Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sometimes this is no Fun


You can't swim in the Chesapeake because of these guys---nettles. When it is as hot as it is today, that is an issue. Especially when you are trying to deal with mechanical issues which seem to be non-stop on First Edition as of late:

1. We dropped off our dinghy to have its towing ring reattached. It should be ready tomorrow.
2. We are awaiting a phone call from the Frigoboat distributor, to whom we were referred by our installer. When we arrived here in Annapolis two days ago and called him, we were told he would be out of the country until today. Today when we call, there is no answer. Our freezer unit runs constantly and while I have frozen solid meat, ice cubes, and ice cream, I can no longer blow dry my hair, use my computer with abandon, run the coffee pot, or watch TV as The Pigs (their recently endowed names)suck all the amps out of the batteries. Which, incidentally, are brand new since The Pigs killed the old ones. (OK, they were on their way out according to the Captain.)
3. Last night while charging the engine (to add amps to the batteries to run The Pigs)we noticed:
a. all of the indicator lights on the Link 2000 battery charger/inverter were blinking
b. the light on the engine tachometer (brand new) was off.
4. The forward head is broken again. Peter has made a second career out of fixing toilets. He is off the boat now (had to pay $4 for the water taxi since we don't have a dinghy)to go to buy a new macerator pump.

It is HOT, and I am weary.
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

St. Leonard's Creek on the Patuxent


Seven miles up river from Solomons is this lovely destination, with lots of nooks and crannies to lay down an anchor in peace and solitude. We finally exited Zahniser's today with another successful visit behind us, and now if we can just figure out our new Frigoboat refrigeration system we will be in Fat City. Fat City in this instance means the Atlantic Ocean and the Long Island Sound.

So, we plan to meander back to Annapolis where the distributor of Frigoboat is to see if he has any brilliant ideas on how we can get the freezer to stop running constantly. We have tentatively named the units "the Pigs"; hope that will change.
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy Hour with Kilissa


Richard from Kilissa, whom we had met in the Bahamas, lives in Solomons with his wife Carole, and had heard we were having work done at Zahnisers. He stopped by during the installation of the engine and invited us for happy hour but unfortunately we were departing the next day. So, on this return trip, we accompanied the Deborah Lee crew to Richard and Carole's for some serious hors d'oeuvres and copious liquid refreshment.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Running into Storms, and Friends

Although NOAA did not say one damned thing about thunderstorms on the morning we left Baby Owl Cove, we sure did run into a whopper, packing 50 knot winds, lightning, rain, the whole proverbial nine yards. Fortunately the sky looked weird to me despite the absence of thunderheads or rain on the horizon, so we powered up the weather radio and sure enough, severe t-storms were said to be on the way. We lowered the sails, and buttoned down the hatches. (This is actually something that you do!)

While readying for the storm, we heard the vessel Deborah Lee hailing another boat. We had met Debbie and Bill in the Abacos and now count them as dear friends. Debbie and Bill went back to work, but sail out of the Chesapeake and were on a mini-vacation. So, we made contact and found out we were both headed to Solomons Island, and agreed to meet for dinner.

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This is the best part of the cruising life---running into friends underway, or pulling into a harbor and searching the vessels to see if there is anyone there that you know, and finding one.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Baby Owl Cove on the Choptank

We left Galesville without incident. Jim's diagnosis was spot on. We had a great sail over to the Choptank River, where much of Michener's Chesapeake takes place. If you have not read Michener, you must, especially if you are headed to a destination that he has written about. But I digress. Peter had chosen Baby Owl Cove because I think he liked the name. It turned out to be an almost landlocked harbor where we were the only boat, snug and peaceful. Coming into Broad Creek off of the Choptank we sited these ospreys which make nests all over the navigational markers around the Bay. As you get close they squawk and one of the parents circle you until you leave the area of the nest.

Speaking of navigational markers, this was an interesting one in the Cove. A duck blind red right returning!

We had a peaceful night here. We had hoped to swim but the nettles were in abundance. The cove has many large homes equipped with mega yachts. This is not a distressed area.

Monday, July 21, 2008

BoatUS to the Rescue, Again


Last month we had to be towed off aground near Deltaville, and we covered our towing insurance premium for the next 10 years! Well, after a roaring 20 knots + sail from Chester River to Galeville, we turned on the engine and about one hour later Mooch gave up the ghost. Needless to say, not having yet reached 50 hours on the engine, we started to talk about why we were doing this while we waited for BoatUS Retriever to come tow us into Galeville. Italy, Vermont; all options, anything off the water. We sent an email (it was a Sunday bear in mind) to Jim Franklin from Zahnisers asking for advice.

After the tow in we went out to dinner at Pirates Cove---it was OK. The cosmopolitans hit the spot. We returned to First Edition, laying alongside a dock, wondering what in the world we were going to do in the morning.

Jim called. Jim is a genius. Not to mention a great guy. As it turns out, there seems to be nothing wrong with Mooch, but Jim thinks we have an issue with the feed from one of our two fuel tanks. And, since we had turned the tank over yesterday, there does seem to be cause and effect. However, leaving the dock will be a scary adventure. Will it happen again?

