Surfing March 2014

The day finally arrived when our son Jim was due to come for a 2 week visit from Puerto Rico. We arranged to meet him at the Green Parrot in downtown Nassau at 7PM. We had a Kalik beer and conch fritters waiting when he arrived sporting his surfboard and one small backpack. Looking very tired but tanned, blond and happy. 20140415-190440.jpg Jim has probably never spent this long with just his parents and no siblings. So this time was going to be spent doing what Jim most wanted to do. Snorkel, surf and relax!

IMG_0364                             OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next morning we were off (after picking up a new dive mask and fins) to Rose Island only a short distance from Nassau. It did not take long and those two (John and Jim) intrepid hunters found a spiny lobster for the dinner pot. A few hours later they found a slipper lobster too. So we had a delicious dinner and taste tested the two kinds of lobsters. Slipper was slightly sweeter but both great tasting! 20140415-191046.jpg 20140415-191115.jpg 20140415-191421.jpg He tried to get in and surf off of Sandy Cay next door to Rose but decided it was not too good. Our goal was to get to Hatchet Bay Eleuthera and show Jim the place we had been a week earlier for surfing. The trip across the bank to Eleuthera turned into a motorsail but gave us opportunity to get some good Maraki pictures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

We were also hoping to meet up with Meridian(Chad and Drew) and Orial C (Glen and Deb) from our long trip out the Erie Canal and ICW trek.                                                 
        20140415-185821.jpg

Glen and Deb on Orial C

IMGA070320140415-201638.jpg

The surfing hotspot was a 3 or so mile hike from the harbor which turned into a hitchhike for them. John and I biked down most days. Hitching is a very normal and acceptable way for folks to get around the island. Only on the weekends did it prove to be slow and not so successful.   Several days in a row the boys spent the bulk of the day at the shore surfing.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                            OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  This is the Surfer Shack where Jim found great local buddies who warmly welcomed visitors to their spot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA              IMGA0757 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

View from above to watch the surf in the shade.
The 3 amigos heading for home after a long good day!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA             OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Local surfer restaurant sporting awesome knick-knacks.   A cold one on the way home for all!

IMG_0452               IMG_0453

We did go to Hatchet Caves and snorkel in the salt pond as well. The pond was actually quite large and had lots of small seahorses along the mangroves. The caves went in for maybe half mile made of limestone. We made it a one way trip and came out a rope ladder into a field at the other end.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jim tried fishing and almost gave up thinking there were no fish to be had. But these pictures showed his success.

photo                photo 1       photo 3

We had crab claws for dinner one night (bought from a local fisherman).

IMG_0397

John got a spider crab which provided a wonderful dinner. Finally John was able to get a grouper and another lionfish too on his hawaiian sling. We ate very well off the sea ! There was good snorkeling just outside of the harbor and we took some underwater pictures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jim was returning to Nassau by Southern Air from Governors Harbor Eleuthera so we rented a car for the day before. That is a story in itself but we did get a Dodge Caravan with 200,000 plus miles on it to sight see the island. We wanted to show Jim the Glass Window which we had seen years before on our return trip to USA in 1998. Jim did not remember it until we got there and then he had some memory of it. It was a great day to be there as the north swell and east wind were up. The glass window is a road over the narrow part of the island with Atlantic on one side and Eleuthera Banks on the other.       IMG_0423                        IMG_0435

This is the Atlantic side crashing onto shore.

20140415-201227.jpg                     20140415-201141.jpg

The bridge crosses north to south and Jim is standing overlooking the banks side where it is calm and serene.  The water rushes under the road and at times of high wind and swell the road may have to be closed.

All too soon is was  time to send Jim back to Puerto Rico. So this post ends with a few family pictures of John, Jim and Lucy.

