Archives for posts with tag: Potomac

So far, the neighborhood has been busy preparing for this storm. We’re all determined to stay aboard during the storm, with the young’uns encouraged by the 7-20 year boat veterans. We had trouble out of our generator last night and couldn’t get it to start, but after a night of rest and liberal applications of starter fluid, this morning it cranked right up. I never knew the sound of a generator would be so pleasing to someone who is generally only this excited by shoes and clothes.

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We also winterized our water lines yesterday, with multiple trips to Home Depot, where we acquired two 30′ heat cables, eight tubes of insulation, and three rolls of Gorilla tape. This, we’re told, will keep the lines from freezing this winter. And yes, under all that black tape is a regular garden hose wrapped with a heating cable…pretty nifty!!

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So far, it’s very calm, the water more so than normal. If we didn’t have all the warnings on the TV and Internet, I suspect we’d still know something was amiss, simply by the stillness of the water and air.

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When we came home today, it was immediately obvious there was something different – and wrong – about the water. There were what looked like large logs floating in it
and the water looked heavier than I’d seen before. Sure enough, as the evening goes on, there are increasing amounts of some type of discharge in the water. The neighbors are all on the dock discussing it – it simply can’t be ignored. We don’t know if it’s sewage or another type of human or farm waste, but it smells like manure and carries with it all types of trash and dead fish floating on top due to the heaviness of it. I’ve never seen a river look like this before.

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We’ve discovered a tiny duckling living under our swim deck in the back of the boat. I tried to feed it today, but it was having none of it. Every time I threw bread near it, it would swim the other direction as fat as its tiny little webbed feet would take it.

This duck was completely the opposite. Normally our bird visitors are the tiny ones who are after the dropped bird food seeds – this was the first time we’ve seen a duck on the back deck.

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The cooler weather feels refreshing tonight as I lay in bed waiting for sleep. The air conditioner is turned off and the windows are open, which allow the sounds of the Potomac to waft in through the night. My bilge pump will kick on, sounding like a man haltingly peeing in the water. Next my neighbor’s bilge will kick in, sounding more like a rusty faucet being cranked on. His is much more active than mine, making me wonder if that is going to be the next thousand dollar repair. I should sleep instead of think, it would be much more productive, I think.

Tonight the Potomac is still, receding finally after the past two weeks of rain. We took a walk on Haines Point and saw tons of debris washed ashore from the water that had overtaken the sidewalk and accompanying grass. In addition to wood and plastic and other gifts, I spied a large metal sign, too heavy to carry, in the wet grass. It is amazing to me what the water can carry – that this metal sign, or even the Sitting Dog, is so light that it is at the mercy of the water.

The boats are winterizing suddenly. We’re not sure how to prepare for this first winter on the water, but judging from the boat across the water, the nothing we’re doing isn’t good enough. Tonight the air conditioning is on, so we’ll pretend a bit more that summer is still upon us. The sailboat below and the tranquil evening convince me I’m right, even if just for tonight.

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The weekend started off with a relatively unexpected surprise when my sister and her family called Thursday to see if they could come up. By the time they arrived, around 3:30 Saturday am, we had readied the cuddy, toddler-proofed as much as possible, and assured my mother we would not let the baby jump overboard. Although I made fun of her fears because I thought them utterly ridiculous, by the end of Saturday I realized they were completely reasonable. I like the doors open on the boat all the time and a crawling one year old can move awfully fast. If not for her two year old brother who shut the door every single time I opened it, I’m sure the fearless baby would’ve already swam the Potomac.

After a Sunday at the Eastern Market (a DC “flea market” for Etsy-esque crafters and lovers) and the Smithsonian Museums of Natural History and Air and Space, we put the family back on their way to Tennessee and sat down to enjoy our boring, quiet life on the boat. A visiting egret and the southern-sent Katia rains kept us from being too lonely for those who’d whirled through the boat like a southern storm and left us just as quickly.