Debi and Jack sailing on SV Iroquois

Vessel Name: Iroquois
Vessel Make/Model: Ohlson38
Crew: Jack Markin, Debi Dennis
Social:
14 January 2018 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua
10 January 2018 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua
09 January 2018 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua
08 January 2018 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua
02 January 2018 | 17 0.9'N:049 39.3'W
01 January 2018 | 16 59.072'N:047 57.288'W
31 December 2017 | 18 13.02'N:046 19.3'W
30 December 2017 | 19 01.661'N:041 58.3'W
29 December 2017 | 19 01.661'N:041 58.3'W
28 December 2017 | 19 55.955'N:040 34.978'W
27 December 2017 | 20 38.5'N:38 48.3'W
26 December 2017 | 21 42.2'N:36 41.7'W
25 December 2017 | 22 49.7'N:34 41.9'W
24 December 2017 | 23 48.438'N:33 02.475'W
23 December 2017 | 25 02.3'N:30 46.8'W
22 December 2017 | 25 42.2'N:28 32.5'W
21 December 2017 | 25 49.186'N:23 57.303'W
20 December 2017 | 25 49.186'N:23 57.303'W
19 December 2017 | 26 08.64'N:21 24.102'W
17 December 2017 | 26 58.7'N:19 35.14'W
Recent Blog Posts
21 May 2018 | Annapolis Maryland

Annapolis Maryland

We really enjoyed our stay at Calvert Marina. It was super chill and everyone was so nice to us. The loaner car is an ancient diesel Mercedes and you can't open the windows though. Luckily it was a cool rainy day when we took it to the supermarket and the windshield wipers worked. There's the Ann Marie sculpture garden that we walked to with lots of works on loan from the Smithsonian. The great thing about it is the way they are sited in the landscape. It was a nice walk even in the rain. Finally the sky started clearing yesterday and there was a good south wind so we came up to Annapolis and picked up a mooring at the city dock. This morning we passed a nice beach, obviously a park, with some picnic tables. It made me think how nice it would be to be able to take some time off and relax in a park. One thing about our cruising is that we never relax. We always have to think about the weather or tide or distance to the next destination, or what is the next destination. The list of worries goes on and on when you add in boat maintenance and provisioning. Do we have enough diesel? water? propane? bread? beer? I guess to those of you in the daily grind of work, errands, chores, eat, sleep, repeat this sounds a little self-indulgent. Well, our lives depend on how sound our boat is and how well we manage it. So it's not trivial and it's wearing us down. One thing we have learned from this trip is that we are not cut out for the life of living aboard. Some people thrive on it. We want a garden and a puppy. That being said, there are times at the helm when the wind hits my cheek just right, the sun shines, there's just the right tension on all parts of the boat, the water slides by like ice under a skateblade  and it's all worth it. It's a state of flow that makes one happy to the core.

16 May 2018 | Solomons Island Maryland

A step back in time

Day before yesterday we left the Deltaville area in heavy fog and no wind under motor power and that lasted all day. The tedium was somewhat relieved by a visit from a little bird who caught and ate a lot of the flies that invade every time we go into the Chesapeake. (Identified as a female redstart by our friend, Nina)She left when we got close to land again. We decided to tuck into a creek on the north side of the Potomac instead of anchoring out in the open because every day this week has a forecast for thunderstorms. We dropped anchor between two marinas on Smith Creek, put up our mosquito nets and proceeded to cook a delicious meal of steak, corn and zucchini. Just as we were taking our first bites in the cockpit we were visited by a dinghy. The man asked if we knew about the weather forecast - we didn't - he said he noticed we were open to the west, that a severe storm with 50kt winds was approaching from that direction, and suggested that we go upstream around a bend which would protect us from the west. So many sailors are helpful like this, but it was really nice of him to take the trouble to warn us. And so we set aside our plates, raised anchor and moved. We also took down the mosquito nets and checked for anything that might blow away. There was plenty of time to finish eating and clean up before the rain started. It poured down buckets and thunder and lightning surrounded us but there was no big wind. We felt lucky, the bark was worse than the bite. Yesterday morning we got an early start out of there and were able to sail a good bit. There was a fighter jet that appeared to be practicing takeoffs and landings. It would take off, circle, land and repeat over and over. When we came up the Patuxent River to Solomons the wind picked up. Something about the sail in reminded me of sailing in the Kieler Bucht with Jens and Dorte. Maybe it was the curve of the land, maybe it was the military zones. It just kind of felt the same I'm not sure why but I was happy to remember that. We came to Calvert Marina, across the water from the more popular Zahniser’s and much less expensive. It turned out to be where the navy had its amphibious training base for WWII. It looks like someone is trying to make it into a retirement community but it hasn't quite worked out yet. There is lots of signage, including one for the planned pool, but not much actual building. The marina is serviceable but definitely not modern or luxurious. The price is the same as a mooring in Annapolis. The ambiance is late 1970s campground. If boats were campers they would be mostly popups, a few tents some larger RVs along with one or two airstreams. The bathrooms are clean and old. The whole place is mom and pop all the way. We seem to be the only transients here. There is a mallard duck couple who live on our dock. Every time we walk by they fly down into the water, but they always come back. There are also lots of geese here. Last night's storm came much later-around midnight with lots of wind but not quite as much lightning still buckets of rain. We've move into the Maryland part of the bay and are planning the next stage, through the C&D canal and down the Delaware River.

