2nd December 2011      Kilkenny Creek, Georgia.

Yes…. Indeed at long last we are off on our 2011/2012 winter cruise and the sixth to the Abacos. 

We left Thunderbolt Marine at  10.30 hrs this morning for a leisurely jaunt in beautiful sunshine to this old marina, where we arrived at 14.30 hrs.  All systems seem to be working well, so we are dithering tonight as to whether to head for the open ocean out of  St. Catherine’s Sound or whether to stay inside and brave the vagaries and treacherous waters of the Little Mud River (aptly named) .  My preference is to head for the ocean and either stop in St Simon’s Island to see Melissa or head on a further twenty miles to Fernandina Beach, the first stop in Florida.  We shall see how the weather is tomorrow I guess.

So how did we get here and what have we been doing since we arrived in Thunderbolt.  Well, we drove our new car down the 401 across the 1000 Islands Bridge and then down Highway 81, stopping in Carlyle Pennsylvania, for one night.  One ten hour day and one twelve hour day and we were in Savannah, 1,400 miles in round figures.

The boat had survived the summer heat and rain well, she smelled fresh inside and was all polished up and ready to go pretty much, except the deck and cabin top were  decidedly grubby.  Both Monday and Tuesday were spent getting her ready to launch with little excitement, until we found that one of the blades of our fancy propeller was jammed tight and was refusing to move.  The yard machine shop came to the rescue and freed it to where it was working properly and our launch was not delayed.

The launch on Wednesday was effortless and without a hitch, and “Miss Becky” started at the first push of the starter, with a small puff of blue smoke and then settling down to her usual steady rumble.   Soon after we were alongside what has become our regular berth, astern of “Blue Moon” .  Now to switch the new refrigeration system on………  air and water cooled … the best !!!  The only problem was that it didn’t work !!

Fortunately the yard had George, thirty years in the air conditioning and refrigeration business, he quickly had the problem pinpointed and solved and since then we would say that the fridge/freezer has worked to spec.  Long may it last!!  As many of our more faithful readers will recall the fridge has been an ongoing battle for four years which we have not won until, hopefully this year, we shall report on the success or otherwise at the end of this cruise.  Whilst aboard George also got our air conditioning and heat pump working …. finding the outlet absolutely plugged with a mud daubers nest.  N B  next year remember to plug all inlets and outlets with something to prevent these pesky little critters from getting into our overboard discharges.
Whilst George was doing his thing we also had Mike replacing our galley tap.  We had bought the exact same tap and I did have thoughts of changing it myself, after all how hard can it be?   Well thank goodness I did not attempt it, for Mike had a real battle to get everything fitted properly  and not leaking.   He had also cleared our shower sump and head sink overboard discharge, which had been giving us problems last cruise.  The cause….  yet again, mud daubers which had gone way up into the drain system. 

Another thing that had decided to give up the ghost over the summer was the fresh water pressure pump, which I changed out.  For the first time, I had help from the chap that stores our sails over the summer in re rigging “Solitaire 1”. I really must be getting older but they do seem to get heavier every year !!

It does seem that we had a string of failures and problems this year in getting the boat ready but that’s how “Boat” became an acronym for “bring out another thousand” isn’t it?

With the fridge working and freezing as it should Madam took off and provisioned, so now we are not going to starve for the next four or five months.

The harbour at Thunderbolt Marine was quite busy ,  so just before we left we thought that we would take a couple of snaps of our neighbours … impressive are they not ?  You can have one with nine of your nearest and dearest for anything from $250,000 to $500,000 per week plus expenses!!!!  We can introduce you if you want !

So, here we are, Catherine said to me this evening “at last it really feels as if we are cruising again “ and she is right.  It’s a marvelous feeling and besides it is getting cool at night here in the Georgia marshes.. we need to get south into some warmer weather.

G’d night from Kilkenny Creek. 

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