The trip down wasn't a "delight." It was eventful, but we pulled if off without a major problem. Except for the panhandlers.
We made the dock by 19:00 more-or-less. The wind was almost non-existent. We were out of the creek on a rising tide during the last hour of daylight. We went all of 1 nm down the river and dropped the hook. A quick dinner and we were in bed by 21:00 for a three-hour nap.
CA rigged jacklines as if we were going to sea. She broke out the offshore harnesses and headlamps. Night operations requires a little more care than day sailing.
At 00:15 we were underway to Norfolk. The seas were not precisely flat. But they were generally less than 3'. There was almost no wind, but the waves were from the N, so we were surfing down the waves as we motored down the Bay. It was a full-moon night, but the sky was overcast. We glimpsed the moon.
Sometimes the moon would peek through the clouds and light up a patch of the bay up ahead. If it was well out in front, I'd see a bright arc of water against the pervasive gloom. The moon shown down on the Wolf Trap light for a while.
We did 3-hour watches through the night. With Mr. Benmar steering, it's a matter of setting a course to avoid the various hazards along the shoreline: Hole in the Wall, Wolf Trap, York Spit, and the Horseshoe Shoal.
Plus, of course, avoiding the barges that work the Bay all night long. They're lit and most of them broadcast a solid AIS. We can see them coming via the chart plotter as well as their running lights.
When we dropped the anchor at Hospital Point at 08:15, the log read exactly 42 nm. Exactly 8 hours. Now I know.
Since we're only weekenders, each weekend is relatively eventful. We had three big events on this trip.
First, a galley light had worked its way loose. We have a small deck leak on the port side: water intrudes somewhere and had rotted the wood around a screw. The short-term fix is a new screw. The long-term fix requires careful study during heavy rain. Since we don't live aboard, when will we do this?
Second, the fuel tank sender was still not right. I replaced it about a year ago. (See "The Fuel Tank Sender Problem.") At this point, I estimate we've piled on dozens of engine hours since we topped off the tank in Norfolk. I had replaced the sender. [A year ago?!] Yet, the gauge still read "F". Three hours on watch gave me a lot of time to think about it. And they weren't good thoughts.
Some exploration revealed that the gauge really works. It turns out that it works when it's not screwed down to the (grounded) tank. What does grounding mean? It means that I'd reversed the wires. Switching the wires showed that we had between ¼ and ⅜ of a tank: maybe 21 to 27 gallons. This agreed with the stick.
Today, I siphoned as much as 25 gallons of the deck reserve fuel into the tank. (20 liters ≈ 5.25 gallons.) Some of that fuel was at least 3 years old. I still have to buy a few gallons of fuel and rinse each jug, carefully straining out the contaminants from the bottom of each jug. Yes. There's crud in each jug.
Finally — and sadly — Scout's wound is pretty serious. We'd punctured Scout under the dock in Portsmouth. See "Scout's at the Dinghy Doctor" and "Ripped out her Stitches." The guys a Lighthouse Inflatables tried (twice) to seal the hole. After spending the winter rolled up on deck, the port side tube has a bodacious leak. We'll have to try again to see if we can get this fixed. It might involve boxing Scout up and mailing her to a specialist — like the place in Miami that we took Scout to on the bus. See "Scout's Puncture Wound."
When you don't live aboard, the stuff just doesn't get fixed. Sigh.
The ducks are aggressive pan-handlers. Really.
This gal landed and swam straight up to me while I was sitting in the cockpit. Her flight path was straight to the boat. No mistake about it. She set up a plaintive quacking while swimming back and forth, eyes on me the whole time. She was clearly asking for me to throw food down to her.
Bread isn't good for waterfowl. For example, NYS has this list of reasons to Stop Feeding Waterfowl. Many other naturalists agree. It's fun. But don't.