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Sloop Les Miserables
We've got that queasy feeling - going to Solomon
10/12/2011

We headed to Solomon Island in some challenging seas. The boats round bottom, rolling seas, and winds from behind us (beam reach) had us both feeling a bit queasy. We generally chart a course that allows us to sight buoys that confirm our position and sometimes this requires more time at sea than may actually be needed. We are improving our navigating skills and using way points or 'bread crumbs' to keep us on track. We use our Plotter and GPS but truly rely on our own navigation plans just in case we should lose power to our instruments. It is a bit more challenging to know where you are when out on the water so our Captain's coursework is paying off. We motor sailed to Solomon Island and ended up staying at a lovely marina Zahniser's marina. It was a bit tricky going into the harbor as there is a large shoal just outside of the harbor entrance and 3 different rivers to travel once into the harbor. We were able to enjoy the Lighthouse museum and met some gentlemen who were carpenters volunteering their time to build a historical fishing ship - a "Bug-eye". We had a lovely dinner overlooking the harbor. We look forward to heading to a Mill Creek anchorage off of the Great Wicomico River as we head down the Chesapeake.

SAILING!
Sunny, windy and cool (60's).
10/07/2011, Onto Solomon Island

We woke up at our anchorage to scenery was very beautiful, although we were both disappointed that we did not see any dolphins anywhere near the boat. The anchor had held all night without moving an inch. Unfortunately, when Wiley tried to pull the anchor up it wouldn't move an inch. We got the anchor chain to the vertical position off of the bow and then ran the boat forward with the engine at 1800rpms, and it finally came up with the chain forming a great muddy mess on the foredeck.
We were underway for what turned out to be an unforgettable sail. The wind was between 14 and 18 knts out of the NE and gusts to 20+, and we screamed down Chesapeake Bay at speeds of 5- 6 + knts - which is fast for our little boat. However, with Wiley's adult ADD, Wiley is not at his strongest when steering the boat on a run or broad reach. On three occasions this resulted in accidental jibes with the boom and mainsail crashing from one side of the boat to the other. However, with our Bimini between our heads and the boom crushed skulls were never an issue, but it is a tribute to the boats mainsheet, traveler, and hardware that nothing broke. Nonetheless, Merry's nerves were a bit shattered and she is reconsidering allowing Wiley to steer when the wind is from this direction. We covered 42 miles in what seemed no time all in 3-4 foot waves before turning up the Pautuxent River and navigating up the channel to the harbor on Solomon Island.

10/08/2011 | Brian
In Wiley's defense, I am (almost) certain that MANY, MANY people who have been sailing for over 30 years accidentally jibe their boats ALL the time. C'MON SON!!
10/18/2011 | Brian
I just realized that Merry could use a stout piece of line either as a preventer, or to tie the absent-minded helmsman into a fixed position.... just tryin to hep :)
Rhode River
10/07/2011

We had come to really love Annapolis, but we had to evacuate our place on the town wall to make room for the HUGE Annapolis boat show. We therefore set out early Sunday morning proceeding down the river into Chesapeake Bay all the way to the famous Thomas Shoal Light House. It was cold, and we both wore 4 layers under our foul weather jackets. Apart from a near collision with a fast 42 foot Catamaran which approached us from the stern our voyage was uneventful, we proceeded only 12 miles down the bay before entering the South River by mistake. We were looking for the West River to get to the Rhode River and an anchorage. After taking 8 hours to cover the 12 miles, we finally found our spot and dropped our huge 37 pound Bruce anchor for the first time in Chesapeake Bay. The temperature went down to 44 degrees that night, but we gained some warmth from our new alcohol stove. Fear of carbon monoxide poisoning caused us to turn it off when we went to bed however our sleeping bags and 2 layers of blankets prevented hypothermia and on the whole we had a good nights sleep. We had only moved a short distance south, but at least it was in the right direction. When we woke and exited the cabin - we could see our breath, our anchor had held, and we tightly gripped our hot cups of coffee. We pulled the anchor up out of the mud and were once again off down the Chesapeake to the Solomon Island.

