Monday, December 31, 2007

Phoning Home




We are now in Green Turtle Cay where we will be for a few days. There is a "blow" expected tomorrow night, and it is expected to howl over 30 knots. So, we have picked up a mooring and hope it is well founded. It was the last one, and a bear to get a hold of. With the help of Ed on Midwatch, we picked up the mooring chain, then walked with Ed and Beep to see this beautiful island. We checked out the two restaurants and their menus for tonight, New Year's Eve. At $100 a head, it is a tad beyond our budget (although Peter
doesofficially retire effective today).

Today we will explore Black Sound (we are in White Sound here). At 4:00 there is a hors d' pot luck on the beach for all the boats here in the harbor. There is a Junkanoo here tomorrow midday, and hopefully the cold front will hold up.

Pictured is Peter, as his blackberry has no signal he will try anything for a final call to the office.

OH! Ed from Midwatch turned us on to Skype, an internet service that will allow us to make phone calls for 2 cents a minute (as compared to nearly $3/ currently). We downloaded the software and borrowed Midwatch's headset to place a few calls, it works great! But, we will need an internet connection and our own headset, which I have ordered to be shipped to our first visitors in a few weeks. Way cool.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Manjack Cay

 
Posted by Picasa


We had heard a lot about Leslie and Bill who own a home on Manjack and are very welcoming to cruisers, and today got to meet them. We walked through their "woods" where bananas, grapefruit and assorted other fruits and vegetables are growing, through to the beach. There, we picked up flotsom and jetsom that had washed ashore and had a good walk with Ann from catamaran Peace, Ed and Lisbeth from Aquaelle, and Beep from Midwatch (in the picture with Peter). Afterwards Bill gave us all a ride on his power boat through their mangrove creek, where Aquaelle and Peace intend to ride out the front coming through next week(too shallow for us).

So today we are just hanging out. Tomorrow we plan to pass over to Green Turtle Cay where there is a snug harbor and a Junkanoo on New Year's Day. The holding is OK (read, not great) so if we can pick up a mooring we may do that. We will miss a pot luck being put together here, but want to beat the rush to the harbor.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Allan Pensacola Cay

 

This Cay is actually two cays that were joined together following a recent hurricane. On the island there is a spot where cruisers hang mementos with their boat names on them. When our friends Vickie and Len visit we want to return to apply a proper sign Many have survived for years. Anchorage here was good, although it was pretty calm.

We joined Lisbeth and Ed for dinner on Aquaelle. Tomorrow we will clear customs (shh, we should not have landed here until we cleared), anchor in Manjack Bay, and say goodbye to our new friends as we move on and they visit with friends with a home on the Cay. It has been so good for us to have these experienced Bahamas cruisers to show us the way. And it turns out they are great people too. We will look them up at their gallery in Seal Cove, Maine when we cruise there next year.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas in the Bahamas!

Thanks to the encouragement of our new sailing friends, Ed and Lisbeth, we took off with them Christmas morning about 9 am following heavy rains. At first, the seas were very lumpy, with a large swell coming from the northeast. Our friend Len would not have liked it. After a few hours, the swell flattened out a bit and we mostly motored over the stream, which took probably about five hours. We eventually were able to sail for a few hours. The depths go from thousands of feet to 10 when you cross onto the Bahamas banks, and the seas become like pancakes. I am sure the water changed color too, but it was too dark to see. Around 10 pm after clearing Memory Rock and approaching Mangrove Cay both boats dropped their anchors randomly along the banks, which is a common practice. We slept, but a bit fitfully.

Waking up the next morning was amazing, the water is the color of a mermaid's eyes and the 1950's turquoise kitchen color. We motored again to Great Sale Cay, where we met up again with Wind Kist 4 and Butterfluge, two boats we met in Lake Worth. We had a swim, brrr! and talked sailing over cocktails with Aquaelle's crew. Now, we are motoring again to Allan Pensacola Cay, where Ed is taking us ashore to introduce us to Poisonwood, which apparently is as nasty as it sounds. Tomorrow, onto Spanish Cay where we will clear customs.

Weather is great, 80's and sunny, little wind that we can use. But all is very good.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve at Lake Worth, Florida

 

If you notice this handsome man is posing in front of the only derelict boat anchored in this part of Lake Worth, in front of a boat named "Restless". What you may not be able to notice is that this derelict (the boat, not my husband) is from the homeport of Wicomico Church, Virginia. This is where our property is, and where we will eventually become landlubbers. Quite a coincidence, and some how as meaningful as to this voyage as Pecan Sandies.

Having discovered this boat, and met some wonderful folks here in the anchorage, we are tired of being restless and think we may be able to move on. Soon, very soon.

While returning from doing laundry with a new friend, Lisbeth, we cracked up when we realized it is Christmas Eve. Peter is now dragging out our one foot fake Christmas tree, which I will decorate this evening. Now we are off to dink around the anchorage and discuss weather with other Bahama bound sailors.

