Day 34 – August 10, 2013 – Annapolis, MD

1052 miles.

20 different ports.

25 dockings or moorings.

1250 gallons of diesel.

1 marriage, still intact.

We are back.  The run from Georgetown to Annapolis was relatively quick and straightforward.  We did not plot our course or worry where we were.  We were back on the Bay and knew where to go and what to look for.  As the Bay Bridge loomed in front of us, it was with some satisfaction, relief and disappointment that we turned into Podickory Point and docked the boat.  After a terrific trip, it all seemed somewhat anticlimactic to be home.  After tying up, we spent the afternoon cleaning the boat inside and out.  The boat is scheduled to be waxed on Tuesday and it needs it.

Driving home, we could not get over how green everything was.  We were used to the blue of the sea, not the green of the land.  It is nice to be home, but we are already thinking of what to do next.  I feel like I need to go out and check the lines and do my engine checks and plot our course for the next day.

What would we do different next time?  I think we would visit fewer ports but spend more time at each.  Both Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are worth at least a 4 or 5 day stint.  We missed Block Island this trip – a definite stop next time. We need to head into Cape Cod Bay and up to Maine.  And then there is Canada, the Great Loop, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean.  So many places.  Can’t wait to go.

Jim

Day 33 – August 9, 2013 – Georgetown, MD

The weather report for the bay today called for small craft warnings, winds 10 – 15 knots with gusts up to 20 knots, and 2 -3 foot waves.  We woke up expecting to spend another day in “exciting” Chesapeake City.  So we slept in and did not get up ‘til nearly nine.  The sky was blue and the wind was relatively light.  Ade and I both quickly decided to make a run for Georgetown, Maryland, up the Sassafras River. Most of the journey would be in protected waters with only about a five mile run in the Chesapeake Bay itself.  Skipping breakfast, we took off.

As we exited the C & D canal, the Elk River was a little choppy since the wind was from the southwest, the direction we were heading.  At the entrance to Elk River, the bay became choppier still, and we slowed a little to minimize the pounding of the boat.  Within about five minutes, the bay grew calmer and we were able to get to the entrance of the Sassafras River easily. That’s when things got interesting.

It was not rough water but a sea of crab pots that awaited us.  We were coming from the north and the entire north side of the river was covered in crab pots.  There was no order to their placement – it was like a mine field.  We slowed down and picked our way gingerly through the mines.  The mouth of the Sassafras is over a mile wide.  But the only clear channel through the crab pots was a narrow one hundred yard channel on the far south side of the entrance.  We could not believe how many pots there were over such a large area, but we made it.

Once in the Sassafras we slowed down to six or seven knots and just enjoyed the scenic views as we made our way up river to Georgetown.  By 11:30 we were tied up at the Georgetown Yacht Basin. We were glad to be in Georgetown.  There was nothing more for us to do in Chesapeake City and we were looking forward to exploring Georgetown and its neighboring town Fredericktown, which is on the other side of the river.

Things did not turn out as expected.  It seems that Georgetown makes Chesapeake City look like a thriving metropolis.  In Georgetown there is the Kitty Knight House – an inn and restaurant.  In Fredericktown, there is the restaurant the Granary.  That’s it. No town, no stores, nothing. Without a car, there is nothing to see or do here.

So…  We ate lunch at the Kitty Knight House.  I did a few maintenance things on the boat.  We went to the pool and cooled off.  We showered.  I am writing the blog. We will have dinner at the Granary.  We will have seen all there is.

Tomorrow we head for Podickory and the end of our journey.

Jim

Day 32 – August 8, 2013 – Chesapeake City, MD

Cape May was cloudy again this morning, but the winds were lighter than yesterday.  Good news for our trip up Delaware Bay and River, through the C & D Canal and ultimately to Chesapeake City, MD. Still, NOAA predicted 10 to 15 knot winds on the Bay with 2 to 3 foot seas and calmer winds and seas in the River. We left Canyon Club Marina at 8 and scooted past the Cape May ferries before any of them were leaving and into the Bay.  Some dolphins were feeding off to our right just as we entered the Bay.  They were the first dolphins we had seen on the trip. I hoped that they would decide to play in our wake, but they obviously thought breakfast was more important than frolicking in boat wakes.

