Headed to DC – Fall Around the Corner

I know. August is not even here yet and I say Fall in the title. When you get to be 60 you will understand. Nuff said.

I need to write more often as it is challenging to catch up and give the whole story. But it is also a challenge to write. And how do I know people want to read this stuff that often? (BTW thanks so much for the emails and comments to let us know that you actually DO read this stuff!)

Shelly and I are a week into our alone time without Ryan who is visiting his second (at least we think we are first) family in Atlanta. We got him off to the airport in Baltimore while anchored in Annapolis without a hitch.

He say he never has any fun on the boat. Pictures don’t lie. Just saying.

It has been fun for us – and interesting. We eat completely differently but other than that not much changes without Ryan. Well, there is no one complaining about stuff… We miss him though.

Last you heard we were headed for Tangiers Island. This is a really cool island out in the middle of the Chesapeake on the southern side. Historically the British built a naval base there and used it to launch attacks when they burnt Washington DC and tried to take Baltimore. The families have been here for generations and still fish and crab – although tourism is playing a part since it would seem the govt is trying to shut down any commercial crabbing and fishing.

People were super friendly and talked to us as we walked every road (3) on the island. When we asked one older lady about buying beer she laughed and said they don’t sell alcohol on the island as it would end up causing all kinds of problems. I guess that when your house is 5 feet from your neighbors (who you have known since birth and are probably related in some way) and all your immediate relatives are buried in your front yard, alcohol might become an issue…

Tangiers is the only place we have had to put our Verizon hotspot into a bag and hoist it up the mast to get a signal!

From Tangier we motorsailed 25 miles on a fairly rough bay to Solomon’s Island on the Patuxent River on the west side of the Bay. Actually it is the river just north of the Potomac… We liked Solomons a lot. Lots of boats and very low key. It seems like this is a place where people from all over inland Maryland keep their boats as there really isn’t a town to speak of for people to live!  We hung out for a couple of days and then headed north to Deale Md about 30 more miles up the Bay.

BTW it takes us (depending on wind direction and wind speed and current direction) about 4.5 to 6 hours to go 30 miles. Last 30 miles we did completely under sail into the wind and took 10 hours!

Deale is the same deal. Hehe. This is a very small sleepy place crammed full of boats but no people. Strange. On the weekend the place comes alive, but during the week we seem to be the only ones around.

This is the only place Yume has been warned about speeding. I guess we were exceeding the 6 mph limit. I looked at the knotmeter and we were going 6.2 mph. No joke.

Then there was Annapolis. We made the mistake of coming in on a Sunday. Yowsa there are a LOT of boats in Annapolis. To get to Annapolis from the south, you have to go around Thomas Point Light. This is a really cool lighthouse!

We made our way in on a bumpy, breezy bay full of all kinds of boats coming and going. As we passed in front of the Naval Academy there were two different sailboat races going on and it was bedlam as they were in the channel.

Once in the harbor there are so many boats it boggles the mind. Like most cities, they have installed moorings in most of the anchoring spaces to create revenue and stop the lowlife type people who just put a junk boat on an anchor to live cheap. Their moorings are ridiculous at $35 night. We had the Spa Creek Bridge open up for us and unsuccessfully tried to find a place to anchor.

So we had them open it back up an hour later and left the harbor for Eastport which is the next river south and still part of Annapolis where we found a nice place to anchor with a couple of other boats.

It was time for Ryan’s 17th birthday bash which we celebrated by buying an ice cream cake and eating it all day as it melted. How much fun can you have? It is so hard to believe we have a 17 and a 23 year old son. (Remember what I said about Fall?)

Then quick as a wink he was gone on an airplane and we were alone for 18 days!

Shelly and I spent a few hours walking around Annapolis. As far as history goes this is awesome. The State House is where George Washington resigned his commission after the  Revolutionary Way, and where the Treat of Paris was signed.  Last year I had lunch in a tavern and sat in front of the same fireplace Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and many others would have sat and talked news of the day. In those days ships from England and France would come up the Bay to Annapolis and everybody got off there as it was much easier and faster by coach to the Capitol in Philadelphia or later DC than by boat.

We have been puttering around a bit. We made a trip across the Bay and south to visit Oxford Md. This is another old town (1662?) that we love to walk around in. Shelly’s parents kept a sailboat here when she was a little girl (last century) so it was sort of a homecoming for her.

With the wind behind us Yume sailed wing on wind for 3 hours back to Annapolis from Oxford.

