The visitation Sat with the parents was nice, and we got over to see Duane's brother and his wife for a few hours. Then we got a nice treat to a local family restaurant and a night of TV with the folks.
Clyde was allowed numerous supervised excursions on the nice lawn without his harness (which really cramps his style, I am sure). He was skittish about the new environment, but quickly grew to enjoy it.
We leave tomorrow for PA.
After a busy morning of cleaning and packing, we lugged a lot of stuff and the cat via water taxi to the City Dock where we awaited pickup by the Enterprise Rental car staff. We got going from the office at 1300 and drove to Duane's parents' home in south Jersey. Traffic was surprisingly heavy.
We'll keep the comments of the land-visit to a minimum, since this is a supposed to be a cruising blog. We had a nice visit Fri night and will be seeing Duane's brother and his wife Sat afternoon.
Thu 31 May 2012
Mooring ball in Spa Creek, Annapolis, MD
[photo: view from our mooring - St. Mary's Church and School]
After a very peaceful night, where we both slept until 0700, we spent a leisurely early morning followed by a nice breakfast aboard using the last of the eggs. As we mentioned, we will be off the boat for 6-7 days and don't want to leave any more perishables aboard than we have to.
Duane started to address the windlass issue one last time and tore apart the V-berth for access. Before removing the motor, Diane was pressed into service for an experiment. With the windlass power on, we verified the motor did not energize with the pressing of the switch. I rapped sharply on the motor casing and when she pressed the switch again, it worked. As my friend, Rob, had told me, this symptom indicated bad brushes in the motor. So, with that successful test, I was very confident the root problem was discovered and therefore, fixable.
We dinghied over to the dock and Bill picked us up, dropping Diane off downtown and driving me around to do boat errands. First, we stopped at an alternator/starter shop and were told that he could probably look at it later today (great news). Next, we went to West Marine. Item one was to see if their rigger could re-work the aft dinghy hoist rigging so that I could use just one hand to snap on each clip. Having to use both hands on each shackle was dangerous with the dinghy bouncing around in chop. Their rigging shop was pretty busy, but I can wait until we are back in a week, if needed.
Next, we picked up 100 feet of flag halyard, two more cruising guides covering the rest of our journey, and some miscellaneous items. A quick stop at the hardware store for a few faucet aerators (they get clogged with grit and you can't clean them out), and we were done.
Back at the boat, I did what I could until Diane called for a pick-up at the dock. She had found a place to get a color and cut (cheaper than home by the way) and do a little shopping for gifts. Later, I hoisted her up in the bosun's chair to reave the new halyard through the block under the port spreader and we were good to go. While I was attaching the snap hooks, we got a phone call that the motor was repaired (sticking brushes) and we could pick it up before 1700. So, Bill is coming by at 1615 in order for me to get it on our way to their house for cocktails and then dinner at Cantler's Riverside Inn.
Not only did the windlass motor repair get done in the same day, but the dinghy hoist rig I left with the rigger at West Marine called as we were at the dinghy dock to say that piece would be done in 15 minutes. Two fairly quick stops and we were off to cocktails with Bill and Linda with some extra big smiles.
It was another wonderful series of conversations before dinner and then we headed out to Cantler's. It sure is a down-to-earth establishment and we could not resist having a dozen extra-large steamed crabs dumped on our table. We had also ordered soup and a mussel appetizer, but they don't get too worked up over the order in which they bring your food. At least we had the bucket of 6 cans of beer on the table first. Glass bottles or glassware are not used; you can't crack someone's skull open, or cut him, with a beer can and plastic cup.
We picked up a few good tips for cracking and removing the meat from Bill and Linda. Everything was very tasty and we all enjoyed it. It was Bill and Linda's first crab feast of the season, so it was a nice treat for all.
Tomorrow, we need to re-install the windlass motor, clean the dinghy and get it up on the davits; lock up the boat; get the cat (in his soft carrier) along with a few miscellaneous bags of clothes, dirty laundry, computer stuff, and personal items aboard a water taxi; get picked up by the Enterprise rental car driver; rent the car; and then drive 3.5 hours to NJ by 1700 to start the visit with Duane's small family.