The Bay was fine as we started out, maybe 1 to 2 foot seas.  These gradually increased to 2 to 3, but other than rocking and rolling some, they were no problem.  We had the wind (about 10 knots) and the current with us, so that helped make for a more comfortable ride than it could have been.  Visibility was fine.  Even though there was a fair amount of commercial traffic on the Bay and River, we were able to run inside the shipping channel and avoid the crab pots that the crabbers just love to put just outside the channel.

About mid-way up the Bay I saw another dolphin leap out of the water.  That is always such a special sight.  I hoped that it portended an easy ride into Chesapeake City, and it did.  Despite some congestion in the commercial traffic right at the Canal entrance, we had an easy run up the River and along the Canal. We were docked and securely tied up by 11:20 am at the Chesapeake Inn and Marina..

It was good to be back in Maryland; the first time in a little over a month. But as soon as we got off Sea BLyS we felt the Maryland heat and humidity.  We had gotten spoiled by the cooler and drier New England weather that finally kicked in once we left Hyannis.  I guess we’ll just have to spend more time in New England during the summer if we want to say good-bye to heat and humidity!

We hiked over to downtown Chesapeake City (all 5 or 6 blocks of it) for lunch and then decided to take in the C & D Canal Museum.  It’s a relatively short walk from the town to the museum in the direction of the marina and then past that for about a half mile.  We weren’t expecting much but were pleasantly surprised to find an interesting museum, run by the Army Corps of Engineers, about the Canal.

The museum is housed in the old pump house that had been used to help maintain the canal’s water level in its early years when the canal used four locks.  Eventually the canal was widened and deepened and the locks were removed.  But the pumps and the water wheel that were used to perform this job remain and can be seen in all their massive, mechanical glory in the museum. The placards and various displays were well done and informative.  They also had an LCD screen that showed you the commercial traffic that was on the Canal in real time.

If nothing else, the pump house building was a pleasure to tour.  It dates from the 1800’s, was constructed of stone and floored with beautiful wide-beamed hardwood.  The roof is exposed wooden beams and the walls are plastered a simple white.  If it weren’t a museum, the building would make a very handsome house.

We’re on the boat this afternoon, planning for our trip to Georgetown, MD tomorrow.  We’ll have dinner at the Chesapeake Inn tonight and then head for our last stop before home in the morning.

Ade

Day 31 – August 7, 2013 – Cape May, NJ

Well our original plan for this day was to relax from our trip from New York yesterday by spending a lazy morning or afternoon at the beach.  Unfortunately Mother Nature had other plans.  We awoke to pouring down rain, and the rain persisted on and off through out the day.  The beach was out.  Instead, we took our time getting up and going (a rare treat!), did some boat chores, wrote the blog and read some of the many books we brought with us (on the Ipads, of course). It wasn’t terribly exciting but it was relaxing.

Later on in the afternoon the rain finally abated, so we took the opportunity to get off the boat and stretch our legs.  We got a taxi into town and then strolled around many of the beautiful streets in Cape May.  We also managed to get some beach time in, albeit from a distance, by walking along the boardwalk.  The waves were really kicking up under a stiff wind, and we were grateful that we had come in from NYC yesterday rather than today.  We had a very nice dinner at the Merion Inn and then headed home to the boat to get ready for our trip up the Delaware Bay and River tomorrow.

Ade

Day 30 – August 6, 2013 – Cape May, NJ

We were up early this morning for our run to Cape May. Mercifully, I was feeling much, much better this morning.  I was worried that we might have to delay our departure to deal with my unhappy stomach, but that was not the case. Unlike our trip up when we stopped in Cape May and then Atlantic City before heading to NYC, we decided to skip Atlantic City (no loss there) and head straight for Cape May. We were off!

We entered NY harbor, with that spectacular view of the Battery to the left and the Statue of Liberty to the right, just as the sun was coming up. We’ve seen many beautiful scenes on this trip, but the views of New York and Lady Liberty from the water are some of the best.

