Sunset Over McCotter's Marina in Washington NC

McCotter's Marina in Washington NC
Sun Setting Over McCotter’s Marina on the Pamlico River

This photo is part of my Stories section in an ongoing series called Throwback Thursday, and this shot is from a marina where we use to have a slip for our sailboat back in 2004. The story behind this photo has actually taken on more significance after seeing what happened to this marina last year. McCotter’s Marina is a medium sized marina located just outside Washington, NC at the tip of the Pamilco River. We use to live a few miles up the road, father up the river, but kept our sailboat, called Jackpot, among the masts you see in this photo. Jackpot was a classic 1976 Chrysler 26′ Sailboat, a boat with a shallow draft and swing keel, something perfect for the unpredictable areas of the Pamilco River. And it seems last year was not friendly to McCotter’s Marina as this video of a huge boat fire on the marina shows, and then heavy damage done by Hurricane Irene.

If you have not spent a lot of time in a marina, it is somewhat of a magical place, just ask my friend over at Sailingbo (and check out his blog while you are over there). The constant rocking of the masts turns the entire place into a giant wind chime. The lines endlessly slap the masts with the periodic metal on metal knocking of buckles and cables. No matter how tight an owner ties his lines around his mast the sound never stops, and it something you hear even when you are away from the marina.

We didn’t get to sail out of this marina nearly as much as the time as we spent in the marina, but that’s not all that uncommon for sailboats. The Pamilco River is one CRAZY place to sail. The Pamlico is a shallow river that runs from Washington, NC down to the Outer Banks, and is known for its unpredictable changes in tides. One day the wind could blow all the water out of the upper river areas completely, and your boat would be left sitting in the mud, and the next day water would cover the marina docks while your dock lines straining to pull the boat back down to pre-flood levels.

Because of the low tides, we had to keep Jackpot’s keel raised, and one super blustery day caused Jackpot’s keel chain to snap, swinging this 800 pound cast iron keel immediately to the extended position, causing it to separate from its hull slightly. We had to move her to dry storage while she was repaired. Nothing is more sad to see than a sailboat up on blocks, but sometimes that’s what needs to be done.

McCotter’s Marina was our second of four marina’s where we housed three different sailboats over the span of 10 years or so, but the sounds of the marina never leave your mind, nor do images like the one above. There is just something so peaceful about the sun setting over the masts in a marina… until hurricane season arrives.

Our Final Full Day in Buloba Uganda Today

Today was our last full day in Uganda. Tomorrow we will head over to a local market and have lunch before we head for the airport and a long long ride home. Today we went across Lake Victoria to the Bethany Village Orphanage in the morning, and back to Buloba to visit some sponsor children, put up some rain catches, and the woman were able to speak with a group of local woman. It was a very refreshing and uplifting day.

Tonight we had a wonderful last dinner at the guest house with our friends from 60 Feet. It was so great to have the two K’s over for dinner (their first names are Kelsey and Kirby), and I think we all enjoyed some casual discussions, along with African Renewal Ministries who came over as well. There were so many things we experienced on this trip that need to be followed up on, things that God pulled together for our team that became a great start. We understand as a team we probably can’t change the world, but we can continue to take some small steps forward that will collectively make a difference.

Tomorrow we head to the airport for our 11pm flight. Our flight leaves about 2pm Central Time on Thursday, and if our flights are on time, we should be back in Auburn late Friday afternoon. This trip has been incredible to say the least, and God put together a team that had so many different individual gifts and talents that only God could have brought us all together like this. As we head home we have so much to reflect upon, so much to process, but we trust in God to take care of the details and to use this trip to fulfill a purpose that will glorify God.

