FREEDOM AT LAST

Sunday the 13th of April arrived ………….. the day had come when we finally left our home at the Beaufort Town Docks – we had been tied to the docks since the 20th of December, 2013 – far too long for SV Oneday, her Captain and Admiral to be tied down. The day was a picture perfect one – warm and sunny with not a cloud in the sky.  Our intended destination was the Cape Lookout Anchorage, one that we had never been to.  We decided to snatch a few days of doing what we love to do, which is cruising. The trip to the anchorage was a remarkably beautiful one.  The wind was in the right direction for us to be able to sail most of the way, this doesn’t happen too often!!  I took full advantage of the conditions and rode up on the bow – the feeling of the wind blowing through my hair was amazing.

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On the way, we saw the wild horses of Shakleford Banks, Dolphins, lots of sea birds and when we arrived, we were greeted by a large turtle.  It took us approximately 2 1/2 hrs to get to Cape Lookout. We deployed the anchor and once we were sure that it had set, we sat in the cockpit and had a cocktail – well maybe two.  We discussed with each other how we had missed the wonderful feeling of freedom that the cruising life allows us – free from outside influences and free to be where we want to be, weather permitting.  Later we enjoyed supper in the cockpit, followed by coffee.  Life was good and somehow memories of the horrible cold winter we had just endured faded far far away. The next morning, feeling quite invigorated and refreshed, I hurriedly got out of bed at 6 a.m. and made breakfast which I ate in the cockpit whilst watching the sun rise.  Could life really get any better than this? When travelling by boat, one quickly realizes that opportunities rarely last very long.  So, by 9.30 a.m. we were in the dinghy and headed for the beach.  We were like kids let loose to play and happily spent a few hours walking and “shelling”.  We dinghy’d back to the boat just long enough to make some lunch and then off we went to the beach again, this time to the Ocean side (the tip of Cape Hatteras).  As always, all good things must come to an end and in keeping with boat life, quite abruptly so.  Thank goodness one of us was paying attention to the sky.  Tony said, “look up” ………. oh no, we had left all the boat hatches open and we were far from home.  We quickly got back in the dinghy and high tailed it back, just in time to beat the rain.  Although it turned out to be a fairly rough dinghy ride, we both enjoyed it immensely.  The air smelled so fresh and salty. The rain didn’t last long and we were able to spend the rest of the day in the cockpit enjoying the warmth of the sun. That night we went to bed feeling so happy and contented and glad that we had made the choice to make a quick trip before returning home.

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SOUTH, NORTH & SOUTH

Back in March, we came to a decision as to where we would store the boat for Hurricane Season this year.  Because of the bad weather that we had been (and still are) experiencing, the thought of taking the boat back to Deltaville VA was not a very pleasant one!!  So, why not store the boat  right here in Beaufort NC?  Sounded like a logical decision ………. the only problem with that was that our car was still in storage in Deltaville.

We made a plan – we rented this ………….

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and drove for 6 hours to Deltaville, picked up our own vehicle, returned the rental car in Gloucester VA and continued the trip in our own car.  It would have been easy to head on back directly to Beaufort NC, but we decided that we would much prefer to go the longer way back and retrace some of the journey that we had taken on SV “Oneday” back in December.

We stayed the first night in Newport News VA.  This was a treat in itself – a warm room that didn’t move – a comfortable bed with 4 cushy pillows each – and a hot shower with lots of hot water.  Seriously, I thought I had died and gone to heaven!!  Rest assured (no pun intended) a good nights sleep was had by the both of us.

The next morning we thought that it would be fun to transit the Dismal Swamp by road this time – the easy way.  It all seemed surreal – seeing the tiny dock where we were holed up for 2 days due to non stop rain, the 2 locks and the North Carolina Visitors Center where we stopped and received some travel information from the friendly attendant.  Oh how easy this was compared to what we are normally used to and no locks to lock through in the freezing cold and wet weather this time!!

We travelled across instead of sailing through the Alligator River Bridge and recalled the traumatic time we had back there in December ………… We had just transited the infamous Albemarle Sound (one of our most horrible days on the water, ever).  On reaching the Alligator River Bridge and requesting an opening, we were told that the bridge couldn’t be opened due to the excessively high winds.  We literally had to wait it out and keep on circling until the wind eased and the bridge could be opened for us – circling those kinds of water in high winds was tricky to say the very least.  It was a pleasure this time to be going over the bridge and with such ease.

We decided to stay the second night at Kill Devil Hills on the Outer Banks.  Once again we enjoyed a very comfortable night with all of the comforts of home.  The next morning, we had to make a choice as to whether we would take the ferry route home or go the longer way around by road.  Given the fact that a named storm was in effect and there were gale force winds, we choose the longer way home, after all, we all too often get more than our fair share of excitement/trauma on the water!!