I hope Santa finds us in this anchorage.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hell No, We Didn't Go

 


All the necessary ingredients were there for a crossing, but starting around midnight things began to change. The winds were building beyond forecasted levels, and the concern that they would continue to build crept into our thinking. Several boats, driven by old salts with loads of experience, had left but remained in radio range and were complaining about the conditions being "snotty", etc. Think about it. Winds were on the nose, waves were knocking down forward progress. After several hours at it, many boats helmed by those with much more experience that we have threw in the towel, and sailed many hours back into the inlet. Sartre's delight.

We kept discussing whether or not to go with our buddy boats, and it seemed that no matter what time we decided to caucus, as soon as we did, the heavens opened up a splendid rainfall. Bad seas, bad winds, and now rain. No thanks!
At 3:00 am we decided winds might gust to over 30 knots based upon our research, and we decided to bag it, and hit the hay. Although we set the alarm for 4:00 for the next board meeting, we merely turned it off when it blared.

So, we did not go. Instead, we moved from one anchorage to another, touched ground and then ran hard aground, took on fuel and water, and are following a possible opportunity to cross Saturday night. However, that window looks short. The next chance, per forecast, is Christmas evening.

So I leave you with this picture, one of my favorites, that we took in the NY Harbor, a fireboat running a drill. We know how it feels. Christmas in the Bahamas? Not the first goal I did not make. Eventually...
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Planning for the Bahamas

 

When Peter and I planned our first sailing trip all those many moons ago, we sat down in January with all of our books and charts and figured out where we would be every minute of our two week vacation in late July. We plotted buoy to buoy, calculated estimated time of arrival. Our Power Squadron instructors would have been very proud.

Now that we are getting ready to cross over the Gulf Stream and for the first time leave our wonderful country we have finally dug out the charts and guides. This is about a 60 mile trip; after about 5 miles we will lose sight of land and won't regain it until about 4 miles out of West End, when hopefully we will see a tall red and white water tower. There are few buoys or other aids to navigation in the Bahamas, you figure out where you are by reading the guides that say things like "anchor by the white house with the pink shutters". Hopefully no one paints in the Bahamas.

We have been monitoring the VHF waiting for someone to announce their departure for West End. Only one boat, a trawler planning on 8 knots, came through; too fast for us. A bunch of boats left this morning, planning on an overnight trip to the Abacos. Some aborted. As we plan to leave tonight, no worries yet about finding a crossing buddy.

Monitoring the main frequency, I heard Bay Wolf speaking with another boater, and hailed him after their conversation. We started our ICW adventure with Bay Wolf, and here we are, 2 months later, in the same anchorage. Alex and Lorrie are leaving for West End around 4am tomorrow. So if the Captain is willing to delay a bit, we will have company. Hopefully we will hook up with several boats doing the crossing this evening.
Posted by Picasa

More Planning!

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
Meet Rick on Sojourner, which is headed for Memory Rock and had helped us with some anchorages.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
Today the forecast indicates that we may be able to leave Thursday night for the Bahamas, with the seas settling down and the winds favorable. We called and made a reservation at Old Bahama Bay at West End on Grand Bahama Island. It cannot come too soon.

Friday, December 14, 2007

And so is Christmas

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
We continue to wait here in Palm Beach for good weather, which sooner or later will come, along with Christmas. I am trying not to make myself crazy over this weather delay. Thank you all for your phone calls and emails telling us how awful the weather is up North. It makes the rain bearable.

As Olga passes we are being belted with rain. Today through Sunday, thunderstorms are forecast, and Monday and Tuesday, north winds predicted. All not good for our crossing. Chance of tstorms for tonight are less than 20%, but having been hit with lightning once, we don't want to think about a Gulfstream crossing with the potential hanging over our heads.

So, we wait. Tonight or tomorrow we move from the marina to the anchorage.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Mystery Friend

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
We had a fantastic overnight sail from Cape Canaveral to Lake Worth (Palm Beach), with winds of 14-18 knots and OK seas. Sailed the whole way. Arrived at Lake Worth at daybreak, about 2 hours before our most aggressive projection. Tomorrow we will take a slip after lollygagging all day today. From there, we will do our final provisioning for the Bahamas and begin to follow weather closely for our crossing.

One of us took a picture of this creature although neither of us can recall it! Any guesses? We are in the right whale habitat area, so I wonder if we have captured a shot of this endangered species.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Happy Hanukkah, We are Back in the Sunshine State



We are blessed to have friends like the Rosenzweigs who have shared their home, their children, their doggies, their refrigerator, their cars, their advice, and their holiday celebrations with us over the years. They sheltered us during Peter's mourning, and while we dealt with our doctors and Peter's last visit to his office. Thank you guys.

We are back in Florida with plans to leave Cape Canaveral (where a shuttle launch is planned coincident with our own take off) tomorrow. We have figured out why we have had setbacks during this voyage: Pecan Sandies. We ALWAYS start a trip with these luscious, fatty cookies, but in out attempt to be healthy, did not this time. Well, today the Pecan Sandies (OK, reduced fat version) were loaded aboard. We believe we have broken the hex. Good winds and seas are forecast for a trip to Lake Worth (near Palm Beach). We plan to leave around noon for a 21 hour-ish trip.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Remembering Poppa Al

 

Dad decided. Live long, die fast. Although we all wanted him to make it to 100 years, he decided he had had enough and fortunately, retired from this place before pain had the opportunity to take over. Dad was always in charge.
It is so hard to believe that a year ago we sat in his assisted living facility singing Christmas caroles together. No kidding. He knew every word.