13 May 2018 | Deltaville Virginia

Fishing Bay

We thankfully arrived at Fishing Bay Marina before we were eaten alive by biting black flies. We thought we would have a nice sail up here, but after about an hour the wind died, the flies came around and the temperature started rising. It was well into the nineties before long (like 33C). All in all not a fun day of motoring into what appeared to be a typical marina on a small bay, of which there are many, many on the Chesapeake.  There are just so many rivers, creeks and inlets along here it's no wonder they didn't have roads and went everywhere by boat. This marina and boatyard is actually quite big with lots of beautiful boats. The pool isn't open until Memorial Day though, a sure sign that we're no longer in the south. But we rode the loaner bikes into town past fields that have already been hayed so clearly more southern than Wisconsin. The hay here is Timothy  and some sort of giant clover. We contacted the OCC port officers to see if they would drive us to the restaurant Merroir to eat oysters and they did. We learned of Merroir from a Splendid Table podcast about oysters. The story was about two brothers who started farming oysters in the Rappahannock River and their attempts to market them as the French market wine. Hence the name Merroir from the concept of terroir. It's not actually clear that oysters from different rivers taste different but it makes a good story. Anyway, when we were leaving Cape Charles a guy who helped us with the lines said if we were going to Deltaville we should go to Merroir and that's how we found out that there is a restaurant as well as the oyster farms. And Captain Story and his wife, Martha, came to meet us and drove the 12 miles to the restaurant where the oysters were excellent and they had a soft-shell crab special today. The weather is variable and unpredictable. Tonight it's actually quite cool. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

11 May 2018 | Cape Charles Virginia

Blue Crabs

Cape Charles is a sleepy little town near the southern tip of the Delmarva peninsula. It was started as a planned community in 1884 to support the end of the railway where freight and passengers were transferred to barges and steamers to cross the Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk. The remnants of the train tracks where the cars were transferred to barges are still here, but since the sixties there's been a bridge/tunnel across the bay and trucks have taken over. The area is still mostly agricultural and there is still some fishing. The crab boats come in here and the refrigerator truck meets them to take their catch. Jack bought some crabs from the truck driver and we plan to have a crab boil on the dock here tonight. He would only sell us females because the price is so high right now.  Females being $60/bushel and males being $160, our bucket full was $10. We went to the hardware store to get a steamer pot and some crackers for the claws. The crackers we had on the boat were all broken on the hard shelled French crabs a while back and we didn't have a big pot. The hardware store is a treat beginning with the occupied rocking chairs out front (3-4 old men) and continuing past the gun counter and through the crowded but complete stocks of anything you might think of. The guy working there asked if the crabs were hardshell and said if they were soft he'd be coming over--they're hard. The only other stores are tourist oriented, ice cream, knickknacks, candy, cafes. There is a large old public library though. We walked to the end of the main street then turned and walked until the sidewalks ended then looped around to where we started. These southern towns are small enough that we often end up walking not just by the large, in this town Victorian, houses but also by the smaller houses on streets with no sidewalks. It's different than a city where we just see one neighborhood. The town dock is nice with new floating pontoons, a large shower and toilet building, and a popular bar/restaurant. There's a coast guard station across the way and another marina being developed for megayachts. It's a retirement area with multiple golf courses  around. Tomorrow we'll cross over to the western shore.