Then we had some  mechanical issues. The salt water pump for the main engine is acting up. I replaced the seal but then couldn’t get it to draw through the strainer, and had to bypass it to keep running until we can replace it.

Then the refrigerator started acting up again. I’m starting to think this thing does not like me! I am pretty sure there is a blockage of something in the tiny capillary tube and am waiting until we get someplace settled before I tackle that one.

We decided the hell with it, and left Annapolis headed towards St Micheal’s to explore. I realized the wind was on the nose and it was going to be an uncomfortable ride and had almost decided to head north under the Bay Bridge when we found the salt water pump was throwing a lot of water. Again. Crap.

With the refrig and the sw pump looking dicey, and waiting for payments due before attempting any major repairs, we decided to just start heading for DC and the marina we will be in for the next three months. We aren’t more than five days and maybe more if we sail and not motor. At least we are not in a hurry.

 

As soon as that decision was made I saw some baitfish in the water, threw in the fishing lure and a small striped bass grabbed it. He was tasty!

We turned back to the south and beat our way against a strong SW breeze for six hours the 18 miles to Deale. Instead of going all the way into the harbor and adding an hour each way to the trip, we anchored more out in the open for the breeze and an early start.

Unfortunately the swell from the bay curled around the point and rocked us badly all night. Neither of us got much sleep.

Then we sailed against the wind again the 30 miles to the Solomon’s, tacking all the way across the Bay at least six times and ended up sailing 62 miles in 10 hours. Yuk. At the end of the day this ugly storm front chased us into the harbor.

All is good though. With a nice supper, and a cool beverage or two we are cozy and comfortable anchored up in a creek and telling you the story!

In three months we will freezing our butts heading for the Fl Keys as fast as we can go!

So we enjoy today as it is given.

Are you?

 

Chesapeake Bay – All To Ourselves

Surely in the middle of summer (school is out, summer vacation) there would be boats everywhere in the bay. We were prepared for it, but knew we had no choice but to grin and bear it.

There is nobody here!

Since leaving Norfolk and heading into the Bay, we have anchored each night all by ourselves except last night when a trawler came in after dark and left just at daybreak.

Fine with us!

So we are slowly making our way north to Annapolis to drop Ryan off at BWI for a 2 week stay with his other family in Atlanta.

We took a different route this time after we left The Alligator River and crossed Albemarle Sound by veering East and up through the Albemarle Chesapeake Canal. It was cool but the Dismal Swamp is hard to beat!

Norfolk is always interesting. First we are coming into a city after being out in the proverbial wilderness since Beaufort or really Charleston.

And of course it is always a thrill to see the U.S. Navy fleet and all the commercial traffic.

But we passed right through this time to Hampton.

In Hampton we stayed at a dock for a night to visit cruising friends Dave and Cathy. We had stayed nearby at Fort Monroe last year so it was just a howyadoin and off the next morning for a 1/2 day trip to Yorktown on the York River.

There were 10 or 12 mooring balls and no one on a single mooring or tied at the marina. We anchored off and motored in two days to walk the old town and fortifications.
It is a cool place. Washington and the French numbered over 17,000 men when they accepted Cornwallis’ surrender. The British lost between 6 and 7000 men in the siege. The beginning of the end for the British.

We spent the next night anchored way out in the open in Mobjack Bay at Point Comfort sort of by an abandoned lighthouse about a half mile from the beach. The beach was cool but the black flies that are usually just annoying starting viscouslly attacking and we had to retreat to the boat. We even had to tape up all the screens to keep them out.

We heard a story that the old timers say the flies bite when a Northeaster is coming. Well, the next day we rode the front across the Bay 12 miles to Cape Charles for fuel and to explore, then headed back out when we couldn’t find an anchorage.

We sailed back across the Bay headed to Deltaville Va and got caught a bit in the back of that Nor’easter – enough for Shelly to say it was the worse we had been in since having Yume. Damn flies.

Deltaville was nice with super friendly people stopping to talk to us. We got the bikes out and gave Goose a nice 5 mile exercise run visiting some of the thousands of sailboats that are here. We were in a beautiful creek, and the weather just perfect. This is at daybreak, looking east out into the Chesapeake. This is the same place we came in last Thanksgiving on our way south to get out of the weather and drug our anchor at 2am… Sure is different this time.

