A Lazy Sunday, Some Rust, A Birthday and a couple Full Bellies

Boat Life Update for SV Banjo

Thank you for reading this boat life update for Oct 22, 2017.

Birthday Thanks

Thanks to everyone who called, texted or messaged birthday wishes today.  Each one of you got a big smile!

First Time Out with No Crew

Shannon fed me a couple boat drinks last night and we both laughed till it was late and we were exhausted.  Our original plan was to anchor out of the marina last night but we ended up changing those plans late yesterday afternoon.  We did, however, take Banjo out for the first time by ourselves yesterday and met up with some friends from SV Hooligan out on the Neuse River.  We practiced making approaches to other boats to create a flotilla, Shannon got to use the radio for the first time, and, of course, the dogs got to go out with us on the water.  They seemed to love it!

Heading Out

In the marina, there was hardly any wind and virtually no current which made getting in and out pretty smooth.  Out on the Neuse, the sky was clear and the winds were out of the southeast at around 10-12 knots.  There was just a light chop on the water, which Banjo hardly felt.  Shannon and I practiced some anchor drills and it became ever-more apparent how pronounced Banjo walks to port in reverse.  I believe we could likely spin a full circle stern-first just by idling in reverse.  It was a great day and a fantastic way to spend our anniversary, getting more acquainted with Banjo!

Shannon bringing in the dock fenders
Shannon bringing in the dock fenders

Deck Queen looking like a Boss
Deck Queen looking like a Boss

Waiting for the Cunningham Bridge to open for us
Waiting for the Cunningham Bridge to open for us

The Cunningham Bridge opens
The Cunningham Bridge opens

First Cunningham Bridge opening just for us
First Cunningham Bridge opening just for us

Inside the bridge looking at the mast
Inside the bridge looking at the mast

Clearing the bridge
Clearing the bridge

Passing Union Park
Passing Union Park

Sea-view of Union Park
Sea-view of Union Park

Shawn at the helm
Shawn at the helm

Shannon has the greatest smile
Shannon has the greatest smile

Bow-view of the Neuse River
Bow-view of the Neuse River

Coming alongside SV Hooligan for a flotilla
Coming alongside SV Hooligan for a flotilla

SV Hooligan departing
SV Hooligan departing

Sagira and Venus watching daddy steer the boat
Sagira and Venus watching daddy steer the boat

Shannon enjoying the day
Shannon enjoying the day

Sagira and Venus smiling
Sagira and Venus smiling

Preparing to return to the marina through the Cunningham Bridge
Preparing to return to the marina through the Cunningham Bridge

So neat to travel through the Cunningham Bridge
So neat to travel through the Cunningham Bridge
Gorgeous Sunset

We arrived back to the marina around 17:00 and were treated to a gorgeous streaky-red sunset that we were happy to share.  The dogs hadn’t been out since we left the marina earlier in the day, so we took them for a walk in the field next to the docks and let them off-leash.  Both Sagira and Venus do very well off-leash and it never takes more than calling their name or a quick whistle to bring them running.  They tend to stay within 20 feet of us as we walk unless they are right next to us. It is always fun to watch them run and “get their sniff on.”

Shannon’s New Boat Drink

The sun, work stresses, and a bit of dehydration saw me into the aft cabin where I laid down for a bit and re-hydrated.  Part of our boat life includes the occasional adult beverage.  Shannon brought in a couple shots of Baby Guinness (layered XO Patron and flavored Baileys) and we did our “PROOOOOOST” to toast our wedding anniversary.    An important side-note for our readers, a “proper” Prost should always involve direct and intentional eye-contact to avoid the curse of seven years of bad sex.  So if you ever find yourself on Banjo, and you see really exaggerated wide-eyed toasting, that’s what’s going on.  Shortly thereafter, Shannon showed up with a glass of what looked like milk over ice.  “What’s this? ” I asked. “Don’t worry about it, just try it, ” she replied.  I took a sip.

