it in this cut.  We cruised at about 8 mph for about 2 beers, and then kicked it up a notch for a while.  Dead calm and 30 mph it was awesome.

IMG_0648  On the other side of the cut was Pungo River and then shortly after was Belhaven.  Pungo River is pretty wide and pretty deep.  We passed a bunch of sailboats and enjoyed the ride.  It did get a little rougher and a little wet, but at least it was warm.  I even had my one sweatshirt I brought off for the first time.  The air was warm, the water that splashed on me was warm so it was all good. 

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We arrived at Belhaven at about 4:50 and relaxed on the boat for a while.  We listened to some tunes and lightened our cooler a bit.  Tied up next to us was a MacGregor sailboat and two older gentlemen on board.  One of them had something wrong with his hip, and one leg was about a foot shorter than the other.  Not to be rude, but it was pretty funny looking.  We also met another gentleman who was on his 58 foot powerboat.  It was basically the same setup as our boat, except much larger.  Oh and it had 3500 horsepower and cruised at 45 mph.  He was heading to St. Thomas, his home.  I asked if we could sleep in his two spare staterooms.  He didn’t really respond.

IMG_7263The sunset was at about 7:30 and was gorgeous.  At about 8pm we decided we should head into town and find some dinner.  We wandered all over the place and everything was closed.  I guess this town closes down at about 8.  After a couple mile walk, we came back to the boat and reheated some spaghetti and talked for another hour or so.  We decided it was good that everything was closed, spaghetti was just what the doctor ordered.  We lightened the cooler a little more and called it a night.  Overall a very good day.

Deltaville VA to Great Bridge VA, Day 3

We woke up in Deltaville feeling pretty good, my back has been bugging me, I think because of constantly ducking to avoid getting a freezing blast of water to the face.  Sleeping in the coffin they call an aft cabin on this boat probably didn’t help at all.  The marina at Deltaville was very pleasant, I think that if we did this trip in the summer it would be packed and very fun.  It was quite however this time of year.  Our goal when we left was to go to a place called Coinjock.  We had some of the biggest waters of our trip on this day to get from Deltaville to Norfolk.  After Norfolk however it was all skinny channels so we figured we would be home free if we could just make it there.  We hugged the western shore as much as possible, but it was difficult because there were a ton of flats and sandbars so really we were pretty far out and it was rough, but nothing like the day before.

At around noon we arrived at Norfolk.  It just so happened that as we were heading down the channel 3 Navy destroyers were headed out to sea.  We looked them up on our phones and found that these ships were something to be reckoned with.  I would not like to be on the receiving end of these ships firepower.  They have surface to air missiles for blowing up buildings, surface to air missiles for blowing up airplanes, and torpedoes for blowing up ships and subs.  And its all hidden from view, it could be a scientific ship for all you can tell from the outside.

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This stretch of Norfolk was mostly military or commercial shipping docks.  We cruised slowly through here and had a few beers to celebrate the calm water and protection from the wind.  It was extremely relaxing, in fact, it was the first relaxing time underway of the entire trip.

I have never hung out in Norfolk, but it looks like a very nice area.  This picture is downtown.

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Once we left the more industrial area things became more natural and unpopulated, but there are, we realized quite a few low bridges and we weren’t entirely sure if we could make it under them.  Who would have thought we would have to wait for drawbridges in a boat this small.  This bridge was really close.  We had about a foot to spare.

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As we cruised the channel we eventually came upon a lock.  Who would have though there would be locks in the intracoastal since boat sides are connected to the same ocean, but I assume its to keep the currents down.  There was less than a foot between the two sides.  We timed the locks pretty well, there was one other boat, a very large one in there with us.  Immediately after the locks is a drawbridge that has a 4 foot vertical clearance.  No way we were making it under that.  But apparently they time the opening with the locks. 

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Here you can see the difference between the two sides of the lock.  Almost none.  I am used to the Seattle locks where there is around a 20’ difference.  Right beyond the locks you can see the super low drawbridge.

