Left Columbus, Mississippi on Halloween morning. So let’s get all those Halloween shots going and move on:
Moving on to the action:
So although it was Halloween, we had no fears of “camping out” “on the hook” (aka anchoring!) in the middle of nowhere.
Our first anchoring with this boat and, of course, there had to be a hiccup or two. The breaker switch had to be found and re-set so that the windlasss would release the anchor. A bit of back and forth on that (ie changing and re-changing who is at the helm, who is looking for the breaker, who is at
the windlass, exiting and re-entering the cove, watching for encroaching shoreline while focusing on solving the issues, etc etc!). But resolved relatively easily and w/ no frustrating voices! See below, however, for the morning-after hiccup!
In the meantime a few shots of a great place to always remember as our “first anchorage” in RioMarLago.
Swim time! We all went in…Ziggy’s first swim (w/ life vest)…she wasn’t too keen on it but did enjoy cooling off and rubbing all over her rug afterward (and shaking on cigar-smokin’ Nick!) No alligators …but did keep our eyes out!
Great dinner on the grill under the crystal clear Milky Way. I forlornly think about the fact that one-third of humanity —and 80 percent of North Americans—can’t see the bright smear of the Milky Way. Entire generations of people have never seen our galaxy. (thanks Atlantic mag!) I feel that much more lucky when I think of that….it’s free for everyone; but really it isn’t. We slept well after avoiding the 5 pm mosquito hordes and were serenaded by hooting owls, howling coyotes, and jumping/splashing fish right out the open windows and open hatch over our bed.
Within minutes of getting out of bed and announcing to one another how pleased we were to hear the purr of the refrigerator (meaning that the ONE (of 2) batteries that we had left on seemed to have lasted the whole night!!), a little beep beep sounded announcing the battery was near it’s end of juice. No problem; we kind of expected that! The refrig would be fine for a few hours and we still had the OTHER battery saved for starting the engine. Captain Nick wisely thought to check to see if the engine would actually start; however, we were both a bit dumb-struck to NOT hear that familiar sound of a roaring engine starting up at the turn of the key. Yikes! Remember we are in the middle of NOWHERE and no cell coverage. Luckily Nick is one of those ‘active shoppers’ who grabs cool little devices and thingamajigs and had come home just before the trip with an under-$100 Costco purchase the size of your flat palm w/ 2 little jumper-cables and chargeable jumper box! WOW! AND uncharacteristically we found where we had stowed it quite quickly AND, because he had pre-charged it, it worked! Yay for WINPLUS!
In fact, it worked TWICE! (after being partially RE-charged a little w/ his OTHER power pack thingamajig….because although he left the engine running for what seemed like eternity, it didn’t sufficiently charge either battery for a re- start.
I’m sure all you boaters are thinking that B forgot to switch the battery usage thingy over to ONE battery upon anchoring. No, not forgotten (this time). Once at the next marina, Nick sleuthed and even tho it reads LIVE, that second battery is plain old dead. No harm other than some holding-breath moments (and other than another pull-out-the-Visa moment for TWO new, better, bigger shinier, heavier, more –er er ers battererereries!
But I jumped ahead there….first we had to have breakfast before we get to the marina! Since it was a slightly (relative term!) cooler morning AND it was our first anchor/camping AND b/c the little jumper box had worked (the first time), B made something extra for breakfast:
Besides the usual eggs and veg, a yummy apple crisp in a cool contraption that acts like an oven (I know it looks like a bundt pan—but it isn’t. Really)
Also new for us was the use of denatured alcohol in the burners instead of the power—something we’ve never dared to do, but finally did (upon B’s insistence) and now both wondering why we just never tried that option on our prior boat. Not stinky, easy enough to “load” it, boils water fast enough, and didn’t feel dangerous.
Aside from the second re-jump w/ the little jumper-thingamajig and after some more obnoxious windlass issues (too boring to discuss further!), we got on our way out of Sumter Cove aware that we could not dare turn off the engine for fear of another non-start which meant leaving it in idle in the locks. Not really normally a problem (although they prefer you to turn them off because of the exhaust build up especially on a descent, etc….which btw, SOME Loopers think they are exempt from this (even tho they tend to have the stinkiest diesel exhaust) just so they can keep using their bow thrusters to stay on, yet slightly off, the wall (so their fenders don’t get dirty…gee isn’t that what they are for!??!?!?!)
Anyway, we weren’t going to worry about our minimal , by comparison, exhaust given the exigent circumstance w/ our battery situation. However, the wait FOR the first lock was about an hour and we had to idle back and forth wasting gas….which we were slightly concerned about since it had been a fairly long push since the last gas dock. Luckily our mpg held up and we had 30 gallons to spare by the time we got to the next gas dock! So although we had some tricks come up, it ended all very well w/ the river treating us to great scenery the whole way.
We had been told about some great white cliffs in this section of the river and had our eyes peeled to spot at each bend. Actually there were about 4 sections, and each one improving on the prior….so to be honest the first ones we kind of just said, “oh neat” to just not feel like our expectations were not met. But by the last, it was clear they really were neat and the first 2 weren’t really the famous white cliffs after all. Haha!
Ok, kinda long….but gee it was two days worth!