Such a Tasty Drink

There was the smooth flavor of cherry rum mixed with a bit of Rum Chata, and was delicious.  Shannon had one as well except hers had a splash of ginger ale and a splash of cranberry in hers.  The cranberry didn’t work out so well in hers because it caused the cream in the Rum Chata to curdle a little bit, but it had a great flavor prior to that.  She originally named her new concoction for me the “Happy Anniversary,” but after the second one we quickly agreed the change the name to the “Tricky” and hers to the “Tricky Fizz” (thanks to the ginger ale), because both of them snuck-up on us quickly and we got a little silly after that.

Learning Some Dock Line Tricks

So we awoke this morning and, after our morning ritual of getting our bones moving, we met up with our friend Cole, the captain of SV Hooligan, out on the dock to talk about a few things he noticed when we docked yesterday.  He was able to show us some cool new “rope tricks” that would help make life a bit simpler when docking, plus we took our main anchor off the boat and did a full inspection of all the chain.  Inspecting the chain was something we have had on our to-do list the past few weeks and we were both really glad we did.

It turns out that the last section of our 200+/- foot chain showed signs of some advanced rust and corrosion.  Boat life involves checking and rechecking your equipment.  After all, your boat isn’t just a home, it is also a life-support system.  We discussed several remedies for the troubled section and decided to go ahead and re-mark the entire length with some new paint to improve the ease in which we could identify the splayed length.

Getting a few pointers from Cole of SV Hooligan
Getting a few pointers from Cole of SV Hooligan

Shannon tending the lines
Shannon tending the lines
Anchor Inspection

While we were flaking the anchor chain on the dock, we also took the opportunity to inspect the main anchor itself which showed some signs of corrosion.  Pulling all of the anchor chain resulted in a huge pile of rust on deck around the windlass.  Several other captains made their way over and we discussed several approaches we could try to fix both sets of corrosion problems.  It looks like we will be looking into getting the main anchor sandblasted and repainted with several coats of galvanizing paint.  Another approach to cleaning the chain was to locate some rust converter called “Osfo,” which was phosphoric acid-based and would require us to move the chain off the boat into an area that was off the docks and proactively safer.

A pile of rust from the anchor
A pile of rust from the anchor

Anchor needs sandblasting and fresh paint
Anchor needs sandblasting and fresh paint
Rusted!

About of a third of the chain, the end attached to Banjo, was concerning as the rust appeared to have eaten about half the diameter of the chain away.  For that length, we may just end up replacing it with some new 5/16″ galvanized chain.  So if any of you happen to know someone in the galvanized chain business willing to help a sista and brotha out, we would really appreciate it!  🙂

Anchor chain with rusty trouble areas (darker color)
Anchor chain with rusty trouble areas (darker color)

Inspecting the anchor chain
Inspecting the anchor chain
A Word About Swivels

One final thing we noticed was that the anchor did not have a swivel.  We have heard different schools of thought about anchor swivels.  Although there is a stainless steel shackle connecting the anchor to the chain, Cole explained that, without a swivel, we would find ourselves constantly worrying about dragging anchor whenever the wind shifted.  Other cruisers claim that swivels are prone to failure to to some of the shearing forces experienced by the anchor.  We will investigate this further and let you know what we decide.  Who would have thought I would have reached an age where a new length of chain would be considered an excellent birthday present. 🙂


A New Friend

After a busy morning, we met one of the transient captains, Bob, from SV Pelican who was planning to leave out tomorrow heading south.  Making new friends is one of our favorite aspects of boat life.  We spent an hour showing him Banjo and swapping stories before deciding that we were going to head out from breakfast and go have someone else do the cooking.

Bakers Kitchen, New Bern, NC

We decided on one of the local favorites called “Bakers Kitchen” as it is one of our favorite places to eat in New Bern.  Finally, we arrived downtown after a grueling 5 minute drive from Banjo and found parking right out front of the restaurant on the crowded New Bern Streets.

