Thursday, September 30, 2010

Socializing at Solomons

While First Edition gets its annual primping at Zahnisers, we have had the opportunity to catch up with friends and make new ones. Pictured is our latest acquaintance, Freebie, whom we met along with Sassy and Gypsy at the Franklins' while enjoying Peter's favorite meal, fried chicken. I now understand why my fried chicken does not make the grade; I have no patience for the frying process.

We caught up with Sue and Ian on Kokopeli, whom we met a few years ago in Charleston and, as it turned out, crossed over to the Abacos with us a few years ago. We had a very good meal at DiGiovanni's, where on Tuesday, you can get a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, or ravioli for $10.95. This is not Vincenzo's quality, but heh, they sold out and their delicious veal dishes are a thing of the past. We had another Italian meal aboard Cloverleaf while dodging rain drops to and fro.

While at Zahnisers we have been busy messing about with the boat, repainting the chain to mark various lengths, checking hose clamps, taking inventory on our food stuffs and medications, touching up the Cetol, the list goes on and on. We now are awaiting this tropical low or whatever it is to blow through so that our new spinnaker pole can be installed and we can provision before heading off to Mill Creek. Or, perhaps, back to Annapolis.

No, not for the boat show. Why? Frigoboat. It isn't working again and my heretofore declaration of continued love and admiration for the system is quickly fading. I am becoming a cheerleader for Peter to pull out his law degree and get it fixed for once, and for good. Any body interested in the Frigoboat refrigeration system should talk with us first. We have all of our woes documented. When it works, it's great.

Monday, September 27, 2010

"I Never Get to See You Grammie"

OK. The kid is conniver. She knows exactly what to say to pull your heart strings."Will you cuddle with me Grammie?" asked while putting her to bed. Sure thing. We cuddle for about eleven hours, she falls asleep, I sneak out. Five minutes later she is crying in her daddy's arms because Grammie left her.  "Will you read to me Grammie? Just ten pages?". Asked before cuddling. We read the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica, then am asked, "Again".
The next morning, Grammie arrives to commence some serious morning cuddling, to find the adorable princess on the floor. Dead asleep. She awakes and informs me her bed was rattling. I immediately transfer all of my assets to her account.

Sorry everyone. We have the very best-est granddaughter, princess, ballerina in the whole world. With finely tuned conniving skills.

We managed a trip to The Big Red Ball (Targets) and wrote down the SKU numbers for everything she touched. We need to buy a bigger boat to store all of the holiday presents.

She calls Peter "Aye-Aye" but this time, let us know that he is her grandpa. He was thrilled to be so recognized. Here, he is showing Willow how one opens a coconut. She is enthralled, but refused to participate in the bounty.

"Will you take me to Disney Grammie?". Hmmm. Perhaps just one more visit.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Healing Hands

Jeannie and Jim (Mooch's father) joined us for a Japanese grill dinner and in addition to good company and good food, it turns out Jeannie is trained in reiki. Reiki is a spiritual Japanese practice aimed at stress reduction and hands-on healing. My RA has been in overdrive lately, and my Reiki expert was able to remove my limp after a session over a cuppa. I had a great night's sleep, first in a long time. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Visit to Mill Creek

Very few of us enjoy our time on the hard, when bathroom visits require a walk up and down a fifteen foot ladder off the boat, refrigeration is "offline", and you are working your tail off (the usual reason for being pulled out of the water and placed, suspended, on some metal fabrication that you can't believe can possibly support your 39,000 pounds of boat). And of course, it is usually in the mid or upper 90's when all of this occurs.  So, just after being pulled, we decided to go for a vacation over the weekend, and invited ourselves to our friends' and future neighbors, the Tillmans. While their house construction is underway, Vickie and Len have parked their boat at their dock, and now that electricity and water are available, we can classify their accommodations as deluxe.

While waiting for them to arrive we visited our other-side neighbors, Lou and Cindy and joined them for dinner at nearby Horn Harbor. They have been on Mill Creek almost ten years now, but only as part-timers. We have a good group congealing down there and hopefully retirement is not that far away for them.

We also noticed that our upper tree neighbor appeared to be busy renovating.

Our visit also gave us the chance to see the large trees being removed from our building site. This time we were smart enough to spray copious amounts of "Off" on all exposed body parts, with nary a care about the high Deet content. The lot looks great! We also interviewed another builder who was recommended by Terry and Bob Hood of Kismet, also Hylas owners, whom we met at Block Island. They just blew into town yesterday after cruising Maine over the summer.

While the guys played golf, Vickie and I shopped around town and enjoyed the crisp, gorgeous weather reading in the cockpit. Occasionally Vickie would get up and check her crab lines, but it really wasn't until Len got back that the bucket started to fill up.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oysters on the Half Shell

Well, it was no wonder First Edition was auditioning for the slow boat to China on our trip South. Once hauled, a veritable confirmation of the health of the Chesapeake Bay was displayed, oysters joining the barnacles in a two-inch thick growth on our keel. Mortifying. I am tempted to send this picture to Interlux to let them know what we think of their Micron bottom paint. For sure, Petitt will be our coating of choice this year.

We celebrated our clean bottom aboard Cloverleaf, and met Greg and Marie Rodgers aboard Second Sally. Dave and Bev knew these guys from their time in the Med, and Peter and I were enchanted with and envious over their stories of wonderful destinations. The bucket list grows.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Solomons Island

With rainy weather forecast we left The Rhodes for Solomons on Friday before our Monday appointment at Zahnisers, and pulled into Mill Creek 7 1/2 hours later. Usually people anchor immediately to port across from the tugs but we have had difficulty setting the anchor there, more patience would likely have led to a good set. So, we continue down and anchor in front of the big house by the end of Calverts with NW winds, or continue further up St. Johns creek an anchor off of another big house with loads of rip-rap with south easterlies.

