Monthly Archives: September 2016

Wilmington and Carolina Beach

Southport NC
Posted by Bill

This past weekend several of us on D dock took our boats up to Wilmington for a few days. We had 6 boats in the flotilla. We were going to stop at an anchorage on the Cape Fear River on the way up on Thursday, but the weather was supposed to be nasty and we opted for a party on the dock instead. Friday we timed the tide, as the currents can be very nasty in the Cape Fear River, and made the trip in about 4 hours. Here are a couple of pictures along the way:

We docked on the river in front of the Hilton Hotel. Wilmington has a great riverfront area, with lots of bars and restaurants. We hit the Copper Penny for happy hour/dinner on Friday:
On Saturday we hit the farmers market and attempted a pub crawl. We only made it to 2 places. The second place was the Duck and Dive, a popular dive bar that had great drink prices and a fun atmosphere. We played darts (boys vs. girls) and watched football all afternoon. The boys got their asses kicked in darts…unfortunately:
Then we did happy hour and had a cookout on the dock:
It was a great time! This was also the first time we had our boat off the dock since we landed in Southport in May, so we really enjoyed being on the water again.

As we headed back down the river on Sunday, we decided to take a detour and go to Carolina Beach for the night. They have a mooring field that is 2 blocks from the beach and is close to several restaurants and bars. It was a beautiful day, both days we were there, and we didn’t even put the dinghy down to go ashore. We just relaxed on the boat and enjoyed being “on the hook”. I so much prefer anchoring or tied to a mooring versus marinas and it was a real treat. Carolina Beach was a favorite of my moms, as she went there as a kid many times, and it was our first introduction to the beach and ocean when we were kids. It was good to reflect on everything and just listen to the sound of the waves on the beach. Our view:
This is a great mooring field, well protected, and the moorings are in very good shape. The guy who owns them comes around and takes trash and he was really helpful. Highly recommended.

Monday, it was back home and starting on boat projects again. We are about 4 weeks from leaving to go south, and the pressure of getting everything done is starting to mount!