With the smart phone Internet access, we should be able to post to the blog every day if there is something to say. If not, don't worry. Sun morning we leave for PA to visit with Diane's family and some local friends.
Wed 30 May 2012
Mooring ball in Spa Creek, Annapolis, MD
[photo: narrow bascule bridge at Spa Creek]
We did, indeed, get hit by the storms close to 2200 last night. The boat rocked a bit in the wind gusts, but there was no wave action due to or protected anchorage. I am glad that when we anchored, we did not get too close to shore because the depths rise rapidly. We dropped anchor in 13 feet of water and when we drifted back with the S wind, we were in 18 feet. After the storm, we had swung 180 degrees and were now in just 7 feet of water. Here's a quiz for you. Did our anchor scope change?
There was quite a bit of rain, both during and after the storm, in brief spells. I quickly closed the forward hatch, but locked it in the slightly open position by mistake, so we still had some water come in to dampen the mattress a wee bit. Fortunately, the storm brought slightly cooler temperatures. It wasn't hot outside, but a humid boat with two people and a cat gets stuffy quickly when the hatches are closed.
It was a dreary overcast day when we weighed anchor and headed for Annapolis. We had many major course changes as we negotiated the "maze" back to the bay itself, but we could still use the sail for about a quarter of the trip. As we headed NNW up the bay (right into the wind, by the way), I spied several large ships close to our course. When we got close enough, the AIS showed that they were not moving (probably at anchor), but steaming abeam them only a half mile away, they were still intimidating.
With a telephone call to the city marina, which manages the mooring field, we determined that there is a weekly rate for the balls just W of the Spa Creek Bridge, so that is where we are. The bridge is a bascule (draw) bridge with a horizontal clearance of maybe 30 feet, which is not much. There are perhaps 20 mooring balls here and we are the only boat. Supposedly, it is much quieter here and still close to the action, so we are happy.
Following our arrival many logistical events occurred as well as some finalization of plans. We got a call (two days late) from the mechanic at Worton Creek and after a nice discussion, we will be going there after here for 2-3 days to have them help with the more critical parts of the camshaft replacement. So, here is the schedule: Thu - in Annapolis with Bill and Linda; Fri - rent a car and travel to NJ to visit Duane's family; Sun - drive to PA to visit Diane's family; Tue - continue on to visit a few friends; Thu - travel back to Annapolis to reprovision the boat; Fri - return the rental car.
We got our logistical chores behind us and cleaned up to visit with Bill and Linda. The dinghy dock we used is 100 yards from the boat, and they picked us up to drive to their absolutely lovely country-style home a few miles away. Linda prepared a delicious and healthy meal and the pre-, during, and post-supper chat was great. We started fading shortly after 2000, and they drove us back to the dinghy.
Clyde got some nice topside time while we enjoyed a nightcap. There were many sailboats and others just coming in from their time on the water, and we are glad to be here "in the shadows" W of the bridge and the major action.
Tue 29 May 2012
Anchored up the Wye East River, MD
[photo: 12 men lived on this 28-foot cabinless boat for months centuries ago!]
This was one of those rare days when we knew we had a very short run to our next intended stop, so we planned to do some things before leaving. First, Duane changed the oil in the engine, and then we cleaned up to take the bicycles ashore for some exercise and scenery.
Not every waterfront community is set up well to service boaters visiting by dinghy, but St. Michel's surely is. The floating dinghy dock is just inside the entrance to the harbor next to the Crab Claw restaurant. That whole area is adjacent to the 18 acre Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum grounds, which is very picturesque.
We biked around and it being early on Tuesday after a very busy opening holiday, the place was very quiet. We were able to bike on the narrow sidewalks of Talbot St., which had been packed with pedestrians the day before. There aren't all that many side streets that one would consider charming, so our excursion didn't take very long.
We then proceeded to the museum where I was pleased to learn that my Coast Guard Auxiliary ID card qualified us both for free admission, saving us $26. Diane and I both felt that the museum was extremely well done. There are over a dozen major exhibits, some individual boats or structures, and some large buildings with many interesting items inside.
