Saturday, August 31, 2019

Ocracoke Trip - Portsmouth Island visit

So, we've been coming to Ocracoke for 30 years and we've never made the trek to Portsmouth Island.  It's a small island about 5 miles from Ocracoke that was abandoned over 40 years ago.  The island and "ghost town" is now part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore and is maintained by a group of volunteers.  The original structures are all still standing and in what appears to be good repair.

Now, I've read many accounts that say, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO VISIT IN THE SUMMERTIME!  The mosquitoes will eat you alive. 

Sure, I understood.  So I packed up the dinghy with 4 cans of Deet bug spray, long pants and long sleeves and a lunch bag for our trip.  Perfect calm day.  Approaching the island.

And Ocracoke in the distance.

We could see some of the abandoned buildings.

We tied up to this dock to go ashore.

Once we stepped off the dock, the mosquitoes found us.  We had sprayed all our clothes, necks, hands with Deep Woods Off....the bugs were not affected.  It got much worse as we walked.

The bugs would fly in your nose and mouth!

We decided that we could not stay!  Quickly ran back to the dinghy covered in mosquitoes!

We will come back some winter day for a visit!!

The sea state was even calmer when we got away - so we did stop for a bit of clamming in the shallow waters.

Back to the boat and happy to be bug-free!!

Friday, August 30, 2019

Back to the boat - Ocracoke Labor Day

Labor Day is approaching and we've had a long-standing plan to sail to Ocracoke for our usual Labor Day long weekend with Buddy/Sharon and the folks from Greenville.  The tradition is waning a bit as we've lost one of the participants and the kiddo's have flown the coop.  This year it was to be just 3 couples - us, Sharon/Buddy and Rich/Jeannine. 

Off we sailed (motored) - had close contact with 3 ferries this trip!

A sunset sail just leaving Silver Lake as we were entering the channel.

But Sharon and Buddy have made the decision to stay at their house in Florida because Hurricane Dorian is threatening.....hope all is well for them!!

Sojourn got the last spot on the face dock at the NPS docks.  Looks like Ocracoke will be crowded this weekend!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Impossible Burger

Just wanted to share this - we stopped by a Burger King for what seems like the first time in years to try an Impossible Burger.  The "meal deal" was about $1 more than a regular beef Whopper - a little disappointed in that fact....I believe they need to price them the same if this is going to be a successful product. 

We both enjoyed them!  I, of course don't have recent "beef experiences" to compare but I thought the sandwich was delicious!  Duane enjoyed his also saying he doesn't believe he could tell the difference if he didn't know it was not beef. 

So, good job, BK!!  (but your onion rings really aren't that great....)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019


Did a bit of flying....need to keep current with the flying skills.  Hard to do when we're gone so much!

Pretty nice day for it.  Just enough cloud cover to keep it cool.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

New stainless grate for my stove

One of the little things that has bugged me on the boat from day 1 is the rust from the cooktop grates.  These are the original grates - last year I took them home and Richard sand-blasted them for me to remove all the rust.  I painted them with high-temp grill paint hoping that would help for a while.  But no....the paint burned away and the rust came back quickly.   (Duane had told me this would not work but I wanted to try it anyway....)  So this is what they look like now.  The rust/paint flakes off constantly so the stove looks dirty a LOT. 

I searched for replacement grates - but the company no longer is in business.  There are replacements out there, but they are the same coated steel.  For about $175 I could get new ones.  Seemed extremely expensive and the problem would return in a few years. 

A later, similar model stove from the same manufacturer had a one-piece grill that was made of stainless steel.  Although it appears that grill/grate would fit our stove - it is not available.  (This stove is 20 years old). 

Duane said that he could make one of stainless rod.   And of course, he did!  After very careful measurement, he got 1/4" stainless rod.  Here are the pieces before final bending and welding.

He built a jig to hold it all straight.  Bent the rods and welded it all together. So it will fit exactly on top of the stainless cooktop and will be held in place by the surrounding stove components.  It will will be super to be able to slide the pots all around on the cooktop instead of just on the individual rings. And no more rust!!  Super excited, Duane's so talented in so many ways.  Will post a final picture when we get back to the boat.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Making "Looky" buckets

When we're on the dinghy, we often need to peer below the water surface to see the coral.  Rather than jump in with snorkel gear, it's easier to take a quick look with a viewing device affectionately known as a "looky bucket".   With a plexiglass bottom, you stick the bucket in the water and the view thru it is clear, just like looking thru a snorkel mask without having to go to the trouble of jumping in.