Once the locks opened the larger boat went first and we followed.  The larger boat tied up to a public dock that we assumed is for people waiting for the drawbridge, so we followed and tied up there too.  Once we get through this bridge, there are two more drawbridges that open on the 1/2 hour, and they are about 1/2 hour apart at slow speeds, so it would be perfect.  Then we would be on our way to our destination at Coinjock, which is about 35 miles from the locks.  We got though the locks at 3, and figured an hour for the drawbridges, and then half hour-45 minutes to get to Coinjock, plenty of time before sunset.

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Dad went and talked to the people on the larger boat, a very nice couple and found that they weren’t waiting for the bridge, they were staying the night.  So basically we screwed up, the bridge didn’t open because we didn’t pull up to it.  Damnit.  This bridge opens only every hour with the locks, so we had to wait until 4pm.  The Centerville bridge, the next one, is closed from 4-6 for commuters.  So basically we missed our chance… if we waited until 6pm we wouldn’t make it to Coinjock until after dark, and we definitely don’t want to cruise these unknown waters in the dark.  So we ended up staying in Great Bridge.  So we tied up and got down to emptying our cooler of some beer weight.  We heard there was a fun bar/restaurant right across the canal from the bridge, so we decided to wander up there.  By the time we got there we were both a little saucy, but we managed to order some more beers and get some chicken wings in our bellies.  After we ate, I talked dad into playing some Golden Tee.  He isn’t nearly as good at golden tee as he is at real golf.

I crawled into my coffin at about 11:30 and fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Annapolis to Deltaville MD, Day 2

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Woke up at about 6:30 a little stiff and sore from the previous day.  Was excited for coffee and a good aggressive teethbrushing.  We took our time and planned out our day.  We knew the weather would be a little rougher than the previous day so we wanted a good plan of attack.  The previous day the winds were 5 to 10 knots out of the west, and this day they were supposed to also be out of the west, but 10-15 knots with gusts up to 20, so we knew that it would be a bit rougher and colder.  We decided we should leave as soon as possible to try to catch the calm early morning before the winds picked up and get as much distance as we could before that happened.  Dad needed to drink his coffee so he could “go to the bathroom” so we didn’t get out of port until 9:20.  When we departed Annapolis it was fairly calm, about 5 knot winds with a wispy fog rising from the warmer waters. 

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  Once we got out of the harbor, the winds picked up a bit, but we were pretty sheltered by the land on our western side.  We hugged the coast as much as we could, but it was difficult because there were a lot of flats and sandbars.  We made pretty good time.  There was plenty to see, there are a ton of lighthouses in the middle of the Chesapeake, some in use, some abandoned.  But its interesting to see them.   These used to be occupied by a permanent groundskeeper back in the day, I think they are automated now, but I couldn’t imagine spending my life in this kind of isolation.

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Things went pretty well since we were mostly sheltered and the only sketchy thing we had to deal with was the Potomac river.  Its not that big of a river so it should have been fine.  Except, that the winds were coming from the west and its wide open to the west.  Dad decided to take over the helm before we got into there, and while he is a great boat driver, I think his age might have taken a little of that skill away.  The rollers started getting bigger and bigger, and he kept saying, “I think we should think about heading back.  This is getting a little rough.”  I kept telling him to keep on trucking, we are headed towards shelter, to go back we will have to hit all this mess again.  He said that if it got any rougher, he would head back.  I told him no, we are more than half way, to go back would be crazy.

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Unfortunately pictures don’t do it justice and you can’t tell how big this is, but there were 10 foot waves, 15 foot apart.  The stern of this 27 foot boat were cresting a wave as the bow was trying to dive under the next wave.  They were just slightly too tall or this boat was too long.  But once we had deep green water blow over the bow dad decided he had enough and he tried to turn around.  When we did we were broadside to the waves and he realized that back wasn’t an option.  So instead of heading west into the waves, we headed southeast following the waves.  This meant we had a much longer time to reach the shore, but we at least weren’t diving under the waves and it was much calmer in the cockpit.  Once we got to the other shore about an hour later (12 miles) things calmed down significantly and we were again making good time.  We decided we would stop at Deltaville, about 20 miles away… the gas gauge was half way between 1/4 and empty.  We have a 100 gallon tank and that should mean we have about 13 gallons.  On perfect seas this boat gets around 2 miles per gallon, so it shouldn’t be a problem, but in these rough seas we have been averaging about 1 MPG.  Dad made a bet, how much fuel would we fit in the tank when we arrived at Deltaville.  He said 25 gallons.  I said 3.5.  But really, in my head I was thinking: Deltaville, we aren’t making it there; we are beaching the boat and asking some nice neighbor if they had a gas can.  Anyway, we made it to Deltaville and refuled, and we only fit 68 gallons.  So in reality, dad knows the gas gauge is wrong and let me worry the whole way.

