Moving down and out of the bay
10/18/2008, Deep Creek, VA
October 17th... Norfolk to Deep Creek Lock
The bridges ahead of us are closed to shipping during rush hours. It is only about ten miles to our destination at Deep Creek lock but it only opens twice a day... 9am and 3pm. Anyway... we were in no hurry today since all we had to do was negotiate another 7 miles of waterfront and a few bridges.
My first task of the day was to check the engine and transfer the 16 gallons of fuel from our Jerry cans to our main tank. Since our fuel gage decides for itself when it wants to work. I have a stick and physically measure the about of fuel in our tank.
Unfortunately due to the fact that the tank is a weird shape, we have never been able to correlate inches of fuel to gallons. I had some of the tank dimensions but not all and was not sure that I could ever really figure it out. The top section is 19 by 40 by 3 inches. The bottom section is 12 by 40 by (unknown height). The middle section is tapered for 19 inches wide to 12 (again an unknown height). I do know however that the total height of the tank is 23 inches. I also know that it holds 54 gallons of fuel and that there are 231 cubic inches in a gallon.
Anyway after an hour or so I was able to solve the puzzle and now know the exact correlation between inches of fuel in our tank and the corresponding number of gallons.
On my way into a nearby marina to refill our Jerry cans, I stopped by Sojourner to say hi and to Ed and Ava from Makai, who were visiting as well. Ed was having trouble charging with his Honda generator... the same problem that I resolved earlier this summer. With a few simple directions... actually I just told him to look up "power sharing" in the online manual for his Link 1000, he solved his problem.
Fuel cost $2.93 a gallon. We've been paying more that $4 all summer, so it was a pleasant surprise. I loaded 11 gallons and saved 5 for an emergency. Our new task will be to calibrate our fuel gage to what we now know to be our actual volume.
Knowing that folks would be lined up a Deep Creek for the 3pm opening we took off early and arrived about 2 hours early. We anchored with about 9 other boats and waited.
We locked through without incident... although Robert the lockmaster moved the sail boat behind us back a ways because they obviously didn't have a clue and our dinghy was in jeopardy. We gave him a conch shell for his collection .. which was much appreciated.
On the other side of the lock there is a dock which had space for all of those who opted to stay although two boats are rafted.
We fried some fish for dinner slept well in with a light rain most of the night.
October 16th... Thursday Piankatank River to Norfolk VA
Up and gone by daylight- there was a nice southwest breeze of about 5 knots. Our course was south-southeast for the first two hours so we furled our jib and gained about a knot in speed. Most of the day however was directly into the wind and front still scheduled to pass tonight we didn't want to spend the day tacking.
After passing over the tunnel that connects Hampton to Norfolk at the mouth of Hampton Roads, it takes a full two hours to motor past the Navy Base and the various shipping companies that have docks here in Norfolk. We met a giant cruise ship in the relatively narrow channel at one point, which was interesting, as well as countless tugs, barges and security boats.
Arriving at our planned anchorage at Hospital Point at about 3:30, we were surprised to find only about 12 boats anchored. With the boat show ending just a few days ago, we expected the place to be packed. Last year when we stopped here about 10 days later, there were twice as many boats anchored here and it was a challenge finding a spot.
This year we pulled in.... saw "Sojourner" and anchored next to them. We had a nice chat with Rick and Linda who stopped by to say hi on their way back to their boat.
As forecast, the front went through about 1am. The anchor drag alarm went off and I got up to check things out. There was no rain just wind and Sapphire had swung almost 180 degrees on her rode. We hadn't seemed to have dragged anchor so I reset the alarm and stayed in the cockpit to keep watch for a while. In just a few minutes I noticed a trawler of about 6o feet dragging down on Sojourner. Even with the overcast, anchoring in the middle of town makes for lots of ambient light. I could see both Rick and Linda in their cockpit attempting without success to wake the folks on the trawler. Finally Rick jumped into his dinghy, drove over and pounded on their hull to get them up.
The guy got his engine started in the nick of time and backed away from Sojourner almost hitting two smaller boats in that direction. Eventually he got his anchor up and moved to the other side of the anchorage. With the winds at 15 to 20 with a few higher gusts I decided to sleep in the cockpit ... which with the side curtains, the new cushions, and a blanket, was quite comfortable.
Buy now it was about 3am and before I got settled Rick dinghied over to rehash the event and chat for awhile. By the time he returned to his boat I was confident that our anchor was in good shape and had no trouble sleeping.