IMG_0393

 

IMG_0450

Next up is the Exumas in the Bahamas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bahamas Part 2

So I start off Part 2 still in New Providence but now we have moved to Nassau. I never thought we would go to Nassau but we have lots of time and know we can anchor there in the heart of the city (about 200,00 people. ) The anchorage we chose is next door to the cruise ship dock and daily 3-5 ships land at our doorstep. It is entertaining to have some of the largest cruise ships in the world so near by.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We are also at the entrance to Atlantis, a huge family entertainment and gaming resort with marina and hotels themed on the Lost Continent of Atlantis. This is actually located on Paradise Island across from Nassau. We managed to wander around much of the resort including a aquarium with shark, reef, all sorts of fish swimming with plate glass windows the size of huge rooms.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
John also found his next boaT!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We did do some of the tourist things like walking up the Queens Staircase- 54 hand carved steps
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and wandering Fort Charlotte overlooking the harbor from the 1700′s.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
After being in the city for a few days, we longed for the pristine waters and beaches. Luckily Nassau has several small islands not far away, Rose Island is only about 7 miles east and out we headed for snorkeling, beach combing and peace. Did i mention the currents running through Nassau harbor? Wind against current has become my least favorite combination and Nassau had it coming on.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Northward we sailed toward Northern Eleuthera and Royal Island. Royal Island today has only a few ruins from the 11970 era and one new exclusive small resort that runs about $15,000/night for 4 guests. Obviously for the rich and famous not us! We were told we were allowed on the island but only east of the dock. We did enjoy our peaceful walks amongst ruins.
20140415-172944.jpg
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
20140410-085502.jpg
We also killed our first lionfish here and found it to be delicious white, mild meat.20140415-172910.jpg  These fish are an invasive species and should be killed. They are venomous as well so care is needed to cut off 18 spines without getting stung. The remaining meat is excellent.

 

The island of Eleuthera is 90 miles long and only 2-3 miles in most places. It is a more pastoral place seeming to have more water than many other island groups. In the past century, the island grew lots of vegetables and fruits primarily pineapples. it also had dairy and beef cattle as well as chickens. We are not sure what happened to this industry. Now they are trying to bring back this farming and advertise it as “organic”. We appreciated this effort as we needed the produce. More on Eleuthera to come as we return here with our son Jim so he could surf. It is also known for its surf areas.

We were able to dinghy the 4 miles from Royal to the town of Spanish Wells which is a neat and orderly little fishing and mariners community of white Bahamians. Here you could buy most everything we needed in a small area. The area is shallow and beautiful and we picked up a mooring because there is no swinging room for anchoring. We rode our bikes all around the island enjoying their color schemes on the houses and colorful flower gardens.
IMG_0294
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next we sailed through Current Cut and into Eleuthera Bight. We wanted to check out some spots we thought Jim would like to visit when he arrived.We had heard that Hatchet Bay was a good place to surf so we headed there. Hatchet Bay was a salt pond until the limestone cliffs were cut back in 1940s.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The cut is said to be 90 feet wide(looks more like 60) and offers all around protection from any weather. It is deep enough for lots of boats and has moorings put there by the government. The little town of Alice Town with maybe 200 people was very friendly and welcoming. So we stayed just long enough to know that we needed to return with Jim and headed back to Nassau to pick him up.

We leave off again with just a few fishing pictures which substantiates our fish stories.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This is a barracuda that we did not eat because of concerns regarding ciguetera. Just needed to get him off our hook.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

John had to fight for this Jack that almost got eaten by another fish, likely a shark. What a fisherman!!!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh how we love the Bahamas Feb-March 2014

