Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Finally - the end of the trip - part 1

Wow - where does the time go! I have no good excuse for not getting this posted before now, except that now that we're back in the "real" world there is no time at the end of the day. I've broken this entry into 3 parts as it's easier to only load a couple of pictures at a time. I'm not sure anyone will read this after such a long time, but at least I will feel it is finally done - until next time!!



June 21 – June 23 – Manchester-by-the-sea
As forecast it was windy and wet but we were nice and snug on our mooring. Dave, Annie and I all got colds and felt pretty miserable. We had a couple of walks through Manchester in the rain. We found a really neat used/antique bookstore. Kristen found a book called "The girl who waved" that was written in 1937. It was about a little girl and the "Twentieth Century" train. A great book with neat pictures. When we were checking out, the store keeper was quite interested in our trip. He suggested that we should read "Carry on Mr. Bowditch" about a man from Salem and one of the first Americans to publish a book on navigation, but unfortunately he didn’t have a copy of it.
On June 22 we caught the train from Manchester to Salem. It was a quick trip and we arrived a little before noon. We took the trolley from the train up to the visitor’s info center and then went and had some pizza for lunch. After lunch we walked to the Salem witch museum to learn about the Salem witch trials. What an awful time it must have been to live in Salem. There was such fear that reasonable thought seemed to leave the residents and many innocent people were hung. We had a good walk around Salem in the rain and drizzle, and found another used book store that did have the "Bowditch" book. We got back to Manchester around 5:00 and bought a roasted turkey breast at the store so we put together a real turkey dinner – yum!

June 24 – Manchester-by-the-Sea to Annasquam, Ma
We left Manchester mid-morning, trying to time the current so we would have slack water going through the Blynnman Canal that cuts behind Glocester and saves the trip around Cape Ann. Weather was pretty reasonable there was a little wind on the nose, and a little fog, but it could have been a lot worse. Although we had read that the Blynnman Canal could be shallow, we didn’t have any problems or see any really shallow water. We only went as far as Annasquam at the end of the canal as we felt that the waters on the North of Cape Ann would still be too rough after the last few days of high winds. We picked up a mooring off the Annasquam Yacht Club and had some lunch. After lunch we went into the yacht club in their tender. We had a walk around the nice little town, but it was pretty wet and rainy. We were back on the boat by 5:00 and made a turkey casserole with the left over turkey from yesterday.

June 25 – Annasquam to Boothbay, Maine
We left in the fog around 5:30 in the morning. We wanted to leave early to be sure to get across the sandbar at the entrance before low tide at 7:30. It was foggy all day – really thick fog too, but during the middle of the day it was sunny over head so it was actually a nice warm day. We saw two Minke whales, and we also saw two seals. We thought about going into Portland or Biddeford Pool, but it seemed that we had enough time to push on to Boothbay before dark so we decided to do that so we would be able to spend the whole day there tomorrow. We picked up a mooring at Tugboat Inn around 7:30. We put the dinghy down and put the motor on and the girls went for a little trip around the harbour while Dave and I made supper.
June 26 – Boothbay
We took the day off today. The weather was fair with some sunny skies, although it was still chilly and didn’t really feel like summer. We walked to the grocery store and got a few provisions. We went back to the boat for lunch and then after lunch went for another walk around Boothbay. There certainly weren’t the same sales in Boothbay that we had seen in the fall! We went to McSeagulls for supper and the meal was great.

June 27 – Boothbay to North Vinalhaven Island
We left Boothbay in the fog and didn’t see much of anything all day. There were a few brief moments when the visibility would open up to a mile or so, and then we could see the little islands that we were passing between. We saw porpoises a number of times through the day – it was nice to know something else was out there with us! We planned to anchor on the north side of Vinal Haven where we had stopped on the way down, but the fog was even thicker going though Fox Island Thorofare running between North and South Vinalhaven than it had been all day. We clawed our way through the fog into North Haven and picked up a mooring around 5:30. We didn’t put the dinghy down or go to shore.

June 28 – North Vinalhaven to Northeast Harbour
Another cold, wet foggy day. We left around 6:30. We motored through the fog and learned that in can in fact rain when you are in the fog. We also learned that there can be waves in the fog. There was wind (on the nose) and a little bit of a chop. We saw more porpoises again today. We got to Northeast Harbour around 2:00 and had some lunch. We were cold and tired and it was pouring rain, so we didn’t go to shore right away. In the end, I took the girls to shore around 3:30 in the drizzle. By then it was too late to bother trying to go to Bar Harbour, so we had a wander around Northeast Harbour in the drizzle. The Tan Turtle Tavern had burnt down so our plans to go out for supper went up in smoke, so to speak! We went back to the boat and had some left overs.

June 29 – June 30 – Northeast Harbour to Lockeport, NS
We left Northeast Harbour, in the fog, around 9:00. We stopped at the fuel dock and were really on our way by 9:30. The forecast sounded okay… light winds, rain, drizzle, fog… more of what we had been seeing day after day. We planned our departure time so try to arrive on the south coast of Nova Scotia at slack water, to avoid all the nasty currents you can get going around Cape Sable Island and Brazil Rock. It was a pretty uneventful crossing. We had the mizzen up all the way as a steady sail but it didn’t catch much wind – once again the wind was on the nose. It took us a little longer to cross than we expected and we got to Seal Island about an hour later than planned. We did have a good trip around the end of Nova Scotia, but then we had current against us, hour after hour. We were loosing between a knot and a knot and a half every hour, and there was no way we were going to make it to Liverpool. We were pretty tired, and based on current speed we wouldn’t arrive until after 10:00. We called Customs to find out if it was okay to tie up in Lockeport, and they said just to call when we got tied up. We were tied up around 5:00 and called customs. They gave Dave a hard time about going into Lockeport as it isn’t a designated port of entry. In the end, we were told that Customs would have to come visit us and to stay on the boat. Three hours later they finally showed up. It was a less than pleasant visit, however in the end we were cleared into Canada. When they left we got off the boat to stretch our legs, but it was cold and wet and there were a lot of people out celebrating for Canada Day so we went back to the boat and went to bed.

July 1 – Lockeport to Mahone Bay
We got up around 6:30 and were off the dock by 7:00. It wasn’t a bad day. The wind and seas were light and we had visibility. It was pretty cold though. Hard to believe it’s July. We weren’t sure whether we were going to go to Liverpool, Lunenburg, or to Mahone Bay. It was a pretty uneventful day. We were off Liverpool around lunch time, and we decided that it wasn’t too bad and that we should press on. By mid-afternoon we figured that we could make it to Mahone Bay before dark, and we thought it would be better to press on rather than stop in Lunenburg and have to get up early again tomorrow. We arrived in Mahone Bay at 8:15 and tied up on the town dock. Mum and Andy were there to meet us. It took us a little while to tied up and organized and then we went out for pizza. It felt like we made the first stop towards home.

July 2 – 5 – Mahone Bay/Getting Boom
We spent Thursday with Mum and Andy, did a few errands and picked up a few last things for Boom. On Friday we left at 5:30 and headed down to New Glasgow in Mum’s car. We dropped the girls off at Doreens at 8:30 – they had decided that a visit with Doreen was far preferable to 26 hours in the car! Dave and I set off for Massachusetts. We had an uneventful trip down, keeping the same two hour shifts in the car that we do on the boat. We finally got to Springfield around 7:30. We went for supper and then back to the hotel for an early night. On Saturday we met Boom with his breeder outside the Springfield dog show at 7:15. He was calmly sitting in his crate and not unhappy at all to come with us. The first 10 minutes in the car were pretty challenging as Boom tried to explore his new environment, but he quickly settled and went to sleep. He traveled really well. We stopped every two hours and took Boom for a little run. It took us a lot longer to get home than it took us to get to Springfield. We finally got back to New Glasgow at 11:00. We stayed at our friends, Mary Jean and Darrell’s and the girls were already there. It is so nice to see friends and family again! On Sunday morning we headed to Pictou to get the truck and see how things were at the house. House was great but the lawn was pretty sad looking as the lawn tractor had broken and had just come back from getting repaired. Dave spent a couple of hours and got a start on the lawn. We were just finishing up and the rain started down so we headed back to Mahone Bay with the truck, Mum’s car and Boom. We got back to Mahone Bay around 6:00 and had a little visit at Mum and Andy’s with Boom before going back to the boat.

July 6 – Mahone Bay to Chester
We spent Monday morning doing some odd jobs up at the house and then we headed off for Chester after lunch. We arrived in Chester about 4:30 and tied up at the Rope Loft Restaurant. John was there to meet us and after we got tied up we went up to John and Gail’s. They have a beautiful home overlooking Chester Harbour. Boom had an upset belly so we were running in an out of the house with him, but he still had a couple of accidents… We took Boom back to the boat and put him in his crate and then we all went to the Rope Loft for supper and the food was really good. We had a rough night with Boom as his belly was really giving him problems.

