Captains log 201611.17

We got decent weather yesterday. Wasn't warm till about 1pm and then at 2pm it cooled down but it did get to 64F. We must be approaching warmer weather, I had saw many flies today. Fly signs!!! I was having delusions of Achilles. The flies kept biting my ankles. WTF flies! Leave me alone.

We went through a very narrow passage and I looked at the chart plotter, eye balled the red and green markers, checked the GPS accuracy and placed myself in the theoretical deepest part of the channel hoping hurricane Mathew didn't really mess things up too much. I found myself in 3 feet of water. I radioed the trawler behind me that he should be careful as I found 3 foot depth. He chose a different path to me, one that technically should have landed him on a shoal but as I mentioned, Mathew has messed things up around here. We've seen many boats grounded due to new soals/sand banks popping up or moving. For some reason after I initially contacted the boat behind me he took it upon himself to try to educate me in the navigation of the ICW. Not that I mind someone trying to be helpful but I already pointed out that I'm in 20 foot of water and in the middle of the deep portion of the channel according to my chart plotter. His response was don't rely on the GPS, use the buoy's and stay between them.

Sigh, I've been down the ICW now three times and have seen that relying on any single system will lead you into trouble. Some markers are not on the edges, others are in the middle of the channel etc. You need to look at the markers on the chart/chart plotter, confirm position with GPS and by visual cues and then correlate that the depth is also correct. If the depth is different from the soundings (factoring for tides) then the conditions have changed or you are not where you should be. It's not an easy one step process though you can get away with it for a long time by relying on one input source. Anyway, I got fed up with him micro navigating me so I slowed down and let him pass. Once he was well ahead I concentrated on getting the girls internet access in a very remote part of NC.

The concept was brilliant. Put the hotspot in a bag and send it up the mast. Of course the execution of this fantastic plan was sorely lacking. I was tired, in a narrow winding channel and had only a very short time to get up the front and sort things out and made an unspeakable rookie mistake and noticed it to late to recover. The wifi hotspot went up ok. It gave much better reception. The problem was I didn't make a loop when I sent the thing up. So I had one end of the line on deck and the other end was up the top of the mast with the hotspot attached to it. Naturally, the hotspot didn't have enough weight to come down when I gave the line slack.

We finally get to Charleston and go on the hook. I got out the fishing pole and some tackle. I manage to capture the bag and pulled the line but it broke. It was UV damaged. I tried for hours to repeat that cast and recapture the bag but failed to do so. It left me with a migraine from looking up so long. This morning I decided to climb the mast instead. All the rope I had was unsuitable for the task as it had weathered and gotten too stiff. I made a Klemheist, Prusik and rolling hitch to test the loads. Some would hold but would lock up so badly that I could barely move them after loading them. So I tested the difficulty climbing the mast. I got up half way with no lines but the behind the mast furler made getting a good grip difficult. So instead I made a bosun's chair and rigged the system so Lorianne could send me up with the winch. Basically I pulled myself up and she took up the slack with the winch. This gave me the ability to rest and didn't make it too difficult for her to lift me. Sure enough, within 15 minutes I was at the top of the mast and working on getting the hotspot down. Obviously it worked as we are now using it. I am drinking a beer and relaxing a bit as my hands were shacking from the loads. Climbing masts is not really an 51 year old's sport. Lets just say I won't be making that rookie mistake again anytime soon. We do however now have a nice bosun's chair.


Oh, remember the guy that wouldn't stop giving me navigation advice? Well, we caught up with him about 3 miles from Charleston. He was completely grounded by staying between the markers. If he had looked at the charts, he'd have known it was a very narrow channel and the only deep water was on the portside and there was not much there anyway. He was going through at low tide and didn't even know he was doing so because he asked me when high tide was due. How embarrassing for him. There was nothing I could do to help, I have a 40hp and he had a huge trawler with a 5 foot draft and was in 3 feet of water. I told him he'd just have to wait till the tide went up. I'll eventually get round to posting pics but there was a lot of damaged vessels and vessels that ran aground doing the winter migration. More than I'd seen on previous trips. In any case, the hotspot is down, we have the internet, the voltmeter has dried up and we have warm weather. Things might be starting to swing in our favor. There's no hurricane's due is there?