Sunday, September 27, 2015

9/23-9/27, 2015 St. Michaels, MD

Day after day we've waited for a change in the weather.  Tonight will be our 9th night at Higgins Marina, setting a record for or longest delay due to weather in our four years of cruising.  Yesterday, by far, was the windiest.  South of us, near Cape Charles, there were gale warnings (winds over 50 knots).
Some cruisers have come and gone here.  Yesterday a group of small boats came in from the Chester River.  They were young people who had already made reservations, so they weren't waiting for a change in weather. They pulled out this morning, probably to get home for work tomorrow.  Some very large 50+ foot boats left today, too.

We have been here so long that the marina gave us a discount!  In addition, one of the dock hands gave us a ride to church last night.  This has been a nice place to stay, even though their restroom facilities were not the best and there was no laundry available.

I even found a place to get a haircut, although it is not on the main street in town.  One of the marina staff recommended it. (Serendipity Salon & Spa, 112 Fremont St., 410.745.2525)  It is located on the street behind ACME Grocery Store. We've stocked up several times at the grocery store due to its convenient location.

Our plan for tomorrow is to leave at dawn and head for Crisfield (a 90 mile day).  Tuesday evening we hope to be in Cape Charles so that we can attend at least one day of the MTOA Rendezvous.

After that, if the weather allows us to cross Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk, we will catch us with Ken and Ann (Charis) and head south.


park near marina





 Maritime Museum

Clothing model photo shoot


Neat old houses
Nettles in the water

According to local stories, the British attacked St. Michaels, but the locals fooled them by placing lights high in the trees and extinguishing all of the lights in the houses,  When the British fired their cannons, they aimed too high and missed and the town was saved.  Only one cannonball hit a house and it rolled down the steps past a woman carrying her child.  No one was injured, though.



I've written some lyrics for our stay in St. Michaels.  Two years ago, while stuck in Kingston, NY, I wrote a song there, too.

St. Michaels 
to the tune of Farewell to Tarwaithe

We're still in St. Michaels
So what do I do
Kingston got a song
And so will you.

This is a good place
to hide from the wind
Eventually we hope
Bad weather will end.

We had planned on MTOA
But are stuck here in town
There's a lot to do here
So it won't get us down.

The museum is Ron's choice
But shopping is mine
But leaving St. Michaels
Would really be fine.

Farewell to St. Michaels
We reall liked you
But heading for home
Will be good for us, too.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

9/22/15 Tuesday (St. Michaels)

Today was a work day-- cleaning and cooking.  Still no change in the cool, windy weather.  The Small Craft Advisory continues.  After Sunday, no boats have departed.  A few sailboats came in today and we are hoping to talk with the sailors to see how conditions are on the open water.

We really need to head south as soon as possible in order to get to Cape Charles for the MTOA Rendezvous by next Monday.  We've learned that some boaters are going to drive to the rendezvous rather than taking a chance on the rough water.

9/21/15 Monday at St. Michaels, MD

There is no change in the weather...it is windy, cool and cloudy.  The high winds on the Chesapeake have caused an extension of the Small Craft Advisory.  We will not be going out today!

We've had several meals on the boat, so dinner in town sounded good. We had burgers at Carpenter Street Tavern, but they do have a full list of entrees, too.

9/20/15 (Sunday) at St. Michaels

Everyone recommends St. Michaels as a destination and it fulfills its promise.  This is a quaint town with a main street filled with boutiques and shops for tourists.  Of course everything is overpriced, but it is still fun to look.

Mass time on Sunday is 10:15, so we left the boat at 9:15 on the mile and a half walk along the highway.  It was very hot, so we asked one of the ushers if we could get a ride back to town following the service.  The head usher graciously offered us a ride.  This church was very simple inside, but beautiful.



It looks as if we will be here for a while due to the Small Craft Advisory on Chesapeake Bay for much of the upcoming week.

9/19/15 Haven Harbour to St. Michaels, MD

As promised, Ron (Ron's canvas) showed up just before noon with our canvas work completed.  He fixed the dodger so that we are able to roll it up when not in use or underway rather than removing it entirely.  He does great work at reasonable prices.

Shortly after noon, we departed and headed south. The weather was perfect...sunny and calm. Saturdays are always busy boating days and this was no exception.  We dodged lots of sailboats and a few power boats.  There was a lot of traffic in the harbor entering St. Michaels.

 We tied up at Higgins Boat yard, stern in since they have very short finger piers.  This yard has few amenities, but is two blocks from Main Street. (price is  $2.00 foot on weekends + power and $1.50 per foot weekdays + power). Compared to St. Michaels Marina at $3.65 foot/weekends+ power & $2.50 foot/weekdays+ power, it was a bargain.