October 15th... Wednesday Patuxent River to Piankatank River VA
It was another calm day so the motor was running constantly. We were up in time for coffee before sunrise and left the anchorage a few minutes before seven. The day was uneventful. The Bay was absolutely flat and I spent most of the time cleaning the decks. Sapphire had somehow run into some tiny iron dust particles at some point in the last month, which have now rusted causing tiny rust stains all over our non skid decks.
I went to work a section at a time with some On and Off Hull cleaner and a brush and the spots were gone. Then I went over the entire section again to pick out and tiny splatters of Cetol or epoxy which may have been spilled at some point in the last few years. The result... after a day of work was a deck that was in better shape that it has ever been.
We pulled into the Piankatank River but bypassed Deltaville and Jackson Creek because I didn't want to negotiate the entrance before daylight. We motored a couple of miles into the river and ended up anchoring opposite Fishing Bay on the south side by ourselves until a couple of more boats joined us before dark.
October 14th... Fishing Point... Patuxent River, MD
We were up before daylight and caught the 7:30 bridge out of Spa Creek. The Bay was calm and the sky was clear as we motored our way south with now a real destination in mind.
The tide turned around noon and a south wind of about 10 knots worked up a slight chop. We dropped from about 7 knots to about 4.5 but it was hot and sunny and nice to be back on the water... traveling. In the morning we spoke with Mike on "Valkyrie" and ended up following him into and anchorage outside of Solomons, MD, which will make for a much quicker departure than going all the way into Back Creek.
There is a front forecast to come through this area on Thursday night and we would like to be out of the Bay before then... so it looks like a couple of long days tomorrow and Thursday. It does look like we'll be sailing.
October 13th... Annapolis, MD
A little after nine we called the Apex dealership and set up a time to take delivery on our new used dinghy. We agreed on Truxton Park at 10:30. The only problem was that there was a delivery charge and between the two of us couldn't scrounge up the $38 in cash.
I was off to town to the ATM while Kathy stayed to pick up the boat and load water. When I returned with the money we were off to the park to make the exchange. Once there we removed the outboard, got rid of the old ratty lines and waited. At about 11:00 the truck showed up and in no time we had a new dinghy... clean and with no patches.
After some lunch, we headed back to town to purchase the necessary material to fabricate new lifting lines ... (attaching the dinghy to our davits)
Back at the boat ... It took me longer than I thought to tie up all of our new lines but eventually we got things the way we wanted them. Later in the afternoon we loaded up another 25 gallons of water because I really need to wash and rinse our decks. At some point we picked up some airborne metal and now have tiny rust spots on our starboard deck. I can get it off with acid but need a lot of rinsing.
We roasted some garlic with our brats and had baby cucumber / onion salad for dinner.
October 12th... Annapolis, MD
With the prospect of leaving here soon, our day was spent getting Sapphire back in traveling shape. I took down the mast steps and replaced our main sail slugs. We made three trips hauling water at about 25 gallons per trip. I spent the afternoon once again working on the outboard. It starts and runs well enough but won't idle which leaves us with very little maneuverability in close quarters.
Anyway I failed again. It may be that there is blockage in the fuel line somewhere which will be my next point of emphasis.
For the first time in a while we spent at least part of the afternoon reading.
In the evening our neighbors on "Wendy Michelle" invited us over for dinner but we begged off to grill the steak that we had thawed. After dinner we were just beginning a rousing game of cribbage when Bill knocked ....with another invitation which would have been rude to refuse. We were joined by Ian and Jan form "Jock's Lodge" and had a nice time getting to know them a little better. Bill and Boop... (as in Betty Boop) are from Ohio and we spent an hour or so pointing out anchorages on the way south before heading home to bed.
Our friends arrive
Mike and Kathy
10/12/2008, Annapolis, MD
October 11th... Annapolis, MD
We had some bagels for breakfast before saying good bye to Jim and Beth. They were heading to Washington D.C. for a day or so before flying back to Halifax.
Our first job of the day was to install our rebuilt manual bulge pump which wasn't difficult but time consuming. We had a nice chat with Mike of "Valkyrie" ...a friend that we met last winter and keep bumping into as we travel. Then it was up the mast to install our new LED lights and repair the electrical connections to our anemometer.
After about 90 minutes I came down for some lunch and more parts. Then it was back up the mast for another work spell. I ran out of connectors so had to leave put things back without finishing what I wanted to do.
Later... I once again took the carburetor out of the outboard. I had spoken with a mechanic who had given me some ideas as to the source of the problem. Using two or three sizes of wire, I cleaned all the tiny ports. Although they seemed to be fine, there was one that may have been clogged.