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The marina where we made a reservation looked more like a service center so we stopped at a different marina named Doziers, which in the prime of summer I bet is rocking, there is a huge BBQ section, a pool and a big fire pit with adiorandac chairs.  It was very nice. 

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We asked about food, and they didn’t have any, but the dockmaster called the owner of a nearby restaurant called CoCoMo’s and the owner came and picked us up in his giant Dodge pickup.  Super friendly people in Deltaville and would definitely recommend it.  CoCoMo’s was delicious, and had regular American fare.  I got a cheeseburger and it was delicious.  While we were waiting for our food we played Barrel of Monkeys.

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I am definitely better at barrel of monkeys than dad, I suppose that’s because of all my practice as a kid.  He had never seen it before.  After dinner, the owner took us back to our marina and we hit the sack.  It was about 8:30.

North East MD to Annapolis

 

Well, where to start.  My father and I are in process of taking a 1997 Sea Ray Sundancer 270 from North East Maryland down to Jacksonville Florida.  I flew up to Philly from Jacksonville on September 30th 2011.  The weather was calm and sunny and we stopped and had a cheesesteak in Wilmington Delaware, ate outside in shorts and a tee shirt.  IMG_0536Our boat trip started October 1st, Saturday at around 11:00 am. 

It was cold and cloudy but at least not rainy or windy.  As we shoved off it still seemed like we would be in for a nice pleasant journey, even though it was about 20 degrees cooler than the day before.  We cruised South West from Cara Cove and once we passed the terminus of the Susquehanna River the water turned bright brown and there were logs everywhere.  Not just middle of the road firewood mind you, there were full length trees in the water.  Some of them over a foot across and 20+ feet long.  Some of them were just logs, but they were huge and water logged so they hovered just below the waters surface, a little scary. 

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We decided we better go slow.  Apparently with all the flooding up north they had opened up all the dams wide open to drain the upper river which meant that all the flood debris was directly in our path.  But luckily we didn’t have far to go to get to the main channel of the Chesapeake.    The day was looking nice and the water was relatively calm… there was even sunshine.  It wasn’t as warm as I would like, but it was pleasant.  Once we got to the open water we ate ham and cheese sandwiches and enjoyed the beginning of our trip.  The driftwood was gone and all was good.  Right away however, we saw a pirate ship.  Not a very good omen.

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We decided we needed to get gas at a small marina town called Rock Hall on Maryland’s eastern shore.  It is not far from our starting point, but we only had half a tank and it was a perfect place to fill up so we headed there.  About a half hour into our journey towards Rock Hall the clouds came in and the seas got angry, 6-7 foot seas very close together.  The wind was coming out of the west and we were on the eastern side of the Chesapeake, so we had no shelter.  IMG_0561

Dad was arguing that we should stay there.  I said hell no, its only 40ish miles from our starting point and without the driftwood and rough seas it was only a little over an hour from home.  Our plan is 100 miles a day, and this was not going to cut it.  I put on the marine weather channel on the VHF and they said that each day was going to be a little worse than the previous, and I said that making slow progress is better than no progress, because we would be stuck in Rock Hall Maryland until Wednesday at the earliest if we went with his plan.  Dad was adamant, but we ended up compromising.  After we filled up with fuel, we would at least go to Annapolis, which is a half hour further if the seas were calm.  They were rough, so we figured an hour more. 

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Once the tanks were topped off we headed towards Annapolis.  It was brutal.  Couldn’t go fast because it was too violent, couldn’t go slow because it was too wet.  So we went inefficiently in the middle.  Worst gas mileage we could do, but it was all we could do to keep the bottom of the boat in the water.  Every wave we hit (they were about 12-15 feet apart) made a nice sized splash, and since we were headed south west and the winds were coming out of the west, the water splashed out away from the boat, and the wind blew it right back at it and came over the windshield and splashed me in the face.  Needless to say I was soaked.  Once we got to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge it seemed like we were close to Annapolis.  But in reality we weren’t.  And of course Dad said “It could be worse, at least it isn’t raining.”  Murphy’s law said I should punch him in the face for saying something like that.  Luckily for him, it didn’t start raining.