It was too late for church tonight (5pm mass at St. Michaels Mission Church) since  1 1/2 miles away, but we will try for tomorrow.

We treated ourselves to ice cream in town after dinner on the boat.

9/18/15 Chesapeake City to Rock Hall, MD

We chose Haven Harbour Marina because we needed to have some tabs and snaps added to our new dodger (canopy over the front of the boat).  This is a beautiful marina, nestled back in a very sheltered harbor.  We were placed in a very convenient location (3rd boat from shore) on a floating dock.  The amenities include a restaurant, sand volley ball court, pool, two level restaurant/yacht club, tiki bar, nature trail, laundry and lovely outdoor seating area.







 Ron (Ron's canvas) stopped by and took our dodger and promised to return in t by noon tomorrow.

The specialty drink of the day was Dark and Stormy...one of Ron's favorites ($4.00).  We had dinner on the deck and had a beautiful view of the harbor.




Thursday, September 17, 2015

9/17/15 Chesapeake City, MD

The sign on the dock says "24 hour dockage or 48 hours at anchor".  This morning, a group of officials from the town came down to the dock to check out the non-working power pedestals.  Ron helped them by providing a 30 amp circuit tester.  When they finished, we asked permission to stay one more night so that we could explore the town.....granted!!!

Michael and Kathy from the Lady Lee docked behind us, stopped over for a tour of our boat. 

After they left, Foster Schucker (AGLCA member and frequent forum contributor) came by to give us some charts.  He drove all the way from Wilmington......Thanks, Foster!!!

We headed to town (1 street over) for brunch at the Bohemia CafĂ©.  Ron had some projects to do on the boat, so I was left to shop to my heart's content.  For those who are into knitting/crocheting, they have a fabulous shop here. 

Our goal is to head for Rock Hall (Haven Harbour Marina) tomorrow where we hope to get some minor work done on our dodger (new canvas) for the front of the boat. 

9/16/15 Cape May to Chesapeake City, MD

0704:  As soon as it was light, we pulled out.  Fortunately for us, there were no moving ferries as we passed from the Cape May Channel into Delaware Bay.  They typically pull out quickly leaving you little time to get out of their way. The weather was perfect:  sunny and clear, with light winds and only light chop on the water. 

The Donna Marie, a 78 foot boat passed us going 30 mph.

  Wonder how much it costs to run that boat?  Other than an occasional pleasure craft, there wasn't much traffic on the water.  We did have to dodge a number of crab pots.  As we entered the C & D Canal, there was a pollution control vessel (specializing in emergency oil spills, etc.) called the Delaware Recovery.  We moved off to the side so that he had clear passage and told Duke to hold on.  He did. 



Once we were docked at Chesapeake City (free dockage except for power $15 and water $10 if needed) we let friends Kenny and Jeanne Beach know we were in the area.  They came by and took us to dinner at a favorite spot of theirs.  It was so good to see them again!!

On our way back to the boat, another boater, Michael, invited us aboard his boat to talk about the loop.  Michael, a surgical P.A. and his wife Kathy, a nurse, were great hosts.  They also had friends on board with them.  Both Roland and Mary are nurses, too.  We decided if we had a medical emergency, this was the best place to be! 


9/15/15 New Gretna to Cape May NJ

0715:  We decided to go on the inside (ICW route) because it was new territory for us. 

At the Atlantic City Dorsett Bridge, we pulled up be a boat waiting for an opening.  The bridge had been closed due to a fire department emergency.  Once we arrived, the bridge opened for the three waiting boats.  The one in front of us, instead of going forward through the raised bridge, turned back toward us, did a pirouette, and then went through.  We saw this same boat do this at several bridges-- dance of the trawler??  After passage through the bridges, he would say to the dockmaster, "God Bless You and God Bless America".  As we approached Ocean City on the ICW, this same boater suggested that we get off the ICW route and make a u turn and take the inlet channel due to shoaling in the ICW.  We followed his advice and that gave us a shortcut back to our route. 

As we approached low tide, the trek became tedious.  It was skinny water, only 2 to 3 feet under our keel, and we bumped bottom several times.  We were following the boat we met at the bridge and he grounded several times.  We asked him if he used Active Captain and he said, " no he only used his experience". 

At 1630 we finally made it to Cape May harbor and pulled in to Canyon Club Marina and Condos.  (this is home for big sport fisher boats).  They had a beautiful pool and hot tub, but I seem to have misplaced my swimsuit.  It has been missing for a couple of months.  By the time we cooked dinner, it was dark anyway and the pool was closed.

