A very quick but important update for those who might not otherwise be aware.
An article entitled “Project Goldilocks” that Christine wrote several months ago has just gone live and been published on the web site of PassageMaker magazine.
As per their byline PassageMaker is “The World’s Cruising authority” so this is a premiere magazine for the community surrounding those out cruising the world, mostly in power boats.
As such, many of you may not subscribe but I am delighted to pass on that the article is now available to the public via the Passagemaker web site which you can access HERE.
Part of the interesting back story for you is that Christine began her professional writing career back when she was in her twenties and wrote an article about her experience of riding her bicycle solo down the entirety of then just completed Baja Highway on the West coast of the Mexican peninsula. This article was published in “Bicycling!” a major bicycling enthusiasts magazine at the time.
Christine has written quite a few magazine articles for a wide range of magazines in the years since and back at the beginning of this year the editors of Passagemaker magazine contacted her asking if she would be willing to write an article about her experiences with Möbius for an upcoming edition of Passagemaker magazine. The magazine publishing business still works quite slowly and the article has only just now appeared online and will be featured in the July/August 2023 print magazine.
For those with sharp eyes who might be confused to see that this article says it was written by “Christine Kling”. No, this is not a typos as this is Christine’s Nom de plume or pen name under which she writes all her best selling mystery novels.
I am SO proud of my awemazing and talented partner and Captain in life for this most recent opportunity to share her writings with the world and hope you will enjoy reading this great summary of the experiences of transforming the dreams of Project Goldilocks into the reality that Möbius now is.
I don’t recall just when or how she acquired the moniker of Ruby the Wonderdog, but it was very early on as a pup and my First Mate aboard the Good Ship Learnativity as we sailed out of San Francisco back in 2007 and set out to explore the world together. This is my very first photo of her the day I picked her up on the 12th of October, 2007 when she was about six weeks old.
Today, almost 16 years later, Ruby weighed her last anchor and headed off on her final passage. As you might imagine, Christine and I are riding life’s rollercoaster of emotions today which includes a lot of sadness but if you chose to continue reading, I hope you will indulge me this personal detour. I’d like to remind myself just how much Ruby was THE Wonderdog as we celebrate and appreciate the profound joy she brought into our lives and that of countless others she met along the way. Like most of the awemazing events in my life, Ruby came into my life when the forces of serendipity and synchronicity combined to have us meet and be bonded forever after.
As I was preparing to head off sailing around the world singlehanded, I had thought I might get a cat at some point but my dear friend Grace happened to mention that her two dogs had just had a litter and she was looking for a good home for the last one. It was the classic love at first sight ,and we’ve been together ever since. Ruby was a “Spoodle”, cross between Poodle and Cocker Spaniel and both her parents, Grace’s dogs, were Spoodles. And when I say she was small I’m not exaggerating as you can see here in this picture with my daughter Lia’s little Papillion “Piglet”. And Oh, the places we did go! We started by sailing down the West coast of North, Central and South America to Rapa Nue aka Easter Island where we turned right and headed West to Pitcairn, Gambier and on through most of the Polynesian islands. Westward to more islands such as American Samoa, Niue, Tonga, Fiji, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Vanuatu with multiple passages between all of these for about the next five years. Aboard Möbius this past year, the Wonderdog sailed with Christine, myself and her buddy Barney, along the coasts of Turkey, Greece and Sicily then across the Med and North Africa, across the Atlantic to Martinique in the Caribbean and up through the Bahamas to Florida and now her final port here in Portsmouth Virginia. Being all Black other than a small White blaze on her chest, Ruby was typically difficult to see in photos but if you look closely or click to enlarge, you’ll see her on the other side of me as we crossed the equator in 2009. This would be our first of seven times we crossed the equator together. In 2013 when serendipity and synchronicity again combined to have the awemazing Christine and I meet for the first time in Fiji, Ruby was there too as seen in this first photo ever taken of us a few hours after we met. That first photo above was taken on our dear friends Ian & Coleen’s boat Summer Spirit in Vuda Point Marina. Ruby fell in love with both of them, and vice versa, probably spending more time aboard Summer Spirit than Learnativity in all the years we were back and forth to Fiji and Vuda Point. Ruby loved running up and down beaches and this one in Majuro in the Marshall Islands was one of her favorites. In