Friday, June 10, 2011

Oops--Watch that hole!

Norm's birthday was great!  No storms. Norm enjoyed 10-year old cheddar with sliced salami after our swim and chocolate cream pie with many candles after grilled fresh grouper dinner. The yellow bug repellent cellophane over the lights worked pretty well -- the cellophane didn't over heat and the bugs attracted were minimal.  A few tugs came by during the night with minimal wake.  Norm says "thanks much" to all who sent birthday wishes.  He says he does not feel old at 67.  But he does feel old when he thinks that he is heading toward 70!!!

Unfortunately it was really hot last night with almost no wind.  Even after cooling down the stateroom with the air conditioning the temp in there was 87, so sleeping was tough.  We're at Demopolis Yacht Basin tonight with electric (read air conditioning) so we'll have good sleep.

Nice 71-mile cruise today up to Demopolis.  A bit of trauma in the Demopolis Lock.  We're still getting used to putting our line over the bollard in the lock and we learned that it needs to be cinched tighter than we did today.  As the water entered the lock, the boat angled with the stern up against the wall of the lock.   Norm is positioned with a boat hook to hold the stern off the wall while Vicki is positioned on the bow to hold that off the wall.  When it became clear that the current of the water was forcefully pushing the stern into the wall, Vicki rushed back to the cockpit to help push off (Norm was stationed on the top deck).  In her zeal, she stepped back to get a firmer pushing position and stepped into the open lazarette.  (The hatch is open when we're running to allow heat to escape from the engine room.  We close it when working back there, but it was unexpected that Vicki would have to assist with the stern push-off.)  In a real stroke of luck, Vicki caught herself with only a few small bruises.  The lazarette, on the other hand, needs a new gas cylinder arm to hold it open-- it got the worst of that deal!  Another lock tomorrow -- no problem -- we learn from our mistakes!

Norm here......Should also mention that getting to the lock was a bit tense too.  We heard on the radio that another boat that past us earlier was about to enter the lock. If we miss this lift, we might have a long wait because a tug and tow was close behind us and heading to the lock too.  (Commercial traffic has precedence.  And tugs can take up to 4-hours if they have to break apart their barges.)  We were 30-minutes behind.  We put the pedal to the metal and increased our speed from 8.1 mph to 8.5 mph.  The lockmaster was a real cool dude and waited for us.  Unfortunately, the other boat had to wait too.  So, we slipped right through the open gates; and, we were not even secure on the wall when we saw the gates close behind. This lock lifted us up 40 ft.  By the way, since going through the Coffeeville Lock yesterday, we are out of tides and salt water.  Yippee!!  Also, Vicki is a real champ! Agree??  She could have done serious damage to herself falling into the hold.  I know of a guy that fell into one and broke seven ribs.  This is a risky adventure we're on.  Anyway, I'll apply all the salves later.

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