Sunday, August 1, 2010


The first of August, roads here at the Virginia/North Carolina line are thick with cars, vans and suv's carrying bikes, kayaks, boogie boards and whatever else might be needed for a week-long vacation in the Outer Banks. If you live anywhere in the midwest or up north you'll drive very close to my house as you head for Duck, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head or points south. (Summer weekend traffic here used to be a nightmare until they added a toll road to carry the vacationers a few years ago.)

We used to do the annual summer vacation down in Ocracoke. There are my wife and youngest daughter on Spartina for an evening sail/swim just north of Ocracoke's Oyster Creek. Below is Spartina behind my old Cherokee and to the right is my wife's Honda Civic on the Hatteras to Ocracoke ferry. Between kids, food, beach stuff and sailing gear we had to take two cars. (My wife at one point suggested we put the bikes in Spartina for the drive down. I explained that Spartina was a boat, not a bike rack.)

We don't make the summer trip anymore. Jobs, boyfriends and social activities keep our daughters too busy for a summer trip (but we are hoping to start a tradition of a fall Ocracoke next year).

(My sailing plans for either next year or the following year include sailing to Ocracoke - but that is another post for later. Interested in joining us for that trip, Dawn Patrol?)

It has been a very hot and dry summer so far, in fact one of the hottest month of June on record (including the very hot weather of the Tag Team 200). Both the dwarf pomegranate (above) and figs (below) are thriving in this weather which seems closer to the weather of their Mediterranean and Middle Eastern origins. The trees, three figs and one pomegranate, are bearing more fruit than ever and should be ready for the picking in just a few weeks. Nothing better than a fresh fig right off the tree on a hot August day.

Cloudy cool and rainy today so I passed on sailing. Did some maintenance including changing the lower unit oil on Spartina's Nissan 3.5 two stroke outboard. I change the fluid about every 18 months. I try to keep up on maintenance, replacing the water impeller last year. Soon I'll probably have to get the carburetor cleaned (but that is beyond my skills, I'll have to find a good shop).

I also went by my favorite expedition supply shop - Walmart - and picked up some fruit in cups, quart-size freezer bags and shops towels. I use freezer bags, the quart-size and two gallon-size seem to work best, for storing just about everything for a cruise. Food (you can see a Simply Asia meal tucked in a bag below), batteries, safety gear, clothes all end up in a bag. A lot of the stuff will be double bagged just to make sure it stays dry.
As for the shop towels, that was Bruce's discovery in Oriental on the Tag Team 200. I had forgotten to pack paper towels. We walked to the marine supply store in Oriental to find they did not stock paper towels, but Bruce spotted shop towels. I think they work better than paper towels and will now be standard gear on Spartina.



Anonymous said...

Hi young man. Stuart is starting my sails for the Pathfinder. They will be loose footed for a better foil shape. Should be shipped in a couple of weeks. I better get back to building:-)

Steve said...

Very good Jim. You will love those sails (and I will be very envious of them!). I'll look forward to seeing how the loose foot alters the sail shape.


DancesWithSandyBottom said...

A future cruise with Spartina that includes Ocracoke? Oh yes, Dawn Patrol is definitely interested in that.

--Paul & Dawn

Ken said...

You might even have party-crashers on that one...

Steve said...

I've daysailed quite a bit from Ocracoke while on vacation. But I've never sailed to Ocracoke. That's definitely on the list.

steve said...

hi steve
good entry - enjoyable read as always
on a different note - I'm thinking of getting a spot personal locator - you use one - do you recommend it? I'm off on a voyage across to salcombe next week - round trip 45 nm with overnight at salcombe - her ot must be obeyed wants me to get a spot - what do you think?

welsh guy in plymouth

Steve said...


I am a big fan of the SPOT device. Four things I like....

1. I feel safer with the ability to call an emergency service at the touch of a button.
2. I'm glad to be able to get assistance - fuel, repair services, etc - at the touch of another button.
3. The trip is less stressful for the family and friends at home because they get the "OK" messages.
4. I've found other folks interested in sailing enjoy watching the tracks (and I enjoy watching other folks' tracks when they are on a journey.

I think the SPOT is great and worth every penny. I hear there are other similar devices out on the market now but I'm not familiar at all with them (but it wouldn't be a bad idea to see what is out there and compare). But as for now I can't imagine going on a cruise without a SPOT.

Good luck on your next trip.