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Old 13-10-2008, 07:35   #1
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skipgundlach's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
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Miami Passage - Day 6, completed - October 12

Miami Passage - Day 6, completed - October 12

When we left you, we were rolling up to the City Marina, about 7
hours into our 6th day, to take on some fuel in Charleston,
having burned 51 hours worth, which worked out to 71 gallons.
Not our idea of fun financially, but it got us around Hatteras in
the weather window we wanted, which was to say entirely benign,
belieing the usual terror that passage induces in experienced
cruisers and sailors contemplating it. Once clear of Hatteras,
we worked entirely on the wind we had to get here, as seen in my
prior postings. Now that we're here, and enjoying the citywide
free wifi, Lydia's experimenting with Picasa. She's put up a few
pix of the passage to Charleston...

Picasa Web Albums - Lydia - Sandy Hook Pa...#

We enjoyed being tied to the dock, where the security guy who
rolled up in his golf cart as we approached and were tying off
said it would be fine to do that, but definitely didn't expect
the blindsiding hourly charge they laid on us when I went to pay
for the fuel, especially the one where the fuel guys, despite our
having been logged in for being there exclusively to fuel, didn't
show up on our end of the dock until half an hour after opening,
and then spent more than an hour fueling a big sportfish which
landed just after us, but made us pay for that time, too.

Our friend Larry, one of our Angels, happened to have breakfast
the next day with a city councilman who was unaware of the
practices of the City-owned marina, and was apoplectic about it.
Perhaps that will change in the future. With nearly all of the
face dock empty, and our departure immediately after fueling, we
certainly didn't induce any extra cost to the operation.

Larry's take on the City Marina is that they - and the city -
ought to be encouraging, by whatever means, folks to come spend
money which benefits the city, including making it easy for them
to do that. Charging what amounted to a 50 cent premium for
diesel fuel (the sportfish who took on over 2000 gallons made
their hourly dockage incidental) just for tying up and having to
wait until they got around to us didn't warm the cockles of my

We anchored out in an area just inside the confluence of the
Ashley River and the Wapoo Creek, which minimizes the tidal
influence on us, allowing us to swing more to the wind, and we've
loved being out here. During our time in Charleston, Larry has
helped us by resolving a problem with our wind instrument, trying
to troubleshoot some inverter-induced problems, and generally
acting as taxi driver and tour guide as we muddle through various
purchases and returns of stuff not needed or inadequate to the

As I write, on Thursday night, he's looking at a couple of
handheld VHF radios of ours which display some connection
problems. If we could have found it (it's mysteriously not where
we thought it was), he'd have also looked into what we presume to
be a power supply issue on a digital tape video camera. If time
allows, perhaps Saturday he'll be able to help us troubleshoot
some inverter-induced noise on various electronics, and some
potential connection problems with the wind instrument.

FWIW, Larry is the one who started me down the path to the very
successful WiFi configuration aboard Flying Pig. He's a
consummate electronics geek who enjoys buying supposedly dead,
very valuable stuff, at thrift stores, and making gold out of

Having come in for fuel, anyway, we took advantage of the forced
landing to avoid some very nasty weather. We could have easily
taken it, but, if you have to be stopped, anyway, letting it blow
out, and waiting for more clement conditions made a lot of sense.
The fact of all the help Larry provided is a distinct bonus. At
this particular moment (Thursday, October 9, almost tomorrow), we
don't really know when we'll leave, and have not even looked at
the weather downstream.

We're waiting for a reply from one of our Saints which may divert
our course from a nonstop to a one-stop, doing some payback in
Saint Simons Island, with him and another of the Saints who also
has a home and a boat there. If we make that stop, you'll hear
about it in a future posting...

As I write this part, on Saturday night, we are, indeed, going to
Saint Simons, so our one-jump Miami passage will be at least a
2-stopper. While we're there, I'll dive an anchor which fouled
(but he buoyed off) a couple of years ago, and help him set up a
mooring in that location. He may join me for the trip to Miami,
with Lydia and his wife driving down together - or not, depending
on circumstance, but either way, we'll enjoy the time together
with them.

Saturday I did more boat chores, cleaning out the engine pan (the
sub-bilge area under the engine) and installing another set of
oil-absorbing mats, taking another set of hydrometer readings on
our batteries (we have no dead cells and all the batteries are
pretty close in range of each other, a good sign), and getting
the halyards ready to hoist me to the top of the mast to manually
rotate the wind vane to see what happened below.

As it turned out, while we expected to get together with Larry
again, he's under the weather (lots of it around here!), and by
the time I'd resecured the halyards, we saw that the wind
instrument was, apparently, working properly. It's possible that
the prior lighting wires were contacting the post on which the
arrow turned, limiting its movement - or, it could have been my
applying Corrosion Block to the connector at the base of the
mast. In any case, at least for the moment, all is well with the
wind instrument, and thanks to Larry's help, we can see it in the
dark, as well.

