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It's a Small World
05/03/2011, Oyster Bay NY, Long Island Sound

From Leaving the abacos
First, let me tell you what a small world it is. Sunday evening as we were sitting in a small anchorage just inside the Atlantic City inlet, after an overnight trip up from Norfolk, I said to Al, "I don't care if it isn't even dark, I am going to bed at 8:00". It was just after 7:000 when I said it. Well, we hear a boat come into the anchorage so Al looks out a port to see what's going on. He says, "you'll never guess who just anchored!" He was right. BUT, when we left Maine in October, a couple at our marina left the same day, but their plans changed during the course of the winter and we never knew where they ended up. Well, it turns out they ended up in, not in the boat. They left the boat in Delaware and just recently came back for it a couple of weeks ago and started heading back north. So here they were right next to us. I of course had to invite them over for a drink and to catch up, so I didn't make it to bed by 8, but that was ok.

On Sunday morning, we left Atlantic city and did the long slog up the NJ coast to Sandy Hook, just outside of NYC harbor. It took us 11.5 hours...hand steering in a sloppy following sea the whole way, as the autopilot shit the bed yet again.
From Leaving the abacos
This morning, we headed up to the city, in a thick haze. THe sun tried to poke through, so it wasn't a bad day, but not a great day for pictures. The boat traffic was pretty quiet compared to other times we've gone through the city...and the best part was we had a Coast Guard escort up the East River and through Hell's Gate! Well, what happened was a CG cutter was behind us, so they called us on the radio to say they were going to pass us. We pulled over and slowed down, and after they passed us they called us back. They told us that they were going to slow their speed down because there were 2 tugs with barges heading towards us and they didn't want to meet with them in Hells Gate, so we just followed behind them, and after the tugs went by we got through Hells Gate with no other traffic to worry about.

Spring time on the upper East River
From Leaving the abacos

We continued on into Long Island Sound, and we are currently anchored in Oyster Bay, at the western end of the Sound.

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A Day in the Life
05/01/2011, Atlantic City NJ

Okay, so for the last 6 months it probably read like all we did was eat, drink, and have a good time. Well, today I m going to tell you the rest of the days...when it isn't about having a good time.

Our plan was to leave Norfolk on Saturday morning and make an offshore passage up the outside of the DelMarVa peninsula for a Sunday afternoon arrival in Atlantic City. This obviously means we sail all stopping. For my non-boating friends, I'm gonna tell you what that entails.

First of all, before we even leave, we have o go through the boat and make sure everything that can move, or fall off of somewhere, is stowed or tieed down. Next, we have to lift the engine(100 lbs) off the dinghy and stow that on the stern rail, then lift the dinghy up on its davits. We do have mechanical pulleys to help with the heavy lifting...but still. Then, I always make up a dinner ahead of time, so when we are under way, and possibly getting knocked around, it's easy to heat up american chop suey, or something else equally easy to prepare. Then, we have to run jack-lines around the boat. These are nylon webbings that we tie off around the deck, so that if either of us need to go out on deck during the night, we wear a harness with a tether, and we clip onto the jackline. That way, if we were to fall overboard, we'll be attached to the boat and dragged through the water, rather than be left behind and lost.

So, Saturday morning, with a good weather forecast, we left Norfolk at 8Am. We had a great sail out of the Bay, over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and turned up the coast. This is where the great sail ended and we motored the rest of the way. The great weather forecast had a small glitch, where we slammed through some waves as we pounded into choppy seas...where did they come from? Oh ya, the cat apprently didn't like that, because when I went below there was a pile of puke to wipe up...he never does that! By 5PM the seas settle, but this is also when our autopilot decided not to work. That means hand steering all night long. Luckily, when I came on watch at 10PM, Al just got it working, and it continued to work the rest of the night. We usually do 2-3 hour watches. The off-watch person sleeps on the setttee in the main salon, that way if he/she is needed, it's an easy yell down he campanionway. The on-watch person sits in the dark, looking at electronic instuments, watching the darkness for navigation lights. This could be nav buoys (but not all are lit, so be careful), or more than likely a tug towing a barge or some other commercial freighter or container ship (all big). Now you have to figure out which way they are going, whether you're on a collision course, and if so, where do I go to get out of their way.

We are now in Atlantic City, and we actually had an easy night last night. So the next time you read about all the fun we're having, remember...there are days we pay for it!

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05/01/2011 | Heather & Ken Baker

Sounds like half your problems could be solved if you owned a catmaran (just kidding)! Faring is getting ready to head to Newfoundland this summer. Hope we can cross paths when you arrive at RMC. Have safe travels the rest of the way home.