He was an incredible man. We had a rough start together, but finished beautifully. In the hospital before he passed on, he whispered to me, "I am happy". Can you think of a better frame of mind to leave this earth with?

Thank you for your prayers.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Live Life

Peter and I are staying at the Rosenzweig's while Peter's 99 1/2 year old father is fighting to make 100. There are so many things wrong with Dad that it is hard to fathom what is the right thing for him, although his will to continue is incredible. It is very difficult to be a vagabond in times like this, but because of times like this, it is why we are doing what we are doing. Each day we awake to a mystery.

So, please say a prayer for "Poppa Al", if you are fortunate enough to still have your parents, call them and tell them that you love them. Live life today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Blues and a Wild Ride

Before we left Fernandina Beach, we heard an announcement for the St. Mary's Thanksgiving Net. A Net is like a party line, it is usually organized by one person for a specific reason, all can listen in and contribute or not to the conversation. This net, which we monitored, was all about the plans for the Pot Luck Thanksgiving Dinner being organized by the cruisers. The host asked for boats to announce themselves if they intended to participate, and I would say about 20 boats added their names. The host then asked each participant to volunteer what they would bring to the meal. On Tuesday and Wednesday nights a potluck hors d'oeuvre get together is planned. Unfortunately, our plans were to move on, so we could not join in. My holiday depression deepened. I could have made a great pumpkin cheesecake.

We left around 7 am the following day with a 30 hour overnight trip in store, this time to Cape Canaveral. This port in our past was the origination point for what we refer to as The Sailing Trip from Hell. Six years ago our friend Len helped us move the boat which we had just bought up the Florida coast. He joined us here in Cape Marina, and he and Peter barfed all the way up to Jacksonville on an overnight trip with death-threatening seas and winds (well, at least more than we expected). And all this on a boat with which we were not familiar. It leaked, the engine would not start, the heads backed up. It was horrible. So, the local propensity to mis-state the weather continued with this trip. Winds were big, seas were big, but this time we understood what a great boat we had, and I did not serve Beef Bourgouinonne with a rich wine sauce to stir up the gastic juices. We made incredible time and had a good trip, although sleep did not come easy. Incidentally, following The Sailing Trip from Hell, the boys got off the boat and headed for beers and fried food. Seasickness is soon forgotten once land is embraced.

The weather forecast stinks, lots of rain and thunderstorms predicted over the next several days. So, we have decided to visit my aunt, who is two hours away. Tomorrow we will rent a car and stay with her through at least Saturday. Ahh, home for the holidays with family! Better than a Pot Luck.

Monday, November 19, 2007

At Peace with the Dolphins



On Saturday morning we left Charleston with a 40 hour trip through the night to Fernandina Beach FL ahead of us. We awoke to freeze warnings, but were OK being near the coast. The trip was relatively uneventful although we had to motor except for 2 hours (which time was a gift to my husband so he could sleep without the engine noise pounding in his ears). Forecasted light winds did not happen, instead we had 20 knots which would have been great, had they not been on the nose and therefore not sailable. The wind churned up the seas, also right on the nose, and slowed our progress to a little over 4 knots, while we plan for 5 and hope for 6. At daybreak, the dolphin congregation arrived. Perhaps 10 of them, slowly approaching the boat, under sail at the time, and racing its length to jump at the bow wave. I let the Captain sleep, although I now regret it. But it was my time with these beautiful creatures.

Amazingly, most of them had lacerations on their dorsal fins, likely due to run-ins with boat propellars. Yet, they still do this morning ritual. I am thankful.

Arrived Fernandina Beach in the St. Mary's inlet, and we are now in Florida. Prone to strong currents, we were happy to find the last mooring available at Fernandina Harbor Marina for $15. Many anchor here off the mooring field, it looks OK, but if you don't have to worry about the strong current resetting your anchor, why bother?We have no idea where we will spend Thanksgiving, and I am blue. I miss you all. But we are finally getting into the groove of liveaboard life.

Charleston, SC

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
We headed to Charleston to sit out the predicted blow coming through, and took a slip at Charleston City Marina, a first class operation with very scary slips. The current runs around 3 knots and it is crazy watching the boats arrive and depart. Peter absolutely nailed his approach, putting our 44 foot boat in between two others in a 50 foot space. Vickie, you can imagine the knot in my stomach! Spent 3 days here, mostly shopping. Had some good Southern cooking and some bad Southern cooking, the good stuff at Magnolias, where we had a long lazy lunch.

Sorry gang, although I added a few items to Willow's holiday bundle, my usual exchange of clever :) gifts ain't happening. This picture is from the market in Charleston, local crafts reasonably overpriced. I really would have liked a seagrass basket, but passed due to fear of mildew.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cape Romaine Wildlife Refuge

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
On Tuesday we had an intentional slow start out of Georgetown, after we had a long walk and bought fresh shrimp in town. (There are a lot of shrimpers calling Georgetown their homeport.) Then we picked up a weather report, and heard gale force winds being forecast. Not wanting to be at an iffy anchorage, we were lucky to pick up a phone signal, and made slip reservations in Charleston for Wednesday and Thursday.