Eight bells for Sally Bell Wehmer

Today we said goodbye to a wonderful part of our lives, Bill’s mother Sally. It has been tough on Island Bound as we wrestled with how we felt during the last weeks of Sally’s life before her passing. Bill is usually the blogger in our family but I wanted to write this post as a tribute to Sally and the wonderful family that she created. I am sure Bill will censor me if I get it wrong. I was lucky enough to become a part of that family 25 years ago and for that I am truly thankful. I first met Sally when she came to visit Bill in Columbus in 1991. I had a furry kid at the time, my golden retriever Samantha. Samantha had one bad habit that I could never get her to stop. She would welcome you by holding on to a part of you. Usually it was the sleeve of your shirt by your wrist or your wrist if you had no sleeves. She was the gentlest dog, but her security blanket was holding on to you so you were forced to pet her. She knew you would tell her not to do it, but she didn’t care, she did it anyway. When Sally came through the door, Sam said hello in her usual way. I could hear Sally calling for Bill trying to figure out what the situation was. She wasn’t sure if she was getting attacked by a strange dog or if she had a new best friend. Once she realized she had a new best friend, we all had a good laugh and I knew I had met someone special.
Sally had 4 sons, of which Bill is the eldest. Bill always swears he had the best mom in the world. She loved them unconditionally. She would do anything for her boys and her boys would do anything for her. Sally was the glue that kept her family together. I will fondly remember all the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays where Sally’s house was overflowing with grandchildren, friends and extended family. Everyone having a good time laughing and telling stories about all the crazy things they had done as children. Sally had the patience of a saint raising her boys, because there was no shortage of stories. When everyone got together, the noise level in the house went up to 10. Bill and I never realized how quiet our house was until we would go to Sally’s house and all his family was together. We had 2 daughters who did not wreak the havoc that 4 boys and their families could. Sally never cared about the kids jumping on the furniture or all the furry grandchildren running and barking. Sally was happy to have her family together. Sally loved each of her children for who they were. She influenced them to be the best version of themselves, but she never condemned them for making mistakes or even choices that she would not have made. This coming from someone who lives on a sailboat is a testament to that. Her life was all about other people whether it was through public service or just meeting someone and putting a smile on their face. Sally became Grandma Sally to everyone. We knew this because if you ever took Sally to Giant Eagle, it took you 3 hours to say hello to everyone she knew in the store while you bought a loaf of bread. The example she set for everyone was a positive force behind whom each of her children and grandchildren are today.
In Sally’s later years, she suffered from dementia. Her family was forced to make the decision to move her out of her house filled with memories and laughter into an assisted living facility. Sally was not at all happy with this scenario and she never stopped wanting to go home. We all struggled over the years as Sally’s ability to recognize her family waned. We continued to support Sally and each other with stories and laughter once again. The memories and the stories are now forever a part of who we are. We were sad that Sally could no longer grasp the memories that were being made as her great grandchildren came into the world and her children and grandchildren continued to thrive.
The last few weeks, we had the discussions about how we felt about “losing” Sally. We said we had lost pieces of her over the last few years due to the condition that robbed her of her memories. A few weeks ago Bill and I visited Sally for the last time. We didn’t know it would be the last time and our visits were sometimes met with trepidation because you never knew how they would go, but we went anyway. We had the best time with her. We sat with her and laughed while she made up crazy stories about all the things that were jumbled in her mind. We were just glad to be there and she was glad we were there. She didn’t know who we were or who she was, but we knew even if she didn’t. We met Judy who had been serving Sally breakfast and lunch every day since she was unable to go to the main dining room. We were glad to know Sally was still surrounded by caring people who appreciated her. She told us that Sally made her laugh and brightened her days. Some things never change. We were glad to get a piece of Sally returned to us.
I started this by saying that we said goodbye to Sally, but not that we lost her. Sally’s spirit lives on in the stories and in her family. I see it in her sons as they prepared themselves and their families for the end of her physical days. How they honored her final wishes and planned how to celebrate her life. I see it in how they raised their children. I see her in our children as they raise their children. They don’t stress about the mess and noise, they laugh and create their own memories and celebrate each day as a gift. They love people for who they are and family comes first. Sally created a wonderful family and now she can rest. Her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will carry her torch. We are saddened by her passing, but grateful for the lessons she taught us and the memories that will sustain us. Live, love, laugh and the rest will take care of itself. Sally can finally go home and get her family back.

“The sounding of ship’s bell is well rooted in the history and tradition of the maritime industry. The bell marked time on board and divided the day into shifts or ‘watches’ for the crew. At the end of the last shift, the end of the last watch, eight bells rang out – Eight Bells and All is Well. A sailor’s time for rest.” – Source: Boat US web site.

Island Bound’s water maker installation

Southport NC
Posted by Bill

We have been trying to get all of our boat projects done before we leave to go south November 1. Most of them require work to be done outside so the weather has been a factor and we are behind schedule (which always seems to be the case). I finally finished the water maker installation last week…yay! We decided to put one in so that we can been self sufficient with fresh water, especially in the Bahamas and other remote areas where water is not available. The tank on our boat holds 170 gallons of fresh water, which we can make last a couple of months if we are really frugal, but for a few thousand dollars we can make our own and not be afraid to take showers every day! Our friends Mark and Jan on the other Island Bound have a water maker, and they graciously made water for us as we traveled last cruising season, and we got to see how much more comfortable life can be when you have that capability. We will still be very diligent about conserving fresh water, but can relax the conservation efforts to a more comfortable level. As always, we try to post information about these types of projects to help other cruisers with their projects.

I did a lot of research about what type of system to put in. There are systems that run off of the battery bank, and systems that run off of AC current which require a generator. There are pluses and minuses to each, just like everything, and you have to pick something based on your specific situation. We opted to go with an AC current solution. The main reason is that it will make 25 gallons per hour of fresh water, which is 2 to 3 times the GPH rating of the 12 volt systems. It can run off of our Honda generator very efficiently with no impact to our battery bank. There are also portable systems (costing well over $5k) and permanently installed systems. As you will see, I opted to design one that is a hybrid. By removing 8 screws, I can remove the system from the boat. Also, the permanent systems use plumbing that is connected to thru hulls in the boat, which feed sea water and dump brine (waste) water, and are plumbed to dump fresh water into the tank below decks. I set ours up to pull sea water from a pump thrown overboard at the back of the boat, dump brine near the same place, and add fresh water to the tank through the deck fill hose. This allowed us to keep the system simple, as the permanent install requires several additional valves and hoses to sample fresh water and inject pickling solution (pickling is the process of preserving the reverse osmosis membrane when it will not be in use for several months).

