Hello, Goodbye

Sunday June 24, 2012

Since we’re getting down to the wire for leaving and extra money always helps I spent one of my few remaining Saturday afternoons in the office putting in some overtime (or my normal hourly rate I should say since I had a vacation day this week) to help our kitty up as much as possible.  It was only a half day but still put me out late enough that I was rushing around the house to pack up for the night as I had done none of it in the morning.  I still managed to get everything ready and by the door so that when Matt came in it was only a few minutes before we were on the road.  Loading the dinghy up with what felt like a million things we exited the channel out into Muskegon Lake, scanning the mooring balls near the edge to make sure Serendipity was still there and hand’t dragged away overnight.  Torresen’s had emailed us a new ball to try but we didn’t want to go through the hassle of moving again until the next day.  Looking past all the other boats in the way we saw Serendip secure where we left her.  After getting everything moved from the dinghy to the boat it didn’t take us long to decide that we wanted a change of scenery  and would much rather anchor out somewhere.  I thought it might be fun to make the 10 mile journey north to White Lake but it was already evening and the travel time probably would have put us there after dark.  Debating between the dunes again or the breakers the dunes won out.  While I was making a quick run to shore for Matt’s sunglasses, the first time taking the dinghy out by myself if you can believe it, he was busy attaching our fifty-five pound anchor to make sure we would not be moving at all that night.

When I returned he already had the engine running so I cleated the dinghy by the stern and grabbed the wheel as he released us from the mooring.  Making the short trip to the dunes there were three other sailboats anchored out and since I didn’t know if they were staying the night I wanted to be as far away from them as possible to prevent any could-be collisions during the night.  This left us with a spot in view of the neighboring campground which I wasn’t happy about as I could just imagine all the noise that would be coming from there all night.  It was quiet and peaceful as we pulled up though and once again we anchored without any issue.  I was already getting hungry and ready to dig in to the ribeyes I had brought out for the night.  Since I was the only hungry one on board dinner had to wait and I pulled out one of the Land Sharks Jackie had left me instead.  Getting it comfy in it’s beer coozy I placed it on the drink holder near the wheel while I spread out my sport-a-seat in the cockpit.  Going back to grab my beer I noticed how the yellow can was a nice contrast to the wheel and the dunes behind it and thought Jackie would like a picture, a little thank you to show her how much I’m enjoying her gift.  Stepping below deck I grabbed my camera and when I opened it up there was nothing.  The battery was dead.  How did I not notice that the night before when I was uploading my awesome double rainbow photos?  I could have used Matt’s phone but it was busy pumping out the Adele station on Pandora through our speakers.  Sorry Jackie, your photo will have to wait.  For a little while we sat in the calm water enjoying the music and the feel of swaying iwth the wind once more.  Not that I wasn’t enjoying the relaxation but it only took me 20 minutes to start looking for something to do.  I think all the constant work on her has made me forget how to stop and be still.  I wasn’t looking to jump into a project so I suggested we play one of the multiple travel games we received at Christmas from Matt’s mom. On board was Bananagrams, Battleship and Cranium among others.  Matt chose Battleship right away which I knew he would.

Setting the game up on the cockpit table we each hid our ships on the miniature pegs and started guessing.  My first question of ‘D7′ led to a hit and it didn’t take long to take down his destroyer.  I had even sunk his patrol boat and submarine before he had a hit on me.  It didn’t even take fifteen minutes for me to win the game.  I was ready for another round but all of a sudden he became hungry and just couldn’t challenge me again until he had something in his stomach.  Quite ready for dinner myself I put up no argument and went to grab the steaks from the fridge while he started the grill.  Assuming he had adjusted to a low heat I tossed his ribeye right on, not to come back and check on it for almost ten minutes when I was ready to let mine start cooking.  Well apparently the heat was on high and his was almost already well done.  Laying mine down next to it I let it sit there for a mere five minutes before I pulled them both off and rang the dinner bell.  It actually couldn’t have worked out better because Matt finally had a well done steak while mine was cooked on the outside it was nice and red on the inside.  Joining my delicious steak was a side of sweet corn and a bottle of Ace Pear Cider that I smuggled back from Arizona because they don’t sell it in Grand Rapids (unless specially ordered through one vendor).  It was a perfect meal to finally start the season with.  It’s the same thing we had when launching the boat last year, with the exception of boxed wine instead of beer, and I was looking for an excuse to get to my favorite butcher before we left.  Even though it was only a second year tradition it made me a little sad we wouldn’t be able to do it next year.  Just as we’re starting the season we’ll have to say goodbye to all the things that used to make up our summers.  Trips up to Pentwater or down to Grand Haven.  Bringing family and friends out at our leisure and visiting all our favorite little spots.  I guess I thought that by leaving at the end of July we’d still have most of the summer to do these things but because of getting in the water three weeks after anticipated and still having so much more to do before we leaving including lots of land based family get-togethers we’ll probably have two Sundays to take friends out and the rest will be prepping to leave.  Kind of sad, but I know we have an amazing adventure ahead.  And maybe this will force friends to come visit us en route.

