It’s been a month since we left “Next To Me” at Dog River Marina in Mobile, Alabama to fly home for the holidays. We don’t like it that she’s 3,000 miles away, without us. And we miss her.
However, we’ve been pleased and amused that EVERY week since then, we’ve received unsolicited emails or text messages from Looper friends passing through, telling us all is well with “Next To Me”, and she’s “sitting pretty” (Laura’s words, from “The Zone”) at the dock. Most of these messages contained a current photo documenting her well-being.
Friday we got another one, this time from our terrific Boat Broker, Curtis Stokes, who helped us buy our Loop boat last January. His email said only “Sure is cold in Alabama! I’m glad I’m not washing down your boat today!” and included a photo of “Next To Me” with the back of a person shrouded in coat, hood and gloves, washing down our boat! Turns out Curtis was at Dog River Marina with clients (who we know) selling “Oceanus”, a 54-foot Ocean Alexander, with a sea trial and survey underway for the new owner.
We had a hard time figuring out why someone would be washing our boat (not squatters, right?), so called Glen, the project manager for a list of repairs/projects we wanted Dog River Marina and Middleton Boat Works to handle while we’re away. Glen ALWAYS answers his cell phone when we call. We were thrilled to hear the entire list of repairs has already been completed, three weeks before our expected return, and “Yes, we washed your boat this morning because it had a lot a seagull poop on it, the electrical cord was dirty, and there were lots of footprints on deck from staff who’ve been working on it”, Glen reported. Imagine that!
So “Next To Me” has a new air conditioning unit to replace one that quit working in October (one of two units on board), new caulk on an aft stateroom window that leaked recently, a new window in the salon where we’d inadvertently cracked the pane, a new wire installed to make the bedside reading lights in the master stateroom work again, new transmission fluid, a new oil dipstick for one engine, and new RACOR fuel filters.
So here’s a shout out to Dog River Marina/Middleton Boat Works for getting through our list despite the fact there have been dozens and dozens of Loopers through there in the past month, all with lists of work to be done, as there wasn’t anywhere between Chicago and Mobile with the repair capabilities of this place. And they washed our boat when they finished! And they’ll pick us up at the Mobile airport when we fly back. What a place!
Yesterday the local Pacific Northwest weather forecast called for another storm to begin to blow through, bringing heavy rain and high winds. We went to Seattle last night for dinner with two of our kids and their spouse/fiancée, and driving back home on the freeway rarely allowed more than 45mph speed as the rain and wind was so heavy. As expected, our power was knocked out last night, but came back on at 6:30 this morning just as we arose.
This morning’s high tide brought the highest water levels on our bulkhead we’ve ever seen, as high tide usually leaves the waves 2-4 feet below the top of the wall. We gather this was a combination of a very high tide and wind-blown water from the south.
Our neighborhood is made up of 40 properties at the bottom of a 200-foot bluff, strung out along Colvos Passage and on the hill just above. Homeowners share a 1/4 acre waterfront park, fixed dock and boat ramp. Four years ago the community dock was destroyed when a tree got caught underneath during a storm, and banged around in the pounding waves until the dock finally broke away, leaving behind the pilings.
Two years later a group of residents rebuilt the dock. At the time, our permit required that the horizontal stringers be attached to the vertical pilings using steel brackets. Residents felt this was an expensive and unnecessary requirement. Check out the situation today and see if you think that was unnecessary?
This morning the community waterfront was visited by a seal pup, something we’ve not seen here previously. We’ve heard admonitions to leave seal pups alone, but when he was still there 4 hours later, decided to call the Fish and Wildlife Department to inquire. They assured us seal pups are born in August or September, and their mothers abandon them after 4-6 weeks of nursing, so it’s not a concern that this little guy is alone. They did, however, note that the natural haul-outs for seals in Puget Sound are many miles away, so if the pup is still there tomorrow we could call, and a local volunteer could come to take a look and possibly relocate him away from this more populous area where neighborhood dogs might destroy him. Apparently only 50% of seal pups born each year survive. Sweet little guy!
The weather continues cold here, and still looks better in Mobile, Alabama!