After much research, Dave finally purchased our new Ham Radio, the ICOM 706MKIIG, to enable us to receive single-sideband (SSB) weather and other communications. We had planned to travel to Rochester, NY for our nephew’s graduation. Our route would take us by a Ham Radio Outlet store location in Newcastle, Delaware. Dave spent over an hour asking all the questions that he had stored up after his weeks of internet surfing and conversations with Fred and other cruisers. We left the store with the new radio and an AH-4 antenna tuner and ideas about how to install the radio on the boat.
Since it would be several days before we could get back to Orion and Dave wanted to be sure we knew the radio would work, he took advantage of time with his dad in Rochester to create a set-up that would allow him to transmit. The first attempt, with only about 25 feet of wire run up across the roof, was enough to allow him to receive signals, but no one could hear him transmit. The next night, he improved his antenna by using a 100 foot extension cord run along the ridge of the roof into a tree off the end of the roof. This did the trick. He was now able to be received by several operators, from as close as Montreal and as far away as Atlanta GA. Cathy even had a brief conversation using her newly acquired ham license. It didn’t have the same thrill that Dave and his dad were enjoying. We may have even made a new ham out of Dave’s dad, whose background in electronics were causing him to be intrigued with the possibility of tinkering with all these gadgets and talking to people all over the world. (One conversation we overheard was between someone in NC and Siberia. We couldn’t hear the Siberia end, though.)
We managed to get a few housekeeping chores done on Orion. Cathy put more coats of Cetol on the gunwales, the only wood not refreshed so far this year. She then waxed the upper deck. Dave spent the time when he wasn’t researching radios cleaning the power cord, which had become sticky with grime, which was fouling every surface it touched. Finally, we added our boat name to the deck box that sits prominently on the stern behind the cockpit. We discovered that we were not getting hails from boats passing us on the waterway, because they couldn’t read our name (on the side hulls) until they were already in the process of passing us. This should help solve that problem.
We also made sure we took Orion out for a trip at least once a week to keep the growth on the bottom from getting too bad.
In preparation for our trip up north, Dave ordered the extra charts we would need, and we got another cruising guide to cover the new territory.
In a less nautical vein, we scheduled time for dentist and doctor appointments, a meeting with our financial planner and eye appointments. Nothing glamorous, but necessary..
We enjoyed being able to spend Father’s Day with both Bonnie and Adam and their families for the first time in a long time. The following week we headed to Rochester by way of Pennsylvania for our nephew, Jeff’s, graduation from high school. We were able to assist in bringing off the surprise attendance of Dave’s sister Diane, who hosted us in Bethlehem, PA before we took her the next day to Rochester for the graduation weekend.
Our grandson, Droz, came for another visit on the boat and then a trip up to Rochester, which gave him a chance to try his hand at the helm. Cathy made sure she had a hand on the wheel, since the US Coast Guard was passing us shortly after he took the wheel.
Our next door neighbor at Joys Marina, Steven, has been interested in our travels this past year, with hopes that he might do the same someday. Through our conversations with him, we realized he had never done a pumpout, since his new boat was the first that he had owned that required it. We rode with him to a nearby marina to gave him a hand with lines and step him through the process. (This also gave us the opportunity to figure out how to get into the pumpout at the Sunset Marina.We’re no dummies.) When Steven had to run some lines between the pilings on his slip, we were in a good position to give him a hand, since Orion made it an easy platform to walk from one piling to the next. This would assist him in grabbing lines as he docks, since his slip has some tricky angles and maneuvering required, especially in windy conditions..
A couple more weeks
We’re only a couple of weeks away from our planned departure for points north, but we’re getting in better shape for the trip each week. After a few more road trips, we’ll park the car again back at its home base and set out again for another trip by sea.