05/02/2011 | John Jones
I don't know. I still see it as "a bad day at sea is better than a good day at work."

I'm glad everyone is safe. Continue to enjoy your days (and nights) of "work." :)
05/03/2011 | Jerry
I can identify with the beauty of sailing and the other side
Out of the ICW
04/29/2011, Portsmouth, VA

We have been anchored at MM0, just off of Hospital Point in Portsmouth/Norfolk, VA, depending on which side of the Elizabeth River you visit. Puffin is at a marina in Norfolk, while we are anchored in Portsmouth.

Our friends from a previous trip to the Bahamas live within view of where we are anchored, so we have spent the last couple of nights with them. Out for dinner one night, and dinner at their house another. Today, Millie had the day off from work, so she took us to Super Walmart so we could stock up on enough groceries to get us home.

Yesterday, we never got off the boat as there was a steady stream of thunderstorms marching their way up towards us. The wind was blowing 20-25 knots with gusts to 30+, but we never got the storms, so we saw nothing more than 30 knots...thank goodness.

Our plan is to leave here tomorrow morning, and head offshore for an overnight passage to Atlantic City, NJ. By doing this, we eliminate about 5 days going up the Chesapeake, across the C&D Canal, and then down the Delaware Bay to Cape May. And then it's still another day from Cape May to Atlantic City. The weather looks like it will cooperate, so by Sunday afternoon, we should be in Atlantic City.

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The "Puffins' are back
04/25/2011, Alligator River

on our way to the Alligator River yesterday morning, we were quite surprised to hear Bob on Puffin on the VHF. Last we knew they were about 60 or so miles behind us. I called him, and he said they were only about 15 miles behind us...they had done an 85 mile day the revious day, and had closed the gap considerably. An invitation to dinner was all Bob needed to keep on pushing an get all the way to the Alligator, our choice for the nights anchorage. I think they did a 75 mile day yesterday (we did another 50 mile day...we've actually been being quite civilized this trip), and they pulled into the anchorage about an hour and a half behind us.

We had a nice night...Nancy brought over SC shrimp cocktail, and brownies for dessert, as well as a couple bottles of very good wine (remember, we've been drinking boxed wine all winter), and I made a paella, using some of the lobster we still had in the freezer. Bob made me take a picture of it because it looked so pretty.
From northbound 2011
When we got up this morning, we notice this boat in the anchorage that wasn't there when we went to bed...check out the foredeck...I thought having bikes on board was good!
From northbound 2011
We crossed the Albemarle Sound today in pretty benign conditions, so we didn't realy need this Coast Guard escort, but he continued to fly circles over us at fairly low altitude.
From northbound 2011
Tonight, we are at Coinjock, NC, just one more day to Mile Marker 0 on the ICW...Norfolk. The boat is covered in a layer of dirt, so we decided to tie up at a marina, get fuel, wash the boat and do some laundry.

The weather is still incredibly warm...I sit here with sweat on my upper lip. I know it won't be long now til the weather changes and we'll be in our long underwear, so I'm not complaining about the heat...just sayin''s hot.

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04/26/2011 | CORNING Townsend
Looking out on the Sheepscot R. vand it is COLD COLD. I thought maybe we left a few weeks early, but then I see you Paella and I KNOW we left too early. Next year we are going to just follow the two of you.

Such a shame we never got together other than by radio. Lets not allow that sad state of affairs to continue this summer.
Corning and Tita
A Glorious Sail!
04/23/2011, Goose Creek, NC

Today we left Beaufort and headed up Adams Creek. This is about a 15 mile section that we motored through. But, as soon as we got out on the Neuse River, the wind was behind us blowing about 15-20 knots, and we had a wonderful sail! Finally...we've been doing alot of motoring on the ICW. We sailed past Oriental, then turned up the Bay River, where the wind shifted to our beam and we picked up speed. About 15 miles later, we reached Goose Creek, a small creek/canal that connects the Bay River to the Pamilico. We decided to try a new anchorage (one we've never stopped at, so we were not sure of the depths or conditions), but here we are, anchored just at the entrance of Campbell Creek off Goose Creek. the wind is blowing pretty hard, but the sun is shining, the temperature is in the upper 70's, the 'anchor-down' beer is cold, and everything is good.

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Who: Alan and Gerri
Port: Hailing port is Portsmouth, NH, BUT our summer slip is in Georgetown, Maine
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