Tuesday night we anchored in Awendaw Creek on a Wildlife Refuge. This night, no winds were forecast thankfully since marshes provide little protection. We saw tons of birds which our daughter in law Lisa could name for you, and had dolphins dipping off our stern for our cocktail hour entertainment. Peaceful night in a lovely location. We have just arrived in Charleston where it is 75 degrees!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lap of Luxury post Overnight

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
We left Beaufort on Sunday at 9:45 in the morning and had figured we would reach Charleston two days later. About 12 hours into the trip, the Captain announced that "we" had made an error in our calculation, and we would arrive early, but in the middle of the night. We had been in Charleston before, but always prefer to approach an inlet in daylight. But, oh well.

We later figured out that we could enter Winyah Inlet near Georgetown, SC in daylight, and indeed, we chose that option. We knew we would have current against us slowing our trip in, but we did not bother calculating this, and a trip we thought we take 2 hours took five. Have you noticed how sloppy one gets in retirement?

From our books we chose to stay at the Harborwalk Marina, because: 1. it had a nice name; 2. it was closest to town, and 3. it had newly renovated docks. THEY LIE! The picture shows the Georgetown waterfront from our dock. Georgetown is a nice little town which we really did not have enough time to explore (recall the error in calculation of our time). We had a great dinner at an Italian restaurant and went to bed really early since we slept little during our 26 hour trip here. It is hard to sleep when you are motoring, which we had to do for about 24 hours, lacking wind.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Giving Up the ICW

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
We left the South River on Wednesday and motored to Oriental, nicknamed the sailing capital of North Carolina. What a great town, everyone is our age, walking around with a purpose but nothing important to do. We had lunch with a bunch of other gray hairs and felt right at home. We could live here. We docked at the Whittaker Creek Harbor Marina, a top notch operation which we highly recommend. We borrowed bikes and toured the town, and when we needed to provision, the dockmaster took us to the grocery store (sic) and came back and picked us up.

Today, Friday, we motored to Beaufort and are once again in a slip. We have decided we are tired of running aground or having the potential to run aground, and worrying about whether or not our 63 ½ foot mast will clear bridges with 65 feet supposed height but high water shortening that coverage. So, we are going offshore and will have to sail for 24 hours straight, through the night. We have been offshore a sufficient number of times that this is not necessarily a big deal (forget that, for me it always is). However, it is usually in the 80’s without a chance of ice forming on the deck. So, we give up the comfort of our bunks along the ICW for the ability to sail, knock off the miles, and get to WARM WEATHER faster! We are monitoring the weather to pick a warming trend with good winds and no chance of rain. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Brhh, Ice on the Deck

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
On Nov 5 we awoke to find a misty marsh at Broad Creek. This picture was taken just as the mist had lifted. From here, we transitted to the Alligator River, but did not see any. We passed through the Albermarle Sound, notorious for its choppy seas as in Cape May. Fortunately, the water was nearly flat and we actually sailed for a short time. On the 6th, winds were howling as we mostly motored to Belhaven, which sounded like a lovely place to visit. Our marina included a Southern inn and featured fried oysters on their buffet; it sounded so charming. I am still looking for the promised chunks of lobster in my seafood diablo, there were no oysters but a limited amount of hush puppies. It took several attempts to get my drink right, even with a lot of coaching. The staff for some reason was so over worked this night that the owners had to help serve. When clearing our table, the Mrs. said she was not sure how to do it. I suggested she approach it just like home, she looked me in the eye and said, "I have others do this for me at home". A power boat approached us as we were leaving, asked our opinion of the River Forest Marina, and gave his: "the place is a dump". When we awoke the next morning our rickety dock and our boat deck were caked with ice.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Donna, We're in NC!

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
We had cocktails and potluck hors d'oeuvres last night at the Pungo Ferry Marina with a group of boaters who had anchored out or been at the marina for the "hurricane". Bay Wolf and Sitzmark III are both headed for the Bahamas for the first time, so we hope to see them again along the way. Today we had an uneventful trip to Broad Creek, where we are now anchored. OK, I ran aground but it was not my fault. This picture shows the ICW as we know it so far; tree stumps blooming along the sides, tall trees or marsh grass, and look closely, a bridge in the distance.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Long Night

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
The night has come and gone. On the urging of our friend Len, we placed a second anchor out using our dinghy (a lot more artfully than our first and only other attempt in the Caribbean). This was pretty uneventful but after letting out it we realized we had not bothered to check the depths where we put it, and we suspected it was in too shallow water, and that we might run aground trying to retrieve it. Add to the list of worries for when we needed to retrieve it. We took below most everything that we could, life rings, fenders, BBQ grill, flags, anything that might increase our windage.

We gazed longingly at a couple of masthead lights sitting in a creek a few miles away. We wondered if they were snugger than we were. We had thought about going there to anchor but concluded we might have issues as one of the books said if you boat was longer than 35 feet you might not have room to swing. As we are 44, we stayed put.

