The Motor Vessel "Once Around"

The Motor Vessel "Once Around"
The Motor Vessel "Once Around" in the Florida Keys

Thursday, May 9, 2013



Boat noises…God I’ve missed boat noises.  Every boater knows exactly what I am talking about.  You know your boat like the back of your hand and each and every chirp, thunk, grrrr, blub, whhzz, beep or rumble is immediately recognized by you and your First Mate. 
Maybe not so much after a year off!
Yes, despite our best intentions, real life interfered with our proposed east coast boating schedule after we completed the Great Loop in April of 2012.  I won’t bore you with the details, some events that kept us busy were wonderful…others, well…not so wonderful.  Suffice it to say had Carrie and I not picked the precise 12 months that we did to take time to do the Loop, it might never have happened at all.
The good news is we are finally back!   And, we still like each other!
We arrived in New Bern, North Carolina, late last week, provisioned, and sat there until the weather broke on Tuesday.  We didn’t care that we were stuck in port!  To be back aboard Once Around after a year felt surreal…yet we also had the feeling of stepping back into a comfortable pair of old slippers.  And, we could use the time, because our boating brains did need a bit of retraining.  The sounds may have been familiar, but where the heck had we left the __________ (fill in the blank).  It took us those few days to re-start our boating brains, and still we made a few (thankfully minor) blunders.
In any case, Tuesday we made the 68 mile trek down the Neuse River and across Pamlico Sound to the small town of Ocrakoke, on the islands of the Outer Banks.  We enjoyed great weather, smooth water and Once Around performed perfectly.  We grinned all the way, just happy to be back on the water.   We tied up at the end of a dock at the Anchorage Inn Marina and poured ourselves a cocktail to celebrate a successful first leg of our summer voyage.
As we sat quietly in the silence of our first evening out, our minds worked through identifying the various boat noises:
Whoosh-the refrigerator starting.
Grrrrr-the water pump re-pressurizing the system.
Thunk-(one of my favorites)-the icemaker dumping another load of ice in the tray.
BZZZTT-…what was that?
Voopah, Voopah-the head pumping.
Beeeep-the chart plotter…doing something.
BZZZT…there it goes again…
BZZZT…and again.
What the hell is it, and where is it coming from?  It seems almost throughout the boat, although a little louder in the bow.
Now any of you who even remotely know my Admiral, knows that stuff like this drives her nuts.  Me, I can let it go for a while, and hope it goes away.  The Boss…no way. 
So over the last couple of days, we have spent some great time seeing the sights of the Outer Banks, including taking a ferry crossing to explore Hatteras Island today.  But every spare moment that we would normally spend relaxing on Once Around, we have been spent tearing apart every nook and cranny trying to identify the source of the BZZZT noise.  Honestly, it sounds like an iPhone that has been muted, put on vibrate, and set down against the hull somewhere so it reverberates throughout the boat (very softly!).
The buzzing sound is not a perfect pattern.  It will go off several times at about ten second intervals, then go silent for a minute or two, then start up again.  At first it was a nuisance.  Now it’s driving us both crazy.  Or rather, it’s driving the Admiral crazy and she’s driving me…well, you get the point.
We have tried turning off every 12 volt and 120 volt circuit on the boat…BZZZT…still there.  We checked a few things that are wired ahead of the breakers, like the windlass and the bow thruster circuits, turning them off as well…BZZZT.  We checked the shower sump, the bilge pumps…BZZZT.  I turned off the inverter…BZZZT.  Last night I called my “go-to-guy”, John on Poseidon, and even he is stumped! 
I have only gone into such great detail about this so that if any of you can think of something I have overlooked, please contact me with your suggestions.  And yes, I even swallowed my pride and asked the dock master if it was something emanating from his facility.  He looked at me like I had lost my marbles.  I clearly have, but that’s another story.
So, OK, we’re back on Once Around.  I am not sure for how long.  Our summer cruise plans originally involved going all the way back up to Canada, cruising with our friends Doug and Judy from Moonstruck, (which is now Moonstruck II, more about that later), but we are not sure we can take that much time off this year, so we are just taking it a couple-few weeks at a time.  Moonstruck II is somewhere in the Carolinas south of us and should catch up to us in the next week or so.  We plan to at least do the Chesapeake Bay together.  From then on, we’ll see.
Once Around docked in Ocracoke, NC

Yours truly on the ferry between Ocracoke and Hatteras

The ferry system between the islands is free

A passing ferry

As for blogging, I had decided on the flight out here that I was NOT going to blog this trip.  I wasn’t sure I had too many more stories in me.  It seems that was a rather unpopular decision in some circles.  So, when I feel it, I will post.  If I don’t, just know that we are having a blast again…
…BZZZT…or crawling around in the bilge!
Remember…Boating is Fun!

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