Sat 11 Aug 2012
Docked at the City Dock in Annapolis, MD
[photo: Ed and Shirely with us in front of the Bill the Goat statue, US Naval Academy]
It was another great night at the dock in the air conditioning. Ed and Shirley called just before 0900 to say they were on the way from the hotel. We got in their car and went to a local grocery market for some serious reprovisioning. After returning to Diva Di, we stowed the provisions while Ed and Shirley parked their car in the garage.
We rendezvoused a bit later and then walked a few blocks to the Barry Gate at the Naval Academy and found the visitor center where we booked a guided tour. Our tour lasted almost 2 hours and had us walk well over a mile, but it was absolutely fascinating. The level of detail that our guide presented was amazing. It was mostly about the life that the plebes and midshipmen lead and a bit about the history. Overall, it was terrific.
Following that great tour, we ordered hot dogs and Italian sausage sandwiches from Pip's, a block from the boat, and ate on Diva Di. After all that walking in the heat and humidity, we collectively decided to take a short nap, Ed and Shirley in the main cabin, and Duane and Diane in the V-berth. We awoke refreshed and sat in the cockpit for a while enjoying the freshening breeze. Shirley and Diane left the boat to go shopping downtown, while Ed and Diane found it entertaining to swap stories in the cockpit and watch the interesting sights of the active waterfront.
When the ladies returned, we started happy hour and then thought about supper. When Duane called Cantler's (a local favorite), they had a 1.5 hour wait, so we decided to stroll the downtown streets. We got no further than one block and decided on Italian at Maria's Ristorante. The food was pricey, but all very good and we enjoyed it very much.
We said our goodbyes on the street and they left for the hotel as we did for the boat. As with all our friends, we are very grateful that they took the time to come down and visit with us. Tomorrow, we have a long passage to Solomon's Island, MD.
Fri 10 Aug 2012
Docked at the City Dock in Annapolis, MD
We slept in great comfort, and awoke in the early morning to rain. Diane got up first to bring a few items in from the cockpit that were better off staying dry and we went back to sleep. It was a somewhat lazy morning until about 1000 when we both walked to the liquor store to re-supply. Duane then left Diane alone on the boat (she requested an hour, minimum) to pay the harbormaster, take a shower, and buy more ice. We make our own ice, but with company coming, it was well worth the $2 per bag to not have to fuss with that.
Our friends, Ed and Shirley, drove down from PA and got a space in the parking garage (did I mention that parking is at a premium here?). They walked down the hill and we met them at the docks. After a visit of several hours with some nibbles, we strolled around a bit and then stopped at O'Brien's for a drink. That was special since it is Ed's last name.
We then came back to the City Dock to take the water taxi across the Spa Creek to Eastport (In a good-humored way, they have seceded from Annapolis and prefer to be known as the Maritime Republic of Eastport). After a short walk, we dined at The Boatyard and enjoyed our food very much. As a recommendation by our local friend, Bill, it is a place the locals will frequent more than the tourists and the prices reflect that.
Well sated, we came back by taxi to the dock and boarded Diva Di. We chatted in the cockpit for a short while, but it was apparent that everyone was full, and tired, and ready to call it a night. Ed and Shirley left to fetch the car and drive back to the hotel. We will rendezvous with them in the morning when we will go grocery shopping and then tour the Naval Academy.
Thu 9 Aug 2012
Docked at the City Dock in Annapolis, MD
[photo: someone had fun making a toy PT boat from a small runabout]
[Author's Note: I just finished reading a very interesting book titled "Cruise of the Conrad" by author Alan Villiers. With limited funds, he bought a well-used 110 foot long fully square-rigged sailing ship in 1937 and got a small crew of experienced sailors and youthful wannabes together to sail her around the world in 2 years. The story he tells can affect you on many levels, but at the least it illustrates the courage and incredible skills that the sailors of old possessed to ply the seas as they did.
