People of the Salt Water

24 May 2017 | Port Washington, Long Island Sound, New York
11 May 2017 | Port Washington, Long Island Sound
28 April 2017 | Annapolis
23 April 2017 | Washington DC
13 April 2017 | Washington DC
20 March 2017 | Deltaville, Virginia, US
13 March 2017 | New Zealand
01 March 2017 | New Zealand
01 March 2017 | New Zealand
22 February 2017 | Sydney, Australia
12 February 2017 | Australia
23 August 2016 | Virginia, USA
26 July 2016 | Deltaville, Chesapeake Bay, Virginia USA
13 July 2016 | Norfolk, Virginia
13 June 2016 | Charleston S. Carolina
22 May 2016 | Vero Beach, Florida
06 May 2016 | Varadero, Cuba
02 May 2016 | Marina Gaviota, Varedero, Cuba
27 April 2016 | Boot Key Harbour, Florida Keys

'They say the neon lights are bright....'

24 May 2017 | Port Washington, Long Island Sound, New York
Belinda and Kit
Picture shows Times Square

More pics at; https://goo.gl/photos/2QXUXcgMopZ3Q4xf9

We're still on a mooring ball in Port Washington, Long Island Sound.

Phil and Monica on catamaran ‘Miss Molly’ were here with us for the first few days. We enjoyed having company, especially for one of Kit’s Friday night curries!

Phil heard that the local yacht club was hosting a talk by an adventurous sailor called Richard who was anchored out in the Bay. We headed over in our dinghies to listen to his talk about an expedition to the Antarctic. Brrr! Just looking at the slides made us feel cold!!

Wish we could say the weather is great here but it’s not! It’s a bit like the English weather; a few lovely fine sunny days then a spell of damp, chilly, windy, grey days!

Still, we’ve made the most of the good days and been into New York three times on the train, it's very easy from here. We've done lots of touristy things – eaten pastrami on rye sandwich in Ben's Kosher Deli; been to a Broadway show - 'Beautiful', the Carol King Musical (Kit's birthday treat). It was brilliant!! We queued hopefully in Times Square for half price tickets and were lucky enough to get them!

Carol King not only made some great records but along with her first husband Gerry Goffin also wrote many famous hits for other stars – including the Drifters 'On Broadway' - very appropriate and of course just our era.

We saw the matinee so afterward went to 79th St Basin on the Hudson River for a drink and supper. It was really nice as the weather was perfect. People had advised us to take Quilcene to 79th St Basin moorings but they looked really rolly so we did the right thing staying in Port Washington.

On one of our excursions into NY we took a picnic to Central Park. We looked at the Famous Guggenheim Museum first but didn't go in. After seeing so many museums in Washington (all free) we limited ourselves to one in NY!

Central Park is a haven in the middle of Manhattan Island. New Yorkers walk, run, cycle and just hang out there in good weather. There are lakes, monuments, cycle and running tracks, street artists and lots of green space. After wandering for miles around Central Park we finally found Strawberry Fields - the John Lennon Memorial garden; a quiet space to enjoy our picnic before heading on to MoMa - The Museum of Modern Art (our choice for the one!) for a spot of culture! So many famous artists and works, it is really interesting, and the MoMa garden was a peaceful haven where we enjoyed an ice cream before heading back via the subway and train.

We were set to leave on Sunday to head up the Hudson but the water taxi bumped the side of our boat and damaged the liferaft. We’re waiting to hear if it can be repaired or if we need a new case.

..and the same evening an Osprey flew into our wind generator! It immediately started knocking (the wind gen not the Osprey!) and we feared the worst but couldn’t see much as it was dusk. Luckily after Kit took it down next day and reset the blades it seems to work fine again.

