The time has come to finally shove off and begin this crazy adventure. When I first contemplated living on the boat I figured I would spend a couple weeks learning how to sail then head out into the Caribbean and get right to it. Well due to the amount of work I needed done and this darn pandemic it has been four months since I got the boat and I still don’t feel very confident. But I got the major pieces of equipment I was working toward: an inflatable dinghy (bought from a neighbor) and outboard motor, a solar panel, two new batteries, and a gas powered electrical generator. More stuff to break, but I like independent systems. If the primary fails I have a backup. So if my batteries die, I can recharge them with the generator. If my engine dies, I can dinghy in to shore to get help.
So I will be heading out on the Intracoastal waterway on June 7, headed northeast. Depending on my speed and stops, I should get to Chesapeake Bay in about a month, and to New York City in two months. By then it will be time to turn around and head south for the fall/winter. As a reminder, you can track my real time position by going to http://www.marinetraffic.com/ and typing in my MMSI number (338356631) into the search box. It should show Orion, the name of my boat.
Navigating the waterways is a critical aspect of sailing, especially coastal cruising, so I have spent a number of hours studying nautical charts and understanding the hundreds of symbols and icons. Here’s a section of the chart to Charleston Harbor inlet from the Atlantic Ocean. It’s bit overwhelming at first. I feel like I am in driver’s education class. Remember the first time you went out driving? It’s like that. I hope I don’t wet my pants out of fear.
I’m going to miss the Ortega Landing Marina. Quite a nice place….good security, BBQ grills, a pool, ice. But my budget does not allow for more than 2-3 days a month at a marina, so I will be anchoring or tying up to a mooring ball in the future.
Just for the record, here are some photos of the marina and some boats.
Here is the approach to the main office, a trek I made daily to check mail and get ice.
A view of the office and recreation room from one of the docks.
Here’s the marina from the air.
I walked around the marina one day checking out the boats. Some boat names are clever, some are symbolic and some just corny. Here’s a selection.
The result of a divorce settlement?
A number of boats are for sale. They say the two happiest days in a boat owner’s life are the day he buys the boat and the day he sells it.
There are some really nice, awesome boats here. Not the superyachts, but nice. This is a 100 foot yacht.
But then there are a couple small, forlorn neglected boats. I never saw the owner of this little one.
These people have a number of plants and flowers on the boat. I guess they don’t go out in rough water too much.
Several people just dropped anchor or hooked up to a mooring ball. No charge for that. This is what I’ll be doing soon.
Most of the marinas and service companies have opened up along the coast, so I should not have too much trouble getting water, fuel, etc. By the way, this “opening up” seems a bit premature to me. Thousands of people are still dying every day, but you don’t see it much on the news anymore. Many people still don’t wear masks in public places, and social distancing seems random. I myself am paranoid. If someone gets within six feet of me, even with a mask, I think to myself, “hey hey hey! Too close dude! Get away!” I don’t say anything though. I just move away as if they have leprosy.
That’s one reason I look a little unkempt. I have not been to a hair salon in about three months. Here’s a recent photo.
I guess I better learn to cut my own hair.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned!