Wednesday, May 31, 2017

5/21-5/31,2017 Chesapeake City to New Gretna, NJ

5/21  2nd Day Chesapeake City

Former  student Ken Lutz, wife Laurie and daughter Aubrey came to visit us from D.C., at least a four hour drive.  Lt. Collins Ken Lutz works in DC for the office of the Surgeon General.  His jobs have always been in the medical field.  He actually joined the military while still in my Health Occupations class at Pekin High (1994).  They pulled their camper, hoping to go to a nearby campground.  It was full, so they went to Havre De Grace, about 45 minutes away.  We met for lunch and a tour of our boat.  Thank you so much for your visit!  It was great to see you!!!!

 We left mid-afternoon for Delaware City, only 14 miles away.  Apparently a lot of boats moved today  when we arrived, we were told we were 7th boat in line for docking which left us on the river in strong winds.

Once we arrived, and did a starboard tie, the dock hands turned the boat (with no assist from the engine which was off) using only the current to assist them.

Foster and Susan Schucker were on the dock greeting loopers.  They joined us on board for cocktails.

Alex and Andre were docked right in front of us., and there were many looper boats on the dock.

5/22  Still here.  After last night's briefing by Tim, the dockmaster, all but Alex and Andre decided to wait out the weather.  Tim changes the fee to $1 per foot if you have to stay due to weather.  Alex reported that Delaware Bay was not as bad as predicted.

Susan and Foster treated us to dinner at a local restaurant.

5/23  Heading for Delaware Bay
Ten boats departed starting at 0815.

The first 5 1/2 hours wind and waves were good.  It became a bit bumpy the last couple of hours.  We only passed one ship on the way.

We had a reservation at Utsch's but the others could not get reservations there so most went to Canyon Club which is $3 per foot, which is a dollar more per foot than Utsch's.

 Our slip was one of those short fingers 2 here you have to back in and you have to lasso the poles.  I did it perfectly the first time, just as the dock hand yelled, "We don't do it that way here". So I removed my lasso and put it through the metal handle.

 The dock we were on was about as far as you could get from the restroom, office and dog walking area.  Apparently the marina was getting lots of boats in for a fishing tourney.

Denise and Brian drove down from Little Egg Harbor and met us for dinner.  Great to see them again.

5/24, 5/25, 5/27  The weather was bad so we stayed put. Herb Seaton, AGLCA Harbor Host of the Year, left and realized it was too rough.  On his return to the marina, the wind was so strong that he ran into Red 16 and damaged the roof support and antenna on his boat.  A temporary support was added so that he could travel.

Duke was really curious about the crab pot full of crabs on the dock.

The new harbor hosts made their vehicle available, so we took it to their restaurant, FishCakes.

5/27 Saturday,  Memorial Day Weekend
Our preference is to never travel on a holiday weekend, but the weather finally improved enough for an outside run to Atlantic City.

  It was almost perfect.  Swells with a period of 6 seconds and light winds.  There was minimal boat traffic until we entered Absecon Inlet at Atlantic City.  The rest of the way to New Gretna was on the ICW.  At one point, we heard a securite' to the c
Coast Guard warning of fishing boats blocking the channel.  Within a mile, we also saw 12 boats fishing in the channel.  They did not want to move even though they saw our large boat coming at them.  We couldn't go out of the channel due to very shallow water. They moved under duress!

5/28-5/30  Time was spent with family and catching up on chores.  We attended St. Theresa where cousin Theresa served as cantor and Ron was one of the ushers.  Thanks to Brian and Denise for meals, the loan of a car and a ride to pick up our rental car.  Priceless!

Here is a Seinfeld flashback:

Saturday, May 20, 2017

5/20/17 Rock Hall to Chesapeake City

0900  small craft warning for the Chesapeake with 18-3 miles per hour winds, but we left anyway.  The winds were out of the NE so we had waves on the nose most of the day.  Lots of boaters were out because it was Saturday.

