This will probably be our last update from the USA as we get ready to make one last journey from these shores. True, at this stage, we're still planning on heading up the Bay to see Russ and Alison as they ready themselves for a jaunt up to northern Labrador and beyond for the summer but from Annapolis we're hoping to transit the C&D canal, slip quietly down the Delaware Bay and head on up to the French territory of St Pierre, a small island off the Newfoundland coast, about 1200 miles away. We're still undecided about whether to leave from there or somewhere else or even where we might go to...well, we know we're heading for Iceland but we watch the ice charts for Cap Farvel and note the speed at which the pack-ice has moved from the west coast of Greenland. Not so the east coast however, which remains blocked by 7/10 ice so ensuring that our hoped for trip through the Sund, at this stage, remains in doubt. In some ways we're clutching at straws as history indicates the Sund clearing around July or August which would be far too late for this years "plans" We'll see what mid-May brings.
|A rare sight - our dinghy with the bow section separated.|
As long term readers will know we have a hard dinghy - we still have it as the various "purchasers" who swore on their mothers grave it was exactly what they'd be looking for and they'd give the full asking price..seem unable to translate the words in their email into actually parting with the cash thus ensuring that both us and Portland Pudgy got the run around as we tried to work out the logistics of selling and taking delivery before we depart. In the end we gave up and, sadly, the Pudgy goes on the back burner for now. But the reason I mention it is more for the fact that something caught my eye somewhere about one of the issues folks feel you're faced with if you use a hard dinghy, namely when they're tied off the stern of the boat they do have a habit of creeping up and T-boning your hull. It has happened to us but years ago we were given a great tip. So here it is. Tie a bucket (preferably one of those wonderful rubber buckets made from old tyres as they sink) off the stern of the dinghy and chuck it over the stern. As long as you're in tidal waters the bucket will be pulled away from the dinghy and the dinghy pulled away from the stern of the boat. Folks you visit will be eternally grateful that your dinghy is not attempting to batter a hole in the stern of their glossy Awlgrip'd hull. The hardest part we have found is to remember the bucket needs bringing aboard before you begin the 1/2 mile row to the dock....
Stashed away in our "diesel" locker we keep a plunger, the common or garden type used for unblocking toilets/drains and what have you.
We use it to periodically clear the cockpit drains from the detritus of everyday living, particularly if we have spent months tied to a dock etc and it ensures any water that comes aboard is easily able to drain. Much more effective than ramming a hose pipe in and hoping to flush everything out. It also works well as a simple washing machine by helping to agitate the water and muck in a bucket.
As the year moves on we're beginning to see the ducks and geese, who populate this creek, proudly showing off their new chicks.
So here we sit on a sunny Saturday with the list growing ever smaller as last minute jobs are knocked off. With luck Cary will soon be free and we'll drive out to the airport to collect 25 litres of aviation fuel to use in our cooker. Bee has conducted her final forays into the wilds of Portsmouth, hunting down the bargains - last week she ended up with 500 grams (1lb) of rice for 2 cents and is greeted like an old friend at numerous supermarkets around the town. To the extent that one staff member came over to warn her that all the reduced items had been moved and could now be found on aisle....
The changes we've made seem to work well. At least tied up they do. We'll let you know.