07/21/2012, East Greenwich, RI
We spent two days anchored in Great Salt Pond at Block Island. On Wednesday we started with a nice nap after our two nights at sea. Later we went into town and did a little exploring. It's definitely a tourist destination. The local people were very friendly and helpful. We spent Thursday sightseeing. We rented bikes and biked half way around the island. We had heard it was pretty hilly, and even though it's probably been more than a year since we have been on bikes, we weren't intimidated. We should have been! Good thing we aren't too proud to walk those bikes up the hills. We enjoyed seeing the different land forms and beaches that Block Island has to offer. We biked from one end of the island to the other. There are beautiful historic lighthouses at both ends. We also climbed down to the Mohegan cliffs on the south end of the island. These 200 foot high cliffs have a beautiful beach at the bottom with a long set of wooden steps to get down. They are named after the invading Indian tribe that was repelled by the native Indians and driven off the cliffs to their deaths.
We woke up to rain on Friday morning but it was time to move on. We aren't quite to the point where we can do whatever we want yet - we still have a schedule to make and some work to do on the boat. After buying breakfast from the bakery boat (yes, a boat from the local bakery comes around the anchorage most mornings), we took off across Block Island Sound with our sails raised but were surprised that it was just as rough, if not rougher, than the Atlantic Ocean. Eventually we took down our jib and motored toward Narragansett Bay. Bill promised it would be calmer there, I wasn't sure I was buying that. Turns out he was right. We got past all the small sailboat races going on, and found our way to East Greenwich which is where we are going to pick up our grandkids on Monday. Our goal was to anchor someplace, work on the boat, and figure out a way to connect with my brother who lives nearby. Each marina we called said there was no place to anchor so we ended up taking a slip for the three nights until the kids fly in. That will probably work well for us though since we need to do a lot of moving people and stuff off and on to the boat right now and that would have been more challenging by dinghy. It was a real experience for us. We haven't really had Moonraker in any other slip before, not to mention one on a floating dock! The picture is us in the slip. The bonus is that it is right next to the Amtrak train tracks - I am a big train lover! And no - I didn't hear any trains go by all night long.
The other bonus is that it is a short walk to an interesting little historic town. Bill needed to have a lobster dinner and a "not boat" breakfast, so we have tried a couple of the local restaurants too. Today we are going to see if we can make the boat a little more comfortable when we add 2 more people on Monday.
Check out our photo gallery of pictures from Block Island.
07/18/2012, Block Island, RI
We were lucky enough to have mostly calm seas on our Monday evening to Wednesday morning ocean passage. We took all the seasick precautions and they must have worked, we didn't get seasick. Maybe we wouldn't have anyhow - but better not to have to worry! We ended up motoring most of the way, but we did sail for a while. When I was walking back to the cockpit, after helping with the sails, I looked over the side and was rewarded by seeing a quite large sea turtle swimming on the surface of the water. He was beautiful! The picture above is pretty much the 360 degree view we had for nearly 40 hours. We saw some ships and other boats- but not many and almost none of them very close.
Bill and I worked out a watch schedule of 3 hours on, 3 hours off, during the night time, and 4 hours on 4 hours off during the daytime. Bill said he thought he noticed some flying fish and this morning when we anchored in Block Island he found one lying on the deck. He had taken his last flight unfortunately. We had a pretty relaxing couple of days, even though we originally thought the autopilot was broken. That certainly would have made the trip less relaxing. Bill was able to fix it - but we are not sure for how long. I was able to pick up a book and read - which is something that I have not been able to do in months!
07/16/2012, Cape May, NJ
In a few hours we will be leaving for Block Island. It is an open ocean crossing directly from Cape May NJ to Block Island (off the end of Long Island, NY). We should arrive there on Wednesday morning. The trip should take a little less than two days. The weather report is great.. winds out of the SW at 10-15 knots increasing to 15-20 knots. That's a great downwind sail. There are no storms forecast. We won't have internet, email, or phone until we get there.
Our all night sail down the Delaware Bay was a good practice run for sailing all night. We have our bilge pump problem fixed. The rigging has all the cotter pins installed. We have our emergency strobe lights attached to our inflatable life jackets (with harnesses) and we have our new man-overboard alarm all set up. It screeches an alarm (on the boat) if the person wearing the FOB goes in the water. We also installed new pad eyes for us to clip into in the cockpit.
It should be a fun trip. We'll blog again when we get to Block Island. The picture is sunrise off of Cape May while sailing the Delaware Bay on Sunday morning.
07/15/2012, Cape May, NJ
The definition of cruising: "Fixing your boat in exotic places". One day as cruisers and we can fully appreciate this definition. We left on Saturday morning as planned, only an hour and 15 minutes later than expected. The picture above is us leaving the marina to start our adventure. Luckily our son Ian was late coming with breakfast and to see us off. If we had left on time we would have been greeted with a nice thunderstorm. We sat out the thunderstorm and then got underway. We knew the boat wasn't necessarily ready to go - there were a few things definitely not working and some questions about other issues we had recently noted. Unfortunately we are on a schedule so we went and figured we would make the best of it.
