Friday, August 15, 2014

No more "BOOM"

Champaigne on the bow and in the water for Neptune

Around 0900 this morning we officially notified King Neptune that S/V Obsession had passed into history to be replaced by H/V (Hybrid Vessel) The Floating Bear. His forbearance on new ship and crew was requested with the proper sacrifice of bubbly offered.  At 0915 Husband to Daughter Eldest tickled The Bear's engine to life, and at 0930 we eased away from Cooley's landing, did a pirouette in the New River and headed outbound. With a new air draft of less than 10 feet we didn't bother the 7th Street bridge tender as we coasted under his domain with air to spare.

Searching for a bit to find an engine RPM that felt "right", The Bear settled into a 2100 RPM cruise making about 4.5 knots, even pulling the 12' hard bottomed tender, Eeyore, on a short tether. Roughly 938,700 revolutions later we nosed up to mooring ball No. 34 at Dinner Key, secured a couple of lines, and The Floating Bear was home.

Given all the work that we did, the trip was a mechanical snoozer. I think the engine is making a little too much smoke and a little too little water. By the end of the day my ear was picking up a little more exhaust noise, so there are some things that still need a good look. Minutes after securing the engine one of the two brand new, properly wired and "ARMED" bilge pumps kicked on. The new stuffing box needed a bit of a snug, not unexpected after 7 hours of continuous running.  I made a late day visit to the lazarette to shut off the drip.  Rudder bearings are a bit snug, and there are still a couple of minor interior leaks.

"How," you might ask, "would you know that?"

Well, though the trip was a mechanical snooze, weather wise it was a different issue. Half way down the ICW, somewhere around Bakers Haulover Inlet, we were watching the sky get darker and the lightning flash.  A storm thundered by one side, another passed by the other side, but the third caught us just as we cleared the Venetian Causeway Bridge. From there until we were well clear of the Rickenbacker Causeway the rains pounded The Bear as if to test her ability to stay afloat. The winds howled and visibility dropped to a couple of hundred yards. It was easily some of the hardest rain I have ever seen.  The Bear was mostly dry inside, didn't seem to mind the winds much, shrugged off the waves, and just kept muttering along.

Daughter Eldest and Grand Sons two had taken the car south to do some pre-school preparations and avoiding having two young ones on board for what was nothing short of a sea-trail. They were waiting for us when we arrived.  So, after waiting out some more rain, Deb and I made like normal people and borrowed their car to get back to Kintala. We will head back down to Coconut Grove tomorrow ... sometime ... likely not very early ... to finish up a bit of wiring that was left undone and return their wheels. Public transport will get us home and there is a pretty good chance we are going to take a few days off.

On the one hand it is a huge relief to have The Bear back to where she needs to be for the reasons she needs to be there. Deb and I can now focus on salvaging our cruising plans, figuring out where we want to be in a year and how we can get there. The work list for Kintala, now somewhat truncated by budget and time constraints, can be addressed. These have been some stormy seas since Kintala returned to the States. The stress of the voyage is showing.

On the other hand – well - during the official Name Changing Ceremony this morning Grampy T got choked up around the part of watching over the newly renamed boat and crew as they set sail. Dema had to take over. It reminded me that this was yet another "cruiser good-by".  Christopher and little JJ will not be clambering around Kintala like they have been for the last several months. Daughter Eldest and Husband will be concentrating on other things a day's sail away (though only an hour by car). That part of my heart isn't as far away as those in St. Louis, but they aren't just down the dock anymore either.

Tough as these past couple of months have been, I am going to miss singing "BOOM" at the sky. It isn't nearly as much fun without little voices joining in.

Try keeping a toddler still for a cellphone picture...

Peeking out through the mosquito netting - the first night back on the boat.

A few days ago - the Bear starting to look a bit more like home again.

Home Sweet Home. The end of the channel at Dinner Key

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