Thursday, July 3, 2014

Up in the Air

So - back to the bugs. Junie has always reacted very badly to bug bites.They search her out. She has been attacked by a Brown Recluse Spider - not once but twice within a year. The first time, the Emergency Room doctor asked if he could invite all of the doctors on duty to come in and view the classic Brown Recluse reaction complete with a red line tracing up her arm.

As such, it was no surprise that she was bitten by one of the 35 million bugs we encountered at our North River anchorage. At first, it was just a bump. By the morning we left for home, it was red, swollen and hot. When we got home, she tried all of the basic first-aid steps - cortizone cream, benadryl, etc. The next morning, we were at the doctor's office getting antibiotics. Junie, who can be very persuasive, convinced the doctor that it would be foolish not to have a refill available on the prescription. After all, we cruise around on this boat, you see. Sometimes we anchor in remote anchorages with vicious insects. And, given Junie's  history of attracting blood-sucking parasites, who could argue?

Now, on to the maintenance tasks. I mentioned previously that our radar quit. After some troubleshooting and diagnostics, the obvious answer seemed to be that the radar's Ships Heading Sensor had failed. If it can't determine the heading, it shuts down the antenna rotation. A call to Raymarine, one of the most customer insensitive groups I have ever dealt with, confirmed the diagnosis. Oh, and by the way, that radar is an obsolete analog version that isn't supported anymore. In fact, they won't even supply the parts to the dealers anymore. They may have a few of the Ships Heading Sensors at the Repair Center but you have to ship the unit to them for a $90 evaluation and then they will let you know if it can be fixed and how much it will cost.

OK. Fine. But, the radar dome is halfway up the mast. After a few days of procrastination, Junie announces, 'I am going up the mast. I'm going to do it. I want to do it.' So, we drug out our Bosun's Chair and harness, worked out the method for using the halyards for safety and hoisting lines and folded down the first of the mast steps. And up she went. For some one that has a fear of heights, this is pretty significant! Junie worked at the dome for quite a while until it became obvious that we would need to remove the top of the unit in order to disconnect it. A little more than she signed up for. My turn! An hour later, the unit was on the dock, we were both a little shaky (whether from hanging in the air or stressing over the possibility of dropping the love of your life) and another Sailing Milestone bites the dust. Of course, we didn't go to the top of the mast but we were still proud of us. There is not one, single picture. Neither of us had a phone or camera and you really can't just walk away to go get one. You will have to take my word for it.

The generator is tested and ready
That brings us up to today. Hurricane Arthur is headed our way. The Weather Channel is, once again, reporting from the beach at Kill Devil Hills. Hatteras Island is evacuated. The forecasts have gotten increasingly worse with every National Hurricane Center update. We are now directly in the path of a Category Two hurricane. Great.

We spent all day getting SeaClearly and the house ready for the storm. We helped a couple of neighbors with some stuff. It was incredibly hot and humid which did not help the process much. We started out with some basics - put on the old mainsail cover and tied it up tight, doubled up on dock lines, removed the Bimini and connector canvas.
Sails in bags

Then a new update came in. So we removed the dorade horns, added some long dock lines, shut down the wind generator.

Then a new update came in. We stripped all three headsails off the furlers, added fender boards, dug out some more chafing gear, got some large fender balls from a neighbor and, finally, reached the point where you say, 'Well, that's all we can do.'

And then, a new update came in. But, there is nothing left to do. We may have the eye of a hurricane pass right over us. Unfortunately, that will probably happen about 3:00 am. We won't see much. Perhaps we will hear the wind quiet down for a few minutes.

The first raindrops just started to fall. There is one more task - take down the wind-chimes under the house that let me know what the wind is doing. If the wind is from the south or west, they are quiet. Wind from the east and north, ringing. Wind from a hurricane? I like those wind-chimes. I think I'll take them down.

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