After leaving Kill Devil Hills, we drove around to explore a little although the weather was not very inviting at all and the Ocean was in “rage” mode – we were more than happy not to be out on the water. We passed through Kitty Hawk, the site of the Wright Brothers first flight – hence the quotation “First In Flight” on all North Carolina vehicle licence plates.  We thought it would be interesting to go through Elizabeth City by road, instead of by boat and this we did.  We sat in the car and ate our lunch at the Elizabeth City Harbour front – no pictures available as it was literally raining “cats and dogs”.  It really seemed strange sitting in the car and looking out towards Albemarle Sound rather than sitting on our boat and facing Elizabeth City.

During those 2 travel days, I took real advantage of the time by test knitting my latest design.  Here it is in its crumpled form.

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Trust me, it looks a lot more beautiful now.  At the moment the finished garment is on its way to Virginia Beach VA in preparation for a professional photo shoot later in the month by my friend, Patty McGuire – more about this when I can reveal the new pattern.

Even though the weather was appalling we enjoyed ourselves very much and it was good to be away from the cold and damp boat, if only for a couple of days.  Also, we now have our “wheels” again which in itself makes life so much easier.

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Today, as I write this, the sun is shining and the wind has finally died – lets hope that this continues.    The Beaufort tour boats are busy once again and taking passengers out to Shackleford Banks – It’s great to see the hustle and bustle and re awaking of this small seaside town (which dates back to 1709) – something that I personally miss very much from my childhood days in the U.K.  It’s no wonder that I feel so “at home” here.

FAST & FURIOUS

I haven’t blogged much recently, but that’s not to say that life has been uneventful – in fact a lot has been happening lately, not least of which is the following:

A couple of weeks ago, Tony entered one of the local road races which takes place once a month along the waterfront here in Beaufort.  On race day I reluctantly dragged myself away from my knitting in order to take a few photos and remain a dutiful wife, but thinking that really, it was no big deal!!

Well, it turned out to be quite a “big deal”.  Tony won his age group, (60-70 yrs) and actually beat all of the 50-60 year olds also.  When he returned to the boat, I noticed that he was clutching (tightly) a medal.  I assumed that all participants received a medal and said “oh did everyone get a medal”.  Tony indignantly told me “no, I won it”.

So, where was I when he was presented with his medal? …………. yes, you guessed, I was back on the boat knitting and totally missed his big claim to fame!!  Maybe he will enter the upcoming race and I will be a little more prepared for the eventuality of a possible award.

I for sure will not be receiving the “Doting Wife” award for 2014.

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“DOWN” TIME

Putting “Down” Time to good use.

As the Admiral has mentioned I have been putting in some volunteer time at the Beaufort Maritime Museum Watercraft Center. They are a non profit organization attached to the museum that restores wooden heritage boats of all shapes and sizes. We are currently working on a 1920′s era life boat that is in pretty bad shape and beyond being restored to a sea going vessel. Surprisingly a lot of the original wood is in pretty good shape once you get rid of the surface degradation. Structurally however it would require too much money to get ready for sea. It is being cleaned up and cosmetically prepared for a static display at the Cape Hataras Maritime museum.

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Another on going project is the production and repair of Optimist Class sailing prams for the museums’ junior sailing program. I have been working with Walter in making two new sailing prams for the up coming season. They are basically a marine ply structure with laminated pressure treated yellow pine gunwales and two thwarts which are built around a core mould and surprisingly strong and rigid once glued up with epoxy.

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Sailing Pram

 

 

 

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Last year they also made an Essex sailing dinghy which is up for raffle and can be viewed at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

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Essex Sailing Dinghy

 

 

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I have ordered a set of plans for myself for a future project. I enjoy working at the Watercraft Center and can make use of the facilities for the odd ” government” job and so far have managed to make a small shelf for the galley aboard “ONEDAY” . Another side benefit is tapping in to the boat design knowledge of the other volunteers for advice on my own design of a touring kayak/canoe which I hope to build this summer.

 

 

Last week we were treated to a delicious luncheon which was put on at the Museum for the volunteers and their spouses.

Another treat was in store for us when Walter one of my fellow volunteers from the Watercraft Center invited us both to his home in Atlantic Beach for dinner.  Walter very kindly picked us up in his car from the docks and drove us to his home via the scenic route.  Walter’s wife had prepared a most enjoyable dinner for us which we appreciated very much.  It was great being able to get away from the confines of the boat for a while with the added bonus of enjoying good company.  Tomorrow evening we have ben invited to dinner at a Country Club in Atlantic Beach.  Knowing that we do not have ready transportation, friends have offered to pick us up and drive us home also – We are really getting a taste of “Southern Hospitality”.

