Friday, September 26, 2014

Docked at Deltaville

What a sail we had yesterday.  This is the first year that we have been able to make it from Solomons to Deltaville on a fall day, and we made it in barely over seven hours.  A record for us.  We had 20 to 25 knots of wind mostly behind us, the seas were a bit unruly going out of the Patuxent River and off of the Potomac River, but otherwise manageable.  At one point we were surfing and doing well over eight knots.  The autopilot can only handle so much.  We reduced the main to a triple reef and shorted up the poled out jib.  It was one of those days without a discernable sunrise, rainy weather and visibility was down to a mile at some points.  This made it likely we could not encounter the military test bombing runs that have previously made us alter our route.  We were not the only sailors out there.  Blue Highway, a Petersen 44, came near us and took a few pictures.  Oddly enough, some of the sailboats were fighting the weather to go north.  I do not know what it was like on their boats, but from our perspective, it was not a pretty sight.

I was going to send Jean a text that we were in route, but Myron said we would just surprise them.   Myron worked through all the boats anchored in Jackson Creek to line us up for the dock. We managed a downwind landing by lassoing the end piling with our stern line, giving us a little more time to secure the rest.  As we were putting the fenders in place, Floyd suddenly realized that we were here early.  He was mowing the lawn (in the drizzling rain) and drove his ride-on mower right out on to the dock to welcome us.  Jean was playing cards a few houses down.  When one of the players said that Floyd was driving the mower on the dock, Jean flat out denied it.  She found out later that we had arrived and that Floyd indeed drove on the dock to see us.  Jean says she owes that woman a phone call and apology.

In route we saw the first pelicans we have seen in what seems like ages.  They are one of my favorite sea birds.  I like to see them fly in formation, they are excellent hunters, I have never seen them steal food from one another, and they do not squawk loudly.  Good qualities.  I admit, I did complain about them once in San Diego when one lined up on my car as it was taking off and it dropped a load.  Windex was useless, I had to go to a car wash.

I want to update you all on some pictures and a couple other things.  We hope to accomplish that while in Deltaville.  The library’s internet in usually screaming fast.  So more to come.

Love to all,

Posted via wifi.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Staging at Solomons

That was a very nice week+ at St. Michael’s.  We do enjoy that little town, even though some places can be difficult to reach by foot.  The only downside to our stay was that we did not get to see Ron and Pat or Brad and Sabrina. 

I wanted to do some more crabbing while anchored at St. Michael’s, but Myron was crabbed out and the crab guys were trot lining RIGHT BEHIND Hold Fast.  I mean it is a good thing that we had the dinghy on the side and not off the back of the boat.  This is the first year we have seen them in that close.  Just shows that the crabs are in shallow.  I have no idea what that means – possibly another cold winter?

We weighed anchor at O’Dark thirty (5 am) to catch the tidal current all the way out and down.  We worked our way out of the small tributaries to the Choptank River before sunrise.  Weather that makes for a beautiful orange and red sunrise does not necessarily make for nice weather on the water.  The forecast called for winds up to 25 knots.  Our early start got us into the wind before the seas were up much.  Besides, a northeast wind does not make that much seas on the Chesapeake, not like north winds.  We learned our lesson a couple years ago heading out the Choptank River in strong winds that were contrary to the tidal current.  Myron called that water ‘stand up stupid.’  Might as well avoid it if we can.

We were at Solomons before 10:30 am, waiting to get fuel.  After that, we found an anchoring spot and Myron was BBQ’ing chicken before 12 noon.  I love it when a plan comes together.

Not sure how far we can make it tomorrow.  Shorter days make it hard to accomplish the run all the way to Deltaville.  There are a couple nice spots in between.

Love to all,

Posted via Mifi.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

San Domingo Creek

At Skipton Creek we had crabs every night except Saturday. The local recreational crabbers were out in force that day and we did not feel like competing. The rules are that you cannot put your traps within 100 feet of someone else's trap. The rules also state that you can only begin at 30 minutes before sunrise. Saturday's crowd did not adhere to that latter rule and there were no places left near us to soak our traps at the legal starting time. It was a rainy day anyway. Good for making some headway on my quilt.

The clerk was right in that we did not get as many crabs as last year. However, what we got was excellent. Only twice did we pull up a crab that we had to throw back (less than legal size). Only a couple were 5.5 inches, the rest were six or more inches and we had one that was eight inches and another just shy of that. We eat them for the taste of a sweet and tender white meat, not necessarily to get full. All in all, the six days on the East Wye were a success. I have really grown to like our new tradition of crabbing on the East Wye.

