Surprise Opportunity & Everything Changes Right in Our Face….#56

It has been an emotional roller coaster over the last few months. In early November when we were in Virginia, just before we departed to head south, we had one of Dan’s long time Navy buddies Chris and his wife Linda over for the weekend. Chris told Dan about an opportunity that could change our lives. It was a startup company that was looking for a leader to help get it going. Dan and I talked about this for a few weeks, as we cruised to Florida, Dan also talked to the current leadership team and we both felt this was way too good to pass up. He would be doing something great and help those in need and that was huge! He was extremely excited to be a part of the ownership, COO and President of Wildfire Alliance. BUT this would require us to make some decisions about our life on the water. (More about the startup opportunity below)

Center Channel Marker – Decision Point!

We had many choices to think about…..

  • We could stay on our boat and Dan could work from wherever we were located… which would be an awesome and ideal situation. We would be able to be in warmer locations and continue to enjoy our life aboard Angelique. The drawback is being able to have consistent and strong internet services in marinas, which is sometimes iffy. He would need to have Zoom meetings without interruption, restricting my movement inside the boat while that was happening would be tough on me. This would also limit our ability to move to other locations, except for weekends, which would be tough even on weekends as things picked up. We would need to be assured that we would have strong internet services before arriving someplace new. Some marinas are far from town and without a car it would be difficult for me to keep busy and not get bored all day long.
  • COVID-19 Virus has put an additional complication to our travels to other countries and limited our ability to see all that we wanted to see in any location including in Bahamas, US and British Virgin Islands or any other islands that we would like to see. If we wait a year or so we hoped the restrictions would let up a bit.
  • Our parents were getting older and while we were home for Christmas my Mother took a nasty fall, hitting her head. She had 9 stitches and a pretty black and blue face. Dan’s Father had an episode where he was struggling to move his arms and legs and was in intense pain. This required Dan to drive to Bend Oregon and spend 10+ days with him taking him to hospital, determining diagnosis and arranging for after care once Dan left.
  • After being gone from Portland for 2.5 years, 2 of our 4 kids were buying houses and they were asking us to help them with projects and stuff. I also wanted to spend some time in our house updating and doing a few projects.

Our decision was made… we were moving home to Portland Oregon to our house again. Where Dan could work with good internet and I would have plenty to keep me busy too. My daughter and Son-in-Law have been renting our home and were moving out in March to their newly purchased home. We didn’t plan on finding any other renters, which added a bit more cost to our base budget. So this solved that issue too. Now find a safe & affordable place for Angelique for a year or so.

We started the planning months ago when we knew the startup was really happening. We had made the decision to put Angelique on the hard in a shipyard in Florida and drive home. Yes, Road trip extravaganza!!! We wanted to take stuff off of the boat and bring home with us so a road trip was determined the best solution and a fun adventure. We didn’t want to stop cruising and hope sometime in the next 12-ish months we would be back on our beloved yacht going to exotic locations again.

I was particularly excited about the road trip and had started planning in January what route we would take, where we would stop and how long it would take us. I found a blog site from a guy that talked about their trip from Florida to Oregon, they were moving the whole family. The part I liked the best was this program that allowed anyone to customize the route along the way. If you are doing a road trip, check it out! Furkot –> Trip Planning  

But like everything in our life, we needed to be GUMBY FLEXIBLE!!!! Because unexpected change would hit us hard again!

We had identified the boatyard near Stuart Florida that was big enough to lift us and also store us for a while and had talked to them a couple times. But when we called to get the final paperwork completed, they had changed their minds and said they are doing some construction and needed the space for that. They would not be taking us. So here we sat on Angelique in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida at Telemar Bay Marina with no plans. Disappointed was a very generic term for how we felt, we were pissed off and devastated. We spent 2 days looking for another shipyard that would be big enough to handle our big boat but not be a super expensive storage and we finally found one. Next Dan called our insurance company and somehow there was some miscommunications from our last conversation (change), months ago, with them and the cost would be more than double to leave her Florida (even on the hard) …. NOT what we were expecting. Another hit to the stomach. Now we were questioning everything we were doing… where, when, how, why… all of it!!!

