July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow

June 20, 2013
New Adventures

May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug

May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference

May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy

April 15, 2013
In The Middle

March 29, 2013
On The Hook

March 18, 2013
Tinker Time

February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix

February 15, 2013
Time Travel

February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation

January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending

January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports

December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current

December 1, 2012
New Neighbors

November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?

November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?

October 15, 2012

October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable

September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem

September 1, 2012

August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options

August 1, 2012
Go West!

July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination

July 1, 2012

June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly

June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour

May 15, 2012
Making New Friends

May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New

April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast

April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler

March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature

March 1, 2012
Last Dance

February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique

February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound

January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World

January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation

December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell

December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds

November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love

November 1, 2011
On the Water Again

October 14, 2011
First Impressions

October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun

September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road

September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!

August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row

August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat

July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home

July 1, 2011
One Step Closer

June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future

June 1, 2011
Made in the USA

May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice

May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around

April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude

March 15, 2011
Helping Hands

March 1, 2011

February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options

February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!

January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing

December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing

December 15, 2010
The New Plan!

December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg

November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water

November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile

October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough

October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?

September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool

September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland

August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"

July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time

July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous

June 1, 2010
On the Hard

May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West

May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board

April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance

April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures

March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise

March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound

February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters

February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise

January 15, 2010
New Frontiers

January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences

December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port

December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady

November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

November 13, 2009
A Cult Following

October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time

October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye

September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature

August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote

August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy

July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay

July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay

June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North

June 1, 2009
Northern Migration

May 15, 2009

May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye

April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!

April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy

March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound

March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?

February 15, 2009
Slow Motion

February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View

January 15, 2009
High Anxiety

January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands

December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure

December 1, 2008
All Together Now

November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike

October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River

October 16, 2008
Big City Lights

October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins

September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop

September 1, 2008
The Space Ship

August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle

August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!

July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around

July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop


Dealing With A Temperamental Lady
By Kismet, Tuesday, December 1, 2009

If, by the title of this article, you’re thinking I’m writing about my beautiful, kind, always-smiling and loving wife Lisa then you’d better guess again. Lisa’s anything but a “Temperamental Lady” and therefore I’m a lucky guy. Besides, even if she was, I wouldn’t be dumb enough to admit it in print. I’m not referring to our boat Kismet either. Our boat is way too young to have become temperamental. The testy Lady I’m referring to is Mother Nature and her ever-changing weather conditions and their affects on our plans to head south on the ICW this fall.

Lisa and I bid our farewells and departed Solomons one last time as we headed south down the Chesapeake Bay. Our first day’s objective was made easier with absolute calm water and an outgoing tide. From Solomons, past the mouths of the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, we had an easy 71-mile run to our planned anchorage in Jackson Creek, on the south side of Deltaville, Virginia. Mother Nature was very kind and considerate to us this day. As we comfortably cruised down the Bay we couldn’t help but notice the increased boat traffic all around us, presumably boaters like we are, making their way to warmer destinations for the winter.

This is our last sighting of Miss Happ but with good planning we’ll be doing a lot more cruising with Wade and Susie on their new boat.
We had a planned rendezvous with our friend Wade, who is from New Bern, North Carolina, to meet at an anchorage up Jackson Creek as he’s traveling north and this seemed the most likely chance for us to cross paths. We arrived at the anchorage within an hour of each other, not long before the sun gave off it’s final warm glow before nightfall. Wade and his wife Susie have just traded their Albin trawler, Miss Happ in on a new Marine Trader Trawler. Wade and his friend John are heading north to deliver Miss Happ to the dealer in New Jersey. We first met Wade and Susie in Grafton, Illinois, where the Illinois River meets the Mississippi River, in 2005 and have been friends ever since.