We turned toward the ocean and were relieved to find that NOAA hadn’t lied about the marine forecast for the Atlantic. The water was calm with light winds and great visibility. We put Sea BLyS on plane and cruised at about 26 knots all the way to Cape May.  At times the seas were glassy, and the worst condition we had (if you can call them that) was some small chop between Atlantic City and Cape May. We made it in a little over 5 hours.  Such a contrast to our trip up.  I’ll take today’s conditions over the 3 to 5-footers we had going North any day!

We’re staying again at the Canyon Club Marina.  This time I knew what to do with those rings they have on the pilings for the bow lines, so it was an easy tie (always like those).

The weather is not great in Cape May today, overcast and kind of dreary. So we will take it easy, relax from the trip from NYC and then spend another day here before we tackle the Delaware Bay on Thursday (always a fun body of water). Right now the forecast for Delaware Bay is acceptable. Assuming it stays that way, we’ll head for our home waters in the Chesapeake on Thursday..

Ade

Day 29 – August 5, 2013 – Jersey City, NJ

Monday morning, Andy, Ade and I made the run from Stamford Connecticut to Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City, NJ.  It was a beautiful, clear morning in Connecticut, and we could see the NYC skyline as we turned from  Stamford toward New York. The Long Island Sound had only 1- 2 feet waves, and while we were against the wind, the ride was fairly smooth.  We reached the East River just as the current was changing in our favor and we were able to go with the current all the way to Governor’s Island.  I think Andy really enjoyed seeing New York from the water.  The morning continued to be wonderfully clear and cool; Andy had a great view of the city.

We fueled up and were tied up at Liberty Landing prior to noon.  After lunch, Andy and I went to tour New York City.  Ade was feeling under the weather and stayed on board.

Andy and I took the Liberty Landing Ferry over to the World Financial Center ferry dock and went to see the 911 Memorial.  Ade, Katherine and I had seen the memorial on our way north but Andy had never seen it before.  We did not have advance passes so it took us about 45 minutes to get in.  The memorial is quite beautiful with two pools reflecting the bases of the twin towers.  The name of every person who perished on 911 is inscribed around the pools. I had one friend who died on the Flight 77 and I found her name on the wall of the South Pool.  It is a very moving memorial.

After the memorial, Andy and I went walking, and walking, and walking.  We went down to Wall Street and walked around the New York Stock Exchange.  We then walked uptown to City Hall.  We toured around there for a while and then headed further north to Canal Street.  By then Andy was hungry, so we stopped in a deli and he had a second lunch.  We continued north and then cut over on East Houston St. to Katz Delicatessen.  Along this journey we traveled through a major shopping district full of mothers and teenage daughters buying all sorts of clothing. They might have single-handedly jump started the economy.

Katz Deli is world famous for its sandwiches, so I thought I would get  two for Ade and me for lunch on Tuesday.  I ordered the first sandwich, which was pastrami and swiss.  I watched the person behind the counter make the sandwich – it seemed as if he was putting a whole half of the cow on the bread.  It was obvious that I needed to buy only one sandwich.  It was gigantic by any standard.

Andy and I then realized it was almost 4:30 and he had a 5:10 train to catch.  I also looked at my phone and there was a message from Ade that she was feeling much worse and where was I.  I had visions of needing to take Ade to an emergency room.  So both Andy and I were in a panic.  We walked quickly to the subway station and hopped on the JZ train to take us over to the 123 line so Andy could get to Penn Station.  I hopped off at the Fulton Station and hightailed it to the ferry.  I just missed the 4:45 and had to wait till 5:15.  Fortunately by this point Ade was beginning to feel better.  By the time I was back on the boat, she had definitely improved and the crisis seemed over.  We think she may have had some food poisoning.

Andy made  his train, I had some dinner, Ade had some tea, and we all collapsed for the night.

Jim

Day 27 & 28 – August 3-4, 2013 – Stamford CT.

When we left Stratford it was raining steadily and we had rain on and off all the way to Stamford.  However, other than rain, the run from Stratford to Stamford was fairly easy and straightforward.  The wind and waves were light and we were back in Stamford in about 2 hours.