Back to Larry, as it turned out, our handheld VHF radio problems
were only that the rechargeable batteries are toast - they work
just fine with fresh AA batteries in the other battery carrier
which replaces the rechargeable. And, this morning, he scored
another of his 99 cent gold-from-lead purchases at the thrift
store, bringing home a multi-hundred dollar Seth Thomas Quartz

Now that he's got it home, he's looked into it and it was made in
the early 70's, one of the first quartz clocks, with the ability
to adjust the time in 5-second increments. He made a couple of
very minor repairs and it works perfectly. He's a very happy
camper, having scored a couple more of his bargains in the same
trip. He's previously, in the same shop, bought a very handsome
German key-wound striking clock which he quickly made work upon
bringing it to his home, and countless other amazing deals.
Every time he tells about one, I wish that I had access to that
place, as it's clearly flabbergasting in its finds; marine gear,
electronics, cameras and countless other wonders show up all the
time. As a prior-life packrat, I'm envious to the level of
bilious :{))

After our 1-2-3's (the boat chores), we feasted on the first of
the tuna we'd put in the freezer. The winds here are building,
so the grill blew out a couple of times, when I raised the lid,
but relit and stayed lit once the cover was back on. Tonight
(Sunday noon, as I write), we'll enjoy another feast, assuming we
can keep the grill lit!

The winds at the moment are 20-25, gust to 30, but the direction
is such that the land mass on which both Ashley and City Marinas
are located are between us and the mainland, which makes for a
relatively calm water state, given that we're only about a half
mile away. Where we're anchored has a shelf/shoal where we've
nestled the last few nights, as the wind was in a different
direction. We presume we've been "aground" (only at dead low
tide) because we don't swing, but if it's aground, it's so soft
that we don't feel it, other than the somewhat-larger-than-normal
list from the wind. Perhaps it's the "pluff mud" which is on the
other shore - so soft that if you fall off the dock into it
you're up to your waist. A very nice anchorage, with the anchor
in ~20 feet of water and our usual depth being somewhat over 8-10
feet depending on where we've swung.

We went over to shore to fuel the Honda Genset and its fuel can,
as well as to scrape some of the past couple of days' effluvia
off ourselves in the showers, during the above mentioned blow and
spitting rain showers. Refreshed, we retired to the boat to chow
down on some more of the amazing tuna, but given the weather
circumstances, elected to, instead of the grill, use our sauté
pan. YUM!

Tuesday morning dawned clear and relatively calm in the
anchorage, and at 06:30 I got on the SSB with Chris Parker, our
weather router. He said, unlike ashore, things were pretty rough
outside, but subsiding steadily, to the point where there would
be little wind at all on Wednesday.

So, despite it being relatively rough (large waves, fairly high
winds, initially), short of driving it (you know how we hate
driving instead of sailing), today is still the day to go. So,
anticipating a single reef and staysail as adequate to the task,
but probably shaking out the reef and putting out the genoa
later, as the winds died, we prepared to get under way.

As we reflect on our time aboard Flying Pig, when we first took
possession of the boat and headed out from Fort Lauderdale, the
conditions were worse, so this really is of no great event, other
than it's not "perfect" - and yet, if NOAA's predictions are
right on, it may be, for us, "perfect" - our course of travel
should make the winds a broad or beam reach, and with a reef and
staysail, very comfortable level of heel. We'll see about that,
of course, and update over Sailmail in a day or so.

Our shortened track, as we arrived well before a full day had
elapsed, was only about 30 miles on this leg. Yet, that averaged
out, including the doldrums on the way to the dock once we got up
the channel, to about 5 knots. Pretty good day, all in all :{))
We'll see how day 7 pans out - it may be just a very long day...

So, as we leave you, we're heading out to Saint Simons Island.
We're expecting between 24 and 36 hours of passage to the inlet,
but it's another several hours up the channel and river to our
anchorage as well as out to our turning point from here in the
anchorage to the channel entrance in Charleston; if the weather
holds, we could be at the Saint Simons Island inlet in less than
a day. If you care to track us in real
time, you can do so at
SPOT Shared Page...
If you're interested in the weather we're seeing, you can look at
Marine Forecast : Weather Underground and /352 and
/354 (change the number before the .html for different areas),
for the area we'll travel on the next leg.

Stay tuned :{))



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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Follow us at TheFlyingPigLog : Morgan 461 Hull #2, Flying Pig
and/or Flying Pig Log | Google Groups

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its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts."
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