Pathfinder to the Sea

... Go east older couple!

22 March 2023 | Glass Window, Eleuthera
14 March 2023 | Rock Sound, Eleuthera
15 February 2023
13 February 2023 | Elizabeth Harbour
13 February 2023 | Elizabeth Harbour
11 February 2023 | North end of Big Farmers Cay
09 February 2023 | Little Bay, Great Guana Cay
05 February 2023 | Chicken Cay / Rocky Dundas
05 February 2023 | Rocky Duindas, Exumas
04 February 2023 | Little Farmers Cay and Blackpoint
28 January 2023 | Shroud Cay
27 January 2023 | Shroud Cay
26 January 2023 | South Allen Cay
26 January 2023 | South Allen Cay
24 January 2023 | Allen Cays
23 January 2023
22 January 2023 | Old Fort Harbor
21 January 2023 | Morgans Bluff, Andros
20 January 2023 | Mackie Shoals

The Hudson

24 May 2023 | Hudson River
Susan DeSimone
We left Sheepshead Bay early to move with the tide. As we were moving along Connie Island we noticed a string of Naval vessels moving toward the Verrazano Bridge. This was an official parade of vessels from the US Navy, Coast Guard, Army Core and even one from the Canadian Navy. Luckily our timing was just right that we didn’t have to wait for them, since we definitely did not want to get within 1000 feet of them!

Our views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Manhattan were stunning. I feel particularly moved sailing past Ellis Island since all my grandparents and my mom came into the US that way. The movement up the Hudson is best described as a steady plod. We took a mooring at the Nyack Boat Club to let a front with strong N winds move through. The town of Nyack is cute and we enjoyed walking around a bit before getting back to the boat before the front would hit. The club has an active race program and there were many boats heading out for a race that night in spite of the forecast. They even finished, after it came on bringing steady 25 kt winds.

Wed night was the second rockiest night we have had on the trip, this time on a mooring though. It was a bit like sleeping in a washing machine. At about 1 am as I lay there thinking, “I am so glad we secured the anchor away from the pendant to avoid chafe since it would SUCK if the pendants broke in this” it occurred to me that our insurance runs through the 23rd-ish of May (and it is the 25th) and did not recall either of us paying. I jumped out of bed, and paid the insurance which was going to lapse if not paid by the 25th!

We spent Thursday on the mooring waiting for the wind to die back which it did not do until late. My sister came to get me after work to help me get to Middlebury on Friday and I left Roger to move up to Poughkeepsie over Friday and Saturday. I got a wonderful albeit short visit with AnneMarie, Matt and Kian on Thursday night before taking the train on Friday from Poughkeepsie to Albany. I rented a car in Albany and drove to Middlebury arriving at 4 pm with plenty of time to pick up the food and set up a dinner celebration for my scholars and their families. It was a great evening! Luckily it ended before dusk since I had worn my sunglasses when leaving the boat and forgotten my regular glasses on the boat. I spent the night with our friends Deb and Mark since our house is rented, enjoying great company and a delicious special cookie 😊.

We anchored at Saugerties for Sunday night where Roger spent about a week on the way down. Roger had stayed at Stan’s marina and on anchor then and it was nice for him to see Stan on this side of the trip. The weather was VERY different this time as we were hiding from the sun and heat in the afternoon instead of bundled up in all our winter clothes. This may be the last time that we anchor on our trip which was a bit bittersweet to realize.

We are currently motoring up the Hudson to the Castleton Boat Club where we will hopefully unstep the mast tomorrow. Our friend Fritz will join us tonight so he can lose his lock-virginity and to help unstep the mast. Finger’s crossed that the unstepping is entirely uneventful!

The Green-Wood Cemetery

23 May 2023 | New York City
Susan DeSimone
As it turns out, we have seen lots of cemeteries on our trip. It's been interesting to see the different ways that people do and have handled death between cultures and and over time. This one is most definitely our favorite though.

Dave, the commodore of Miramar recommended that we take in the Green-Wood cemetery on our down day. He said it was his favorite place in Brooklyn and we totally understand why after spending the afternoon there. The grandeur and beauty began with the Gothic arch that marks the main entry (shown in the photo). It was designed as both a park and cemetery in the 1800s and is the site of the Battle of Brooklyn which was one of the first major Revolutionary war battles. Once again, we stood in Washington’s footsteps as we looked out from Battle hill. The landscape is incredible and full of very old beautiful trees. The views of Manhattan are stunning, there are sculptures spread around the cemetery in addition to the gravestone sculptures and finally we saw several graves for historically significant people. My personal favorite was the monument to Margret Corbin who was the first women to receive Veterans benefits which she earned by taking over her husband’s cannon duties during the Revolutionary war when he was killed in action. We bookended the cemetery with a great Turkish meal prepared by an enthusiastic chef-sailor and a wonderful dinner with Melanie who was a scholar from my first Posse.