multiple passages up to Majuro from Fiji, we probably spent over a year’s time there, the last two with Christine aboard as well. The Wonderdog was always a marvel of balance that would make any gymnast or circus act envious and perched herself at the bow every dinghy ride no matter the conditions and never fell off once. Though she jumped off as soon as we got near the beach as she just couldn’t wait to swim ashore and hit the beach running. Another of her many skills, she became and expert and sniffing out and then digging out crabs no matter how deep down under the sand they went, and then eat with great gusto and lips carefully bared so as not to get bit by their claws. On rare occasion she would take a back seat to her best buddy Barney as long as it meant another trip to the beach. We soon became a family of four when Christine’s dog at the time Barney joined us, and he and Ruby became best buddies immediately almost more than did Christine and I. However it quickly became apparent that Barney was “my” dog and Ruby was velcro’d to Christine from the very first day they met. In any case, we were now a family of four. Both Ruby and Barney were great snuggle buddies, sometimes along side us sometimes alongside each other. Always at the ready for the next adventure, or the next meal. Can’t say that it was her favorite thing to do but Ruby was no stranger to dressing up for special occasions such as being Bridesmaid along with Barney as Groom at our wedding in 2015. And celebrating each Christmas with us as Santa’s little helpers. Along for the ride with all our family and friends such as one of Lia and Brian’s many times aboard starting with this first one in Puntarenas Costa Rico along with their little dog Piglet. Son Skyler on one of our many visits to Vancouver BC. And my apologies to SO many other friends and family I’m leaving out here.
If you believe in dog years, Ruby would be about 110 years old now and Christine and I have known for the past few months that age was beginning to catch up with her. She had lost most of her hearing the past year and was developing cataracts in both eyes, but she was still as frisky as a pup at times racing up and down the side decks, eating, drinking, pooping and sleeping well and seemed to continue to enjoy life together with us. So we’ve been keeping a close eye on her, and this past week she started to go downhill down rapidly. Barney noticed the change as well this past week and in an apparent common scenario, for the first time he began to give her some very serious grooming sessions licking her head to toe for half an hour or more multiple times a day. Ruby seemed to signal us as well as her appetite diminished as did her weight this past week, and she ate and drank very little the last 24 hours.
The decision was not easy but it was clear to all four of us that this fateful time had arrived. So a few hours ago, we snuggled together with our dearest friend and crewmember for one last time, shed more than a few tears and kissed Ruby the Wonderdog Bon Voyage for her final passage in this life, with us by her side.
Over our years together the boats Ruby and I have lived and sailed upon have changed, but I’d like to think that we have both stayed largely the same and as bonded together as ever.
This was us in Fiji in 2009 and ….. …… this is us this morning in Portsmouth Virginia, fourteen years later.
FYI, totally unintended coincidence but yes of course I’m still wearing the same shirt!
We have seen a lot of the world together and watched a lot of sunsets over the years, my dearest Ruby. My rough guesstimates are that together we’ve checked into more than 33 countries, flown almost one hundred thousand air miles, tens of thousand road miles in cars, trucks, RV’s and motorcycles, countless more miles on trains, taxis and busses and sailed over 60 thousand nautical miles.
Ruby, words can not possibly articulate how rich and charmed my life has been since you first entered it. I will never be able to thank you enough for all the many gifts and profound joy you have given me during our almost sixteen years together. I think I may be ready for a world without The Wonderdog in it, but I’m not at all sure if I will ever be ready for a world without my partner Ruby.
Lucky for me, there really is no such world as I will always have and cherish the treasure trove of memories from all our shared experiences in life together.
Thank you my friend, my partner, my beloved Ruby. Fair winds and following seas as you weigh anchor and set out upon your latest voyage with me at your side as always!
At the end of April I published “One Year & 7300nm later; Most & Least Favorite Möbius Features April 17-30 2023” which was Part I of the first year review reporting on what has now been well proven to work the best for us and were our favorite features. Since that post we have put another thousand nautical smiles under our keel as we meandered our way up to our final destination for a bit at Tidewater Yacht Marina in Portsmouth VA just across the river from Norfolk Virginia. That passage totaled just over 8200 nautical smiles and we are going to push the Pause button and stay here for the next few months. If you missed it, I provided a more detailed update on this last leg of our latest journey in the previous post you can read HERE.