This diagram shows the basic components and the flow of water:
With this system, water can be sampled from the same hose that is used to fill the fresh water tank, and the membrane can be pickled from the same bilge pump that is thrown overboard to feed sea water to the system. No need for thru hulls, and no need for multiple inputs and outputs. The components are housed in our cockpit locker and the system can be operated by opening the lid and pulling out 3 hoses. I bought a kit on Ebay that included most of the components and then supplemented with separate purchases for things I changed in the design.

I installed the high pressure cylinder along the hull on the inside of the cockpit locker, well out of the way of stored items (FYI..this isn’t the finished installation).
The first picture shows the end of the cylinder that has the flow meter and pressure control valve. It is very easy to get to and monitor. Along the back of the locker is the high pressure pump, motor and pre-filter.
The hoses neatly coil up and store behind the filter when they are not in use. The high pressure pump can run in the locker or can be lifted out to run in the cockpit. I used an old shore power chord to wire the high pressure pump motor so that I could plug the chord into the shore power receptacle of the Honda generator (model EU2000i companion). The bilge pump that feeds the sea water is wired to an AC to DC power converter that plugs into the 110 volt receptacle of the Honda generator. To use the system, you essentially deploy the hoses, start the generator, plug in the power chords, allow the system to run for a few minutes, crank up the pressure, fill your fresh water tank, and then flush the system with 4 gallons of fresh water. I haven’t tallied up the total cost yet, but I think it will come in around $2,500; which is pretty good for a water maker.

The tropics are getting really active

Southport NC
Posted by Bill

We always watch the weather like a hawk. Weather is the single biggest factor that affects life on a boat. Tropical developments, i.e. tropical depressions, tropical storms, hurricanes, are obviously very problematic and we pay very close attention to those. The latest attention getters have been Tropical Storm Julia, and Tropical Storm Karl. Julia dumped rain on us all day on Friday and then meandered off the coast of South Carolina. The weather has been beautiful this weekend, but it is looking like Julia is finally moving, and eyeing North Carolina. td-julia
It is forecast to stay a tropical depression, so winds will stay under 40 knots…fingers crossed.

Karl is forecast to become a Hurricane this week and take a turn to the north, passing close to Bermuda.
If this holds true, it will pass well offshore of us…again…fingers crossed.

We will stay here in the protection of Southport Marina until November first, when hurricane season officially ends, and then see how the tropics are behaving before we leave to head south. The only schedule we have for our trip south this winter is dock reservations at Key West from December 15 to January 15th. We had to put a significant down payment that is non-refundable to get those reservations, so we will do our best to get there. Other than that…we go as the weather lets us.

The “turd” is no more

Southport NC
Posted by Bill

Tropical storm Hermine passed right over us, brought a lot of rain, and we measured winds up to 40 knots. It was a couple of days of hunkering down in the boat, watching movies and stuff like that. I am glad we were in a marina, so we had shore power and a protected safe haven (no Southport pun intended…the movie Safe Haven was filmed here, and everyone uses it for commercial gain…lol). We had a really nice week of weather afterwards, did some more work on the boat, visited our secluded beach, and had a great party weekend over Labor Day.

Secluded beach with fellow D dock slip holders:

This week they demolished the “turd” of a house we bought. I have never watched a house being demolished and I was amazed at how accurate the guys were with the steam shovel. It looked like a hungry dinosaur as they picked apart the structure in sections. The cinder block and brick had to be kept separate because that rubble went to a different dump than the rest of it. Here are some pics of the process:







As of today, the building is gone and most of the trees and brush are gone. They will bring in some dirt to level out the lot, and we will be ready for the building process to begin. That won’t be until next spring, when we get back from the Bahamas. As soon as it stops raining (from approaching tropical storm Julia) I will take and post a pic of the empty lot.