To pass the night we watched an awful movie (The Break Up with Jennifer Anniston, please don't bother). When we turned in, winds were forecast to blow in the mid 30's gusting to mid 40's starting about 1 am. The Captain arose to take the anchor watch at 12:30 while I nestled snug in my bed, unable to sleep. I could tell by the level of the howling that the winds were not reaching forecast levels. Peter slept in the cockpit and took the entire watch, turning in around 4 am when it looked like those big winds were not coming. He did see 30, which now on our revised scale is no big deal.

Upon arising we found that the winds had blown the water out of the waterway. In this picture you can see a dark river bank where none existed the prior day. Fortunately, the wind shifted a bit and put us in deeper water but a little bit in the channel, not a great thing, especially as revenging power boats drive by and cast us a great wake. We had no issue, though, retrieving our second storm anchor.

One of the boats anchored in The Creek of Our Desires stopped by to tell us all of them were now aground, having had their water blown out as well. Tonight we will all gather at a marina up river to tell our tales and tip a few.

Another experience under our belts. We are still not coming home.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Day One, The ICW

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
We left York Haven and anchored in Willoughby Bay by Hampton Roads, Virginia. On November 1 we headed down the Intracoastal Waterway. The ICW, nicknamed “the Ditch”, was constructed “to provide a protected route for vessels that otherwise would have to travel on more exposed bodies of water”. From the author’s lips to God’s ears, read on.

On Day 1 of our ICW passage, we needed to pass under 13 bridges and through one lock. We had good training for the bridges at our former marina, as we had to pass through two to get to the Raritan Bay. Those bridges are very close together, and we often got caught in between the two as one would close as the other finished its opening, and I swear, the bridge tenders got their jollies watching way too many boats trying to avoid each other in very close quarters. Add in high winds and the stress level increased ten fold. On the ICW the bridge tenders give anyone hanging back (to avoid crashing into other boats in similar tight quarters) major crap. One guy upon answering the tender that he was only trying to navigate safely was told to get a motor home. We frequently were chided, but most everyone was so we didn’t feel too picked on. Our locking was uneventful; we had locked before on our friends Shar and Bill’s boat in Seattle. N.B., Uneventful does not mean stressless.

We had planned to spend our first night at a marina, as there seemed to be no suitable anchorages that we could get to by nightfall. The intended marina did not take reservations. Upon contacting them this day, we were advised every single one of their 140 slips were taken, and the dockmaster was kind enough to tell us that all the marinas within traveling distance were booked. Why? Hurricane Noel.

We improvised an anchorage by Pungo Ferry, Virginia. We have a scope out of 7:1; 10:1 would be better for the conditions to be described, but there is insufficient depth to permit that. (Scope is the ratio of anchor rode to water depth.) Hopefully Buster, our Queen Mary-sized anchor, will do his job well.

Apparently there is some fluky combination of cold front and high pressure system combined with the offshore effects of Noel passing through that it going to cause winds gusting to 50 knots today and this evening. Last night neither of us slept as winds were forecast to blow 35; anything over 20 can be unnerving at anchor.

Having said all this, it is beautiful here. It is swampland (and thus very little in the way of trees to block the wind). We helped two other boats anchor last night, as we had tested the water depths all around. They have weighed anchor but we could not reach them on their radios to find out if they knew about a better anchorage or had slip reservations. So we decided to sit it out right here in Pungo Ferry.

I am scared and keep trying to remind myself that no matter what happens, it is not likely I will die tonight. I just might want to, though.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sailing with Jimmy and Kathie

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
While visiting with Willow we stayed with Kathie, my step mother and Jimmy. We borrowed their car and ran all around buying our fishing gear for offshore, propane for our galley, food and booze, and ate many good meals. We had a great sail with them on the York River; they are planning to join us in the Bahamas. Are you?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What Happened?

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
We spent the weekend with our Granddaughter Willow to celebrate her second birthday. One of her presents was this very cool kitchen set (we girls all had them when we were growing up). Aye-Aye (Willow's name for Peter) said it would take 10 minutes to assemble. Need I say more? Willow upon waking from her nap was delighted to find her present, walked up to it, turned the spigot to the sink, and announced "what happened" when no water flowed. Sorry Willow, the plumber will be there tomorrow.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Shxxty Job at York River Yacht Haven


Here is my poor husband fixing one of our Groco heads for the zillioneth time. He is now qualified as an expert. We learned last week that Peter has again been named one of America's top lawyers. Who ever decided that should see him now.

We are at York River Yacht Haven. It has a great laundromat, my important requirement! Also has an iron and ironing board. Probably more important to most of you is the River Inn restaurant where we ate last night. It was 50% off wine night so we were happy. Had a "great meal" (me) or a "very good meal" (Peter).

After we meet with the electrician we will go running errands with my stepmother Kathie and Jimmy, her mate.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mobjack Bay

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
From the Piankatank we sailed to the Severn River on Mobjack Bay. Here we found one other boat, Sucia, a Canadian boat whose First Mate I met while folding laundry. She and her family (including two children being "home schooled") are also headed to the Bahamas for their first trip.

In the morning we awoke to the sound of this waterman pulling his crab cages. Hopefully he harvested more than we did!

