This is the end of the line for Makai’s cruise this year. We have about 3 weeks in the Dennis Point Marina and Campground, then Makai will be hauled out in the ship yard here for some under the water line servicing and summer storage before starting our 3rd season underway. Eric and I have a long list of projects to work on in the next few weeks, but we have priorities here. Like crabbing!
Roy immediately hooked up with our neighbor Tom for the low down on Dennis Point crabbing. Tom has a few traps on the dock and a live crab storage crate. Roy had fun scooping the crabs up as they swim by and crawl up the pilings around the marina.
The bait balls bubble the water around the marina as well. Roy got this fabulous white perch in this throw net while he was collecting bait fish. Strangely enough, he has been unsuccessful with fishing here.
This facility is mostly a campground with permanent sites occupied by campers that look like they’ve been here for years. Many have porches, decks, gardens, and sheds. There is also a large lawn for short term campers that includes a volleyball net, tether ball and horse shoes. Along the water there are tie ups for small boats, many are vacant during the week but the weekend campers bring their boats to play on the water. In our little corner is a short dock that has four slips on either side and a long dock at the end that can accommodate two catamarans. In the parking lot we have a nice swimming pool, small bath house with one washer and drier, the office and a weekend restaurant/bar. Beyond that is a long lot for boat storage and a travel lift for hauling boats out of the water. We selected this location for our haul out because the lift is wide enough for Makai and they allow owners to do their own work. Many ship yards require you hire their yard to take care of all your work.
Roy made the most of the area fishing. He used the cleaning station to fillet his perch.
He worked his crab lines for about 3 days, checking each crab for size and gender.
When he got a whopper Roy would be sure to show it to Tom, otherwise, just pull up the holding pen and toss it in with the other guys on death row. One of the problems with this holding pen is that the crabs fight to the death. So if you leave them in there too long they start killing their buddies and you can’t eat a crab that didn’t die in the steamer.
Roy quickly came up with at least two dozen crabs, Tom threw in another dozen from his traps and they fired up the steamer. First, the crabs were put on ice to quiet them down. Apparently they try to kill each other in the steamer, so if they’ve been iced first they are more relaxed in the pot.
Tom brought out a gallon jug of Old Bay seasoning and coated each layer in the steamer.
They stood in the hot sun steaming up Maryland’s seafood delicacy.
Finally, dinner was served. We set the table with crab claw crackers, little pick forks, a bit of melted butter, and a roll of paper towels.
Beth, Ken and Jeanette from Dream Catcher just arrived from their ‘Connecticut to Florida and back’ road trip, perfect timing for a feast. We had plenty of lobster feasts with them in the Bahamas. Picking crab is rather laborious, I tend to get tired of it before I’m full of crab. We did our best then put away the rest for later. I carved out time over the next two days to sit there and pick the crab leftovers for crab cakes.
Everyone agreed crab cakes were a two thumbs up. I figured that each crab provided one cake. We mixed the meat with chopped vegetables and an egg, and sometimes I added a hand full of bread crumbs for extra crunchiness.
While Roy was out crabbing Eric and I got to work on projects. My number one project was replacing the main sail stack pack and canvas jib cover. The old stack pack was worn thin in places, patches over old holes were coming off, the zipper was severely frayed on the end.
This is the perfect time to change the color to Persian Green, my favorite Sunbrella canvas color. Our first boat was decked out in this color as well. Genny and I laid everything out and carefully measured and cut the pieces.
After three days at the machine, sewing bolt rope, zippers, lazy jack straps, and pounding grommets it was finished.
Our friends didn’t even recognize us.
Next, is the fifteen inch strip of canvas that runs along the edge of the sail. This sacrificial canvas is exposed to the sunlight when the sail is rolled up on the fore-stay. I spent an afternoon at the pool watching the kids while removing the old blue canvas. This job wasn’t too difficult as most of the thread was sun rotten and weak, so I could clip a few threads and simply tear the canvas off. Next is sewing new stuff on. I started in the middle of the foot of the sail. Everything went smooth, just a little struggle moving the bulk of the fabric, but otherwise no problem. My success gave me confidence to tackle the clew and tack corners of the sail. Immediately, the needle broke. Then the heavy duty motor would drive the needle down and strip set screws forcing the machine out of timing. Soon I found that more time was spent repairing the machine than sewing. After a whole day of tearing out stitches, working on unconventional modifications to the cover, and machine repair I got no further. Within about 10 minutes I located a sail maker, had the jib rolled up and stuffed in the van. The limits of my machine and my skills were exceeded by this project.