But the poor Osprey wasn’t fine - it fell in the water and had its head up as it floated away but a wing looked badly damaged so we didn't hold out much hope for it. Osprey are rare in the UK but along the waterways here they're quite common. We love to watch them fish and felt really sorry about it.
So we'll be here for a bit longer. Not too much of a problem tho' - the Erie and Oswego canals didn't open until May 19th and it’s probably still quite cold as you head inland.

Also Port Washington is a nice town; supermarket, laundry and West Marine are all near the dock, and there’s a great Mediterranean Cafe/Restaurant/Deli in the Port who have a Jazz Band playing once a week. It’s good fun and a change to go out in the evening; we don’t tend to do it much, especially when we’re anchored or moored out in a bay.

After a few days of glorious weather, 30C and clear, we now have a wet week coming by all accounts.

Hope it’s better where you are!

The Big Apple

11 May 2017 | Port Washington, Long Island Sound
Belinda and Kit
Picture shows the Statue of Liberty
(Liberty Enlightening the World) - a gift from the French people to the people of the United States in 1886 - the pic was taken as we entered NY Harbour. Quite a moment for Quilcene and her crew!!

On Monday 8th - Kit's birthday - we left Annapolis and had a long day sail up to the top of Chesapeake Bay and through the Chesapeake and Delaware canal. There was a bitingly cold wind and we were wrapped up like mummies under our oilies! As if to cheer us up we saw a sea eagle swoop down and catch a wriggling fish in its talons - incredible!

Also to cheer us even more we cut Kits birthday cake en route!

We anchored at the east end of the canal overnight along with Phil and Monica on 'Miss Molly' who we'd met in the Caribbean,and seen in Deltaville. We set off down the Delaware River for Port Henlopen, opposite Cape May next morning. Halfway down we got a weather forecast giving strong northerly winds for later in the week so we decided to carry on overnight Tuesday and all day Wednesday to get to New York ahead of it.

Cape May was a bit tricky as we took the inside passage close to shore to save time. Here we encountered rip tides just as the tide was turning. It was a relief to get through the disturbed seas. Again we were rewarded by sighting a whale quite close to the boat! So close we could see barnacles on its fin!

It was quite a good passage up the coast; Atlantic city was well lit up when we passed during in the night, with whole sides of buildings showing moving adverts! We could see them through the binoculars! We sailed a bit and motorsailed a bit and saw a fantastic sunrise next morning - just like a Rothko painting! (see google pics)

Coming into NY was quite daunting; as we sailed past the famous statue I managed to click a few pics but it was really busy with sirens blaring, traffic jams on all visible roads, lots of fast ferries and Coastguard boats racing around throwing us all over the place, and police helicopters overhead - not to mention incredibly fast currents and tides! The coastguard called us up on VHF to ask us to pass north of Governers Island to enter the East River instead of the recommended channel inside it as they had an 'ongoing incident' - we never found out what it was tho'.

It was a hectic couple of hours; thank goodness we'd heard of quiet moorings up the East River and into Manhassett Bay, Long Island Sound!

It's lovely and peaceful here - it's a shame we have to go back through NY to get to the Hudson River when we leave! That will be in around 8-10 days because the Erie and Oswego canals don't open until 19th May - must be because of the possibility of ice!

It's actually quite cold here at present - we had to wear thermals and several layers of clothes under our oilies to sail overnight! The forecast gives heavy rain for the weekend but promises warmer weather next week - hurrah!

We can go into NY city by train (only around 30 mins we're told) to have a look around so will probably go a couple of times. We may even take in a show on Broadway!!

Annapolis

28 April 2017 | Annapolis
Belinda and Kit
Picture shows sailboats on Annapolis Town Quay with flags flying


Back down the Potomac River and up to Annapolis for the Spring Sailboat show - although it was a little disappointing, not much of interest to us.

However Annapolis is a lovely town with paved streets and nice little shops. Also a cool place named Chick & Ruth's Delly (yes, it is spelt like that!) where we enjoyed delicious crabcakes! We're told that the Delly hasn't changed in 50 years - it is a bit like a 50's diner!!

