...of Batteries, Babes, & Passing Shipmates - 10/19/2011
10/18/2011 Matthews Point Marina, Clubfoot Creek to Cedar Creek, NC: 9.3nm
Total for Voyage: 9.3nm
The morning broke bright, clear, warm, & (more importantly) with enough water in the creek for Oconee to get out of her slip. The old girl plowed her way to deep water, eased out into the Neuse River, we set the jib to 5 knots of wind, and breathed a sigh of relief – a perfect way to start this year's voyage. As Oconee drifted down river at a reflective 2 knots I join her reflection. My mind drifts back to the not so leisurely events of summer.
First, it was time to clean the winter grunge off Oconee, then design a new battery box and install new batteries, become a Grand Father (Malo Dillard Copelan was born to Noel and Celine in mid June), totally rebuild the steering system (referred to by me as the job from hell), visit shipmates Mac & Shirley McVean in Hollywood, FL (Miss Shirley was fighting cancer with a will beyond what most of us can imagine), install a new GPS and depth sounder, visit my new Grand Son in Iowa and hold him in my arms for the first time and heart forever, again fly to visit Mac & Miss Shirley, continue lavishing lots of effort on Oconee fixin' the things she broke in “spite” for leaving her behind last winter (and it was a significant list), and in my spare time get back together with Gigi and visit with her new grand babies (Triplets no less). Throw in a visit along the way with friend, doctors appointments, and life in general and brother you got a full summer of memories and “a pot stirred fully” with little room for much else.
Then there was Irene. For those of you that have heard all there is to hear about how bad she treated the northern states, Irene was probably the worst Eastern NC has seen and an untold story. There were homes around the Pamlico that were just plain gone, washed away, nothing left. My friend Mike Yount had water in his home and is doing his 3rd rebuild....and he lost his beloved Moonraker – washed off her stands in Capt. Sam's Boat Yard and totaled by the insurance company. The docks at Matthews Point took significant damage for the first time. Thanks to the super human effort of Jet Matthews, the owner, they were back in one piece and ready for boats within 2 weeks. He, his dockmaster Paul, the construction crews, and volunteer efforts from friends did an amazing job. If Irene was a cat. 1 (and most believer she was not) then god help us if a Cat. 3 ever hit us.
In August our Shipmate Shirley Mac Vean gave up her fight for life. She was at peace for the first time in 2 years. Mac, here's to you old friend. No one could have done a braver, more loving job of caring for your lady. You folk that are reading this join Gigi and I in a toast to “Shipmates Past” - we all have them and miss them. Miss Shirley will remain in our heart forever.
It is funny. Up and down the water way the people we meet that are “dirt dwellers” always ask the same questions when they learn we live on a boat and are headed South. High on that list is, “How long does it take you?” My stock answer is, “about 2 months.” However, the real answer is, once the dock lines have been taken in and Oconee is free, we are already “there.”
Fairwind & Rum Drinks,
Vic & Gigi
PS – Those of you that want a good Miss Shirley story go back and read the blog on “Bitch Wings.” Yep. She was “that” Miss Shirley.