Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Slowin' down in Charleston

Chris here. We're still here in Charleston and will probably be staying until sometime next week. Nope - nothing is wrong. We're just taking the opportunity to get some stuff done to Pelican when there are skilled people around.

We last left you the night before we were going to be sold on a timeshare. We did indeed visit with the company and listen to their 90 minute presentation. We actually spent close to 2 1/2 hours with them! It was interesting to hear about the concept, and if we weren't cruising and trying to save our money we might have seriously considered it. The people there were very nice, not overly pushy and good at what they do. Alas, though, it was not meant to be, so we told them no and collected a bunch of free tickets to the aquarium and Fort Sumter for our troubles.

Writing this blog seems to make people happy. Before we arrived in Charleston, we received an e-mail from one of our readers, Ken, who offered us a free slip at a local marina. Unfortunately, it is just past a 55' high bridge, and our mast and antennas are about 57', so we couldn't take him up on his gracious offer. While here at the Megadock, Ken stopped by to say hello. It's great to meet people who are interested in our adventures! He's hoping to follow a similar path in a couple of years. While we were giving him a tour of Pelican, we mentioned that we were hoping to build a storage area on our dining table. He just finished a project for a family member and had some extra pieces of teak, so he offered to give them to us if they would be useful. Later that evening, he gave us a call to let us know that he found a place that sold teak in the appropriate size, and that he would build us the storage unit and drop it off later in the week! What a kind and selfless act. I asked how we could repay him, and he said that being able to follow along in our adventures was enough payment. His kindness is greatly appreciated, and we'll be sure to do the same for others as we find people in need.

We met up with the Wingloski's, a family that used to live in our home town - East Greenbush. Above is a picture of, left to right, Casey, Greg W, Kevin W, Allie W and Kaitlin. On Monday night we went to Red's, a restaurant across the river from Charleston on Shem Creek. Shem Creek seems like a fairly near place with lots of restaurants lining its banks. On Tuesday we went to the W's house and enjoyed some wonderful hospitality and great steaks! The kids all enjoyed hanging out with each other. We forgot how much space you have in a house, and still wonder how we used all of the space in our own! We have made the transition from living in 2500 sq. ft. plus another 800 sq. ft. in an unfinished (but toy strewn) basement to a boat with around 300 sq. ft. total. Funny how that happens. We're planning on getting together with the W's again before we head south, and would love to get them out for a sail on Pelican.

Wednesday was an interesting day. The winds were forecasted to increase to 25-30kts and the seas, in the harbor, were supposed to grow to 2-3ft. With this in mind, we asked to be moved from the river side of the Megadock to the, more protected, inside of the Megadock. There wasn't much space available, but they found a 60' spot about a 1/4 of the way from the end. Keep in mind that Pelican is 40', so basically they were asking us to parallel park a single screw sailboat with 10' in front of us and 10' behind. For those of you that haven't piloted a single screw sailboat, this is like trying to parallel park a 1960's Cadillac without power steering and a double clutch with 3 inches behind and in front of you. As we pulled into the fairway, the wind started blowing around 20kts, broadside to us. This basically pushes you away from the dock - hard - as you are trying to pull into your spot. Two tries later, one where we almost t-boned a piling on the far side of the marina while trying to turn around for a second attempt, we took a slightly larger spot almost at the end of the dock. This meant that we had close to a 1/2 mile walk to shore. By the end of the day, after experiencing constant 35kt-40kt winds (40-46mph) with a couple of sustained gusts at around 44kts (50.6mph), we were glad we made the move. The river was angry, and the boats on the side of the dock where we used to be were pummeling themselves against the side of the dock. One boat in the anchorage dragged their anchor and ended up pinned against the side of the dock. While all of this was going on, the kids enjoyed watching TV on our free cable connection.

Can you find the flounder in this picture?

Today was field trip day, and we headed into town to check out the South Carolina Aquarium. It was a pretty cool place with a very large central tank. Kristen kept staring hungrily at the Sea Bass in the tank, commenting on how she needed to pick up some wasabe and miso paste. Casey and Kaitlin were running from exhibit to exhibit with big grins on their faces, thoroughly enjoying everything they were seeing.

They had some amazing sights, including a young bald eagle - we never realized how huge and impressive these creatures are. This particular female bald eagle is only 4 years old and has not fully matured. Apparently, bald eagles are found in several areas around South Carolina.

Tomorrow morning we have a rigging company coming over to Pelican to tune our rig. In other words, they are going to make sure that all of the wires that hold our mast up are tensioned correctly and that the mast is centered. I'm still not convinced that everything went back up correctly after we put our mast back up in Catskill, NY, just after transiting the Champlain Canal. If your rig tensions aren't right, you risk failure of your mast. I don't think that would be a good thing. After our ordeal after rounding Cape Fear, this moved higher up on my priority list. Our life raft should be arriving tomorrow, and Charleston Boatworks should be over on Monday or Tuesday to start the install. It won't be an easy one, but very little is easy on a bluewater boat like Pelican (other than loving her - we love you Pelican!). Actually, we did have one easy thing - we replaced the 24 year old pressure water pump yesterday. The company that manufactured the original one was sold to another company, and I was actually able to track them down and they still manufactured the same exact pump! It was a drop in replacement, and the nice thing is that the pressure is a bit higher and the noise level when it's going is MUCH quieter. Our old one would only run for 15-20 seconds before tripping the circuit breaker.

Tomorrow we're planning on heading to the anchorage just off of the Megadock. Unfortunately, Charleston is not the most boat friendly city. There are no dinghy docks for us to tie up to downtown, and the only free dinghy dock near the anchorage dries out at low tide. The City Marina where we are right now charges to use their dinghy dock due to some abuse by liveaboards in the anchorage. Apparently, they like to drop off their trash at the marina (and when I say drop off, I don't necessarily mean in trash cans). They also trashed the bathrooms and showers and showed no respect for the facilities. As a result, we all lose out. I'm hoping the marina lets us use their dinghy docks for no charge due to the fact that we've paid for 4 days of space.

Over the next few days we hope to visit Fort Sumter, visit the W's again, get our rig tuned and get our liferaft. After that, we'll start looking for a weather window to head further south. We've enjoyed all of the e-mails everyone has sent to us, so keep them coming!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey guys. Listen, I've really been enjoying reading this blog and all but, the Slowin' down in Charleston was posted January 7th. Im posting this comment on the 12th. Where are you guys? Asleep?!no reply intended!) Basically, it's more exciting if you post more frequently. But anyways, hope you guys are having a lot of fun. We have yet more snow predicted for tomorrow. (Last Wednesday was our third closing!!!) Talk to you all very soon!
From, everybody in the neighborhood