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Escaping heat and hurricanes?????Steve
08/24/2011, Portland, Maine
The main reason that I left fled the Sea of Cortez in July was to escape the extremely hot summers that the sea is notorious for. Upon arriving at my Uncle's house in Maryland I was treated to 2 weeks of record breaking heat, most days it was right around 100 degrees. Another big reason for leaving Si Bon was due to the possible (although remote) threat of a hurricane. There have so far been no hurricanes or tropical storms in the sea...however we are now on a hurricane watch here in New England as Irene works her way up the Eastern Seaboard. Yesterday morning as we drove to Portland I kept thinking A HURRICANE IN NEW ENGLAND???? are they freaking kidding me or what. When we stopped for lunch at the very beautiful seaside town of Kennebunkport, I went on line to check a few things and saw that there had just been an earthquake....yes an earthquake...in Washington D.C.. The last time an earthquake of this magnitude hit the East coast was in 1944.
It was just about one year ago, that while on a trip to Catalina Island I decided that I needed to feel 100% confident in sailing Si Bon singlehanded. At the time I was single and thinking that I would be able to line up crew members along the way to help me realize my cruising dreams. I quickly learned that crew members may have a situation come up which requires them to leave the boat without being able to give much notice. When you are the owner/captain of the boat you don't have the luxury of just walking away. Sooo I spent the final 6 months of my cruising preparations practicing sailing Si Bon by myself. I took trips around Southern California by myself, I practiced anchoring alone, docking alone, picking up a mooring ball alone and of course sailing alone. When I left the marina and moved onto a mooring ball in San Diego Bay it gave me additional practice of the day to day routines of life on a boat away from a dock without having someone to help me.
New Yawk City (day 3)Steve
08/15/2011, Da city
We got up early and headed to a small New Yawk cafe we had seen earlier, day had breakfast sandwiches for $3.49...which is a steal in da city. We grabbed a couple ah da sandwiches, chugged down some cawfee and headed to da subway. We shoved our way trew the crowd and hopped on the subway to Lower Manhattan to see the 9/11 site and da financial district.
New York City (day 2)Steve
Day two started early, we had booked a harbor cruise the night before and decided to walk from our hotel all the way across Manhattan to the Hudson river, which is where the tour started. The tour we had chosen was to take us all the way around Manhattan. As we left the dock and started slowly edging along the New York waterfront our tour guild began a very informative presentation of the history of New York. We went passed where the Airliner had crash landed in the Hudson River, we passed the site of the 2001 terrorist attacks (more on that tomorrow), we saw Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty (pic). We then turned and continued up the East River going under the Brooklyn Bridge and passed the many different boroughs that make up New York.
NEW YORK CITY! (day one)Steve
On Wednesday morning Sharon's cousin Lara dropped us off at the train platform and about an hour and a half later we arrived at Grand Central Station. I guess I was expecting Grand Central Station (GCS) to be some grungy old train terminal...well was I ever shocked. GCS is a BEAUTIFUL historic building full of shops, restaurants, bars and of course LOTS of people...and I mean LOTS OF PEOPLE. Sharon and I grabbed a quick cup of coffee got our bearings and headed out to begin our exploration of New York City. I had never been to "the city" and when we exited GCS I was at first overwhelmed with the numbers of people rushing around, both on the sidewalks and in their cars. It seemed that everyone was in a MAJOR hurry to get somewhere. After visiting Saint Patricks Cathedral we decided we would go to Rockefeller Center, I was expecting some sorta big office building and was once again surprised to find that "The Rock" had a very large underground mall like area..once again full of shops, restaurants and people....LOTS OF PEOPLE. The Rock has an observation deck that is on the 67th -69th floors where you have a 360 degree view of the entire New York City area. I'm not sure how long we were up at the "Top of The Rock" but it is mesmerizing to look out over the biggest city in America and her awesome array of skyscrapers and buildings. After leaving The Rock we headed over to Times Square to see if we could get some discount tickets to a Broadway show. Times Square is AMAZING...I think we've all seen it on TV at one time or another, but there is no way to truly appreciate the whole atmosphere unless you are there in person. Due to the very long line for discount tickets we decided to blow it off and head to our hotel to relax for a while. As we made our way through Mid-town Manhattan through the mass of people we started to feel more and more comfortable with the New York scene....In fact I think we even stawted tawlking like New Yowkas...ya know wadda I mean?
When I was visiting Vermont in June Sharon and I went to happy hour with Sharon's childhood friend Courtney and her husband Chris. After downing a few brewskis together, Courtney and Chris invited us to go on a camping trip with them and about 100 of their closest friends. This is an annual camping trip that they have been doing for several years. The trip was to be at a place called Kampersville. Kampersville is a Disneyland type campground with many different types of activities for both adults and children. The organizers of the trip reserve a complete street of campsites, including three sites that are used as a community gathering area. Of course we accepted their invitation...remember we were at happy hour and had had a few (quite a few) brewskis. As the date got closer I became a little apprehensive...I mean lets face it I was going on a 3-4 day camping trip with a bunch of people that I didn't know, but they had known each other most of their lives AND I was to be the oldest guy in the group. Would they snicker behind my back when I fell asleep after dinner? Would I be standing around twiddling my thumbs while they reminisced about the past? Well all of my apprehension was unfounded (I think). The group welcomed me in as one of their own as we gathered each afternoon and shared stories, jokes, food, games and of course drinks. Sharon and I went on hikes through the woods, we relaxed at our campsite and one day we rented a canoe and explored the lake. We entered a shuffleboard tournament, we played beer pong and we participated in other fun activities. As the weekend went on I marveled to myself at what a different life these guys had than the one I was raised in. As I said...many had know each for most...if not all their lives, they had gone to school together, been in each others weddings and now their kids were all playing together. The last night it rained and we all huddled together under a large canopy singing old songs, making jokes and partying until the wee hours of the morning.....AND I was still awake.
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