1430 we pulled in to the marina at Chesapeake City.  Chesapeake Anchorage Marina does not let transients dock there, but our friend Kenny Beach called someone he knew and got us a place on the T head.  When we pulled in, some boaters yelled, "This is a private marina".  When we told him Kenny , the dock master knew we were coming, they got off their boat and helped us dock.

Kenny and Jeanne Beach picked us up for dinner and we had a wonderful visit!!

Friday, May 19, 2017

5/19 17 Solomons to Rock Hall, MD

We had waited an additional day before traveling due to a Small Craft Advisory yesterday, but there was another issued today.  We decided to go anyway and that was a good decision. Waves were 1-2 at the beginning, but by mid afternoon there was no breeze at all and the heat was stifling. The black flies were thick on the outside of the boat, but with our ability to close doors and use window screens, we were fine.

A radio announcement from the Coastguard warned of "live fire" activities by the military, but we didn't see any of that action.

Again today, we had problems with navigation, but it was due to some settings on the auto pilot which were mistakenly changed yesterday as Ron corrected some other navigational issues.  After another call to tech support at Furuno, we were good to go.

We arrived in Harbor Haven Marina at 1500, about an hour before the rain started.

Tomorrow we are going to the marina at Chesapeake City, thanks to friend Kenny Beach.  We had planned to go to Bohemia Harbor Yachting Center, but they were full.  Chesapeake City does not normally take transients, but Kenny knows the harbor master and arranged for a slip.

Another treat tomorrow night will be reconnecting with former  PCHS student Ken Lutz and his wife and daughter.  They are meeting us for dinner.

We had a nice surprise visit from Alex Ertz and Andre.  They were having dinner at the marina and saw our boat.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

5/16/17 - 5/18/17 Ports mouth to Solomons

5/16  Portsmouth to Deltaville
Perfectly calm conditions made this 55 mile ride perfect.

Carey and Nancy split off to an anchorage and we went to Doziers, one of my favorite marinas.  Once we were docked, a couple came up and introduced themselves.  We had met Maurice and Rene in Trios Riviere, Quebec in 2013.  They had translated a Canadian Coast Guard presentation for us.  It was great to see them again.  They told us we were the reason they are doing the loop (and had even voted for us for Harbor Hosts of the year).

They were at Doziers attending the Monk (boat) Rendezvous. There were only 8 Monk boats in attendance.  We were invited to their happy hour.

5/17  Deltaville to Solomons
Today was beautiful, too.  Waves were 1-2 following seas so we had a nice ride (63 miles).  Our chart plotter went out, so all navigation was done manually.  Ron spent a long time on the phone with tech support but our problem was still unresolved when we docked for the night at Calvert Marina in Solomons.
Duke and Ron got some much needed rest at 5:57pm.

The people running this marina are exceptionally nice. We walked to a nearby restaurant on the water for dinner. Our plan was to leave in the morning, but there is a small craft advisory, so we will wait one more day.

5/18  The loopers on the boat behind ours (Neverland) are from Tarpon Springs, FL about 12 miles from our house.  We met in Tarpon several months ago at their spice store.

Ron worked diligently on resolving the chart plotter issue, which he thinks is now fixed.  There was a wiring problem between the chart plotter and NMEA2000.

I found a tick on my leg today.  We will have to watch Duke closely now.

The courtesy car here is a old Mercedes wirh no A/C, windows that don't work, and inoperable seat belts,  but it got us to the grocery store and back.

We are leaving tomorrow for Rock Hall.

Monday, May 15, 2017

5/15/17 Atlantic Yacht Basin to Ocean Yacht Marina, Portsmouth, VA

Ron saw Susan (SuzyQ-the boat struck by the barge a few days ago) this morning.  Her boat was on a trailer and she and her brother were getting ready to pull it back to Tampa.  She has found another boat.  Her plan is to go up river and wait for the next set of loopers to come south.  What a brave lady!

