Friday, August 7, 2015

Back in the Saddle

One month ago today, July 9, 2015 "Next To Me" inadvertently threw us! Wednesday we semi-got-back-in-the-saddle. After two weeks in hospitals followed by two weeks at home with round-the-clock care and assistance from family, augmented by nearby friends, Bob was suffering a bad case of boredom and cabin fever. We knew "Next To Me" had been left in disarray when we fled by Canadian Coast Guard helicopter, and we knew we couldn't bring her home on our own yet. So we left home at 5.30am to catch a ferry from Port Angeles (USA) to Victoria (Vancouver Island, Canada) followed by a 6-hour drive to Port McNeill to be reunited with our boat. Hard to believe we can make this trip in 11-12 hours by car, but it takes a week by boat!

Immediately on arrival at North Island Marina in Port McNeill, Anne and Bob from Maple Bay, Canada, people we'd never met who were docked next to us, greeted us and said they'd heard Cathryn's radio transmission July 9 asking for help, saw the Coast Guard helicopter whisk us away, and when they came into the Port McNeill marina two days ago, recognized the boat name and wondered what had become of us. So we spent 45 minutes together over a glass of wine exchanging stories. Wonderful, kind people!

The 11-hour car and ferry trip Wednesday had gone smoothly. Thursday Bob verbally directed or assisted Cathryn's activities in the engine room: collecting 8 gallons of antifreeze, fuel and water from the bilge and disposing of them at a nearby facility; completing a routine "fluids check", something Bob normally does daily when we're underway; topping off the oil, draining a bit of contaminated fuel out of the Racor fuel filter; cleaning the sea strainer and more.

We loaded a bunch of clothes and personal belongings off the boat to the car, cleaned the inside of the boat, bought fuel, topped off the water tanks, pumped out the waste tank, and got things ready for the boat to be brought home. And Bob walked to NAPA nearby to buy a new spare serpentine belt.

Cathryn interviewed two people by phone to find someone to bring the boat home and made an agreement with a professional Delivery Captain from Seattle who's currently on an 80-foot boat coming into Port McNeill next Wednesday. He comes highly recommended by someone we know and trust, and over 3 phone calls together, came across as experienced, conscientious and kind. We're eager to have "Next To Me" home before the end of this month.

So being on the boat was good for both of us. It cured Bob's cabin fever, confirmed his tender new skin is too subject to damage and thus not ready for boating underway, and allowed us to feel comfortable the boat is organized and ready for someone to bring her home.

Friday we made the long day trip home. Mackenzie and Matt arrive Sunday for a week, and life is looking pretty darned good again!

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