09 May 2018 | Hampton Virginia

Hampton Virginia

We've had a pleasant visit to Hampton Virginia. There was a boat show at the marina we came into so there were lots of people looking at power boats. One of them, about 30 ft open cockpit, had four 350HP engines! There were other jaw droppers including the price tags. We didn't really look but passed [...]

06 May 2018 | Hampton Virginia

Done with the ICW

I seem to have lost a blog post or two.  I clearly remember writing and posting but don't see it now--will try to re create what I can remember. ..

Annapolis Maryland

21 May 2018 | Annapolis Maryland
We really enjoyed our stay at Calvert Marina. It was super chill and everyone was so nice to us. The loaner car is an ancient diesel Mercedes and you can't open the windows though. Luckily it was a cool rainy day when we took it to the supermarket and the windshield wipers worked. There's the Ann Marie sculpture garden that we walked to with lots of works on loan from the Smithsonian. The great thing about it is the way they are sited in the landscape. It was a nice walk even in the rain. Finally the sky started clearing yesterday and there was a good south wind so we came up to Annapolis and picked up a mooring at the city dock. This morning we passed a nice beach, obviously a park, with some picnic tables. It made me think how nice it would be to be able to take some time off and relax in a park. One thing about our cruising is that we never relax. We always have to think about the weather or tide or distance to the next destination, or what is the next destination. The list of worries goes on and on when you add in boat maintenance and provisioning. Do we have enough diesel? water? propane? bread? beer? I guess to those of you in the daily grind of work, errands, chores, eat, sleep, repeat this sounds a little self-indulgent. Well, our lives depend on how sound our boat is and how well we manage it. So it's not trivial and it's wearing us down. One thing we have learned from this trip is that we are not cut out for the life of living aboard. Some people thrive on it. We want a garden and a puppy. That being said, there are times at the helm when the wind hits my cheek just right, the sun shines, there's just the right tension on all parts of the boat, the water slides by like ice under a skateblade  and it's all worth it. It's a state of flow that makes one happy to the core.

A step back in time

16 May 2018 | Solomons Island Maryland
Day before yesterday we left the Deltaville area in heavy fog and no wind under motor power and that lasted all day. The tedium was somewhat relieved by a visit from a little bird who caught and ate a lot of the flies that invade every time we go into the Chesapeake. (Identified as a female redstart by our friend, Nina)She left when we got close to land again. We decided to tuck into a creek on the north side of the Potomac instead of anchoring out in the open because every day this week has a forecast for thunderstorms. We dropped anchor between two marinas on Smith Creek, put up our mosquito nets and proceeded to cook a delicious meal of steak, corn and zucchini. Just as we were taking our first bites in the cockpit we were visited by a dinghy. The man asked if we knew about the weather forecast - we didn't - he said he noticed we were open to the west, that a severe storm with 50kt winds was approaching from that direction, and suggested that we go upstream around a bend which would protect us from the west. So many sailors are helpful like this, but it was really nice of him to take the trouble to warn us. And so we set aside our plates, raised anchor and moved. We also took down the mosquito nets and checked for anything that might blow away. There was plenty of time to finish eating and clean up before the rain started. It poured down buckets and thunder and lightning surrounded us but there was no big wind. We felt lucky, the bark was worse than the bite. Yesterday morning we got an early start out of there and were able to sail a good bit. There was a fighter jet that appeared to be practicing takeoffs and landings. It would take off, circle, land and repeat over and over. When we came up the Patuxent River to Solomons the wind picked up. Something about the sail in reminded me of sailing in the Kieler Bucht with Jens and Dorte. Maybe it was the curve of the land, maybe it was the military zones. It just kind of felt the same I'm not sure why but I was happy to remember that. We came to Calvert Marina, across the water from the more popular Zahniser’s and much less expensive. It turned out to be where the navy had its amphibious training base for WWII. It looks like someone is trying to make it into a retirement community but it hasn't quite worked out yet. There is lots of signage, including one for the planned pool, but not much actual building. The marina is serviceable but definitely not modern or luxurious. The price is the same as a mooring in Annapolis. The ambiance is late 1970s campground. If boats were campers they would be mostly popups, a few tents some larger RVs along with one or two airstreams. The bathrooms are clean and old. The whole place is mom and pop all the way. We seem to be the only transients here. There is a mallard duck couple who live on our dock. Every time we walk by they fly down into the water, but they always come back. There are also lots of geese here. Last night's storm came much later-around midnight with lots of wind but not quite as much lightning still buckets of rain. We've move into the Maryland part of the bay and are planning the next stage, through the C&D canal and down the Delaware River.