We had a very short day of 11 miles on the water.  The one lock today allowed several of us on pleasure craft to lock through with a barge.

We are always amazed by the naval presence...aircraft carriers, assault landing carriers, and military planes.

This was an unusual tow.

We were greeted at the marina by our friends from Racine, WI, Nancy and Carey Cook.  They have a 37 foot Nordic Tug.

We joined them and another couple, Tom and  Vicki for dinner in Norfolk across the Elizabeth River.  Took the ferry over and back.

 During the evening, we discussed where they had lived and worked.  Vicki had worked for Dana Corp in Toledo.  I mentioned that my former brother-in-law had worked there.  She asked his name (Jim Ketchmark) and she told me that he was her boss.  Small world!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

5/10-5/15 Alligator River, NC to Atlantic Yacht Basin, Chesapeake, VA

5/10/17  Alligator River  The weather is good with winds calm and water flat.  Most boaters are  headed across Albemarle Sound today because conditions are treacherous when it is windy.  We did not want to arrive at Coinjock Marina after 6:30 pm so we decided to stay at Alligator River and cross the Sound tomorrow. For a while, we were the ONLY boaters there.

We had a glitch while docking.  I was doing the lasso thing again, and caught the piling, but it slid all the way in to the water instead of catching on the hook.  That presented a problem because there was a tight loop around the piling 12 feet down.  Ron decided to go in the water until I reminded him there was a reason this was called Alligator River.  So he rigged up two poles, tied together that reached the base of the piling and we finally were able to get the loop of line up where it was supposed to be.  UGH!!!

Finally, three boats came in about dark.

5/11/17 We had storms during the night, but by morning they were gone and we proceeded across the Sound.  Winds were at 23 (predicted to be 5 to 10) and waves were two feet, but it was a manageable ride.  Our arrival at Coinjock put us in before noon, so we were one of the first boats tied up.  Later, the dock was filled with boats.  One of them, Redhead, belonging to Jeff and Karen Siegel, the owners/managers of Active Captain, an interactive website for boaters.  We learned this evening that Jeff has sold the business to Garmin.  Prior to owning this business, it is our understanding that Jeff was the person who developed digital imagery for x-rays.  Their boat, Redhead

originally belonged to Billy Joel and, when he owned it, had a grand piano in the lower salon.

A 101 foot boat came in with a crew in uniform.  I heard a dock hand say that it took 4000 gallons of fuel.

We had dinner with Derek and Lori (Donna Jean).  They are the ones that we handed Waldhose to a few days ago.  The saga of Waldhose, the hose originally left at a Jeckyl Island Marina, continues.

We decided to let the big boats get underway before us, so we didn't take off until 1000.  It was windy and raining, but that wasn't a problem until we came to Currituck Sound.  A northbound barge, Island Trader,  had passed us while we were still at the dock.

  He was about 10 minutes in front of us.  Still not a problem until we got to the Sound, which is shallow and the wind was howling at 32.  Suddenly, we saw the barge turn 90 degrees to port.
Island Trader caught in the wind

Evelyn Doris

  He was out of the channel and stuck in water a foot deep.  Ron got on the radio and asked him for permission to pass behind him before he started backing into the channel.  Permission was granted, we scooted right past him. Within 10 minutes, we met an oncoming barge, Evelyn Doris.  The channel there was narrow, and on either side, the depth was 1 foot, so we got to the edge of the channel and waited. When the Evelyn Doris got to the site where the Island Trader was stuck, the Evelyn D was somehow able to get around.  We saw on AIS 30 minutes later, that Island Trader was still stuck.

On our 2 hour trip across the Currituck Sound we encountered the roughest conditions of our whole trip.  We timed our arrival at the bridges perfectly.They open on the half hour, so it is best to arrive only minutes before the openings. When we got to Atlantic Yacht Basin, they were very busy and we had to wait a while before we were directed to our slip which was in the back of the boatyard.  This is a boatyard, not a fancy marina, so we are surrounded by boats under repair.

