We really enjoyed our first week back in the US at Charleston City Marina after our month-long passage from Dublin via Horta. It was hard to believe that a few months earlier we were in Farsund, Norway and frozen in with ice so thick we could walk on it and now we were in Charleston, pictured above, with a water temperature of 86F (30C) and an air temperature of 79F (26C).
That week after landing in Charleston was a busy one, where we tackled two major boat projects: replacing the main engine exhaust gaskets and unblocking a plugged sanitation house. We also took delivery of many more packages, including several items for our upcoming road trip across the US to Seattle.
Below are highlights from May 28th through June 7th, 2021. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.
One of the many items we ordered from Amazon was a bed for Spitfire. Here he is enjoying his new digs.
We’ve not had to put our sun protection window covers on since Florida in 2017. Here Jennifer is lubricating the snaps prior to install.
Position: 32°47.22’N, -79°57.44’W
At the nearby AT&T store to setup local cellular plans.
Position: 32°47.21’N, -79°57.44’W
Replenishing our produce supply from the excellent selection at Publix grocery store.
Relaxing in the cockpit on our second night in Charleston. Photo courtesy Steve Hemingway of Nordhavn 63 Asturias.
The day head was not flushing properly. We took it apart and found the joker valve was hardened up and not sealing. It’s still not flushing properly, so sadly, it’s likely a problem between the head and the blackwater tank.
Carry Bag with Slideouts
Spitfire inspecting his Maskeyon carry bag. This is the first new bag he’s ever had. It’s a cool design where all four sides expand in much the same way that some recreational vehicles have slide-outs to get more space.
Taking on 1,573 gallons of diesel using the super-convenient in-slip fueling at Charleston City Marina. We were expecting to need 1,569 gallons, which is only 4 gallons or 0.3% less than we actually took on. The Maretron pressure-based fuel-level sensing system is quite accurate (see Fuel for the Crossing).
We’re well along in filling the port side, and the starboard side is sitting at a remarkably low 17.4 gallons.
After a pretty miserable day spent clearing the wastewater line blockage, we found a bag of delicious treats with a wonderful note from Trevor Pavone and family, who are building Nordhavn 6082 Another Road.
Position: 32°46.76’N, -79°56.71’W
The beautifully-restored Gaillard-Bennett House in Charleston, originally built about 1800. The property also has a wonderful garden of similar footprint to the house. We walked past the house en route to picking up a rental car.
College of Charleston
Position: 32°46.93’N, -79°56.28’W
Sorority houses at the College of Charleston campus.
One of our many orders to Charleston was to replace our aging wine glasses and crockery. Unfortunately two of the wine glasses arrived broken, but Crate and Barrel promptly sent us replacements.
The dock we are moored on at Charleston City Marina, called the “Megadock”, is busy with boats coming and going, including several superyachts. This impressive sailboat just arrived.
The replacement exhaust gaskets arrived today. We had a tough time sourcing them but Dwight Allen, General Service Manager at Cascade Engine Center, helped us out. These are high-quality gaskets rated at 1150°F (621°C).
Preparing Upper Gasket
Technically these gaskets should work fine installed dry, but here James is applying a thin layer of Permatex high-temperature exhaust sealant.
The first phase of reassembling our exhaust: attaching the wrinkle belly upper flange.
Preparing Lower Gasket
Getting ready to install the 4-inch-to-5-inch adapter lower flange gasket.
Tightening the lower flange bolts on the 4-inch-to-5-inch adapter.
Tightening up the wrinkle belly lower flange.
Ensuring that there are no leaks as the exhaust comes up to temperature.
Performing the 46th oil change on the main engine at 12,425 hours.
A happy James with our engine room back to its normal look.
The Charleston City Marina pumpout boat, Bow Movement. We loved the name, reminscent of the father-and-son two-boat pumpout team in the Seattle area, PumpMeOut, where the boats are named Number 1 and Number 2.
Charleston City Marina
Evening view from our aft camera to busy Charleston City Marina. We’re really enjoying our time here. It’s hard to believe that a few months back we were in Farsund, Norway and frozen in with ice so thick you could walk on it and we’re now in Charleston where the water temperature is 86F (30C) and the air temperature is 79F (26C).
Spitfire may be nearly 18 years old, but he can still pounce like a kitten when he spots some prey. Here he’s chased a small crab underneath our cockpit table and it trying to get a good angle to flush it out.
Wing Engine Remote Start
We like to run our engines every three weeks to get oil up on all parts and avoid condensation build-up and interior engine rusting. The generator and the main engine have auto-start support, so if the shore power fails, one of these engines will be started to protect our batteries, fridge and freezer loads.
It is unlikely that either of them will start while we are away, since the power is very reliable in Charleston City Marina. But, as a side-effect of autostart being installed on these two engines, they also have remote start, meaning both the generator and the main can be started with the push of a button from anywhere in the world. We seldom use this, since we’re so rarely away from the boat for more than three weeks at a time, but it’s nice to have.
Since we have at least a couple of periods where we’ll need to be in Seattle for longer periods of time over the next few months, we will use this remote start capability. And we decided to add remote start to the wing engine as well. Here James is enabling this support on the wing through the Northern Lights Wavenet control panel.
Main Engine Air Filter
We clean our main engine air filter every 3 months or 500 hours. It’s a gigantic filter, so never very plugged up at all. This time we found it in really rough shape. What had happened is that when the exhaust started leaking on the Atlantic crossing, it put a thin layer of soot all over the engine room which was annoying and took a long time to clean, but didn’t pose mechanical risk to the boat. What we didn’t realize is all that soot was completely plugging up the air filter and likely leading to less-efficient operation.
Normally when we clean the filter, we just vacuum off the exposed dirt, occasionally back-spray it with a light spray of compressed air. But it’s a real mess this time, so we went with a full clean. For a full clean, we use K&N filter cleaner, spray on the cleaning chemicals, wait 10 minutes, wash the filter out thoroughly, dry it in the sun and finally, spray on the thin oil red oil coating that increases the effectiveness of the filter system. We don’t need to do that often, but we definitely did this time, and the filter is back to its normal nice, clean state.
Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.
On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.