July 7 – Chester to Halifax
We left Chester around 7:00 to head for Halifax. By mid-morning Boom was doing better and that was a real relief. We had fairly calm seas and we saw the sun for a few minutes! It was actually really pretty sailing along the coast of Nova Scotia with the sun and the lighthouses out on the rocks. We saw a couple of other sailboats today. We arrived at Armdale around 2:00 and got fuel and water. I was talking to a gentleman on the wharf while Dave was getting the fuel. I found out that all of Misty’s (our old boat) sails, cushions etc. had been destroyed in a fire in the spring when a forest fire outside of Halifax destroyed the home of Misty’s new owner. She was now being sold as insurance salvage. How sad. We took "Bird" out to a mooring and then went to run some errands and get groceries. We rented a movie and had a quiet evening on the boat.

July 8 – Halifax
In the morning I took the girls shopping. In the afternoon Dave went to Dartmouth for some meetings. We tidied the boat, took Boom for a walk, got showers and got ready for the Tattoo. We met Dave on shore at 5:30 and went over to Tasha’s where we met Doreen and Paul and left Boom for the evening. Then we went downtown to meet Mum, Andy, Heather and Dennis for supper and then the Tattoo. We all enjoyed the Tattoo. We liked the acrobats from Estonia the best, and then the Paris Police gymnasts. After the Tattoo we went back to Tasha’s to get Boom (who had a great time) and then back to the boat.

July 9 – 11 – Road trip to Cape Breton and Pictou
We left Bird in Halifax and headed north to Cape Breton around 8:00. We stopped a couple of times along the way for Boom and we finally got to Buppy and Grammy’s (Dave’s parents) around 1:00. After lunch, Kristen stayed in Whycocomagh with Grammy, Dave and Buppy went to the cottage to cut the grass and turn the water on and Annie and I went to Baddeck with Boom. On Friday we left Whycocomagh to go to Pictou. We arrived in New Glasgow a little after lunch and picked up Katelyn to go to Lobster Carnival. We dropped the girls off at the fair, and then I took Dave to the house to start cutting the grass. The lawn mower had been broken and had just come back from the repair shop so the grass hadn’t been cut in weeks. It had turned into a hay field. I left Dave there and went back to the fair to check on the girls, and then went to run a few errands. By the time I got back to the carnival, the girls were getting tired so I took them back to the house. We stayed there until about 5:30, and then we headed up to New Glasgow to have supper and Mary Jean and Darryl’s. Around 8:30 all the Mary Jean and I took Annie, Kristen and Katelyn back to Pictou to see the fireworks. The kids were pretty tired by that point and walking around town was a lot of work! After the fireworks we went back to New Glasgow for the night. In the morning Dave took Annie to Lindy’s and then he went back to the house to cut more grass. Mary Jean and I took the other girls to the beach in Caribou. Dave finally finished a first cut on the grass around 3:00 and we left to go back to Halifax.

July 12 – Halifax to Owl’s Head
We were too tired to get up really early so we didn’t leave Halifax until around 7:00. We headed out the harbour and there were lots of swells coming in so it didn’t bode well for a smooth sail today. Sure enough, it was a rough trip up the Eastern Shore. We had a reef in the main and we tried to sail, but the wind was on the nose again. Early in the afternoon we decided enough was enough and we headed into Owl’s Head. Fortunately it was fairly protected and not much swell. We were anchored by 2:00 after a brief incident when the harbour shoaled up from 15’ to 5’ in a matter of minutes and we bumped the bottom. We made cookies and cooked a turkey breast for supper. Annie and Dave took Boom for a big adventure on shore. He had a great time climbing over the rocks and wading through the tide pools.

July 13 – Owls’ Head to Liscomb Lodge
The girls wanted to take Boom to shore in the morning, so we didn’t leave until about 9:00. He had another adventure on shore – it’s fun to watch him running around and bouncing over stuff. He didn’t have nearly so much fun when he only had pavement and grass to walk on. Fortunately today was a better day than yesterday and it wasn’t too bad a day – considering where we were! We got to Liscomb around 3:00 and there were no other boats on the dock. The whole lodge was nearly deserted and we felt badly for them. We went for a walk around the lodge and down to the river and Kristen did a scavenger hunt. We went for a swim, and hot tub and a shower and then went back to the boat. Annie and Kristen stayed on the boat to have supper and look after Boom, and Dave and I went for supper in the restaurant. After listening to the forecast we decided that it would be nice to stay another day in Liscomb.

July 14 - Liscomb
It was nice to not have to go anywhere today! It was a lovely sunny day, but quite windy so it was a great day to stay at this lovely place. We cleaned the boat in the morning, and then we packed a picnic lunch. We went for a hike across the bridge and through the woods and to a clearing by the river where we had our lunch. Then we hiked back up along the river. It was a great walk and Boom had a great time. We were glad that we didn’t have to carry him at all and we hiked for about an hour and a half. Later in the afternoon we went back to the pool and had another swim, hot tub and shower. We had a quiet evening and went to bed early.
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End of the trip - part 2

July 15 – Liscomb to St. Peters’sWe left at 5:30 and headed down the Liscomb River. We headed out into the ocean and were glad to see that the sea had calmed down. There was supposed to be light wind in the morning and then picking up in the afternoon, and we were glad the seas were calm as there was no wind to put up the sail and stabilize the boat. The wind stayed pretty light all morning and it was a pretty uneventful trip. We were off Canso in early afternoon, and we were making good time with a little bit of current behind us. It was even sunny some of the time. By the time we turned to head North around Isle Madame, the wind had picked up from the South West and we were able to sail! When we were off the end of isle Madame, and picking our way through a shoal area there were big spays of water ahead which was pretty unnerving as it looked like waves breaking over a rock. It ended up being a big pod of fin back whales – we counted at least 12 of them. Spectacular waterspouts followed by huge backs coming out of the water and then a fin appeared. We also saw a Minke whale and a couple of dolphins. It was the first time we had ever seen so many whales except on a whale cruise. We were able to sail all the way to the entrance to St. Peter’s harbour and then we dropped sails to keep up with another boat that we wanted to lock through with. We reached the lock at 6:00 and were locked through and tied up on the lake side of the lock by 7:00. We walked up to St. Peter’s and ordered a pizza, rented a movie, bought some ice cream and then went back to the boat to celebrate arriving in Cape Breton.


It is now almost a month later – August 10 to be exact. It has been such a busy time that I haven’t had a chance to keep a detailed log of our travels and doings. It has been three weeks filled with trips to Pictou, visits with friends and sailing camp for the girls. Last week was Regatta week in Baddeck and there were pram races every day. The girls did well with first place finishes for each of them in a couple of races.









Boom is doing great. He is a lovely dog – he is well behaved (for the most part). He is happy anywhere – on the boat, in the dinghy, at the cottage, at our house. He loves people and is happy to play with other dogs, although he is not obsessed with it. He hasn’t taken to the water yet – he can swim but he doesn’t really like to – yet… Maybe next summer.







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End of the trip - part 3 - Seahawk, hurricane Bill, back to school


We left Cape Breton and spent a week at the house. We heard from Seahawk and they were on their way to Halifax from Cape Cod. We were watching the forecast as Hurricane Bill was headed for Nova Scotia. Seahawk arrived on Thursday, and Bill was scheduled to arrive on Sunday. On Friday they headed off for an overnight to Cape Breton, and we headed down by car. On Saturday we took Bird from Baddeck to Washabuck River, and Seahawk headed from St. Peter's to Washabuck arriving around suppertime. The kids had a great time swimming in the warm waters of the Bras D'or and we all had supper together. It was great to get caught up. On Sunday morning we stripped the boats down and waited for Bill. There was lots of rain, but not a whole lot of wind in our snug little anchorage up the Washabuck River. The storm was over in the late afternoon, and Dave took this picture of Annie, Kristen and I swimming over to Seahawk after the storm. On Monday we took the boat back to Baddeck and then headed up to Dave's parent's in Whycocomagh to start some projects there.


On Tuesday, Seahawk came up to Whycocomagh, and Annie, Kristen and I took them for a hike up Salt Mountain. This is a picture of Annie and Karol looking over Whycocomagh. The weather remained unsettled for the rest of the week and Dave worked hard to get projects done at his parents so we could take a few days off and go sailing. In the end we didn't get much of a cruise. We spent the night on the boat in Baddeck on Friday night and went for a walk and got ice cream with Seahawk. On Saturday we headed back to Washabuck to batten down for tropical storm Danny! It was another wet and windy storm, but we'd certainly seen worse, and we felt really secure in Washabuck. Originally, we had planned to take Bird back to Pictou this weekend, but the weather was too unsettled, so on Monday we drove back to Pictou.