Many people who consume clams, oysters, and crabs probably don't truly have an appreciation for the watermen who toiled longer than the sun each day to harvest them, or the many hard working people involved in the steaming, picking, shucking or canning. This museum pays tribute to them and the tools of their trade in a very hands-on, authentic way. There are wooden workboat restorations underway continually and many volunteers ready to explain the exhibits. It was well worth the several hours to tour it all.
We detoured back to the main drag to purchase something to cook for dinner and found that unless we wanted yet more shrimp, everything had been sold out over the busy weekend. We settled for hamburger patties and some homemade crab soup and potato salad.
Back at Diva Di, we did a little cleaning, hoisted the dinghy, hauled the anchor manually (actually pretty tough against the slight current and strong wind), and got underway. We could have purely sailed for much of the 80 minutes it took to get to our anchorage up the Wye East River in Shaw Bay, but then we would have no hot water for showers tonight, so with some regret we let the engine run at low speed the entire way. With the headsail alone, and the engine at fast idle, we were making 6.5 knots with the 15-20 knot breeze from astern. Unlike yesterday when we arrived and saw hundreds of boats on the Miles River, this time we saw only three.
There is another boat about 300 yards away in this huge anchorage, but the scenery is nice and it feels good to just relax. Diane had set herself a goal of doing a pretty thorough job of cleaning before she relaxed however, and my job was to stay out of her way. Our dinner was simple, but tasty: a beef patty with sautéed onions, potato salad, green salad, and some crab soup. Overall, we were very happy.
There is a line of thunderstorms stretching many hundreds of miles from north to south headed our way, so I will be alert for the impact on or anchoring status. Tomorrow, we head for Annapolis where we will visit with Bill and Linda, and then leave the boat for a week or more and rent a car to visit family.
Mon 28 May 2012
Anchored off St. Michel's, MD
[photo: gaff-rigged cat boat taking charter guests out for a sail]
We rested well, and were awakened right after dawn by the low rumble of a crabbing boat working his lines. We have never seen this method before, but it appears like there is a long line between two buoys, and every 8 feet on the line is some sort of bait. The boat very slowly runs down the line with a simple curved hook to pick up the line and a crabber with a net, scoops up any crabs eating the bait. One very nice thing for boaters about that method is the lack of a floating buoy for each crab trap. Those floating buoys and the lines attached to them are the bane of boaters since they can get wrapped around the propeller, which is a bad thing, to be sure.
Getting the anchor up manually was not a big problem, although it takes longer. The part that is a strain for the back is the same regardless of how the rode comes up; the last 5 feet is done manually. There is no doubt that yesterday and today brought significantly reduced back pain. It appears highly likely that the problem is limited to just the muscles and not a disc issue. If it is not even better by Annapolis in a few days, I will try to see someone to be sure.
It is a beautiful day, with a nice breeze from the S. The very frustrating thing about today, from a sailing perspective, is that the courses we had to take from Oxford to St. Michel's had us either too close into the wind, or with the wind almost directly astern of us. For the wind speed we had, neither case will let the wind be effective for us. I estimate that we only had the sail drawing effectively one-third of the time. The other factor was the tidal current. Had we left at 0300, or waited until 1400, we could have had the current beneficial much more than it was. Our departure at 0735 had the current against us almost the entire way.
Nevertheless, it was about 6.5 hours underway, and much of it was pleasant except in the Miles River while approaching St. Michel's. There were so many large power boats leaving and arriving that it was like a washing machine with their wakes intersecting and amplifying, especially in the shallower sections.
We are anchored just off the channel into the short harbor and we have very few boats around us; most who were here for the long weekend are now gone.
The dinghy dock is adjacent to the Crab Claw restaurant and Maritime Museum. It is a short walk to see the very attractive little town, and there is a full-size grocery store along that walk, plus numerous cute shops and eateries. Once back at the waterfront near the museum, we went into the Crab Claw for dinner, choosing to eat inside with the air conditioning.
We would not say the restaurant is great, but most of what we had was very good. The prices reflect a tourist town, but the view was superb and we enjoyed the visit. It is an incredibly gorgeous late afternoon on the boat and it will be a pleasant sleep, I am sure.
Tomorrow morning, I will change the oil in the main engine and then we will dinghy to the museum, which looks to be fantastic. then it is off for a very short run (maybe under sail the whole way) up the Wye River for some pastoral scenery.