Although I came home black and blue from bumping into mast steps, low overhead spaces, handholds, and the list goes on, I made it home safe and sound from the Block Island to Annapolis trip. A friend of mine was the delivery captain and invited me along as volunteer crew. (A huge thank you Fred and to Eric as well!) We only had sails up and engines off for two hours of the trip, with most of the journey motor-sailing and the final push through Delaware Bay, the C & D Canal, and down the Chesapeake being straight motoring. The boat had AIS, so that made watches a little easier being able to find out about ships around us and where they were headed so we could adjust course if necessary.
Lumpy seas off Montauk left us all queasy, amplified for me by the diesel fumes. But I spent several hours on lookout during the day and then took some motion sickness meds, which made my 10pm to midnight watch survivable, though it was a strain to stay awake. The morning watch back on at 4am was nice getting to watch the sun rise over the sea.
The offshore portion of the trip was certainly simpler, with less traffic or depth to worry about, though we did get caught in a severe thunderstorm that pelted the guys at the helm in the face with hail as I hunkered down beneath the dodger. The anemometer registered 48 knots before snapping and hanging limp off the mast. Our other hiccups along the way included the engine overheating and needing to add fuel from jerrycans while underway. The fueling project took all three of us and we still could have used another set of hands to manage it, but it's a good thing we did it or we would have been a couple gallons short of making Cape May--right in the middle of the thunderstorm.
We docked in Cape May for a night and waited for the fuel dock to open in the morning so we could fuel up and head out for the final leg of the trip. I didn't sleep much or well and opted for an early morning shower and then breakfast at the luncheonette at The Lobster House while the guys were sleeping. The other patrons at the counter surely thought I was crazy when I exclaimed that it made my day that my rye toast had arrived buttered. That is absolutely as it should be, but unfortunately few restaurants still do it. Here's a snap of my huge omelette and home fries. I definitely recommend grabbing breakfast there if you find yourself in Cape May.
The most stressful part of the trip, but the most useful for me, was transiting the upper Chesapeake at night. Trying to line up the range lights, decipher the multiple marks, each flashing in a different sequence, stay as far to the right of the channel as possible to give ships a wide berth, but not come too close to marks, was all a definite challenge. We were on autohelm the entire trip and "steering" not with the wheel but with adjustments to the autohelm bearing. The autohelm was not linked to the chartplotter, so my friend was teaching me to look around, then make sure what I was seeing made sense in connection with what the charts were telling me, then make any necessary course adjustments on the autohelm. I'm terrible at spatial stuff and regularly mix up my right and left, so it was mentally tiring but such a great lesson and I will feel much more confident navigating at night (and by day) from going through that exercise.
Here are my photos from the trip: https://goo.gl/photos/VM9fjFAehSUogram7
We arrived in Annapolis at 3:30am; it took twelve hours from leaving the fuel dock in Cape May to leaving the C & D Canal, and then another seven hours down the Chesapeake to Annapolis. Once we were tied up, hooked up to shorepower, and the trash had been taken ashore, I managed to get a quick nap before the guy came to pick me up a little after 5am.
I wasn't going to be able to make it into work so after getting a few hours of sleep we seized the opportunity to head over to the Eastern Shore on a weekday with less traffic. I wanted the guy to see a shooting range I was pretty certain he'd like. Because that's the kind of girl I am--if I'm dating a gun nut (a term of endearment) I plan a shooting range play date. We made a side trip to grab lunch in St. Michael's, and stopped for slushy drinks at The Jetty before crossing back over the Bay Bridge on the way home, but it was definitely checking out the range (and learning that the owner's grandson is at school with him) that he enjoyed.
While I was gone, pup dog went to sleep-away camp, i.e., a friend's house, and the guy stayed aboard and looked after the cats. He's great with animals, so I know the cats were less stressed having him around even if they missed me and pup dog quite a bit. We stayed in touch via text and he seemed sweet and looking forward to my return.
Unexpectedly, the guy jumped into some projects aboard, scraping and sanding a good portion of the chipping old Cetol off the brightwork while I was away. I want to believe that taking on such projects was a reflection of caring for me, nesting, investing in a shared space aboard. Unfortunately, I think he just wants to stay busy and tackling projects for and with me doesn't reflect any particular investment in "us," which is a shame and makes me sad. I hope I'm wrong about that because there's nothing more attractive than a guy building a nest for and with his woman, and I deserve that.
