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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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So much for hot cocoa
42 last night, 60 today 15-20knot NE winds gusting to 35.
10/19/2008, La Trappe Creek to Mill Creek Patuxent River

Wow - ccccold this morning. Got up kicked on the heat, turned on the coffee and jumped back into bed until the heat came up. Then made sweet rolls to go with coffee, which had a double bonus of adding heat to the cabin as well as making it smell a sweet cinnamon/orange. Heated up another pot of water for the day since that worked well yesterday. We had hot water all yesterday in the large push top carafe for hot cocoa, and tea to keep warm, so it was really a good purchase.

We headed for Solomon Island (38 miles) and it was a very cold, brisk wind that had the waves kicked up until we were able to turn south and run with them and the current. Motor sailed with the headsail and we actually got up to 8.6 knots between the engine, sail, current, and tide. What should have taken us about 8 hours took us about 6 woosh.... It was a cold, wet day but at least it was sunny out! The waves were rough at times and I heard "crash" down below. When I went below, my large carafe was on the floor with water and sparklies all over the place. The inside glass had shattered, and what I thought were sparklies were little shards of glass. What a mess. Hot water and glass all over the sole of the cabin in the galley and at the bottom of the steps! Cleaned that up and went back up top. So much for marvelous hot cocoa to stay warm (it's that peppermint cocoa that I'd buy for the kids at school during the holidays ymmmmm). I need to find another large push top thermos server. I liked that one.

Instead of skirting in to Solomon we went a little further to the next creek on the Patuxent River past the 100 ft bridge. Mill Creek - a very nice isolated spot that we're sharing with 2 motor boats (1 large) and a couple of fishermen. This area is known for its Ocean Miocene fossils 10-25 million years old. I need to refrain from collecting (there's no room on the boat). The cabin has stuff strewn all over from being tossed about today & I was looking forward to warming up with a warm shower - only.... We appear to be out of water... Weird because the gage says we should still have ˝ tank (50 gallons) but when I kick on the pump, it just keeps pumping air... oh no.... Now we'll have to find somewhere to replenish our water. Did I say replenish? I mean't replace - we have none except what's in my bottle.


Okay, next up is dinner. I'm making a beef pie right now that appears to be taking over 2 hours. I chopped up the vegi's, added the meat, mixed the cornstarch in for gravy, put it in the crusts and threw it in the oven only for some reason my oven isn't coming up to temperature tonight. 1 ˝ hours and its only to 300. I checked twice to see if it ran out of fuel but the fire is there! Wow. Temperature in the oven was now down to 275... Shades of an Arizona Thanksgiving (LOL). This meat pie is going to be a marathon cook like Thanksgiving day... Only I doubt it will taste as good as my all day Thanksgiving meals... actually the one in AZ was scrumptious - later...

Hm, it actually wasn't bad. The crust could have been a little better cooked but overall quite eatable, with my side of peaches J

Army blanket is on the bed tonight - it's going down into the 30s tonight.

Birds, sandbars, skipjacks
N. Winds 20-25, 2-5 ft waves, high 54, low 37
10/18/2008, La trappe to Cambridge MD

Woke up to the sound of geese calling each other before sunrise. I wish I could speak goose this morning. I wanted Wayne to hear them lowly calling to each other in the darkness. Big mistake. Remember the rain last night? It collected in the window and as I opened it, Wayne didn't appreciate the cold water in the face. Oops... There's a lot of conversation going on out there that I don't understand as they collect into bigger groups. The conversation in the bed after the wet face I do understand...perfectly...

Made some coffee and went up top to look at our surroundings. Since it was about dark when we pulled in last evening, I didn't really see much. The colors are more pronounced here than in Annapolis and there's an amazing amount of birds here. I couldn't begin to name them. They're different than what I'm used to back home. An osprey is sitting atop a tree branch, various petrels are soaring and diving for breakfast, hundreds of little white birds are sitting on the sand spit off Martin Point, and there's a huge flock, no two huge flocks of some birds that are into synchronized flying - darting and flitting around as one entity above me. The geese are collected all over the creek and river in various groups calling to each other. I can hear guns in the distance so I know that there is some kind of hunting season. Wayne says "it's probably water fowl" since there seems to be an abundance of them migrating right now. He reminds me of the first time I was on a sailboat (Hans' boat - a little Westerly) on Lake Erie. We ran aground and stayed the night there in the fog. At daybreak there was the sound of guns going off, even though you couldn't see anything, duck season had begun. Funny how I'd forgotten about that - it seems so long ago, also in October, also cold and damp. Who'd have thought that 30 some odd years later we'd be sitting on our own sailboat, in the cold, listening to water fowl and guns again remembering my first time on a sailboat. Well, at least we're not aground, and in the fog (yet). Not sure where we're heading yet today. Depends on weather. It looks like maybe the Patuxent River, Solomon's Island is within our distance at 35.3 miles.

