We get enough of a break in the weather to leave Lamb’s Marina in Camden, NC and motor to our hailing port of Oriental, NC.

One other thing about living on a boat is about the only time you see the sunrise is when you want to make the early bridge opening.
One other thing about being retired and living on a boat is about the only time you see the sunrise is when you want to make the early bridge opening.

Hurricane Joaquin is still threatening to pummel the Carolinas, but with a couple of days to prepare, we head to Raleigh to get our truck. We are relieved when Joaquin heads west, sparing our shores.

Still, I am not happy about returning to FNR. Truth be told, I am dreading it. In fact, I am downright depressed. There’s been all rain and no sun for far too many days and there is no end in sight.

Endless rain
Wet, windy, and wicked.

Oriental’s unofficial town website www.towndock.net has this to say. “Since this storm/system/front/low doesn’t have a name – let’s give it one. It started last month – now a two month storm – introducing Storm Septoct.

Storm Septoct brings endless rain, howling winds, rising water and localized flooding.  The county declares a State of Emergency.  We are lucky.  We are on a floating dock with 8’ pilings.  We have food.  We have power.  We have Wi-Fi.  We are a little damp and a lot stir crazy, but we are safe.

We are hunting down a fresh water leak.  Our fresh water pump is not holding its pressure.  Thinking the pump itself may be going bad, we replace it.  Nope, the new one keeps cycling on and off, too.  The bilge isn’t running more than usual so it’s a small leak.  But a leak is a leak and we are going to find it.  We stick our heads in every crook and cranny looking for standing water.  We wrap our fingers around every water connection making sure they are dry.  Nothing.  Nada.  Not a drop.  Even with all this rain, FNR is dry.  OOPS…spoke too soon.

We’ve bragged about how dry FNR is. For a 30-year-old boat, she’s surprisingly watertight. But, on this particular morning when I reach for my cereal bowl, water sloshes all over the place. I glare at Steve. Great. Our first leak. Just what I need. More water.

Surprisingly, Steve quickly tracks down the source of the leak. Not surprisingly, repairing it is going to be a major pain. Seems one of the bolts in the sail track has worked its way loose.

Determining the source of our leak.
Determining the source of our leak.

To do the job right, all the bolts need to come out. All the holes need to be drilled out bigger, filled with epoxy, and then re-drilled to the original size, leaving a ring of epoxy so water can’t penetrate the core. That’s the easy part.

What makes this job a major pain is getting to the nuts that attach to all of those bolts. That’s because those bolts are attached to nuts on the interior cabin hull. The interior cabin hull is raw fiberglass covered in adhesive vinyl and foam. To get to the nuts, you have to remove the adhesive vinyl and foam. Removing adhesive vinyl and foam typically requires scraping and sanding. Lord knows how much I love scraping and sanding. And unless you like the look of raw fiberglass, the job is not complete until that’s painted or recovered. Steve reminds me that “someone” once said that there is no point in doing anything on a boat unless you take the time to do it right. I think that “someone” must be a divorce attorney.

The rain finally stops. The sun comes out so spending time outside takes precedence over fixing the leaking sail track.  Our marriage lives to see another day.

Well, hello there, Shadows! Long time, no see.
Well, hello there, Shadows. Long time, no see.

Besides, we found our fresh water leak. The new hot water heater will be here next week. Stay tuned.  Another flawless installation to follow.