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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stilllllll in Great Bridge

We are stilllllllll in Great Bridge, VA, but finally in the water!! Gordon and I have been busy cleaning up the boat this week. I have been in every nook and cranny of the aft cabin and most of those in the main salon. I re-arraigned the lighthouses and made room for my winter acquisitions!! Gordon and I have again, gone through our clothing and taken another bag of clothes to a local charity. I am getting down to next to nothing to wear and the worst part is I don’t have a lot of choices left. We both got new swimsuits, on sale last week, but haven’t gotten to even put them on!!

The only job left on my list is to scrub and wax the deck!! I already washed and waxed the cockpit area, scrubbed and treated the canvass, including doing the isinglass, but that was all I could do, since we are now being hit with the remnants of TS FAY. Gordon has rewired the inverter, changed every thing that requires oil and fluids, installed a new shower pump box; we found ours was, and has been, broken since we first got the boat!! (Chadassedit) It’s amazing how well the shower pumps out now. For those of you that have used it, there is no more water on the floor following a shower thanks to Gordon reinstalling a new teak threshold properly!!

Schooner is really enjoying it here!! She has the ability to run “loose” all around the island here at the boat yard. She is getting so comfortable with it she is starting to actually come back on command…provided there are no birds present!!! She sleeps most of the time just from shear exhaustion!! The photo is of her in her favorite sunning place after running and the other is her guarding the boat!!

Question is …when will we move?? Due to the weather, Gordon has NO clue…we just keep bidding our time doing “little” projects to stay busy and as long as nothing more breaks, we should be able to move on the first of the week!! WEATHER DEPENDING!! (Gustov & Hannah)

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Fortunate Place To Be

If you’re on a boat and have to be stuck somewhere, the Atlantic Yacht Basin, in Great Bridge, VA, is the only place to be. Located about a half mile east of VA Route 168, on the Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal, the Atlantic Yacht Basin (AYB) is possibly the finest full-service, marina on the entire eastern coast of the United States.

When approaching AYB from the water, the first thing you notice is the huge dock that lines the south bank of the canal. More than a quarter of a mile in length, the dock can easily accommodate vessels of all lengths and drafts of up to 12 feet. Vessels tying up to this mammoth wooden structure will find a spacious walkway, conveniently spaced water spigots and power outlets of either 30 or 50 amps and pump-out stations for cleaning a boat’s holding tanks. And, it’s located in a section of the canal that’s protected from all but the most severe wind and weather

The next thing you notice, are the countless number of vessels located here. There are sailboats and trawlers tied up along the length of the main dock and many more secured in the half-mile long, private canal that forms the southern border of the marina complex. If that wasn’t enough, there are six, corrugated steel buildings that easily house fifty, large power boats each. Additionally, there are a number of vessels spaced out on dry land (on the hard) that are being worked on by a seemly tireless army of craftsmen. All in all, there must be several hundred million dollars worth of vessels at AYB, at any one time.

No job at AYB is too big or too little. They can pull all sizes of boats from the water using either huge power slings, called Travel-Lifts, for up to 60-ton vessels, or specially constructed cradles that run on a sloped railroad line for vessels up to 300 tons. Cleaning, painting, hull repair, engine work, boat modification and improvement are just a few of the things that are done at AYB and the work, in our experience here, is always done ahead of schedule and at or under budget. Plus, when the job is done, the finished project always exceeds your expectations. Work here is done so efficiently, that there is a constant turnover of the boats on the hard and it’s extremely difficult to keep track of what boat is where, when.

When all is said and done, however, what makes a place tick is its people. Kim and I have remarked on this fact many times, as it seems that everyone here at AYB is like a huge family. You never hear a cross word from anyone, no yelling, no screaming, no negative comments about any of the other people here; just lots of conversation and laughter as the staff goes about its daily routine. And every last person here speaks to you as you go about the yard and would bend over backwards to please their customers.