Our son Andy took the train up from Philadelphia to join us for a few days.  Ade’s sister and father, who live in Stamford, picked him up at the train station and met us at the boat.  The rain had eased and we were able to have a pleasant lunch on the boat. before heading back to Ade’s father’s house for dinner.

Sunday morning, Ade’s father and sister again met us at the boat for a short ride out to the Sheffield Islands.  The seas were clam and we all had a delightful time touring the islands that are just off the coast from Norwalk Connecticut.  I think Ade;s father enjoyed the boat far more than the LSM he had been on during World War II.

The marina in Stamford is very well-sheltered and our dock was protected from the wind and current.  It had been perfectly flat when we left on our tour.  I suggested to Ade that she should try and dock the boat herself.  This would be the first time she had ever tried to dock it.

She did a great job.  She pulled into the marina, turned the boat and backed us up right beside the dock.  I hopped off and secured our lines.  An excellent first docking.

We are going to have a barbecue on the boat this evening and then Andy, Ade and I are off to New York City in the morning.

Jim

Day 26 – August 2, 2013 – Stratford CT

Friday morning we left Sag Harbor for the Connecticut side of Long Island Sound.  We went through Plum Gut with an ebbing tide and found the passage quite easy.  Plum Gut was wider than I expected and we were able to run it at 20 knots.  The currents were a little squirrelly but nothing that Sea BLyS couldn’t handle easily,

The sound itself was choppier than we expected.  Waves were 2 (maybe 3) feet but the wind from the west was against us.  Nonetheless, we were able to run fairly well at 20 knots without too much discomfort.  As we neared the Connecticut shore, the waves improved somewhat, except near the long sand shoal between Clinton and Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

Visibility was good all morning,and we had great views of the Connecticut coast, including downtown New Haven. By 11:30 we tied up at the Brewer Stratford Marina.The marina is a great place to stop —  excellent floating docks, a nice pool, and good laundry and shower facilities.

Today was a day dedicated to cleaning the boat.  I did a thorough cleaning of the deck and hull down to the rub rail, while Ade started cleaning the interior.  We even scrubbed the cockpit floor.  Once the boat was cleaned, it was time for laundry.  We started two loads and then read our books while waiting for the first load to complete.  Once that load was in the dryer, we had about 60 minutes before it was going to be completed, so we went off to explore Stratford.

We had a map of Stratford and some general directions where the town was. We found the village green and the oldest building in Stratford and several funeral homes and churches, but that was it.  Nothing much on Main street.  There must be a town somewhere but we did not find it.

Back at the marina, we finished our laundry and then had dinner at the restaurant next to the marina, a place called Outriggers.  It was a happening place – completely packed with waiters and waitresses racing about like mad persons.  It was exhausting to watch them.  The food was fine but not exceptional.

Tomorrow we are off to Stamford.

JIm

 

Jim

 

 

Day 25 – August 1, 2013 – Sag Harbor, NY

We awoke in peaceful Dering Harbor, Shelter Island, to a beautiful, sunny morning, although the western sky looked a bit dark. I checked the radar and saw that some rain was developing over Pennsylvania.  It was probably headed our way, but our boating today was going to involve a whopping 11nm around Shelter Island to Sag Harbor. We expected to be into Sag Harbor and securely tied up before any weather showed up.

We took our time this morning and got underway shortly before 10. The winds and water were calm as we headed around the island. There was a little bit of chop around Shelter Island Sound but the take off of a sea plane right in front of us was more exciting than the sea conditions. We shortly afterward reached Sag Harbor, which was crowded with all manner of mega yachts.  We pulled into the Sag Harbor Yacht Club, where we had reservations for the night, fueled up and got pumped out. Our next task was to rinse of Sea BLyS, which was crusted with sea salt in various places from several nights on moorings and several days crossing various parts of the ocean.