When I put everything back together it seemed to run correctly but I didn't really give it a good test.
We listened to the MSU Spartans play football on WJR through the computer. They won handily-GO SPARTANS!
We also called the girls using Skype, and our niece Betsy answered the call. We talked to her, as well as Sam, Abby and Jake. We love being able to see the kids while we talk to them. They look pretty good.
We grilled some chicken for supper and fixed a salad with the last of our new salad dressing and watched a movie before bed.
October 10th... Annapolis, MD
Happy Birthday Becky!
After a breakfast of Rum Raisin pancakes and sausage, and a call back to my Doctor's office in Michigan, we were off to the Boat Show. It was a beautiful day and the town was busy everywhere. We made plans to meet for lunch at noon and went our separate ways.
As some of you are aware, our dinghy has had a few problems during the last year and although it is holding up well at present, our purpose at the boat show is to find a new one. We had done enough research that knew what we wanted but wanted look at some others as well. At the first place we stopped, we were met by a very nice young man from France who was there representing the firm who manufactures Apex inflatables. We had looked at them in the past but hadn't given them much consideration. During his spiel he mentioned that the shop in Annapolis had taken in a used inflatable two days before that was in perfect shape. (The previous owners had decided that they needed a bigger one.) The price he gave us seemed to be a little high for a used dinghy, but we kept it in mind as we continued our shopping.
The doctor's office called to say that my pills were ready to be picked at the Annapolis CVS, so we walked down there during the afternoon. We also found our friends John and Barbara who were at the show presenting and signing John's book Sailing Grace.
They were also had some prescriptions for us that our mutual friends Colleen and Dan had sent alone for us to keep on the boat. We spent an afternoon on their dock while in Michigan last summer and Colleen had volunteered to put the list of appropriate drugs together and get them to us.
By lunch time our decision was down to the 10 foot AB Lite and the used 10 foot Apex with bow locker and double floor. We were back and forth most of the afternoon making visits to both vendors. Finally the "Boss" for the Apex group showed up and asked us to make an offer. We did, he countered with an increase of $50 and we had a deal.
We searched the crowds all day for our friends Lyn and Tim, as well as Tom and Carol who have "Startin' Monday, another Bayfield 40. We were disappointed not to spot them all day. We did see many other boaters we have met over the years.
We have no idea if it was the right decision... only time will tell, but we ended up spending just about half of what we were expecting.
We went back to the boat to unload our loot and then met Jim, Beth, Sandy, Steve and about 20 other cruisers at the pub. Then it was back to the Boatyard for a late dinner. We had a great time. By the time we got back to the boat we were all about whipped and shortly went to bed.
October 9th... Annapolis, MD
This morning after coffee we went to shore and drove to the Pennsylvania Dutch Market to see if we could purchase any frozen meat at their butcher shop. We were able to pick up a few frozen steaks but that was all they had left. We did buy quite a few things there including ... flank steaks, kielbasa, pork chops, hamburger, link sausage, and ring bologna. There was a separate shop that sold chicken and we rounded out our shopping there.
On our way back we stopped at Enterprise to return our car. They ran us back to the dinghy and we were home for lunch.
It took us about an hour to cut and vacuum pack all our meat and then to find a place I our freezer. We were able to freeze about half of it today and will do the other half tomorrow.
We were expecting Jim and Beth sometime in the mid afternoon so I had time to rebuild our manual bilge pump with the kit that we received in the mail yesterday. Kathy continued her job of finding places for the last few things in our spare stateroom.
About the time I finished, Beth called and I went to shore and gathered up our guests.
After catching up with them for awhile, we went ashore in Eastport (the south bank of Spa Creek) to met Steve and Sandy from "Princess" who are mutual friends. On our way to the Pub we ran into another couple that Jim and Beth knew. When Steve and Sandy arrived we sat outside at a picnic table and had a nice chat over beers. One of the things that came up was the fact that while in Deltaville, I had been bitten by a tick. I assume that while lying in the grass working on the bottom of the keel, I was an easy prey. Jim and Beth had both had Lyme disease and Steve and Sandy had quite a bit of knowledge as well. Anyway, it was decided that I begin immediately on a course of treatment to head off any possible problems in that regard.
At around 6:00 we headed back to the boat for dinner while Steve and Sandy took off to track down some other friends who had just arrived in town.
The ribs and salad were excellent... and we chatted until it was time for bed.