THE jump to NYC

21 May 2023 | Jersey coast
Susan DeSimone
We were heading down the Delaware towards Cape May by 7 am. The plan was to anchor either at Cape May or move up the coast to Atlantic City and anchor there. As luck would have it, the wind was much better than forecasted and were able to motor sail at 7-8 kts down the Delaware so we arrived at Cape May 2 hours ahead of schedule. The forecasts showed that we either should motor up the coast tonight with no wind or we would likely be stuck for many days at Cape May while north winds kicked in. Since we were trying to get me to my Posse's graduation on Saturday, on we went. We were able to sail along NJ for about 2 hrs before the wind died ☹. The trip from anchor-up on the Delaware to mooring in NYC was 34 hr, not exactly fun but not particularly challenging either since the sea state and traffic were both very calm. The crescent moon above Atlantic City was beautiful but the coast is pretty dark overall.

We motored up the coast taking 1 hr shifts at the helm. Luckily for me, I have the gift of sleep; if it takes me 5 minutes to fall asleep, I'm feeling like an insomniac 😊. So, I get about 38 minutes of sleep during 40 min timer during my off watch. Roger on the other hand rarely can sleeps and only rests. Since he is also our navigator, during each of our longer jumps he was seriously in need of sleep by the time daybreak came. Luckily, I had some rest by then and took at 3 hr helm shift to give him a shot at actual sleep.

We easily navigated the inlet to Sheepshead Bay and grabbed a mooring at the Miramar Yacht Club which we had heard about from Lesley on Happy Together. What a great club! They were so welcoming, and you can't beat the price of $50 for a mooring in NYC, even if it is at the bottom of the Brooklyn peninsula. We got showers, ate dinner, and then went to sleep at 6:30 pm for 12.5 hrs!

Annapolis and the C&D canal

19 May 2023
Roger Wallace
We took a mooring in Annapolis harbor at about 2:30 pm and quickly went ashore to explore the town since we needed to depart at 3 am if we wanted to be in sync with the flood tide at the top of Chesapeake Bay and make the next weather window on the Delaware River. We both really loved Annapolis and hope we get back for a real visit! We enjoyed seeing their state house which had lots of historical exhibits. Most notable was that we stood in the room where George Washington resigned his position as general and they have statues of and some history about Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas who were two famous Black Marylanders. I was struck by how short Harriet Tubman was and was struck by how unusual it felt to be able to look directly into the eyes on the statue. She was clearly small but mighty! (It was also that I too am short, which oddly always comes as a bit of a shock to me!).

Unfortunately, by the time we left the State House, the Naval Academy Museum was closed. We walked around the town a bit and saw two other memorials; a brand new one to Thurgood Marshall’s important legal legacy and another dedicated to the unnamed enslaved people. It was striking to me how differently Annapolis handles the legacy of slavery compared to Charleston, I much preferred this way. The state of Maryland apologized for their role in slavery in 2007, and it took Charleston until 2018 (after the Emmauel AME church mass shooting) so hopefully Charleston will catch up and maybe the next time I am there it will feel better to me.

Not long after leaving Annapolis at 3 am we were “dancing” with a large cruise ship. Normally it is easy to see them and navigate with them, but it was dark and foggy so we actually could not see them except for on our AIS until they were very close. Thank goodness for AIS! We had about 0.25 mile visibility until well into the morning. It was good experience to round out the adventure and I think I would be ok cruising the Canadian Maritimes with AIS and radar, though peering into the fog requires a level of attention that can be tiring.

We have been seeing plenty of Osprey on our travels north, but the top of the Chesapeake was incredible! There was a nest on almost every navigation marker and we got lots of great views of them. We saw several flying with fish or eating fish atop the marker. There have been some eagles, but clearly the Osprey are doing well here.

We anchored at Chesapeake City on the C&D canal around noon while we waited for the tide to shift again. Chesapeake City is a lovely little town and we would love to come back some time to bike along the canal and explore the communities more. Today we had 5 hours and needed to spend some of those sleeping since we were pretty tired. We moved on at 5 pm to finish the C&D, then settled for the night in the Delaware River just south of where the canal enters and in site of their nuke plant.

The Chesapeake begins

17 May 2023 | Chesapeake Bay
Susan DeSimone
The push to get to the forecasted southeast wind on Wednesday was worth it; we had a beautiful down wind sail up the Chesapeake Bay to Deltaville. Chesapeake Bay is quite large and there is lots of commercial and naval ship traffic to navigate around. Thankfully we were able to stick close to the shipping channels and did not have to deal with any crab pots so the going was easy.

In most places we’ve been on this trip the chatter on the radio is usually to communicate details around passing or being passed by another vessel or someone yelling at the turkey in some type of fast power boat to “slow down, you are in a no wake zone! You are responsible for any damage that your wake causes” (or course there are more colorful versions of that too). Today we heard something we had not heard for a while … ’this is war ship #So and So, vessel BLAH you are closer than 1000 feet, move away immediately or we are authorized to use lethal force’. Apparently, the other vessel headed the threat since the warship did not need to issue their threat another time! Or did they open fire?

