The Final Countdown (we hope)

Knock on wood, we have reached the point of two steps forward for each step in reverse, rather than the other way around.  DirecTV is up and running.   Art masterpieces created by the girls when they were little are on the wall.   We have installed and figured out the grill.  There is equilibrium between the boat and the DC storage unit, meaning we no longer need to increase the net volume of stuff we are taking with us.  The showers and the beds are glorious.  We said goodbye to fleece sheets, which almost by themselves are reason to live someplace cold.  We installed a new stereo system.  Heck, the marina even scrambled up the gate code a bit.  Life is good.

Good, but still with some imperfections.  Like the AC system not working.   Remember the earlier post about the seacock valve for the main engine?  Stopped us cold for two weeks.  There also is a seacock and sea strainer for the AC pump, which is water-cooled.  No water, no AC.  And it’s getting hot and humid, seemingly in just the last five minutes.

The good news is that we easily diagnosed the problem.  The seacock was plugged.  Not the strainer.  Not the through-hull.  The actual valve was mushy, meaning something was blocking it.  It’s below the waterline so you don’t just take it apart in the engine room.


That left two choices.  First, one of us could jump into the cold, dark, and scary Anacostia River to try to fish out whatever had lodged up in there.  Dana refused, so actually that wasn’t really a choice at all.  So we called out a pro.   Dude had a wet suit, a dry suit, a huge light, the correct tools, and most importantly a willingness to get in the cold, dark, and scary Anacostia River.  We would have paid him double.

I guess we are just lucky, because he had never seen a situation like ours.  Neither had the folks at Zimmerman Marine.  Neither had the folks at Peake Marine.


Somehow or another this ridiculous stick found its way directly into a small hole and jammed up the valve.  (Dana photographed the shoe for scale.  It obviously wouldn’t fit in the valve).  We don’t really feel the love on that one.  However, today it was about 90 with humidity about 110%, so we are just happy to have the AC back on line.

The dogs also are hitting their groove.  Oscar still thinks it’s more efficient to poop on the dock rather than wait until reaching the grass.  He must be feeling at home, since he used to poop on the pool deck rather than the grass at our Scottsdale home.  Benny finds the front porch very comfy as long as there is a handy pillow.


And yes, we have added netting so they don’t fall off.   I doubt we could get the diver back out fast enough if that happened.


We enjoyed our second guests, Lewis and Terri of the Tennessee Belknaps.   Hopefully they will join us again down the line.  We also are hoping for many more visitors over the course of our journey.

Mini Pearl has taken us around DC, but we don’t quite have the whole crane launch thing down yet.  Fortunately there generally are only about a hundred people watching us bumble around.  That still adds about 20 degrees to the real feel temperature.


It’s always good to remember that no matter what happens, someone someplace has it worse.  Like the owner of the boat that appeared on the shore across the river from our slip.  We took Mini Pearl over to have a closer look (and to see if there was anything left we might be able to use.). Na.

We are quite excited that the entire family will be on the boat in just a couple of days.  If all goes as planned, the six of us will leave The Yards on May 23, with a couple of stops before spending the holiday weekend in St. Michaels, Maryland.

Of course, exactly nothing so far has gone as planned.

Old Black Water/Loopers, loopers everywhere

The Doobie Brothers gave black water a certain charm and romantic quality.  Keep on rolling, funky Dixieland, pretty mama, Mississippi moon, and all that.  Well on a liveaboard, black water is just gross.  So basically the rule on Misty Pearl is to use the marina restroom for anything solid.  Visitors are welcome but beware.  We don’t like pumping out.

At The Yards, this simple rule unfortunately isn’t so simple.  There is a restroom, of course, with a code on the door.  But the lock doesn’t work so the door always is open.  Plus the code is 1234*.  (Shhhh.  don’t tell anyone.)   The door is about 5 feet from a dockside bar.  Bar patrons don’t really care about cleanliness.  The entire A dock, however, is rising in revolt so maybe things will improve.

None of this matters to Oscar, who thinks the best place to poop is on the dock right in front of all the people lining the rails to look at the pretty boats.  We pretend we don’t know him but the leash probably gives us away.

As for the boat, things are coming along although we still have work to do.  We have changed the engine oil (the old oil was the consistency of hummus, which can’t be good), replaced some equipment, and have other projects rolling.  And hey, the showers work great.

In the midst of this came the Spring Rendezvous.  Twice a year, America’s Great Loop Cruisers Association holds a conference for those on the Loop as well as those planning to do it.  The Spring Rendezvous includes numerous seminars relevant to the northern half of the trip as well as general topics of interest.  We drove down to Norfolk for this year’s spring event.


Apart from picking up some of the the tip of the iceberg of information that we sorely need, we met some great people and saw some really cool looping boats.  About 50 cruisers of many types and sizes docked outside the hotel.   Most of them opened up for visiting.


img_3300We already knew Barry Newland, who with his wife Robin owns Crossroads, one of the other three Selene 43s on the Loop this year.   Crossroads is hull 9, launched in 2001.  Barry helped us get to Colonial Beach and we are counting on him for tips as we travel.  We also met Jeff and Terri Culy, owners of Change of Pace.  Change of Pace is hull 19, made in 2003.   (Misty Pearl is hull 15.)  Both Crossroads and Change of Pace are beautiful and were admired appropriately by the masses.  Misty Pearl of course remained in Washington with the same electrical problems, no TV, and the other things we still need to sort out.  However, we look forward to crossing paths with our sister boats as we all move north in the next few weeks.


We have fleet shirts arriving tomorrow before we head home, which still sounds weird when home is a boat.  We stopped by West Marine today and snagged updated charts for the chartplotters as well as the rest of the small things that one is obligated to buy on each West Marine visit.  Like a dog-catching net in case one of the boys falls overboard.

The best news is that Mike and Max from ZMI have resolved the battery charger issue—caused by poor wiring from earlier non-ZMI work—which is a huge relief.  We still often wonder what our surveyor was doing for his money but that in general is of secondary concern.  The DirecTV guy is coming on Monday.  Maybe this time for real.