Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Learning the Loops

We rolled out of the berth just as the sun was rising. Not that we could see the sun. A dense fog had settled in, reducing visibility to three or four hundred feet. Waiting for the fog to lift was not an option as our departure time wasn't very flexible. Catching the currents going the right way in the destination marina was of prime importance and that window closed at 0930. The good news? I got me some RADAR complete with ASI and good charts, so the fog wasn't that much of a concern. Even with the current behind us we never did much more than then ten knots. The fog wasn't dense enough to make avoiding something we were approaching a problem. Anything moving in our direction resulting in a much higher closing speed would show up on the radar more than a mile away, giving us plenty of time to make for a safe pass. Running in the fog was actually kind of fun.

A tug pushing a large raft of barges through the canal was the only commercial traffic we saw in the C&D. Four sailboats took up in trail behind First Light and we passed one more along the way. The current behind us in the canal became the current on our bow as we turned north into the Delaware River. Shortly after joining the river was a turn to the SSW into the Branch Channel, home of the Delaware City Marina. That turn put a three knot current directly on our starboard side. There was a lot of online chatter about being careful when entering the Branch Channel because of that cross current. After making the turn the current moved to our bow, making docking much easier and the reason for our set departure time.

At the suggestion of Zack, who was working the docks and talking us in on the radio, we hugged the green marker at the inlet of the channel off the port side, then hugged the ferry boat on the starboard side, then idled up to the dock where he caught our line, tying us up to the fuel dock and pumpout station. Filled up and emptied out, we motored slowly down the face dock bow into the current. Zack then used the current to turn First Light around, putting us port side to the face dock and facing the exit for when we are ready to leave. It was all very low-key and pretty easy. Listening to and taking the advice of an expert is the way to go in a new situation.

The Delaware City Marina quickly climbed to the top of the list of our favorite places to dock. It is all face dock. According to Navionics the distance from our starboard side to the opposite bank is less than one hundred feet. I don't think we have been on a dock better protected than this one. Everyone working at the Marina has been friendly and professional. Another plus is the full-time mechanics on staff. We filled out a work order to have the gremlins in the Yamaha exterminated. Just a few hours later, one of the techs was at our boat pulling the cover off the outboard.

His original thought was the same as mine, some kind of fuel system problem. But after pulling the starter cord a few times I think he felt something I didn't have the experience to recognize. He plugged a spark checker in between the spark plug and its lead. Pulling on the handle produced no spark at all. No spark, no go. A few minutes later he and another tech pulled the motor off the Dink and hauled it to the shop. A little while after that we were told that a coil in the ignition system was toast. It looks like we will be here for a few days waiting for the part. It will be a more expensive stay than we had planned with several days on the dock, a maintenance bill, fuel, and pump-out. But we should leave here in good shape for the possibly challenging segments ahead. 

Yamaha Coil Lighting 68T-85533-10-00 New OEM

In the meantime, we will just enjoy this short stopover, putter around the boat some, and meet some more Loopers. So far we are finding the “Looper's community” to be as helpful and friendly as the Sailing Cruising community, though I don't know that we will make as many long time friends as we did with the Sailing Cruising community. It seems likely that the different cruising speeds of the boats will make it difficult to be in any one group for very long. At six knots First Light would seem to rank near the bottom of looper boat speeds. Then again, it also sounds like she is near the top of the list when it comes to miles per gallon. That's a trade off I can take.

We took a little tour of Chesapeake City before we left. I thought my granddaughters would get a kick out of seeing these houses that look so much like doll houses.

My grandsons would go nuts in this store. It's full of old train sets, old toy cars, antique toys of all kinds and since we played with most of them while growing up I'm guessing that means that we're antiques also.

There was an adorable little wedding chapel about a quarter the size of most of the Looper boats we've seen so far.

And a very very big chair that was just like the one I took a picture of my grandson in last summer when he was traveling with us from NC.

This one is for you Roo - I knew you'd never believe it unless I had photographic proof.
A favoring current is so amazingly sweet!

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