THE PLAN was to start out early this morning and get to the Canaveral bridge and locks just after they opened, fuel up, take on water then head out the inlet for a 3-4 day sail to NC. Sounds simple doesn't it? As I pressed the windlass button to take up the anchor chain I got no response. Banged on it a few times before I gave up and admitted that its formerly intermittent operation was now permanent. So Bill came up with the screwdriver to take the switch off and clean it--not a really difficult task. However as the switch came off the small parts fell off into the anchor chain hold. Hoping that they had not fallen down the drain hole, I brought the flashlight and a plug and we soon found the parts--WHEW!!!! The rest went without incident and the anchor came up. HURRAY__We'RE OFF!!!
Just as we rounded Dragon Point Bill noticed that the boat was having a real hard time making headway--full power was only giving us less than 5 knots (where it should be 6 or 7). We both knew what the problem was (I guess we were ignoring this-hoping it wasn't true). Two weeks sitting in one place had allowed barnacles and skuz to accumulate on the bottom which was slowing us down. So down goes the anchor and we drag out the snorkeling gear (that I had just rinsed off, dried and put away yesterday), and we get in the water to clean the hull. The lower units and props were covered with barnacles. There was also a thick carpet of algae, small encrusting critters, and amphipods (small crustaceans). First you scrape then you brush. Scraping the bottom, for me, is the most hated job. The combination of being upside down and swallowing water makes me nauseous (funny how this doesnt make me sick when I am looking under rocks on a beautiful reef). Certainly the job was much more pleasant in clear beautiful water but now we had about 1foot visibility brown-green water and the amphipods covered us and our gear as we scraped their tubes off. In some places I would scrape and brush, look at it again and it was dirty again--I realized that the dirt was crawling--they were that thick. Finally it was done as well as we could do and we ran to the shower to scrape the amphipods off our bodies. I hope we got them all or we are going to be smelling like dead shrimp for the next few days.
In any case, we are off again--much faster. The cell hotspot seems to be working well. I can write as we travel now, however, once we get out in the ocean we will be out of cell phone range until we get to Beaufort. I have attempted to post more pictures but there seems to be a problem with the slideshows on the blog. They just don't appear when I post them.