What makes this particularly interesting is that the same vessel (Joseph Conrad, formerly Georg Stage) was one I toured in Mystic Seaport, CT over a month ago. At the time, I had no idea of her real history. While we were in Delaware City Marina, our visiting friend, Joan Marie, found the book in the exchange library that most marinas have and she offered it to me. It was a great read. ]
The evening passed very comfortably in the air conditioning. I will be the first to admit that although we have lived in FL for over 8 years, I (Duane) can still tolerate cold very well but have a hard time with the heat and humidity. Back before the cruise, I went from our house, to the car, to work, to the car, to home (all air conditioned), and then had the pool to jump into. Here on the boat, you have the air conditioning only while you are at a marina (expensive) and keep the hatches and boards tightly closed. Let too much humidity inside by leaving the boat open and the coils will frost up and then you have practically no air conditioning anymore.
This morning, we visited an institution in Annapolis, Chick and Ruth's Delly (yes, it is spelled that way). Not only do they serve terrific food (especially breakfasts) at good prices, but they have a long-standing ritual of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance every single morning at a set time (0830 weekdays). From what we are told, all the patrons stand along with the entire staff (not sure how the cooks handle that) for the Pledge. We timed our visit to beat the rising heat, so we were gone by 0830.
Besides the food quality and Pledge, the interior is like nothing else we have seen. Most of the tables in the (small) main room are for two, yet there are two tables per booth. The partitions are such that the person adjacent in the next booth is just 12 inches away. It makes for open conversation, to be sure. The tables are quite small, too, but they have these elevated trays to hold extra napkins, sugar, seasonings, ketchup, etc. in order to keep the table surface uncluttered. Overall, it was a neat experience.
At 1100, Diane had an appointment with a hair stylist for a trim and color. She also picked up some gifts along the way. Duane was in charge of picking up a few things at the hardware store and visiting the cheese and wine shop for tonight's appetizers. It was not a good day for the credit card.
Back together on Diva Di, we sampled the cheese (out of this world, if you like richly flavorful cheeses) and a bit of hard salami and called that lunch. There were some minor boat chores, of course, but in this heat and humidity, they were mostly limited to the interior.
At 1700, Bill arrived on his scooter and delivered most of our mail and packages. Linda arrived a bit later and we enjoyed drinks and the delicious cheese and salami, plus that great bottle of wine. After many interesting conversations, we left the boat in search of a place for some sushi. We strolled up to Tsunami and each had a drink and shared 3 rolls of sushi, which was enough after the nibbles on Diva Di.
As we were nearly finished, one of the young ladies at the table adjacent came over to say they had this extra 'groupon' certificate that they could not use, so did we want it. She refused any compensation, and it turns out was worth $40. Our net cost was then about $3, plus the tip. Bill kept saying, Annapolis sure is a friendly town!
When we walked back, it was downhill and a lot cooler. We even sat in the cockpit of the boat to enjoy the nice breeze and the good music coming from Pusser's across the canal. We said our goodbyes and will enjoy seeing them more back in Punta Gorda, FL in the fall.
Tomorrow, our friends, Ed and Shirley arrive for a 2 night visit. They are staying in a hotel and we will spend much of the day and a half with them.
Wed 8 Aug 2012
Docked at the City Dock in Annapolis, MD
[photo: one of many small, historic homes in the downtown area of Annapolis]
It was a pretty comfortable night but the fans were needed all night long; there was no breeze at all. We had been pretty fortunate with foregoing the screens for quite a while since we got up north, but in the middle of the night, Diane was awakened by mosquitos, so the screens went in.
Today began a (as yet) mystery surrounding our 12V electrical system and accessories. The first clue was that our E-meter registered minus 65 Amp-hours (not overly surprising considering the use of fans, TV, stereo, etc.) but the battery voltage with the refrigerator running was only 12.1. That is pretty low. Had I turned off all the loads and waited a little while, I am sure it would have been much higher, maybe 12.4 or so, but that is just a guess. I made a mental note to monitor it closely.
Getting out of the anchorage at 0750 proved easy, despite the thick fog and visibility of only 100 yards. I chose a slightly different path this time and never saw the very shallow depths of yesterday, even though it was low tide. The passage was very boring with no wind to sail, but at least the ride was smooth and the visibility rose to several miles in short order.