Dan woke up the next morning and he was not feeling good, he was a bit stressed out about all the choices, options, and cost. He started putting together an excel spreadsheet to analyze all the costs with; in the water, out of the water, move north past Cape Hatteras, not move, etc etc….  There were just too many decisions. Driving home was also up in the air. As we were talking about all the choices, we realized any and all of our choices/decisions were up for consideration for change. It was a tough couple of days. Way too much ambiguity.

Once Dan got all the options and cost put on a sheet and we started to analyze them. Our options were;

      1. Stay in FL in the water
      2. Stay in FL on the hard
      3. Stay in FL until June/July and then move north
      4. Move north now
      5. Drive or fly home

They all had a different cost and actions needed from us. The Cheapest option was to move north now and hit Norfolk where we were this summer. The insurance and marina cost were the cheapest we have had. Maybe the shipyards would be too but hadn’t checked on that. It is freezing cold up north in February and the ocean isn’t always as kind either. We really didn’t want to do that choice and looked at the second cheapest option. Leaving her in Florida for a few months and head back to Norfolk this summer when the weather is nicer and maybe we would get to enjoy our trip rather than pushing it to just get her there. The option we picked was this one…We would leave her in the water at Telemar Bay Marina until June/July and then take her up north.

Now do we drive home or not. When I looked at the ticket prices, they were cheep! $100-ish for a one way ticket. That kinda sealed that deal. When we were planning on putting her on land for a year or so, we were going to empty Angelique out of our personal items and drive across country. But with us leaving her in the water we didn’t need to do that like we had first thought about doing. With her in the water if we get some time for a break, we can come use her and see some sights up north that we didn’t see last time. We are always trying to find the Lemonade here!!!

Well, Dan’s start up opportunity seems like a good bit of lemonade…So, here is a bit about Dan’s new opportunity…

wildfirealliance.com will provide a service to spray a season long, safe, fire retardant next to homes and buildings. This will be in wildfire risk areas and will prevent wind blown embers from igniting the plants and materials next to the building, which is what takes down over 1/2 of the homes in wildfires. They will also certify it and maintain it for the customer insurance companies, which should save premiums or provide the service for free to customers. It should even help people be able to get their properties insured. It looks like they will save both lives and property in wildfire risk areas, and make good money for themselves and their investors along the way. Dan is happy to address startup investment email inquires to danenloe@wildfirealliance.com

I will keep our blog site going with interesting thoughts, ideas, and how the company is doing & our stay at home. You will know first about any of our future cruising!

Stay Tuned! We will try and not disappoint you!

Cheers with a big glass of lemonade!

Dan and Angela

 

Smoke on the Water with Manatees and Rockets….#55

We were still concerned about our temporary fix with the transmission gear (“Loss of Starboard Transmission Controls”) as we left Charleston SC, but Dan was going to keep a good eye on it and our parts would be in Florida when we arrived, thanks to our good friends Chris and Gina who received the shipment for us at their home.

Our first stop on the way to Satellite Beach, Florida was going to be a northern Florida marina in Jacksonville. But to do that run from South Carolina we needed to head out into the ocean for an overnighter, skipping Georgia totally. We had waited for good calm weather window and were ready to head out. We hadn’t done an overnighter in months but this allowed us to make good time, longer jump and use autopilot, doing our rotation watch throughout the night and arrive in Jacksonville Florida early in the morning.

“Just an FYI… we are not able to use our autopilot while on the ICW. It is just too many turns and twists and things to watch out for”

Leaving Charleston, we passed a fishing boat with the typical harem (flock of birds) following for their next feast of fish. As the fishing boats clean their catch of the day, the remains are tossed over for birds’ meal of the day. Our ocean run was perfectly calm for about 70% of the run, the first part of our journey was a little rough…. rough enough for us to be a bit more attentive to the water. We always wear, apply a Scopolamine Patch behind our ear to help with motion sickness and they seem to work pretty good. We cut them in half and share one. There has been talk from others on some boating sites about cutting them might not be the best…but they work fine for us and we keep doing it.  Our overnight trip went just fine with a beautiful full moon to light the way. We arrived at Morningstar Marina in Jacksonville FL early that next morning. We stayed one night and headed down the ICW to St. Augustine FL the next morning.

