The Search For Bright Waters

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What are those FINS in the water!?!?

It's Monday night, after a hard day at work we decide to take out our new favorite toy, the dinghy. We take it out to the bay and decide to drop the anchor so I can swim and Joey can fish. Relaxing, and life is good, ahhhHH!! what the Fu** is that?! Joey and I see the FINS at the same time and immediatly think SHARK! He helps me scramble gracefully (sort of) back into the dinghy. Both our eyes are squinting at the horizon looking for the fins, we're assessing our fragile little inflatable, breathing rapidly; its a precarious situation we're in. 1,000 dollar new engine in danger of sinking if our boat gets eaten, my work cell phone is going to get ruined, and we're pretty far from shore . OHNOOOO!!

oh wait... it's just a stingray.

After the terror wore off we wanted some more adventure so stinger be damned, we followed it around in our dinghy, rowing quietly, trying to get good shots of it.

We weren't even aware there WERE stingrays in this part of the bay. We were anchored in about 6 1/2 ft of water and the stingray - or Ray as we will call him - was going into even more shallow water than that.

Ray was apparently enjoying the evening as well; he lazily swam around us, and occasionally came up/sped up/made alot of racket to feed (we assume). And later we realized there was a second smaller stingray, maybe Mrs. Ray.

After Googling Chesapeake Bay Stringrays I found these MD Local tidbits from

Are there stingrays in the Chesapeake Bay?

Yes, and several of the local species are on display at the National Aquarium. They move up and down the bay with the season and salinity changes.

Capt. John Smith was stung by the common cow-nose ray while fishing near the mouth of Virginia's Rappahannock River in 1610. Legend says he nearly died but was saved when Native Americans found an antidote in the mud of a nearby pristine waterway - known to this day as Antipoison Creek. Smith's one-time fishing spot has a name, too: Stingray Point.

Also in the bay: roughtail stingrays, which can grow to be 6 1/2 feet across; bullnose rays and southern stingrays, both up to 5 feet wide. Cownose rays, some more than 3 feet wide, are very tolerant of low salinity and have been seen as far north as Kent Island.

Have National Aquarium employees been stung on the job?

Yes. But Henningsen says it's rare. The aquarium's 52 rays are "still wild animals, and you have to respect them. But they're pretty docile."

They're accustomed to the divers who feed, examine and perform medical procedures on them. The aquarium also trims their spines to protect the divers and other animals.

Still, the spines grow back, mistakes are made, stings occur and they're quickly treated. "It's very, very painful," said Henningsen, who figures he's been stung four times in 500 encounters with rays here and elsewhere.

They pee alot "these stingrays have a considerable urine flow rate which is almost 10 times higher than those found in marine individuals"

Enjoy our video!

PS: Last night we braved the madness for the midnight premiere of Eclipse. There was a trailer for a movie coming out soon called Charlie St. Cloud that had a lot of sailing in it. Looks worth watching on the big screen!

(youtube trailer)


Monday, June 28, 2010

We are Hot

No Literally...

The average temperature for June this year was 76 degrees compared to 2009s 68!  We are already in the upper 90s. It's gonna be a HOT summer. Since we are on a "us first" program, we went out to Home Depot and bought ourselves a window AC unit! We need to fight back against this heat and the fans we installed are just pushing the hot air around.

Well after testing it for a few days, it does great in the afternoon keeping the boat acceptably less hot and at night it is actually kinda chilly. But during mid day Sunday, the sun fought back. It was still almost 90 degrees in the boat with the AC on full blast. So we might by another for the v-berth.

Now we bought a window unit, but our windows (called hatches on a boat) are very tiny so the best place to put this unit was in the companionway hatch where we enter the boat. It took some clever engineering and minor woodworking but we arranged an easy to assemble platform for the AC to sit in our hatch with towels all around it plugging the holes. Since the AC unit is in our companionway we had to climb over it to enter or exit the boat. Our acrobatic skills are nothing to brag about so we might design some kind of ladder to get in and out.