On Thursday, the kids went back to school. It was quite a bit different from starting school last year!! On Labour Day weekend we headed back to Cape Breton. We left after school on Friday, and got some pizza in Baddeck. After much debate, we headed out of Baddeck around 7:00 on Friday night to head for St. Peter's. It was beautiful night and we had a lovely peaceful crossing of the south lake. The channel from the lake up to St. Peter's is pretty tricky and we were glad to have the help of an almost full moon to pick out the buoys. We tied up by the lock around 11:30. On Saturday morning we were locked through by 8:20 and headed back to Pictou. We were expecting it to be pretty windy in the afternoon so we were pleased to have reasonably calm seas crossing over to Cape George. We pushed right through to Pictou as the wind was forecast to be over 20 knots on Sunday. We arrived in Pictou at 11:30pm. On Sunday morning we got up and got the second car and headed back down to Cape Breton to pick up the truck. We finally got back home in the middle of the afternoon, only to find out that we had to move the boat to another slip! We were really tired!
We thought Monday was going to be a day off, but we were excited when we got an email from Three@sea, friends we hadn't met yet, who were on their way to Pictou. We spent the day tidying up the house and trying to scrape together some supper with all the stores closed. They arrived around 5:00 and we had a great visit with them. They also have a 12 year old daughter so it was fun to meet another "cruiser kid" now that we have returned home.
On Tuesday, Dave headed up to Halifax to start his new job. On Friday, I met with my old employer and was offered my old job back so I will be back to work in the middle of October.
In the meantime I'm keeping busy getting the house painted and cleaning all the closets and cupboards -- maybe going back to work won't be so bad after all!!
We really enjoyed our trip. We look back at it, all the great places we went, all the great people we met and we can't wait to pack up and go again. We were so fortunate with weather and with how well the boat and all the systems worked, but I give Dave all the credit for that with careful planning and lots of maintenance. I hope you enjoyed reading this log of our journey. It is pretty weird putting this together when you have no idea who is reading it(if anyone). If you enjoyed it, I'd love to hear from you - drop us a line at Birdonawireboat@gmail.com.
Cathy
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Monday, June 22, 2009

part 2 - NYC to mass

This follows on from the previous posting...


On Thursday, the girls and I flew to Dallas, TX to see my Dad and his wife Honor, while Dave stayed behind to keep and eye on the boat. We had an eventful trip out when our direct flight was cancelled and we were re-routed through Chicago, and then that flight was delayed 2-3 hours while we had to wait for a pilot to fly in from Oklahoma. Eventually we arrived and Dallas around supper time. We had a lovely visit. On Friday was went to see the larger than life sculptures of close to 50 Steers being driven across the river by 3 cowboys on horseback. We also went to the Science Center and looked at the Spying exhibit and had a great time making huge bubbles. On Saturday we went to see Honor’s son and his family, John, Lisa, Declan and Pippa. The girls had a great time swimming in the pool and playing Rock Star with their cousins. That night we all went to see the new movie "Up" in this great theatre where all the traditional sitting has been taken out and replaced with rows and rows of comfy chairs and couches. The kids took blankets with them and snuggled up on the couches to watch the movie – just like home. Our flight home on Sunday was uneventful and Dave was there to meet us at the airport.
While we were gone, Dave had his own adventures. When we were in Vero Beach, we found a TV that we thought would be low on power and would work well on the boat, but by the time we were ready to by it, we couldn’t find that model. Dave found a used on Craiglist in Jersey City, so on Saturday he ventured to Jersey City Heights on the bus to get the TV. All was fine, but those of us in Dallas we anxiously waiting to hear that he was safely back on the boat. That night he went to a Welterweight Championship fight at Madison Square Gardens. The fight was a windup for Puerto Rican day in NYC on Sunday, so there was a Puerto Rican fighter in almost every under card fight, and in the Championship. It was a great fight (so I’m told) and Cotto, the Puerto Rican won, so everyone was happy!

June 15 – Jersey City to Glen Cove
The days started off well enough. Dave and I got up and walked up to the grocery store to get a few things before we left Jersey City. When we got back, though, the dinghy was hanging limply off the stern of the boat. It had been jolted around in the ferry wake and torn on a piece of exposed metal on the boat. We were still bouncing around like crazy, and we didn’t really have any way to secure the dinghy on the davits with the air out of one side of it. We left the dock as quickly as we could – about an hour earlier than we had planned. We headed down the Hudson and around the end of Manhattan and then up the East River. There were seaplanes taking off and landing on the East River which was pretty neat. There wasn’t a lot of motion in the river and the dinghy wasn’t swinging around too much so that was good. We finished our trip up the East River and were out in Long Island Sound around noon. We had hoped to make some good progress today and head 20 or 30 miles up Long Island Sound, but the wind was picking up and the current and the wind was opposing so we had that nasty short choppy sea like in the Chesapeake. The dinghy was swinging widely around on the davits and we were worried that it would get torn more so we headed into Glenn Cove and anchored around 2:00.
We got the dinghy off the davits and onto the foredeck and Dave cleaned it up and put a patch on it. He felt that the glue in the patch kit was old and it didn’t look like the patch was going to hold. It is hard to understand how big a deal it is to not have a dinghy. All through New England dock space is really expensive, and the only way to avoid tying up is to be at anchor or on a mooring. If you aren’t on a dock, the only way to shore is using the dinghy. Without a dinghy you’re stuck on the boat… After Dave got the patch on we heard there was a thunderstorm watch for the area were we were. We tied the dinghy down and went below to wait out another thunderstorm.

June 16 – Glen Cove to Westbrooke, CT
We pulled the anchor up at 6:00 and headed back into Long Island Sound hoping to get some boost from the current in the morning. All was fine for a couple of hours, and then a light breeze started in from the North, opposing the current and that nasty sea started to build again. Before we knew it we were slogging along at about 4 knots, on another rocking horse ride. The seas were breaking over the bow and crashing onto the dinghy. We weren’t sure what to do. We really felt we had to make some headway today, so we stuck it out, and fortunately by early afternoon the current turned and the seas lay down. It was really amazing to see how such a little bit of wind made the traveling so awful. In the end we made it to Harry’s Marina in Westbrooke around 4:45.
We had left the air valves open on the dinghy and they ended up folded down into a big puddle of water in the bow of the dinghy and so the dinghy pontoons were now full of water… Things just go from bad to worse. Dave tried to blow up the dinghy, and sure enough the glue didn’t hold. Dave and Kristen took the bikes and biked to West Marine a few miles away to get more dinghy glue. It was getting late by the time they got back and Dave tried to put a new patch on the hole. By this time it was starting to get dewy, and Dave had a hard time getting the patch on. We were in a real dilemma. We wanted to move on to Newport tomorrow, with the last good travel day before some bad weather moved in. We wanted to go see Boom, and Westbrook was the closest place to where he lives, but we weren’t sure which day was convenient for the breeder. We didn’t want to be on a mooring in Newport without a dinghy… We went to bed really unsure of what to do tomorrow.

June 17 – Westbrooke to Newport RI
We got up at 6:00 and the forecast was still good for traveling today so we decided to risk moving on to Newport. If we waited we would be dealing with both adverse current and adverse weather. In the end we had an uneventful trip to Newport. Very little wind or sea (or rain) and we had current with us most of the day. We got to Newport around 4:00 and picked up an Oldtown Marina mooring so we would be close to town. We blew up the dinghy and it seemed to hold air, so we put it in the water, put the motor and headed to shore. We went for a little walk around and picked up a few groceries. When we got back to the dinghy dock, the air had leaked out of the pontoon. We pumped it back up and went back to the boat, but we really felt we were back to square one. We had a commitment to see Boom tomorrow, no dinghy and no way to fix the dinghy on the boat with rain and really damp weather on the way. The only upside was at least there was a water taxi in Newport – although it would cost us $12 to go 500’ to shore. In the end we took the roll-up floor out of the dinghy and packed the dinghy up, hoping that we would be able to find a dinghy repair place when we had the car tomorrow.

June 18 – Newport

We headed to shore at 7:30 with the laptop and the dinghy. We went to the Seamen’s Institute where we could get internet coverage and started to look around for a dinghy repair place. The first place we called said they could have it finished in a couple of days. The second place we called said they could have it done next week. Finally we tried a third place after we got the car at 9:00 and he said he could fix it for us today. It was a little ways outside of Newport, but it was on the way to see Boom. When we got there the shop was great, the guy was great and we felt a lot better. Then we were off to Massachusetts. We got a little lost around Worchester when we tried to find some lunch, but in the end it all worked out. We arrived at Holly Farms about 30 minutes early, but they were ready for us. We met 8 or 9 of the nicest labs you could ever meet, including Boom’s Mom and Dad. The pups were really cute (of course). Boom is great! He is sooo cute (as you can see from his pictures). He has a great little personality and we’re really excited to get him home. We spent about 90 minutes at Holly Farm and left feeling really good about the kennel and the pup. We drove back down to get the dinghy and spend another half-hour picking up the dinghy. It looks like it was fixed really well, and we’ll be able to test it in the morning. We were really tired by this point and decided to park the car overnight and get groceries in the morning, rather than try to return the car tonight.
June 19 – Newport to Onset, Mass
Dave and I were up early to put the floor back in the dinghy and to pump it up to see if it would hold air. It all went well and we were off to shore to get groceries before 7:30. We ran our errands and returned the car and were back to the boat by 9:00. We were unsure as to whether we should set off for Onset in sort of iffy weather, but it didn’t sound too bad… If we didn’t get to Onset today, there would be no way to cross to the north side of Massachusetts Bay before 4 or 5 days of bad weather set in on Sunday. In the end we left. The sea was awful, and there was no wind so we couldn’t even put a sail up to steady ourselves. We hadn’t stowed stuff below very well, and everything dumped off the top bunk onto the cabin floor. At one point the oil pressure alarm went off and that was a real worry, as Dave had to add a little oil the other day. In the end it was just a loose connection on the sensor – phew!! We hung in there for a few hours until we reached Buzzards Bay, and then fortunately the sea calmed down… only to be socked in by thick thick fog. Well, we’re getting pretty good at fog by this point and at least we weren’t getting seasick! We continued on, and as we approached Cape Cod canal the fog lifted so we were able to see to go into Onset. We picked up a town mooring a little after 6:00, and enjoyed the beautiful evening – we figured it was still rainy in Newport!