But we did make a lot of progress on the teak last weekend, even if I did add to my list of cuts and bruises and smashed some toes into a shroud and then a stanchion. Hopefully I can finish up the rest of the teak with a heat gun and scraper this weekend. There are a lot of places the orbital sander can't reach unless I remove the jib track (uh, nope). What I really need now is a multitool, but that is out of budget. Also on the chore list this weekend will be pressure washing. My dockmate who gifted me his old dink also loaned me his pressure washer, (many, many thanks, Tom!), so need to knock out that task and get the dink pumped up and off the rack. Naturally, the list of boat projects is endless but at least I am making some headway.
I tend to prefer the look of weathered teak and it is clear that varnish is too high-maintenance for me, but whether I let her go gray or apply a sealant, I am glad she'll no longer look like some cheap girl with chipping-off red nail polish. My beloved Ambrosia deserves better than that.
While I was gone on the delivery, the electrician fabricated a custom battery box, coated it with epoxy, and installed it in the engine room. What I saw looked beautiful, professional, and built to last. I haven't climbed all the way down to fully check it out and get photos, but that will be a top priority this weekend and I'll be sure to include some photos in the next post. He is done with the battery and charge controller installation together with new wiring to the engine, smart switch, and main panel. If you need an ABYC certified marine electrician in Annapolis I definitely recommend Bob Blood.
He also relocated the water pump further forward in the engine room, but we still haven't figured out why the galley sink is just a trickle while the head sink has full pressure. I actually brought the garden hose down into the galley to do dishes because the trickle was never going to cut it. I would swap out the faucet in case that is the problem, but discovered that only a mouse could get behind the sink to disconnect that faucet! I have no idea how I'm going to tackle that, though I hear they make special wrenches just for reaching behind tight sinks. But the electrician may have already fixed it--he texted me to try the sink when I get home! [Update: Looks like some kind of restrictor in the line had clogged and turned the flow to a trickle over the last several weeks but he removed it and now it's full throttle from the galley faucet; yay!]
The starter is stubbornly corroded in place so he wasn't able to remove it yet to see if the solenoid is the problem with getting the engine to start. When I arrived home it took a minute for me to realize what the smell was, then it dawned on me--PB Blaster! I had suggested maybe soaking the area where the starter was stuck with some to see if it would loosen it up. I did find a mechanic who may be able to come by next weekend and look at the engine, so fingers crossed. I just want her to purr again and get us out of the slip!
These adorable ducklings we watched while grilling get to spend more time on the water than I do. But aren't they cute?
I have been very much looking forward to sailing and anchoring out with the guy, but unsure it will come to fruition. The guy is so passionate about guns and cars, which is fine, but unfortunately if he has even half as much passion for me I don't hear about it. Now that he is back in the dormitory he'll likely become scarce.
I wanted so much to believe him when he said he knows he's found a gem, that he's glad he's the only one. I sleep so well, feel safe and at peace, curled up beside him with his arm around me. People show their caring and affection in different ways, so I have been patient and tried to see the helping as an expression of affection. Me, I wear my heart on my sleeve and show my caring physically, in my cooking, and by orchestrating little surprises.
I enjoy being with him, whether tackling a project, spending the day in bed, or just walking the dog. Most guys bore or annoy me in short order. This one piques my curiosity. I want to know what makes him tick and who he really is; I want to protect him and lift him up. I have no interest in fixing him or changing him. I am done fixing birds with broken wings. But as much as I could invest in him deeply and passionately, he just doesn't seem that into me two months into whatever it is we're doing. What happened to the guy who chased me down on the bridge to ask me out? Who made my heart go all pitter-patter when he said he'd pick up all the dead things for me? Affection and attraction breed more of the same, but if you don't feed them they wither away. (In reading this article http://time.com/3726599/predictor-behind-successful-relationships/ I definitely reflected on how I am re-bidding less often when he turns away or makes an against bid...). I'm not interested in being a fling or in being used (for a crash pad, parking space, or lay). I deserve someone who won't flinch at the danger of falling in love, someone who will consciously, willfully choose me every day, someone who is as crazy about me as I am about him, someone who won't put an expiration date on us.
I need a man who lives for danger, because I'm a girl who eats danger for breakfast. I need a man who is going to love me like his life depends on it because I'm a woman who gives a fuck. For the ballsy women and the men who love them, here's a good little read:
I'm used to being black and blue on the outside. Between being a klutz and a runner, I'm usually a little banged up here and there. But it's only the scrapes and bruises on my tender heart that really hurt.