 I dinghied over to pay Wade a visit and meet his friend John; Susie will pick them up later in the week. Lisa opted for a leisurely hot shower and time alone, much needed after being one of the guys at the boat show in Annapolis earlier in the week. She said she’d heard enough about engine parts and mechanics to last a few months at least. The three of us guys had a good time talking about boats and reminiscing about our experiences with Miss Happ. Wade bought this 1986 Albin in 1993 and traveled the Great Loop twice on her while also cruising up and down the East Coast ICW so many times over the years that the boat almost knows its own way. Wade has had this boat for 16 years, longer than a lot of marriages last, so I was a little surprised when he said he would not miss her. Well, I enjoyed sitting in Miss Happ’s cabin one last time while sharing a rum and coke with the guys.

We waved goodbye the next morning as we watched Miss Happ round the bend one last time in the morning sunrise, Wade and John traveling north to New Jersey while we continued our migration south. The Lady graced us with another nice travel day as we made our way to Norfolk, Virginia, out of the Chesapeake Bay, and into the protected ICW.

Although we could not get within five miles of the live-fire battleships, we cruised right by a fleet of them in Norfolk.
As we near the bottom of the majestic Chesapeake Bay we start to hear on the VHF radio, “Notice to mariners, this is the United States Navy Ship 9428... break… we will be conducting live ammunition rounds at N37.18581 W076.08176 for the next two hours and all concerned traffic needs to maintain a five mile clearance... break.” Norfolk is home to a large fleet of Naval vessels and they routinely have these live-fire exercises as practice to help ensure their readiness for any event. Even though we never saw them we could hear the rounds and see the plumes of smoke way off in the distance as we approached Norfolk, Virginia. It was nice that Mother Nature did not add any excitement of her own to our otherwise easy day on the water. 

Once we navigated past Norfolk, where mile zero of the ICW starts, the waterway narrows and the migration of the multitude of boats becomes more evident. Up until then, the boats migrating south were scattered all across the Chesapeake Bay as they worked their way south down the large expanse of water and into the narrow, insulated confines of the ICW. This had the same feeling as driving into a large city during rush hour, especially when we were all stacked up at the drawbridges. On this day, as we entered the ICW to make our way to a free dock in Great Bridge, Virginia, there were about 25 boats traveling south within an hour or so stretch, north and south of us. Because of hurricane-weather-related insurance restrictions most boats cannot, or do not, start their migration south until late October, making the Atlantic ICW a very busy place during the month of November.

We first heard about the Coinjock Marina Restaurant four years ago and have only just now visited for the first time. It will not take four more years before we go again.

Next stop was Coinjock. Now that’s a funny name. The word is derived from the American Indian language and means mulberry! Coinjock is at mile-marker 50 of the ICW and is home to Coinjock Marina and Restaurant where they serve a legendary 32-ounce prime-rib dinner every night they’re open. The two marinas here were packed with boats transiting south so we felt lucky to get reservations just at the dock, let alone for dinner. Lisa and I each had the 16-ounce prime-rib dinner, a fabulous piece of meat with enough left over for lunch the next day. When we got back to the boat I checked the weather for our next travel day. The forecast had deteriorated from the last time I checked, indicating Mother Nature was returning to being her fickle self.




Here you see a photo of the ideal water conditions we prefer to travel in, the key word being ideal!

From Coinjock, when traveling south, a boater has to travel through Albemarle Sound. With projected 25-knot winds from the south it meant the water would create 5- to 6-foot head-on waves and therefore, knowing all too well the Lady’s ability to stir things up, it made our decision to remain at dock a quick and easy one. I used the time to change engine zincs and fuel filters with time left over to clean the sea strainers and engine room. Lisa worked on her new book project – Woman On-Board. We’ve learned that when weather conditions are not in our favor it’s really a safer bet to remain where you are, for us it’s just not that important to risk ourselves or our boat to uncertainty and maybe even disaster.