Photographic Look at Lake Victoria from Kampala Uganda

One of my favorite parts of this particular trip was getting to go across Lake Victoria to the Bethany Village Orphanage (see this post on the orphanage). Of course to get to Bethany Village, we had to cross the lake. Lake Victoria is the second largest lake in the world (by surface area), the largest lake in Africa, and is the source to feed the Nile River. Obviously being the largest lake and bordering three different countries we only put eyes on a tiny little sliver of Lake Victoria on this crossing. We were also able to see the shoreline from the Botanical Gardens in Entebbe, Uganda on the way to the airport but I’ll save that for another post. The Lake Victoria we crossed was an amazingly peaceful place. Almost all traffic on the lake was from local fisherman, many who mainly paddled across different parts of the lake while they fished. There were no high-speed motor boats, no large commercial fishing vessels, just us and a few fishing farmers.

One aspect of crossing the lake that was unmistakable was the view we had of the air quality in and around the lake and outward towards Kampala. Not just in the air above us but the water beneath us as well, which was covered in a thick mix of green algae. The photos below were basically right out of the camera but they highlight the water and air quality in that particular area on that particular day. Historically the areas surrounding the lake from Kenya to Tanzania to Uganda have had to deal with pollution on different levels and “is mainly due to discharge of raw sewage into the lake, dumping of domestic and industrial waste, and fertiliser and chemicals from farms” and from factories who dump their waste directly into the lake untreated. [1] I am certainly no water or air expert (and there actually are water experts going on our next trip) but I know what pollution does for photography. It’s great for incredible colors at sunset and sunrise, and nearly colorless at midday like most of what was shot below. It does make for an interesting surreal mix of beauty and a 1970’s Los Angeles feel.

The crossing for us took about 30-45 minutes. As we traveled parallel to the banks we could see small villages all along the way, each having their own routine and way of life. On the second trip over to Bethany Village we took a shorter crossing and landed among the local fishing boats of the area shown in the last two shots below (notice the water in the closeup of the motorboat). As usual the most incredible part that day were the people we met on the lake and at the orphanage.

Quiet Afternoon on the Lake with a Dagger Kayak

The photo of the day today comes from a local lake, but the title caption isn’t exactly accurate.  It was a nice quiet few minutes on the lake until this public lake patrol told us we could only take our kayak (our Dagger Axis) out on the water if we were going to fish from the kayak.  I told him I didn’t want to fish today and he then told me we would have to leave because they only allowed people who want to fish.  The crowds you can see were overwhelming, but we also won’t be going back to this lake any time soon either.

Our 1979 Morgan Out Island 33 Sailboat has Sold

Scott and Deborah When They Bought LAUGHALOT

Sailboats in the Bear Point Marina

Today we have officially moved on to a new chapter in our leisure time life.  We have sold our sailboat in Orange Beach, the 1979 Morgan Out Island 33 which we bought in Tampa in April of 2007.  We had big dreams for this particular sailboat (over the other two sailboats we have owned) but we finally decided the distance from Auburn to Orange Beach was just to much to maintain. Plans are to replace her with a tiny little camper and go back to our camping roots and get to know some of the land and parks here in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida.

We first officially put the sailboat up for sale on June 3rd (For Sale: 1979 Morgan Out Island 33 Sailboat in Orange Beach) but decided by September that we needed to go ahead and sell the boat.  Our philosophy has been pretty much the same every since we got married.  If we are not using it, and well, then we don’t need it and should not keep what ever that happens to be at the time.  Having sold on eBay full time for many years, and the Internet in general, people tend to want to get what they paid for on items when they go to resell them, we know this just isn’t the case (see also What is Your Blog or Internet Business Worth // eBay or Sitepoint?), so, when we want to sell something, we sell it.

This is good for the buyer of course, but when we have made up our mind to do something, we would rather do it than sit around for month after month working on it.  When we started looking for this boat, a Morgan Out Island, there were not many on the market, but the ones that were on the market, are actually still on the market, 18 months later.  Not because they are not good boats, they are, but because these people refused to sell something for what someone else would pay for it.  A concept we don’t get.  So we sold it for half of what we paid for it, but we had some wonderful times on the boat and great memories, worth more than what we paid or sold the boat for anyway.