Once we docked, we learned from another boater that a boat had been struck last night by a barge coming out of the lock. The barge was the Evelyn Doris, the  same one we encountered this morning in Currituck Sound. The boat (SuzyQ) belonging to Susan Pellett and was tied up at the marina.  Susan, fortunately, was not onboard when it was struck at 12:48am.  Her 21 foot boat was totalled.  She was a month and a half into the Great Loop trip, and she must now decide whether to get another boat and proceed, or go home and give up on the trip of a lifetime.

5/13/17  Workday at Atlantic Yacht Basin
Ron changed the engine oil and transmission oil, replaced the filters and did some other odd jobs.
I was headed for the laundry, when I heard from another boater that she had gotten a $15 haircut in town, so I took off on the 3/4 mile walk.

We had docktails with Derek, Lori, Terry and Pat.  All of us have been keepers of Waldhose.  Terry and Pat will deliver the hose to its rightful owners within the next few weeks.

5/14/17 Sunday
We took Uber to Prince of Peace Church.  

This is the ONLY Catholic Church we have ever visited that did not have kneelers.  Their music was fantastic.  Not only did they have a wonderful choir, they had a piano, flutes, violins, trombones, cello, drummer and a guitarist.  Many of the parishioners were Asian/Pacific Islanders, as was the priest. Following the service, they held a mortgage burning in their parking lot.  Eight years ago, they had a mortgage of $1.3 million when they refinanced, expecting to pay it off in 2018.  Now they are mortgage free.

By asking the ushers, we were again able to obtain a ride from church to the grocery store.  Nearby was a Panera Bread, so we had lunch before getting a few groceries and walking back to the marina.  Tomorrow, we head to Portsmouth, VA, which is only 10 miles from here.  We are meeting up with boating friends, Carey and Nancy Cook from Racine, WI.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

5/8-5/10, 2017 New Bern to Alligator River

5/8  Marty, the diver, came early and found the missing rail within 10 minutes.  It had blown off our boat and was found in the water on the far side of the boat next to us.  Marty told us he had 6 ex-wives and 16 kids. He was not sure how many grandkids he had.

After reinstalling the rail, we took off for Oriental.  We stayed on the free power, but that wasn't a problem.

We desperately needed a run to the grocery store.  A few years ago, Walmart caused the small grocery store to close.  Then, a couple of years later, Walmart pulled out.  Fortunately, a really motivated guy who owned a Piggy Wiggly in a nearby town came to the rescue.  He has renevated it, upgraded their food offerings and instituted a van which will pick up and return boaters if they make at least a $60.00 purchase.  We took advantage of the ride.  When we got to the store, the owner came up, welcomed us, and assisted us throughout the store.  He said the van was his wife's idea.  Ron walked from the grocery store to West Marine to buy an American Flag.  Ours had gotten ripped up in the high winds.

I also visited Marsha's Cottage, one of Ann Shanley's and my favorite clothing stores.  The building is for sale, so the owner doesn't know what the future holds for her shop.

5/9  Oriental to Dowry Creek

We were passed by a 115 foot pleasure craft.  Quite a sight to see.

 We stopped at R. E. Mayo for fresh seafood.  The scallops had just come in and had not been frozen.  We pulled in to Dowry Creek midday and borrowed their loaner car to drive 8 miles to town for the milk we forgot to buy in Oriental.  We stayed at Dowry Creek Marina 5 years ago.  Very nice marina for a small off the channel place.