My mood was pretty low at this point so I made something I could make, an insert for our new wagon. Roy and I went on errands to Walmart and came back with this cool folding wagon. We’ve been in the market for another rolling cart to haul groceries while we’re cruising and I’ve been wishing for a cart to pull around our lunch box and packages at the county fair and a local water and ride park we visit each year in Buffalo. The wagon folds to a compact size, feels strong with rugged wheels and the man at Walmart said he loves it for fishing, but I was sure that beautiful red canvas would get trashed in one outing with the Makai crew. So, a Makai Persian Green canvas insert not only protects the wagon but also allowed me to finish off my day of sewing failures by making something I can make. See the new fore-stay coiled in the ring behind the wagon. That’s a job for another day.
My last big job for the week was a road trip. Our pals on Dream Catcher borrowed our van to move their household goods from Connecticut to Florida last month. The poor old van is meticulously mechanically maintained by Eric, but due to age, unexpected mechanical failures are around every corner. Before they set out on their trip, Eric and Ken had to make an emergency coolant hose repair and charge up the air conditioning. Now in the last 300 miles of their journey the transmission tanked. Then Ken, Beth, Jeanette and their kitty Beauty were stranded in North Carolina. After some discussion and research it was decided that they would have the van towed to the Ford dealer for the repair and then they rented a car for a week to return to the Marina. At the end of the week Beth and I set out on a 14 hour road trip to retrieve the van.
We pulled out of the dealer and headed for the gas station, smoke billowing all over the place as it chug chug chugged on acceleration. Beth had recently driven the van and said it didn’t feel right. We went back to the dealer where they explained the smoke was from the transmission fluid that sprayed when the old transmission failed and that the chugging was also from the burning of the fluid. Beth and I rolled our eyes at the chugging of the engine from the burning off of the transmission fluid explanation, but headed home anyway. Eric later discovered that when they fixed the transmission, they knocked a wire off the spark plug, so another project was lined up in his queue.
Eric has been working full time all week to pay for repairs and parts while I sew, Roy crabs and the girls play with Jeanette. The adults have been taking turns as pool monitors as we all try to survive the hot humid days of southern Maryland’s summer. Eric squeezed in a few projects as well. In the last few months of sailing the the Bahamas we noticed that our wind direction indicator was off. You could look 70 feet up to the top of the mast and see that it wasn’t pointing into the wind. Eric ordered a new unit and went up to remove the old one. Check it out, the plastic melted or something and isn’t straight.
A couple of trips up to the top of the mast and Eric had a new wind direction indicator installed.
Eric also started delegating and training the crew in the area of repair projects. Our deck hatches have this nifty handle that twists to latch and then lays flush so you don’t stub your tow. The handles in the cockpit had corroded right off. Roy and Genny were each tasked with replacing a handle. The project required the use of channel locks and an allen wrench for the set screw.
Roy also replaced the shower head on our back step swim shower.
Genny put her new sewing machine to good use replacing the velcro on the van’s curtain tie backs.
I went back to cleaning projects. The bottom of the dinghy was covered with marine growth and tannin from the brackish water in the rivers we anchor in. I also scraped and scrubbed the grill grease that caught on fire last week.
The girls were tasked with cleaning the canvas with soapy water. Yippee a fun thing to do on a hot day.
Eric removed the six vertical blinds around the inside of the cabin. They were dirty and covered with disgusting black mold. On a recommendation from the Leopard Cat forum, we used Lysol Mold and Mildew Blaster. Aside from a little sun fading, they look sparkling new.
On our last shopping trip in town, we stopped at JoAnn’s where the girls picked up a few crafts and a sundress fabric with the stretchy top already prefabricated. They had fun making their own dresses.
We had a big week, very productive and plenty of rain to keep us on our toes. The rain came down in buckets, you couldn’t run from the car into a store without getting soaked. Often the rain came down horizontally because of the strong wind and the lightning gave us a good show. This is all a great experience for a bunch of California kids where the heat is dry and it only rains a few days a year.