From here we travelled to the York River, near Yorkstown, where we will dock while visiting my stepmother and granddaughter, for her birthday. We will be here several days and hopefully will work out some of the bugs we have encountered with the electronics.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Corrotomon

Saturday we motored to the Rappahannock River and anchored in the East Branch of the Corrotomon for a lovely quiet night. Alas, no winds. On Sunday we sailed up the Rappahannock, although winds were light, and finished the day motoring to Fishing Bay on the Piankatank River. We are pleased to report no mechanical issues have surfaced. There are perhaps 10 boats anchored here, all apparently headed South.
We stayed at this anchorage seven years ago when sailing First Edition from Ft. Lauderdale to NJ, after we purchased her. Although I have been accused of having a good imagination, I actually saw a sea horse swimming in this bay.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Our Future Home

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
First Edition at our dock.

We managed to snag five crabs about half the size of those our friends caught on the Wye River. But, our first crabs at our future home! Tonight they will become our hors d'oeuvre.

Our neighbors, Lou and Cindy, fetched us to explore the new hotspots in town. When we bought our land, there was one restaurant worth eating at and the Tides Inn, decrepit before its recent re-do. The Northern Neck has been discovered, which has its benefits and short comings. "Seven", a with-it martini bar is a welcome addition. We had one too many there, and then ate at a new restaurant, Swanks, not bad. We really enjoyed the company and look forward to settling down next to the Schuman's.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Small Craft Advisories

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
We left Solomons Island and had an uneventful motor to St. Mary's River off of the Potomoc. Happy to report that no belts broke and everything was working!
Small Craft Advisories were issued by NOAA (your taxes dollars at work for my benefit, thank you) as winds were expected to gust to 25. We snugged up close to the shore and slept soundly.

SCA's continued into the morning but we decided to leave any how to reach our property at Wicomico Church, Virginia to celebrate our anniversary and to tie up at our dock, as winds were expected to blow 30 knots for two days. Leaving St. Mary's we found winds of 25, gusting to 29 which is A LOT OF WIND. First Edition has her mechanical issues, but boy can she sail. Fortunately, the winds were from behind so we raised our head sail only, partially reefed, and soared through five foot seas. It was exhilarating. A picture can usually tell a thousand words, but not so with waves; I tried to capture the essence nevertheless. It was grand.

We sit now at our remaining land holding doing chores, fixing things, paying bills, etc. I am getting ready to set our new crab lines and poke around our pilings to see if any critters are waiting to become crab sauce.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Fate Continues to Happen


The Tillmans left before us and report that they had a marvelous sail home. As we had the wind in the wrong direction, we had another one of those long slogs right into the wind for over ten hours. We broke another alternator belt and overheated again. We are now at Zahniser's, the #1 rated yard in the entire Chesapeake, and they declare there is nothing wrong with anything.

Every morning I open up the saying of the day, like a fortune cookie but drawn from a ceramic pot labelled A Year of Wishes for My Daughter, gifted by Kathie my stepmom. Yesterday's was "Fate continues to happen". Hmmm.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Vickie gets crabs

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us


We left Frog Mortar Creek on Friday and travelled to Rock Creek off of the Patapsco River, the home of the Baltimore harbor and our friends Vickie and Len. We anchored off of the Maryland Yacht Club for the evening and dinked to Phase II, their boat, for cocktails. Saturday morning we left out for the Wye River (after a number of course changes and after replacing an alternator belt that broke and caused us to overheat, always traumatic because an alarm sounds and shakes the be-Jesus out of you). We rafted up (tied our boats together at anchor)at Drum Cove, and set out the crab lines. The picture shows the results of the effort, and constituted a lovely crab dip, for which Vickie is known. The following day we motored to St. Michaels in about 90 degree heat (we did not miss summer after all), anchored, and to celebrate Vickie's birthday, went boutique shopping without the men. Had dinner ashore (not at the Crab Claw and not at the Inn at Perry Cabins since Vickie would rather have a new box spring for the boat than spend $250 on dinner), the boys did cigars on the transom, and we listened to the Yankee game. Yankees live to see another day.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Arrived in Chesapeake

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
On Monday October 1 (October!) we left AC and sailed all the way to Cape May with SE winds of 11 knots, making over six knots. As I predicted, a school of dolphins accompanied us out of the inlet. Dolphin must be gamblers as we always find them there. We arrived at Cape May at around five o’clock and anchored in front of the Coast Guard station with a bunch of other boats all heading in various directions. This is not normal. Usually, when you lay your anchor down your boat points into the wind. Sometimes, if the current is strong, or the nearby land is mountainous, you will sit to the current or be backwinded (stern to the wind). We all sat akimbo for about ½ hour and finally all drifted into the wind where one can finally be satisfied you will not crunch into another boat in the middle of the night. Unless the phenomena repeats itself. And of course, there was no way we could predict this. Thus, sleeping was fitful but the night did not bring any uninvited guests.


