Winter's Not Here Yet, But It's Coming
It's our third year winterizing Orion for the Hampton winter, and we're getting better at it. We strip the deck of canvas, headsail, and any smaller items (flag, horseshoe PFD, etc.) that could take flight or create windage. And then we secure anything else that is impractical to remove (anchor, bimini poles, etc.). With the new engine just at the 50 hour mark, we changed the engine oil and ran antifreeze into the raw water lines. Similarly, we ran the A/C with antifreeze, pumped some through the toilet, deck washdown and shower sump pump. Lastly, we emptied the fresh water tanks and the hot water heater. After cleaning the inside of the forward water tank, and re-plumbing the hot water heater to take it out of the plumbing circuit, we poured antifreeze in the water fill, running all of the faucets, including the swim shower, until they ran pink instead of clear. That took care of the major systems.
The remaining shutdown tasks were more mundane. We emptied the boat of food, much of our clothing, and the various items that travel with us to Orion Jr. Cathy went through all the compartments, cleaning out what she could and inventorying the rest. The mid-October rains had pointed out a few areas where seals needed refreshing, so we re-siliconed a portlight, a stanchion and a few bolts. To ensure the wood looks good when we return in the Spring, Cathy applied another coat of Cetol. Dave focused his attention on rigging extra lines and refreshing the chafe protection. We had the benefit of some extra high tides and some extra low ones that allowed him to study how Orion sat in the slip at both extremes with the new line configuration.
By the morning of our departure, we felt pretty good that everything that was left on Orion was clean and protected for the winter, and everything that we needed on Orion Jr was in the truck, ready to go. Dave would suggest that maybe there was too much of the latter. At any rate. We bid Orion goodbye and turned our attention south.
Boat Stuff and More
There are a number of things that are more convenient in Hampton than they will be once we move to Orion Jr, so we took advantage of our final weeks to get a number of things done. Haircuts, flu shots, on-line shopping and banking, research for projects planned on Jr, and so forth. Cathy was due for a colonoscopy, so we scheduled that before we left. (All clean, pun intended.) The truck had a few more issues, which we have hopefully addressed for a while to come.
Cathy also did some final sewing projects. Our trip with Steve had pointed out a weakness in our bimini straps, one of which snapped as Cathy tried to tighten it. So, she took the time to replace them before taking the bimini down for the winter. Speaking of Steve, he had asked for a pocket to put his hatch boards in, so she make one for his locker and installed it there. Also, Sue's fiance, Steve had asked for some modifications to prevent rain coming into his enclosure, which Cathy installed just before we left.
Just as Dave was preparing to remove Orion from the market for the winter, we were surprised when a prospective buyer called to see her. So, we delayed our departure by a few days to show her the morning before we left. (The prospective buyer also left later that afternoon as crew on a boat headed with the Salty Dawg Rally to Tortola, BVI. Needless to say, we don't expect to hear more until she makes landfall again.
Hampton Snowbird Rendezvous
We were privileged to attend some of the first Hampton Snowbird Rendezvous, held Oct. 18-20 in downtown Hampton. It had some excellent speakers and lots of good opportunities to network with other cruisers who had expertise in various aspects of cruising the ICW, the Bahamas, the Great Loop and more. There was also some great food served, which is usually a magnet for good times. Congratulations to the organizers of this first annual festival. Look for it again next year!
With the end of the season, we have to say goodbye to friends and family that we won't see as often as we make our way south. We enjoyed an evening with Sue and her fiance, Steve on his boat at Salt Ponds (enjoying the space created by Cathy's enclosure). And we joined Steve from Bay Dreamer for a couple of get-togethers – first for his annual bonfire during the Poquoson Seafood Festival and lastly, for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
We were delighted to see Bonnie and Troy and the kids as they came to visit on a beautiful fall weekend, where we spent time at the Virginia Beach Farmer's Market and playing at the playground on Virginia Beach. After a delicious dinner at Harpoon Larry's, we explored Bass Pro Shops with the kids while Mom and Dad shopped. Unfortunately, Grandma and Grandpa need a refresher course in keeping a close eye on a 3 year old. The sound of breaking glass and a lot of BBQ sauce on the floor does wonders to focus your attention.
We joined both families at Adam's as we made our way out of Hampton, in a celebration to honor their mom's birthday, 10 months after her passing. The weather cooperated and the kids had a great time on the trampoline in the backyard. But this time the goodbyes were for longer, so it was hard to pry us away, but we finally waved our last and headed down the road toward LaBelle.