The plan called for Chesapeake City for the night. Three quarters of the way there we accidentally discovered that the boat was sinking - or at least the bilge was filled with water to the floor boards. We knew there was a small leak somewhere - we didn't realize how bad it was, and we had somehow turned off the high water alarm. This was a problem. We were able to get all the water out with our bilge pump but we didn't know where the water was coming from. We got into Chesapeake City and anchored, ate dinner, and started searching for the leak. That wasn't so easy since every inch of this boat is full of "stuff". Bill had a good theory of where the water was coming from, but we had some inconsistencies with his theory. We checked every thru-hull and couldn't find any evidence of leaking. There was no water coming in through the propeller shaft or the rudder shaft. We think that the water is coming in through the bilge pump hose. It's not looped up where it comes in the boat so when the outlet gets underwater, because of the engine or waves, water just runs into the bilge. We need to replace that hose anyway so we are going to put in a new one with the proper loop before we leave Cape May.
Either way, we knew we weren't going to fix the problem in Chesapeake City, and we were anchored next to a loud restaurant and bar on a Saturday night. Best answer - pull up anchor and motor on to Cape May, 11 hours away, through the night. Maybe not the smartest answer, but the one that made the most sense at the time. As it turned out, it was a pretty good night and we didn't have any more trouble with the leak. We took turns sleeping and had an uneventful journey. Our new AIS worked great. We were able to see all the big ships on our chart plotter before we even could see their lights. It made things much more relaxing. Note that I said "much more". We need to get used to night sailing again. It was still a bit stressful at times.
All in all, we are very happy to be on our way. It seemed like we would never get going. The next big event is the two day passage to Block Island. We will watch the weather and leave in the next day or so. Stay tuned!
07/12/2012, Annapolis, MD
We had our Open Boat Party on the hottest day of the year. A number of people stopped by to see the boat. A few came in the morning but most waited until the end of the day. Between 4pm and 6pm there were 5-6 people visiting the boat at all times. It was fun to catch up and say goodbye to many of our friends.
We will be leaving at 8:00 AM on Saturday. Our friend, TJ, will be there with his family to hand us our dock lines. He is a former tall ship captain and is very excited about our pending adventure. If anyone else would like to show up and wave goodbye, that would be great.
We will be blogging every day (except while we are on the ocean) on our way to Rhode Island. These last few weeks have been the most stressful yet. We are looking forward to everything changing.. hopefully for the better!
Stop by and say goodbye and see our new home before we sail away!
We will be all decked out with our colorful signal flags, tied to the dock of our community marina, from 9am to 5pm on Saturday. Stop by and take a look at where we will be living for the foreseeable future.
Please don't bring any gifts - we have no room to take anything else!! If you want to bring some food or drink to share that would be fine.
The marina entrance is next to 135 East Bay View Ave in Annapolis, MD 21403.
Here is a link to Google Maps:
We are all the way at the end of the dock. Hope to see you on Saturday. Call us if you need more information or directions. Our email is very spotty.
Bill & Donna
We thought it would only take a few weeks to do all the things we had to do the boat while it was out of the water. Nothing is easy though, and life gets in the way, so it actually took us almost two months but the boat is now floating again. We have gone through a transition period. We moved out of our house, spent 3 weeks living in a friend's basement, moved on the boat on the land for a week, and now we are living in our home marina on the water again. It's been pretty stressful, and a lot of work. We are not eating very well; I think Bill has consumed his weight in cherry pies and strawberry milkshakes. Luckily we are working and sweating so hard that we aren't really gaining weight. It is getting better every day though. The boat went in the water on Friday afternoon and we had an uneventful motor boat trip back on Saturday morning. Now we just need to finish some items on our list, pack up the boat and clear out the rest of the things we still have in our garage. We are both ready to get going - but it will be another week or more.
06/27/2012, Annapolis, MD
We have finally moved onto the boat full time. Saturday, June 23rd, was our first day as boat dwellers. That makes us real cruisers. Actually, we are CLODs. That stands for "Cruisers Living On Dirt". As you can see from the picture above, we are still on the hard. We look more like West Virginia than Annapolis (no offense to WV). All we need now is a still, a shotgun, and Granny in a rocking chair!
Another big milestone was passed yesterday. We had our insurance survey (boat inspection). The surveyor took four hours to look over every inch of the boat. The surveyor's name was Gale Browning from Hartoft Marine Surveys. She did a great job. We learned a lot and she didn't find any major problems that would delay our trip. We WILL be in the water on Friday and back at our community marina on Saturday morning. The plan is to leave on Sunday, July 8th. We'll see if we make that date. There is still a lot to do.
We have been slowly getting things done on the boat. The teak is just about done and today Bill finally put the first coat of paint on the bottom. We use two different colors so we can tell when the paint is wearing away. The first coat is blue and the final coat is black. When we took the boat out of the water on May 7th we figured it would take just a couple of weeks before we put her back in the water. We were obviously wrong. There is so much to do, but we are starting to check things off our list. We expect to go back in the water on June 27th. In the meantime we are still living in our friends' basement but we plan on moving on board next Sunday while the boat is still on the land. It will be fine except for when we need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Then we will have to climb down a 10' ladder and walk across the boat yard to the bathrooms.
We are finally done enough on the house to be working on the boat again and it's going slowly but we are making progress. Donna is currently working on making the teak look beautiful again (and doing a great job - in the picture she is working on the bow pulpit). Bill is working on finishing putting the stem fittings (similar to the chainplates) back in place so we can put the holding tank and toilet back so whe can reclaim our cabin.
We have adjusted our schedule so we can be here to help our daughter move to a new house in Pennsylvania, but it doesn't hurt that we were no where near ready to go when we thought we would be. Our expected departure date is now July 8th. We are certain that we will not have to delay it again.
Yesterday we took a break and drove to the beach at Smyrna, Delaware to view the transit of Venus with an astronomy club we belong to. It was right on the Delaware Bay in a spot we will sail past in another month. The transit was beautiful and exciting to see.