You have to remember that our mornings and evenings revolve around the Goose walk. It mandates where we anchor, and usually we tie it to grocery runs etc…
We are getting some sailing in. Yume is doing very well, although we motor a lot mostly as we have charge batteries all the time. Ryan is doing more animations and his new computer just seats power like ca day. Our next major purchase will probably be a wind generator. We get tired of running the motor! ( But I sure am glad the motor and generator are running well!)

We pulled down the Mizzenmast sail and tried our hand at flattening the sail. It was a good interesting afternoon project. Although we weren’t successful we didn’t do any damage either and learned some!

Shelly loves her sewing machine. I do too as I am not always trying to fix it like the old one we had.

This morning we sailed out of the Bay and around to the north of Deltaville and up the Rappahannock River to Irvington Va. It is a very small, quaint village win a hotel called the The Tides Inn that looks like it has been here forever. Nobody is here. I guess they come on the weekend and pack the place. We took the dingy and poked into all the creeks watching the herons and Ospreys and looking at the old and new homes.

Goose does love to ride in the boat!

Tomorrow we plan to leave early, and head back out to the Bay and north to Tangier Island. This is a special place we are really looking forward to, known for friendliness, and crab cakes. And we certainly hope no one else is there!

Unless of course you care to join us!

Close to Norfolk… Coinjock NC

Yume is tied to the dock for the day in Coinjock NC. It was really hot, and we needed to get a bit of work done, so after crossing Albemarle Sound from the anchorage at Little Alligator River, we opted for an early day and a cheap dock. Air conditioning makes all the difference when you are in a swamp and it is 90 degrees out!

Yesterday we motored most of the day the 55 miles from Belhaven (where we watched the fireworks from the boat) to Little Alligator. There is nothing there at all.

In fact, for Goose’s afternoon necessary we had to dinghy one way 2 miles to find we could not get ashore, then dinghy back the two miles and an additional 2 miles to find a spot. After having to actually row the boat as it was too shallow to use the motor we found a very small beach. It was plenty big enough for Goose though.

In Belhaven, we had another of those summer storms come up. The winds were blowing 35 sustained, but our new 55# Vulcan anchor held just fine as we watched the neighboring boat go sliding by in the wind and rain. This pic was taken through the port just a few minutes into the storm.

The first day out of Beaufort we only went to Oriental NC (population 900) as we heard the 35th annual Croaker Festival (that would be a fish that croaks) was on the the 4th of July and the facts that they had free docks and that we had never been there made it an easy decision. It was a really cool old town but…

As always you get what you pay for. Our free dock was next to a really smelly shrimp boat that ran its very loud generator all night and left their 100 billion candlepower working floodlight on all night that was clearly aimed at the hatch above our bunk. Did you know that monster palmetto bugs (huge cockroaches) are attracted to either the smell or the light and can follow it through a hatch? Me neither until I was viciously attacked at 2am by a pair of them.

We left bright and early the next morning – deciding skipping the parade was worth the price.

It is great to be back out on the water again after a month working on the boat. This part of the country is beautiful – isolated and few people but plenty to see.

Tomorrow we will be back in the noise in Norfolk VA and headed up the Chesapeake. Not sure yet what we are going to do but it will all be made clear to us in good time I am sure!

Our next scheduled stop is Tantallon Marina in Port Washington DC at the end of August to be ready for the fall paws4vets Combined Federal Campaign.

Did you read that story yet?

Click here. 

Till then, stay cool, and stay in touch!

 

Beaufort NC at Bock’s Marina

It has been a hot, humid, busy month of June. We had a list of things to do – (no we are not done working on the boat yet!) – and we were looking for a dock to do them. We also needed a safe place to leave Yume while Ryan and I drove Shelly to her Mom’s in Asheville for visit.

The grand plan was to rent a car, take Shelly and Goose the 6 hours to Asheville, then turn around the next day and drive back to the boat leaving Shelly for a nice visit while the boys had some bonding time working on the boat.

Yea right.

First let’s catch up. In Wilmington (where we left you with the last blog post) we ended up anchoring over in Wrightsville Beach for a weekend right where all the weekenders love to run their boats at just the right speed for maximum wake. You can almost get seasick when these idiots do this all day. Plus they play this game of ‘how close can we come to the anchored sailboat without actually hitting it’. Not our favorite game. That is what they make flare guns for. Yes I own a gun people.

On Sunday afternoon after they all went home (and back to work on Monday hehe) we made a deal with a local restaurant to let us sit on their docks during the week.  The folks at paws4people were awesome to let us borrow a nice Tahoe to cruise around in all week. Shelly attended trainings for new clients and their dogs, while Ryan and I ran errands and got caught up some.