October 8th... Annapolis, MD
Our first job today was to figure out how to wire in our XM receiver when I get around to installing our new radio. So it was off to Best Buy to see what could be done. The mobile radio section was empty and the kid there was helpful. We found out that our receiver was not compatible with our new system and although they had the proper receiver they did not have the proper connection cable. On his computer he checked out Circuit City and found that they had both items in stock....we were on our way again.
At Circuit City we found what we needed and were out of there in a flash.
We returned to have some lunch and then I took the carburetor off the outboard again to see if I could fix the idling problem. For the second or third time I took the carburetor off and cleaned it thoroughly.
After it was back together we went to the Harbormaster's office. Kathy ran in while I filled up our water containers. Both of the items we were expecting were there which means more projects to finish.
Then it was time to put together tomorrow night's dinner. We wanted to get as much done ahead of time so we could enjoy our company instead of cooking. Kathy put together the salad dressing and I got the rub on our ribs and got them in the oven to slow cook. I also made the sauce but had to work had to find space in our refrigerator for it.
By then it was time to clean up and head back to shore for a dinner engagement with Nancy, Jim, Jay, Di, Kate... and others. We met at Kate's house for snacks and then to a Chinese Restaurant where we had a wonderful meal.
As we were getting into the dinghy to head to Kate's house, we heard someone on shore calling "Sapphire". We dinghied over to find Tim and Lyn (more Canadians) from "Mutual Affair", another Bayfield 40. We chatted with them for a while and agreed that we should get together at the boat show some how. It was good to see them.
We got back to the boat in time to watch an installment of CSI before going to bed.
October, 7th... Annapolis, MD
Our internet connection here is sketchy at best. It would seem that being in the heart of a state capitol there would be wi-fi everywhere. Usually early in the morning is the best time to get online, but today there was nothing.
After waking up with a cup of coffee ... which is our normal routine, I began the process of finishing our new boarding step. It is used to board the boat from a dinghy. We had a nice one that floated away in a storm in the Bahamas last winter and we've been making do without. Anyway, while at Dilts', Jack and I made a step out of two layers of starboard and it is drilled to accept the line from which it would hang. This morning I attached the line to the step and added some snaps to attach it to the boat. It took a while to get all the lengths perfect but ended up being a nice addition.
Next, I started on the outboard which is not idling. I took off the carburetor and cleaned the inside. There was a little crud, and I was hopeful, but when I got it back together there was no change.
Kathy spent the morning cleaning and stowing the items that we've been purchasing which is a never ending job as we seem to be buying a dinghy full of stuff every day. Before noon we were off to the car and another load. Our first stop was Bacons where we purchased a mast ladder that is hauled where our main sail attaches. Then we headed to the Grocery store for another round of shopping.
By the time we got back and things put away, I didn't feel like going up the mast which had been my plan. We purchased new lights for our salon and it seemed like an easier job to install them than hang out 55 feet in the air.
It was dinner time by the time I finished. Kathy made a tasty cauliflower / Greek olive dish that we saw in one of Debbie's cookbooks last weekend. I pan fried some fish to round out another very nice meal.
The new step
Mike and Kathy
10/12/2008, Annapolis, MD
October 6th... Annapolis, MD
This morning we began the process of provisioning for our trip back south along the East Coast. There are stores along the way, but not always where you want them. It is easier, while we have a car to stock up on things that we know we need. Over the weekend in Delaware we purchased a case of canned green beans, corn, mushrooms, sauerkraut, pineapple, and packets of ranch dressing, spaghetti sauce, and lots of dried beans.
We began by moving all left over food from our pantry and other storage areas, taking inventory, and then replacing them along with the new items. Some of the canned goods get double wrapped in plastic and stored under our berth.
All items are taken out of their cardboard containers (if they were packaged that way) to avoid bugs....
After finishing with the food, I got out the directions for our new radio to see if it was going to fit in the same place as the last one and to see if I was going to need any extra parts. It looks like it will fit but I may have to modify the connections on our XM input. The XM box is made to fit a Pioneer and the new Radio is a Sony. At worst we'll have to locate the right box.
Then we were off for more shopping. On the way to the car we stopped at "Kolibri" to say Hi to Wayne and Pat whom we met at the Chicago boat show a few years ago. They left Michigan this summer on their B36 and just arrived here in Annapolis. We invited them over for snacks to catch up and hear about their trip.
Most of our day was spent shopping... which wasn't too painful and we returned to the boat with just enough time to put things away and peel some veggies before our guests arrived.
As sometimes is the case we had enough crackers, chicken dip, and veggies that we didn't have to make supper.