We decided that we better hug the western shore so we would have some shelter from the wind, and it worked, it just took forever to get there at a comfortable speed of 10mph.  Once we did, it calmed down considerably.  We eventually got to the bridge and then we were pretty sheltered as we neared Annapolis harbor.

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There were Navy guys out on sailfishes hauling ass in the gusty winds.  We also saw more than one sailfish keels pointing up and Navy guys pointing down.  Even though I was soaked, through and through, at least I wasn’t one of the Navy guys.  It also wasn’t too cold out…yet.

We arrived at Annapolis and docked the boat without incident. 

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IMG_7237I changed into dry clothes and we hit the town.  First we went to a Piano bar, but the piano didn’t start until 8pm… since that is our bedtime we figured we probably wouldn’t get to see piano bar goodness. 

Next we went to an Oyster bar and ordered 2 beers and a dozen oysters.  Yummy, they were delicious.  IMG_7241This place was pretty cool.  It had trees growing inside and a glass ceiling, and it was packed to the gills.  We then ventured on to see what else we could find, and of course, since its what I always do, we stopped in an irish pub and got a few more beers.  I stuck to bud light and Dad got some Nitro beer.  Since Irish food usually isn’t very good we ventured on to Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs.  It a giant place on the 2nd floor overlooking the harbor.  Dad ordered the Steamed seafood festival and I the Fried Seafood something or other.  They arrived and were huge.  There was way too much food and we decided we should have just ordered one of them.  With our belly’s overstuffed we headed back to the boat and went to bed.

2 Years in Jacksonville.

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I moved from Seattle to Jacksonville 2 years ago... pretty much exactly.  For the next few days I am going to talk about some of the things I have noticed that are very very different.

First, a little about the 2 cities....

 

  Seattle Jacksonville
Total Area 142.5 sq mi 885 sq mi
Land Area 83.9 sq mi 767 sq mi
Water Area 58.7 sq mi 116.6 sq mi
Elevation 0-520 ft 0-16 ft
Population 594,210 805,605
Pop. Ranking 24th 12th
Greater Pop. 3,344,813 1,313,228
Greater Pop. Rank 15th 40th
Ave Age 38.24 34.86
Skyscrapers > 200' 106 17
Rainfall 37.1" 52"

 

As you can see Jacksonville is HUGE.  In fact it is the largest city in continental America as far as land area.  In 1968 the city and county governments merged making Jacksonville proper take up nearly the entire county.  Because of this Jacksonville isn't really a city like Seattle is; it’s more like a bunch of different communities, each with its own population center with a lot of space in between.  Seattle on the other hand is fully populated with (aside from parks) pretty much no vacant land anywhere.  You can also see from the stats above that Seattle has 106 skyscrapers over 200 feet tall, vs. Jacksonville's 17.  When you look at the 2 cities skylines, there is no comparison.  In fact, Bellevue, the Seattle suburb I grew up in, has a much more impressive skyline than Jacksonville (24 buildings over 200' tall).  Another big difference between the two is Jacksonville is flat... I mean completely flat, so flat that the rivers have tides because the sea water backs up into them.  Seattle doesn't really have a flat spot anywhere, except right at the waterline, and it isn't flat there either in many spots.  Both Jacksonville and Seattle have beautiful scenery, but it is different.  Both have water everywhere, which I love.  Jacksonville's water is a mix of rivers, lakes, salt marsh, Intracoastal Waterway and ocean.  Seattle has rivers, lakes and the sound.  All of which are extremely deep.  Jacksonville's water is extremely shallow.  In fact if they didn't dredge, I am pretty sure most of the water would be un-navigable as I know because I run aground often.  Luckily the bottom in Jacksonville is just sand and mud, as opposed to Seattle’s rocky bottoms.

