Wednesday, May 2, 2007
We didn't break anything!
We just spent a week on Sunshine at her dock in Melbourne, FL and, despite taking a couple of short motor trips, we didn't break anything -- at least nothing that can't be fixed. She is a fine ship and appears to be in very good condition with a LOT of extra gear and conveniences.
We had our first overnight guests: the Admiral's brother, Allen, and his wife, Dorie. We took them on a trip of about two miles down the Grand Canal, under a couple of bridges, to a marina fuel dock where we filled the tank and, then, and out into the Indian River which forms part of the Intracoastal Waterway. We experimented with lots of switches, buttons, knobs, and dials and, in the process, learned a lot about our ship. After some fooling around, most everything worked, but a few things (like the "flush" button for the head) need a little encouragement. There are so many "systems," gizmos, and doo dads on Sunshine that it will take a while before everything makes sense to us.
A couple of days later, we took another trip with Sunshine's landlord, Rod, who is an Annapolis graduate and an airplane pilot. He also knows the area very well was very helpful to us as we motored out into the ICW and ventured a little further than we had on the previous trip.
We were also visited by Jeanette and Kenny Thompson and their friend, Gunther, and enjoyed an meal with them at a local seafood restaurant. Gunther is a sailor and wanted very much to show us how to sail our boat, but we had to tell him that we weren't quite ready for that yet.
We also drove up to Titusville to have dinner with Roger and Bonnie Ford of s/v Kokomo and Rich Tanner of s/v Feral Cat. During dinner and for a couple of hours afterwards, we picked their brains unmercifully since their boats are also PDQ 36's and they had just returned the previous day from the Bahamas.
We were also visited by our Melbourne friends, Sam and Gina Densler, who own s/v Lady of the Lakes which is another PDQ 36 that they keep docked just a few miles away. We spent a few hours asking zillions of questions and Sam was kind enough to fix and/or resolve several issues that we had encountered on Sunshine.
It is truly incredible how helpful fellow cruisers (especially fellow PDQ 36 owners) are and we would be totally lost without them.
At the end of the week, we both felt that we knew our boat and her various systems well enough that we could make our way up the ICW under power. Again, sailing will have to wait until we get to a place that has LOTS of sea room for us to practice in.
Our maiden voyage was from our rented dock to a public dock which is across the canal and about 200' away. We managed to untie the docklines and get the boat underway without too much trouble but the drama began about one minute and 50' into our voyage when we managed to run aground right next to our freakin dock! It seems that no one had warned us that the opposite side of our canal was only about 2' deep. We were unable to get loose by gunning the engines, but managed to avoid calling for a Coast Guard rescue by the Captain jumping into the water and pushing the boat sideways into deeper water.
The birds and fish around our dock are amazing. Ospreys, pelican, ducks, and geese are everywhere along with dolphins, manatees and all sorts of things that go splash and plonk into the water. Unfortunately, we also encountered a bunch of "noseeums" that bite at night and leave itchy red dots all over your feet and ankles. A goodly supply of "Off" will be on our next packing list.
We took tons of pictures and I will post a few of them here. If anyone wants to see more, just let us know. Some of them will be of interest to no one except other PDQ 36 owners -- like the picture of the inside of our port chain locker or the one of our refrigerator compressor.
We hope to get back down to see our baby within a few weeks and, who knows, maybe we'll be brave enough to begin the trip up the ICW. Folks tell us that the average distance covered in a day of motoring on the ICW is about 50 miles what with the bridge openings and a few locks that have to be dealt with. At that rate, we could realistically expect to get to somewhere in the Savannah, GA area within a week. Wish us luck!