This weekend consisted of our friends Stephs baby shower, installing another fan in the cabin, and working on the engine. Our exhaust manifold cover finally came in and I attached it to the engine successfully. I just gotta find the right bolts for the throttle connection and we should be good to go!

We also spent some time with our new favorite toy, the dinghy engine, now known as Black Betty. We motored out to the Herring Bay for a relaxing swim and to cool off.  The only problem with taking the dinghy out is it is kind of a hassle.  We keep the dinghy (she still needs a name) stored on deck up against the mast.  We use a haylard to hoist it up and down from the water.  Would dinghy davits be nice? Maybe we will continue to spoil ourselves...

One of our goals this weekend was to go to the gym. We made it there to escape the heat but instead of running, we laid on the ground, watched a movie and ordered a pizza. Fail.

In other news Nala officially knows how to get off the boat. Last week we got a call from the Marina saying they found our kitten after she attempted to escape but landed in the water and climbed up the piling. Well one night as we were walking back to the boat we saw her standing on the dock waiting for us, or just shocked she was caught. We were very curious as to how she got off the boat cuz she is so small and there is a net going all the way around our boat. So we put her on the boat and got off and watched. Well the lil gremlin climbed up onto our bow spirit and balanced herself on the railing. Then amazingly was able to jump about 8 feet to the dock. We were both impressed and now worried she will run amuck. We are getting deja vu from when we had to go searching for Noodle (our orange cat) every night. Nala is from the same farm as Noodle and is actually his great neice, so I guess it runs in their genes. I hope she learns from our good cat Nomy to stay on the boat!
Eying up the Jump

The Cats favorite way to stay cool, sleeping on the fridge

Nala getting herself into trouble

We have plans to go out sailing for the 4th of July three day weekend so we are excited about having fun back out on the water!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Crazy Cats

Yawn! This is what Nomy cat looks like after he gets back from his tiring appointment at Petco to get his summer haircut.

Wait? What?


That's right. He still has the SAME AMOUNT OF FUR!

Apparently my good little baby doesn't like trimmers.

In other news:

We just got a call at work from the marina asking if we had a missing kitten....
Nala had decided it was too hot and went for a swim today, but I assume she quickly cooled off and found a piling to climb. A piling that led to under the dock where the electric lines run; which is where they found her crying.
Poor kitty.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Engine!

We're being a little more lenient with our big purchases now that we're extending our time time here by 6 months so with that in mind we went to West Marine last night and bought a BRAND NEW dinghy engine! Yay!

We took it out for a spin last night, we wanted to make it to the neat looking jetty's which we haven't been to by dinghy or kayaks before and have only seen when passing through them in Bright Eyes, but of course as we were boarding the boat we saw some friends who wanted to chat and although we didn't talk too long, the sky got darker and darker and the clouds were rolling in before we got out of there. No problems - let's go anyways! We made it out to the jetty's and back before the worst of the storm even at half throttle which we have to run it at for a little bit since it is a new engine before we can really see what it's got.

We love this engine! Finally something that works! Every time in the past we have tried to save money by going the cheap route of course whatever it is we bought breaks and we end up buying it again from West Marine.

It's a 3.5 HP Mercury and its 41 pounds without oil or gas. The friends that talked to us last night said to use gas without ethanol if we can find it. They said their outboard ran like sh*t here then they took it to the Bahama's for the winter and the gas there didn't have ethanol and it ran beautifully.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy to be Home

Written by Christine

Woo hoo! Finally in our permanent slip at Herrington! We realized this weekend that since May 1st we have been in 7 slips. In the past whenever we would leave our slip for the day I would always be nervous at what was sure to be a disastrous event but now I hardly flinch. We have moved so much lately into new slips that didnt have lines ready and waiting for us. Joey is really getting good at going slowly enough not to freak me out that we are going to put a hole in an innocent boat parked next to us. He's not whipping around turns anymore trying to pull a captain Ron. ;)

Sadly we don't have any exciting sailing stories from the weekend to share since we are still waiting on our engine part from Japan.

