The things I experience while cruisingThere was a lightning strike close to the boat in Ft Lauderdale and it fried the old chart plotter (a GPS and electronic map combo) antenna.  This is why you carry backup systems, so I simply pulled out my handheld GPS and I had charts on my computer and we continued until I was able to get the part I needed.  Well this week was the week to replace it and since we had to run the new antenna cable I moved the chart platter to the helm station (the seat where you steer).  I also bought a USB GPS for my computer’s electronic charts, paper charts for the entire East Coast (They come in four books called chart kits), and a Wii (this one was not needed, but everyone has a blast with it and I had gift cards for Toys R Us so it cost me nothing).

Also, we have been having power issues (i.e. – not enough) so I turned off the freezer and now the solar panels are keeping up with the refrigerator and everything else on board.  before the freezer gets much more use, I will have to increase the batteries and charging capabilities.

Mark and Megan came back to the boat on Thursday night.  They surprised me with two half gallons of Blue Bell ice cream (they even brought my favorite flavors – mint chocolate chip and cookies & cream).  He packed it in ten pounds of dry ice, which we decided was major overkill since it was harder than a rock.  Of course boys will be boys, so him and I broke the dry ice up and threw it into the water to see it boil and steam :).

We drove their car to Melissa’s house and she drove us back to the boat.  We got up in the morning and went to a pub to watch the Dutch beat Brazil in the World Cup (Mark is a Dutch descendant).  Afterwards we drove the boat ten miles to Melissa’s house at Topsail Beach.  Along the way we ran into a pod of seven dolphins.  I crept us along and the dolphins stayed within 10-50 feet of the boat for around 30 minutes.  Everyone was running all over the boat taking pictures.  It was a blast providing that experience for them.

On Saturday we went to the beach with two boogie board, a surf board, and a skim board (Mark and I were NOT anywhere as good as the kids on the beach with the skim board).  We said goodbye to Mark and Megan in the late afternoon and watched the Surf City fireworks once the sun went down.  On Sunday we drove the boats 45 miles to Swansboro and had the best spot for their fireworks over the water.  We also saw six other displays at the same time around us.

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