June 5, 2012
I started to call this one "Bed Wetting" but given our age, I thought that it would be instantly misunderstood. We have a lively day yesterday wind wise. At times the winds touched 28 knots. We even had white caps in the harbor. We thought about S/V Colleen Mae that left the day before to take advantage of the projected winds favoring a Bay crossing. I am guessing they found some anchorage and stayed put yesterday. I mentioned a fellow went up our mast yesterday in that wind. Folks don't usually go up in that kind of wind. It did not seem to bother him in the least. Anyway, we enjoyed the day when we could get out of the wind and decided to open the boat so we could sleep in the breeze. All went well until 0230 when I awoke with wet shoulders under a thick comforter. Thinks I: that is not right. As I clawed my way to consciousness the reason was clear. A gentle rain was unimpeded as it made its way through the open hatch over our berth and into the comforter. The rain was not heavy or loud. There was no thunder. No telling how long it had been raining but it was cold and soaking. At first I thought it to be a dream but not so. Fortunately, it is our practice to close all hatches and portlights except those of direct use so no other hatches were open---- except for the one over where Scurv sleeps. At least he had the good sense to move elsewhere. As I stumbled into the cabin where he sleeps, he raised his head and gave me the look of disgust. "Dummy, no one sleeps in the rain. Wrong, puppy breath, I did a long time ago in a place far away".
Not sure what happened to yesterdays post but methinks my thumbs edited the thing into something that made no sense. It is fixed now.
June 4, 2012
We cannot believe it is already June and we have seen two Atlantic named storms already. After a full pop ten plus evening yesterday, it is windy but nice today. I have three projects for this week and two of them are already done, thanks to a crew vote on appropriating the funds to hire someone to go up the mast rather than the chubby bilge coolie. The missing Windex™, a casualty of Irene last year, actually left the mounting plate with set screw so it was simple to slip the new one in place since the mounting holes matched up with the old ones. The fellows that did the deed are both sailors and were very professional, meaning quick and good. So, the chubby bilge coolie, that would be me, did not have to deploy the ATN Topclimber™ and spend the rest of the day ascending the mast. That's a good thing although just watching them do it is cause for a nap. The remaining project is the final segment of the swim deck wood inlay on the rear locker lid. The other two were still factory glued. That was tough stuff to remove. Then I remembered that I used 5200 on the locker lid last year. Big mistake! It took a full afternoon to remove the two square feet of wood (mostly in inch square splinters) on that lid and then I virtually had to used game skinning techniques to slice off the residual. Have I ever mentioned that I hate 5200? I already done, thanks to a crew vote on appropriating the funds to hire someone to go up the mast rather than the chubby bilge coolie. Not only that, things went swimmingly well since the replacement deck/steaming light am convinced that we, as a nation, would incarcerate bad guys by using 5200 to glue their butts to something heavy. Anyway, it is back to the locker lid.
05/31/2012, Solomons, MD
May 31, 2012
Wow, last day of May 2012. How the time has passed mostly fast. I would bet Bear would argue a bit about how fast time flies when recovering from back surgery. In that department, we still have some time to go. So, here we are in Solomons, MD, a place only in our dreams 28 months ago when we left Port Aransas, Texas. Since we have chosen to stay here a while, "the list" starts to show up in my alleged mind. One has to be dutiful to the ship, ya know and the list is impressive. Since Scurv is not yet able to assist in resolution of the list items, it falls on me, the bilge coolie, to get-r-done. One item on the list is the swim deck renovation, to wit, replacing the teak inserts thereon. I failed to care for the originals to the extent that they are beyond mere maintenance. One of the benefits of owing a production boat like the 411 is that parts are easy to obtain, even for our early hull number. Since Beneteau built more or less about 1,400 of this model, even items like the specialty teak inserts are available, for a price. Most other parts, if purchased through Beneteau are less expensive than through the discount supply houses. That said, I called Beneteau thinking the inserts would be "all gone" by now. Not so. They made the set for us on order. I sort of hate to take them out of the box they are so nice. Ok, so today is the day to rip up the old and install the new. It should take no more than a few hours for each of the three. Yeah, right. I am inspired today to do this since she is in company of some really spiffy looking boats in this marina. After all, she has her standards. After this task, I still have several major items on the list such as installing a new mast light (requiring some significant weight loss on the part of the writer so I can haul my chubby butt up the mast), install a new inverter, replace the forward head, wax the hull and topsides, etc. Better get on it before it gets too hot. So much for the steaming cup of coffee in the cockpit at dawn.
05/30/2012, Solomons, MD
May 30, 2012
We are indeed fortunate first to be living our dream and secondly to be sailing in an area entirely new to us. Most sailors sail in the "home waters" for most of their lives. Some occasionally charter in the islands for new adventures and some get to stretch the cruise into areas they have never visited. That would be us. We sailed our home waters for so long that we knew almost, if not all of the little nooks and special places. Newcomers enjoyed hearing about places which looked interesting but not enough to attempt the approach. Flato Cut comes to mind. Only the locals ventured there. For over 20 years we stayed in the same area. Now that we are actually using charts to find new places, as opposed to sailing to the Hole in the Wall, take a left and head to this or that, we have come to enjoy something many, if not most sailors never see. We look at the charts armed with someone's suggestion about a place and sail there. We don't know what we will actually see since charts do not show scenery or the ambiance of a place. Where once we would sail ten miles to an anchorage or out the harbor to what we think is one of the most beautiful anchorages we've seen, Lydia Ann Channel, we now look at three or four times that distance for a daily passage to unknown places. What it must have been to those Europeans sailing this bay for the first time. They had little idea that the anchorages and backwaters would offer protection and bountiful foods. So, there is a slight, very slight similarity with us as we look at the charts and guess. We know the water will let us enter or not. We know currents and tides. What we don't know is just how much we will be rewarded by the visit.
