We attended Dan’s 50th SEAL Team Reunion in Virginia Beach, Virginia from Thursday, July 20, through July 23. Leaving there on Monday, July 24, we drove in our truck and camper to Olverson’s Marina in Lottsburg, Virginia, where the Kittiwake awaited us!
On the way to the reunion, we had dropped off the UHaul trailer we had rented and filled with all the items we had accumulated over the recent weeks for the Kittiwake. Our good friends, Dennis Sprenkle and Pat McCord followed us in Denny’s motor coach. They wanted to (1) see the boat, and (2) help us move on board. Denny and Pat were a Godsend! Not only did they help us move on (in the nearly 100 degree heat), but dug in to help make the Kittiwake our own. Turns out, if you turn Denny loose with cleaning supplies, he cleans like a maniac! He detailed the entire fly bridge, leaving it spotless and gleaming. Pat helped where he could. He accompanied me on a shopping expedition to purchase cleaning supplies and other consumables. The night before they left, we had a feast of locally caught crab, scallops, fresh squash, and corn. For my first meal cooked on board, I was pretty pleased that I had purchased ALMOST everything I need for the galley. After spending two days with us, Denny and Pat left for their home in Orlando on Wednesday morning.
Later on Wednesday, we were met at the boat by Mike Steele. Mike is an expert on boats, on maintenance, on piloting. He has been so generous with his time and talents. Between the time that we were here for the survey and our return, he has been continually working on the boat. He wanted to fix things that were brought to our attention on the survey. Also, he noted problems with the exhaust system….so, he had the owner, Becky, pay for a complete replacement, to the tune of about $4,000. Other work and parts amounted to another $1,000. We are so lucky that the owner, with Mike as her representative, has taken such responsibility for correcting things with which we would have had to deal.
Mike’s purpose to come on Wednesday was to help us in getting used to driving the boat, docking her, maneuvering her, etc. Unfortunately, when we tried to start the two engines, the port side engine wouldn’t fire up! Yikes. Mike felt strongly the problem lay with the starter and that it was caused by water that had gotten in there during the work on the exhaust system. Unfortunately, access to the port engine, in particular the starter, is extremely difficult – The salon floor is made up of multiple hatch covers that provide engine and other components access. To get to the outside of the port engine, we have to remove the entire permanently installed settee that goes around the corner. When the settee sections and the table and the hatch covers are placed around, those pieces make the entire salon either open to the engines or blocked. See the pictures of Mike and Dan practically standing on their heads to get to the starter! This took the better part of the afternoon. FINALLY, the starter had been removed, cleaned out (no water), reinstalled. And, the dramatic moment arrived…..and….NOPE, the engine still wouldn’t start!! Mike was undeterred. He had been wrong about the cause of the problem. It is an electrical wiring issue, likely caused by the exhaust system workers moving around down there. Mike jumped the wires, and the engine started right up. Now, out of time for maintenance work, Mike said “Let’s go boating!!” We closed up the floor, put the furniture back, and went to the helm.
Gena was first up – with Mike standing at my elbow calmly giving directions, I pulled the Kittiwake out of our berth, headed out to more open water, turned her around, and docked her at the end of the dock in front of another boat. I did that twice, and then it was Dan’s turn. Dan had lots of experience driving even bigger boats in the Navy, but that was back in the 80’s! Turns out, he hasn’t lost it. With very little guidance from Mike, Dan made the Kittiwake dance. He docked it in the same place, then easily backed her into our narrow berth. Next, I pulled her out of the berth, and backed her back in. Piece of cake! No damage to our boat, any other boat, or the marina. Success!
Mike had to leave, having commitments for the rest of our time this trip. He’ll be back when we return in September. He and Dan have discussed several projects they want to tackle when they’re both here. We are so incredibly lucky to have this man on our team and as a new friend. What a wonderful resource!
|The Kittiwake, fly bridge from the dock!|
|Our beautiful boat underway!|