June 20 – Onset to Manchester-by-the-Sea
We woke up early and listened to the forecast. We were really tired, but we really thought we would be better off on the other side of Massachusetts Bay and the forecast sounded pretty mild so we dropped the mooring and headed off for Cape Cod canal a little after 6:00. We timed the current well and were through the canal by 7:30 – the current would have turned against us at 7:45. Guess what we saw going through the canal?…………………… Nothing!! Thick thick thick fog. It was so thick we had wisps of fog in the cockpit. As with most fog it was gone by mid morning. We had current with us and we actually were going too fast across the harbour. We dropped the engine back to almost nothing and sailed most of the way across the bay. We had looked at all our options for harbour to wait out the storm, and although we wanted to go to Salem, we felt the harbour was too large and too exposed. In the end we made a reservation for a mooring in Manchester-by-the-Sea. It sounded nice in the guide book and it looked like a nice snug place to be holed up for 4 or 5 days of 45 knot winds. Only problem was a shallow entrance. We ended up arriving at dead-low tide (of course). We inched our way in and all was fine – it’s not quite the same running aground here with all this rock as it is in the waterway where it is all mud. The harbour is great and our mooring is a stones throw from the dock. It is a perfect place to be…. We just won’t talk about the cost to be here – this coast is just too expensive to talk about. We are so fortunate to be here, and be safe… with a dinghy that hold air. (ps. the TV works here and we have 2 channels!!)
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Washington to Massachusetts - 1 of 2

May 29 – May 31 – Washington DC
Washington was really busy with lots of walking and sightseeing – Washington will forever be "Walkington" in my mind! On Friday we spent most of the day at the American History museum where highlights included: the original Stars and Stripes flag, made to fly over Ft. McHenry near Baltimore, the original Scarlet Slippers from the Wizard of Oz movie, Oscar the Grouch and Kermit the Frog from the Muppets, Archie Bucher’s chair, a collection of Stratovarius violins and violas, a wonderful exhibit on Abraham Lincoln, and a really well done exhibit on transportation in America (sponsored by GM). After lunch, Annie and Dave went to the Holocaust museum and Kristen and I stayed at the American History museum and did experiments in the lab and looked at some inventions like Kevlar and the windsurfer. We left the museum at 3:00 in the middle of another rainstorm. We all met back at the boat, and in a break in the rain, Dave and I walked up to pick up a few groceries. When we got back it really started to pour, and it poured all through supper. We weren’t sure what to do about getting back to t he Smithsonian to see the movie. We donned our rain gear and headed out, and fortunately the rain tapered off shortly after we left the boat. Battle of the Smithsonian was fantastic! We liked it better than the original, and it was fabulous to see it in IMAX in the same place where some of it was shot.
On Saturday, we went to the Boater’s Breakfast at the yacht club. It was a veritable feast (and brownies for dessert!). Then we took the subway out to the zoo. We were able to see the Giant Pandas as well as the regular zoo animals. The elephants are always one of my favorites, and there was a hippopotamus there that was wallowing in a pond and opening his mouth to show us his teeth – they can open their mouths 150° ! After the zoo we took the subway back to a place near the Lincoln Monument and walked down there, and then back to the boat. The Lincoln Monument is really amazing – and very cool to see in person after it was featured in the movie the night before. We walked over the fish market to get some supper and that was quite something. It was a bustling place with lots and lots of seafood on display, and lots and lots of people hanging out and getting their supper. In the end we got some crabs and some shrimp and took them back to the boat. It was really hot out so we didn’t feel much like cooking anything to go with it.
Sunday was a quieter day with some chores like laundry, changing the oil and getting diesel done in the morning and then a trip to the Air and Space Museum in the afternoon. Annie collected some information for her school project on the history of flight, and we found lots of the things from the movie so it was a good outing. We were all pretty tired after so much walking and looking, so we headed back to the boat. Dave and I made another quick trip to the grocery store to get a few things before heading out from DC tomorrow.

June 1 – Washington to Canoe Neck Creek
We were away from the dock before 6:00 under sunny skies. The kids got their school work done as we traveled back down the Potomac. The winds were calm in the morning, but started to pipe up in the afternoon, and we had some nasty seas to contend with again. We stopped a little sooner than we planned as out speed was dropping down to 4 knots and we were all tired. In the end, we dropped the anchor in a nice little anchorage at 6:00, 12 hours and 80+ (statute) miles from DC.

June 2 – Canoe Neck Creek – Solomons, MD
We left around 7:00 and arrived at Solomons around 3:00. It was a really hot day – probably the hottest day was have had on the whole trip. There were a lot of bugs flying around too – not very pleasant. We got fuel and then anchored off the Holiday Inn. Tiffany Rose was there too. We called Seahawk and arranged for Jeff to pick us up around 5;30 and we’d all meet for pizza. We went to shore and walked around the little strip mall. There was a lovely (high-end) grocery store and we picked up a few things we needed (including ice cream!). Jeff picked us up and took us to the pizza place in Lexington Park - about 6 miles away from boat, in the community where they live. While we were there a massive thunderstorm came through and dumped rain on us, and the flag outside the restaurant was whipping around. We were really worried about the boat. It was great to see the Seahawk gang again but it was overshadowed by the weather. Not only were we worried about "Bird" they were pretty sure they’d left all the hatches open on their boat – meaning very wet beds! We got back to the boat and fortunately everything was fine. There was a lull in the storm so we didn’t too wet going back out in the dinghy. The storm continued on all night. The lightning was spectacular – sometimes lighting up the whole sky, sometimes a bolt of lightening would travel all the way across the horizon. It wasn’t like any storm we’d seen before.

June 3 – Solomons – Annapolis, MD
We left bright and early at 6:00. Thunderstorms were forecast again for this afternoon so we decided to do a short day and only go to Annapolis. After going through the Spa Creek Bridge at 2:30 we picked up one of the town moorings in Spa Creek. It was another really hot day. We went to town and had fun going into the little stores – the kids got t-shirts at the Black Dog store in honor of Boom. We went back to the boat and had supper, with plans of dinghying back to town to watch the Wednesday night race in Annapolis. Dave and I went back into town around 7:00, but there didn’t seem to be any race to watch. We aren’t sure if the race was cancelled due to the pending thunderstorms or if the race was already over. Dave and I got showers and then the rain started so we went back to the boat.

June 4 – Annapolis to Chesapeake City, MD
We were up around 6:30 and had to put the dinghy up before we could leave. We figured we’d get through the 7:30 opening of the bridge, but we worked quickly and were able to make the 7:00 opening. It was a wet day, but we knew that the forecast for tomorrow was awful and we wanted to get to Chesapeake City to so we’d be ready to go down Delaware Bay on Saturday. We plugged along all day with the current against us, but the wind was light and there wasn’t too much sea so it was okay. We got to Chesapeake City around 5:00, a few minutes after low tide, and not surprisingly there was no room on the free dock. We started along the channel to the anchorage and slowly came to a halt in the soupy mud. Dave worked the boat back and forth and finally got her turned towards the anchorage basin and we pushed though the mud and got anchored.

June 5 – Chesapeake City
The rain came down in buckets all morning as predicted so we stayed on the boat and got some schoolwork done. No one move off the free dock so we stayed out at anchor. In the afternoon the rain let up and we dropped the dinghy down and went to shore. We looked in the little gift stores and then went out for an early supper at the Bohemian Café.

June 6 – Chesapeake City to Cape May, NJ
The weather was better today and we headed out around 8:00 to catch the current flowing through the C&D canal towards the Delaware Bay. When we reached the bay, the current was against us until around noon, and then with us until around 4:00 when it switched against us again. We were fortunate that the wind was light and there was no sea all day. It was a nice day and there were lots and lots of people out fishing on Delaware Bay. We saw dolphins today for the first time in a long time. We were anchored off the Coast Guard College in Cape May around 6:00.

June 7 – Cape May to Atlantic City
We were underway by 6:00 and we arrived in Atlantic City by 12:00. The winds were light and the seas were calm off the coast of NJ so we motored all day. We had called to make a reservation at the marina we stayed in on the way down, but we were only able to leave a message. When we got to Atlantic City we went and got fuel, and tried to contact the marina only to find out they were full. So was the marina where we were getting fuel, so we had to go to Farley State Marina at Trumps Castle as we didn’t feel comfortable going to shore and leaving the boat unattended at anchor in Atlantic City. I guess we could feel fortunate that it was Sunday and we didn’t have to pay the full weekend rate of $4.00. We got tied up and then took the jitney bus to downtown Atlantic City and the Outlet Mall we spent the afternoon shopping and then went down to the Boardwalk and watched the water show in the mall.