Washington D.C.
10/07/2011

Being directionally challenged and finding parking that would not be parallel parking in Washington D.C. (this is just another of many challenges we try to avoid) - we decided to take a commuter bus from Annapolis - (a bargain at $4.50 a person). Barack and Michele had to cancel their lunch meeting with us so we had to make do by looking around at all of the fabulous monuments, soak up some of the history, and dine at a fantastic restaurant about a block or so from the White House. We waited for them to join us for dessert - but they never showed!
We knew when we started out that we would only getting a 'sip' of Washington - and even thought it was but a sip it was certainly a "fine wine"! It is so overwhelming to process so much information - especially when you are traveling with a historian. There wasn't a building, monument, or street that Wiley was at a loss for an anecdote or historical lesson!
We went back the following day to tour the Capitol, take in the Air and Space Museum, and visit the Art Museum. We were both so tired from trying to absorb so much that on the bus ride back to Annapolis Wiley did not have it in him to provide any more history lessons and Merry could not longer nod her head showing that she was, of course, listening! We were delighted that we had time, even though it was short, to go to Washington D.C. Words cannot express what it feels like to stand where Martin Luther King said, "I have a dream..." , or where so many Presidents and First Ladies have been, or knowing the possibilities of all that can be accomplished through our government. At a time when our country is so divided the visit was a reminder of who we are and what we can accomplish when we finally do find common ground. E Pluribus Unum!

10/10/2011 | Craig Erickson
Just thought I would let you know that I had my boat trucked to Pittsburg and am heading down the Ohio to the Gulf. We met in Gasport on the Erie Craigugip
Annapolis, Maryland by SAILBOAT!
09/27/2011

We were able to provision our boat on Sunday thanks to a car loan from a lovely lady in the Bert Jabins Dockside Cafe and Store. We took advantage of the opportunity and stopped to pick up a few more supplies at West Marine as well as more wine. Our sailing buddies, Kathy and John, stopped by and John helped us rewire our anchor light. It seems that LED lightbulbs when put in have to be checked because if they are put in upside down they won't work - so you can guess why our bulb was not working!
With a full galley, water tank, fuel tank and eager to set out we finally left the Marina at 11:00 on Monday, September 26th. We stopped to pump out along the way out of Back Creek because someone, who shall remain nameless (once again) left the pump up on the head.

We set out to the Cheasapeake Bay and were excited to try to find out exactly where we were by reading the nuns and can markers. We were especially cautious because we were told of a long shoal and we did not want to go aground. Surprisingly, we did not go aground and found our way up - really a short distance to Ego Alley. Ego Alley is where all of the very expensive boats parade and stay to show off their boats. We couldn't believe all of the million dollar + boats along the way. We managed to find a space along the wall in downtown Annapolis on Ego Alley. We are the boat with the mini-ego! We decided to stay right downtown rather than anchor out or take a mooring because it was suppose to rain...again. However, we ended up having a fabulous sunny day in Annapolis, stopping to buy books, and enjoyed stopping for Rum drinks and a great lunch at Pussers Restaurant that is right on the waterfront . Where we are tied up is a great location, but it is a challenge to sleep, as there are many people up partying along the waterfront and a local homeless man decided to have a shouting conversation with someone (maybe himself) at around 2:30AM.

We learned that the rain would come the next day so we decided to stay another night on the wall. Tuesday we went to the Maryland State Capital and Wiley stood right where George Washington surrendered his commission as commander in chief of the Continental Army along with all of the extraordinary powers that congress had given him: something that had never occurred before that in all history, and seldom since. We went back to the Naval Base to peruse the book stores We also went to the Banneker- Douglas Museum where Merry was persuaded to get into the cutaway of a crate that a young woman held as a slave used to express mail herself North to freedom. Wiley is in "history heaven". We enjoyed French Crepes for lunch and dodged the rain most of the day. We plan on moving the boat to an anchorage tomorrow and will rent a car to go to Washington D.C. We learned that boating up the Potomac to Washington D.C would take quite a bit of time that we would prefer to use moving south. We are both looking forward to seeing the Martin Luther King monument, Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial Wall, etc. etc.

