Monday, December 18, 2017

October 2017 - Latest adventures on the Kittiwake – we are still learning!

We left our ‘home’ marina to travel to the Norfolk area, at least a two day cruise. Our first day was to Deltaville, Va.  We had been there by the road – takes about an hour!  We decided to stop the second day before traversing the area by the huge Norfolk shipping channel, with huge container ships, tugs, Navy ships like destroyers and aircraft carriers!  The third day was a short one, just to a marina in Portsmouth, which is just across the river from downtown Norfolk.  Turned out the shipping channel was no big deal and not stressful at all.  These first shots are from Olverson's Marina, where it all started!
the dock at Olverson's

Max was more comfortable on the dock

view across the river from Olverson's
Olverson's, by the office

in travel mode.... on the fly bridge

sunset from dock at Olverson's

These next pictures are from our cruise to Norfolk.

some BIG Navy ships!

we will stay out of her way!

one of the hundreds (thousands?) of road markers we will follow...

commercial docks near Norfolk

Most cruisers we talk with have modern day chart plotters and software – basically, they point to where they want to go from their current location, and their systems plot a course for them to follow on the electronic screen.  The Kittiwake came with a pretty old chart plotter that we know little about.  We were encouraged to get out the manual, which we did, and it did become a bit more functional for us.  But, the course plotting wasn’t something we are comfortable with.  Fortunately, Dan is familiar with paper charts and the old fashioned method of navigation – it must work because we have always landed where we intended!

Visit with Dan’s grandsons and son-in-law:
Annie, Dan’s daughter, is in the Navy and was on a cruise in Europe.  So, Chuck, Dan’s son-in-law, drove the boys, Eric and Jared, to the marina to meet us and see the boat.  The boys decided they would spend the night on the boat on Saturday but wanted to go home for Friday night.  We went to dinner together, and we drove them home so we could keep the car.  Next day, we picked up the boys and brought them to the boat.  We took them out in the channel, up the river for a ways, then back down by the Navy Operating Base.  We had a nice day, and then they spent the night in our guest berth.  They were a little nervous, but they actually did sleep very well!  We all had a good time – we don’t get to see them often enough.

three musketeers!

Our first time in a boatyard on the hard!
What we thought would be a quick, lift the boat out of the water for two rather small but necessary tasks, turned out to be a two day extravaganza!  It was fun seeing the boat being lifted out of the water and interesting to see a part of the boat we had not previously seen!  The unexpected discovery was that the props had encountered something that caused some damage.  So, the props were pulled and sent off site for repair.  That left Dan, me, and Max needing a bed for two nights.  Yikes, the only hotel that allowed dogs was, shall I say, pretty basic.  Relatively clean, no bugs, but not somewhere we wanted to hang around much.  We survived it, but were really glad to get our boat back!  We ended up changing props to the ones that had been stored on board as spares.  They will suit us better, being a better size and slope. 
Leaving the boatyard, we just went the short distance to the marina where we had been.  We left there the next morning, thinking we would go all the way to Deltaville and skip the marina where we had stopped to avoid going through the shipping channel in the evening. 
starting the lift...

out of the water

a part of the boat we haven't seen before!

First encounter with bad weather
As we approached the mouth of the river and started into the Chesapeake Bay, we encountered WAY more turbulence than we wanted to handle.  I was stressed, but Max was really really upset.  The boat was bucking and slamming on the next wave – everything in the salon behind and below us was falling to the floor.  Since the weather was blowing and spraying, we were piloting from inside the boat to stay out of the cool and wet.  None of us had life jackets on.  With all this commotion, Max decided he wanted OUT.  The pilot house door slid open, and Max went outside and up to the bow of the boat.  There’s nothing up there to keep him in the boat except for a narrow railing.  Next, Dan went out there, falling to his hands and knees to keep from being thrown into the water.  Of course, this left ME at the helm!!  I have never been so frightened in my life.  So, picture Dan, one hand on the railing and the other on Max’s collar.  Max didn’t want to go ANYWHERE, so Dan had to drag him back to the pilot house with one hand while into the wave, slowing down the engine (based on Dan’s hand signals).  We quickly turned back and headed to a safe marina just inside the river.  I held it together while we got tied up and situated in our slip.  THEN, I fell apart, shaking and crying at what could have happened.
So, we are stuck for at least two days waiting for good weather – what shall we do?
We settled in, thinking we would just relax for the two days of foul weather.  While surfing the web, Dan saw mention of something called the Hampton Snowbird Rendezvous.  It was to start that very evening in the town where we were!  We quickly signed up and attended the very enjoyable and informative conference.  We learned a lot and met some delightful people.

After the conference was over, we were able to navigate the two days back to our ‘home’ marina, Olverson’s, in Lottsburg, Virginia.  We spent a few days there getting the boat ready to sit until next April or May when we will return.  That involved cleaning, removing most food items, winterizing everywhere there is water that could potentially freeze.  We loaded up our truck and, regretfully, headed back home to Michigan.  I say ‘regretfully’, because we have truly to feel like the Kittiwake is our home.  We love the time spent on the boat.  Of course, we also love time at home, being able to see the grandchildren at least occasionally.  We will be at our ‘dirt’ house until after the holidays, when we hope to head to Key West for some good living in our 5th wheel stored there.