Fishing Bay

13 May 2018 | Deltaville Virginia
We thankfully arrived at Fishing Bay Marina before we were eaten alive by biting black flies. We thought we would have a nice sail up here, but after about an hour the wind died, the flies came around and the temperature started rising. It was well into the nineties before long (like 33C). All in all not a fun day of motoring into what appeared to be a typical marina on a small bay, of which there are many, many on the Chesapeake.  There are just so many rivers, creeks and inlets along here it's no wonder they didn't have roads and went everywhere by boat. This marina and boatyard is actually quite big with lots of beautiful boats. The pool isn't open until Memorial Day though, a sure sign that we're no longer in the south. But we rode the loaner bikes into town past fields that have already been hayed so clearly more southern than Wisconsin. The hay here is Timothy  and some sort of giant clover. We contacted the OCC port officers to see if they would drive us to the restaurant Merroir to eat oysters and they did. We learned of Merroir from a Splendid Table podcast about oysters. The story was about two brothers who started farming oysters in the Rappahannock River and their attempts to market them as the French market wine. Hence the name Merroir from the concept of terroir. It's not actually clear that oysters from different rivers taste different but it makes a good story. Anyway, when we were leaving Cape Charles a guy who helped us with the lines said if we were going to Deltaville we should go to Merroir and that's how we found out that there is a restaurant as well as the oyster farms. And Captain Story and his wife, Martha, came to meet us and drove the 12 miles to the restaurant where the oysters were excellent and they had a soft-shell crab special today. The weather is variable and unpredictable. Tonight it's actually quite cool. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Blue Crabs

11 May 2018 | Cape Charles Virginia
Cape Charles is a sleepy little town near the southern tip of the Delmarva peninsula. It was started as a planned community in 1884 to support the end of the railway where freight and passengers were transferred to barges and steamers to cross the Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk. The remnants of the train tracks where the cars were transferred to barges are still here, but since the sixties there's been a bridge/tunnel across the bay and trucks have taken over. The area is still mostly agricultural and there is still some fishing. The crab boats come in here and the refrigerator truck meets them to take their catch. Jack bought some crabs from the truck driver and we plan to have a crab boil on the dock here tonight. He would only sell us females because the price is so high right now.  Females being $60/bushel and males being $160, our bucket full was $10. We went to the hardware store to get a steamer pot and some crackers for the claws. The crackers we had on the boat were all broken on the hard shelled French crabs a while back and we didn't have a big pot. The hardware store is a treat beginning with the occupied rocking chairs out front (3-4 old men) and continuing past the gun counter and through the crowded but complete stocks of anything you might think of. The guy working there asked if the crabs were hardshell and said if they were soft he'd be coming over--they're hard. The only other stores are tourist oriented, ice cream, knickknacks, candy, cafes. There is a large old public library though. We walked to the end of the main street then turned and walked until the sidewalks ended then looped around to where we started. These southern towns are small enough that we often end up walking not just by the large, in this town Victorian, houses but also by the smaller houses on streets with no sidewalks. It's different than a city where we just see one neighborhood. The town dock is nice with new floating pontoons, a large shower and toilet building, and a popular bar/restaurant. There's a coast guard station across the way and another marina being developed for megayachts. It's a retirement area with multiple golf courses  around. Tomorrow we'll cross over to the western shore.

