Onward’s Cruise Journal 2013
Cruise from the Chesapeake to FL Along the ICW

Friends: I've been off my game in keeping in contact -- my apologies. I'm getting back in the groove so keep the faith…

Updated: 13 November 2013

October 2013

1 October 13; Tuesday; Baltimore

  • I went back to GBMC Hunt Valley after having my right shoulder x-rayed to see the orthopedic nurse practitioner. The idea had been for her to give me a cortisone shot in that shoulder. However after looking at the X-ray and seeing evidence of a tear in the rotator cuff, she recommended I have an MRI and then see an orthopedist.
  • Next it was my cardiologist who looked me over and said all looked well -- and yet that's how things looked when I had the high Calcium CT scan rating. So he recommended I have a nuclear stress test -- which I call tickling the dragon.
  • My medical work done for the day, I returned to Onward and was soon visited by Ron Draper who came up to spend the night and have dinner together. After spending time catching up, we did our usual walk over to ODonnel Square where we cased the place before Ron homed in on his favorite restaurant, Mama's on the Halfshell. Here I had a deliciously healthy dinner and Ron had fish and chips that the two of us and a hungry friend could have been filled by.
  • To my great surprise, Ron has slowed down on his beer drinking but we still managed to spend a number of hours talking. Somehow, I never got around to putting all my tools and project stuff away that had come to occupy the forward bert. Ron said he'd be comfortable on the starboard settee / quarter berth -- but my conscious will haunt me for a long while.

2 October 13; Wednesday; Baltimore
  • After enjoying a morning coffee, Ron headed off home and left me to my tasks.

3 October 13; Thursday; Baltimore

4 October 13; Friday; Baltimore

5 October 13; Saturday; Baltimore
  • A warm and sunny day. I decided to start the job of replacing the LectraSan with a new LectraScan unit and the manual toilet in the forward head with another Jabsco LiteFlush all electric head. The process of removing the LectraSan and toilet went surprisingly well. Some years ago I installed quick connects on the waste hoses as they enter and exit the LectraSan. These consist of a central coupling with right and left threads that mate to similar hose barbs. These worked great. How brilliant I felt. Then I decided to be cleaver and use the pressure out of my small vacuum to blow the remaining clean water out of the waste line. I didn't think this trough and forgot about the back pressure that would develop -- so I managed to spray the liquid and loose calcium carbonate about. That mess made, I took a long break for lunch then went back to clean up. This took more time than the disassembly process -- of course. So I called it quits. I had planned to go to the Fells Point Festival but was too tired and dispirited so I spent a quite afternoon and evening reading.

6 October 13; Sunday; Baltimore
  • I started the process of re-installation. At first blush one would think it would be easy as I had just taken similar equipment out. However the new LectraScan has two new electrical modules that need to be located out of the way and yet accessible. Then the LiteFlush flush water connections couldn't match up with the existing so I needed to figure out how to do this. No good options. I took the LiteFlush head apart to see if I could reposition the inlet / outlet. After spending half a day doing this and coming up with nothing but bad options, I gave up. I was really bummed out and terribly unmotivated. So I got out the Dona Leon mystery that I'd been saving for such a location and got lost for the rest of the afternoon and evening in reading. It helped.