From Cape May we had to transit the Delaware Bay, one of the lousiest bodies of water we have ever traveled. There is usually a steep chop owing to shallow spots and unprotected shoreline that makes the ride miserable; we were not looking forward to this 8 hour trip. But (is our luck changing?), we rode the current all the way with nearly flat seas (maybe 1-2 feet at first), and made 7-8 knots most of the way. We sailed for five hours until the wind died but made such good time we proceeded to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and transited it in less than two hours. This was great progress but presented a challenge, where to go now? In order to lay the anchor by nightfall (7pm) we had to take a chance entering the Bohemia River, described in the guide books as peaceful and charming, but shoaling to 5 feet. Since we draw something like 5 ½ feet, this would mean we would run out of water unless the tides were helpful, which they weren’t. We had overhead a discussion on the radio (the VHF or very-high-frequency radio is like an open party line). We hailed one of the boats who had anchored in the Bohemia and he gave us advice on how to enter. Our depthsounders each showed less than four feet (they are mounted above the very bottom of the boat so reading them is an art and not a science), and while we were probably kissing the bottom all the way in, we did not run aground.


We awoke to thick fog which parted at around 10 am and we proceeded for a short ride to Worton Creek, which we had visited before with the kids. We once again are waiting for the fog to lift and intend to head to Frog Mortar Creek on the Middle River, where we hope to find provisions. The guide books caution us that boats with masts over 37 feet constitute a hazard to low flying airplanes at the nearby airport. Ours is over 60 feet and we intend to anchor there to annoy Peter’s BF Chuck. Besides, what are the odds that First Edition would be hit by an airplane?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Arrived at Atlantic City

We left Sandy Hook at 2:50 am with winds of 20 knots in the right direction. Unfortunately, we decided to get out of the Hook before setting our sails, about a 2 hour trip consisting of dodging commercial vessels left and right (after all, this is the entrance to the NY harbor). Our AIS system was working great. This is basically a radio receiver that picks up signals required to be sent by the big boats, and shows the boats on our chartplotter. It identifies their speed and course, and time to closest approach to us, along with their ID # which we can then use to hail them. Once we cleared the big boys the wind continued to be favorable, but the waves were knocking us off course and causing our boat to loose the wind from her sails. So, we motored for 14 hours to get here. But, we are here! During the trip we had to change our chart over to the Mid Atlantic region, officially designating that we are close to the Chesapeake. We pulled into the world's most expensive marina at around 4:30 pm (and it is a dump). It is now 8:15 and we are turning in. Neither of us slept before taking off or during the trip so we look as old as we feel, and are! Tomorrow, sleep late and a short, seven hour trip to Cape May. Winds forecast to be favorable (a beam reach) at 10-15 knots, a sailor's dream.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

So Long Stamford

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
In Stamford we finally drug out the captioned flag to let our new friends know they should not give out on us, and voila, here we are now sitting at an anchorage in Sandy Hook NJ. The winds were howling when we left and we made incredible time. New equipment is great, except we think we determined that we sat around Stamford for an extra week for nothing; a recurring error on our automatic ID system continues to occur and we think it is really not an error!!

We leave here at 3 am tonite/tomorrow to get to Atlantic City, about a 14 hour trip. We are anxious to get moving, and anxious in general.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Dr. Beth Saves the Day!

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
The stress of being a landlubber is incredible. Thankfully, we have a chiropractor extraordinaire to turn to. Underneath the table you can also see our Granddog, Charlie. Visit Discover Chiropractic of Soho on Prince Street.

Yet another reason to be happy we are attached to land!

We are getting close on First Edition...more to follow!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Who Cares if We Are Not Sailing?

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
Being stuck on land has its advantages, although few. The biggest is named Willow!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I saw a man who had no feet.

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
Many times in my life I have revisited the creed "I complained because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet". The poor devil who owns this boat may not even realize yet that the harbor master found his boat sunk on his mooring. Sea Tow, which is a service likened to ambulance chasers, drug this boat back to our yard, while it was underwater. It was artfully moved onto the sling, still underwater, and the SlingMaster Andy jiggered it until it flipped. If you look closely you can see some of the floating floorboards that had come loose during the process.

Stepping the Mast and A Failed Seatrial

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
On September 7 our mast and new rigging was installed. The installation of the electronics continued, with most bugs worked out by yesterday, when we took First Edition for a sea trial with our “master” electrician, Todd. In addition to confirming that everything was working as intended, during the sea trial the new auto pilot fluxgate compass needed to be calibrated. To do this, First Edition needs to be turned in at least two full circles at a certain speed for a certain time.

It was blowing a bit and as a result, the Long Island Sound was choppy. After a few attempts with a “Too Fast” error message delivered by the autopilot, we took the boat inside the breakwater and attempted the calibration again while dodging boats under sail and power boats in the channel, all of whom were not happy with us. The calibration was not successful so we are getting another brand new fluxgate and autopilot brain, and moving the fluxgate from its current installation spot. This should be done by early next week.

We also have to have a Compass Adjustor correct the significant error that appears to have occurred on the ship’s magnetic compass (“when all else fails, believe your compass”), and our brand new ICOM VHF needs replacing since its “off” button does not work.

Our plans to leisurely sail the Chesapeake during the Fall are now in jeopardy. We remain committed, and some say out of our minds.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Progress...

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
Our original plans would have had us sailing by Stamford around now and heading to the Chesapeake. This is a picture of Eric helping us to get out of here so we can catch up to our plans. For those of you who think our trip is doomed, note that Eric messed up his ankle after he started working on First Edition, and missed a week of work (not helpful to our cause but probably more troublesome to Eric than to us!). His injury was not incurred on First Edition, but on Alliance, another boat struck by lightning.