This will be Part II with our review of those things which have not worked out as well as hoped, our least favorite features and things to add/change to make Möbius even better than she already is. I’m delighted to report that our least favorite list is much shorter than our most favorites so this Part II will be much shorter than Part I.
As with Part I there is no implied ranking in the order of these items and I’ll group them as Design based or Equipment based.
DESIGN BASED CHANGES
I’ll start with Design based changes and note that given the enormity of this project and that we pretty much started from scratch, we have been pleasantly surprised at how few design decisions we and our brilliant Naval Architect Dennis Harjamaa made that we would have done differently. Even these are all best categorized as things that would be improvements to the current design and build. We have also passed on all these observations and recommendations to the new owners of the two XPM’s that are currently under construction in Antalya right now and to the builder for future new builds.
Extended SuperSalon/Pilot House
Depending on weather, this space is where we spend a majority of our time at anchor, especially for meals and evenings and it continues to be a joy to live in. However, we have come to realize is that it would have been very easy to extend the length of this superstructure by one frame which would have made this room about one meter or three feet longer.
If you click to enlarge the plan view from our design files and the rendering below, you can see the layout of the SuperSalon as it was deigned and built.
As you can see, we had intended for two lounge chairs to go in the space to the side of the dinette table. However, along the way we ended up deciding to install the two drawer style fridge/freezers inside the cabinetry on the Port side which is at the bottom behind the backs of the chairs in this rendering above. When we moved aboard, we put two admittedly large comfy lounge chairs in as per the layout you see here, but after using for a month or so we found that this proved to be impractical needing to access the Fridge/Freezer drawers and so we have removed one lounge chair. This is has been our setup ever since and works out fine but means that when we are having our nightly “dinner and a movie” time watching the large 50″ TV in the forward Port corner, one of us needs to be seated in either the Helm chair or on the settee with the table put down into “coffee table” height. Having that extra meter of length would have allowed each of us to have our own lounge chair which would make our evening entertainment time even more enjoyable and comfortable. I know, I know, poor pitiful us right?!
On the plus side we discussed this with Naval Yachts and with Chris and Sebrina when they were designing the layout for their XPM78-02 Vanguard and decided to add that extra meter and it has made their SuperSalon even better than ours.
We made natural or passive ventilation, especially when at anchor, a high priority as we were designing Möbius and most of the time it has worked well but when the weather is warmer but not quite hot enough to justify running Air Conditioning and when the winds are low ventilation in the primary living spaces, the SuperSalon and the SkyBrdge, are places where the ventilation can be improved the most.
One of the many great things about being at anchor is that you know that all the wind is going to be coming over the bow and flowing aft so we took advantage of this to bring those breezes into the boat. There are three ways we bring natural ventilation into the SuperSalon area, two which bring the breezes into diffusers in the ceiling and a third with the air that flows through the large hatches in the Master Cabin and up into the SuperSalon. Ventilation via the Master Cabin flow through works well but the two independent ventilation systems for the ceiling diffusers do not provide as much ventilation as we had hoped. One of the ways the air enters the boat is through a series of slots cut into the roof overhang in front of the negatively raked front window which is highlighted in Red in this rendering. This location creates a slight high pressure zone that we wanted to take advantage of to help bring some fresh air inside. This is what the real thing looks like. The space behind this grille connects through pipes into a large plenum or box in the ceiling overtop of the Main Helm Station. In the ceiling overtop of the Helm station these five Black diffusers connect into that plenum and are adjustable to change the volume of air and the direction of the air flowing in. All good but there was supposed to be ducting used to bring the air from the grill box through to each diffuser and because this was not done all the air fills up the plenum and loses all its pressure and so there is not good flow of the air into the boat. The second fresh air intake is located up here but is hidden from view when these three solar panels are in the closed or down position for when we are at sea. Those three panels are mounted on a single frame that is hinged on its back side such that it can be lifted up and held in place horizontally like this. Very simple and quick operation to remove two locking pins on the front and lift the panel up and lock the support braces in place. Having the solar panels horizontal can also help increase the power when the sun is overhead. This position creates this massive wedge shaped wind tunnel which directs air coming over the boat to flow through the “mist eliminator” grill my finger is pointing to which removes most of the humidity and airborne salt as the air flows through. Similar to the forward Black ceiling vents this air flows through into a large plenum above these White diffusers you see here which directs the air down into the Salon.