5/10  Dowry Creek to Alligator River.  We got another early start and arrived midday.  Most of the trip today was on miles and miles of a man made cut.  The winds were nonexistent and the water flat.  There were at least 20 boats traveling the same route....all heading for Coinjock.  We are not going to cross Albemarle Sound until tomorrow.  Maybe Coinjock will clear out some of those boats before we get there.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

5/7 still in New Bern

Not much new to post today since the diver didn't show.  Hes promised to come tomorrow morning.  So here is a song I wrote about our trip thus far.

Just sit right back, and you’ll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip.
That started from Dunedin port
Aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a woman who’d cruised before
The Skipper brave and sure
The two of them and their dog named Duke
Took off for a 5 month tour
Took off for a 5 month tour.

They ran aground and hurt their prop
Were towed and on their way
They crossed Okeechobee  for St. Augustine
For a Rendezvous days away.
For a Rendezvous days away.

When they arrived St. Augustine
they learned their prop was bad.
So Ron drove to Dunedin
Where replacement part was had.
Where replacement part was had.

The Gen went out, the switch was bad
Jan’s watch went overboard.
What more could happen to this crew?
They’ll just trust in the Lord.
They’ll just trust in the Lord.

At Brunswick Landing while docking
 And settling for the night
Katrinka called, “your truck is totalled”
But both of us all right
But both of us all right.

So Ron rented a truck to pick them up
And take them to their homes
From Alabama to Michigan
He drove and drove and drove.
He drove and drove and drove.

Ron, run down from driving so far,
In only two days time
Came down with a virus…sick two weeks
But now he’s feeling fine.
But now he’s feeling fine.

From Brunswick Landing
We did ok for a couple weeks in fact
Until a storm came through New Bern
And ripped our Bimini off.
And ripped our Bimini off.

So what will happen next my friends
To these three unlucky souls
Will they complete with no mishaps?
That is their fervent goal.
 That is their fervent goal!

Comment from Dale McGovern:
“I hope that this is true my friends,
You’ll get to your destination safe.
And have a lovely summer up north
After all the drama you’ve  faced
After all the drama you’ve faced.”

Saturday, May 6, 2017

5/2-5/6, 2017 Surf City to New Bern

5/2 We had a good ride from Surf City to Moorehead City thanks to a following sea, despite moderate winds. The marina (Moorehead City Yacht Basin)  was tucked behind a piece of land which blocked the wind, and we were near shore on the face dock.  We treated ourselves to pizza at a nearby restaurant.

5/3  From Moorehead City we set our course for New Bern, which is 24 miles off the AICW on the Neuse River.  At the MTOA Rendezvous, we won 2 free nights at Bridge Pointe Marina.  Although the dock master was offsite, he phoned some  boaters on A dock who assisted us with tying up.  We had a beautiful sunset.

5/4  We took Uber to town across the river and did lunch and some shopping. I've limited my shopping to consignment stores in these touristy places. I found a wonderful lace top (from Talbots) for $13.00.  Severe storms are expected tonight.

5/5 ( 0745) We were awakened by a loud crash as a result of 50 knot winds and heavy rain. The strong gusts lasted for about 15 minutes.  We could see that our aft Bimini had been torn off the, boat but we were unable to go out and check it for a couple of hours.  The Bimini was intact but the rails had come apart and one large supporting rail was missing, likely overboard.  We phoned a local diver who will, for $50.00 an hour, search the water for it.  That is much cheaper than a replacement rail.

5/6 The diver called.  He is having car problems and cannot come until tomorrow.  It is just as well because the wind is still howling.  We are waiting for a good weather day to traverse the Neuse River and Pemlico Sound.

We attended St. Paul Catholic Church tonight. A $10.00 Uber ride got us to the church a few miles from the marina, out in a rural area. We asked one of the ushers if he knew of someone who could give us a ride back to town.  He offered, and we joined Jim, his wife Dottie, and friends Betty, Bruce and Diane for dinner at Beer Army.  Great people, great conversation!!  And they delivered us back to our mating across the river.  A big thank you to all of you!

L to R:  Diane, Dottie, Bruce, Jim, and Betty!