June 8 –Atlantic City to Jersey City (NYC)
We left really early and were away from the dock at 5:00 in thick fog. It was really foggy all morning and the fog didn’t burn off until around noon. We were glad we left when we did as there was a lot of traffic on the radio trying to leave Atlantic City around 6:00 and the fog was so thick they couldn’t see each other. We saw a seal today and a few more dolphins. The sea was calm in the morning, but after the fog burned off the wind picked up a bit and it got a little lumpy. It was our plan to go back to Great Kills on Staten Island today, but we were making good time along the NJ coast with some help from the current and in the end we decided to go up the Hudson River a little way and stay in a marina. We arrived in Newport Marina around 7:30 after having traveled about 90 nautical miles. The marina is in a great place right across the river from Manhattan. It is in a restored neighbourhood in Jersey City, about a block away away from a large indoor mall and the NJ subway, and about 3 blocks away from a grocery store and some box stores. The only downside to the marina is there is a lot of wake from the ferries that travel across the Hudson from Jersey City to Manhattan.

June 9 – 14 – New York City
On Tuesday we spent the morning getting groceries and exploring the area. It was another wet day and we had to dodge the rain showers. In the afternoon we took the PATH subway to New York and went shopping at Macy’s and Build-a-Bear workshop. On Wednesday night we had tickets to see Mary Poppins on Broadway so we stayed in Jersey City in the morning, and then in the afternoon we went over to Central Park. We had quite and adventure on the subway when we inadvertently got on the express train to the Bronx and traveled way passed the stop we wanted and then had to find the local train back so we could get off at 79th street. Central Park is certainly a jewel for New York. What a beautiful place! We had a great walk around, there were lots of people around, and there were leagues playing soccer and baseball. We found the Belvedere Castle and a turtle pond. We were a little pressed for time so we didn’t have time to find out the significance of the castle and why it is there. We took the subway back down to Time Square, only to find out that we were about 10 blocks too far south to go to the restaurant we wanted to go to, and didn’t have time to walk back up to it. We found the Mary Poppins theatre and then got some pizza for supper before the show. The Amsterdam Theatre where Mary Poppins was playing is lovely. It is amazingly ornate with fancywork everywhere. There is a room in the basement with murals of famous scenes from American history. The play itself was great. It was interesting to compare the difference between Hairspray, where the movie was made after the musical and the story was very similar, and Mary Poppins, where the movie came first and the story line in the Musical was quite different from the movie. Fortunately all our favourite songs were still there and we really enjoyed it. The girl that played Jane was a great little singer and actress. We got back safely to the boat around midnight.
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Friday, May 29, 2009

May 29 - Washinton DC


May 19, 20 – Oriental
On Tuesday there was school in the morning again. It was still really windy, but Seahawk had spent their two legal days on the free dock, so they left around noon. We pulled in behind them and took their spot. We had another nice walk in Oriental, and Dave started working on the teak.
On Wednesday, the water started leaving the harbour, and the boat on the deeper side of the free dock left, so we moved around to the other side of the dock. It was another quiet day of school, with the added excitement of finally picking a puppy! After much debate, we’ve decided on a black lab pup from Holly Farms, in Belcherville Mass. His Dad is a very well behaved black lab called Oliver, and his Mom is white lab named Sky, and she loves to play frisbee. He was born May 6. We will be able to go meet him on June 13 when we are up in Connecticut, and we will be able to take him home on July 4. We have named him "Boom", and his call name will be "Holly Farm Highlander". While we know we can never replace Rudder, it will be nice to have a dog again. We couldn’t imagine being home without one.

May 21 – Oriental to Alligator River mile 104
We left Oriental at 6:00 after a nice break. We motored up the Neuse River and we were impressed as "Bird" kept up or passed all the other sailboats. We debated back and forth as to whether or not we should go out to Ocracoke… we had pretty good weather to get out there, it would be a really neat place to see… we spent five days in Oriental and we should get moving… we weren’t sure if we would be able to sail all the way there… the Pamlico can get pretty rough… In the end we decided to skip Ocracoke and we pressed on through the Alligator Pungo Canal and anchored at the top of the Alligator river around 5:30. The anchorage was very calm and we had an uneventful evening.

May 22 – Alligator River to Elizabeth City – mile 51
We left at 6:00 again. It was really beautiful pulling out of the anchorage. The sun was rising and making all the trees silver in the mist. We motored down the Alligator River, and pulled into the Alligator River marina around 10:00 to fill up with fuel. We were on our way again fairly quickly. It was a nice little marina and we could see why lots of people recommend it as a good place to stop. We got to Elizabeth City around 2:30 and tied along side a face dock, rather than trying to struggle in the slips like we had in the fall. After we got settled we went over to the Museum of the Abermarle where Dave and Kristen briefly visited in the fall. It is a great museum and it’s free! They have 4 large exhibits representing different periods of history in the region. They had some artifacts that had been retrieved from the wreck of Queen Anne’s Revenge, the ship sailed by Blackbeard the Pirate and sunk in near Ocrakoke. There were also two small very old building that had been moved from their original locations and rebuilt in the museum – one was a house, and the other was a smokehouse. Kristen had fun finding all the answers for the scavenger hunt. When we finished the exhibits the kids went to play in the play room, where there were lots of period clothes, a puppet theatre, kitchen utensils and other things to play with. After we dragged them away from there, we walked around town, looking for a place to go out for supper. Nothing really caught our eye, so we ordered pizza instead. While we waited for the pizza, the girls played soccer on the field right by the boat, Dave took the bikes off the boat, and I went for a bike ride and rented a movie "Hotel for Dogs". The movie was fun and the girls enjoyed it.

May 23 – Elizabeth City to South Mills Lock – Mile 32
We lazed around in the morning. We wandered around the farmer’s market that was set up on the field right by the boat. I called the grocery store for a ride, and went to the grocery store to get some provisions for our trip up the Chesapeake. When I got back, Dave rode the bike up to get the laundry done and to return the movie. I took the girls back to the play room at the museum. After lunch, we went to Port Discovery, a little science center about a block away from the boat. It had some neat things to do, but it would have been more fun if someone had walked us through the experiments. It was a little hard to figure stuff out on our own. By the time we were done there, the wind was picking up and blowing us onto the face dock. We decided to leave Elizabeth City and pulled away from the dock around 2:00. It was a lovely day on the river that leads to the Dismal Swamp – there were lots of people out enjoying the water, wake boarding and water skiing. We got to the lock at South Mills around 5:00. We thought maybe there would be a place to tie up there, but there wasn’t, so we anchored in the river. We saw a huge brown water snake sunning itself on a tree stump near where we were going to anchor. They aren’t poisonous, but it sure was big! A park ranger we talked to thought maybe it was a pregnant female and that was why it was sooo large. After we anchored, "Varuna", a Contessa 26 sailboat passed us and went up an old barge canal to anchor. Varuna has an exciting history as she circumnavigated the world in the late 80’s, sailed by 18 year old Tanya Aebi. We remember reading about her back when we started sailing. Sure enough it is the same boat, and the folks that own her now are the fourth owner since Tanya. They are heading back up to their home in Maine after taking her south for the winter.

May 24 – South Mills Lock to Dismal Swamp Visitors Center – Mile 28
We were up around 7:00 and had breakfast before we pulled up the anchor a little after 8:00. We locked through at South Mills with 3 other sailboats and 2 trawlers. We were through the lock and bridge around 9:30. We puttered down the Dismal Swamp with other boats until we got to the Visitors Center four miles from the lock. When we got there the wall was full with a sailboat and the two trawlers. Varuna was rafted to the other sailboat. The trawlers were only planning to stay for about 30 minutes, so we rafted up to Varuna. After the trawlers left, we moved back onto the wall, and then Varuna left too. It was a lovely day, so we decided to borrow bicycles from the visitor’s center so we could all cycle back to South Mills. We had a great bike ride through the woods along the paved path that runs beside the Dismal Swamp Canal. By the time we got to South Mills, clouds had gathered all around, and the heavens opened up. It poured with rain. We hid out under the canopy of a gas station convenience store until the worst of it was over, and then we biked down to look at the boats locking through. There was so many boats that they filled the lock the first time, and had to lock through a second group. The first group of boats had to wait between the lock and the bridge for the second group to be locked through before the bridge was opened. While they were waiting, the heavens opened again – with even more rain than the first time. We hurried back to the gas station to wait for it to stop. We waited and waited, and worried about the boat because we hadn’t closed any hatches. We decided that when they closed the bridge again we would set off even if the rain hadn’t stopped. Fortunately, by the time the bridge was closed, the rain had stopped and we set off back for the visitor’s center. We only rode a short way before the pavement was dry… apparently it was an isolated rainstorm! As we got closer to the boat it did start to rain a bit, but Dave was able to get the boat closed up before it got wet down below. We beat all the boats that locked through back to the visitors center – even the trawlers. Five boats stopped and tied up, so we had a boat rafted on the outside of us. After lunch we decided to go over to other side of the canal where the little interpretative center is. The rain had stopped so we left the hatches open again. Just as we went in the center, the rain began to pour down again. It was way too wet to go back to the boat, so we figured we’d just have to make the best of it. After the rain tapered down a bit, the girls and I walked the boardwalk and then the short walk through the woods. Dave went back to the boat. Even though our neighbours had closed the main hatches when they saw the rain start the boat was soaked. There was a huge puddle on our bed in the aft cabin that had run down and under the mattress. The mattress was really wet, as was the bedding and the pillow. We got that all mopped up and stood the mattress on end with the fan blowing on it to help dry it and we thought we were done. They Dave started to put the lunch dishes away, only to find that the kitchen drawers were full of water too… So he cleaned that up… Then when he finished that and turned around, he found more water… Finally, we thought we had it all cleaned up and we had supper. We slept in the main cabin.