Cleaning up all the dishes after we finished eating I was able to enjoy the seawater pump Matt installed to the galley sink over the winter.  Now instead of trying to conserve the fresh water in our tanks while scrubbing the dishes I could get all the gross gunky stuff off with lake water and only use fresh water to rinse after they were all soaped up.  Makes life so much easier.  After that was taken care of I went back out to the cockpit where we both relaxed in the overcast yet warm weather.  It was a great lazy evening with nothing to do and nowhere to be, something we haven’t had in quiet awhile.  When things started cooling down a little I went below to change into sweats and also came back up with my laptop to get some writing done.  Definitely the best place I’ve been able to do it so far, with the dunes in front of me, Land Shark in hand, and lazy summer melodies playing through the speaker.  I was getting a decent amount done until dusk came upon us and the Mayflies started coming out.  At first it was just one or two flying in front of your face, you’d shoo them away, no big deal.  As it became darker my bright monitor was calling out and a few of them would land on there.  I’d shoo them away again but by the time I caught one near the corner of the screen it had it’s wings all tucked in and looked like it was about to nap so I let it stay.  Just a moment later it looked as if it was giving birth so I called Matt over to look.  As we peered on and watched something continue to slide out we realized it was not giving birth but was in fact molting.  It shouldn’t be a big deal but neither of us had seen this before and watched on with amazement.  When the fly was done shedding it’s skin it flew off leaving it’s shell on my monitor.  Apparently this was the go-ahead for all the other Mayflies in the area and soon one by one they would molt on my laptop and fly off.  I thought it was cool for about five more times after the first one but when they started coming in heavily I was ready to yell at them to stop disposing of their bodies on my screen.  Just as I was getting fed up and ready to head below drops of water began falling down from the sky and we were forced below anyway where we noticed it was definitely late enough to crawl in bed.

The overcast sky the next morning had kept the sun from blinding us through the hatch and allowing us to sleep in.  Following the tradition for first weekend on the water I turned on the stove and started to make pancakes and bacon for breakfast.  I finally remembered non stick spray for the skillet and even though I’m getting better at positioning and rotating the food so it’s evenly cooked we really need a new skillet before we leave.  Doing dishes again after we’d eaten I could see that Matt had disappeared above deck and through the hatch I saw him attaching himself to the mast with ropes.  I knew we’d be working on getting the new radar installed that day but I thought I would be raising him through a harness like we did last year while removing the old one.  Setting the remaining dishes down I joined him on deck to see what he was doing without me and found out that even though I had brought him up and down just fine before he would rather put his life in his own hands and use climbing ascenders to get himself up and down instead.  I felt like I should at least be out there spotting him as he made his ascent, although what would I really be able to do if he fell?, run below him and act as a mattress?  (that was a joke for all you who probably thought I was serious).  He did instead, put me in control of his back-up halyard and to tighten the slack on it as he went up.  Getting to the spreaders and securing himself off he raised the bag containing the new radar and tools.