09/28/2011 | jim
In 2004 we had our Pearson 36 truck out of Burt Jabins to Winthrop Harbor
10/02/2011 | Brian Edmondson
I finally got caught up with you guys... just finished reading your boatblog. It's a really nice piece of work. Sorry that not everything has worked out, but it still sounds like such a great trip and experience. And, I have to add that I'm totally jealous.
Mud, Mud, Mud + Rain, Rain, Rain
Merry - Drizzling still...
09/25/2011, Annapolis, Maryland

We had an easy trip to Annapolis and stayed at the lovely Westin Hotel. We borrowed their free bikes and biked to Annapolis to sight see while we waited for the arrival of our boat to the Bert Jabins Marina. The Naval Training Base was impressive - we especially enjoyed the Tomb of John Paul Jones and the Naval Museum. It reminded us how rich in history this area is. We saw George Washington's shoe buckles, comb, dishes, etc. in the musuem and were reminded that this was for a brief period the capital of our government. It is also where George Washington surrendered his commission as general - a shock to many - giving up the absolute power that Congress had given him. The tribute to African American slaves by Alex Hailey the author of Roots is in downtown Annappolis. This is where Kunte Kinte was brought by ship from Africa. We dined in a building, formerly a tavern, built in 1747 where George Washington had been and enjoyed some crab. We barely scratched the surface of all that Annapolis has to offer and are hoping to do more touring when our boat is ready.
We arrived at the marina just as our boat came in on its truck. It was amazing to see our friends boat, Kathy and John Noland's boat Aurora, along with ours on one transport. We began the challenge of preparing the boat once again to continue our trip.
We soon discovered that while our boom, mast, and dinghy did not float on down the Hudson during the Irene Hurricane - it was FILLED with mud! We spent a full day hosing the mud out of the mast and boom. We had the mast tipped at an angle to let the mud roll out and left it over night to hopefully complete the job. Yardsmen said that it would "preserve" the boat. Trying to keep a sense of humor I said I thought that maybe I should put some mud on me since I too needed preserving - they offered to help me out!
Of course, a cloud of rain continues to follow us so it rained, rained, and rained.
We finally were able to have the mast put up and out came more mud. Every line we run through the mast is covered in mud. We have hosed down every line over and over. Every time we raise the main we will need to keep a bucket of water to douse the main sheet line. After reattaching everything, we discovered that our anchor light is not working. Also, in addition to spending time cleaning out mud Merry had the great experience of going up the mast to grab the jib halyard which was on the wrong side of the spreaders at the top of the mast. Lucky Wiley was the "winch man" and he got the great opportunity to winch his wife up the mast. it was no easy feat, and we had to do it twice because the first time Merry was tangled in an extra safety line. The view from up the mast was fantastic - when you looked out over the harbor - however looking down definitely made Merry think about totally trusting Wiley's skills as the "winch man". However, even though he had his opportunity to finish off his wife (and he had reason to - Merry was not a joy to be around as we cleaned off mud and dealt with all of the rain) he returned Merry safely to the boat. We worked all day on preparing the boat. Our friends Kathy and John, those without mud, set off to anchor in Annapolis and think about next steps. Our hope is to provision the boat today, have the anchor light fixed on Monday, and finally begin the next step of the trip. Please PRAY for no more rain for us - we would appreciate it!!

09/27/2011 | Kay Bordenave
Talk about trust...not sure I'd be able to appreciate the view at the top of the mast! We have rain here too, and will hope that your weather improves. Wish there were pics of you two with the mud!

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