7 October 13; Monday; Baltimore
  • Cleanup. Evaluate options
  • Shower sump pump switch

8 October 13; Tuesday; Baltimore
  • Cardiologist stress test
  • John Pellegrino

9 October 13; Wednesday; Baltimore
  • Opthamoloigist Dentist Access port

10 October 13; Thursday; Baltimore
  • Cut in access port
  • Bilge pump switch test
  • Dermatologist

11 October 13; Friday; Baltimore
  • Hose reposition for LiteFlush
  • Bilge pump switch removal
  • Luc

12 October 13; Saturday; Baltimore
  • Boat Show
  • Siwickis
  • C470 Party

13 October 13; Sunday; Baltimore
  • Plumbing work

14 October 13; Monday; Baltimore
  • Plumbing work
  • Blew Ortho vist

15 October 13; Tuesday; Baltimore
  • Plumbing work
  • Solved mystery of malfunctioning bilge pump switch

16 October 13; Wednesday; Baltimore
  • Plumbing work
  • Completed bilge pump & switch rewiring
  • Orthopod checkup

17 October 13; Thursday; Baltimore
  • Plumbing work; late night
  • Backup bilge pump switch

18 October 13; Friday; Baltimore
  • Well, I got the LectraScan and LiteFlush in and running by 1100 yesterday.  Whew!  What a pain.
  • I also managed to reorganize and neaten up the wiring for my main bilge pump and smart switch.  I built a starboard platform a couple of inches high and now have the old dumb float switch wired in in parallel in case the smart switch loses its mind.
  • I reorganized the HVAC cooling water flow and found out the large March HVAC cooling water pump was powerful enough to supply both HVACs.   The pump I had for the unit in my stateroom died so I removed it.   I then plumbed in regular garden hose end fittings on the hoses that allowed me to use a neat compact Y splitter with valves to run the cooling water to either HVAC or to both (I've never had to use them both) at the same time.  
  • I ran the main HVAC for ~10 min and it seemed to work normally.   We'll see.   I'm only interested in having it should we run into some cold nights and need to take the chill out in the evening or morning by running the generator.  I'd still like to take you up on the offer for the spare R22 you said you had.
  • Peggy D'Alessandro arrived just after 1100. visit; Gorgeous day; laundry

19 October 13; Saturday; Baltimore

20 October 13; Sunday; Baltimore
  • Church; carpet clean; Jim & Henry; shopping; stew

21 October 13; Monday; Baltimore
  • 5Guys; Walmart; Harris Teeter

22 October 13; Tuesday; Baltimore
  • Lunch w IWM

23 October 13; Wednesday; Baltimore to Annapolis

24 October 13; Thursday; Annapolis
  • Lunch w Bob & Pam; Errands; Peggy

25 October 13; Friday; Annapolis to Solomons
  • The Merlins were underway by 1100 and I weighed anchor and was just ahead of them as they departed Back Creek. The wind was from the NW at ~ 10-12 kts and we had a great sail S on the Bay to Solomons I. Peggy quickly settled into being at sea again and was obviously enjoying being back on a 470 again.
  • We put into Solomons near sunset and had enough time to refuel at Solomons Yachting Center before moving up to anchor off Zanheisers. I called Ron Draper and he and Linda agreed to meet us for dinner. The Merlins picked us up and we headed over to Stoneys. We had a grand time over dinner. I got my last fix of Maryland crab cakes before heading S. They were good but not great -- not enough of the crab was lump meat. After a safe return to the boats it was a peaceful night.

26 October 13; Saturday; Solomons to Reedville
  • Merlin and Onward departed Solomons at 0700 with a beautiful sunrise illuminating the patches of surface fog. We were able to motor sail but as we got to the S mouth of the Potomac, the wind had clocked so much that we were punching into steep short period waves. We decided to put into Reedville and there the shallows knocked the seas down so it was a quiet night.
  • AA150 sensor

27 October 13; Sunday; Reedville to Norfolk
  • The wind died and it the seas were benign as we motored S to Norfolk. It was a quiet day made more pleasant by having Peggy to talk with. We anchored before sunset off Hospital Point.

28 October 13; Monday; Norfolk to Coinjock
  • I was out of bed at 0430 and weighed anchor at 0530. Onward took the lead to make our way to the Gilmerton Bridge to get an opening before 0630. We got there about 10 min early and made it through before the shutdown for rush hour. At the next bridge, it was very dark as we approached and I saw no boats on the radar but luckily Peggy alerted me to the fact there were 3 power and 2 sailboats waiting. Where did they come from?
  • When it was time to go into the lock, we found a tug pushing a barge loaded with scrap iron. Onward was luck enough to get to just squeeze by to starboard. I spent the lock-through contemplating the idea of being squashed by that barge if if decided to move in my direction. It didn't and we were able to sneak out ahead of it. My VHF antenna got a good scrap on the Pongo Ferry Bridge.
  • With our early start we made it to Coinjock by early afternoon. After tying up we rode Merlin's dinghy over to the other side and then walked to the postoffice. The postman there told us that all there little post offices (there is one every 3 miles in the area) are to be closed by next year. Having seen the postoffice, there was nothing else to see at Coinjock so we walked back to the dinghy.
  • We had a good prime rib dinner at the restaurant which made a good finish to the first day of ICW travel.