Unfortunately, this system was built the same with with no ducting and so the flow rate is similarly compromised and produces much less air flow than expected. Our interim solution for now has been to use this vertical rotating fan which works surprisingly well and is very quiet but longer term we will retrofit some ducting to the ceiling diffusers which should be much more efficient at bringing the breezes into the SuperSalon.
Up in the SkyBridge there is excellent air flow available because each of the acrylic window panels are easily removable.
To provide great ventilation up in the SkyBridge we came up with a very simple and easy way to remove/replace each of the 8 side and 2 rear acrylic sheet windows so that we can open up or close in the SkyBridge as the weather changes and this has proven to work really well. To remove any of these windows you simply lift it up the bottom of each panel and as you can see here the bottom edge now just clears the cut down inner sidewall section of aluminium U channel that holds each panel in place.
The top edge of the panel slides up into the extra space at the top of these upper U channels so as you pull the bottom of the panel inside and down so it slides out of the upper frame channel you see here.
A good example of the KISS Keep It Simple & Safe approach we used throughout the boat and takes mere seconds to remove or replace a window panel. Even though it is June 11th as I write this, the weather here in Portsmouth has been surprisingly cold, dropping down to 14C/57F last night for example. Brrrrrrrrrr!! So right now we have just removed one acrylic panel from each side and this allows us to slide the other three panels back and forth to block any wind or rain. In this photo I’m pointing at the edge of the acrylic panel that is behind my hand to the rear and the area to the front on the Right is wide open. This different angle might show this opening a bit better with my finger again pointing at the edge of the acrylic panel with the open space forward. If we removed all 13 acrylic panels all four upper sides of the SkyBridge are open and air flows through. Very often too much breeze coming through especially through these three front facing windows so we tend to keep these in place all the time.
So once again, what’s the problem Wayne??!! Best description is the lack of the “Goldilocks” just right amount of ventilation up in the SkyBridge when we are at anchor. Too much if we remove these front three windows and not enough if they are left in place. The problem is that with the wind coming over the bow, if these front windows are in place they deflect almost all the air down the sides of the SuperSalon and even if these side window panels are removed the airflow is such that it all flows straight back along the sides and too little air flows into the interior of the SkyBridge especially up at the front in the lounge area.
Fortunately I think that the solution is relatively easy to create. The idea would be to convert these glass panels from being permanently fixed in place to panels mounted into hinged frames so each glass panel can be open and closed. Perhaps this would only need to be done to the three front facing panels and leave the side glass panels fixed as well as being able to remove the upper side acrylic windows making it an even easier modification.
SkyBridge Windows View Obstruction
The SkyBridge on Möbius has proven to be our most favorite area for both helming the boat underway as well as lounging up there when at anchor so this is where we spend most of our time unless the weather turns cold and wet, which in the past two years has not happened much at all. The 360 degree views from up here are difficult to capture in photos but you’ll get some idea here with this view forward from the Lounge area. and this view from the Upper Helm chair. So what’s not to like Wayne?? It may seem very minor to most, but when you are sitting down in the Lounge settee your eye level is the same height as the horizontal aluminium break between the lower glass windows and the upper acrylic sliding windows. So when I’m looking out that seemingly thin bit of aluminium gets in the way of your view and has become a pet peeve for me. You can sit lower or higher to see over/under this but the views would be so much better if your sight line was about 30cm/12″ higher such that you were looking through just the acrylic windows. The best solution I think would be to build a raised platform about 30cm high for the lounge settee and table to sit on. This could be a welded AL platform but what I think I will do when I have the time is build a wood frame for the platform and cover with marine plywood as a first prototype and see how it works. The floor of this raised platform could be covered with the left over vinyl flooring that has worked out so well in the other living spaces and there would be the bonus of having a very large storage space under the platform floor for larger and bulkier items such as deck/beach chairs and such.