The person who makes AYB run so smoothly is a quiet, laid back fellow named James Taylor. James is the Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of AYB. He is also the primary point of contact for customers and responsible for AYB’s yard operations. James joined the company in 1968 as a trained mechanic and has held the positions of machine shop foreman and assistant general manager and, after 40 years in the business, knows what it takes to make the customer happy. But don’t let his laid back style fool you because James runs a tight ship and knows the who, what and where of every boat and every project at AYB, at any given moment. You couldn’t put your boat in better hands than his.

In easy walking distance from AYB, boaters will find lots of opportunities to shop and resupply. There are several fast food restaurants and two shopping centers just south of AYB. Therein are a Virginia ABC (liquor) store, a real hardware store, an upscale grocery, a laundromat, an auto parts store and several specialty and gift stores. Certainly, there’s enough variety close to the marina so satisfy most any boater’s need.

So, here we are in Great Bridge, VA, with our boat just about finished and hoping the weather will cooperate after they splash us (put us back in the water) tomorrow. But, were lucky to be here at the Atlantic Yacht Basin because, like I said before, if you have to be stuck somewhere, the Atlantic Yacht Basin, in Great Bridge, VA, is the best possible place to be.

Monday, August 18, 2008


So sad today, I had to say goodbye to Patrick. It was so good to have him here…it cut down on Gordon’s and my arguing!! We all went to breakfast at IHOP (with the dogs) before he left, so it was actually about 11:30am before Patrick got on the road. He did make great time, however, getting home safely in about 11 hours!

Life with dogs is a lot different when one is over 100 pounds! People pretty much leave us alone when we have Schooner, but with Charlie around, everyone’s curious about him. He is such a baby and was so good to Schooner. She mopped all afternoon after Charlie left (or she was just exhausted from all of the playing).

With Patrick gone, we went down to the marina to begin work on the boat. The boat was hot, so I took all of the dock lines (12) to the laundry mat and washed them. Hot water, Wisk and Iron-out made them white again, and smell good, too!! Gordon scrubbed the bilge, which was dry, so it was much easier to get the “yuck” out. He then repacked the stuffing box on the prop shaft. Now, if we can just keep it this clean and smelling good!! All of the linens and blankets have been washed, bed spreads dry-cleaned, and I will wash down the interior after she goes back in the water. It will be just like getting a new boat!!!

Sunday was mostly a day off. Here at the motel were a number of soccer players, so of course I was talking to them and found out that they were here for a tournament. Come to find out, the fields were a short distance away so that is how we spent the day; watching soccer matches. The tournament, “The Virginia Beach Sun Cup,” is in its 11th year, and is quite large. They have 3 sites and the one we were at reminded me of Cloud Park, in Huber Heights, Ohio, only twice as big; 28 fields for U9-U19. We watched a men’s 19 semi-final, a girl’s 17 semi-final, a men’s 17 semi-final, and a boy’s 11 final. Gordon doesn’t miss watching soccer, but I sure do…it was great to be back on the sidelines, even if only as a spectator!! I was really good, too, I only “disagreed” with one a**hole who had NO clue what soccer laws are…(Tell me, how do you watch a soccer game, listening to a radio tuned to a football game??)

More work on the boat this week and we should be back in the water by Wednesday!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Out of Water

Well, we moved to a motel on Thursday morning when they pulled the boat out of the water. We decided it would be too hot and difficult to stay aboard with Patrick and Charlie visiting and I must say I am enjoying the motel, except for the pillows! It has been a great visit with Patrick, although we’ve spent the last 2 days just lying around. Patrick and Gordon did a couple of projects on the boat, after the boat was pulled, and other than that we have spent most of the time watching the Olympics!! That Michael Phelps is one amazing swimmer, and I can say that I lived to see both he and Mark Spitz set swimming records.

OK, back to the boat… the bottom wasn’t all that bad, it helped that Gordon spent 3 hours cleaning the bottom in the Bahamas back in May!!! The rudder wasn’t as bad as we thought either; we just ground the bottom layer of gel-coat off.
A little scraping, some paint and she should looked like new again, but since it is Friday, we will have to wait until Monday for anything more to be done this week.

Patrick is leaving us in the morning, so we will have time to work on a few of the other projects Gordon has planned.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Well, it's been 31 years since I said "I do" to Gordon and I still love him very much...it's been trying the last couple years not having my space, but all in all it's been a good 31 years.

