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27 August 2008 | Litchfield, CT
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28 August 2011
Dear Friends and Family ~

Just a few days ago, our summer aboard Voyageur was going according to plan. Then we were reminded yet again that planning and cruising don't always coincide.

Our intention this year was to spend a few late summer weeks in Maine's Penobscot Bay before beginning the return trip to Florida and the Bahamas. After leaving St. Augustine on the 18th of April, the day after Jane's birthday, we arrived in Norfolk the afternoon of May 1st and decided to continue on to Solmons, MD, without stopping for the night, one hundred miles further north. We arrived at dawn the next morning after an "interesting" night-time navigation exercise involving a very large ship.

For the next seven weeks, Voyageur crisscrossed Chesapeake Bay. We visited family in Severna Park, took two weeks off the boat to visit friends in Dallas and cruised the Eastern Shore, exploring the Chester, Corsica, Wye and Sassafras Rivers. Then, two hours before dawn on Saturday, June 25th, we won our anchor from the muddy bottom of the Sassafras and headed out the dark channel for the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. It would connect us with Delaware Bay and the coast of New Jersey, our semi-annual thirty-two hour trip to and from Staten Island's Great Kill Harbor, the link between our southern and northern cruising grounds . . . Penobscot Bay this year.

From Great Kill, we motor sailed through Upper New York Harbor and the East River to Long Island Sound. Then, after stops in Port Washington, Oyster Bay (for 4th of July fireworks), Huntington Harbor and Port Jefferson, Voyageur eased into a berth in Deep River Marina on the Connecticut River, eight miles up stream from the Sound. There she would stay while we took day trips to visit friends and family in Litchfield and replaced the weathered varnish on her exterior teak.

After six weeks of visiting and varnishing, grilling chicken, bratwurst and steaks, making new marina friends, going to movies and spending quiet nights at a dock, we noticed that a tropical depression in mid-Atlantic was threatening to become a hurricane.

As we stripped, sanded and varnished, Irene strengthened and passed over the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas as a Category 2-3 hurricane. When her track was projected to cross the Outer Banks, we began to pay more attention to forecasts and to look for an alternative spot to wait out the storm should she eventually come our way. Hamburg Cove, about two miles downriver, was a likely candidate . . . a good hurricane hole sheltered from wind by surrounding hills and trees and opened by a narrow channel off the Connecticut River.

Thursday, two days before Irene arrived, we were still in Deep River Marina and still varnishing, hoping that the fumes might somehow displace the huge storm from its projected path. Friday, the day before she arrived, it was sunny and warm and, as we unbent our genoa and staysail and laid them below, we finally decided to move Voyageur to Hamburg Cove. I had Voyageur off the dock in fifteen minutes and headed downriver while Jane drove our old Honda to an elevated parking area at the north end of the cove. (To see the cove, click on CURRENT POSITION to the right of this blog entry.)

After picking up a mooring, I rowed our dingy (our Yamaha outboard had died yet again) about a mile to gather Jane and row back to the boat to continue to prepare for the storm. We doubled Voyageur's mooring bridle and put chafe protection in place, made halyards and other lines fast, wrapped a sturdy line around the mainsail cover and pulled the drain plug on the dingy so it couldn't fill up with rain water. Then . . . finally . . . we celebrated our twenty-eighth anniversary as the first rain pelted down and the wind began to rise.

It is now 1:30 pm on Sunday. As I write this, Voyageur's barometer shows 29.2 inches or 992 millibars. The center of the storm passed over New York City, almost 90 miles west of us, an hour ago. She probably went straight up 5th avenue. Here in Hamburg Cove the rain has stopped and the wind, occasionally gusting to 20 knots, will diminish through the afternoon and evening. Tomorrow, Hurricane Irene will be well to the north and east of us and each of the last three days will be fading memories.

Memories of Maine, however, will have to wait 'til next year.

Bob & Jane Fulton
Aug 2011
Vessel Name: Voyageur
Vessel Make/Model: Island Packet 40
Hailing Port: Portsmouth, RI
Crew: Bob & Jane Fulton
About: First sail . . . Oshkosh Yacht Club, Lake Winnebago, in 1953 on an M16. First sail together . . . Lake Texoma in 1994 on an ODay 322. We're now full time cruisers aboard our Island Packet 40 cutter Voyageur with cruising friends from Nova Scotia to the Bahamas. It's what cruising is all about.
Extra: DAS BOAT ~ LOA - 41'6" Beam - 12'11'' Displ - 22,800lb Sail Area - 907 sq ft 2 Staterooms; 2 Heads
Voyageur's Photos - Main
At midnight on January 2, 2013, we headed through Little Harbor Reef and left the Abacos for a two month trip down and back up the incredibly beautiful Exumas island chain.
38 Photos
Created 6 April 2013
On July 26, 2012, we left Voyageur in Man-O-War Cay and flew from Marsh Harbour to Miami. Then we picked up our old Honda in St. Augustine and set off on three and a half months of visits with family and friends. The trip which we dubbed "The Great Sofa Tour of 2012" would take us from the Bahamas to Florida, Connecticut, Nova Scotia, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. And to all who opened their hearts and homes to us, we offer our thanks for making this trip of a life time possible ! This is your story too.
28 Photos
Created 1 December 2012
We leave Voyageur in St. Augustine and return to the canals and locks of the United Kingdom for our third narrowboat cruise.
56 Photos
Created 24 November 2009
Back in St. Augustine from the Abacos.
7 Photos
Created 15 July 2009
The Abacos are the islands and cays that comprise the Northern Bahamas.
46 Photos
Created 23 April 2009
From Lake Worth (West palm Beach), we set out across the Gulf Stream bound for the Little Bahama Bank and Great Sale Cay on our way to the Abacos.
16 Photos
Created 23 April 2009
From St. Augustine, we head further South for Lake Worth, near West Palm Beach, a popular jumping off point for the Bahamas . . . Mile 776 to Mile 1014
45 Photos
Created 10 March 2009
After a 9 degree wind chill and frost on the deck in Fernandina Beach, we finally find warm weather in Florida and some good ol' friends too . . . Mile 716 to Mile 776
30 Photos
Created 24 February 2009
Joined by Bobby and Starr, we point the bow South once again in search of warm breezes and Florida sunshine . . . Mile 563 to Mile 716
22 Photos
Created 20 February 2009
In this leg, we're bound from Calabash Creek to Shelter Cove Marina on Hilton Head Island where we'll leave the boat for a month of holiday visiting in the Northeast . . . Mile 342 to Mile 563
54 Photos
Created 20 February 2009
We left Oriental on Dec 3. In this part of our journey we were introduced to the Carolina low country, anchored with the Marines at Camp Lejeune, experienced the most unusual bridge opening of the entire waterway and saw our first Dolphins . . . Mile 181 to Mile 342
24 Photos
Created 20 February 2009
On November 17 we begin following rivers and crossing sounds on our way South to Oriental, NC . . . Mile 51 to Mile 181
11 Photos
Created 19 February 2009
Our first "official" leg on the Intracoastal Waterway . . . Mile 0 to Mile 51
25 Photos
Created 18 February 2009
While we spent the month of October on this magnificent body of water , winter caught up to us.
19 Photos
Created 13 February 2009
Our voyage finally begins.
12 Photos
Created 8 October 2008
Getting ready to cast off, we sell most of our land life things and move aboard.
8 Photos
Created 27 September 2008
Exploring the canal and lock system in England and Wales with friends Bobby & Starr, we discuss our cruising dreams.
8 Photos
Created 5 July 2008
These boats taught me to sail and readied me for cruising.
8 Photos
Created 4 July 2008