That covers all the most significant design based changes of we have recommended for the next XPM78 boats which are built. Other minor ones are things such as decreasing the height of the stair risers, basically adding one additional stair step to each to make it easier to go up and down these stairs. The current ones are a bit too much of a step up and down for most people and not quite that Goldilocks just right height. Easily fixed during the build process but not something we will change on Möbius and instead see this as a feature rather than a bug by keeping us in good physical shape each time we use the stairs.
The other area where improvements and changes would be recommended is with some of the equipment that is used in some of the systems onboard.
FireFly House Batteries
The most disappointing equipment issue has been my decision to go with FireFly Carbon Foam batteries for the large 1800Ah @ 24V house battery bank. If you’re interested in the fully detailed description of the situation you can go back and read the post I wrote back in August “No Fire at FireFly Batteries?” It really is a very sad and disappointing situation as these Carbon Foam type batteries are a fabulous solution for many boats and owners and I’m hopeful that another company will pick up the patents and start manufacturing more soon. The problem was not with the chemistry but with the lack of quality control at the factory which resulted in far too many of these batteries losing their capacity very early in their life.
In our case, the capacity loss began after about six months of use and has continued to slowly decline more and more ever since. On the good news front, we have been able to continue to use the boat full time every day with almost no problems using the existing capacity these batteries do have so it has not been disruptive to our day to day living and cruising. In fact we have only been plugged into shore power twice in the past year on some brief stays in marinas. This is all thanks to having so much capacity to begin with in the 24 individual 4V @ 450Ah batteries that make up our House Bank, as well as having so much solar from our 14 320Watt solar panels that brings the house bank up to 100% SoC each day. Plus anytime we are underway we have the two Electrodyne alternators able to crank out up to 9kW of power to charge the batteries if we need to go days without much sun. This is another reason that we will be staying put here in Portsmouth so I can decide what to chose for the new battery replacements. Right now this is most likely to be some good quality AGM batteries or perhaps Gel based “traction batteries” but I’m still researching what the Goldilocks replacement choice will be. Lithium is what most people would think of but in our case they don’t make as much sense as we actually value the weight of our House Batteries providing part of our overall ballast and we have plenty or room as you can see above. There also appears to be growing evidence that one of the odd characteristics of both Carbon Foam and Lithium is that they prefer to NOT be kept fully charged to 100% all the time and I believe that this was part of what caused our batteries to fail prematurely. More research to follow and I’ll provide updates here whenever I make the decision on the new House Batteries.
Reducing Engine Room Extraction Fan Noise
One of the other equipment based changes we would make is to find ways to reduce the noise from the extraction fans which ventilate the Engine Room. These run whenever Mr. Gee is running to keep him supplied with fresh air and to exchange the air in the Engine Room frequently to help extract the heat and keep ER temperatures as low as possible. Not able to photograph the whole setup as it is welded into the hull and ER but you can see how the Red boxes are welded to the Aft Deck plate and then the Purple aluminium ducting runs in/out of the ER below.
The existing fans do the job very well and as extraction fans go they are not too loud. However, because the entry and exit grilles are located in these two vent boxes on the Aft Deck the noise they do make travels up into the SkyBridge and can be a bit distracting. One of those things you don’t notice so much until you do. I’m not sure how much this can be reduced but I will be researching fans that have been specifically designed to be quieter and look into whether moving the fans from inside the Vent Boxes to down inside the ER itself might reduce the decibels a bit.
Circuit Breakers as On/Off Switches
There are two circuit breaker panels on Möbius, this one on the Starboard/Right side of the Main Helm for all the 24 Volt circuits that are best accessed from there such as deck lights, navigation equipment, etc. These are all double throw circuit breakers so they control both the positive and negative sides of each circuit and this has al.l worked out very well. Then there is this larger panel with all the circuit breakers for the remaining equipment in all four voltages; 120V + 240V AC and 12V + 24V DC.
The issue is a minor one of convenience. Because there is a circuit breaker for each individual piece of equipment, no On/Off switches were installed where the equipment is installed. In most cases this is just fine but for things like pumps for transferring fuel and water, desk wash pumps and things like that, it would be handy to have an On/Off switch right there when you want to turn on a Deck Wash pump for example. This would simply save me a trip up to the circuit breaker panel so this is just a matter of convenience Easy enough to solve the problem and I have purchased some nice On/Off switches to mount nearby these types of devices and just need to find the time to install them all.