With our boating tasks behind us we headed into town for lunch.  The town is not nearly as attractive as Nantucket or Edgartown, but it had its fair share of shops and boutiques. We had a good lunch at LT Burger and then continued our walking tour.  By this time the skies had darkened and a bit of light rain had begun to fall. We ducked into the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, which is housed in a 19th century Greek revival mansion. It was interesting, but we were spoiled by the whaling museum on Nantucket, which was much more extensive and well-planned than this one. When we left the rain was a bit harder, so we explored a few more streets and then headed back to the boat.

We’re taking it easy this afternoon as the rain continues to come down. A front is passing through tonight and we should have good weather for tomorrow’s cruise, which is to Stratford, CT.

Ade

Day 24 – July 31, 2013 – Shelter Island, NY

Today the morning was beautiful, cool and clear with only a slight breeze.  The water in Edgartown Harbor was glassy smooth. We left the harbor around 7:30 AM – we wanted to get to Block Island by 10 AM so we would not have a problem getting a mooring.  As you will see, our planning was a bit flawed.

The run to Block Island was easy.  We cruised between 22 and 25 knots over seas that were 1 – 3 feet.  The ride was fairly smooth until we hit the junction point between Vineyard Sound and Buzzards Bay; at this point it was a little rough but quite manageable.  The view of Martha’s Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands was spectacular.

As we crossed Rhode Island Sound we had to wind our way through several fields of lobster pots.  By this time, however, the seas were calming down and the rest of the ride was uneventful.  We reached the entrance to Block Island a little before 10 AM, thinking we had arrived in plenty of time to snag one of the first-come-first-served town moorings.  All looked perfect except that we noticed a number of other boats entering the harbor right before us (in fact, there was a steady stream of boats going in) and only a few boats coming out.  Once in the harbor, we began cruising the mooring field looking for an open mooring.  So were 10 or so other boats.  Every mooring was taken and no one seemed to be preparing to leave.

Time for Plan B.  We had no Plan B.  We could have called to see if we could get a slip, but we knew it would be pretty expensive in Block Island, and several friends had had bad experiences docking here only a few days ago.  We could have found a place to anchor but the cruise guide suggested that getting the anchor set might not be easy.  At this point, we decided that Block Island was not to be on this trip.

After a quick study of the map, we decided Shelter Island would be our next stop. Ade called the Shelter Island Yacht Club, and they had a mooring.  We were off to the west again.

The seas were still calm, and at 25 knots we were at the entrance to Gardiners Bay in just over an hour.   By noon, we were safely moored at the Shelter Island Yacht Club. But we were not done with “Plan Bs” yet.

While we were cruising we got a voice mail on my phone from the Milford Yacht Club where we had made reservations for a slip for Friday night.  Well, it turns out that the girl who made the reservation for us didn’t bother to consult their register to see if there really were any slips available. And, of course, there were not.  It seems that another yacht club had planned a cruise to Milford for the weekend and all the slips were filled.  MYC recommended we call Milford Landing Marina.  We did and they too were full because of the same cruising group.  So then we decided to try a spot on the Long Island side of the Sound and called Danford’s Hotel and Marina in Port Jefferson. They were delighted to hear from us but they had some charity event on Friday for which they offered all their slips; some 96 boats were coming in on Friday.  So, no, there was no room in that inn either.  Finally we called the Stratford Brewer Marina in Stratford, CT.  They had a slip and were happy to take our credit card number. We just hope that they do not realize tomorrow that “Oops” they made a mistake and have no room.

After lunch, we went to explore the island.  Not much here.  Beautiful homes but not much else.  The “town” of Shelter Island is one block long – gas station at one end and Jack’s Marine supplies, toy store and hardware store (all rolled into one) at the other end.  We asked at the gas station if there was more to the town then we had seen.  The answer was no.  Not deterred, we went walking.  We walked a mile east and found lovely homes and the Dering Harbor Inn but nothing else.  We turned around and headed west of “town” into Shelter Island Heights.  Here we found a little more action (emphasize little) – a one and a half block long village.  Not much here but there was a restaurant called Sweet Tomatoes that looked interesting. We made reservations and will let you know if it is any good.

Tomorrow we are off to Sag Harbor which is just on the other side of Shelter Island.  It will be our first slip in a while.  It will be nice to have power and unlimited water.

Jim