Now it is time to move on, although we will both miss having this sailboat, she was great.

Continue reading “Our 1979 Morgan Out Island 33 Sailboat has Sold”

Youth Day at the Lake Makes For Fun Photos

Youth Day at the Lake

Youth Day at the Lake

I have been a little off on my postings for the week this past week because my schedule has been so crazy. On Wednesday (18th) I spent some of the day at the Youth Day at the Lake event where, obviously, our youth spend most of the day at the lake.

Nothing can totally prepare a 40ish body for the amount of energy it takes to spend the day with the youth. I met them out at Lake Martin where I thought I would take a few shots of everyone hanging out at the lake. I arrive to find two ski boats and a wave-runner (sea-doo) and several inter-tubes.

I was able to get some shots of all the activities (see complete shoot here) and they all had a great time (how could you not). I was completely exhausted and wondering where the energy I had to do these things went. Although I did get a little burned, even with SPF 75 on, I thoroughly enjoyed doing the photography for and of the youth that day.

Thanks for a great afternoon everyone.

1979 Morgan Out Island 33 Sailboat in Orange Beach For Sale

Morgan Out Island 33 For Sale

This is probably the saddest post I could make on this blog but we have come to the decision that we can not keep up with our house here and the boat we love down at the coast.

I will be posted more photos and information as time goes on but you can look through this blog and all the posts and history of the boat to know what we are selling. It is a 1979 Morgan Out Island 33 in great shape. We had put a lot of hard work into her since we purchase her in Tampa in 2006. The only issue she has at all is the 50hp Perkins motor needs a new head gasket. The Perkins has been serviced, a new heat exchanger installed, filters changed, and she runs GREAT. Starts right up every time, but she does need the header gasket replaced.

Comes with all sails and equipment needed to take an off-shore cruise to the keys or Bahamas. I will post the latest survey soon. We did not have one done as we did not continue the coast guard registration process. Along with all the normals for a boat this size, it also has a GREAT marine a/c and heater unit. We used this all summer last year and this winter and it works great. It is a very roomy cabin, perfect for a live-a-board with the headroom and sleeps at least 5 comfortably. The interior is very clean and in very nice condition. Floors and wood work on the inside are in great shape. Two water holding tanks that hold about 50 gallons of water, a 35 gallon diesel tank, working head and fresh water shower.

To see the history of the vessel please visit the history page, you can also see the most recent survey as well. We had not completed the name change so it is still technically called the s/v LAUGHALOT. The boat is located at the Bear Point Marina in Orange Beach Alabama. You are more than welcome to visit the marina to see the boat. The current asking price is $19,500. The current NADA price is about $23,000 but we have discounted the header gasket work that needs to be done, which should only be about $1500 or so. The marina is VERY nice and the slip is very reasonable at $350 per month, which includes electric, water, phone, and cable.

Any questions at all please let us know through the contact page above and I will be happy to return your email. You can also ask your questions through the comment box below and I will post answers there publicly.

Here are some recent photos. I am sure the new owner will enjoy it as much as we have. We spent many weekends on the boat and enjoyed each one.

Deborah on the Sailboat

Morgan Out Island 33 For Sale

Inside the Cabin












Leave the Boat in Orange Beach to Sit in Traffic on I-65


Well, we had to leave the boat and come back home. It was such a great weekend we didn’t want to leave but all good thing must come to an end I guess. It was nice to get back to the house though and take a nice shower and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.  We left the boat around 9am and took our normal routine (which includes a stop for donuts) back up to North, LA. Along the way, unfortunately, we were stopped by a horrible accident on I-65 that was said to be a fatality. When we finally got up to the wreck, we could see only one car left, a black Chevy Suburban from Alabama, which obviously rolled at least once.