Hmmmm... well scratch that place on Patuxent River. In coming out of the Creek at 10:00 am, we ran aground in 4.2 ft of water. We were supposed to follow the same path out as we took in (9ft), but veered off to the right a little ran into mud and couldn't get off. Phone has no dots but we tried backing out. No luck. Tried going forward, no luck. Tried hoisting the sail to heel us over, and the sail ended up in the lazy jacks, shrouds, and got a bit twisted due to the wind abate (abaft? Behind) at 20 knots. So basically, no luck. A fishing boat came by and signaled do you want me to call someone? I yelled yes please - Boat US. So he called and wished us "Good Luck". I brought my phone up top and got 1 dot and tried Boat US and got through. I asked if someone called for us and she said Nick called. Thank you Nick, where ever you are. I hope you catch a lot of crabs (the good kind), or fish, or whatever you try to catch. Tow Jamm 2 showed up at around 12:30 and we were freed at 1:00pm. To late to go 30 miles, so we decided to go down to the Little Choptank (I couldn't see returning to the same anchorage - even though it was gorgeous - and having a repeat tomorrow morning). There's free tie up in front of the Dorchester County Building with enough room for 4 boats (ifff they tie up nicely to let a 4th boat get in). We couldn't snug in behind the small sailboat that had taken up a lot of room that he didn't need. In trying to, I ran aground (4 ft) but was able to back off again. We circled around the little area between the drawbridge leading into Cambridge proper, the Dorchester County Building and Snappers Water Front Café in 11 ft of water. Hope we're okay here (2:40pm) because Skipper Bob's called this an anchorage (???). Sooo all that's missing now is the fog (from that first time on a sailboat) LOL. Wayne says I jinxed us this morning mentioning running aground. I told him he ran us aground on purpose because I put it in his mind... We passed a pretty little skip jack coming through Little Choptank. What a beautiful little boat! Low shear, large sail and a boom longer than the back of the boat. It was taking people out on the Choptank River.

After dark a riverboat came by us. It was the kind with the big paddle wheel off the back. There were people partying inside and outside - it looked pretty fun.

Happy Birthday Lonnie from the Choptank River
High 64 Cloudy, Drizzly
10/17/2008, Annapolis 38o58.388 x 76o29.222 to La Trappe Creek, Choptank River Behind Martin Point 38o38.975’ x 076o07.185’

mmmm. 6:00 am - the clang, clang clang of the bridge began. I woke up out of a haze thinking that it was 7am and jumped up to see what boat was leaving next, but there were 8 hard hats up on the bridge looking at things and testing the equip. Clang, clang, clang the bridge rises and they look at it, then lower it back down, clang clang, clang... They threw me off my stride - I thought I really slept in (yawn). Hash Browns, eggs and sausage for breakfast this morning (I was feeling ambitious I guess). It feels like we're leaving home again after 2 weeks. Cool morning out too. I was thinking about our visit to the Naval Academy yesterday while making eggs this morning and I'd forgotten to mention the 12:00 assembly of the cadets for the mid-day meal. While we were standing there waiting for it again, we noticed a group of kids on tour there collecting to watch it. They were all in school uniforms of blue blazers, oxford shirts, very clean cut. About 11:45 another group of kids shows up - my kids basically, inner-city minority mixtures in sags, t-shirts, girls showing off the curves. Their tour leader talked about what was going to happen and I was checking out the kids - some not paying attention at all but some listening, eyeballing the cadets beginning to collect, but paying attention. I thought "how cool, these kids could use this kind of exposure" positive images of what teamwork and cohesiveness could look like in a "positive gang type atmosphere". Gangs are a family like military is family. Loyalty, duty, honor, etc... Within 5 minutes, they hustled the kids away before the formal sound offs and parade into the building. They were told about it but not allowed to observe the formations and assembly. The kids that got to stay to observe it - the private school kids. Who needed to see and "experience it" the most? The ones that were shuffled off, that it could have had a large impact on. It angered me to think that they brought those kids on a fieldtrip of this magnitude but didn't let them observe the gathering and formation of the cadets for the mid-day meal assembly. Read between the lines here - It irked me.

The work we did on the dingy yesterday? The rubber cement stuff worked 50/50 which is to say... it doesn't work... We dingied our garbage to the dumpster then got back, hooked the dink up to the davits, hoisted it. It wasn't high enough. We started playing around with the straps to see if we could raise it higher, and while pulling it one came undone. So much for the straps that I worked on yesterday and so much for the cementing of the D rings onto the dink. I could have just sat back with a cool one and said "ahhhh". Such is life... We then attached the dink to a short painter and the back of the dink near the motor. Not good. We then took the motor off, and the last strap (uh huh) and hooked the davit to the dink itself near where the motor was, and to the front strap on the top of the dink and it held up pretty good today. We didn't need to do anything yesterday. I guess it was a good brain exercise - what works, what doesn't.

While sorting all that out the Harbor Master came by to see if we were staying longer. Nope. But it took us until 12:00 until we got it all sorted out, engine running, unmoored, and through the bridge. Sad leaving Annapolis, it's one of my favorite places, it really could become home quite easily. I love the old houses, waterways, Academy, etc... there's so much history just viewable in the structure of the streets and brick and cobblestone sidewalks, granite buildings and slate & copper roofs. Onward...

We motor sailed down the Chesapeake about 28 miles and then eastward on the Choptank River (made famous by James Mitchner in his novel Chesapeake) to the La Trappe Creek. Kind of cold out today. Wayne had on 2 sweatshirts and a fleece and I had on a t-shirt and 2 sweatshirts. Still chilled. Made hot chocolate to keep warm and put together a meat loaf for dinner since it looked like we were going to cut it close getting into the creek before dark. It wasn't to bad below deck thanks to the oven, and I got the meatloaf together and into the oven by 5:00 so it was ready at 6:30 and on hold while I made the cheddar/garlic potatoes and corn to accompany it once we got in. We just barely made it to anchor before dark 6:30ish and this time no cannon going off to signal sunset like at Annapolis. Did I forget to mention that every night they shoot off a canon and a trumpet plays taps at sunset? Oops, my bad. Dinner was good; we could hear the rain as we ate below with our oil lamp on the table for ambiance. Now that I've made a meatloaf in the oven, I guess this is officially home LOL. It's supposed to go into the 30s tonight so the peepers I'm hearing as I type this might get silenced Brrrr.... The cold is starting to catch up to us at last and we're looking to get to lower latitudes a bit more quickly than we were.

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