24 December 2019 | Anna Maria
21 November 2019 | Cayo Costa
27 October 2019 | Charleston, SC
28 September 2019 | Annapolis
09 September 2019 | Port Jefferson, NY
26 August 2019 | Snow Island, ME
18 August 2019 | Rockland, ME
14 July 2019 | Ort Jeff, NY
26 May 2019 | St Mary's, MD
13 May 2019 | Belhaven,NC
15 April 2019 | Titusville
19 March 2019 | Palm Beach
11 January 2019 | Anna Maria
18 November 2018 | Anna Maria
31 October 2018 | Palm Beach
10 October 2018 | Pungo River, NC
13 September 2018 | Galesville, MD
30 August 2018 | Shelburn, NS
24 December 2019 | Anna Maria
After a few idyllic days of walking the beach and relaxing, not spoiled by the end of the red tide epidemic, we headed out Boca Grande Pass and north to the Venice inlet. The algae in the water had only prevented us from swimming, but the water was a little cold for our thinned out constitutions anyway.
We had heard that work was going on at the Longboat Pass bridge with restricted openings so we elected to come inside at Venice and spend a night or two in Sarasota Bay. We waited out a frontal passage and spent the time starting the process of getting Allegria ready for her transition.
John, who had looked at Allegria in Annapolis, had made an offer and after a little back and forth, we accepted. We came in to the dock at the Seafood Shack in Cortez and began to get Allegria ready in earnest. We reinstalled the AC units and unloaded all our personal gear and cleaned things up in preparation for the survey. The survey went well and we spent a few more days correcting a couple of items noted and then closed the deal with John. This past Saturday we helped deliver Allegria to her new home at Maxima Marina in St. Pete and said good bye.
There's a lot of emotion associated with all this for me, the old saw about the happiest and saddest days of a sailor's life. I certainly have a sense of relief that Allegria has found a new home, since we have a new boat about to be born. I also have some sadness about her and am missing her already. She has taught us many lessons, what true freedom is and the glory of being self sufficient. I think she may have saved my life. Lisa, when she was 4 or 5 years old said to Molly that she wanted to visit Daddy at his house, meaning my office. I was up and gone before she awoke and home again after she was asleep. We were all caught up in the materialistic culture and trying to keep up with the Joneses and both working ourselves to death. I realized that I was missing out on my daughter growing up and so we hatched the idea of going sailing and being together, and that is when Allegria came into our lives.
She helped us learn what was really important in life, and what we really needed to live. She helped Lisa learn that there was more to the world that just her little sphere and brought us all closer together. We reveled in the magic of nature and what an incredible world this is. The feeling associated with moving through the water, propelled by the wind alone and feeing one with the earth and natural forces is indescribable and is very addictive and I can't imagine not feeling the wind and tides and weather.
All this talk of the boat's personality is hard to accept for the uninitiated, but sailors who have stood a night watch alone and had a conversation with their boat will understand. A boat will tell you how she is feeling and what to do to make things better. All you need to do is listen. If you're lucky, she will teach you much more. We will always cherish what she has taught us, and I'm sure she has many more lessons to teach.
At this time of renewal and the birth of a new year, we are excited for the future and what lies ahead, a new boat, new places to visit and new things to learn. We wish all who read this a wonderful Holiday season and the most wonderful things in the New Year.
Back to Florida
21 November 2019 | Cayo Costa
We lifted the anchor early, at 4 AM, to head out of Charleston Harbor and fought the last of the flood tide getting out. We were racing a fog bank coming down from the north and managed to get out of the harbor and entrance channel just before it closed in. It seemed to dissipate as we headed south and dawn found us motorsailing down the coast to St Helena Sound in light air. As we entered the sound the tide changed to ebb and we fought it all the way in and up the river almost all the way into Beaufort. See a pattern here? As we turned the corner at Brickyard Point the current changed in our favor for the last few miles and we came down to the entrance to Factory Creek in Beaufort. We were at dead low of an extremely low tide by then and even though Cathy had told us the best way into Factory Creek, try as we might we couldn’t get in without hitting the bottom. We tried several times and had about resigned ourselves to wait for the tide to come up. We called Alan and Cathy to let them know we’d be late and they came out in their small boat to survey the area for us. We followed them in and despite touching once, we pushed through and made it into the channel. Before you know it we were tied up to their dock and enjoying their hospitality. We had loads of fun catching up and did our normal grocery, Walmart, propane runs. They were kind enough to let us stay a few days to catch the next weather window to head south.
