Survey, Sea Trial, and Bombing

We headed back to Virginia for the Misty Pearl inspection.   Flew into Norfolk and stayed in Williamsburg.  On Thursday morning we drove the hour to Mathews, passing by the tiny hamlet of Gloucester.  Nothing special about Gloucester on the way in.

IMG_2892The night before the survey, Zimmerman hauled out.  That way the hull could be inspected dry.

The Cummins mechanical surveyor spent the day analyzing all of the mechanical systems, and the marine surveyor went through everything else.  For the sea trial we went out into the bay, where the nearly ski-able glassy water provided almost nothing to tell us how she handles in what old salts apparently call “snotty weather.”

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IMG_2895Dana’s piloting skills were not at all tested.  However, Doug was able to get a good sense of how he hopes to spend a lot of time.

We won’t know for sure until the test results from the fluid samples come back, but everything looks really good.

On the way back to Williamsburg after a very tiring day, we stopped off at Oasis Used Books, the very cool store–in Gloucester–owned by the very cool guy who is selling us the boat.  On the hour drive back, we were exhausted but starving so Dana searched for a place to eat.  The plan was to pop in, eat, and go to the hotel to sleep.  After all, we woke up at about 3 am Arizona time.

Berret’s Seafood Restaurant and Taphouse “has been voted by locals as ‘Best in Williamsburg’ for over 10 years.”  When we pulled into the parking lot so we could judge Berret’s for ourselves, a fire truck, ambulance, and police car were arriving as well.  We parked a few spots away and went in.  The food indeed was delicious, although we barely could stay awake.

When we went outside to get the car, however, we found the parking lot crawling with police from seemingly every jurisdiction in the state.  Quite rudely, we thought, they had encircled the lot with crime tape and were guarding things rather aggressively.  Dana convinced a policeman to retrieve her iPad, but we couldn’t get to the suitcase that held all of Doug’s clothes.  (Doug’s plan to take everything so that he could change with the temperature proved unwise.)

Dana talked to a woman who had pulled in a few spots away from where we parked, who said that as she and her daughter parked, the ground just in front of them exploded.  Speculation amongst those of us without vehicle access was all over the board, but since nobody would tell us anything we concluded we should just head to the Fat Canary and wait it out.  (While there we met some delightful people, including folks from New Jersey who know a girl who will be Mallory’s teammate next year.)

Periodically someone would confirm that the lot still was locked down, so we waited.  And waited.  About four hours in, we went out for ourselves.  By now FBI and ATF agents were swarming and no end was in sight.  So we called an Uber and went to bed.

Friday morning the news confirmed that in fact a bomb had exploded in the parking lot.   Our rental car remained impounded.

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Fortunately, Dana’s smooth talking convinced the nice FBI agent in the hat to process our car.  Also fortunately, we had nothing to do with the bomb, so after collecting Dana’s information he drove it under the tape for us.

When we landed in Phoenix, we learned that a 30-year-old white guy had been charged with an act of terrorism, among other things.  They arrested him at his home in Gloucester.

Woooooo!

After all of the fluid samples came back and we cleaned up a few details, we finalized the deal and closed on November 7.   Misty Pearl is ours!  Very exciting and scary times for a family of land-lubbing desert dwellers.

Buying a boat is a tad more complicated than buying a car.  For example, obtaining the required Coast Guard documentation–at least in our case–required hiring yet another expert.  We now have that wrangled.  Getting insurance also was tricky but that’s done as well.

If Google Earth was up-to-the-minute current, Misty Pearl would be in this photo of Zimmerman Marine’s Mathews Shipyard:

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This is where she’ll sit until she is delivered up the Potomac to DC in March.  Our plan right now is to moor at The Yards Marina, which is less than 5 nautical miles from Georgetown.

Unexpected short break

In Phoenix, about the only outdoor condition of interest is the temperature.  As in “How hot will it be this week?”  For us big weenies, the arctic snow and rain hitting Tuesday and Wednesday promised misery but we figured the sunshine predicted for Thursday and Friday would provide a good window for moving up to The Yards from Deltaville.  We cooked in the galley, hung out with the dogs, and slept very well our first night aboard Misty Pearl.

Cold and wet are conditions that suck but generally won’t keep a boat from traveling.  Wind, however, is a deal breaker.  A 7-knot trawler heading into a 25-knot wind won’t get very far.   River current compounds the problem.  The bottom line is that we ain’t moving until the next predicted storms passes and blessed spring arrives.

We’ll fly up to Rhode Island this weekend, likely to find that the Georgetown series with Providence is snowed out.  Hopefully we can spend some time with Mallory.  Shannon has been in Nicaragua on a spring-break service trip but will join us for Easter.

