What can I say abut thumb twiddling? I read, played computer games, figured out what little projects we should undertake and important stuff like that. Ann spent most of her time more productively than I did, but even she had plenty of time to keep track of what was happening on Facebook and reading.Yes, for those of you who kept track on Facebook, you know we spent some time at the hospital. It was me. I have long had a cyst on the back of my neck. The doctors have told me – for just as long – that there was nothing to worry about. Well, as long as it was just a little cyst, that may have been true, but for some reason it started growing. Its size didn’t concern me as much as the fact that at some point it started hurting, especially at night when I was trying to sleep. Eventually, it started hurting a lot. Now, all my life I have been to military doctors and military hospitals. (I know, some people don’t think highly of military medicine. But I do – especially after my Achilles Tendon disaster.) Anyway, in Beaufort, I swallowed hard and went to an Emergency Room at a civilian hospital (Beaufort Memorial). Wow! I was in the ER and seeing a doctor within 20 minutes. Twenty minutes after that, he had lanced the cyst and … (it gets kinda yucky here so let’s just say he did his job.) Although it took longer to finish up the paperwork, I was really impressed with their efficiency AND their effectiveness. I am fine now.
The real question is whether the combination of my TFL (Tricare for Life) and Medicare will pay for the experience. It better J -- or I’ll blame President-Elect Trump (everybody else seems to be blaming him for everything bad that happens anywhere!)In addition to doing maintenance on our own bodies, we also did maintenance on the boat. First, we varnished almost all of the external woodwork. It was as easy as you would imagine. We bought Cetol (a varnish that works especially well on external Teak). Then we cleaned and varnished the teak on the flybridge, the aft deck and the starboard side of the boat (the starboard side was near the dock; the port side will have to wait until we get into a marina with our port side toward the dock). There were areas where we had to do some sanding, but to be honest, I think the combination of sanded and unsanded areas gives the wood some character and looks great!
Besides the brightwork (that’s what we mariners call woodwork because we keep it so bright (at least some people keep it bright)), we had an anchor light problem. It was kind of basic; the anchor light would not turn on when we hit the switch. When I tapped the bottom of the light with a boat pole, however, voila everything worked. Obviously we had a loose connection somewhere. The problem was that I had to take the housing apart to find the problem, but, on a boat, nothing is easy. The anchor light, by definition, is at the highest part of the boat and try as I might, I couldn’t reach it. I could touch it all right, but I couldn’t see inside or take it apart. As it turns out, though, the marina where we were staying had a step ladder! That allowed me to get up, take apart the light and look inside. I found the place where the connection seemed to be intermittent (where the bulb touched the contact) , but wasn’t quite sure how to fix it. We went to West Marine to buy a new light, but no luck, they didn’t have any. I seemed to remember, though, that we had an extra bulb among our spare parts. And I was right! I replaced the old bulb with the new one (which wasn’t touching the contact) and fixed the old bulb so we might be able to use it again.
|Ann (aka the Dremel Queen) doing her thing with the dremel.|
Now we (meaning me) wanted to fiberglass the end of the HPOWAOFFTWOTSS so water wouldn’t intrude and rot the wood. Well, this was the first time I ever tried to “glass” anything and I learned a lot! For example, did you know that once you mixed the fiberglass goop with the hardening agent that you have only about ten minutes before the goop becomes too hard to apply? Well, I didn’t, so I only got two or three rather sloppy layers of glass over the spot before all my glass goop had hardened. Oh well, I’ll do better next time.Ok, now back to Beaufort. We got so bored that we checked with Enterprise Car Rental and found that they were running a special where we could get a car from Friday to Monday for 30-some bucks. Needless to say, we grabbed that deal. We went to downtown Beaufort, to our favorite hardware store in South Carolina, to a breakfast-joint so Ann could get her pecan waffles, and to see some historical sites. Actually, we were surprised.
The first landing by Europeans in the area was not in Beaufort per se, but in Port Royal in 1520. (Actually, the marina where we stayed was the Port Royal Landing Marina.) In 1525, the Spanish attempted to build the first fort in North America. Though they succeeded in constructing a fort, most of the inhabitants died during the first winter. Even without a proper fort or settlement, the Spanish continued to use the deep water harbors around Port Royal and tried to make it the center f their North American Empire.
In 1562, however, French Huguenots landed in the area and began construction, on Parris Island (now a Marine Corps Training Center), of Charles Forte in honor of King Charles IX of France. (Though we did not go visit this year, the exact location and remnants of Charles Forts have recently been discovered on Parris Island and are now being excavated.) This attempt at fortress building also failed with most of the French heading back to France. A Spanish squadron was subsequently sent by Philip II to destroy the French colony. One year later, the Spanish returned to the area to establish their own military port. For twenty-one years, St. Elena was the capital of Spanish "Florida".
|The Historical marker for Ft. Fremont.|
|Ft. Fremont. Isn't kind of eerie put in the|
middle of St. Helena Island?
Finally, the day came. Our inverter doctor arrived. Sarkis couldn’t come himself, so he sent Arthur. That was okay because Arthur had worked on our boat two years earlier and we knew him. It was ALSO okay because Arthur was a former US Army tanker. Arthur put in the inverter, a battery switch and a new fuze (all of which we apparently should have had after the first installation) with ease. It was only when it came time to start everything up and test it did we have problems; it worked in two of the three circuits (the refrigerator and the forward cabins, but it would not work in the salon. Arthur tried everything but it still wouldn’t work. He started a series of calls to Sarkis – as it started getting later and later – but still nothing. Finally, one or both of them hit on the solution. To be honest, they were well beyond me at this point and since it was so late, they weren’t as interested in explaining everything to me as they were in testing. The problem had something to do with the way in which the neutrals from the salon was connected to the buss. I still don’t quite understand why everything worked with the Xantrex inverter and did not work with the Magnum. Whatever the problem was, they fixed it and since we have been using the inverter for a couple of weeks now, it seems to be holding up to real life testing. (Just a note: This was precisely the reason I did not put in the inverter myself. I kind of figured there would be somethin’ … I’m just sayin’!
Ann’s Notes: I know we spent a lot of time at Port Royal Landing Marina, but it is a pretty nice place to be stuck. The T-head dock is not in great shape (after the hurricanes) but it is safe enough and they put us in the inside part of the T-head dock. The currents run very quickly, the location is close to a very big bridge and that structure does weird things to the water when the tide and currents change. The managers are more than nice, they had a car they let us borrow … which we did for the hospital trips. They also have a nice little restaurant/ bar. All and all not a bad place to be. OH…and a Starbucks !!!
We did lots of exploring when we had the rental car. I really like finding new places and learning the history behind them. Beaufort has lots of history. We took a horse drawn carriage ride and saw the antebellum homes in the area. Most of them still have descendents of the original builders living in them. As we travel in the south and go on different tours we find that so many movies were made on location in the south. Once the tour guide tells you the name of the movie and the scene, it all comes back in your memory. In Beaufort to name a few, Forrest Gump, The Great Santini, The Big Chill, GI Jane, The Prince Of Tides, and The Patriot, there are a few more but I cannot remember them all.
|The ruins of the Chapel of Ease on St. Helena.|