Thursday, May 28, 2015

Getting ready to head out

We have spent several weeks at our old home, Matthews Point Marina, getting ready to continue the adventure.  Several things needed attention and there were some upgrades to be made.

Our solar panels were not putting out as much energy as we are using so we updated them.  We went from two 75 watt panels to two 140 watt panels.  Being new they are also more efficient since solar panels lose efficiency over time.  The originals were over 10 years old.  I have been testing them by turning off the charger and monitoring state of the batteries,  So far on sunny days we are staying fully charged and replacing what we use overnight.  I also took the opportunity to service and equalize the batteries.  Of course we still have the Honda generator if we get too many cloudy days.

We added an Engel refrigerator/freezer to be able to carry more frozen provisions.  It runs off of 110 or 12 volts.  It takes up a bit of floor space but it will be worth it.  Our current freezer is much too small.

We installed a new VHF radio and antenna and will be replacing the cable in the next couple of days.

Cori went to work with her sewing machine and added shade panels to the bimini (cockpit cover) and a panel to connect the bimini to the dodger for more sun and rain protection.

The steaming or masthead light was burnt out so it the bulb was replaced while I was up the mast.  Cori touched up the nonskid paint and resealed the teak on deck.  The seat covers in the salon were cleaned and the V-berth has had a major rearranging and sorting with a lot of stuff going into storage that we found we did not need.  I even sorted out my books and took off any that I want to keep but had already read.

There are some projects that I am forgetting but lets just say we have been busy.

Our plan is to spend this weekend in New Bern with friends then head out to Ocracoke Island for my birthday and the music festival.  From there we will be continuing north - just not sure how far we will get before it will be time to turn around and head back to the Islands.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Back at Matthews Point Marina

We are back where we started.  On November 24th we left and on May 5th we pulled into the slip next to the one we left.  The circle is complete.  Our trip to Virginia was very nice.  We spent several days with Cori's parents and brother and attended Don's retirement party.  We drove back to Charleston on Friday in a driving rain but came out of it about the North and South Carolina border.  Everything was fine with the boat.  Since we still had a car we spent Saturday sightseeing.  The weather forecast was looking favorable for  the trip to Morehead City so we opted to leave on Sunday.  Since we had rented our slip for a week and had stayed an extra day I went up to the office to settle up.  I was told not to worry about it, they were not going to charge us for the extra day.  More Southern hospitality.  We left around 10:30 am on an outgoing tide and after clearing the breakwater turned Northeast.  The winds were still too light to sail and continued that way until mid afternoon when they rose to 10 knots.  Up went the sails and off were went at 4 knots climbing at times to 7 but settling in at 5.5 to 6.5, perfect sailing.  The sun went down and the full moon came up and it was a perfect night for sailing offshore.  About midnight the winds died and it was back to motoring.

We arrived at Beaufort Inlet around 7:30 pm and started trying to make a decision on whee to anchor for the night.  We finally settled on a spot, dropped anchor, had dinner and went to sleep.  We woke up with four other boats around us in the morning.  We needed to make an early start to take advantage of the incoming  tide and motor up the ICW to the Neuse River.  As we entered the Neuse we caught up with our friends Barb and Jim on Skat.  They had left the islands before us and had traveled the ICW with various stops along the way were almost home also.  About 10:30 we pulled into the marina and tied up.  We spent the evening visiting with friends.

We plan to spend a couple of weeks here getting some projects done, installing some new gear that we are ordering and spending time with friends.

What next you ask?  We are planning to be out at Ocracoke Island the first weekend of June for the music festival and if everything is ready we will start our trip North.  How far we do not know but the charts show lots of options.