Bosch washing machine
I’m not sure if this is a common problem with this model perhaps but our Bosch washing machine has failed three times since it was installed and has been very annoying to have to remove and repair. The first two times it was under warrantee but it failed again while we were making our way through the Bahamas and so is on my list of repairs while here in Norfolk.
What makes this particularly annoying is that none of the Bosch service technicians seems to be able to identify just what is causing the problem and they simply replace every circuit board inside and reinstall. Even worse, once the washing machine does quit it shows an error code on the LCD screen but as soon as you shut it off, it will not turn on again, not even the screen, until after the problem has been fixed. So unless you take a picture of the screen when it happens there is no way to turn the machine back on and figure out the problem! Fortunately I take photos of these error codes but even with that none of the service techs or my searches online can tell me what the problem is so I’m at a loss to know what to fix. Will just need to break down and have them come out to the boat to replace the circuit boards for a third time but sure is annoying!
I should add that all our other appliances on the boat such as induction cooktop, oven, etc. are all Bosch and are working extremely well so no knocks to the company, just the lemon of a washing machine we seem to have lucked out with!
And that’s about it for the list of things which we’d recommend change on next builds and things we will be doing to improve what has already been a fantastic boat. Surprisingly few breakages in the time we’ve been underway and living onboard which says a lot for any boat and makes us VERY happy. About the best testament that can be given I think to ALL involved with converting our dreams into the reality that Möbius now is and we are eXtremely grateful to each of you and our special thanks to Dennis Harjamaa for his brilliant design work and everyone at Naval Yachts for their work building Möbius.
Hope this review of both what has worked the best and the least well will be of value to other boat owners out there or future ones. I know that I value first hand experience over just about all else and so glad to pass on what I’ve learned in our experience with Möbius so far. Please do let me know if there are other specific questions you have related to all this or of any kind and I’ll do my best to respond as quickly as possible.
We have just completed the last leg of our journey that actually began when we left Turkey back in October and headed West across the Med, across the Atlantic, up through the Caribbean and Bahamas, across the Gulf Stream to Florida and then North mostly up the ICW to were we are now safely docked at Tidewater Yacht Marina in Portsmouth Virginia just across the river from Norfolk. My last post “Skinny Dipping our Way to Florida” update on May 18th covered our travels from Florida up to South Carolina and this is now the final Update from there as we are now safely docked in Tidewater Yacht Marina in Portsmouth Virginia just across the river from Norfolk. We arrived here on May 24th having covered just over 8200 nautical smiles since leaving Turkey and we will now hit the “Pause” button and stay here for the next few months. But I’m getting ahead of myself so let’s go back and pick up where we left off in the last Update.
When I last left off in the “Skinny Dipping” post above, we were anchored in a bend on Bull Creek just off of the Waccama River in South Carolina where we were enjoying the serenity of that great spot we shared with the alligators and waited for three days while a storm front went through.
Our patience was rewarded with none of the wind or other effects from the storm reaching us in our little hideaway in Bull Creek and this map is my best attempt to show you our route and anchorages from there all the way up to our final spot at Tidewater Yacht Marina. The many riverways, canals and Inter Coastal Waterway ICW we were on are too small to show up at this scale on the map so I’ve just put a Red marker for each anchorage along the way and then connected those Red dots with the White line you see here. We first made our way from Bull Creek up to the small Mile Hammock Bay where we anchored for the night with a few other boats. This spot is also right beside the somewhat infamous military Camp Lejeune but was a very peaceful anchorage for us. Next stop we anchored in was just outside the very cute little town of Oriental where we went ashore to the local grocery store which kindly and conveniently offered a free shuttle service to bring us and our groceries back to the dinghy dock. This whole section of our travels through North and South Carolina has been this kind of small and laid back towns that have been a real treat to enjoy their hospitality. And as if that weren’t enough, Oriental also treated us to yet another fabulous sunset on this trip. Captain Christine managed to catch this fun shot of that sunset in our SkyBridge windows. For our next stop Christine found the tiny R.E. Mayo Seafood Company that offered us a night tied up to what was left of their dock. We also took advantage to stock up on freshly caught shrimp and Cod. Möbius continued to perform flawlessly and our eXtremely small wake was a very big plus as we motored past all the many docks in front of riverside homes and marinas along the way. We are doing just over 9 knots in this photo so you can see how small the wake is. We still slowed down when passing through “No Wake” zones but we got a lot of waves of appreciation from home owners and boat owners along the way.