While going through Misty Pearl this week we found a few more service items for ZMI to address before we return on April 1.    If conditions improve we can move to Colonial Beach and then up to our slip in D.C. just in time for baseball season.  We recently learned that our marina is a favorite for Washington Nationals fans since the ballpark is a short nine-iron shot away.  The harbormaster assures us that the hoopla on game days ends at a reasonable hour.  However, we seriously doubt that his idea of bedtime is the same as ours.

Deltaville is nice, but enough is enough

img_3138-1Right outside Deltaville, Virginia, sits an historical-site sign that reminds us–every time we pass it–that so far our plans seem foolish.

Although the weather has cleared for us, Poseidon decided to jack with our little boat just a bit more.  We might as well have changed her name.

As a last minute item, we asked ZMI to check the engine aftercooler just to be sure it was okay.  Thinking it’d be easy and quick, we headed up to D.C. to watch some softball and enjoy Easter with the girls and the dogs.  Back Sunday night for an early start Monday morning.  To quote the increasingly-senile Lee Corso, however, “Not so fast my friend.”

The aftercooler uses seawater for cooling.  Seawater enters the engine room via a thru-hull.  A sea-cock valve is supposed to close off that opening so that the aftercooler can be serviced.  The sea-cock is pretty important because if a hose or fitting fails, one would need to stop water from being places it shouldn’t be. We’re green but we still know that water outside the hull is good and water inside the hull is bad.

Unfortunately, the aftercooler sea-cock won’t close.  So (1) nobody can service the aftercooler and (2) if we need to close off the hole in the hull to stop water from rushing in, we can’t.  And since we also can’t decide what to grab in the minutes before sinking, we have to fix the sea-cock.  Now ZMI has to haul the boat again.  That means more delays of God knows how long.  Grrrrr.

Finally at the beginning

We start The Great Loop from Washington D.C. next month and had planned to arrive three weeks ago, so just getting here feels like a big accomplishment.  We slipped the lines at Colonial Beach in a slight breeze last Friday and cruised pretty easily, although the tide and winds kept us at about six knots.  For perspective, that’s about half the speed of a school zone.  Pretty dang slow, but we’re all about smelling the roses, right?
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The Potomac River shoreline has some cool stuff to see.  Not only is there a naval installation at Dalghren, but Quantico has a Marine base with planes and helicopters at the water’s edge.  Mount Vernon tour boats loomed on the horizon as we zoomed—at six knots—past George Washington’s plantation.  Next up was National Harbor, which is about where the water traffic started increasing.  Nothing like the land traffic, of course, although it’ll get worse when the warm weather finally arrives in 2020.

9985644a-cf4d-477f-8198-bc855bcf3f3fAt the confluence of the Potomac and the Anacostia, we took a hard right, passed under the Frederick Douglass Bridge, and found our slip at The Yards.  Of course, a day without a problem is, well, pretty dang unlikely.  When we plugged into shore power, we tripped the marina GFI.  After some quick elimination we discovered that our battery charger is leaking AC current in an amount greater than the trip threshold of newer marinas.  That’s a concern.  Unfortunately the guys who know our boat the best aren’t waiting around next door.  They’re hours away and busy.  Nobody can recommend any local marine electricians.  We can survive with the generator until help arrives, but still.

img_3220We squared things away our first night just before the Nationals baseball game started, and listened to the Anthem from our back porch.  The Washington Navy Yard is about  200 yards away so we also get the Anthem every morning at 8 a.m.  (And yes, we did give up on using military time.)

On Sunday, Jim Blomo arrived after visiting his daughter at William & Mary.  He not only was the last to see us off in Arizona but also our first guest.  Because we’re great hosts, Blomo enjoyed a not-yet-set-up boat, no shore power, and a trip to a sketchy Home Depot.   On his img_3233last morning, however, we had a fantastic breakfast at Ted’s Bulletin next to a liquor store that featured Wyoming Whiskey, which is distilled in Kirby, Wyoming by our old friends Brad and Kate Mead.

We brought with us from Arizona what at the time seemed like an aggressively small amount of stuff.  Now that we’re living in a tiny house, however, it’s clear that we still will be leaving the D.C. storage unit packed to the top.  There just isn’t room for everything that we thought would be essential.

Mallory spent the night with us and found her bed comfortable but not quite big enough to accommodate a person and a dog.  We can’t wait for her and Shannon stay for a while.

The electrician is supposed to resolve the charger issue on Saturday, and the electronics guy is supposed to set up the KVH dome so we can access DirectTV next week.  Maybe by then we’ll have jammed everything into place and will start to feel settled.