May 24 – Visitors Center to Deep Creek to Norfolk
We left the visitor’s center around 8:00 after draining all the water out of the dinghy and putting it up on the davits. We motored along the canal down to Deep Creek for the 11:00 opening, but there was a Southbound boat, so we had to wait. We tied up on the wall in Deep Creek and went across the street to the grocery store and got bread and milk, and to the auto parts store to get some oil. We were back in plenty of time to go through the bridge when it opened at 11:30. We went through the bridge and tied up on the wall between the bridge and the lock, so we could go back to the park we had enjoyed so much in the fall. We BBQ’d hot dogs for lunch, and then went for a walk in the woods and along the marsh. We put our bed back together as it was dry now, and when the 1:30 opening for the lock came, we were ready to go on to Norfolk. We locked through with 3 other sailboats and 4 trawlers. At 2:30 we were on our way, down the narrow twisty river. It was full of jet skis and people on wake boards. I was at the helm as we came to a corner and there was a ski boat stopped mid channel. I thought I would take him to starboard, and as I came around the corner we slowed to a stop in the mud. Dave took the helm and backed us off, but it was pretty stressful with five of the other boats from the lock behind us and all the ski boats around. We arrived in Norfolk around 4:30 and pulled into Waterside marina. We thought it would be a good idea to do laundry and get all the towels and sheets clean and dry. We went for supper at Joe’s Crab Shack, and when we were there, guess what? It started to rain again. I went back to the boat just to double check that it was all closed up and to get rain jackets.

May 25 – Norfolk to Mill Creek, Great Wicomico
We headed out at 6:00, planning a long day to the mouth of the Potomac. The day started off quietly enough with calm seas and no wind, and the forecast was only for 10-15 SE. When we were leaving Norfolk, we were told to keep 500yds away from a submarine being escorted into Norfolk - If we didn',t they had authorization to use "deadly force" to keep us away -- they didn't have to ask us twice! By lunch time we had 20 knots of wind right on our beam and the seas were getting larger and larger. We decided that it didn’t make sense to try to go to a new anchorage if we’d been dealing with this kind of weather for 6 hours, so we altered course a bit to the protected anchorage we had stayed at in the fall off the Great Wicomico. It was a long afternoon. The waves were large and close together and they would tip the boat from side to side, as well as wash over the cabin and into the cockpit. It probably would have been fine if it had been a lovely sunny day, but things always seem more ominous when it is cloudy and overcast. We were really happy to turn west at 4:00 and get the wind and waves behind us. The anchorage was lovely and calm – barely a breath of wind! We made hot chocolate and played cards until supper and then we went to bed early.

May 26 – Mill Creek to Tobacco River, Potomac
We left around 7:30 in the thick fog. We inched our way out with the radar on, and were relieved to find that the seas from yesterday were gone. We motored our way through the fog and turned up the Potomac River. We were lucky that we didn’t have a lot of current against us and we traveled all day without much effect from the current at all. The fog lifted later in the afternoon, and it turned into a lovely, hot day. After looking and looking in the Cruising Guide at options for places to stay tonight, we finally decided to push on about 50 miles up the Potomac to the Tobacco River. It made for a pretty long day, about 65 (nautical) miles, and we dropped the anchor around 6:00. The anchorage was wide open, but the wind was calm and there weren’t any other boats around. It is pretty here. There are steep red and yellow cliffs that lead down to the water, and they are covered in lush green trees. Sporadically, there are huge, older homes that look really spectacular from the water. There are lots of crab pots here where we are anchored so we had to be careful coming in that we didn’t get tangled in one.

May 27 – Tobacco River to Washington DC
We were on our way before 5:30 this morning, trying to stay ahead of the current flowing up the river. We were lucky and had a nice boost from the current most of the morning. Once again it was really, really foggy when we left, but the fog was gone by around 8:00. It turned into a beautiful sunny day, but then it got humid, and by the time evening rolled around there were thunder showers. Coming up the river to Washington was similar to going through New York – very noisy! There were airplanes taking off over our heads, lots of helicopters flying around, and Harrier aircraft buzzing overhead. We were tied up at the Capital Yacht Club a few minutes after 1:00 – a lot earlier than the late afternoon we were expecting! The staff at the yacht club are really friendly and helpful. The yacht club is wonderfully located about a 10 or 15 minute walk from Washington Monument, and the Smithsonian Museums. After we got settled we left the boat around 3:00 and went for a walk up to the Natural History Museum. We spent 2 hours there and still barely touched the exhibits. We bought tickets to go and see "Night at the Smithsonian", the sequel to "Night at the Museum" at the IMAX theatre there tomorrow.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pictures


At the fort in St. Augustine

Wild Horses in Cumberland
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May 18 - Oriental


