There was not much time to take care of many tasks at Faith in the last few days before we left. We continued to take care of small items – a clogged icemaker drain, new compost bins, business cards for Pastor Alexis and the church, working with Kim to scope out a potential soccer field, and some training of Alexis and Yunia. Dave replaced the problem outlet in the RV power pedestal by our site that had caused us to move our power cord the week before. But that was about it.
Preparing to leave involved more than packing our suitcases. We were leaving the RV for 2 weeks, and the boat needed some attention as well. With the many doctor visits, and activities around Faith, and the heat, it was easy to “forget” about Orion Jr as she sat on her trailer in the church parking lot. However, knowing that we were leaving town for 2 weeks required us to ensure she would handle any storms that might pass through.
When Dave checked her batteries, they were dead. While we run a cord to a nearby outlet to charge them up, the problem was keeping them charged so they could power the bilge pump if it was needed. We had the solar panels that could do the job. We just needed a way to mount one to the boat cover. We opted for a minimalist solution. Attaching webbing to the cover where it sat over the cockpit and between the bimini bows, Dave now had something to tie down the panel. The other change was to allow the wires to pass through the cover, Cathy modifed the zipper that gives us access to the cockpit to unzip in 2 directions. The wires passed through the opening between the 2 pulls. This needs a more permanent solution for the wires, but the solar panel would now keep the batteries from being drained as they had been.
As for the RV, the preparations were mostly typical. We emptied the holding tanks and topped off the fresh water, sanitizing it with a cup of bleach. We took the added precaution of shutting down the fridge and bringing in the slide. The latter required a last minute cleaning of the slide topper, which had water collecting in a low spot that was pretty filthy. With the RV buttoned up, we were ready to head out for the ship.
We were leaving in just 24 hours. Our plans were to spend Friday night near West Palm Beach to see Pastor Rigo and family at their new home the next morning before boarding the ship on Saturday. To our surprise, we received a note from Cookie that mentioned they were in Jupiter for July. As it happened, our hotel was in – you guessed it – Jupiter. Driving south in hours of torrential rain, we finally made it for a late supper with Cookie and Jerry. A sweet surprise.
Our trip north included 5 US and 4 Canadian ports, with 3 days at sea.
After a day at sea, our first port was our favorite place – Charleston. Docking on the Cooper River just south of the Maritime Center, we walked off the ship and back in time to 2011 when we left last by boat on Orion Jr. Wandering the streets of the Market, the candy stores, the historic district and back to the Maritime Center, we took note of what had changed and what had stayed the same. There were still praline samples, but the taffy-making and -wrapping machine was gone. We stumbled into hot and fresh Hyman’s hush puppy samples (Dave even got a double), but the “body snatchers” (timeshare sellers) were not there to grab us this time.
Well, we came back by boat.
After another day at sea, we were docked in Brooklyn across from the southern end of Manhattan. Taking a ferry across the East River, we docked at Pier 11 and walked around the south end to the site of the 9/11 Memorial. Although we had been by the island by boat several times, this was our first visit to what had been ground zero. The memorial was sobering. We visited the nearby museum, which takes you down below ground to what remained of the structures that fell that day. You walked through the events of the day as you passed through the exhibits, transporting you back in time.
Newport was a “tender” port, meaning we were anchored outside the harbor and had to take tenders ashore. However, the ride took 45 minutes and getting 3000 passengers ashore proved challenging. We lucked into a tender ticket that got us ashore with a minimal wait. Others were not so lucky. We revisited the International Yacht Restoration School, which had made considerable, but slow, progress on restoring the yacht Coronet. (See our blog from September 2007). After a walk through town and back, we headed back early, avoiding the longest of the lines for the return tenders.
Our apologies to the Bostonians, but we took this port as a day off, having spent several days here when we took Orion north to Newburyport in 2007. We were docked close to downtown behind a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship. Watching her back out beside us made the space between us look pretty small. We enjoyed watching the planes land and take off at Logan as we pulled out of the harbor at sunset. We had been heading north, hoping to leave the heat of Florida behind us. Although it was happening slower than we would have liked, the temperatures were moderating slowly but surely.
There is more to share about the cruise and our trip back to Jacksonville, but you’ll have to come back for more in our next update for that. See you back soon!