Projects Round Two

We have spent the last couple months moving slowly down the East Coast, taking in the little villages, bigger towns and the rivers and swamps of North and South Carolina. Who would have thought there was so much to see? It is unfortunate that Covid has limited some of what we could (or would) do, but we still feel we got a pretty good flavor of the Carolina coast.

Moving in in Charleston

We are now ensconced in a marina very near Charleston in Mt Pleasant. Marina’s in Charleston are rather expensive and they all have quite strong currents which makes for difficult docking.

It looks spacious, but it did not feel that way as I had to back the boat down the fairway and tuck it in between two boats. We have VERY little experience with this, only one try previously in strong winds which did not go well. Luckily, it was calm and no current, so we have a positive experience to work from.

Tolers Cove, is full of sport fishers but tucked away in a little spot with no current and quite nice views of the salt grass marshes. Close to shopping but a bit isolate. And the rates are much better than in downtown Charleston where all the big marina’s and boats like ours are. We plan to be here for a month, working on our next round of projects.

Looking across the dock to the marsh grass with a 60’ish foot sport fisher. This marina is full of these quite expensive boats.

The Projects; New Heat

We have been planning to install a boiler for hydronic heat since buying the boat. The boat used to have it, but the boiler was removed by the previous owner as it did not work. The bones are still in place so we’ve ordered the new boiler and had it shipped to our boat broker who happens to live in Mt. Pleasant. It comes by truck from Seattle on a pallet and is supposed to arrive Monday. The boiler not pallet sized, that would be way too big for the boat. Once you get all the parts and coolant for the lines, it adds up to a pallet.

Hydronic heat on a boat? Not quite like infloor radiant which we have at our Santa Fe home. It is basically a hot water heater that runs on diesel, not natural gas or propane. The burner ignites, heating antifreeze in the tank that then circulates through the boat to each room where there are small heat exchangers with fans that transfer the warmth to us! The heat exchangers and fans are all in place, we just need to add the boiler (and other stuff….) The engine does not need to be running (although you can take a heating loop through the engine to take advantage of the heat generated there too), we do not have to be on shore power or running the generator. Yeah!

We’ve taken all the junk stored here out and started cleaning up the stains grime and ish. The new boiler will go to the right in this space.

We have started removing the remaining unneeded pieces as the boilers now are more sophisticated. Clean up, getting rid of stuff in the lazarette, sprucing up the paint where it will go, etc.

It may not look much leaners, but old tubing is gone, cleaned up dirt, oil, excess wiring and antifreeze. New paint in place with a small space heater to hopefully get the paint to dry. You may remember when we did the batteries, it took days for the paint to dry enough to work in the area. Fingers crossed it will be dry by Monday or Tuesday.

The Projects; A New Water Pump

Our water pump is still working, but is leaking, sometimes has a lag in starting and quite noisy. One does not want the water pump to die. A critical component for the boat for anything where we want fresh water, sinks, toilets and showers.

Doesn’t that look nice? It is easy to see this guy needs work. Once the new pump is in place and working, we’ll remove this one, rebuild it and reinstall it as a backup pump.

So, we have a new water pump, a different kind that is supposed to be quieter and is much smaller. Jim has split the lines from the water tanks, to provide an a/b option, one to each pump. That part is installed but we are still using the old noisy, dying pump.

We are changing the piping in this compartment to Pex-A for the water. Jim is standing up in the little hole working on our first fitting.

Today, Jim will complete the install of the new pump and we’ll begin using that one. There is not much space in the compartment, just about Jim size. Not his favorite place to work….

It is a tight fit in there. The water tanks with our 400 gallons of water are to the right. The old pump is in the top left of the pic with the pressure tank on the left. There are also two filters in here, one for water coming into the pump and another coming out of the pump, a small pump for the freshwater washdown by the anchors and a bilge pump (which you can see under the pressure tank.) This bilge needs a good cleaning.

A Pictorial Review

Follows is a short pictorial update on our fun since my last post.

From our anchorage in Cox Lake on the Waccamaw River near Conway, we took the dinghy to the Waccamaw national Wildlife Refuge. It was a rainy morning, but we stayed dry. We ARE walking on a trail. I had my tall rubber boots, but Jim’s are short. We aborted this part of the trail as Jim was not going to make it without slushy boots. Good birding though.
Conway, a few miles further up the Waccamaw from our anchorage has a nice boardwalk along the river and lots of nice murals around town. We found a pizza place with outdoor seating (not this table) and a view of the river in the distance. So nice to have the luxury to eat out.
We enjoyed anchoring in Bull Creek when we came north last year so we went back and a bit further up creek. The Creek here has a roughly 2 knot current down stream. We had strong winds from the north that tried to push us around, but the current was too strong, so we just wobbled. It was a rainy anchor pull for Jim the next morning.
We spent 4 or 5 days in Georgetown, SC. A very picturesque town. The Rice Museum, right downtown, was quite good where we have a private tour with lots of insights about life, rice and culture in the development of this area. This is the Brown Ferry, sunk in 1730. Amazing that is was so well preserved in all the muck.
We rented a car for several days. One day we headed over to Huntington Beach State Park. Yes, the same Huntington’s had a place here which the state now owns. I’d heard the birding was very good here, and it was. We saw 19 species including this very cooperative Great Blue Heron. Cold, but at least not a rainy day.
We had the car for another day, but it was RAINY. We were not going to go anywhere for a hike, but by God, we had to use our rental car. We took a two hour drive inland to Blythewood, SC near Columbia. Jim has ancestors in that area, so, lets find some grave markers in the Brown Family Cemetery. As we got closer, I read more closely and look at the satellite map. It was clear that this is on private property. But, we’re almost there. “Jim, go to the door and ask if we can go to the cemetery.” TJ comes out. We explain and he takes us to the cemetery. I tell him all about Jim’s 3rd and 4th Great Grandparents burred there. TJ and Jim have common 4th Great Grandparents and TJ is living on the family land from late 1700’s. How cool is that? If must run in Jim’s family as cousins still have the homesteads of both of Jim’s Grandparents as well. Not in MY family!
On to McCellenville. A small town with tons of charm and a rather rustic dock. I learned more about docking in the wind. Although slow is good, in wind, one has to use more power to control the boat. A time for aggressive moves. But, we got there. Our coldest night. Around 31 degrees and a good layer to frost.
A very quaint town. The biggest claim to fame is the 1000 year old oak tree with a circumference of over 30 inches. They call them Deerhead Oak, but they are really Costal Live Oaks (Quercus virginiana). I guess they call them deer heads because the branches spread out so wide. Quite a pretty tree. I’ve collected some seeds to try and grow one. We’ll see how it does.

Jim tells me we are off to the hardware store for water pump parts, these will be daily trips for awhile until these projects are done. So, I’ll close for now.