Christmas comes early

Our fifth day at Eastern Shore Marina dawned to near gale force winds. We had rocked like babies in a cradle most of the night. I was up every hour or so to reposition fenders and check lines. Some boats took it worse than others depending on position to the wind and their hull shape. We came out OK but clearly no-one was going out on Mobile Bay in this weather. It would reach as much as 29 mph gusts before it began to settle down to a steady 14 mph with white caps about 1-2 feet.

So the day was spent In typical fashion catching up on many chores. 20BUCK$ opened a barber shop cutting hair for, you guessed it, $20. The only customer was Ken himself and Pat did a splendid job.

I scrubbed fenders and generally policed up the boat. Then I decided to tackle the irregular 3.3hp Mercury outboard on the dinghy. This time I would do it right. I pulled the motor and brought it into the cockpit. There I removed and disassembled the carburator. This time I soaked it in naptha which is a strong solvent to clean out all of the tiny orifaces. When I reassembled it, it started easily and ran smoother but would not remain at idle without choking down. This was a puzzle until I noticed that the fuel line where it entered the carburator was slightly damp. A tiny crack in the hose was allowing it to suck air and choke itself down. The marina had no hose this small so I employed a temporary solution of cutting just above the crack and reattaching. I say temporary because this hose is now too short and would eventually work loose under continual running. I cranked the engine in a five gallon bucket on the dock to clean out any salt in the cooling system. When running a small engine like this, which was never made to run in saltwater, one should clean it out like this as often as possible. 

At noon we set out on a land adventure by going to the Grand Hotel at Point Clear. This is on the National Register of Historical Places and has hosted Presidents and celebrities. We had a delicious lunch in the Saltwater Grill overlooking Mobile Bay and observed what the conditions were likely to be when we pass this way tomorrow.

The place is elegant in the old style. They fire the cannon on Point Clear at 4pm daily.

Back to the boat and and a nap before we head out to Fairhope for the annual Christmas lighting of the town. Hundreds of citizens turned out for this festive evening. There were choral groups and bands and the lights were beautiful.

Mrs. Santa was on hand to hear the childrens’ Christmas wishes. This was as much like an American holiday as anything I have seen since I was a child. We all went to dinner afterwards at R. Bistro. To get all our Loopers to the celebration we made several trips in the courtesy van but going home we all crowded into the van together likely exceeding its capacity. Jan said when we all got out it was like one of those clown cars in a circus. Everyone on this photo plus the photographer got into that van.

The Lord willing we will get out of here in the morning. We have plotted out a course and entered waypoints all the way to the Intracoastal. It is 22 miles of open water and the winds and waves will not make it a pleasant ride I fear. At least four boats intend to go at first light. Join us want you?