The RoosterOne time I went out in my little boat, The Rooster (a 10’ speedboat that used to be a rental at Disney World), with my buddy Adam.  I decided to take Adam on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, an excursion up the creeks off the intracoastal which goes from very wide down to just wide enough for the boat to slip through.  We were hanging out by the pool with our ladies having a nice time, and decided a boat ride would be brilliant.  It was an outgoing tide, but I was pretty sure it was deep enough for one ride through.  We made it all the way to the smallest part of the ride, which is also about the middle of it, the point of no return so to speak.  We had just as much creek behind us as we did ahead.  When I am going fast, up on a plane, the boat doesn’t draw much water at all, but at slow speeds it sits much lower in the water and therefore needs much deeper water.  As long as we stayed on a plane we should have made it though.  My calculations were slightly wrong.  I have never had a problem completing Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride before because I had an outcropping of oysters I used as my gauge for if it was deep enough to complete.  It turns out that after the winter the outcropping moved slightly and therefore my gauge was off by a little.  Anyway, we were halfway through the ride when the propeller started to chew into the mud.  While the boat was forcefully slowed down by the motor dragging in the mud, we also came off a plane, so the motor went deeper into the mud.  Quick side note… let me tell you a little about the mud on the bottom of the creeks.  It isn’t mud in the normal sense; it is water saturated mud and has the consistency of soft pudding.  You can usually drive a boat with the propeller in the mud, it slows you down a lot, but you can usually just power through it slowly with the motor tilted up (I am sure it’s not good for your motor but it’s better than waiting 6 hours for the tide to come back in).  This is why we were able to get as far in as we did.  For the last little bit the motor was in the mud, but we still had enough water between us and the mud that it didn’t slow us down too much so I floored it hoping to make it past the shallow part and continue on and because we were pretty much at the middle, it gets deeper from here.  Unfortunately we didn't make it do the deeper, the motor couldn't continue any more and we abruptly came to a stop.  When I surveyed the situation, I noticed it was so shallow that the bottom of the boat was sitting on the mud; we had about an inch of water.  Nowhere near enough water for pretty much any boat.   

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The problem was that the motor was deeply lodged in the mud and this little boat has no power tilt, in fact the motor can’t stay up on its own at all… and with the bottom of the boat on the mud, no matter how soft there was too much friction to move anywhere.  Luckily I carry a paddle for situations like this.  So I had Adam hold the motor tilted up out of the water while I paddled.  We tried going forward because I thought we could get to deeper water quicker going that way, but with the mud holding us down and the outgoing tide against us we didn’t go anywhere.  I should also mention that the creek at this point is only about 4 to 5 feet wide, just a little wider than the boat, so I was able to push against the grasses at the edge of the creek with the paddle to get us moving.  But unfortunately because the bottom of the boat was in the mud I couldn’t give it a shove then drift a little.  It moved only as far as I shoved it… no drifting at all.  Adams arms are getting tired of holding the old 28hp Evinrude outboard out of the water.  I kept pushing and Adam kept holding.  We weren’t making any progress going against the tide.  I decided it would be better to go back the way we came.  Also, we only had one beer and our swimsuits.  No phones, no food, no nothing.  And because it was an outgoing tide, we had about 3 hours until the tide went all the way out, came back in and the water was deep as it was at that moment.  It was getting shallower by the minute.  It would probably be 4 hours before we could motor out on our own.  And because the boat was on the bottom, it was very slow paddling.  I was getting nervous.  Not because we might get stuck, but because we had no cell phone and the women would be furious if we disappeared for 4 hours.  Hell hath no fury… you get the picture.  Because we were losing water so fast, even if we got out of this super shallow part, I was worried that even the deeper parts up ahead would be too shallow really soon. 