There was a cold front due to come through and we planned to ride it all the way to Palm Beach if we could. The day before was in the 80’s and humid, but with the frontal passage, we awoke to temps in the 40’s and a fresh northerly breeze. After a few last good bys, we were off to catch the 9 AM opening of the iconic Beaufort swing bridge. Then it was down the river, again fighting the flood tide, and out Port Royal Sound with a 25 knot wind from the north.
We set the sails wing on wing with the jib poled out to one side and the main prevented out on the other and were off to the races sailing south with the wind vane steering. We had a quick passage and 54 hours later were heading in to Lake Worth Inlet. Allegria was really showing her stuff with that being the fastest passage south we’ve ever made. We headed up to the north end of Lake Worth and to our normal anchoring spot in Old Port Cove. We got the anchor down by mid afternoon and settled in for a nice relaxed visit with Brother Denny and Shannon.
We took the truck over to Anna Maria and picked up the AC units for Allegria, which I had previously removed and brought them back over to get looked at and serviced in preparation for reinstalling, getting ready for Allegria to go to her new owners. We spent several days catching up with those guys and just enjoying their company. Soon it was time to move on and so we were off for a late afternoon start down the lake and out the inlet before dark and riding an easterly south down the coast. We passed Ft Lauderdale overnight and found ourselves off Government cut in Miami at 2:30 AM. We headed past Key Biscayne and into the Hawk Channel and down the keys. As the sun rose we were off Angelfish Creek and we continued down past Rodriguez Key and to the pass at Channel Five and to anchor in the Long Key Bight. There was to be another frontal passage that night and after a good night’s rest, we awoke to a fresh northeasterly breeze. We got a late start, as we only had a 20 hour run up to Ft Myers, our next stop. We motorsailed in the dying breeze across Florida Bay and just south of the Everglades Park Boundary, dodging trap markers. As we cleared Cape Sable and turned to the northwest, the breeze filled in from the northeast and before you know it we were close reaching in 25-30 knots of breeze and Allegria was showing her stuff once again. It’s like she is giving us good memories on these last few sails. We rode that breeze all the way to Ft Myers and came in to pick up a mooring and have a visit with old friends Mark and Karen from Paydirt, the trawler that rescued us down in the Jumentos Cays some years ago and gave us a tow back to Georgetown after we broke a prop shaft. We also had a get together with old cruising friends, Bob, Charlotte , Alan and Cathy, with whom we cruised back in the 90’s. The first time we had all been together since then.
We have since moved up to Cayo Costa and are anchored in our favorite spot, planning to enjoy this place one more time for a few days before we head to the dock in Cortez.
27 October 2019 | Charleston, SC
We had a good, but quick visit to Molly's mom and were back in Annapolis and to the boat in a matter of 4 days. We dropped the mooring and headed around to NW Annapolis to Weem's Creek and anchored amidst a bunch of other cruisers waiting for the boat show. We had time for a visit with old Whitby friend Ted and cruising friends Russ and Allison. We also had a few people come look at the boat and John, from Tampa, seems interested in maybe taking over the helm of Allegria. He seems a wonderful guy and would be a good steward of our cherished boat.
We had a good time at the boat show and managed to check on all the items on our list for the new boat. Although there were some interesting looking new boats, we didn't have time to look at any, only spending time on equipment this time around.
After the show, we were hot to move on so we were off for a quick sail to Soloman's and then Deltaville, and then Norfolk in 3 quick days of travel. We fueled up in Norfolk and spent the night there and then moved down the Virginia Cut and North River to our normal anchorage at Buck's Island, just north of the Abermarle Sound. During the night we were invaded by blind mosquitos by the millions, who left some sort of green residue all over the boat. Very gross, but the good news is that it washed off readily with the salt water washdown.
We sailed across the Abermarle and up the Alligator River and then across the Alligator Pungo Canal and anchored in Bellhaven after a 50 knot squall pummeled us as a front passed over. The next day we headed on down to Oriental, but the docks were full so we anchored in Adam's Creek for the night. A spot opened up on the dock the next day so we headed back to Oriental and tied up to wait out Tropical Storm Nestor. As it passed by we were very protected and comfortable, even though waves were crashing over the breakwater. While there, we made a trip to the grocery and dined at M&M restaurant, and also ran into Anita and Tom, who we had met there a few years ago. Tom is the dockmaster at Whitaker Creek Marina, and we had a nice visit catching up. Anita dropped off some wonderful soup and coffeecake. We never cease t be amazed at the kindness we find in the folks we meet along the way and it's one of the things that keeps us going.