As usual as as soon as we decided to leave the weather changed so our stay was extended. Several wet and cold days kept us inside the boat so we used the time to study the charts and plot our next passages.

Washington DC

23 April 2017 | Washington DC
Belinda & Kit
Picture Shows 'Abe' in the Abraham Lincoln Memorial

More pics at; https://goo.gl/photos/kEtH33McW3RTn3qS9

Shortly after we arrived in the Washington Channel we were invited over to the Capital Yacht Club by Scott Berg, who'd noticed our OCC (Ocean Cruising Club) burgee. Scott is a past Commodore of the Seven Seas Cruising Association, a US organisation affiliated to the British OCC, and will shortly be OCC Port Officer for Washington. Scott was very helpful during our stay and kindly helped us with a battery problem. Our OCC burgee is often recognised and because of it we've met some great people as we've travelled up the coast of the US.

We really enjoyed looking around Washington DC, we took our time and visited a few of the principal attractions each day. The weather was quite changeable with sunny hot days interspersed with wet grey days - a bit like the UK but warmer when the sun shone! We arrived just in time for the Cherry Blossom Festival although there had been a waterspout through the basin the previous week that stripped all the blossom from the trees. The festival was a small affair on the waterfront with lots of food stalls and a couple of bands, but the fireworks at night were spectacular and we had a great view from the boat!

The National Mall stretches 2 miles from Capitol Hill to the Lincoln Memorial, with the Washington Monument about halfway between. All along the Mall are huge buildings, many resembling Greek Temples, that house National Museums, Art Galleries, and monuments. There are sculpture gardens, the National Botanic Gardens and parkland. Much of this is part of the Smithsonian Institute, and most have free admission. The Smithsonian Institute was funded by an Englishman, James Smithson, who never visited America but left $500,000 to found an 'establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge' in 1826.
Perhaps what is most impressive is the huge scale of all this - and of course the space around all the buildings, the US does have lots of space!

Amongst the sites we visited were Capitol Hill, The Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Memorial, Washington Monument (you have to get close to appreciate the size), and the American Indian Museum, National Art Galleries (modern and traditional), Smithsonian Castle, Arthur Sackler Gallery, Freer Gallery, Union Station (an amazing building) and of course the White House, (well, we had to didn't we?).

We walked miles but also used the buses and Metro (underground). The Metro is not as extensive as London Underground but covers the central area. The stations, although modern, are huge and very dark and dour. Unlike London there is no advertising so all you can look at is grey concrete - who'd have thought we'd miss advertising!!

Away from the big tourist attractions the areas we liked most were the Eastern Market Area with paved, tree-lined streets, an open market, street musicians and interesting shops, and Dupont Circle with cool cafes and bars.

...and speaking of bars we found an Indian restaurant close to our moorings that has a Happy Hour for both drinks and small portions of lovely food - a great place to relax after a tiring day being tourists! We had many interesting conversations in there; people were very friendly and interested in exchanging views when they realised we're British.

After two weeks we were ready to move on; the constant hum of the city and the drone of planes landing at Ronald Reagan Airport - not to mention White House helicopters flying overhead up the Washington Channel - was beginning to gall.

Just as we planned to leave there were a couple of days of bad weather which delayed our departure. The pressure was so low that on high tide the water came right up over the wall and into the park next to the Channel (see google pics).

These tidal inundation events are becoming more common apparently - Climate Change doubters take note!!!

Afloat again - first stop Washington DC

13 April 2017 | Washington DC
Belinda & Kit
Picture shows The Washington Monument viewed from Quilcene moored in Washington Channel

More pics at: https://goo.gl/photos/9ro1QJuPNLQwzzTw7

We enjoyed staying in the little cabin, far more comfortable than living on the boat in the yard!! Our hard work paid off and Quilcene was soon looking good and ready for launch. We returned the hire car, it had to go to Williamsburg 50 miles away. Our neighbour Jim in the boatyard, very kindly offered us the use of his car so I could follow Kit in the hire car and then return to Deltaville. We've been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity shown by people we hardly know.