May 5 – Palm Shores to Daytona Beach mile 830
We had a really long day today. We left early and we traveled all day in the hot sun. We called the marina where we stayed in Daytona, but they didn’t think there was enough water for us to get into their marina! We tried to anchor in a spot where the cruising guide and the chart showed plenty of water, and we could barely find 6’ at high tide! Finally we went to Halifax Harbor Marina in Daytona. It is a lovely facility and it was nice to be there after such a long day. We had a nice walk through the "historic" area of Daytona. We tried to find an ice cream store, but everything was closed so we went back to the boat.
May 6 and 7– Daytona Beach to St. Augustine mile 778
Another hot, hot day! We left Daytona around 7:00 arrived at the marina in St. Augustine around 2:00 and got fuel and then tied up. We went for a walk through this historic town, and it is a lot older than Daytona! St. Augustine is the oldest city in North America. Europeans have been living there since the Spanish settled there in 1565. After a while, Dave and Kristen went back to the boat and Annie and I kept walking around and looking in stores. As we were walking down a cobble street, Annie said – Hey, look who that is! It was Chad and LeeAnn of Cambyration. We originally met them in the Exumas and it was LeeAnn that helped the kids win the Sand Sculpture contest in Georgetown. It was so nice to see them again! And hey – they were close enough to kids to count as kids for Kristen’s birthday party. We arranged to call them tomorrow after we settled on plans for Kristen’s big day. After supper Kristen and I checked out some restaurants for her birthday supper for tomorrow. On Kristen’s birthday we had a big day planned! We went to the Castillo de San Marcos, the spanish fort built beginning in 1670, in the morning. It is now part of the US National Parks system and it is a great museum. The walls of the fort are built of Coquina, which is a like sedimentary rock full of shells. They weren’t sure if it would be a good material for a fort, but it ended up being great as there was enough give to it that the cannon balls bounced off it. In the afternoon we played mini-golf at the mini putt right in front of the marina – it was orignally opened in 1949! Then Kristen had a mini scavenger hunt around the marina. We met Chad and LeeAnn for supper at Harry’s Seafood restaurant. The food was great! After supper we went back to the boat for birthday cake and presents. All in all it was a busy, fun day!
May 8 – St. Augustine to Fernandina Beach mile 716
It felt like another long hot day today. We left before 7:00 so that we could get through the Bridge of Lions before the restricted openings started at 7:00. We thought we were doing pretty until about 11;00 when we reached another high bridge, that didn’t require an opening, but they were doing construction and they had the ICW blocked off. They said they could have it blocked until noon, so we dropped the anchor and got ready to wait, and about 5 minutes later they pulled the barge out of the way, so we pulled up the anchor and went through. Not sure why they couldn’t have told us they’d only be 10 or 15 minutes. The ICW was really shallow today and by the time we got to Fernandina Beach we decided we’d had enough. We took one of the town mooring rather than continuing on to Cumberland Island which was our original plan. We had a really nice walk through Fernandina Beach again. We got ice cream at the ice cream shop, a few things at the 5 and 10 store, and got showers at the marina. Then it was back to the boat for supper and a movie.
May 9-10 – Fernandina Beach, Cumberland Island Georgia to Charleston SC mile 469
Dave and I got up and away from the mooring by 7:00. We motored the 5 or so additional miles to Cumberland Island in Georgia, and were anchored before 8:30. We all had breakfast and went to shore to explore this great island. Cumberland Island is part of the National Park system and the government owns 85% of it. There are no paved roads, and the only access to the island is by boat. It was as beautiful as we remembered it. There are big beautiful trees, covered with spanish moss creating a canopy overhead as you walk along the dirt roads and pathways. Lucy Carnagie, the sister-in-law of the famous financier, built an estate near the south end of the island at the turn of the last century, and the ruins of it still exist. There is a little museum with pictures of how it looked in its hey day – it must have been incredible. There are wild horses that have the run of the island and we saw three different groups of these horses – some look a little old and hungry, but others are really beautiful. We looked hard to see some armadillos, but they were being nocturnal, and we saw some wild turkeys instead. It was Saturday, and there was a program for birders on the island. We took part in a obstacle course that tried to emulate what the birds go through on their annual migration. Then we had our picnic lunch and headed back to the boat.
We pulled up anchor about 12:45 and headed out to sea. There was a cold front forecast to arrive tomorrow afternoon and we wanted to get to Charleston before the rain. It was an uneventful night. It was our brightest overnight ever with a 98% moon rising one hour after sunset, and setting 5 minutes before sunrise. During one watch there was a swallow that came out and fly by the boat a couple of times. We also had dolphins with us part of the way. We were fighting our way against the current up the channel into Charleston around 1:00 when the first showers hit. Then there was a break in the rain and were tied up as the Charleston Maritime Center a little before 2:00. Later in the afternoon and over night there were really heavy thunder showers and we were glad we had made it safely to Charleston. The marina was great with free laundry and a terrific grocery store only a couple of blocks away.
May 11 – Charleston SC
It was sunny in the morning so we thought we’d head off to see a bit of Charleston, including the Charleston museum. I thought that all of old Charleston was south of the marina, so without looking at the map we headed south to the Market, and then south down Meeting Street to find the museum. The Market was interesting with lots of stalls of crafts and gifts. Meeting Street was really pretty with lots of big houses. After we had walked quite a ways, I decided to look up the address for the museum, only to discover we should have gone north from the marina. We decided to walk the rest of the way down to see the park at the south end of Charleston at the juncture of the Ashley and the Cooper Rivers (Sheila are you reading this??). The homes were really beautiful. They have narrow facings on the street, and their "piazzas" or porches run along the side of the house, facing beautifully manicured, walled in gardens. For the most part, their "front door" or "Privacy Door" is a door in a full wall, that opens on to the piazza, not into the house itself. Unfortunately I didn’t have the camera with me so I don’t have any pictures of this beautiful part of Charleston. We went back to the boat for lunch and to get a few things done – like laundry. Of course this all took longer than expected and it was 3:00 before we were ready to leave again for the museum. We found it no problem once we followed the map! It was a great museum. The museum was set up in chronological order with the displays taking you through the history of Charleston. At the end was a nature history exhibit that dated back over 100 years. It was really interested to see the artifacts that had been imported into Charleston a hundred years ago to educate the people about the rest of the world. There was lots of taxidermy of animals from all over the world, including a polar bear. There were copies of Egyptian artifacts that had come from museums in England. There was a real mummy! There was also a Kidstory exhibit for children that had different activities for the kids to learn about Charleston History. We left the museum about 5:00, thinking we’d be able to walk back to the Market and do a carriage tour in the evening. The lady at the museum said that the carriage tours had to be finished by 6:00. We rushed down to the Market and got on the last tour. It was fun and informative, but I think it would have been better if we had gone earlier in the day.
We stopped at the grocery store on the way home and picked up some groceries before we went back to the boat to have supper.
May 12 – Charleston to Georgetown mile 403
We left Charleston a few minutes after 6:00 to get through a bridge a few miles away before 7:00. We had an uneventful day and arrived at Georgetown around 4:30. We finally found a good spot to anchor and got settled right off the town dock. Dave and I went to shore to see if we could find a post office while the girls stayed on the boat to play. We bought some shrimp for supper, and then after supper we all went for a walk. We chose to walk away from the water and through the old residential district. The houses date back to 1750, and there are plaques on the houses indicating their ages. It was fun to try to guess how old the houses were by looking at the size of the window panes and the house construction before you read the plaque. The streets are wide and beautiful, and the big old trees create a canopy right over the street. Georgetown remains one of our favorite places!
May 13 – Georgetown to Barefoot Landing mile 354
We had a leisurely breakfast and then left Georgetown around 9:00. We’re getting a little tired of travelling!! We got to Barefoot Landing around 5:00 and decided to go to the marina we were at on the way South. The kids had a great time swimming in the pool. It is one of the nicest pools we’ve ever seen – too bad it isn’t heated. There are little concrete islands in the pool and shallow (1’) sections leading out to them. The girls had fun sliding on their bellies on these little "beaches". Tiffany Rose was also in Barefoot Landing. We first saw them in Atlantic City and also saw them in Vero, but didn’t get a chance to talk to them. They are from Ontario, and are doing this trip with their 16-year-old son who has Downs Syndrome. They had stopped in Barefoot Landing hoping to meet up with another family with a Downs child that has a traveling Downs Quilt. The Quilt is moving around the country spending a week at a time with Downs children. It didn’t sound like it was going to work out for them to get to see the quilt, which was too bad.
May 14 – Barefoot Landing to Southport NC mile 309
We pulled away from the dock at 7:00 under overcast skies and it started to rain a little while later. We didn’t do a very good job timing our one restricted bridge today, and we had to wait for a long time for an opening. We decided to stop in Southport at 2:00 after a relatively short day, rather than pressing on against the current up the Cape Fear River in the rain. We were really fortunate and there was a spot available at the dock in front of the Provision company restaurant where were able to tie up for the cost of our lunch. We had a great lunch at the restaurant and then Dave and I went for a walk in town (in the rain, without our umbrella). We learned that there was a Lowes hardware a couple of miles away, so we went back to the boat and Dave got the bike and biked out to the highway to get more alcohol to light the stove. I took the girls back to town so they could go to this great gift store Dave and I had found. They had done such an awesome job merchandising all the books and stuffed animal by animal type I really wanted the kids to see it. They used every inch of the store, including the ceiling to display their wares – it was really well done!

May 15 – Southport – Mile Hammock Bay mile 244
We had a little walk around Southport in the morning before leaving at 8:00. We knew it would be a long day, and we knew we wouldn’t be able to get off the boat tonight. We were away from the dock at 8:00 as planned, but we must have miscalculated the current a bit as it was still against us, instead of being at slack water. We pressed on anyway and had an uneventful trip up the Cape Fear River. It was dark and gloomy in the morning, but it didn’t rain, and by the afternoon it was sunny and warm with a nice breeze. When we turned off the Cape Fear river and went into Snow’s Cut the depth kept shoaling up, then it seemed to get deeper again before "thunk" – we hit bottom. Fortunately we pushed right through it and didn’t get stuck. We were once again thankful for having a full keel and a steel boat. We had three bridges today with restricted hourly openings and so we had to travel slowly between the bridges rather than spend 20 minutes at each bridge doing circles waiting for an opening. It gave us a chance to sail slowly along the waterway without the motor, as there was no point in going at speed. We saw lots of nesting Ospreys today – it seemed like there was a nest on every marker in the channe. A couple of times we were able to see the babies in the nest and that was really neat. There were a bunch of other shallow spots, but fortunately we didn’t touch bottom again. We arrived at Mile Hammock Bay at around 6:00. It is on the Camp LeJeune forces base and so you aren’t allowed to go to shore. It was a pretty uneventful evening. There were about 10 other boats in the anchorage, including "the Dove" and we talked to Larry for a while on the radio.
May 16 – Mile Hammock Bay to Oriental NC mile 182
We left Mile Hammock Bay at 6:15 in order to be through a restricted bridge 5 miles away before 7:00. A couple of other boats also left around the same time. One was called Radical Jack and is a 34’ sailboat from just outside Yarmouth, NS. We (ok, I) had a confusing time getting through Beaufort and Morehead City. There were lots of small boats out fishing on a Saturday afternoon – it is amazing how they think they can anchor right in the channel! We arrived in Oriental a few minutes before 4:00 and decided to go into the marina rather than anchor off, as it was pretty windy and the anchorage isn’t that protected. We had a nice walk to the grocery store that is about a mile away, and then someone offered us a ride back to the marina. We heard from Seahawk and they are going to be here tomorrow so we are thinking we may wait out the cold front here
May 17, 18 – Oriental
Dave and Kristen went for a bike ride around Oriental on Sunday morning, and then the girls went for a swim in the pool. A little before noon the rain and thunder showers started, and shortly after that Seahawk arrived. We went over for a visit to Seahawk in the afternoon. It rained really hard and there wasn’t any opportunity to go for a walk, which was disappointing. Seahawk knows another family here - they spent quite a lot of time traveling with this family from Ontario with 6 kids. They are in the process of selling their boat and moving aboard a 42’ catamaran they just purchased outside of Oriental. Seahawk went over to visit them later in the afternoon. We went back to Bird to look at the rain and have supper.
On Monday we did school in the morning. It is still raining really hard! Dave and I walked up to the grocery store in the afternoon, and on the way a man asked if we wanted a ride. We said it was ok, it’s a nice walk. Then he asked if we’d like a ride home in 20 minutes, we said it was no big deal… we went on to the grocery store and were finishing up the groceries when the man came into the store to find us and see if we were ready for a drive back to the boat!! Seahawk came over for a visit in the evening.
The high wind is blowing all the water up the river to Oriental and the road is flooded!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Vero Beach - May 3

