Friday, April 26, 2013

Chart plotter

Garmin 740s chart plotter showing Whispering Jesse's position in Delegal Creek Marina
We did make it to Savannah last Friday night, but it was a twelve-hour day of driving. My folks waited up and were happy to see us arrive safely. With Dad's help the next morning, we unloaded the U-Haul trailer containing the piles of boat stuff we had brought along for Whispering Jesse into the garage. How we'll pack it all aboard, I'm still not sure.

Nan and I have spent the last week working on our long list of boat projects, everything from removing an old saltwater wash-down pump to cleaning the bilge. On Wednesday, Ben from Marine Wire Works installed our new Garmin 740s chart plotter, a carbon monoxide detector, and three cigarette lighter-type DC power receptacles. While he was working his wiring magic, Elfin (his real name) the diesel mechanic stopped by to see about removing our Webasto diesel heating system, which takes up significant space in the starboard lazarette and which we will not need in the tropics. He also checked on our refrigerator, which is lately capable of achieving temperatures only in the high forties. When he returns, he will tutor us in the basic maintenance of our diesel engine, for a self-sufficient, less worrisome future.

View from the helm of Garmin 740s chart plotter mounted in Whispering Jesse's companionwayThe chart plotter is a huge improvement for the boat, so much better than basic GPS and paper charts. It is mounted on an articulated arm next to the companionway, where the antiquated Furuno GPS was. I went with that location instead of mounting it on the binnacle because the installation instructions advised against a location too near the boat's compass. Ben poo-pooed this, but he agreed that having it in the companionway meant that we didn't need to worry as much about theft. Even in its somewhat sheltered location, the chart plotter's built-in antenna is good enough to pull in strong satellite signals, so there was no need to install the external antenna I had bought. I will be returning it to West Marine, along with the expensive stern rail mount I ordered for it.

Today, I am varnishing all the new wooden parts I have made or bought: an outboard motor storage mount for the stern rail, a beverage holder for the binnacle, a teak leg for the binnacle table, and the cut-out frames I made last fall. The boat has many wooden components, like the cap rail and the cabin-top "eyebrow," and these new wooden parts will add some useful, good-looking accents. Time to go brush on another coat...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

On the road

Saying good-bye to Scout at Monica and Vicky's house
Nan and I are holed up in a Holiday Inn Express in Forrest City, Arkansas, about fifty miles west of Memphis. We decided to get off the highway late this afternoon when the rain was falling hard enough to completely obscure the amorphous blobs passing us without their lights on. We had hoped to make it as far as Birmingham, Alabama, but the weather did not cooperate. We may arrive in Savannah a day late, but it would beat ending up in a ditch like the unlucky hydroplaners we passed earlier today.

Yesterday afternoon, we made it to Bentonville, Arkansas as planned. Nan's sister Monica and Monica's partner Vicky made us welcome in their beautiful home. Scout made himself at home with their two dogs and ten cats, which is good because he will be spending the next seven or so weeks with them. Nan and I decided early on in the planning for our sailing trip to Isla Mujeres that Scout should not sail with us. He has almost no experience with being on a boat, and if he got sick or injured, we would never forgive ourselves. Instead, Nan will fly back to get him in early June, after we are safely settled at El Milagro Marina.

The photo from this morning shows Nan, Monica, Bella and Scout just before Nan and I said good-bye to Scout and were escorted by Monica and the dogs out to the interstate. We can't thank you enough, Monica and Vicky!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

To the moon

New owner Perry at the wheel of my old Honda Passport
As my 1995 Honda Passport's odometer approached 200,000 miles, I joked that I wanted to take it "to the moon." The average distance to the moon from earth is 238,857 miles, and I figured if I had made it this far, the additional 40,000 or so miles would be a cinch. Alas, it was not to be. I sold my Honda this past Friday to the gentleman in the photo, Perry. He was pretty happy. I was pretty melancholy. Eighteen years is a long time to hang onto a vehicle, and it was not an easy transition. But it's a part of the plan, which makes it worth it. Tomorrow, we will begin our drive east to Savannah, where Whispering Jesse is waiting for us to sail her to Mexico. The adventure begins.