As most of you know, May 19th was the day of the big wedding. No, not the one in Windsor Castle -- Steve and Linda’s wedding with Dave officiating. We started the day by watching that other much-covered event, while Dave took pointers on what to do and what not to do.
While the skies were clear and blue across the ocean, that was not the case here in Poquoson. We dodged downpours on our way to the venue, and the actual ceremony was delayed in hopes of a break in the wet weather. No such luck. However, many guests reminded the couple that rain on your wedding day is a good sign.
We’re sure that will be the case, since this was truly a lovely couple and a lovely match. We were honored to be a part of their special day.
It was an unusual plan to say the least. On Orion Jr, we would be joining Steve and Linda as they traveled on Bay Dreamer on their honeymoon. The plan was to leave on Monday after Saturday’s festivities were done and the house guests had departed on Sunday. However, Monday was going to be a late departure, since there were many post-wedding items to take care of (not the least of which was Dave’s filing the paperwork to make the marriage legal at the court). Luckily for all of us, Monday’s weather forecast was too stormy to be comfortable, so we deferred our departure to Tuesday.
Overcast skies greeted us as we prepared to shove off from our slip at Sunset Boating Center early Tuesday morning. However, there was no bad weather in the clouds, so it proved to be an uneventful trip across the bay, and that’s what we aim for. The outboard started smoothly (after Dave re-connected the fuel hose that Cathy hadn’t secured correctly), and it puttered along as we motorsailed east across the bay to Cape Charles. For the first time, we were able to use the tachometer to gauge the engine speed and compare it to our fuel consumption. There was almost no large ship traffic as we crossed the shipping channel into Hampton Roads and later the York Spit channel that angled up the bay. However, we were surprised to see almost 20 big ships at anchor off Cape Charles. It took us about an hour to get from one side of the anchorage to the other.
Our rough cruising plan for the week was to head to Onancock, further north on the Eastern Shore, maybe to Crisfield, move back to the western shore near Deltaville and back to Cape Charles to join the Yacht Club on the Memorial Day weekend. With our late start, the aggressiveness of the this schedule was starting to become intimidating. However, as always with cruising, we would just take one day at a time.
Our yacht club has a long tradition of cruising across the bay to Cape Charles on Memorial Day weekend. This was the first time we had been able to join them on our own boat. By Friday afternoon, the slips started to fill up. (We had to move before they did, but it was only across the fairway.) Commodore JD and his wife Sandy arrived on Steve and Sue’s boat and much of the activity seemed to gravitate to the dock near them. “Docktails” (i.e. hor d’ouvres and drinks) were followed at sunset by the firing of the cannon (an old nautical tradition) and the playing of Taps. The next day’s dinghy races were cancelled, because nobody wanted to launch their dinghy just to participate, but they were followed by a joint potluck with the Cape Charles Yacht Club.
The weather never fully cooperated for our trip further up the bay. Our timeframe was too short, and our ability to travel long distances limited by our slow speed. Since we needed to be back in Hampton for the Blackbeard Pirate festival the following weekend and the winds were going to stay out of the south, we motored back to Hampton on Tuesday, having enjoyed our brief cruise on the bay. If the weather cooperated, we would head back out after the festival.
Where is all this water coming from? When the water in the bilge is high enough that the main saloon floor starts to get wet, you know something isn’t quite right. Is it coming from a thru-hull? No. They’re all dry. Is it coming from a leak on deck. Maybe, but we can’t find any water trail below. We did discover that one of the cowling (cover) for the starboard dorade (air vent) was no longer sitting on its base. So, we took both of them out and installed new ones, which caused us to think the deteriorated seal inside the old ones was the problem. Maybe, but the water kept accumulating in the bilge
Another theory was the fresh water system. We kept putting off looking at this. It required Cathy to get down into a small space under the companionway and stick her head into an even smaller space to look. Eventually she did, and it was a good thing. The filter cover on the freshwater pump was a little loose and was dripping water in a very small stream. Since we’ve tightened the cover, no more water of consequence is coming out of the bilge. Oh, and what about the fact that the float switch didn’t expel, the water before it got so high? We can’t figure that one out. Once we manually pumped it all out, the float switch started doing its job just fine. And Cathy visually inspected it to find no problems. Go figure.
Our trip back from Cape Charles was made much more challenging than normal when our chartplotter’s gps failed to give a position. While using a phone app allowed us to navigate, it was far less desirable. A phone call to Garmin had us reset the chartplotter and all was well again. But it might not be so in another 6 months after no use. Only time will tell.
The good news was that with only minor exceptions, the systems on the boat worked well. We could sleep, cook, navigate, sail, entertain and even watch movies without problems. Is it smaller than the RV? You bet. But we were able to bring her back to life again, and she’s probably better than she ever was. And that felt good.