We were off early the next morning to catch the tide at the Beaufort Inlet and sailed down to Wrightsville Beach. We got in right before dark and anchored up for yet another frontal passage. We sat there for a day or two for groceries and rest. We wanted to get some of the famous Robert's chicken salad, along with a few other odds and ends.
The weather cleared and the wind was right so off we went down the ICW to the Cape Fear River. We hit the tide right and were spit out of the river and headed down to Charleston. After an overnight sail , we pulled into Charleston and anchored off the Coast Guard base and began to sample the pleasures of this delightful place. We've eaten at our favorite places, shrimp and grits at the Fleet's Landing and fried chicken with fried okra and collard greens at Jestine's, and enjoyed going to the farmer's market with Whitby friends, Fred and Ruth Ann. It's a pleasure just to wander the streets and look at the restored homes and courtyards.
There's another front coming by tonight and we plan to head out early in the morning for Beaufort, SC and to visit old cruising friends, Alan and Cathy. Time to get moving again.
Back to the Chesapeake
28 September 2019 | Annapolis
We left Port Jeff on a quiet day and motor sailed over to Port Washington, just outside the Throg’s Neck Bridge and the start of the East River. It’s a really nice harbor with good protection and services. The city moorings there used to offer two free nights, but are transitioning away from that. We were told now it’s one night free and starting next year no more free nights. It’s still a good deal at $25 per night for the moorings, which also includes a launch service if you don’t want to fool with the dinghy.
We spent a couple of nights and caught up on shopping and saw a movie. From there we caught a fair tide through the city via the East River, always a thrill and then down New York Harbor and under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Then it was a short hop across the outer harbor to Atlantic Highlands, NJ, also a good anchorage and with good services. We spent several days there waiting for weather and finally got a window to head south down the Jersey shore. We managed to find some great eateries and saw another movie. The bagel deli in town was great and we had an excellent burger at Zoe’s. There is also a good grocery and an excellent walkway along the waterfront there to work off all the food. As you walk along you can see the NYC skyline in the distance behind the Verrazano Bridge.
It started out as a light Northeasterly, but eventually filled in and we sailed down passed Atlantic City and dawn saw us off Cape May. We cut the corner and had a fair tide up the Delaware Bay, close reaching in 15-20 knots, and we made record time up the bay on that screaming reach. We were at the C&D Canal at the tide change so we had a good ride through the canal, and then found our favorite anchoring spot at the Bohemia River.
After a quiet night we had a gentle sail down the bay to Annapolis and around to Harness Creek on the south side. We spent a few days there and then it was over to St Michael’s and a visit with Whitby friends, Fred and Ruthann. Then back to Annapolis and up Back Creek and on a mooring. We were scheduled to visit with a broker to talk about listing Allegria for the boat show. After some discussion and thought we decided to hold off on listing her until we get home so we can unload everything and clean her up. It would be very difficult to show her with us living aboard. We have the mooring for a week so we plan to rent a car and go over to Cleveland to visit Molly’s Mom and the return and knock around the bay until the boat show happens. We have a lot of checking to do for equipment for the new boat.
Speaking of the new boat, it is well under way and construction is happening for the decks. We remain excited and are even thinking of another trip over to check the progress of things sometime this winter. I put on of the latest pictures up at the top of this post.
After the boat show we’ll be headed south and hopefully will be back on the west coast of Florida by the first of December.
Back to Southern New England
09 September 2019 | Port Jefferson, NY
The sail down to Provincetown was a rough and tumble affair which both of us were glad to see end. We motored out of Quahog Bay expecting some breeze but what we found was light and required motoring to keep the boat moving. With swell coming from several directions, and little wind pressure, the boat was reminiscent of the inside of a washing machine. We persevered, however, and were grateful to see the lights of the Cape before dawn and downright gleeful when we entered it’s lee. We had the anchor down in the harbor at Provincetown by eight AM and were off to explore the town. We hit some new spots and old favorites, lunch at the Lobster Pot, shopping at the Stop and Shop, and were back to the boat for an early night.
The next morning found us motoring across Cape Cod Bay and we hit the canal at the ebb and were shot though by the tide. We pulled into Onset for a day or two of rest. We made a couple of trips to the laundry and one to the grocery. An old favorite, Marc Anthony’s Pizza was busy being the Holiday weekend and left us disappointed for the first time. The lobster bisque was delightful , but the pizza, usually as delightful, was ordinary.