Today was a good day to run south. There were probably 15 other sailboats out on the Chesapeake that appeared to agree. A good number of them were running from Annapolis to Solomons, some kind of club. Winds were 15-20 knots out of the northwest. Only a couple of legs on our trip were nose on the wind, otherwise we made fantastic time at 6.5 to 7 knots - against the tidal current. When we were anchored in our usual spot, we put the motor on the dinghy and headed to town for a walk, the grocery store and a movie at Redbox.

We read on the internet that Big Al's was closed, permanently (not yet verified in person). This was distressing news as it was our favorite haunt last year. It was one of the places that was comfortable to hang out, affordable to eat at and we were surrounded by locals enjoying the same eats. Generally speaking, the remainder of restaurants at St. Michael's are eccentric, expensive, and the only locals we saw there were working. After a bit of internet searching, Myron found an affordable menu at a place called "Sam's." We may give it a try, or we may just purchase the ingredients and make our own fantabulous burgers. I am good either way, although I do find it rather nice when someone else does the cooking.

Speaking of which, I am going to close now and go do the dishes.

Love to all,

Posted via Mifi.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Skipton Creek - East Wye River

It was another nice stay at Harness Creek.  We got our chores done, such as laundry and loading up with groceries – including Old Bay Seasoning.  We tried to get together with Brad and Sabrina (Joint Venture), but that will have to wait for a weekend.  We were excited to get an email from Frans (Remedios) that he saw we were near Annapolis and would like to connect.  Unfortunately the Quiet Waters Park is closed on Tuesday, but we walked out to meet him and Liz and catch up (Mary was off having a girl’s lunch).  I love those little surprises.

We purchased two non-commercial crab traps from West Marine.  They fold down to nothing.  As to the floats, we are using an old float I found at Hog Cay (near Ragged Island, Bahamas) and we are repurposing an empty one gallon West Marine Exterminodor bottle.  I spray painted both white and will put Myron’s initials on them.

When we arrived at Skipton, we put the motor on the dinghy and zipped over there to purchase chicken necks.  The clerk said crabbing was not very good right now.  Wednesday is hand-line only day, so we will start at it early tomorrow.  Myron checked on the internet for local crab reports.  While there are not many crabs, what they do get are larger than last year.  We shall see.  Granted we are easily entertained, but it is big fun for us to catch anything and, as we have previously displayed on video, sometimes they get the upper hand (or claw). 

Hopefully we will have a crab dinner tomorrow.

Love to all,


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Harness Creek

The cold front passed us by this morning, now the temperatures are quite reasonable. It also gave us a good north wind to run down the bay. Favorable winds combined with a favorable tide made our trip go much more quickly. Once we got south of the Bay Bridges, the sailboat traffic was incredible. We all managed to work around each other without shouting. I did hear some snide 'right of way' and 'learn to sail' comments on the radio, but none of them were directed at us. When we turned to come into Harness Creek, it was completely full of anchored powerboats, swimmers, and folks in canoes, paddle boats and kayaks. Rather than anchor in our usual spot, we moved up the creek to drop. Now our stern is near the Quiet Waters Park dock. Our normal anchorage should clear out around sunset. We may move back there tonight or tomorrow.

This is a good spot for us to take care of laundry, trash and groceries. The trash is at the park dock, but the others are about a 2.5 miles hike each way. No worries, we love the exercise and the hike is on a well built trail through the wooded park and we often come across small deer. The bigger concern is trying to miss the rain showers when it is time to lug the clean and DRY laundry back down the trail. It will all work out.

Love to all,

Posted via Ham Radio.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sassafras River

The trip up the Delaware Bay was not bad at all since we had the wind and tidal current pushing us. I just had to get over how incredibly close the tugs, barges, freighters and tankers came to Hold Fast, even though we stayed outside the shipping channel. I felt the propeller vibration in our boat from one of the tankers. Spooky in the dark. Might be even more spooky in the daytime.