Launch went OK and we tied up on the dock whilst we put sails on and got the boat ready to go. Every day the boat was covered with a fine yellow dust which we soon discovered was pollen from the surrounding trees. There was so much that it settled like a film on the water and was blown into the docks (see pic - link above). Locals told us that it would be over in a couple of weeks.

Two storms passed through; it was probably quite early in the season although mostly we had fine dry weather if a little cold. The wind during one storm gusted 60 mph and the wave movement pushed Quilcene onto the dock pilings. Two guys came to help but despite our efforts to fend off we sustained a little damage to the toe rail. It was strange how the wind was so strong one minute we were fighting with the fenders; next minute it suddenly stopped as if a switch had been flicked and the wind and waves died off!

Finally we set off to sail north in Chesapeake Bay and up to Washington DC, 98 miles upriver from the mouth of the Potomac. The Potomac River is very wide at the mouth and you can hardly see the far bank. Once into the river we tentatively picked our way into a pretty creek on the south bank to anchor for the first night, avoiding the crabpots that seemed to be everywhere.

Next day we continued upriver following the buoyed channel. We thought it was a bit hazy then realised that it was clouds of pollen dust blowing up from the trees and across the river (see google pics). I have never suffered from hay fever but this had me sneezing with my eyes watering.

We could see on the chart that we were approaching a military firing range so Kit called them up to check it was OK to pass. A very polite young man told us there would be firing so we had to move over and keep to the north side of the river. Naturally we complied but were a little sceptical about the firing - how wrong can you be?? Sudden deafening booms rang out and we almost jumped out of our skins! Coastguard and military vessels were out in force and no doubt monitored our progress through the zone.

After a second quiet night anchored this time at the side of the river, the wind turned against us as the river narrowed causing an uncomfortable wind/tide effect that saw us bashing into quite big waves! Luckily it didn't last for too long and the final stretches were relatively quiet.

We passed by Mount Vernon, the historic house where George Washington lived with his wife Martha in the 1700's. We could see lots of tourists wandering around the grounds and felt lucky to have a great view of the house from the river.

As far away as Alexandria, 5 miles downriver of DC we could see the tall Washington Monument and the dome of Capitol Hill. Planes flew low overhead as they approached Ronald Reagan Airport on the west bank of the Potomac in Washington.

We motored into the Washington Channel and picked up a mooring just off the waterfront. We could see the Monument towering above all the buildings on one side and the green swath of East Potomac Park and golf course on the other. Few cruisers seem to come this way, There was only one other boat on the moorings and it left next day.

The moorings lie 10 long blocks from the Washington Mall. Buses and Metro access is fairly close. A great spot for a base to go exploring!

Back in the USA

20 March 2017 | Deltaville, Virginia, US
Belinda and Kit
This sweet little cabin on the shore of Chesapeake Bay is our home for a week!

We landed in Washington amidst snow and ice! Deltaville is clear thank goodness, although still cold! We're relieved to find Quilcene in good shape, all present and correct! Now comes the hard work!


Yes - it really IS Kit!
Vessel Name: Quilcene
Vessel Make/Model: Bowman 40
Hailing Port: Plymouth, UK
Crew: Kit and Belinda
About:
In our previous lives, Belinda worked as a marine biologist at the MBA Plymouth and Kit was a surveyor for a marine civil engineering company. Over the years we had sailed the south west of England and northern France. [...]
Extra: Quilcene, a Bowman 40, is a masthead cutter designed by Chuck Paine and built in 1991. The name is an American Indian word meaning 'People of the Salt Water', which we feel suits us very well. Quilcene is also a town on the West coast of the USA near Seattle.
Quilcene's Photos - Main
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