(Note:  this marina is very expensive, but there is an AGLCA discount that brings the price down to $2.45 per foot.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

9/1/15-9/9/15 New Gretna

Taking advantage of family, that's what we do!  Fortunately for us, Denise (Ron's sister) and Brian welcome us, feed us, do our laundry, drive us places, and entertain us!  Did I mention feed us?

Every night we've had great meals.  Denise is a great cook and Brian is a great griller!

This was hot dog night

Ron and cousin Theresa

On Sunday (9/6), we drove to the other side of NJ ( Hamilton Twp) to Grounds for Sculpture.  In a botanical setting, over 270 sculptures are located around the grounds.  We had a beautiful sunny, hot day to browse.  Mid-afternoon, we stopped at one of the concession stands for ice cream.









On that way home, we stopped at a favorite Mexican Restaurant for dinner.



New bow sunshade added to Adagio

8/31/15 Toms River to Viking Yacht Works Marina, New Gretna, NJ

It is very hot and the green head flies are everywhere, so we are riding with the doors closed and the screened windows open. 

We've been on this stretch of the ICW several times.  We have relatives who live in Little Egg Harbor about 10 miles from New Gretna.  In 2012 we stayed here, then went to Long Island Sound and returned and left the boat for the season, just in time for October's Super-storm Sandy.  In 2013, we started the next section of the Loop in New Gretna, so we have become acquainted with several people on A Dock. Returning here again is like coming home. 
Labor Day
We pulled in to the marina on Sunday and the office was closed, so we took the first empty slip that we saw had no lawn chairs or umbrella table.  This dock is extra wide, so each boat owner has space for a grill, a dock box, chairs and an umbrella. 

We learned that Kathy and Chuck, on Sheet Music, are selling their boat due to health problems.  We will be sad to see them go, because they were first to befriend us in 2012. 

8/30/15 Great Kills,NY to Toms River, NJ

We made a rapid decision to leave as soon as the sun came up.  Duke was feeling better. Conditions near the marina were calm, but out on Raritan Bay it was bumpy.  The wind was out of the west and there was fetch because of the length of the bay.  Our hope was that after rounding Sandy Hook, the land would block the wind.  Once we left the bay and turned south, we were rewarded with calmer waters even though the wind was around 20.

We saw what we thought were people on the beaches even though it was early morning.  A quick look through the binoculars assured me that they were people, NUDE people.  Very interesting!!
This old plane flew over while we were on the NJ coast

 Ron had planned our entry into Manasquan Inlet to coincide with slack tide.  It was perfect and we had only about a 10 minute wait at the railroad bridge.  A canal runs between Manasquan and Barnegat Bay.  The tide in the canal was in our favor, too.  This section of the trip took lots of planning on Ron's part.  If the tide had been against us, the canal would have been a challenge.  This canal is only wide enough for two passing boats and is not restricted to "no wake" speed, so if feels like sloshing in a small bathtub.

Traveling on weekends is not our favorite thing to do, but the alternative was to have rougher weather on the Atlantic. Once in Barnegat Bay, we had to contend with the Sunday boaters....some in the channel and others crossing the channel.  Lots of boats going different directions. 

We made a fuel stop at Key Harbor Marina where we paid $2.08 a gallon for diesel.  That was the best price we've seen in months!

We headed for Toms River Yacht Club, but we could not get anyone on the radio or on their phone, so we headed back out the river to Ocean Gate Yacht Basin.  We always choose to go "bow in" to a slip, but both here and at Great Kills, they had very short fingers, so in order to get off the boat, we had to go "stern in".  Fortunately at both places we had help from other boaters.  Slips here typically have pilings and the end of the slip.  The idea is to lasso your line around the piling.  This is an art which I have not yet accomplished!
short finger docks so backed in to slip

entry to marina

8/29/15 Great Kills Yacht Club

Duke is sick....vomiting which started last night.  He must have eaten a dead fish or some other rotting animal.  Once in the boat yard, he parked himself in the shade under one of the boats up on chocks and remained there all day.  We took turns sitting with him.  Charity Long, a former girlfriend of Josh's, recommended a remedy (on Facebook) which required a trip to a drug store.  A very kind member of the boat club offered to take me to CVS.  She and her family are moving to Florida tomorrow, so I'm sure she had lots to do without taking time out to help to me.  Her kindness was really appreciated!

We are watching the weather. Based on wind and wave conditions, tomorrow or next Thursday are the better travel days, although neither are ideal.  Travel decisions will depend on how Duke is feeling.