In Annapolis harbor, we got diesel fuel and then went to the City Dock. Not getting any response from multiple hails on their working channel, we picked a slip and pulled right in. Within minutes a young dockhand came by, said that slip was fine, and took our info and payment. We wasted no time in plugging in the air conditioning. An hour later, even though the cooling water is flowing normally and the duct is blowing cold air, the cabin was still 86F.
Duane started working on more electrical issues regarding charging of the many DC-powered devices, and Diane got a phone call that Jan and Gina had to cancel their visit due to the threat of severe thunderstorms rolling through their area and ours on Fri. We understand their concerns and will have to deal with the disappointment.
We also made plans with Bill and Linda (native Annapolis people who winter in our home town of Punta Gorda, FL) to get together tomorrow evening for happy hour and appetizers. They will be bringing the shipment of mail we ordered sent to them, as well as a shipment of books for Diane from Jan.
Dinner was hamburgers, yellow squash, and fresh tomato. It was simple, yet satisfying. After cleaning up, we went to the shoreside showers with our tokens to get presentable. When the temperature went down a little, and the humidity was still bad, we took a slow stroll down Dock Street to the Dock Street Bar and Grill for a cold drink and some Olympics on TV. Then we walked up and down a few of the nearby streets and surveyed all the historic homes we passed. It is certainly a charming city, along with the inevitable shortage of parking and narrow roads and sidewalks.
Back at Diva Di, we fixed a nightcap. We tried to sit in the cockpit with the music from Pusser's Caribbean Grille, just across the narrow canal, floating across the water. Diane was able to tough out the humidity, but Duane was a sodden mess of perspiration within minutes and so went below to the air conditioning.
Our current plans are to have our visit with Bill and Linda Thu evening, then visit with PA friends, Ed and Shirley on Fri and Sat, and then depart Sun morning. Where we go next depends on the availability of our other friends (Harvey and Sara) who homeport their boat in Oxford, MD.
Tue 7 Aug 2012
Anchored in Fairlee Creek, MD
We debated about sleeping on the deck last night, but finally decided on the interior of the boat. It seemed just a little hot at first, so Duane slept in the main cabin with a fan blowing directly on him, which spared Diane in the V-berth from having his furnace-like body in close proximity. By midnight or so, it was comfortably cool and the fans were turned off.
After a lazy early morning aboard, we got underway (against the current) for Fairlee Creek, about 25 statute miles away. This will allow us to have another easy 25 mile run to Annapolis on Wed. Clyde often likes to crawl into the aft cabin and lie far aft on some soft goods. Diane is getting tired of trying to coax him out of there before we start the engine, so today we simply started the engine and when Diane counted down from 3, there he was moving to his now favored spot under the table in the main cabin.
There was nothing exciting about the 4.5 hour run; we had light wind at our back, so it was not useable for sailing. The current was slightly against us most of the way, too, so our average speed was not even 6 mph. The entrance to Fairlee Creek is tricky, but it is well marked. The only concerning thing was seeing 5.5 feet of depth in the approach when the tide was supposedly up 1.5 feet above datum. That means at low tide we could not get through at all. The tidal predictions show that we should be able to just squeak by after 0800 tomorrow.
After Diane served a very tasty lunch, we relaxed a bit, made tentative plans for our next several stops, and then put the dinghy into the water. Duane cleaned up the dinghy a bit (where does all this dirt come from?), and then lolled in the water at the swim ladder with a cool beverage. The water was about 84F and very comfortable, but it was very murky and not all that appealing. Afterwards, he used the stern shower to soap up and rinse off. It was the first time we had really done this (I say 'we' because Diane came over and actually put all 10 toes into the water) in a while.
By 1600, we were done reading and ready to dinghy over to the marina to have a drink and some appetizers. We got there, had trouble finding where the dinghy dock was, and eventually found it only to be told that they have two eateries (one restaurant and one Tiki Bar) but that neither was open except Fri-Sun. Oh, well. We have a great happy hour and restaurant aboard Diva Di, except there is no air conditioning at anchor.