So I did the only thing I could think of… I got out of the boat and tried walking along the grasses and pulling the boat.  Of course I was barefoot so there is always the danger of stepping on an oyster bed, or a cat fish spike or something like that.  But it would be better than getting killed by the girls.  So I jumped off and without my weight in the boat, it was no longer as hard to move.  In fact, it was floating.  Adam was still holding the motor up, and I was trudging through the mud.  I couldn’t walk on the grasses like I had planned, because it was muddy there, and the grasses are spiky and hurt my feet.  In the mud/pudding, my feet sunk in pretty deep, about knee deep.  So I pulled the boat one step at a time, and after about 100 very difficult steps we were deep enough that the boat would be completely floating even if I got back in.  So I did.  I paddled and paddled, and we made good time because at this point we had the tide and the paddle pushing us out of the creek with no mud slowing us down.  Adam’s arms were getting really tired from holding the engine up.  After a good bit of paddling we were on the bottom again, the tide was going out faster than we could paddle and it was really shallow now, even though we were at the deeper part, if we hadn't moved at all from where we initially got stuck, we would have been high and dry.  From this point in the creek until it merges with a larger creek is, on average, about the same depth the entire way.  There are a few deep spots, but most of it is just the mud.  We still had a long way to go, and with the tide going out, I was pretty sure we weren’t going to make it.  I got out again and pulled the boat.  It was stuck on the mud.  Oh sh*t.  I pulled really hard and it came free, phew.  It was kind of like when you step in deep mud with a boot on and the suction makes it get stuck so when you take the next step your foot comes out of the boot.  The boat was the boot.  Once it came free it actually got deeper, quite a bit deeper, probably deep enough to run the boat on its own power, as long as I could get on a plane.  Adam could barely hold the motor up anymore at this point, so I told him to drop it.  I started the motor and hit it.  We started to go and started to get up on a plane, stirring up a ton of brownish blackish mud in the process.  Nope, not deep enough, we bogged down again.  Couldn’t quite get on a plane, too much motor in the mud to get the speed we needed.  But I was able to idle in it very slowly.  The entire propeller was under the mud, but the boat was floating.  It was probably a foot deep or so.  On a plane we would have no problem, but we just couldn’t get there.  So we idled, it was faster than paddling and I was really freaked about the women back home, they were going to kill us.

I tried to get on a plane a few more futile times.  At least it was still deep enough to idle.  It was probably really bad for the motor, a lot of strain spinning a propeller through pudding.  Plus the water that runs through the motor to cool it is sucked in from the bottom, so the little water pump was sucking muddy water and spitting it out the top.  But at least water was flowing through, so overheating wasn’t going to be an issue, but I am sure it’s not good for it.  One last try to get going fast.  By now we have been out there for about an hour and we were losing water fast.  This time we got on a plane.  We travelled above the mud for about 30 feet and then stopped again.  This time it was extremely shallow and the boat was on the bottom again, maybe 2 inches of water.  We had to pull the motor up again and paddle.  Adam nicely offered to let me hold the motor this time while he paddled.  Instead of holding the motor up, I grabbed the light pole from the hatch and wedged it under the motor so it stayed up on its own.  I guess I should have done that from the start instead of having Adam hold the motor that whole time.  I got out of the boat to let it sit a little higher, and Adam paddled while I walked and pulled.  It got a tiny bit deeper so I jumped back in the boat.  not deep enough to motor, but deep enough to float completely.  Since we only had one paddle I had nothing to do.  So I sat up on the side of the boat, with one leg in the boat, and one leg in the water.  I used the leg in the water to walk on the bottom.  Adam did the same on his side.  This worked really well (unless I step on an oyster) and with one leg on each side of the boat paddling/pushing off the mud we actually made good time.  We were now pretty close to where this creek merges with a much bigger creek.  I was pretty sure we were home free.  Once we got to the bigger creek we got all the way back in the boat, dropped the motor and started it.  I have been in this creek a million times and never hit the bottom, so we were going to make it out! 

I guess I had never been in this creek at a tide this low… remember we have been out at least an hour, and it was iffy when we started… now it was just plain old low tide, maybe a half hour until the lowest tide.  I could idle again, but couldn’t get it on a plane.  Too much muck.  So we idled for a while, hoping it would get a little deeper.  When I felt the motor wasn’t in the mud anymore, I hit it, trying to get up on a plane, each time, we would almost get there.  But we would inevitably hit bottom again and slow down.  Bummer.  At least I wasn’t worried about making it anymore.  I knew we would make it out without having to wait for the tide to come back in, it was just a matter of how long it would take.  After going for another 40 minutes, fast, slow, stop, paddle… over and over again, we finally made it out to the intracoastal.  Ahhh the sweet, sweet dredged intracoastal.  It was pretty much dead low tide at this point and we cruised home. 