We made one last year, but it was with a small bucket.  Decided we needed to make full sized ones for this years trip for better views.

I found 2 of the cleanest 5 gallon buckets we had.

Got out the jig saw.

And some plexiglass.  Just traced the diameter of the bucket bottom with a Sharpie.  (the blue plastic will peel off later).

Used the jig saw to free-hand cut the bottom out of both buckets.

Used the cut-out to refine the diameter I'll want to cut for the plexiglass.  It needs to be smaller than the outside diameter because it will be glued inside the bucket.

I'll cut the plexiglass in-between the two marks.  Accuracy is not critical.

Plexiglass cut to fit.

Plexiglass in the bottom of the bucket.  Took the plastic protection off, then glued/sealed it in place with caulk.

And there you have it!  The view thru the bucket bottom.   These will be very useful in the Bahamas.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Painting the swing

Finally got around to painting the swing.

Took it off the chains and did some sanding.  Robert had applied a polyurethane stain when he made the swing a few years ago.  But it's been out in the weather ever most of that stain had peeled away.  I smoothed it all out so the paint would look nice.  The seat is actually in excellent shape.

I got out my exterior door paint and gave the seat a couple of coats.  It looks really nice - not sure why it looks like a different color in this photo.  It really is painted from the same gallon can as the doors! 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

At home for a bit

We're back at the house for a bit.  Just doing some chores and taking it pretty easy.

The soon-to-be new neighbors are clearing out the 10 acres beside us.  They are going to enlarge the little pond.  Neat to see the transformation after driving past this wooded area for 25 years.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


The "roof" over our cockpit is made of aluminum sheeting.  Over the years, it's gotten some corrosion and there are a few spots where the paint is peeling.   It's not really feasible at this point to remove the aluminum and strip/treat it since all the solar panels are mounted above.

So, we decided a little clean/cover-up would be good enough.

Sanded and scraped the areas as best we could.

 Brushed on a few coats of Rustoleum and the corrosion no longer catches the eye.  (The corrosion will come back, of course, because we didn't treat it.  But we'll just do touch up on occasion and live with it ).

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Just another day on the boat

Duane had some lines he wanted to replace, so up the mast he went!

Such a pretty day, beautiful sky and gentle breeze.  So much of a relief from the 90+ swelter.

Our new dinghy motor is still in it's "break in" period.  So we put it in the water for a nice low-power ride around the area.

Sortof like a mangrove ride in the Bahamas, only it's NC marshland.

Stayed out for almost an hour - such a pleasant day!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Dragon Boat Races at River Dunes

So, there is this "sport" called Dragon Boat Racing.  You might think that this is a local - Oriental - event.  But, you'd be wrong!  I was surprised to find out that this is a worldwide sport.  Often done for charity these days, but has a long history dating back to ancient China.

This year, River Dunes was the sponsor of the race so it was a short drive over.  (I'd wanted to take the dinghy but a call to the marina discouraged me from doing that due to space constraints).

Here is one of the teams approaching the starting line.

The boats are just huge canoes mad of fiberglass.

There were about 15 teams of 20 paddlers, one helms person, and one "drummer" who calls the cadence with voice/and/or/drum beats.

The sponsor provides the boats - so each of the teams just boards the assigned boat for their heat. 

The folks in the green shirts are a local Boy Scout troop.

These were two groups of Marines from Cherry Point.

Loved the colorful shirts.  Each group had a "theme".  Some were cancer survivor groups, others were just a group of friends.  Most were on the "upper age" end, haha.

This girl must have over-extended on her race!

Apparently you get wet in the race!

At the start.  Was really fun to watch.

Quick video - turn the sound up - you can hear the drummer call their cadence!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

More boat chores

There is a seemingly never-ending list of maintenance items on the boat. 

New lines to install.

And clutches that need some TLC.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Folding bikes

The friends we'll be buddy-boating with in the Bahamas this winter will all have bikes on board, so we decided that we should have some too.  (Don't want to be left out on fun excursions!)

Found two on Craigslist in really good shape.  Had to drive 2 hours to get them but pretty pleased with them.    We'll store them folded up in their carry-bags, probably in the spare berth.