As we proceeded up the bay, I periodically checked the computer route program and saw that our ETA to Sassafras, which should have been less than 10 hours, was 'Never.' That seemed awful pessimistic, we were making good time. I have no idea what its malfunction was, except that maybe it knew something I did not. How disappointed I was to then hear the C&D Canal Authority put out a call on the radio that the canal was closed to all traffic until further notice, due to fog. We had at least a ¼ mile visibility, probably even a third mile or more - just another operating day in Nova Scotia. I was kind of embarrassed. I let Myron finish his off watch of solid sleep before I told him the bad news. Hoping it would resolve itself an hour after Myron came on watch, we pulled the throttle back. An hour later, no joy. We dropped anchor at a designated anchoring area near the canal entrance and so did 'Exhuberant,' who had been milling around for more than an hour before us. The boats began to pile up, all of us with destination goals that were slipping away. It was not lost on any of us that the clock was ticking for the tidal current to turn against us. Rather than get a bad attitude about it, like our computer route program, I took a nap. That only worked for about 15 minutes, then the ticking clock would needle me again. A Canadian power boat completely ignored the closing and went anyway. The Canal Authority guy was furious, so much for his authority. I imagine the US Coast Guard was waiting for those Canadians on the other side. At least I hope so because it made the rest of us look like compliant dweebs (aka sheeple). Finally the call came at 10 am that the canal was open. Before the call was even finished, we were up on deck to get underway. We almost made it all the way through but had a ½ knot current against us at the end.

I guess you could say this trip had its challenges. I love the line on a Clint Eastwood movie (Heartbreak Ridge) to 'improvise, adapt, overcome.' Right now we are improvising, adapting and trying to overcome the foreign feeling of a heat wave. Today the heat index was 98F, the low will be 75F. The water temperature in the river is 80F. Tonight will be our first night without the comforter and duvet since we left Deltaville in June. Not to worry, a cold front will pass through tomorrow and push us back down into the 70's for highs and 60's or 50's for lows. I have been cold since we left for Nova Scotia. It never felt like summer. Two days and a night of this will tide me over just fine until next 'summer.'

We are trying a new anchorage on this river. It does have a south breeze channeling right into the boat. We took our time setting the anchor as we expect thunderstorms tonight. That is what the heat usually brings about around here. Even so, we are glad to be back in the Chesapeake Bay.

Love to all,

Posted via Mifi.

Delaware Bay

We pick up our anchor at 10:30 last night and had a good run up the Delaware but the C&D canal is closed due to fog, so here we wait.

Posted via Mifi.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cape May

Our trip began quite boisterous, with 20 knots out of the northwest. Then the winds went west and thankfully light, then nothing, then east and finally finished off from the south as we got within 40 miles of the cape.

This is only a rest stop. We would have continued but the timing did not work out for the tidal current leaving Delaware Bay. We will get about a four hour nap, then up and on the move again by 11 pm, hopefully getting a great tidal current ride all the way up the bay and all the way through the C&D Canal.

More later. Nighty night,

Posted via Mifi.

Block to Cape May 3

All is well, we had good night starting with a beautiful sunset and a bright moon.
Time 8:41 AM EDT

Posted via Ham Radio.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Block To Cape May 2

Hey All, so far a quite passage light freighter traffic. Our plan is to catch the in going tide tomorrow night and go up the Delaware bay and through the C & D Canal arriving at the Sassafras Friday afternoon.
Time 7:54 PM EDT

Posted via Ham Radio.

Block Is to Cape May 1

We left Block at 8 AM so we are underway for Cape May.
time 9:55 EDT
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Block Island

We knew today's winds would be contrary to traveling to our destination. As such we were up early and moving in dense fog, before the winds got started. Again, we are thankful to be transmitting AIS, and for radar, and that we trained up in the fog from the beginning. We were at Block Island by 10 am, the winds kicked up at noon when we were securely at anchor. There are more boats here than the time of our last visit, but I have no doubt there are much less here today than just a few days ago. We watched a constant stream of boats leaving.

We anchored out and do not plan to launch the dinghy. If the forecast holds, we should have northwest winds to ride down to Cape May. We will let you know if we get underway. I made a roast for meals in route?just in case.

Love to all,

Posted via Mifi.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Newport, RI

The winds were not very favorable today for making it to Block Island. We opted to stage in Newport, RI, and then move on to Block Island. We have a very short weather window to get south to Cape May and want to be at Block Island at the ready.

Never having been to Newport, we did not know what to expect. Ann on Jule III said they were the only ones here. I totally missed her sarcasm. There is a postage stamp space for the anchorage area in 28 to 33 feet depths. We found a section on the postage stamp and dropped our anchor, not too far from the high voltage underwater cables. This place is PACKED! Granted, it is the last big boating weekend. The great consolation about being here is the fantastic viewing of all the different types of sailboats. Some of them are classics in pristine shape. I love to admire them, but I have no desire to maintain them. Then again, all it takes is money.

We need to get rested up for our offshore trip.

Love to all,

Posted via Mifi.