We were pretty nervous about what we would find at home.  The cops, the Coast Guard, the girls crying… then of course angry.  We were sure that there was a countywide search and rescue in effect.  Hmmm, I wonder why there were no Coast Guard choppers circling the area.  Every agency in the state was probably out searching the waterways inch by inch for a little ten foot boat with two big men in it.  Finally we made it home.  We tied up the little boat and walked up the gang plank, our heads hung low in anticipation of the trouble we were in, to dry land.  Holy cow what an adventure.  I was trying to come up with the best way to say we screwed up, but it wasn’t our fault to try and alleviate the verbal raping we were about to get from the women. 

When we walked up to the bulkhead what did we see?  Our two girls, Screwdrivers in hand (the drink, not the tool, luckily) sitting in the hot tub laughing and some girly joke we would never get.  They didn’t even notice we were gone so long.  They weren’t even worried.  The nerve of some people.  I mean, we could’ve starved to death out there, or at least gotten really thirsty since we had no more beer. 

I guess the moral of the story is, when you are going out on a little boat to cruise up shallow creeks:

  • Do it at high tide.
  • If it’s not high tide at least do it when the tide is coming in.
  • Bring more beer than you need. (I am not condoning drinking and boating here, don’t get drunk and boat, that is very bad form and illegal, but a couple of beers in the boat is sometimes soothing)
  • Always bring your cell phone.
  • Sometimes women can surprise you with their trust in your boating skills.

That's it for today,
Thanks for reading,
-Lostwave

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Driving
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Well, the time is here.  I am moving across the country.  Florida here I come.  For the drive out there I have mapped out the following drive.  If anyone has any suggestions on stuff to do on the way, feel free to let me know.

Driving Route

Driving route

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Woodland creature pool project

A friend of mine made me this picture based on the Water Woes story

Raccoon Pool

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Water woes.
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I had a problem with my water bill because my water main burst. The biggest problem is that I was out of town for two weeks so the water was running full blast for nearly the entire time. I replaced the water main line into my house, then got my water bill which was a killer. So I sent the following note to the water company:
My Letter

Here is the reply I received back from the City of Bellevue. Pretty funny:
Reply

The next morning, after sending the letters out to some of my friends, I received this email:
Email