There is still some trouble shooting to do with our boat electronics which has been delayed due to stormy, icy, windy weather in Beaufort but hopefully I will be able to get it sorted out this week.

Tony

30 WORD THURSDAY: KNITTING IN THE SUN

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Doing what I love 

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being where I love to be

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being with the man I love.

Does it get much better than this? – Not for me it doesn’t.

 

 

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The premise of 30 Words Thursday is simple…
Choose an image and write 30 words about it. No more. No less.
Post each Thursday
30 Word Thursday is the brainchild of Erin Prais-Hintz.
To find links to other 30 Word Thursday posts,  head over to Erin’s blog.
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Add your link to the InLinkz on Erin’s 30 Words Thursday post.
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REFLECTIONS ON ICY SNOWY DAYS

Last week was so very cold on SV “Oneday”.  For 4 days we had to hunker down, don our cozy hand knits and adapt to whatever Mother Nature had in store for us.

First there was the freezing rain, which covered “Oneday” in a thick layer of ice.  Next came the snow – yes snow!!  I know that compared to the conditions at home in Ontario, it was nothing very unusual.  The point is we are not at home and we do not have the comforts of home that most people take for granted.  We were indeed lucky to have our tiny little plug in heater, (were we at anchor, then that would not be an option), but the poor thing just could not keep up with the freezing cold temperatures.  Also, while living aboard, we can only ever have one electrical appliance turned on at any given time, as dictated by our 30 amp shore power service.  We became experts at managing those appliances very efficiently.  Even with the heater going full blast, our inside overnight temperature dipped to 5 degrees celsius and our bathroom temperature was well below freezing with ice surrounding the windows.  It was mandatory that we both went to bed each night at the same time in order to conserve body heat!!

Showering was even more of a challenge, especially when I realized that my body wash gel had frozen!!  Organization was of utmost importance.

It was a dark and gloomy 4 days as we could not even open our skylights for fear of loosing the little heat that we had.

It was too dangerous to leave the boat because the floating docks were in the same condition as our boat and just like a floating skating rink with frigid water either side should we fall.

However, as always, we put the time to very good use.  I learnt as much as I possibly could about as many things as was possible ……………… I worked on my pattern designing and knitting ……………….. and I started to make plans as to how I would be spending my summer this year when home in London ON.

Tony made plans of a different nature ………………. he started designing a 14′ canoe/kayak which he hopes to build one day.  He was also working on designing a “hard” dodger to replace the canvas one on our boat.

So, the moral of this story is:

Deal with what life throws your way and make the most of the situation, there’s always much to be grateful for.

A big thank you goes out to those of you who reached us via e mail, the Blog, Twitter and Facebook by sending us your warm thoughts and words – you know who you are (some of you we have not had the pleasure of meeting yet).  You cannot imagine just how much that helped.

Our Solar Panels

Our Solar Panels !!

Swinging The Compass

Yesterday was a relatively calm day compared to the high wind days we have become used to as of late.  We decided to take SV Oneday out for a little “Sea Trial”.

Leaving and returning to our berth at the Beaufort Town Docks is a little tricky and especially so when the wind never seems to cooperate with the current and tide.  However, we needed to “swing the compass” and take our boat out for a test run since receiving out Course Computer back from Ray Marine.

To “swing the compass” we had to get to a wide and deep body of calm water where we could do several 360 degree circles.  This should enable our course computer to determine the amount of “deviation” on our boat. If we were to sail due North according to our compass, we would miss the North Pole by approximately 12 degrees due to the variation (as noted on our charts) between “true” North and “magnetic” North.  Deviation is the amount of error introduced on SV “ONEDAY” due to magnetic influences caused by such things as the mass of the metal engine, induced magnetic fields due to using our boat inverter, battery charger and any other ferrous metal objects which may or may not, from time to time, affect the actual reading of the compass.  So, there you have it, a lesson on swinging the compass for those of you not familiar with boating things.  We went in numerous rotations and were not able to determine the amount of deviation due to another navionics error, which has yet to be determined.

It was very cold out there in the Ocean and Captain Tony almost froze (I had the sunny seat).  Oh yes, we had a “low battery” alarm and when I checked, no, our house batteries and our engine batteries registered as being charged to capacity.  So, apparently, all has not yet been fixed. It’s a boat after all and it’s an on going adventure into mystery solving.

However, early this morning, Tony went for a nice run and I for a power walk, followed by coffee in the cockpit.  So life is good and we are continuing to enjoy beautiful Beaufort NC and as far as we are concerned, a much better alternative to snowy London ON.