Delicious Breakfast

After a 15-minute wait, we were seated in one of the bay window tables overlooking the street.  Watching the Sunday shoppers and visitors walk by while we enjoyed our breakfast was a fun treat.  Our server, Rick, brought freshly baked rolls with honey butter to the table and we enjoyed those while he submitted our order.

Shannon ordered the Breakfast Sandwich with a fried egg, ham and cheddar cheese served on a croissant and a side of macaroni and cheese.  My order took a little longer to write down but went something like: a serving of two biscuits and sausage gravy, a breakfast sandwich with a over medium eggs (usually I prefer over easy but decided to get crazy), sausage patties, and cheddar, swiss, gouda and american cheeses served on a golden, flaky croissant.  In addition, I ordered 2 servings of Bakers Kitchen Dutch Potatoes which are some of my favorite potatoes on the planet.  Imagine shredded potatoes, mixed with cheese, onion, sour cream all baked until ridiculously soft and thickened.  YUM!

Highly Recommend Bakers Kitchen

If you find yourself in New Bern, we highly recommend stopping by Bakers Kitchen for breakfast.  They also have a full display case of freshly baked goods and it took all the willpower I could muster to keep walking when I saw their freshly baked pineapple cake.  Had it been Pineapple Upside Down Cake, I would not have been able to resist.

Waiting on our table at Bakers Kitchen
Waiting on our table at Bakers Kitchen

Shannon at breakfast
Shannon at breakfast

Shannon & Shawn in front of an interesting tree at Mitchell Hardware
Shannon & Shawn in front of an interesting tree at Mitchell Hardware
Trip to Mitchells

We each ate about half of our orders, knowing we could bring the rest back to Banjo to enjoy later.  We were both fat and happily stuffed and we boxed the remainder of breakfast and decided to drive over to Mitchell Hardware, located in the downtown historic district of New Bern, to see if we could start pricing some of the items we would need for the chain repair.  It turned out that Mitchells was closed on Sunday so we aimed the car back towards the marina and decided to head back across the Cunningham Bridge to go grab a nap to sleep off our newly acquired food coma.

Grand Banks

Shannon and I cuddled up in our aft cabin with Sagira and Venus close-by.  We put a movie on and zoned out for a few hours during the mid-day sun.  There was a gentle 5-knot breeze with clear skies and very little in the way of chop.  Banjo swayed ever-so slightly whenever other boats would pass.  We came back topside around 16:00.  Just in time to help another friend, Dennis from SV Spitfire, dock a beautiful Grand Banks powerboat.  He was performing a delivery from Rhode Island.  Dennis and Linda allowed us to come aboard the Grand Banks to have a quick look.  OH!  What a beautiful boat!  We spent some time catching up and hearing a little about their 700 nautical mile journey.  Finally, we headed back over to Banjo to watch a beautiful red-orange birthday sunset.

Shannon at the helm of a Grand Banks Powerboat
Shannon at the helm of a Grand Banks Powerboat

Sunset view never gets old
Sunset view never gets old

Sunset New Bern, NC
Friends Heading Out

All in all, it was a wonderful day, shared with my love and our puppies.  We desperately missed all of our other friends from Charlotte and South Carolina.  But we are eagerly looking forward to seeing them soon.  This week we said “farewell” to our new friend, Vince aboard the catamaran SV Flight Plan.  He and crew, “The Dad of Vince” Ralph, and Elaine, took off headed south to the Abacos.  We got to meet the crews of several new boats.  And said more farewells to other cruisers that were leaving to head south for the winter season.  We hope to cross paths with them all again soon, although we will not be heading south this winter.  Definitely looking forward to next year when we hope to be making our way to the Caribbean.

boat life.  Ready to get "out there"...
Ready to get “out there”

Well, it looks like we have come to the end of this post. Since Shannon just handed me a plate filled with breakfast leftovers,  I expect another food coma to follow.

Stay tuned for other articles on this ongoing blog.

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