The next day Cloverleaf showed up, choosing Back Creek for anchorage, and we joined them for dinner at the Back Street Cafe, formerly Vincenzo's. Approaching from the water this place looks deader than a doornail, but on this Saturday night the restaurant was doing a good business. We had a very good meal. Prior to dinner we met friends of Cloverleaf, Judy and Seth on Steadfast, whom we have been looking forward to meeting for a few years now.

Solomons is a great meeting place for cruisers; it always seems that some one is around. A call from Rick on Sojourner led to a gathering at The Captain's Table with Richard and Carol from Kalissa, who live in Solomons, Sandy and John on Moonstruck, Bev and Dave from Cloverleaf, new friends Sam and Carolyn on Melaka, and, Jake and Robie on Marley Mae, friends of Kalissa, who will cruise for the first time this year.

The next morning we hooked up with Mooch's Dad, Jim Franklin at Zahnisers, for Mooch's 1000 hour check up. I would like to personally thank Mooch for hanging in there for an extra 600 plus hours, and for managing with a two year old alternator belt and impeller. On examination (without a magnifying glass required) the belt's teeth looked like the result of a bad dentist gone wild. If I were in charge of spares we would have had at least one belt on board instead of six extras for the old engine. No harm done, and lesson learned nevertheless.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Rhodes River

Growing weary with the chop by the Naval Academy anchorage, we decided we could deal with the gusty winds for the 11 mile-or so trip to the West River. We thought we might even be able to sail. This novel notion was just a figment of our imaginations.

But, a couple of hours later we took a right turn off the West River and headed into the Rhodes. There is simply nothing here except trees and birds, and Camp Letts, the location of the Seven Seas Gam being held later in the month. Watch it as you round the #7 marker and make your turn toward the Big Island anchorage (perfect for NW protection) as the shoal marked on the chart has grown over time. Give it a wide berth and you will be OK. Also watch out for High Island, which is covered most of the time.

Love it here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Happy New Year!

We had just picked up a mooring in Weems Creek, planning to dinghy over to pick up some goodies for our Rosh Hoshanah celebration, when I heard our friends on Cloverleaf hailing the Annapolis harbormaster. We gave them a shout, and decided that their plans for service at the US Naval Academy sounded like a great way to bring in the New Year. Mooch must have known our trip for the day was not finished, as he decided not to turn off when either "stop" button was pushed; we pulled out the Yanmar manual and identified the emergency solution. More work for Jim at Zahnisers.

We dragged out our dress-up clothes and Dave and Bev provided chaffeur services to us where we had anchored off the Naval Academy wall. A short walk up from Ego Alley we came to the Academy, and found everyone to be helpful in providing directions to the Miller Chapel, although everyone's were different from each other. Amazingly, we stumbled upon the Chapel in time for services.

The Rabbi was charming, very welcoming, humorous, and familiar---well of course, we agreed he is just an older version of Uncle David (Peter's Brother, always called Uncle to differentiate him from David the Son). The service was well-attended, but many seats were available. There were perhaps about 20 midshipmen, in their dress whites worshipping. Prior to Kadish, the Mourner's Prayer, several of them recited the names of our soldiers who had fallen over the last week.

With our Uncle David lookalike leading the service, we almost felt like we were gathered around Margie and Neil's dinner table, where we traditionally celebrated the first night. Except we missed the challah and honey, and instead had Italian food with Bev and Dave. A good start to the New Year, but there's no place like home for the holidays.

J Gordon and Other Good Things at Annapolis

CT scans out of the way, with nothing scarier than 6 kidney stones confirmed, we have returned to Annapolis to find First Edition's work nearly completed and loads of good friends to spend the remaining time with. When we asked the yard when so-and-so was going to be completed, "oh, that's already done" was a welcomed (and unusual) boat yard reply. We love Zahnisers a lot and Mooch's father Jim is the only one who can touch our engine. We now also strongly like J Gordon on Back Creek, and give them a strong recommendation. Our Frigoboat system is running strong and fine. Cross your fingers.

Bob had returned to Savage Son so I got my hug and we shared several meals, stories, and plans with him and Bev.
We enjoyed the melodrama surrounding the completion and installation of Bill and Christy's hard dodger which we celebrated with cocktails aboard the Veranda. To start your day out right with a chuckle, be sure to visit their blog, It is a stitch.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back Creek at Annapolis for Frigoboat Repair

We have had so many problems with our Frigoboat refrigeration system it is incredible that I can say that I still love it. But there you go.

Our latest issue, apparently and hopefully a piece of debris or water in the lines somewhere, causes the freezer compressor to continue to run, but not chill, resulting in the freezer not working. This problem was supposedly caused during the installation process, or while refrigerant was evacuated, and therefore, it is not an equipment problem. OK, I buy this and my fingers are crossed.  Initially intermittent (like once every six months), the problem has become a weekly one, and can no longer be ignored. Frigoboat wanted this work to be done at J Gordon in Annapolis, so here we are. Hurricane Earl has conveniently decided to arrive concurrent with our stay, so for anyone worried, First Edition is safe and sound and tied to a dock. We will be in New Jersey dealing with specialists, hopefully to return quickly once a curious xray's findings have been identified and a satisfactory conclusion reached.

A benefit of being here in Annapolis is running into old cruising pals. Savage Son is docked at the marina next to ours, and we had a girls' outing with Christy and her friend Bessie to Costco. Peter, Bevie and I dined at The Boat Yard (following cocktail hour on the airconditioned Savage Son, have to get one of those), while Bob is back in Texas doing family duty. I will not leave this place until I hug him.