Filled with ambitious plans for a productive weekend working on the boat I arrived shortly before Noon at the dock in Bridgeton just across the river north of New Bern.  A quick check of the boat revealed that the canvas cover for the hatch... above the V-berth had come adrift and some water had leaked onto the storm sail in its bag and the cushion on the port side was damp as well.  I moved the sail bag over to allow the cushion to dry out and added another chore to my mental list.  I rummaged around in the locker under the sink in the head and got out the bag with the used repair kits for the toilet.  The two non-return valves remaining are old and one is clearly not going to close fully so it is out of the running.  The other one looks serviceable, however it is used as well and I’d like to install a new one, which I’ll have to buy.  Add that to my list.  On a positive note I discovered several raw water pump impellers in the bag with the toilet repair parts.  Strange place to store them, what with the impellers going on the engine back aft and the toilet being forward; just goes to show how much I still have to do to get ready to sail south this coming Fall.  I got out the engine manual and looked up the information on oil and oil filters and made a few notations in a pocket notebook to take with me.  Before heading back to the car I switched on the AC power, the battery charger, outlets, and cabin lights.  I suspect that the solar panels have kept everything charged up, but in as much as I expect to use some electricity while aboard for a couple of days I thought it prudent to make sure as much juice was available as possible.  Energy conservation is an important aspect of cruising aboard a sailboat, however I’m fortunate because my boat has two large solar panels, a wind powered generator (which I have yet to install) and a generator attached to the engine.  On the other hand I need new house batteries because the old ones are about dead.  I have two banks of batteries; one 12 volt starting battery which is new and four 6 volt batteries which are the “house” bank.  It is these four batteries that I need to replace.  At any rate, with data in hand I headed into New Bern to stop at the diesel shop to see about parts and then drive to West Marine to buy the toilet repair kit.  First disappointment was that the diesel shop was closed and the second was that West Marine did not have the kit in stock so I ordered one which should arrive by next Friday.  I also ordered a Graybeard oil removal pump because, unlike a car I can’t get to the oil pan drain                    plug beneath the engine, so I have to pump the old oil out through the dip stick pipe.  They have hand pumps for this but from what I’ve read they are not handy to use and messy as well.  The Graybeard is recommended by Active Captain so it was my first choice.  If you are not familiar with Active Captain I suggest you check them out, even if you are not a boater you will find exploring the waterways, marinas, and anchorages fodder for fantasies and reading the reviews is interesting as well:    It was getting late in the afternoon so I stopped at schlotzsky's deli and bought a small pizza.  I sat in the restaurant enjoying my supper and sipping tea while reading the East coast edition of All At Sea, a boating magazine that I’d picked up at the marina the week before last.  Regretfully I couldn’t finish the pizza but saved a couple of pieces planning on having them later.  When I got back to the marina I stopped at the captain’s lounge because I saw Tim’s green jeep in the parking lot and as I walked in the front door he greeted me with his usual bombastic energy announcing that he was hosting a barbeque and wanted to invite me to join in.  I reported that I’d already eaten but he responded, “So, eat again!”  I figured I’d stick around and have desert and visit with folks, besides, the Tar Heels were beating up some team in red and even though I’m not a close follower of sports it was fun to watch the game with some of my dock mates.  At end of the game I went down to the boat and got a cigar to enjoy with desert and came back to the lounge to laugh and joke with folks.  I think the only time I have ever enjoyed neighbors is when I’ve lived in a marina.  Growing up we had them and we played as kids, but my folk’s friends were across town and they were never very friendly with those next door.  I’ve moved about so much in my life that I never felt part of any community except for the boating one.  Odd as I think about it as those into the live aboard/cruising life style are coming and going all the time.  We share a dock, mooring, or anchorage for a while, the weather changes, and the season passes, and we get underway for the next port or fancied cove, sometimes to see old friends again or to meet new ones.  The internet has helped us stay in touch more, which I think is good.  With two pieces of cheesecake and a soda in me it was getting late and I bid goodnight to all those still remaining and headed back to the boat.  I didn’t get much done this day but I had fun and relaxed a bit.  Sleep did not come as easy as I wished what with a loose halyard clanging against the mizzen mast and the stern mooring line groaning as the wind picked up.  I was too lazy to get dressed and go topside to fix it so I read instead on my Kindle until I started to nod off.  Turning the Kindle off and putting my glasses on it tucked in the corner above my head I fell asleep to the rocking of the boat and the ring of the halyard against the mizzen shrouds.  The gray light of morning awoke me as it seeped through the hatch above my head so I got up and made a head call and then returned to my bunk.  It was still warm so I put on my glasses and fired up the Kindle to check weather and news.  It looked to be an overcast morning with temperatures in the mid 50s but heading into the upper 60s later in the day.  Getting up again I plugged the Kindle in to charge it up and grabbed my gym bag to head up to the lounge for a shower.  It was good to let the hot water wash over me as I relaxed beneath the steamy stream soaping my hair and rubbing body wash all over.  After toweling off I dried my hair with a little portable hair dryer that I keep on the boat and with a shave and tooth brushing decided to head over to IHOP for breakfast.  Back at the boat I got busy clearing out the workroom and decided to finish installing the bracing leg for my work bench.  As I wrote before, the space is cramped and any work takes me a lot of time because sometimes I have to use both hands just to pull a body part into position forcing me to lay down any tools, parts or fasteners, then once I’m situated I have to pick them up again, sometimes to discover I can’t reach them from the new position and I have to reposition myself again.  Frustrating to say the least, but I’ve never been the most flexible person in the world.  With the brace installed I re-stowed the tools and parts after opening up some of the containers to see what was in them.  Add, “Sort all parts into similar containers” to the list of boat chores.  I then went topside to fix the canvas cover for the forward hatch, tighten up the halyards and replace the stern mooring line.  One of the lines holding the hatch cover had come undone so I retied that.   The halyards took a bit of work in as much as just tightening them was not enough.  I also had to rig a bit of bungee cord to pull them away from the mast and shrouds as well.  While working back there I noticed that the mizzen sail cover was coming undone so I re-fastened it as well.  Sitting down on the aft deck I examined the stern line and found that it was fraying badly but it looked like I had enough line that I could cut off the bad part of the line and just add some chafing gear and tie a new bowline in the old line.  Stepping off onto the dock I untied the stern line and took it below out of the wind to cut off the damaged part, put a flame to the end of the line to melt it so it wouldn’t fray and after adding the chaffing protection (An old piece of fire hose) I retied a bowline and using a bit of sail twine whipped the bitter end to the standing part to ensure that the knot wouldn’t come undone.  I stopped work and lay down on the settee to rest and promptly fell asleep.  It was getting late when I finally woke up so I stowed gear, pack up, and shut everything off in preparation to leave.  I got to the dock by the bow of the boat when I remembered I had forgotten my jacket on where I’d left it on the binnacle in the cockpit, so back aboard I went only feeling a little chagrin.  The drive home was uneventful but a glass of buttermilk and the two leftover pizza slices made up my supper and ended a good weekend with plans for the coming one falling into place.

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