As we rounded the Patuxent River headlands, we started to view the place as slightly different. They are all different but this place offered a warm surprise given the weather of the day. It is nice to arrive on a sunny, mild breeze day as opposed to blowing like stink and raining. It was not just a river but a wide one, like most on the Bay. It had nice trees blended with houses, most of which date back a many decades. It offered up an inviting approach to the harbor and the channel was marked well. Once in the harbor the surprise was that sailboats outnumber motor vessels by a wide margin. This boys and girls is a sailor's harbor.
05/29/2012, Solomons, MD
POST MEMORIAL DAY 2012
May 29, 2012
We have decided to stay in this place for a while and do our DC visits from here by car. This is a very nice marina (Zahniser's Yachting Center) and a full boat yard to boot. Though a bit of a pain, the MSU is nice to have since we can get stuff out of our way aboard. Boat projects are easier when we have wheels. Of that topic, we are considering unshipping the electric head in favor of the more traditional and dependable manual type. I am guessing that thing, as upscale as it is, is not designed for full time extended use. However; I did lay in many spare parts for it and may well have to live with it until those parts are depleted. Dang! Then again I might have to lose them somehow.
It is time to replace the sail cover and this is the place to have one made. The old one is still serviceable but showing age and usage. Gee, it only lasted 12 years in the Texas sun. One can really appreciate cruising the Gulf Coast states when observing folks removing winterization stuff from boats here. Memorial Day marked the start of the "cruising" season which means the start of other seasons such as "grilling" season. Pools open on or near Memorial Day and generally folks start the high outdoor season. Sort of festive it is. The mooring buoys near the dock were mostly empty until yesterday when all were in use last evening.
This is a dawg town, perhaps a dog area. I have never seen as many dogs on boats and some have several. Most are small types but there are more than a few Labs and Goldens. The place is dog friendly and folks don't seem to mind "that little Schnauzer with no manners aboard that Texas boat". Did I mention he is in the brig so to speak? He jumped ship the other day and saw fit to take a walkabout the marina. Some folks recognized him and returned him to WK before we missed him. For that he got a haircut (at a dog grooming joint). Looks sort of spiffy he does. Anyway, now when on deck, he is "hooked on" when we are not topside.
It is little more than an hour from here to DC and Annapolis by car or about a day sail to the latter. Of course, the Eastern Shore offers many other places to stop.
Onward into summer with the gusto of a hound dawg!
05/24/2012, Solomons, Maryland
DELTAVILLE TO SOLOMONS
May 23-24, 2012
We left Deltaville in full rain and cold Northeast wind. In fact, we navigated some of the morning on radar and a very active lookout in visibilities from near zero to a mile or so. We left the dock at 0900 after some motor vessels some of which turned around and came back. Our original thoughts were to sail to Onancock across to the Eastern shore but by the time we cleared the Rappahannock buoy we changed our mind. We decided to hoist sail and head north along the western shore since winds were lively and from the southeast. In fact, we chose to motor sail and wound up doing 8 kts at times. That gave us enough speed to make about any port below Annapolis before the end of the day. For us, the Bay is more like sailing in the Gulf. The water depth is such that if one stays a few miles offshore, the waves and swells are smooth and less aggressive than Corpus Christi Bay. We even had wave sets and swells along our route. The guides make it clear that all of that is subject to change in a big way when winds shift but we did not see "square" waves all day. By 1600 we were north of the Potomac and decided to sail to the Solomons. The decision to skip the Potomac and sail beyond is somewhat easier since we will have ground transportation to visit the DC area. That turned out to be a really good decision with a nice surprise at the termination. We found not only a very nice harbor and many marinas but also a very picturesque place with just a bit of history. Of course it did not hurt to be just across the river from the Patuxent Naval Air Station. A Raptor, America's newest fighter, was doing touch and go operations there. That was the first time we've seen it in flight. Most impressive!
This harbor is one that ranks as a "must see" by those we met on the way here. It is easy to see why it is a good stop on the way up and down the Bay. This place had to be a Colonial dream. The small peninsula was, methinks, a plantation with a view. About half of it is still a huge farm looking plot on about 500 acres or so. So, this quaint place is a destination for those wishing to be on the water but not on a beach. There are no tee shirt shops to be seen, only boats everywhere. As a stopover one can see all types of boats from working crab boats to very fine sailing vessels. Many are wood which may fare well in these cool waters. We are seeing boats from all over the world here. This marina, Zahnister's Yacht Center, is actually a working yard albeit the cleanest yard we've ever seen. It is in the middle of many yards in the area. Yesterday, we drove through the low lands from here to Norfolk where several of our Founding Fathers were born and lived. We drove some of the escape route of John Wilkes Booth and very near Dr. Mudd's house. It is definitely a contrast between the surroundings of Dr. Mudd's house and where he spent much of his life imprisoned at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas about 70 miles west of Key West.
Scurv is getting to know a fellow ABSD just a few slips away. The chocolate Lab is way less active than he but methinks they speak some kind of code to each other and have decided to keep it down. Scurv stands watch on the mooring field and will let us know if pirates enter. Scurv has a way of waiting until we are in full REM sleep to let out a single bark. It cannot be rats aboard since he is in charge of keeping them away. He has done a fine job so far. The single bark is either a way to let us know he needs something or he is getting even with something we have done to him during the day. At bsea, he sleeps a lot but so far, he had not been sea "sick". Could it be that there are very limited smells out there? He alerted big time the other day offshore when a boat sailed upwind of us and was cooking something that even I could smell a bit later I thought we were going to have to stand by with a sniffer rag since his was going full bore to windward. Whatever they were cooking had his nose leather (a name Poozak gave dawg noses) twitching fast.