We took a much-needed day off from travel in Deltaville while the winds went north. It is a lovely harbor and the folks at the Deltaville marina were nice. We caught up with Nuvo, a Montreal-based sailboat that we have been playing leapfrog with since leaving the Chesapeake and finally got to meet the crew. They are not going to head on as fast as us, in his words “you know, it’s still cold on the lake”. We got to take showers, do laundry and get a little bit of shopping done. Best of all we enjoyed some delicious scallops and Rock fish for dinner with a new boating acquaintance. Oh, and we got a nice long bike ride in using loaner bikes from the Marina.

After our day off, we had another good down wind sail up the bay and anchored just south of the Solomons with 4 other boats then moved out at first light on Thursday to use the flood tide heading to Annapolis. Once again, we would be under sail. The last two days of sailing had us in a very deep reach which was made easier thanks to our newest rigging set up which Roger devised. We call it the “bisker pole” (boom+whisker=bisker), it’s shown in the picture with this post. For you non-sailors, a whisker pole is a long metal pole which has one end attached to the front of your mast and the other attached to the sheets of the front sail (the sheets are the ropes that attach to the back bottom corner of the sail triangle). This allows you to keep the sail out to the side of the boat and stops it from flopping around if the winds lighten or the water is very bumpy. We used a whisker coming across from the Bahamas, but currently our pole is being used to secure our spare water and diesel jugs. So, Roger devised the bisker by putting a snatch block on the end of the boom to catch the sheets, moving the boom as far out to the side as possible and securing it there with a preventer. Though not as good as a whisker, the bisker works well enough and we have used it several times this trip.

Great Dismal Swamp

15 May 2023
Susan DeSimone
I have been fortunate to see many beautiful places in my life and this trip has been no exception. What I have learned is that there are beautiful landscapes and then there are beautiful landscapes that speak to my soul and allow me total peace. The trip today as we moved up the Pasquotank and across the Great Dismal Swamp was the former.

It was a stunning morning; cold enough that the morning mist was rising from the water. We started out with a crescent moon still up. The river is heavily wooded on both sides and twists and turns so that we came in and out of the rising sun's path which gave us incredible lighting and some gorgeous reflections. The dawn chorus greeted us as we moved along, which added to the beauty.

The Great Dismal Swamp is the largest wetland wildlife reserve and there is a 50-ft wide canal cut along the edge of it. You enter and exit the canal through locks which means there is no current to contend with in the canal. The down side is that it is only "guaranteed" to be 6 feet deep. Charlie on White Seal and Nuvo (another boat that we have been playing leapfrog with since Charleston) said they hit LOTS of submerged logs as they moved through. They each draw about 6 feet. We had pulled up our centerboard which put us at 5.5-foot draft. That must have been enough though since we only bumped a few times. We had to dodge a few overhanging trees to protect the top of the mast, but it was easy-peasy going.

It was nice for me to go through the locks with the mast up so that I brushed out my cobwebs about how to do it before we are doing it with 10 feet of mast sticking out forward and backwards. These only have 8-10 feet of level change which also made them easy.

The last stretch of water for the day took us through Norfolk VA. Boy was that different! We went from beautiful wilderness to Navy and big commercial waterfronts with crowed highways running along and over. We ended the day with a very short sail across the James River to an anchorage in Hampton, VA. Tomorrow, we should have a great sail up the Chesapeake to Deltaville.
Vessel Name: Pathfinder
Vessel Make/Model: Bristol 38.8
Hailing Port: Kingsland Bay, VT, USA
Crew: Roger & Susan
About:
We met paddling whitewater kayaks. Now, after raising two wonderful adults, we are excited for the next water based phase of our lives together. [...]
Extra:
Pathfinder is a Bristol 38.8, which is an excellent bluewater sailboat. Our search for an trans-oceanic boat started with a spreadsheet containing data on dozens of boats. The Bristol 38.8, and her sister vessels, were at the top of the list "by the numbers." Pathfinder has proven to be a joy to [...]
Pathfinder's Photos - Main
51 Photos
Created 18 April 2023
11 Photos
Created 15 April 2023
5 Photos
Created 10 April 2023
24 Photos
Created 10 April 2023
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Created 10 April 2023
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Created 26 March 2023
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Created 18 March 2023
These are photos taken on our walk out to the preserve (2 miles from the harbor) and as we explored the preserve. It is part of the Bahamanian National Trust holdings that opened 10 years ago. The paths are beautiful and it was wonderful to get into the local forest and understand a bit about the various plants that have been important in the culture and landscape here.
16 Photos
Created 18 March 2023
This is a beautiful national park, uninhabited and so beautiful! Pictures of the beaches, ruins and sky views.
17 Photos
Created 12 March 2023
Photos of our time in Georgetown. Hike to the monument on Stocking Iland, exploring an old Canal, ruins and a defunct resort on Crab Island and race awards.
22 Photos
Created 12 March 2023
Pictures from Bill Bagg's and environs
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Created 12 January 2023