We are hoping to exit here by this weekend, much later than we had hoped. We will spend a few weeks at City Island Yacht Club while we have annual physicals and celebrate Rosh Hashanah with family and friends. Then we will boogey down to the Chesapeake.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

John and LoriAnn in Vermont


Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us

Vermont in the summer is great, except that summer had not arrived during the Curnyns' stay. The boys froze off their tushies playing golf but the girls enjoyed the crisp weather while hitting all the hotspots in Manchester.

Spaghetti anyone?

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
Since our last post we have tried our best to stay out of the way on First Edition, because this picture can only somewhat convey what is going on here. The boat is a mess. Wires mixed in with our personal stuff, boxes of new equipment stacked everywhere. Lynn visited her aunt in Florida and Peter worked on our skihouse which is for sale in its ramshackle condition. The Hotel Rosenzweig has provided luxury accommodations and many are to be thanked for their offers of shelter. We are looking forward to visiting our granddaughter this upcoming weekend and hopefully will return to a more organized First Edition.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Hauling off the Stick

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
The review of our electronics damage was completed today by the yard, and as this picture shows, our mast (aka the stick) was removed to be evaluated. This is a precarious process, at least to the owners. Basically, the mast is harnessed up and a crane is used to pull it up from where it is stepped on the deck and down to the keel. The initial analysis is that we lost one of two radio antennae and our tricolor/anchor light. The wiring which runs through the mast has yet to be cleared.

Today our Project Manager, another Peter, informed us that we may be spending "the season" with the yard while repairs are completed. That probably means all of August and some of September. Tomorrow we get the dollar estimate which gets passed along to the insurance company.

We spent several days last week and the weekend with the Rosenzweigs while we attended the viewings and funeral service for our dear friend Brian Moore who valiantly fought his battle with cancer but was called to heaven to coach their baseball team. Both Peter and I loved Brian and our lives will never be the same without this dear friend.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Oh! If First Edition could only talk.

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
Finally, some work commenced today although we still have not been able to get an estimate on the cost to repair in order to submit it to the insurance company for approval. This picture shows a chunk of our keel, blown out by the lightning bolt. Apparently the keel had been epoxied prior to our ownership in order to cover up the hole which is once again evident and is shown in this picture.

First Edition at some point in her 18 years of life has probably run aground on something hard. Since the damage was done years ago (and we did not do it this time!) it is likely to be only cosmetic. I choose to believe First Edition ran out of water at some tropical isle where she took a chunk out of some coral that in turn took a chunk out of her. Something romantic.

While moored in a harbor in Maine a few years back, the boat adjacent to us recognized First Edition and told us how one of its former owners met his maker...while trying to board First Edition from his dinghy following a party in Trinidad. He had dropped his wife off and when he did not immediately follow she suspected he had returned for more frivolity. Apparently his body was not discovered until the following morning, and it was concluded he suffered a heart attack and drowned.

So our lightning strike is just another chapter in First Edition's story. And we anticipate a happy ending.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hit by Lightning

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
At about 10:45 am on July 18th, First Edition was struck by lightning. We are pleased to report that the crews' heartbeats have returned to normal, and First Edition is now sitting in a cradle in Stamford, Connecticut where her damage will be assessed. The picture shows her out of the water, and to our eye, it seems there is no hull damage. Fortunately, First Edition has a grounding plate (unlike many sailboats) and yards and yards of copper stripping running through her. We know the bolt hit the top of the mast, as our antennae have been shattered, and most of our electronics (some brand new) are inoperable. It is likely that we will be in this yard about a month while the repairs are completed. Although it may sound like we are leading a depressing life, as with the engine failure, we are fortunate that this latest event occurred in familiar waters, and that neither of us was hurt. Once we nail down the details such as meeting with the insurance adjuster, surveyor, and mechanics to lay out a repair scheme, we will likely head to our skihouse and enjoy the life of you landlubbers.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Arrested in Oyster Bay!

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
Although incarceration is not involved, the Captain was arrested for speeding in Oyster Bay today by the Town Constable. She had no sense of humor. Those of us who have been with Peter while he has been stopped know his "I represented the PBA routine" which has for the most part resulted in the successful departure of law enforcement, sans ticket. He did not try this, or flashing of what he refers to as his "get out of jail card" gifted by our friend Detective Curnyn. Instead, he was handed a ticket for causing a wake in a mooring field, accomplished with a 10 foot dingy and a 15 horsepower motor.

The problem is, you may plead guilty (which "I understand is the equivalent of a conviction after trial"). However, no fine is specified although an address is provided to which it may be sent. All efforts to determine said fine by phone have failed.

He may be incarcerated yet.

Since the last posting we determined that the engine had not been fixed, fixed the engine without knowing how we had done the fixing, determined the chartplotter is not functioning (we need this to determine our position, especially in fog), and now that we tried to raise anchor, found the washdown pump that rinses the muck off the anchor to have failed. The convict is on the way to visit a marine store in town, which of course the ever-confident Peter is sure will have all the parts he needs.