When we have a down travel day I try to perform routine maintenance. In this photo I seem to be perplexed by the pencil zincs deterioration.
After the Lady’s daylong flare up she slowly redirected the winds to come from the north at 10 knots making our ride across the Sound relatively smooth the next day. We still had four footers but they were following seas. Instead of crashing head-first into six footers that were present the day before; we were pushed gently forward across Albemarle Sound. It was amazing what a pleasant trip a one-day wait made for us. When we arrived at Dowery Creek Marina the next day, Mary (the owner) shared with us several of the big-wave, rough-ride stories from the boaters who made the unfortunate trek the day before. Most indicated they wished they’d held back a day at Coinjock.

 A few weeks before this Lisa and I found ourselves out in weather, in the upper Chesapeake, that was completely different then forecasted. We had left Solomons to cross the Chesapeake Bay for Oxford with calm enough seas when things turned nasty, the Lady turned on us! The calm sea had turned to 5-foot beam seas (Lisa says more like 7-8), creating a very uncomfortable 20-mile ride. So even when you plan properly the Lady can catch you off guard and show you her ugly side fairly quickly.

Morehead City was our first big stop on our trip south and we were excited to meet up with our friends Louis and Diane on Bella Luna. We’ve been planning to travel south together, from Morehead City, since last spring with the St. Johns River, near Jacksonville, Florida as our big trip destination. We planned a month-long, 150-mile cruise south and back again before we would all continue south on the ICW to southern Florida and then on our separate ways, Bella Luna to the Keys and Kismet to the West Coast of Florida. Mother Nature’s temperamental side was heavily sedated today, as the seas were as calm as Jell-O for the last leg to Morehead City.

This is a classic beauty Bella Luna, a 40-foot Cape Dory Trawler that we've had the pleasure of traveling with in the past year and now we are all headed for the St. John's River in Florida.
Over the next couple of days we left Kismet at the dock to spend a couple of days at the Wade’s Beach House in Cape Coral. We helped Louis and Diane with the last-minute chores of closing up their home and they took us shopping while they still had their car. When we arrived back to the boat the morning of our departure we found the house batteries on Kismet drained and that the charger side of the inverter/charger was not working. When I started this article I guess I spoke too soon about Kismet not being old enough to have become temperamental. Over the next several days, when we’d stop running for the day Louis and I would try to solve the problem of the non-working charger.

 The first thing we did was charge the house batteries back up. We thought with charged-up batteries that the charger would then start working, but it didn’t. We checked fuses, cleaned cables, and even broke down and actually read the manuals. Now there’s a novel idea. We learned a great deal about the inverter/charger but we were still left without a solution. Finally, with the phone assistance of a service technician from Magnum Electronics (the maker), I had expert help walking me through a few tests on the charger. The results of a volt reading told the tech that the unit was taking in AC but not putting out any and therefore one of the electronic boards needed to be replaced.

Here’s our inoperable inverter/charger after it was dismantled and being prepared for its journey to the diagnostic center for repair.

One of the more challenging aspects of cruising is being able to solve situations that crop up suddenly, such as our malfunctioning charger. We have found locals, marina staff, and fellow boaters to be very helpful with their time and expertise, the lending of a car, borrowing a battery charger, or running you to the parts store when complications arise. In this case we borrowed Robert and Kay’s truck, C-Life from Southport, North Carolina, we had made the stop in Southport because we wanted to visit them in their hometown after meeting them last year on the river system, to take our charger to the diagnostic center in Burlington, North Carolina, a 2.5 hour drive. The charger will be set onto a cold stainless table, plugged into an analysis device, probed and evaluated. They’ve promised a 2-hour turn around time so we were hopeful to be back on the water the next day.

 So just to set things straight, Lisa’s still not high-strung and this is great news for me. Our Kismet has taken a turn towards the direction of being a little temperamental and we hope it’s only temporary. However, Mother Nature’s ability to make boat travel either horrific or quite pleasant earns her the dubious distinction of being the ultimate Temperamental Lady.