April 22 – May 3 – Vero
We had a long and busy stop in Vero. The first highlight of the stop was when we went to the children’s bookstore and saw that Mary Pope Osbourne, the author of the Magic Treehouse books, was going to be there for a book signing on Wednesday. These books have been some of Annie’s favorites since grade 1, so on Wednesday, Annie and I rode our bikes back to the bookstore to meet her. I have never seen a bookstore with so many people and kids in it!! It was a great event and Annie got a couple of books signed. On Saturday, Dave’s brother John came to visit us for a week with his wife Ingrid and their six year old daughter Margaret. They rented a really nice house where there was room for all of us – as well as a pool (and a washer and dryer!!) We played the tourist and had a car too. They arrived on Saturday afternoon, so we went to their house where the kids swam and we had chicken on the bbq. On Sunday we all went over to the boat so they could see the marina and where we were. On our way out to the boat in the dinghy with Margaret, we saw some dolphins up close and that was great. We had lunch on the boat and then Dave, John, Margaret and Kristen went back to the house and Ingrid Annie and I went shopping. On Monday we traveled north to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. It is huge! You couldn’t really see it all in a day, and it was pretty hard to figure out what to do first. We went to the space shuttle exhibit where there is a mock up of a space shuttle that you can go inside and see the cargo bay and the control station. There is also a shuttle launch simulator that is really neat! You sit down and buckle up, as if you are in the cargo bay, and they take you through the launch and out into orbit. Very cool! We also took the bus tour out to see the shuttle launch platform and the Apollo/Gemini exhibit. Not only did we see interesting stuff about the space program we saw alligators, raccoons, roseate spoonbills as well as eagles, ospreys, herons and egrets. We finished the day by watching a 3D IMAX film on the building of the international space station. It was really well done and really interesting. Even Kristen who hates 3D movies kept her glasses on for the whole thing. On Tuesday we had a quite morning, and then went to the Environmental Learning Center on Wabasso Island in the afternoon. There was a great boardwalk through the mangrove swamp and there was a scavenger hunt for the kids. We managed to find everything on the list including green anoles (lizards), animal footprints, a bat house, and butterfly, as well as learning about the mangrove swamp and the Indian River Lagoon – did you know that sea horses lived in the Indian River lagoon? On Wednesday we to the Oceanarium in Ft. Pierce. It is similar to the environmental learning center, but there are more exhibits. They also have a big pond with sport fish in it, and we watched them being fed and learned about the different species. Then we walked their nature trail which was very well done, with lots of plaques with information about what you are seeing. The mosquitoes in that swamp can produce 38million offspring in a single summer! After our walk we fed the stingrays. That was really neat. Their mouths are underneath their bodies. To feed them you stand a shrimp or small fish up between your fingers, and then place your hand flat on the bottom of the tank. They swim over your had and suck the fish out from between your fingers. It feels like a vacuum cleaner! On Thursday we headed up to the Brevard County zoo in Melbourne where we had gone for Annie’s birthday. We did the kayak trip, fed the lories, petted armadillos, a monitor lizard and alpcas, and fed a huge giraffe. When you fed the giraffe, you had to stand back a couple of feet from the edge of the platform. The giraffe would reach over and stick out his 18" black tongue and wrap it around the cracker and pull it away from you! He really didn’t want us to pet him, but he loved to have his ears scratched by the keeper and the curator of the zoo. We went for supper at Unos, and then the guys went off shopping while the rest of us when to see the Magic Treehouse Musical, based on the Magic Treehouse books. It was very well done with great effects like a beautiful flying stag, dragons guarding a magic caldron and huge white stallion with a red knight. It was interesting to see how they made the dragons really beautiful so they weren’t as scary for the wide range of kids in the audience. On Friday we went for a kayak tour on the Indian River up and around where the marina is. We didn’t see as much wild life as I would have liked, but it was really nice and peaceful. On Friday night we went for a lovely supper at the Ocean Grill restaurant in Vero, and then went back to the house for an early birthday party for Kristen and John. At Kristen’s request we had 60 candles on the cake – 10 for Kristen and 50 for John! On Saturday we tidied up the house and said goodbye to them as they headed back to Orlando to catch an early flight to Toronto on Sunday. We had a busy afternoon trying to get some shopping done. On Sunday we got up early and drove to Orlando to meet our friends the Quanns at Seaworld! It was pretty neat that it worked out that their Florida vacation coincided with us being so close to Orlando and at a time when we already had a car rented. We had a great day and I think we saw the whole park. Probably the coolest thing was the brand new roller coaster Manta was unofficially open and Annie got to on it with the Quanns (Dave Kristen and I went and did the Shamu express). Apparently it is the only roller coaster in the world where you are strapped in and then tilted so you are facing down for the whole trip. Annie says that it feels like you are flying! (I think I’ll find anther way to learn how to fly). We also saw four shows: the Dolphin/Whale show which was fabulous, with acrobats and beautiful birds as well as the whales and dolphins; the sea lion show; the Shamu killer whale show; and another show that was done with cats, dogs a skunk and a pig that all came from animal shelters. So like I said, it was a busy busy time in Vero!


May 4 – Vero Beach (951) to Palm Shores (909)
We finally got away from Vero about 10:45 after getting groceries, returning the car and filling up the water tanks. We had an uneventful trip, getting back into the routine of travel on the waterway. It was a really hot day – mid to high 80’s with a 15 knot SW wind. We decided to anchor in Palm Shores around 4:45, as we were looking for some protection from the southwest, and there wasn’t anywhere else to anchor for the next 20 miles with any protection. We pulled off the waterway on the side of the bridge and carefully sounded our way into a spot with about 8 feet of water. We had a couple of dolphins come over to see us. I went snorkelling in the murky, murky water to try to clean off the growth on the knotmeter so it would spin again. I’m not sure how successful I was. I guess we’ll see tomorrow.

Friday, April 24, 2009

April 24 - Vero Beach

Pictures to follow....

April 15 – Green Turtle Cay
We had a quiet day today. School in the morning as usual. In the afternoon, Dave took the girls in the dinghy to go into town. On the way a guy whose dingy motor had quit flagged them down. They ended up towing him back to his boat with our little dinghy. We went into shore and had a swim in the pool, and then Annie and Kristen and I took Lily, the dog off Hale Kai for a walk. In the evening, Dave and I went in to hear the band that was playing at the Green Turtle Club. They were really good! It was a neat evening sitting out under the stars, watching the band playing under this big tree that was all covered in little white lights.
April 16 – Green Turtle Cay to Crab Cay
We left Green Turtle around 10:00. We weren’t in a big hurry and we wanted to make sure there was enough tide to get out safely. We rolled out the jib and motor sailed about 18 miles to Crab Cay. We got there around 2:00. Hale Kai was there, and they came over to see if the girls wanted to go to shore with them to walk Lily. Dave and I tidied up the boat and then went in too. We had a great walk. The beach isn’t sand here, it is either stone or rocks. We walked across the cay, and then back around the end of the island. It ended up being quite a long walk! We found lots of milk conch shells that are smaller than queen conch, but still really pretty. There was a deserted camp there too, made up of old sails and tarps. It was kink of weird!
April 17 – Crab Cay to Great Sail Cay
We left fairly early, around 7:00. It was a great day for a sail and we put all the sails up. We had a glorious sail for the entire day, and covered about 38 miles, arriving at Great Sail around 2:00. As we turned to go south after we went around the top of great sail, about a dozen dolphins came up and started swimming with the boat. There was one little one that was having a great time zig-zagging in front of the boat and then dropping back and catching up again. They swam with us for 20 minutes or half and hour. When we got to Great Sail we dropped the girls off on Gotta Life and Dave and I went for a walk on the shore. After our walk we picked up the girls, and then went back to the boat for supper. After supper we went back over to Gotta Life for a visit.
April 18 – 19 – Great Sail to Vero Beach Florida
Our original plan was to stay in Great Sail today, and then leave in the morning to cross to Fort Pierce in Florida tomorrow. As we listened to the forecast, we decided that we would prefer to sail the 50 miles across the bank over-night and then cross the 60 miles over the Gulf Stream during the day tomorrow. Based on that, we planned to leave at 7:00 tonight. The girls did some school in the morning and then went over to Gotta Life to go swimming. I went up Hale Kai’s mast to free up their topping lift that had broken free and gotten tangled. Annie Erin Dave and I went for a walk on the beach. We found some pieces of silver honeycomb that was likely dropped off from the space shuttle. We also found a 50lb bail of raw rubber. It would have been pretty hard to figure out it was, but they had one on display at the museum that we visited in Hopetown. The bales of rubber were being transported from South America to Europe during the second world war, and the ship was sunk by an Italian U-Boat. The bales of rubber have been washing up on the bahamian beaches ever since.
We had supper and left Great Sail at 7:00 as planned. Several other boats left around the same time, and we kept in contact with them throughout the night. We had a very uneventful night. We sailed off the bank and out of the Bahamas around 4:00am. The seas in the gulf stream were predicted to be quite high, but in the end it was fine. The waves were big, but they were far apart so we just went up and down without being rolled about too much. We went in the cut to Fort Pierce around 2:00pm. We had planned to spend the night in Fort Pierce, but the marina was full, so we went the additional 15 miles to Vero Beach and picked up a mooring. Dave called into customs, and they told us that we would all have to show up at immigration within 24 hours, so we planned to rent a car tomorrow to go do that and get some groceries. We got settled in, had showers, went for a walk, had an early supper and went to bed.
April 21 – Vero Beach
We rented the car at noon and went to Fort Pierce to get registered at immigration. It was no problem at all. Then we went and had lunch at Subway! We went to Walmart to get groceries! All and all an uneventful day, but pretty fun when you haven’t seen any of these things for a couple of months.