29 October 13; Tuesday; Coinjock to Pungo R
  • I managed to talk the Merlins into departing at 0730. I managed to wash the salt off Onward's deck and fill the water tank before departure time. The trip across the Albemarle and then up the Alligator River was peaceful and mostly windless until the last few miles before the canal entrance.
  • I took the advantage of having capable crew aboard to make hamburgers with my recipe along with a batch of dough for hamburger rolls.
  • We exited the canal about 1730 and anchored off to the W in ~ 10'. The Merlins rowed their dinghy over. We had great grilled hamburgers on freshly baked rolls. Ed, my Grill Man, told me the low-fat hamburger was making it hard to keep the hamburgers in one piece -- but he did a fine job. Not long after dinner, the four of us faded for the evening. Ed provided some excitement as his telescoping oars kept collapsing and for a while it looked like I might have to go rescue them with Venture. But the wind was light and he managed to get back to Merlin.

30 October 13; Wednesday; Pungo R to Belhaven
  • We were underway about 0730 for a very leisurely transit to Belhaven where the Merlins had made reservations at the Town Dock and were to meet friends for dinner. We arrived about 1030 and Onward anchored. Merlin rafted up for a short time until they could go in to the pier after 1100. While rafted, Ed & Peggy helped me fix the 12-V receptacle that had the ground component come loose. That done, Merlin moved off tie up at the Town Dock. After I showered, Peggy and I Ventured in and tied up at the dinghy dock. This Town Dock pier and dinghy dock is brand new and nicely done. There is 30A power available and the fee is $1/ ft..
  • We explored town and found the Fish Hook restaurant open for lunch. The food was great and inexpensive. I had the lunch buffet with a great selections while the others had sandwiches. All enjoyed the meal.
  • After lunch we stopped to check out the bakery and shared an apple-cinnamon danish before taking a long walk around the town. The business area had been hard hit but was coming back with new businesses that had bought the old buildings. The old River Forrest Manor is closed and for sale as are many homes. On the return walk we made reservations at one of the new businesses: Spoon River restaurant, market, and art gallery. Across the street a new bar featuring a spiffy interior with nautical decor is about to open: Jacks.
  • We returned to Onward to rest a bit. I went back in to get the diver who Ed called to check his prop zinc. "Catfish" had to do a lot of scraping to rid my bow thruster of barnacles that rendered it thrust less. He then reported both of my shaft zincs were gone! I had him install two new ones.,
  • We joined the Merlins for cocktails aboard with their friends Janet and Richard. We then waled over to Spoon River where we proceeded to have a fantastic time. The decor was striking in white and gray. The menu had many tempting elements based on their farm-to-table theme. The market offered a wide variety of wines in an unpretentious manner and sold them at reasonable wine store prices and then served them with dinner. I had a broiled red drum served with crisped kale over risotto - Delish! and shared an apple-cranberry pie for desert. A fantastic meal overall for ambiance, service, food, and price. I have usually avoided Belhaven but this restaurant is worth coming back to.

31 October 13; Thursday; Belhaven to River Dunes
  • Peggy and I discussed how late we expected the Merlins to be ready to leave this morning. Peggy guessed 0730 and I opted for after 0800. So, I got up just before 0700 to a call from Merlin!
  • We weighed anchor and enjoyed a sunny morning with mild temperatures and no wind. By the time we got through the Hoebucken canal, the sun disappeared and the wind was > 20 kts apparent from the SW as the bad weather from the SW approached.
  • We made reservations at River Dunes and put into the Grace Harbor basin at 1300 under gray skies. Before pulling into the slip I took Onward over to the fuel dock and topped off the mid-tank. When I checked in I enquired about JC who had been the marina manager during all my previous visits and I learned he was now the captain on an 80' Flemming owned by the owner of one of the huge homes here and was now on a long cruise.