Hampton Virginia

09 May 2018 | Hampton Virginia
We've had a pleasant visit to Hampton Virginia. There was a boat show at the marina we came into so there were lots of people looking at power boats. One of them, about 30 ft open cockpit, had four 350HP engines! There were other jaw droppers including the price tags. We didn't really look but passed by on our way to the supermarket. We both took note of the number of black faces we met in the store and on the walk there and back. Jack looked on Wikipedia and found that Hampton has a 49.6percent black population. I knew that Hampton University and the Emancipation Oak (picture) were here, but not much else except what I gleaned from reading Hidden Figures. In case you don't remember your US history, the Emancipation Oak is where "contraband " children from Fort Monroe were illegally taught to read and write, also where the Emancipation Proclamation was first read in the south. I clearly remember a drawing from my school book of the former slaves standing under the tree while it was read. What I didn't understand as a child is that it only applied to southern states. Because it was issued as an executive order as a war measure it only applied to states in rebellion. But it did make slavery an explicit factor in the war and so possibly led to the eventual emancipation of all slaves. This concludes your lesson under the virtual tree. Anyway, we did walk to downtown Hampton and looked around, saw the wooden carousel and visited the NASA museum. The museum had one poster board about Katherine Johnson, which looked like an afterthought thanks to Hollywood, and nothing about the rest of the women who did all the math for NASA before they started using computers. Well, at least they put out the poster...
While we were here we also reconnected with Kate and Drew, who we met in Nova Scotia before we left on our first Atlantic crossing. At the time they were super helpful and encouraging. They also saved me from seasickness by sharing their scopalimine patches. It was fun to see them again and hear about their musical progress, they actually play around town now. Of course they were generous with their advice for the Chesapeake Bay and traveling to Maine. They even gave us their Chesapeake guidebook. It feels like another loop closing. Soon we'll be home. In the meantime we are trying to move with the weather and only one day at a time.

Done with the ICW

06 May 2018 | Hampton Virginia
I seem to have lost a blog post or two.  I clearly remember writing and posting but don't see it now--will try to re create what I can remember. ..
We traveled with Barracuda through the Pamlico Sound and Alligator River without ever seeing an alligator. Oh, we looked. We did see dolphins, deer, eagles, vultures, osprey and lots of birds. We stayed a night at Coinjock Marina and restaurant and all enjoyed the hot showers after so many days in the buggy backwaters. We also found the prime rib to be as good as everyone said it would be. The marina is a face dock along the waterfront and there are lots of barges in this stretch of the ICW. I was wakened a few times when barges went by. They take up most of the channel and are even more intimidating at night. Most of them are one barge pushed by a tug, but Jack daringly passed a tug pushing two barges. As we were passing the force of its wake began to pull us backward. It was not easy to get by but we used everything we had and made it. Barracuda was also able to get by it. There are also a few opening bridges in this area and at one of them we had to wait for an oncoming barge to pass before we could go through. We arrived at the Great Bridge just before an opening. Barracuda pressed on, but we decided to stop at the free dock. There was a space between two sailboats and it looked like we might be able to squeeze in. We could see that the boat behind was a boat that had been traveling with us for a couple of days and even though we had only met over the radio we thought they would help.  As we got closer we could see that the boat in front was Max. We had met Chuck and Karen on Max in Brunswick then again in Charleston and they kindly shared their itinerary for traveling north to Massachusetts with no overnights. Chuck came out and took our lines and helped us tie up. So as we waved goodbye to Kate and Graham we said hello to Chuck and Karen. Then we met Carol and Steve from Moondance  (the boat behind) face to face and we all went aboard Max to get out of the sun and have a beer. Cruisers have a strange way of meeting and parting. We might see each other several times over a short period then after months meet up again like we did with Graham and Kate.  We met them at the beginning of their trip in A Coruna, Spain. Since they were part of the ARC we didn't see them after Portugal, until we met up again in North Carolina. Now they're gone again. Who knows when we'll meet again. When you come into a port you just never know what you might find. You might be met by a friend with a freshly baked loaf of bread or you might find the beginning of a transatlantic rowboat race. There might be free laundry and free beer or the showers might be under construction. You just have to take what you find and run with it.
After leaving Max at the Great Bridge we followed Moondance and went through Norfolk Virginia, passing mile 0 of the Intracoastal Waterway. It was an interesting adventure and I am glad we did it but doubt if we would do it again. We're in Hampton Virginia and will wait a few days for the wind to shift before sailing up the Chesapeake Bay. I know Virginia is pretty southern but there's real grass here and the pelicans have been replaced by geese. It feels like we are almost home.
Iroquois's Photos - Main
4 Photos
Created 11 May 2016
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Created 4 August 2015
4 Photos
Created 1 August 2015
6 Photos
Created 1 August 2015
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Created 7 June 2015
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Created 7 May 2015

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