We thought we saw a careflight type helicopter, but we were only about 45 miles south of Montgomery so it would have gone north of us on takeoff. One of those things that makes you wonder why some of these drivers are so careless when this can be the outcome for more than just themselves. At least I had my camera but I wish the best of the family of that car, it was in horrible condition, unrecognizable.

While traffic in California may be bad, we rarely get stopped, but in this case we sat on I-65 for more than an hour with MANY other people. As a photographer, did I mention that I love head shots (and my wife), so, isn’t that a great shot of Deborah.

Update to This Blog

After I got back home I decided that “My Life in LA” needed to be complete. I imported, added, and re-posted all the blog entries from when we moved to LA, which was early 2006, up to this point. My apologies to those rss subscribers would are now spammed with all my previous blog posts. I am sorry, just want this to be an accurate historical record of our life in Alabama, which, at this point, began in January 2006. I did spend much of this weekend working on previous blog entries and updates to my other blogs for organizational purposes, hopefully that work is now done. Tomorrow and this week will be busy.

Nature in View

Once we got back home today we did find a female Red-Breasted Grosbeak at our feeder, along with two males. This was the first time we had seen any females and Deborah and I were both surprised to see them still here at our feeder.

Walking on the Beach is My Favorite Exercise

coldplay is what's on my ipod

All the bad weather stayed well north of us today and left us with the most beautiful Saturday we could have asked for. Partly cloudy, 82° with a slight breeze, and enough humidity to remind us we were actually on the coast. Probably the nicest weather we have had since Deborah and I started coming down here more than a year ago.

We had breakfast at one of our favorite morning diners, Waffle House, then went over to a local public beach access point so I could get in a good walk on the beach. I was going to walk to where I knew the beach was blocked by a pier construction, then walk back. The pier was about 4 miles away, with a nice state park beach about 2 miles from my starting location.

Walking is Great Exercise

I have walked on this beach many times before, and sometimes it can be a fast walk, sometimes, very slow. It depends on the tide and how deep you sink into the sand. Today it was a slow walk that really works the legs, especially since I was walking in my jeans for some dumb reason.

I walked the 4 miles to the pier, then back 2 miles to the state park pavilion and decided I had had enough at 6 miles. I text Deborah who was happily knitting at my starting point and she came and picked me up. It was a 6 miles walk that felt like 10, but it was good exercise and I enjoyed it very much. Nothing relaxes the mind like a beach, a walk, and an iPod.

Flipper’s is Now Opened

A new restaurant opened that we were hoping would be good, since it is right near the boat. It has been several other establishments prior to Flipper’s but it opened yesterday and today lunch was good. I had a grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich with sweet potato fries, both of which were GREAT. Deborah is going to try out their hamburger for dinner. Hard to mess up one of those but we have been to many places that did.

Nature in View

Today with the walk on the beach I had an hawk or eagle fly over head, dive in the water and catch a fish with its talons. It flew within about 50 feet of me, I could almost see what kind of fish the bird caught. He flew off across the beach, road, and back to his nest I guess. Beautiful bird. No dolphins yet today, but there are some really loud party goers two slips over and if I was a fish I wouldn’t be anywhere near this place right now. Maybe later.

Moving Sailing Blogs Together and Moving On

This blog is a continuation of a blog started on the different sailboats we have had but the focus will now be on the S/V Island Zephyr, a Morgan Out Island 33, which we plan to take coastal cruising in and around Alabama, the Florida Keys, into the southern islands and perhaps up the East Coast by the end of hurricane season 2010-2011. Previous entries will be related to other sailboats and when we purchased, what was at the time, LAUGHALOT.

Entries past this point will be on the preparation and maintenance of the [soon to be] s/v Island Zephyr to ready her for cruising.

[update 06-01-2008] Well, admitting defeat is not always a bad thing, we can’t get the repairs going and do not have time to be able to spend restoring the boat to what it needs for a long water crossing.  We will spend some time camping and hopefully someone else will take the boat on and sail it like we wanted to ourselves.