We had nice dinners with Terry and Kyria of p4p and Jim and Pat, all great people, and got out of town on Friday noontime heading north to Beaufort NC.

BTW, I suppose you do know that in NC they call it ‘Bowfort’ (long o) and in SC they call it ‘Bufort’ (long u). Just so you get it correct…

The first night, in Swansboro, we anchored off an island made from the dredging over the years to keep the inlet open, and spent some nice time at low tide playing on the beaches.

Just about dinner time, one of those massive summer thunderstorms came up out of nowhere. In no time it was raining and blowing about 50 mph and we could not see the shore through the rain, but I knew we were dragging anchor. By the time we got the motor started and the anchor under control we had dragged across some sand banks at least a half mile. We pulled up the rest of the anchor and chain and motored back to a marina to spend the night. Yuk. We need a better anchor!

The next day we pulled into the town anchorage in Beaufort after a morning of strong SW winds that helped get us there quick, but made for some choppy water.

One night was enough and we left the next morning up through Core Creek Sound to Bock’s Marine. Kenny and Nancy Bock built this marina and yard over the last 32 years or so and are well known for their hospitality and service. We like this place and these people!

This coming Friday will make almost a month here but we have managed to do a lot.

One of the things we did in Wilmington was bite the bullet and buy a bigger, beefier alternator, and the shop was kind enough to modify for me. Unfortunately the damn thing burnt up the first day heading north!

So – Ryan and I detoured three hours out of the way on the return trip from Asheville to take the alternator back to Wilmington so they could look at it. They were super nice (Alternator Specialists) and completely rebuilt it with new diodes and a rectifier.  All seems well now! The nice folks at Enterprise were amazed at how many miles we put on their car in 28 hours.

Besides the alternator, the other disappointment was fuel leaking – for the third time – from the port tank. So the first task after dropping Shelly off was pulling the floors up, removing the hatches I made, finding a 55 gallon barrel and pumping out all the fuel. Then I cleaned the tank, sanded it, added more glass and resin. Let the tank set for two days then put the fuel back in, let that set for two days testing for leaks and closing it back up. I am getting really good at this. Maybe someday I will even stop the leaks!

Our bread machine finally died and we found a replacement in a Salvation Army store for $10!

A list of all we have done would include:

Finally ripping out the evaporator and fixing it correctly. I am very happy to report the new evaporator looks very nice, and the refrigerator seems to be working flawlessly. Pray that it continues.

Making new cockpit cushions. Isn’t Shelly talented?

 

Replacing the blower motor for cooling the alternator.

Replacing the anchor with a brand new 55# Vulcan. This anchor is supposed to bury in its own length. They warn you not to back down on the boat to set it or you might break something. Plus I bought the next size bigger than they recommend. Lord help me if I have to pull this thing in without the windlass!

Adding varnish to toerails, steering column trim, cockpit table and the companionway stairs (which look awesome!)

Replacing the generator salt water cooling pump (allowing me to put the air conditioning on during the week of 100+ degree days)

Pulling the davits and adding big backing plates for better support.

Removing the nonskid paint in the cockpit (put on by the previous owner and it was badly peeling)

Replacing two more side ports (only three small ones to go!)

Of course in the middle of this, Ryan and I rented another car and drove back to Asheville to pick Shelly and Goose up and bring her home. We had missed her and were hungry to see her. Well, we were hungry period. That bonding thing did not include a lot of eating as we had no refrigeration and it was awfully hot!

Since that all took about three weeks, and if you pay for three weeks you have paid for a month, and since we had just a couple more things to do – we are staying a day or two more.

We have to borrow a car and go see the new Jurassic Park movie, go to the grocery store one more time, and do laundry one more time.

Then we will head up into the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers up through Oriental, Bellhaven and up into the Alligator River to Pamlico Sound. There we have to decide which way to go to Norfolk. Either we go up to Elizabeth City and up through the Dismal Swamp Canal and locks (which we really like) or change up and go through the busier Albemarle Chesapeake Canal and pass through Coinjock and Pungo Ferry into Virginia.

Decisions decisions.

Either way we are not far from the Chesapeake Bay. We have a couple of months before we have to be in DC, and it will be interesting to see what we can find to do.

Really, don’t worry about us. We’ll manage.

Come see us!

 

The Yume Odyssey – a Different Approach to Life!