I guess we started celebrating last night when we drove over to Virginia Beach.
We took Schooner and Charlie for a swim in the ocean. They had a great time and Schooner did ok until she saw birds. Then she was chasing them and howling and making noises that shouldn't come out of a dog!! Charlie chased a tennis ball into the surf, but didn't do so well at swimming. It wasn't that he was scared of the water, I just don't think he knows how to swim; head held high and lots of splashing though. Both got a bath when we got back to the boat and crashed hard!!

Today we drove to Norfolk (20miles) and got lost, even though Patrick has a GPS. We found a drive-in resturant in downtown Norfolk called DOUMAR'S BARBEQUE. (www.doumars.com) They were just featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on the Food Channel last Monday! It was busy, but the food was really great and they have some of the best homeade ice cream and waffle cones I have had in a long time. Definately a Jump recomendation!

After lunch, we walked the Norfolk waterfront
and visited NAUTICA, a Navel Museum and the adjacent Battleship Wisconson.
I think Patrick enjoyed seeing a model of the ship USS Whigby Island that he traveled to Afganistan on. Any way, we collected more pressed pennies to add to my collection (I now have 75 pennies, 1 dime, & 2 quarters...hint hint.) To top off the evening we had dinner at the FREEMASON ABBEY, a church converted to a fine dining restaurant. Dinner was good and I got a single red rose, Andie, not any yellow ones! I would have to say it was a great day spent with Patrick, but I wish the girls could have been here, too!! Maybe if we make 35 we'll all go somewhere together!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


It’s early on Tuesday and I have just finished watching the US win its third round game in its entirety! They looked impressive without Wambach and I look forward to seeing them play Canada now! Patrick is here with Charlie (a Great Dane mix) and Schooner is in seventh heaven with having a playmate.
When she went to bed last night, she didn’t move, but was ready to go at him first thing this morning.

Gordon and I realized we hadn’t seen Patrick since Erika’s wedding last year. Way too long to go without seeing your son! We really don’t have any plans, but will take the dogs to the beach later today and maybe go to Williamsburg or Norfolk tomorrow.

The boat has had its crack patched and we found out there was a manufacture’s flaw, which actually caused it.

There was a bubble between the layers of glass close to where they fit the deck to the hull. Don’t get me wrong; we took a really good thump against the piling, but probably could have gotten by without damage. Now we wait to be pulled so the rest of the work gets done!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


It’s now Sunday and I resorted to my friend Chip’s method of back recovery!! DRUGS!! With a good dose of painkillers in my system, the ole’ back is feeling better,(Sorry Andie) but I am moving slowly. Watching the Olympic Games on TV has been keeping me occupied the last few days.

The boat is still in the same place it was on Wednesday afternoon. Although, the crack has been dug out, patched, and filled, we are still tied to a dock. It’s been pretty interesting to, however, watch how they’ve worked on the boat. A floating pier was tied on the damaged side of the boat and work was done by guys standing on a floating work platform. Fortunately, there is no current or tide change in the basin.

Friday came fast and of course NO ONE works the weekend, so we await Monday’s arrival to find out when we will be pulled from the water. Looking at many of the other boats being repaired, ours is minor damage. One boat hit a deadhead (A stump partially submerged in the water) and tore 3 big gashes (2’x 3’ and up to 1’ x 4’.) They were fortunate to have big bilge pumps, so they didn’t sink.

Patrick and Charlie are due to arrive today. This will be interesting to see how a Great Dane gets along on a boat! This year, should they pull us out of the water in the morning, we’ll find a motel room for the duration of being out of water. NO climbing ladders and absence of AC for us!! With Patrick coming, we will go explore the area and bring you the highlights of Great Bridge, Chesapeake and Norfolk, Virginia!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


We arrived at the Atlantic Yacht Basin in great Bridge, Virginia late on Tuesday afternoon and quickly went to the AC and cabin for a rest. We got a good nights rest and were up early on Wednesday morning. This was really the first time we’ve had a really good look at our "storm damage." Since we are here at a working yard, we had James Taylor take a look at "it" with us. The recommendation was to get it fixed now, so the crack in the hull didn’t “grow!” We were moved to the back of the boatyard canal for the repair work, which is supposed to start today.