This weekend everything we did at Herrington, we kept saying

'this one moment here is better than a whole summer at Liberty'.

'A rainy day at herrington...'

'This beautiful walk to our boat'..

'Seeing our friends...'

' This delicious and free feast/party Herrington put on Saturday night...'

'This clean bathroom...'

'This water you don't need a shower after you touch..'

ahhh! Bliss!

Now onto more pressing manners. We need AC. We need CHEAP AC. Our cats are sweating. I'm not sure how, but I'm pretty sure they are sweating. They are definitely panting like dogs. So are we. I know, I know, we can buy the nifty hatch AC units for like 500-1000 bucks, but we're not going to. What ways have you used to cool your boat? We installed some fans but that isn't enough and while we're on shore power why should we suffer?

Hey guys - why so quiet? Why didn't you tell us commenting didn't work? Hahaha. Have no fear, Christine is here. (Commenting is fixed).

Friday, June 18, 2010

Updates and Fun

So after two weeks of working on the engine to rebuild the cooling system, I had it all back together. We started the engine and it came on fine and water was spitting out the transom! Well that joy was short lived because during the last step of reattaching the throttle line to the exhaust manifold, both bolts broke off into the manifold. I had misplaced the original bolts and decided to use the spare bolts we had on board. Turns out they were zinc coated and easily broke. I learned you must only use stainless steel!

Well that was almost 3 weeks ago. I spent the first week trying to extract the bolts. I bought the extracting tool but then broke off the tip of that tool into each bolt. So I then drove around looking for someone who could get the bolts out, fail. I gave it to a family mechanic and they were afraid to drill into it cuz it might break. I decided to just buy the whole manifold cover piece so I spent the next week calling every Yanmar dealer in the US looking for the part. They all gave me the same answer that it is in Japan and will take 2 weeks to come in. Great.

Well we wanted to leave Liberty asap so I was finally able to find a metal shop in annapolis that was able to remove the bolts and rethread them. So last weekend I hooked it up and even tho a small amount of water was leaking out of the manifold cover it was good enough for us and we hightailed it out of Liberty. This is only a temporary fix as we have the new part coming in from Japan. We made sure water was coming out of the back and only used the engine to get out of the slip. We quickly put up the sails and sailed the 5 hours to Herrington Harbour North. And again we only turned on the engine to pull into the slip. We made it!

So now that we are back here in HHN we decided to relax and enjoy ourselves while we wait for the engine part to come in. We went kayaking, dinghy riding, swimming, biking, and crabbing :)

Ofcourse our new used outboard that we were excited to use would not start so we were paddling once again. We might just bite the bullet and buy a new one since our crusing kitty will be larger now that we are staying longer.

O and we installed a new light and one 12 volt fan in the V-berth. It is really loud but gets the cooling job done!


Monday, June 14, 2010

We're Still Here

Well we moved actually, but the Bright Eyes adventure continues. Sorry for the delay in posting but we've been really busy with everything.  We got our engine working long enough to limp back to Herrington Harbor North. Yes that's right, we are back in Deale! We've decided to move our Caribbean launch date back into spring of 2011.  This will allow us to get more experience and take our time on our remaining projects and to actually enjoy each others company instead of being in overdrive boat frenzy mode.  With the Nov 1st date looming and still alot of major projects to do like the Solar and Wind Power, we were just too stressed out and there was no time for fun.  So we are making more us time and enjoying our time still here in the States.  We will still go cruising some time next year, circa May 2011.

Since we have another year here, we moved back to our beloved HHN and left Liberty, the marina we've nicknamed 'the place where boat's go to die'.  It was just too overcrowded with liveaboards and we would guess that over half of the boats there havn't left their slip in over a year.

So stay with us a lil longer stateside as we have some new ideas and projects for the upcoming year.  Things should get interesting before we even head off!

more later.