We did have some light snacks and then later pan-seared a salmon filet, re-heated the last of the incredibly good corn, and added some of our friend's home-grown tomato. It was plenty and delicious. Cooking in the galley (we have no grill for this trip) does add considerable, if temporary, heat to the interior, but once you are done and sitting quietly in front of the fan, it is quickly forgotten.
The rest of the early evening was pleasant enough, depending upon your perspective. Diane did not care for the loud antics of one boat, but otherwise it was pretty nice. By 2100, the sun had set and some bugs had come out, so we retreated below.
It will be another night of hoping for relief from the combination of temperature and humidity so we can sleep comfortably. As expensive as it will be, it looks like we will be at a dock for 4-5 days in Annapolis so we can stay cool enough and enjoy all the visits with friends that are planned.
Mon 6 Aug 2012
Anchored in Bohemia River, MD
Thanks to the air conditioning, we had a very comfortable night's sleep. The morning's temperature was moderate, but the humidity was still very high. Fortunately, the wind shifted to the NW and then NE bringing cooler and drier air. We used the relatively cool comfort in the boat to get some chores done.
Diane started the laundry in the nice facilities while Duane made a delicious vinegar and oil salad with the fresh garden tomatoes and cucumbers from Joan Marie (adding chopped onion and cannellini beans). We shucked the fresh corn we got with Rich and Brenda a few days ago and peeled the fresh shrimp to boil for tonight's supper. We filled the water tanks and hosed off the leaves and debris blown onto the boat from last evening's brief storm. We both took showers (the women's shower being luxurious by comparison to the men's) and watched some Olympics coverage on the boat.
By 1000 it was time for a stroll along the nice waterfront walk with a circle back through the small downtown area. We saw a little outdoor, elevated cat enclosure with a sign indicating "Stumpy" in front of a pet grooming shop. It was empty and we asked aloud where Stumpy was; with that utterance we heard a series of conversational meows and there behind us was this charcoal gray cat with a tail about 4 inches long. I guess we found out where Stumpy was.
We picked up Diane's fix of Diet Coke at the local grocery store and then walked back to the marina. We carried the laundry, soda, and a few more gallons of drinking water back to Diva Di and relaxed in the air conditioning with the Olympics on TV. During the morning, Diane closed the loop with some other friends, Shirley and Ed, who will also be coming down to visit while we are in Annapolis.
Knowing the tidal current was just barely against us and due to turn in our favor soon, we left the dock and headed out the long channel and then down the upper Delaware Bay a few miles to the C & D canal. We have noted that the predictions for the time the current flow will shift are just approximate, so it was not a big surprise that we motored into the very light wind for an hour before we actually got any benefit from the current. It was an uneventful trip through the 16 miles of canal with little boat traffic. It was a warm day, but cruising on the boat allowed us to have about 7-10 mph of breeze in our face to stay comfortable.
By 1700, less than 4 hours after starting, we reached our intended anchorage at the mouth of the Bohemia River, just a half mile off the channel. Being a Mon night, we were spared too much boat traffic with the annoying wakes. Normally, you choose an anchorage to shield you partially from the expected winds. In our case, with the wind forecast for very light NW winds overnight, we anchored to allow us maximum exposure to those winds.
Supper tonight was the shrimp we cooked this morning. It was just chilled with cocktail sauce, and we added fresh corn, and a home-grown tomato from Joan Marie. The shrimp was good, but the corn and tomato were excellent! It was a bit warm in the boat since the current was keeping the boat sideways to the wind and the hatches were not getting much airflow. Our instrument records the water temperature as 85F. That is great if you like to swim in warm water, but it tends to keep the boat near that temperature, too.
By 2000, the few boats passing by had disappeared and all was very quiet. As the sun set, though, the wind also diminished. No solar radiation - good, but no cooling breeze - bad. Considering how hot it is for those in the cities of this area right now, we feel blessed to be relatively comfortable.
Tomorrow we leave for our last stop before Annapolis. It remains to be seen exactly where we will decide to stop after considering all the factors.