We really enjoyed our stop in St. Augustine FL last time on our way up north. The marina was a bit expensive, so we decided to anchor out for a few days. We were planning on going ashore with our dinghy to see the town again, but the wind and waves just didn’t calm down. We were also planning on having our friend Chris from Satellite Beach join us. But they were in process of making an offer on a house and he couldn’t join us. We anchored in the ICW in Tolomato River just north of the “Francis and Mary Usina Bridge” which is Hwy A1A. We were on the east side of the river and on the west side was a huge dredging operation with large pipes that floated around and were being moved by the dredger & tugboats. It was fun watching the work from where we were anchored. We also had some extremely cold weather and would wake up to the windows being steamed up and “smoke on the water”. We stayed anchored out for 3 nights.

Our next stop was another anchorage where we stopped on our way north, Titusville near Cape Canaveral. We had hoped to see a rocket launch while we were anchored out and waited for it, BUT just like last time (We Missed the Rocket Launch…#49) it was canceled. We had a bit more hope that we could watch it from land as were headed into Telemar marina approx 15 miles from Cape Canaveral We would head to the viewing park the next day to see the launch from there. As you can see from the map, the far-right red oval is the rocket launch pad area. The top red “X’ is where we had anchored and the bottom “X” is where the park is. Not only did we get to see the rocket this time but have been able to see multiple launches from our marina. One in particular was a launch at night…. what a view.

We are very happy with the Telemar Marina. It is a very small but well-placed marina off the ICW in the small town of Indian Harbor. We planned for this Marina for a couple of reasons. We have friends, Chris and Gina that lived nearby and they so graciously loan us a vehicle so we can go do a few things. This marina is nice because it is tucked away from all the ICW traffic with the point of Merritt Island protecting it. There are no wakes or tides to worry about with a local park at the far end of the marina. Crew teams practicing regularly rowing past us on their way out. I absolutely love my walks and bike rides along the S. Tropical Trail on Merritt Island. The sights and nature are absolutely amazing along this road. I feel blessed every time I walk this way… which is almost daily.

Being in this safe marina also allowed Dan to make his fix to the transmission controls. The parts were waiting for him when we got into Satellite Beach and Dan quickly made the fix and we are now safe…. until the next broken item is found… hahaha

One day we took the truck and headed to a local spot where manatees are known to hang out. It was a fun outing watching these gentle giants slowly move around.

We had tickets to fly to Portland Oregon over the holiday to visit our family members. Being that everything is so tight with the Covid restrictions. We did not have a big family gathering this year. It was hard, but we are grateful that everyone is safe and healthy. We also decided not to give gifts this year and did an “adopt a family” locally in Portland. It was awesome buying gift for a family in need and we all were very grateful for our blessing.

We hope you all had fabulous holiday season with a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year from Dan and Angela on Angelique.

Stay healthy and happy!

 

Loss of Starboard Transmission Controls & Some ICW Lemonade….#54

As we continue down south in the Intracoastal Waterways, Our time at Bridgeton Marina in New Bern NC was only planned for 2-3 days, but we ended up staying for a week due to the severe storm came in, we just stayed put. Our end goal for December was to get to Satellite Beach Florida for our Christmas flights back to Portland for the holidays. We had exactly a month to get over 770 miles down the coast and we hate pushing it too fast, we like to experience the locations on our way. We had planned to stop at Wilmington NC because we didn’t hit that spot on the way up the coast. So, our plan for our first leg from New Bern south was to anchor out 1 night and stop at one of the marinas in Wilmington NC the next day.