Knitting Aboard

As readers of my blog, you will know that Tony and I have been forced to stay in Beaufort NC.  This has not been a bad thing and we are both thoroughly enjoying ourselves and making the very best of the situation.

Tony will be writing a post at some point in time about his pursuits, but for now this is all about me!!

Knitting and designing will never fail to keep me entertained and I have been using this current “down time” to further explore the wonderful world of Double Knitting – I’m not talking about a weight of yarn, but a style of knitting.  Last summer I spent numerous hours preparing a class and compiling a lengthy hand out and an entry level pattern – “Cell Mitt” (available at London Yarns and here) and subsequently taught the very basics of DK.   However, this subject is so vast and the possibilities are endless and the more I delve, the more I find.  Many of you realize that the type of knitting that excites me is the “thinking outside of the box” variety rather than the “ho hum” type and DK most certainly fits the bill.

Double Knitting is a way of knitting a double faced fabric while knitting both sides at the same time.  It is perfect for any project that needs help in the warmth department!!  It can be worked from top to bottom, bottom to top, inside to outside or outside to inside, circularly and flat.  Add to this a second colour and DK will produce a perfectly mirrored colour image on the second side.

Who knew that an “alternative rotation” purl stitch would make so much sense.  When making a conventional purl stitch, the yarn used is slightly more than when making a knit stitch.  This isn’t too critical in “normal” knitting, but with DK, because the two sides (pieces) are being worked at the same time, the purled stitches, if purled normally will be slightly larger and looser than the knit stitches and this will eventually make one side of the fabric a little longer and looser than the other side.  To compensate for this, rotate the yarn clockwise around the needle tip (anti clockwise is the normal way).  This will result in an unconventionally mounted stitch on the following row or round which has to be addressed, but is only a very slight inconvenience and in actual fact, because of the way I knit, I find this to be a more efficient way to purl.  I have been Double Knitting using this purl technique and I like the result and possibly will be purling my stitches this way regardless of what type of knitting I will be doing in the future.  Currently I am working away at a rather large DK project which involves a beautiful multi coloured fingering weight yarn (Kauni Effektgarn) and very much enjoying the process.  The work is slow going because I am in the process of training my hands and fingers to knit differently than my usual way.  It has been challenging at times but I do love a challenge!!

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When teaching my classes, I am in the habit of taking along a knitted and felted basket.  When I initially knit this, 2 or 3 years ago, I didn’t write an actual pattern but made some notes, which was fortunate.  I have received several requests for the pattern, so recently I decided to work on this.  I have just about finished the pattern writing and test knitting but because the basket requires “felting” I will wait until the Spring when I will have access to my own washer and can be completely in charge of the felting process.  I will then be able to do a photo shoot and at that time I will self publish this pattern.  It already has a new and original name, which at the moment will not be revealed.   When choosing a name for my patterns, I always do an extensive search to make sure that my chosen pattern name has not already been used in any way by another designer.  I only wish that other “designers” would do likewise.  That is my pet peeve for this post.

Last month I started to knit a small Moebius project and to my horror found that my Knit Picks interchangeable needles were not up for the job.  I did some research and ordered a more suitable needle.

IMG_0364The needle arrived promptly at the Beaufort Docks.                              Oh my, was I in for a treat when I took the needle out of its plastic pouch.  As any knitter will know, the cable of a circular needle will always have a mind of its own and requires a hot water treatment to make the needle useable.  Not in this case – the cable sprung into a perfect, non kinked shape and was immediately ready for knitting.  Of course, my Captain realized why – the cable is a multi strand, nylon coated and memory free steel one.  Not only is the cable memory free, but the cable/needle tip connection is silky smooth and the needle tips are pointed perfectly.

Hello ChiaoGoo ………….. Goodbye Knit Picks.  It did not take me long to decide that Linda was going to treat herself to some new tools.  A complete set has sizes ranging from 2.75mm to 10.00mm with 2 sets of different sized cables which accommodate both the smaller and larger sizes of needle tips.  What a wonderful gift – thank you Linda!!

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I ordered my new “tools” from Fibre Space in Alexandria VA and even though the holidays were in full swing, I received my gift within 3 business days and Fibre Space paid for the shipping.  My needle set was gift wrapped and included a gift card also – no I did not ask them to do this for me!!  Fibre Space certainly know what “customer service” is all about, in fact, so do all of the other business that I have recently dealt with for yarn purchases (love the easy access to beautiful yarns) and other commodities.  There are a few businesses in ON that could take a lesson from these U.S. companies and while they are at it, learn how to look after and respect their staff, who after all, make the money for the retailers!!

ChiaoGoo pron Chau Gu and interpreted is:  ”Crafty Lady” ……….. yes, that’s perfect for me.