Our travels through these inland waterways has also treated us to a fascinating variety of bridges and locks we need to pass through on our way. The bridges are all quite different as well such as this “swing” bridge that rotates on a central foundation in the middle of the river. Some of these bridges have specific set opening times so we do our best to time our arrival to get there just before they open while others are “on demand” such as this one where we call the Bridge operator on the VHF radio when we are a few minutes out and ask for an opening. And then through we go. These lift bridges are perhaps the most common and vary a lot in size. We missed the opening of this Great Lift Bridge and we had to wait two hours for it to open on our last day of the trip just before the lock at Great Bridge just inside the Virginia border. The Great Bridge Lock (yes, a bit confusing as Great Bridge is the name of the town as well) is immediately after we passed through the Great Bridge opening and we had to wait for about another hour as the Alexander Duff tug and barge had first priority to go through the lock so we all had to wait for him to arrive and get into the lock. We had passed him a few hours earlier but he got the last laugh as he now passed us to be first into the Great Bridge Lock. Fortunately Möbius is very skinny at 5m/16ft beam so the lock attendants were easily able to have us pull in a long way up the Port/Left side of the barge and this allowed them to fit a few more ships behind us to pass through the locks in the same go. This trip has also been fascinating with the huge variety of boats we have seen such as this good sized commercial fishing trawler. If you think our paravane booms are big, click on this photo and check out these ones! They use these booms for suspending their nets on either side but if you look closely you can see their paravane hanging off the end of the boom. There was some nasty weather on its way so we decided to put in a bit longer last day and go all the way up to Tidewater before it got to us. And Wow! what a difference in scenery and culture as we covered the last few miles after entering Virginia and found ourselves going through the large commercial industries and military shipyards surrounding Norfolk. Turned out to be another very good decision as we pulled into Tidewater Yacht Marina in the late afternoon on May 24th with blue skies, sun and almost no wind and were soon able to side tie ourselves up to this long T-dock. We stayed there for the past week and then two days ago the great staff at Tidewater had us move over to our new home dock. I’ve labelled both of these docks on the aerial photo above to give you a better idea of our new home for the next few months. Christine has been exploring the fun town of Portsmouth and was able to find the Memorial Day parade for a bit of experience with the local culture. She reported that the parade consisted mostly High School bands, gym clubs and the like so very much the feel of the small American town vibe which is part of the reason we chose Tidewater for our extended stay. So this is our and Möbius’ new home for the next few months. And that’s a wrap folks! Both for this set of Updates and for our latest series of voyages for the past seven months. We’ve successfully completed our plan to bring Möbius across the Atlantic and up the East Coast of the US to this area where we can now hit the Pause button for several months as planned and let the severely overworked Captain Christine hang up her Captain’s hat for awhile and FINALLY be able to restart her life as a best selling author and get her next few novels written and published. I can’t begin to tell you what an immense set of responsibilities she has taken on to get us here so safely and comfortably and just how proud and grateful I am that she choses to be my Captain aboard Möbius and in my life. Thank you my awemazing Bride!
This is also mission accomplished to put us closer to our Grandchildren and other family and friends as we have definitely been lamenting the lack of time with them. As you may have read in the last few blog posts we have already been able to have our Grandson Liam with his parents come stay with us twice in the last two months and up next we have our two Granddaughters from California and their parents flying in on July 4th to stay aboard with us for a week or so. Life doesn’t get much better than that!
I will continue to keep you updated here and I do have the promised Part II to the review of our experiences of these last 8200 NM of voyages on Möbius that I will get posted in the next few days so please stay tuned for those.
Just before I sign off and post this, I want to extend our most sincere appreciation and gratitude to all of you for taking the time to join us on all these adventures for however many months or years in many cases that you’ve been following along here via these blog posts. Your presence has been a HUGE part of what has made these experiences so special and we can’t thank you enough for being there and taking the time to also add all your comments, questions and suggestions along the way. We’re not yet sure where to from here but that’s what we have the next few months to figure out and will let you know as our ideas evolve and form.