On Sunday we headed over to New Bedford, a place we’ve not been. There is no anchoring space there so we have avoided it in the past, but this being the year of the smelling of the roses, we decided to stop for a visit to the whaling museum. Entering the harbor there is like going into a fort, as they have a walled hurricane barrier, with large gates that can be closed in the event of a storm. It’s probably something we’ll be seeing more of along the coast now that sealevel is rising and the storms are getting stronger. We picked up a mooring at one of the marinas and set off to explore the town. It is an old whaling town, with a very diverse population from all over the world and a reputation of a more worldly view and history of tolerance due to its large immigrant population and the fact that the seamen were so well traveled. It was one of the most prominent destinations for the underground railroad in the times of slavery and many former slaves became involved in the whaling industry. As whaling declined it became a center for the textile industry, and that continues today. It is filled with historic buildings and cobblestone streets, and is the home of the New Bedford Whaling Museum. This is a definite must see, especially the over 2,000 pieces of scrimshaw, and many other treasures from the past.
We had been following the track of hurricane Dorian and with it getting closer decided to head further west to get as far from its forecast track as possible. We were very sorry to hear of the destruction that was occurring in the northern Bahamas, and were concerned about Florida and the Southeast US. We left New Bedford behind and sailed over to Block Island for a night and then on to Orient Harbor on eastern Long Island, where we sat out the passage of a cold front. Then the next day we sailed on over to Port Jefferson and found anchorage behind the barrier island in Setauket Harbor, where we sat out the hurricane as it passed by far out in the Atlantic. Even though it was far away, we saw 40 knot gusts and several rain squalls during the night, and we felt very fortunate that it was not close.
The morning brought clearing weather and lessening wind. We plan to stay here for a few days to visit with Lisa and then we’ll carry on south and west back toward the Chesapeake. Look for some pictures in the Gallery.
On Around Penobscot Bay
26 August 2019 | Snow Island, ME
We picked up and headed over to Belfast on a beautiful morning that dawned clear and bright. We’ve had fantastic weather up here this year, the best yet. We’ve had very few foggy days and only a couple of rainy days. We anchored outside the mooring field and spent a couple of days visiting the town walking the harbor walk and seeing Molly’s sister, Anne. After filling the larders again at the grocery we headed down to Warren Island and picked up a mooring at the state park. We were I company with a couple of schooners who made it a beautiful sight. We went ashore but were chased away by the mosquitoes. It’s said that they are Maine’s State Bird, and these were good representatives and they were hungry.
We then headed back over to the west side of Vinalhaven to Seal Harbor and to meet up again with old cruising friends Alan and Cathy. We spent the afternoon exploring the area in the dinghy, with Alan showing us a hidden arm of water where the schooners used to winter over. The day was made complete with a dinner with them on Evening Star, the same boat they had when we met them while cruising on Allegria back in the 90’s.
We then sailed around the south end of Vinalhaven and to Hurricane Island, previously a granite quarry, then an Outward Bound School, and now home to the Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership. They are kind enough to let folks stop and walk the trails on the island. Molly decided to pass, but I had a great walk around the island and quarries. There are some old half finished stone carvings and many granite Blocks ready to be transported, but that never made it off the island. Then we headed up the east side of Vinalhaven to Long Cove for the night. It is a wonderful spot and very quiet and protected.
Then it was back to Rockland where we hit the grocery and did laundry with car support from Alan and Cathy and after one last visit to the ROCKLAND Café we headed back west. Our first stop was Maple Juice Cove, the site of the Olsen Farm, where Andrew Wyeth painted Christina and made it famous.
Then we sailed back to Southport and enjoyed the hospitality of Whitby friends, Bruce and Maureen one last time. Then we sailed up the Kennebunk River to Bath, home of the Maine Maritime Museum and Bath Iron Works. We spent a day touring the museum and town, learning about the incredible history of shipbuilding on the Maine coast. Bath Iron Works is still the main builder of destroyers for the US navy, and they have several underway right now.
We left Bath on the ebb tide and were shot out of the river like a cannon and sailed down to Quahog Bay and Snow Island for a couple of days to rest and do boat projects. Now we are ready to jump south and will leave today for Provincetown on the end of Cape Cod, ending our Maine idyll. I’ll post some pictures of all this in the gallery when I get a chance.