CRYC Burge

We picked a nice anchorage site along the ICW in Bogue Sound near Moorhead City. It was a short hop and gave us the ability to get to Wilmington in the middle of the second day.

Next morning, we were up and pulling up anchor early to hit Wilmington before dark. We had a great run that day with all the interesting sights along the way.

As we arrived close to the Seapath Marina, we had just one more bridge to open and less than a mile to go. We arrived at Wrightsville Beach bridge 15 mins after the hour and this particular bridge only opens on the hour. We had 45 mins to hold our location. This might not sound too difficult to some, but the ICW is narrow, has lots of shallow spots, the current and wind can push you around and we just happened to have 1 boat in front of us with multiple boats gathering up behind us, also waiting. Dan wasn’t very comfortable with this situation. It can be hard to just try and sit still in water that has current and winds blowing on you. For part of this time, I was at the helm and felt that the Starboard engine was being odd. It didn’t sound or look like it was engaging. So, I said something to Dan. He looked at all the RPM and oil pressure and said all was good and gave the fault to the wind and current.

As the bridge lifted and we headed to our marina there we two guys waiting for us to catch our lines. The wind and current were just so strong it was making the side tie to the dock between two other boats difficult. We had enough room with 150 feet open on the dock for our 80-foot boat and we were going to tie port side to. But when the wind and current are working against you it becomes extremely hard. In the middle of the attempt, Dan decides he wants to put the Starboard side to the dock not the Port side, because of the lack of responsiveness of starboard engine, plus the wind and current. I get really cranky when this happens at the last minute. (as most of you 1st Mates/Admirals know what it’s like) I have to run around the boat untie 3-4 fenders and retie on the other side and move all our mooring lines too. All of this adjustment takes me time and a lot of stress on my end. Once done we did okay docking and Dan seemed to understand that maybe something is wrong with the Starboard engine. HUMMMM….

After we settled in and get all hooked up to shore power etc. Dan makes a call to his buddy Ken, which gives him some ideas to check with the starboard transmission, such as oil pressure, leaks, oil level etc… It turned out that all of those were good and didn’t seem to be the cause. Dan was thinking about taking some covers apart to do some more digging around to find the issue. I just asked the question about the shift lever, that I thought something was wrong with the handle. Dan’s initial thought is, it’s fine and he heads down to the engine room…but then he stops, and he says… “OK, I’m listening to you and what do you think is wrong” After explaining a bit more Dan decided to go look at the linkage where the connection is from the hydraulic shifter to the transmission shift lever, and watch while I moved move port and starboard handles. Guess what? The linkage part was broken off the transmission lever part. With this broken, it was disconnected and of course was not engaging the engines. Problem was now identified. Now just a fix needed until we could get the correct part ordered and shipped someplace. We were incredibly grateful that the issue happened when we were out of gear not in gear. We sent the parts to our friends in Florida which we would pick up on our arrival to Telemar Marina in a week or so.

Yes, I may challenge Dan a bit with pushing on some of my ideas to resolve issues, but in the end “sometimes” I ask the dumb question that finds the correct problem. We make a good team.

Our stay in Wilmington was nice. The next day we took a horse drawn carriage ride through old town and lunch at a river side restaurant.

The folks at Seapath Marina in Wilmington were so nice and helpful… I would highly recommend this stop if you are in the area.

With our temporary fix using a bunch of stainless wire to hold on the damaged linkage in place, we were on our way to South Carolina. We again planned on anchoring out one night before reaching the next marina. We have been doing really good with small & short runs, stopping to enjoy an evening at each location. As Dan was looking at his Navionics boating app on his phone for a ½ way between spot to anchor. He found a small marina at Inlet View Bar and Grill located at the Shallotte River on the ICW.  This is a family run business for 3 generations and used to be called Hughes Marina.

This was a rough spot to dock as the river runs extremely hard and fast at this ocean inlet. We had no power or facilities available either. But we had a nice dinner at the restaurant and enjoyed chatting with the locals, we only stayed 1 night.