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The Death of my Monte Carlo
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I started it up... vroooom vrooooom sounded sweet. I let it run for a while because it had been sitting... it likes to run. So I left it for a while. I went back out to see it and go for a spin. I grabbed the mail and got back into the car. It smelled a little gassy, but it always does so I didn't think too much about it. I shut it off and then started it back up... who knows why. I had one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the ground outside the car. When I started it back up I guess the starter sparked enough to catch the gas on the ground (that leaked from the old cracked gas lines) on fire. It went poof. My foot was engulfed in flame (I didn't get burnt tho).
I shut it off ran to the front door and threw the mail that was in my hand on the ground. Fumbled with my keys to unlock the front door and ran to the kitchen to get my little fire extinguisher. I sprayed the extinguisher under the car... it lasted about 10 seconds and then stopped.... no effect on the flames. I ran downstairs (really fast) to get my other fire extinguisher. Sprayed it... 20 seconds and it was spent... no effect on the flames. By now there are flames coming out of the wheel wells... thick black smoke everywhere. I ran into the car opened the door to pop the hood... I remembered to close my eyes in the thick smoke but of course I forgot to hold my breath. Chokechokechoke. I popped the hood and ran into the house to call the fire dept. I picked up the corded phone... then thought what the hell am I doing... I have one of those newfangled cell phones so I can fight fire while I call the dept.
I grabbed my garden hose and ran back to the car and started spraying everywhere I could see flames shooting out. Remember, the car is in my carport, 2 feet from my Cadillac on one side... 3 inches from my house in the back and 2 feet from my Audi on the front. I was positive the gas tank was going to explode and my whole house was going to burn everything I own down. I jumped in the audi and moved it out of the driveway so at least I could sleep in that while the house was burnt down. I grabbed my cell phone and, of course, couldn't figure out how to unlock it... I eventually got ahold of 911. All the while I am spraying the flames with my garden hose. At this point there are flames coming out of everywhere. I just keep spraying.
911: What can I help you with.
Me: Um... my car is burning... bad.
911: Is anyone hurt.
Me: Not yet.
911: Is it close to anything else.
Me: Yes, its 2 inches from my house and next to everything I own.
911: blabla
Me: blabla.
911: blabla
Me: blabla.
911: blabla
Me: blabla.
911: blabla
Me: blabla.
911: Okay, the fire dept is on its way. Please keep everyone and everything away from the car.
Me: No, I am gonna keep spraying it with my hose.
911: Okay, be carefull.
So I hang up the phone. I tried to open the hood so I could get a clear shot at the flames, but it was too smokey and too hot... remember... I am still choking on black plastic and tire rubber burnt smoke. So I can't get to the fire, but at least I can try to keep my house from burning down.... just if that darned (full to the brim) gas tank doesn't explode. Then BOOOM. Uh oh... gas tank. Big Explosion. My life flashed before my eyes. I shut my eyes and waited to feel the pain of being engulfed by flames. After a second I opened my eyes because I didn't feel burnt. Phew... it was just the tire exploding. I kept spraying everything I could. Fire still shooting out of everywhere. The inside of the car was raging with flames. In my panic, I though I could help it by spraying the windshield... which of course didn't help. Keep spraying flames justin.... So I sprayed under the car. I sprayed in both wheel wells above the blown out tires. I sprayed in the cracks of the hood (I popped it remember). I sprayed the cadillac. I sprayed the house. Just kept rotating around. I also was a little worried because my audi was blocking where the fire truck needed to be.... but oh well, I would just keep spraying. I suppose the wires all started melting at this point because lights kept coming on. The horn honked once in a while. Blinkers flashed. The engine even tried to start itself. Pretty funny really. I suppose that was its dying last gasp of air. It was trying to start itself so it could get the heck away from the fire. Poor poor monte should have been shown those stop drop and roll videos when it was younger.
Then Brian Lenihan showed up. He said he thought it looked like my house was on fire from afar. No shit sherlock. So I got him to move the audi. At the point the flames weren't as bad as before. Still had quite a bit of fire, but not leaping out. Pretty much contained to the tires and the interior of the car. Black and white smoke billowing everywhere. The fire department shows up. Woohooo. Big sigh of relief. At least at this point I had some professional help with gas masks.
They all came to inspect the damage, rolled out the hoses and fired up their pump. They first opened the car door and let 100 or so gallons flow into the interior of the car. Byebye swivel seats. They were pretty much ignoring me while I kept spraying under the car where there was quite a bit of flame still. The hood was shut completely again. The fire melted the springs so it latched back shut. The fire was still going pretty good under the car, but the fire dept couldn't really see it. They were feeling like they were done and I said... um, theres still some going under here. They sprang back into action. They got their crow bars and started bending the crap out of the hood and grill. Made me cringe, but I suppose it shouldn't have because the car was already a total loss. But still hurt. They finally got the hood opened and unleashed another 100 gallons on the engine compartment. I wish my hose was as big as theirs. I think I was a little envious of the size of their hose.
Whew... fire out. Just to be safe, they emptied the rest of their 500 gallon tank on the interior of the car and the engine compartment. Good thing I didn't get the interior redone. I would have been really pissed off. We decided it would be a good idea to move the car away from everything else... so we got Brians explorer to tow the car out of the carport and to the end of the driveway. It took awhile to get the melted tires to turn, but eventually got it. Of course the wheels were cocked just enough that the car started to veer off the drive way and towards the 3 foot drop into my rose bushes. STOP BRIAN. Stopped just in time. I opened the door to turn the wheels and of course immediately began choking on the smoke still inside. Somehow managed to use my super human strength to turn the wheels just enough to avoid the drop off and we pulled it out to the end of the driveway.
Whew.... all done. Now Brian and I get to have a few laughs with the firemen and women (mostly women actually). The fire men said that every fire truck in bellevue was on its way because the car was so close to the house and when they showed up they called the rest of them off. They said I did a fantastic job containing the fire and that I should go work with them. I was so thankful they came that I probably would've said sure if I wasn't still completely choking on nasty smoke. In fact, I still reak of melted plastic and I have taken 2 showers. The only casualties were Evil Bendy (a little rubber bendy doll which now can be called black melted bendy) and my daffodils (which I trampled) and of course the car itself.
IMG_0716
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