It has been more like Seattle than North Carolina for the past several weeks. Clouds masking the sun and the occasional rainy day might be well for the farmers but not for those of us who NEED some sunshine to feel normal. I am so tired of overcast that I’m beginning to think, “Forget waiting for retirement, I’m leaving for the tropics now!!” At any rate it was dark gray when I got to the boat Saturday morning with the wind whipping damp drizzle across the harbor. Unloading my weekend bag along with some odds and ends of things for the boat into a dock cart I pulled my hat down tightly and trundled down to the slip where Kittiwake was waiting. No matter the weather, it is always a joy to see her floating in her berth; a most pleasant experience that never fail to bring a smile to my face. Transferring the stuff into the cockpit I noticed that one of the fenders had lost all of its air and with the wind blowing out of the north east pushing the boat against the dock a flat fender was not good. Pushing hard against the life line stanchions I was able to remove the flat fender and shift the other two fenders into better positions to protect the hull from any damage. Entering the boat I went forward to rummage about in the cabinets in the head where I keep the small hand pump for inflating inflatable stuff, like boat fenders. Back topside I screwed the inflation needle into the pump and got busy blowing the fender up. A few minutes later it was back to its normal size however I’m thinking new fenders are going to be put on the every growing list of stuff that I need to replace. I went back to the dock and hung the fender back in place and started inspecting the mooring lines. In as much as I had left in a hurry last time I was aboard I had neglected to make up the lines in a Bristol fashion; in fact they looked quit lubberly just loosely coiled on the dock. Feeling a bit ashamed I busied myself Flemish flaking the mooring lines and adjusted the chafe gear to better protect them. When I got to the stern line I noticed that the line I had fastened to the cleat to hold the kayak on the dock was parted and most of it was missing so I added that to my list of boat chores. The kayak was still in place with its stern line attached to another cleat further down the dock so it was a mystery as to how or why the other line had parted and disappeared. At any rate, I scrounged up a suitable replacement line from my stash of old rope and cutting a length that would replace the missing line I whipped the ends to keep them from unraveling and attached one end of it to the kayak bow and tied the other end to a dock cleat. Those chores behind me I unlocked the lazaret and removed the two empty propane tanks and sat them in the cockpit. I realized that I didn’t have a clue where to buy propane so I retrieved my bike from where I left it leaning against the shore power tower and peddled up to the Captain’s Lounge in hopes of getting some directions. As no one was around I rode over to Hurricane Jacks, a used boating gear place just across the road, and they gave me directions to a place near the blue berry store behind the Shell Station. Back at the boat I loaded the tanks into the dock cart and carried them up to my car. I found the propane place but the placard in the window said they wouldn’t be back ‘till one o-clock in the afternoon. It was only a few minutes until noon so I drove over and grabbed a burger from Hardy’s and returned to the propane station to wait while munching on my sandwich and listening to an audio book. In a short while the fellow returned and it only cost me ten dollars to fill both tanks which was a pleasant surprise as I’d expected to pay fifteen bucks a piece to get them filled. Later, discussing the price with some other sailors they told me that the old fellow running the station was very fair in his pricing, eschewing to common practice of charging the same high price no matter the size of the smaller tanks. Following such a busy morning I parked myself on the settee in the boat’s solon and promptly fell asleep. I don’t know how long I was out but it was almost 3:20 PM when I woke up to the sound of halyards pinging against the main mast shrouds. Getting up I searched through my collection of bungee cords and finding one I thought suitable I went topside to secure the halyards and stop the noise. Taking a turn around one of the port shrouds with the bungee cord I hooked the halyards away from the mast after making a few adjustments to the lines. I had spoken to Tim earlier and we had agreed to go out and catch supper together that night and in as much as I’d been working all day I felt in need of a shower. That out of the way Tim and I headed into New Bern to a little fish place downtown that he knew about; MJ’s Raw bar and grill. We both ordered Tritan Tri-bake; a layer of creamy crabmeat topped with shrimp, scallops and cheese and then baked just right. The food was outstanding and even though I only got half way done with my meal before I was feeling full, I kept right on eating not wanting to miss a single scrumptious bite. Returning to the marina I bid Tim good night and got right into my bunk to read for a minute before putting the Kindle down and pulling the covers up to go to sleep. In the morning I fixed a bowl of oatmeal along with a cup of tea for breakfast and with that done I gathered up my gear, shut the boat up and drove back to the house.