While relocating the boat I twisted, turned or otherwise messed up my back! It brought back memories of last year when I hurt it in Exumas. Needless to say, I have been on painkillers and bed rest since noon yesterday. I have tried stretching, hot water showers and ice and finally resorted to calling Erika at 7:45am this morning, to see if Dr. Rich knew of a doctor here in Virginia. (No luck on a doctor) Of course, she answered with "what's wrong" as if I only call when there is something wrong!! Kids...you gotta love them!!

Anyway, I'm back in bed and taking it easy before they kick us out of the boat to haul it and do the work...clean and paint the bottom, repair the rudder and fix the crack in the gel coat. This will delay us about two weeks from moving north.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Storm

It was a nice evening…we had arrived at Belhaven, NC, at 4:00 yesterday afternoon. After securing the boat and getting the AC on, (It was 96°with a heat index over 104°, humidity 99%) we both laid down for a nap. At 6:30pm we showered and went to dinner…unfortunately the place we were so looking forward to eat at was closed (Georgie was on vacation) so we returned to the River Forest Inn & Marina to eat. It was ok, but nothing to write home about!!

I need to say at this time, that there was a slight breeze from the south when we gave Schooner her last walk for the night at 9:30pm! Back on the boat, we watched some TV and neither of us lasted too long at staying awake. UNTIL…11:45pm when there was this odd noise!! We were smacking into the dock!!!

The wind started blowing…70 knots sustained and gusts to 90. Here we were, Gordon trying to hold the boat off the dock in Tee shirt and undies. A fender had already burst, and I was trying to hold down the side canvas in a nightshirt. Waves were smacking the starboard side and splashing into the cockpit!! It was all I could do to hang on. Those of you that know our boat know how high our cockpit is!!

We were using 2 fenders and a batten board before the storm hit, but Gordon found that the board had broken and one of the fenders burst!! Gordon was finally able to get 2 more fenders out and get them between the boat and the dock to stop the boat from being torn up by the dock. And all of this took place in the pouring down rain!! The storm and wind lasted for 45 minutes with both of us cold and soaked the entire time. No thanks to the guy in the car watching us with his brights on, I’m sure he got a good show from us!

This morning things were back to normal and, after surveying the damage,one burst fender, a broken 2”x6”x5’ board, crumpled rub rail, and some scratches plus a big CRACK in the side of the boat!!!

We are on our way, at 7:45am, to Coinjock, NC…about 80 miles.

Friday, August 1, 2008

More of the Same

On to Thursday morning, when we left Southport at the butt-crack of dawn (Gordon wanted an early start!) and we were, once again, in the Intercoastal Waterway…nice calm water but with a lot of waterway gnats (jet skis). After being sprayed with water for the umpteenth time by them, I was most unpleasant to be with and I let them and every one else know it!! It was very hot and muggy and to be soaked by dirty, brackish, tea water isn’t pleasant or refreshing!!

Going through Camp LeJune is always pleasant with SARGENT Gordo on board. The bridges were slow opening and we couldn’t make enough speed to catch their scheduled openings, so most required a 45minute wait. (Circling and maneuvering in a limited space!) The last bridge was at Surf City, NC, and after almost an hour wait we pulled into the Beach House Marina and called it a night! Desert at DQ cooled me off and so did the rain! It stormed most of the night, with lots of lighting, so we didn’t do the early rising thing on Friday morning. None-the-less, we were underway by 8:30 am.

With all the rain overnight, it was really, really muggy on the waterway! And, once again, the waterway was covered with “gnats”, although they kept their distance. (Must have heard about me from yesterday!) Today we passed a waterway outhouse…yep, they place one right out there so boats without potties can pull up and use the facilities!! I’m guessing mostly women use it!!

We have now made it to Morehead City, North Carolina!! We spent the night at the Portside Marina, where we were able to visit with long time friends Walter and Linda. They are in the process of moving there from Niceville, Florida and Walter is the one that helped start us on our adventures!! (He sold us the boat!)

Next stop Belhaven, NC……………….