Since my job was done for the moment I laid back in the cockpit and gazed at him in the sky as he worked and bobbed from side to side from the wakes of the fishing boats passing us by.  The relaxing didn’t last too long as I had to read out instructions on the manual and once he attached the new wires up top I had to try and pull it through to the bottom of the mast.  Running a new wire in an area already cramped with other wires is not an easy task and we had even gone to Home Depot the night before for wire lube but figured the 16 oz bottle was more than we needed for this one task.  Going below deck I started to yank on the wire the new one had been attached to but it wouldn’t move.  Trying to loosen it up a little Matt pulled it back on his end and told me to give it another shot.  Yanking it down only as much as he had pulled it back again I got to a point where it would not move.  Huffing and puffing I yanked and pulled until I was red in the face and completely out of breath.  Trying different angles I crawled into the space between the mast/table and settee but still with no results.  Discouraged,  I had to go break the news to Matt the he’d have to come down and help me.  He didn’t seem surprised at all and I think he knew all along this would happen.  Making a less than graceful descent (maybe somtimes it is easier to go up than down?) he came below deck and mimicked all the moves I had just done with the same results of nuthin’.  Getting innovative he held the wire in one hand and pushed down on the center with his foot with all his might.  This did get the wire moving, but only because it detached from the new one we were trying to bring down.  Back up the mast he goes.

Getting positioned one more time he attached it to a new wire and had it attached much more securely this time.  When I was instructed to pull it  began to move a few inches at a time which was fine by me.  When it was getting closer to coming out the bottom it would get stuck and I’d have to employ the foot trick to get it moving again.  Finally it was out and Matt could come back down.

The rest of the afternoon was mostly work free.  About an hour was spent playing with the bimini.  We’ll be mounting two of our solar panels on top of it and have to do a little refitting as the fabric was having issues lying flat with the new reinforced bars so now we’ll have to do two sets of bars, one for fabric only and one for panals only.  After doing a few measurements and making a few marks we set it all aside to do some people watching of all the other boats now anchoring near us.  Since the sun decided to make a full appearance everyone was flocking to the beach, powerboaters and sailboaters alike.  The powerboaters are good about staying really close to shore but since the sailboats have to anchor in the 30 ft water (it goes from 30ft to 5 ft, nothing in between) we all have to let out a lot of scope and then make sure to stay clear so we don’t swing into each other.  Everyone had been smart about not anchoring too close to another boat, but then we watched this guy come in super close to the boat next to us on their other side.  We were thinking this guy either knew the person he was right on top of or was a complete dick.  After watching for twenty more minutes where both boat owners were in the water cleaning their hulls they swam up to eachother and began talking so it appeared that they actually did know each other.

Since we still had to go back to the mooring field and find the new mooring they had given us and attach ourselves to it I suggested we head back before it got any more crowded and someone anchored on top of us.  Not even 60 seconds after I said this a boat came cruising up on our side and began to drop anchor almost exactly where we were expecting ours was sitting.  We didn’t want to try leaving with him there and cause more issues if our anchors were now tangled so we did the passive aggressive stare-down from our deck until he shortly got the hint and upped his anchor to move to another spot.  Once we knew we could get ours up without issue we went to work before anyone else could come in.  I steered the boat while we went back and forth between forward and neutral until the anchor came out of the water all covered in mud and sand.  I pointed us toward the marina while Matt scrubbed the anchor to keep our boat from becoming even more of a mess than we’ve let her get to right now.

After the mishap of two moorings so far this year already being taken by other boats we had been emailed a new spot that should hold our weight since the pretty little spot we had picked for ourselves was meant to hold a boat 90% lighter than ours.  Our ‘new’ new spot was supposed to be near the one they tried to put us at Friday so we didn’t have any problem locating it.  Once we came up on it though there was the small issue of being right on top of two other moorings with boats on them.  Since we didn’t want our 15,000 lb hull swinging around and smashing into any other nearby boats we wanted a ball with lots and lots of swing room.  It was so tight that we felt better taking our chances on the ball meant to hold a 1,500 lb boat and went back there to hook back onto until they could find a new location for us or move the ball they were trying to assign to us.  As long as there were no storms with strong winds coming we felt comfortable our choice mooring ball wouldn’t drag and even if it did a little bit there was plenty of swing room for us.  Back to the drawing board, but hopefully Serendipity can find a home before it’s time to leave this harbor for good.

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