We arrived at Wacca Wache Marina on Friday night. We planned to visit our friends Andrea, Ted, and their kids. We met them in Portland Oregon in 2014 when they purchased “Golden Eagle” Yacht from a member of our Columbia River Yacht Club. We heard rumors that they were going to take their newly purchased boat through the Panama Canal home to South Carolina, so we purposely wanted to meet them. We were able to follow their adventures on Facebook….now they are watching our adventures. So glad we did, they have become wonderful friends!

Andrea picked us up for a wonderful dinner at their home. We had a great time learning about each other’s trips and how the dream got started for us both. They loaned us a car for provisioning, which allowed me to buy a turkey for our own Thanksgiving dinner on the boat. Andrea also gave us tickets to the “Brookgreen Gardens“, which is a Botanical and Sculpture Gardens. What a wonderful huge garden it is!

On our last day Andrea toured us through the building of their new home. It is a unique structure built with only steel and concrete, right on the water’s edge in the wetlands/lowlands.  They have an amazing view and a unique structure built above the wetlands and some parts filled in, which allows for a driveway and turning platform where they will have parking and fun things like basketball court for kids. This home will last for generations to come. We were so grateful to spend some quality time with them.

Our next stop was to head to Charleston, again with 1-night anchoring along the way. We stopped at South Santee river anchorage and watched dredges working nearby. We had a nice stay anchored out and the next morning we headed out to Charleston but……we didn’t make it.

We were stopped near McClellanville North of ICW markers 35-37 where we saw two boats stuck in the sand. After chatting with them on the VHF radio and listening to them talking to each other they had planned to wait until the high tide came in to give them the lift they needed to get unstuck. We were apprehensive about heading past them. Just as we were creeping that way Dan’s temp fix to the linkage on the engine shifter came loose. He went down to the engine room to fix it and asked me to try and hold us without going aground. I had only one engine, strong winds and currents, it didn’t go well. We got pushed over a bit farther than we wanted while Dan was doing the fix and we eventually got ourselves stuck. We attempted to backup and go forward, but the mud had us pretty tight. We figured we were going to have to wait it out too. Every couple mins we would attempt to break loose with some type of movement and it finally worked. As we backed out about ½ mile to an open area where we made the decision to drop the anchor on the edge of the ICW channel and wait for high tide to make another attempt.

We saw a couple boat’s heading towards us, we reach out to them to tell them the situation. 5 different boats hung back and waited for about 1.5 – 2 hours. Eventually one boat said he was going to attempt it. Well, he made it through and the other boats that were stuck earlier were gone. We couldn’t see them, as they were beyond a bend in the waterways. So, we all headed out one behind each other and we all got through just fine.

Now with this 2-hour delay in our trip we didn’t want to push it hard. We would be arriving in Charleston in the dark, so we decided to find another place to anchor close by. Well, Dan and I somehow made lemonade” with our lemons….because the place we picked was a small creek called Graham Creek. It had a cut through to the ocean, but was too shallow for us, others might make it just fine. But we wanted to just anchor, which is what we did. It was a pretty tight spot but no one else bothered us and we loved it. We ended up staying another night it was so beautiful. We had the most beautiful sunset and the next day I took the kayak out and enjoyed a paddle around the creek. I would go back to that quiet little spot any day!

On the 3rd day we made it to the Charleston city marina where we stayed a couple days and enjoyed Patriot Point Naval & Maritime Museum. We were able to walk to see the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, the USS Laffey destroyer, which is the most decorated WW2 era destroyer, the USS Clamagore Submarine, and the huge Vietnam war exhibit, largest in the US. We had fun touring and a great Thanksgiving dinner that night too!

The Atlantic intracoastal waterways are finding a way to make our lives interesting. Whether it is the beautiful spots we happen to trip across with an unexpected outcome of all its beauty, serene waters and wetlands or the adventures of getting stuck and engines issues, or the sights and sounds of the cities we get to visit along the way, we enjoy every minute of it.

Cheers from MV Angelique