03/11/2009/7:27 am, Baltimore, MD
We arrived in Baltimore safe and sound on Monday afternoon - all flights connecting smoothly and luggage on time. We took the light rail ($1.60 each) downtown and then walked from the conference centre stop to our hotel. Our base in Baltimore was the Brookshire Suites Hotel on East Lombard St - just a block back from the beautiful, walkable waterfront. An evening reception with a free drink per person and an assortment of hors d'oeuvres and breakfast with hot and cold offerings were both included in the price. We'd recommend this hotel to anyone making a Baltimore visit.
On Tuesday morning, Jim and I went round to the US Customs building on Gaye St to get our new cruising permit. Last time Joyce Gray got us out our permit-less state, and this year, Bettye Toone assisted us. There were no problems whatsoever. We have our permit - for a year - and were told that when we leave the country, we can turn it in and get a new one when we arrive "from foreign". This is our favourite Customs office bar none. Miss Toone even told us that if we have any questions or problems wherever we are, to just call her and she will straighten us out! Nice to have our own personal US Customs officer looking out for us.
A 15 minute walk from the waterfront brought us to Faidley's Seafood stand in the Lexington Market where we devoured the most wonderful crabcakes. Oh my.... I asked one of the fellows there what the difference was between the regular crabcake and the lump crab one. His answer was, "... the difference between hamburg and filet mignon, and both quality and quantity improve with the price." Oh my - that lump crab one was about the best crabcake I have ever eaten - big chunks of crab held together with a wee bit of something else - mayo and crackers perhaps? and something that added a bit of a bite - dijon? - then popped in the fryer for just long enough to crisp up the outside. Delectable.
While we browsed through the displays at Barnes and Noble Bookstore back on the waterfront, my cell phone rang and the Sealand truck driver said "I bet you want to know where your boat is!" We had been wondering that very thing and were happy to hear that he was in Harrisburg Pennsylvania and planned to arrive in Solomon's Island on Wednesday morning at 10 am.
Solomon's Island is a mighty hard place to get to except by boat or car so we rented a car and headed out. Most of the leaves are finished but there was still enough colour to make it a pretty 2 hour drive. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as dropping off a car at another location, even for a price, so we'll figure out how to return it later.
One of the happy results of our first cruise was the lasting friendships we made, and we arrived at the home of Carole and Richard (Kilissa) in Lusby, MD in time for happy hour. Joe (Gemini) and Pete (now landbound) arrived and we had a typically energetic cruisers dinner - conversation interspersed with mouthfuls of delicious food - almond chicken, rice and crisp green beans.
01/11/2009/5:21 pm, Halifax, NS
Thanks to Jeannie Lea (Estelle) for the title of this posting. She's got it exactly right.
We've been enjoying our last couple of weeks in Halifax as we look forward to our sailing season starting again. It's funny; once we made that decision to ship Madcap to the Chesapeake and start our cruising from there, we have known it was the right decision without any second guessing. We finished painting our new deck, I got the spring bulbs planted, Jim caught up on mountains of paperwork that he had thought he'd have to do on the boat, and we had a little more time to enjoy the sights and sounds of Halifax and our family. The delay is perhaps all for the best because both Jim and I have been feeling some aches and pains - his knee and my back and hip - and we were able to get those problems addressed while we've been home. Now it is time to get back on that boat and on our way to warm weather.
It has been an interesting experience getting Madcap ready for her trip too so we haven't been bored! Jim spent several hours doing the paperwork. After repeatedly trying to find the correct form he managed to locate it and got all the pertinent information filled in. (The agent told him on the phone that he needed Form 3299 - Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles. He looked up the file on the computer and downloaded the one labelled 3299. The one that came up was form 3229 - Certificate of Origin. Eventually he managed to find 3299 through some other search and got it filled in.) He contacted a broker and was told that we don't need to hire one because we are just passing through the US. It was nice of them to tell us that. Jim has called Dept of Homeland Security several times to check on specific questions because we don't want any hassles at the border. We are OK with provisions on board; (we took off all fresh produce and anything perishable.) Our wine/beer supply is OK. (It is not large anyway because we plan to stock up in the US.) We gave a pretty thorough inventory of all articles on board - books, provisions, electronic equipment - in hopes that it saves time and lessens complications for the driver.
We will get our cruising permit in Baltimore so we'll be legal once we get in the water. It was in Baltimore that we had such good fortune getting a new permit on our way back up the coast in 2008 so we're happy to be able to deal with the same folks.
Madcap will be launched at Zahnisers Marine in Solomon's Island on Wednesday (we hope) and we will be there ourselves by then. We fly Halifax to Baltimore on Monday and then will stay a couple of days with Carole and Richard (Kilissa) - just up the creek from the marina. We'll get all the loose bits put back together, the sails on, some fresh food on board and we'll be set to go again.
I'll let you know if it all works as planned!!
17/10/2009/3:00 pm, Chester/Halifax
When we first left home to go sailing this fall, I said to our housemate, Denise, "See you at Christmas!" This is the third time we have reappeared.
I must say, it felt a bit Christmassy yesterday when I saw snow mixed with the rain on the windshield. And being back at home felt immeasurably better than being on the cold boat, so that felt a bit like Christmas gift too.
We had a lively sail back up the coast on Thursday to Steven's Cove near Chester - home of South Shore Marine. Because we wanted to make the trip in one day, we left Shelburne at 0330. After a day of wonderful winds on our port beam, we pulled up to our old mooring ball at 1730. Finally - a beautiful, if cold, day of sailing. Once again, we were grateful for our cockpit enclosure that kept the wind in the sails and not on us. The temperature hovered around 8 C (something like 45 F). We still had 4 and 5 layers of clothes on - complete with ski gloves and wool toques (YES - We are Canadian!!)
Some dry day this week we'll go down to the boat yard to get sails off and the boat ready for haulout. It looks like Madcap will be hauled on Oct 28th and will head south right after that. Her crew is investigating interesting ways of joining her.
In the meantime, Jim and I visited "The Old Triangle" last night - one of our favourite Halifax establishments for comfort food and maritime music. A trip to the market this morning stocked the larder again and tonight we'll go out on the town for Nocturne - a fabulous yearly event when the art scene opens up for an evening of sight and sound. There will be about 30 galleries open from 6 to midnight, with performance art in the streets and folks of all ages walking and busing from venue to venue. It is not a bad thing to be home for another week.