Thanks Jim. You have to have this guy do your engine work. Trust us.
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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Langford Creek on the Chester River


Since leaving Zahnisers, we have been spending time putting hours on the engine in order to have Mooch get its 50 hour checkup there. We went back to Deltaville to see if we could not fine tune our new Frigoboat refrigerator/freezer, the latter of which runs full speed 24/7. Only time will tell. We anchored out in Mill Creek, dinking around to see the creek and admiring our property from the Southern shore. From there we went to Galesville, where we anchored, and then met up with Phase II at Langford Creek on Chester River. We were here a few years ago, and this time rafted up with Vickie and Len by Cacaway Island. As usual, loads of laughs, and we inaugurated the Tillman's new Honda generator, which I covet.

The Chester River is a winding waterway which has always been a pain in the neck for us to get into, although we did have a nice sail part of the way. It is so hard to imagine that Baltimore is only a day's sail away, with its hustle and bustle. The Chester is farmland and marshes, with nature sounds all around.
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Zahnisers Yachting Center

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We cannot say enough good things about Zahnisers on Solomons Island, Maryland. We just completed the installation of our new Yanmar engine (named Mooch) by Jim Franklin there. Excellent work. Pricey? Yes, but very professionally executed, you get what you pay for. Each morning we would be briefed on what was planned to be done that day, and sure enough, it was. Any worker that came on our boat was friendly and diligent. A very well managed shop. They even assisted us with the shipment of our old engine which we sold on EBay.

While there we got to enjoy all of the amenities while on the work dock. Great laundromat ($1 a load), with ironing board and iron. (Hey, this stuff is important to cruisers for that annual blouse ironing.) GREAT restaurant, The Dry Dock, amazing soft shell crabs over linguine, with a good wine list. Good showerrooms, separate rooms with bathtubs and toilets. Very pretty grounds, well maintained. A lovely pool (not that we had time to use it) with a good grill serving lunch and drinks. Loaner bikes.

Nearby is Woodburn's Grocery, almost ridiculously priced. Very high quality goods though. Also there is a West Marine, post office, liquor store, and hair salon (The Hairport, ask for Daisy who gave me a great cut).

Good restaurants in town include Stoney's, excellent food at CD Cafe with a great bar, and Vincenzo's at Calvert Marina, a dink ride from Zahnisers.

Zahnisers also offers moorings on a first come first served basis.

I love this place!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Mooch" is Commissioned


Jim, our first rate mechanic, and Peter, his loyal student, ran the sea trial of our new engine today and we are so pleased to announce we can keep up with you fast boats now! First Edition easily exceeds seven knots, and this is at only 2200 rpm! As many of you know, most mechanical objects on board First Edition receive names. I chose Jimmy, after our master mechanic, but Jim insisted we use his old nickname. How excited am I that it turned out to be "Mooch"---perfect!

So, Mooch will take us to many corners of the world. We are delighted with him.
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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Aye-Aye's Celebration

Every year we try to gather the family together for a celebration of Peter's birthday and Father's Day. This year while I was tending to my Aunt, all gathered at Solomons where we are having the motor installed, and fortunately, the location of some wonderful spots to entertain Little Miss Willow.

The Holiday Inn Express had a great pool, a haven in the incredibly hot Chesapeake summer.

The Maritime Museum presented lots of opportunity for exploring at the lighthouse with vintage clothing, turtles, skates, and boats!

Auntie Beth had lots of time with Willow and Baby Surprise (who I think looks an awfully lot like Chuckie).

AnnMarie's Garden, an affiliate of the Smithsonian, provided our local artist with stick painting and hopscotch.

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But best of all, Aye-Aye got lots of Willow hugs and kisses and warm memories to take as he continues his adventure.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Annapolis on Phase II

I returned from Florida and met Peter, Len, and Vickie at the Avis counter and we headed for Phase II, the Tillman's boat while First Edition remains at Solomons, nearly complete but not quite. After a fast dinner ashore, we pulled out of Rock Creek off of the Patapsco River (near Baltimore) and had a two hour trip to Broad Creek on the Magothy, where we settled in for the evening's usual thunderstorm. The fourth of July weekend promised loads of them, one everyday.

On the 4th we headed to Annapolis to see the fireworks, having abandoned the notion to anchor out in Baltimore Harbor due to storm threats. We had a great anchorage until the harbormaster chased us away, as we were in the safety zone. We found another great spot, but as it turned out, a bridge was blocking most of our view. The fireworks looked like they might have been great, if not rushed, to beat the nightly storm.

The following day we picked up a mooring at Annapolis, went to Pussers for painkillers, and had a great dinner aboard while waiting for the storm. Len made Jamaican Me Crazy cocktails and once again the Doctor of Mixology outdid himself.

On the 5th we headed back to Rock Creek, and made it before the promised blow. Peter and I then headed back to Solomons and had a great meal at Vincenzo's, located at the Calvert Marina.