12 July 2012
July 10, 2012
We made the final log book entry for Phase VII when we left Why Knot on the day after Independence Day. As always it is bitter sweet but there is the reward of being home for a while at the other end of the 1,600 mile drive. If we have a plan at all it is to be back aboard in September or early October. Phase VII took us from Wilmington, NC to Solomons, MD and past several bucket list places. Norfolk/Portsmouth is one of those places that was intimidating as one looked on the charts while having never been there. It is something to sail past real Navy yards and immediately past a very active Navy Base then into historic waters where this nation defended itself for well over 200 years. My interest in that sort of stuff has been rewarded with much more yet to see. To those who live and asil regularly on the Chesapeake Bay, we are sure they do not consider the true magnitude of those waters, not only the history but also the concentration of places to go. Certainly, we got a deeper knowledge of the War of 1812 and we were surprised by a fellow who questioned all the hoopla over the 200th anniversary of those events. Said he: “Except for the Star Spangled Banner, there was little to celebrate as it was basically a draw with the key event being the British burning of Washington, DC.” I mentioned, in spirit of argument that there was a little “tussle” in New Orleans that gave some pride to that endeavor.
Anyway, the crew of Why Knot is now on shore leave for a bit. She rests, in a nice, safe spot (we hope), with her lines doubled and rigged for bad weather, for all but a major hurricane. We managed to remove a great deal of stuff that is not necessary whilst cruising the “Colonies”. I do not think I really need to haul around a dozen sea water impellers and two complete sea water pumps as an example. We unshipped the 15 hp dinghy prime mover and all the spares I acquired for same. All in all, I think we removed well over a thousand pounds of stuff. For the life of me, I cannot think of a reason to have two dozen towels and eight, count’em, eight pair of blue jeans. Nor do we need to keep aboard the charts of the Gulf of Mexico and Northern Mexico. The MSU was completely full.
Our trip home was taxing to say the least on the Bear. We took our time and stopped often so she could stand up. We were again rewarded by our first trip through the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains the Shenandoah Valley and some serious history. We did not stop to visit a few of them such as Manassas, Chancellorsville or the Wilderness battle grounds. That should indicate how focused we were to get back to Texas.
We have started to walk steadily on land yet the twinge of life aboard is still with us. The clock ticks on getting back to the boat but for now, we walk among the land dwellers. Gotta start using land language when discussing stuff such as telling the tire shop the low tire is the port stern or the dent is on the nose. It is rope on land, not lines, sheets, rode, halyards, toping lift, outhauls, downhauls and painters. It is rooms not cabins and restrooms not heads. The only wire around here is electrical. We do not listen to the morning SSB broadcasts and weather is not the first order of the day.
Of phase VII, we can say that we were not disappointed in the least though we did not make the Maine Coast this time. While the waters got colder the farther north we sailed, the sailing environment is great. The heritage of the sea brings one into a deep appreciation of what it took to simply “get along” during the days of sail. Portsmouth/Norfolk and the Chesapeake Bay are definitely keystones in America’s survival over the centuries as are the small ports and towns that supported the New World efforts of settlement. While there is much written about just how they, the Europeans, wiggled their way on shore and convinced the indigenous folks to “scoot over” it is evident that much has been lost in documenting the original citizens’ efforts to do so. The success of early Europeans is due in no small way to the support of the many tribes that lived along the Atlantic shores and it would be great if more markers told of their lives.
Phase VIII starts on our return to Why Knot in late summer. We will winter in Zahniser’s marina and that might be an experience we won’t want to repeat next year due to weather. After all, we originally thought about wintering in the Keys . Then again, it might be just fine and we will have an early start to touch Maine next year. Who knows? So far, except for the health issues, the time since dropping the dock lines in Port Aransas in January 2010 has been most enjoyable. Nearly every crew we’ve encountered along the way, particularly during the last phase, has been amazed at how we came to their harbor. Certainly, there are many that have come farther and some have done the whole mud ball, but we do not have a problem with our dream.
We will be posting many photos in the near future of the latest part of our adventure in the gallery part of the blog. I shot them in high resolution and must convert them to low rez to post. It might take some time.