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!!)
Posted by Picasa

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.
Posted by Picasa