Archive for January, 2007

January 2007 Trip to the Boat

Friday, January 26th, 2007

Nancy and I went to boat for the first week of January this year. We were hoping to spend more time underway, but the weather wasn’t very nice and we had plenty of boat work to do, so we only made it out of the slip for an overnight trip.

We arrived at the boat at 06:30 on New Year’s Eve after driving all night, so the first thing we did was crash for a few hours, then made the obligatory trip to Wal-Mart to provision for our stay. The weather in Moss Point is cold (40 to 50 degrees F) and windy. Monday we began exploring all the hidden storage spaces aboard and inventorying everything on the boat. This is a very long process that we want to get done before we start bringing a bunch of new stuff aboard. One thing I have to say for Tayana, is there is almost no inaccessible space. Some places may be incredibly difficult to get to, but some means of access is provided.

Nancy also hoisted me up the mast in the bo’sun’s chair. The wind speed indicator stopped working during our trip up the Gulf last summer and I wanted to see if it would be something simple to fix. Unfortunately, whatever is wrong is not obvious, so maybe I’ll remove it next trip and take it apart to see what the problem is. I’d like to replace it with one of the ultrasonic units made by Maretron, but will wait a while to do that as they are quite expensive. At least the view at the top of the mast is quite nice.

Tuesday we finally got underway. The weather is calling for severe thunderstorms to roll in Thursday, so we figured we had better get out and back in before the storms hit. Keep in mind that this is our very first solo trip on our boat, so we were both a little nervous maneuvering this 42 foot, 15 ton investment around. We stopped at the fuel dock on the way out of the marina and topped off the tanks to the tune of $340 (for about 120 gallons). Next we had a few miles of river and one drawbridge to navigate. As luck would have it, the bridge was down and we had to circle upriver waiting for the train to pass. After the railroad drawbridge we were faced with an enormous floating thing being pushed by no less than 5 tug boats. We decided it was part of an offshore oil platform on its way somewhere and were able to make our way past it. It was quite windy and cold out in the Mississippi Sound, so we decided to just find a decent place to anchor. We motored around to the West side of Sand Island, which is just barely an island, but is close to the Pascagoula Ship Channel, and got the hook dug in solid after only two tries. This was our first time anchoring the boat and I had to figure out how the manual windlass worked. This was not a “protected” anchorage by any stretch of the imagination and we rocked and rolled all night long, which I rather enjoy, but Nancy was starting to get a little green around the gills, so she turned in early.

Wednesday was another cold, blustery day and we pulled up the anchor and got underway right after breakfast. On our way back up the channel to Pascagoula, we encountered a ship so massive it took up the entire channel and we had to move outside of the channel markers while it passed. It turned out to be a platform carrier carrying the platform we had encountered the previous day. When we reached the railroad bridge, as luck would have it, the bridge was down, so I called for an opening on the VHF and the operator said the bridge was closed for maintenance and he couldn’t give me a time for when they would be done, but that it would be later in the day. We turned around and just motored out the way we had come for an hour or so, then turned around and came back. Fortunately by the time we got back, the bridge was able to open for us. The trip up the river was uneventful with the exception of meeting a barge in a narrow bend of the river. I was glad to see there was hardly anybody about when we got back to the marina, as I didn’t want an audience for my docking. I would up having to make about 4 or 5 approaches to the slip before I felt comforable with how the boat was lined up. I wanted to be close enough that Nancy could easily step off onto the slip, but not so close that I would actually run into the slip. Easier said than done, but I wasn’t in any hurry and decided I’d rather make a dozen aborted attempts than a single spectacular failure, and so if it didn’t look just right, I’d back up and make another circle and try it again. After we were finally docked, we felt pretty good about our first solo excursion.

The thunderstorm didn’t show up until late Thursday night, but it was a doozy when it did hit. We just piddled around on the boat the rest of the week. We got the water tanks flushed, added some bleach, then flushed them again. The water looks and tastes much better now, but I am still going to add a filtration system for the drinking water. We finished our inventory and we now know everything that is on the boat and where it is. We also decided to get a dehumidifier for the boat while it is sitting unattended. The bulkheads below the waterline were sweating, the underside of the mattress cushions were damp, and the access hatches in the cabin sole were almost impossible to get up because of the wood swelling. When we come down in March, we’ll bring a good dehumidifier.