Here I sit in Blackpoint laundry using their washing machines and free WIFI. I need to go back 2 months and update all the fun and adventures we have had. The internet service has been at times non-existent but we were having too much fun anyway to try to search it out.
Backtrack to early February and we quickly get ready to leave Key West to cross over to Bimini Bahamas in the next 24 hours because a change in the weather is forecasted. so we fill the water tanks, fuel tanks and reprovision as much food and drink as we can reasonably hold and set off in a very calm sea.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The crossing of the Gulf Stream from Key West to Bimini is about 120 miles NE and we hope to utilize the 2-3 knots of current in the Gulf Stream to arrive in Bimini in daylight the next day. We motored and motored sailed and arrived as planned. Lots of ship traffic were encountered as we crossed tracks with ships heading into and out of Miami’s busy port. By morning we are off of Bimini and entered and clear Customs easily. It was so beautiful there and the wind we had anticipated was coming so we pulled into Browns Marina and stayed for the night. Cocktails and potluck dinner was enjoyed. The next morning we had dramatic waves and seas to watch from the safety of the marina.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
After a few days of Bimini we headed to Gun Cay to snorkel and explore before heading across the Bahamas Banks.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is miles and miles of sand with 10-15 feet of crystal clear water covering it. Again a light wind motor sailing crossing where we caught some mackerel and kept hoping for more. But there is not a lot of fish to be caught here. by night fall we were off of Chub Cay in the Berry Island group. We did a landing after dark which we always try to avoid but sometimes can’t be helped. We had thought to anchor just off the banks at dusk but found large discrepancy between our charts and our depth sounding so we opted to not risk it.
Chub Cay had a very large new looking marina complex but it was virtually empty except for a few sport fish boats. We wandered around and enjoyed the scenery including this infiniti pool.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
West Bay on New Providence was our next port of call.We were looking for a place to land near the airport for picking up our son Jim in a few weeks. We biked around the south and west side of New Providence which is much less inhabited and seems to cater to the rich and famous. The Lyford Cay peninsula had this almost Disneyesque looking resort? private home on the point.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
On the SW side of New Providence was a terminal port for oil delivery but historically it was used in the slave trade. here you see a cut into rocks staircase that was used to bring slaves ashore.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Also located in West Bay was the Clifton Heritage Park which had a great spot for viewing birds.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
This is a sculpture made from casaurina wood called the Sacred Ladies.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Very cool sculpture!!
But that is enough blogging for now. I will leave you with this full moon thought and a promise to continue this tomorrow.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fort Myers Beach and the Knape Family–2 Posts in one day!!

So when we heard that John’s parents Herb and Glenna(now 90 and 91) we coming to Florida for a week we knew we wanted to sail up there to Fort Myers Beach and see them. We motored/sailed the 120 miles northward overnight and it took about 24 hours. This is the sunrise over the coastline of Naples/FMB.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We arrived the same day they did. Here they are on the pontoon boat that sister MaryLou and Bruce rented.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
They had no trouble getting on and off the boat from the dock. They are amazing! Don’t they look great and happy! especially to be in warm weather and not bundled up. We spent everyday enjoying being with them.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We got Mom in the pool and Dad did a swim at their hotel many mornings to “get some exercise. My sister in law(and good friend) Cindy and I played our version of pool pickle ball for our exercise!
20140203-155400.jpg
Fort Myers Beach has a large mooring field in a well protected spot on the IntraCoastal Waterway just inside of Estkero Island. We don’t usually go to mooring balls preferring to anchor on our own anchor. However we knew we would be spending lots of time away from the boat so we did this for security.
This picture was taken at 8AM one morning from the mooring area as what John calls a “roll cloud” sped over us. I was expecting strong winds and a storm but that did not happen. Just a rainy and cooler day. Made an interesting picture though.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA</
Another shot of a pontoon ride down to see Maraki at her mooring spot.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The week sped by and soon it was time for Mom and Dad to go to Tampa for a cruise to Central America. So we prepared to head back to Key West and onwards. However when we anchored just outside the big bridge into FMB we discovered Bird Island. The remaining pictures were taken there in the hour before dusk.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
What awesome faces these pelicans have!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
These are called Roseate Spoonbill and there were 2 of them, one pink the other red. Loved stalking them.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
White pelicans seen here -they stayed separate from the other kinds of pelicans. They are not in the same family as the other pelicans. We have seen these birds up in Michigan as they migrate from there. They are larger and look slightly different.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
But that is enough bird pictures for now. I like to end with another sunset picture over FMB.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We will soon be leaving Key West and Florida and sailing on to the Bahamas. We hope all is well with everyone and that this brutal, wintery weather will soon come to an end. Spring will come!

Still in Florida and it is February 8th 2014

We are back in Key West where we have already hung out for a month. We have managed to sail out to Boca Grande(15 miles away) and up to Fort Myers Beach. We spent time with John’s brother Jim and Eva who sail their 31 foot Corsair each winter around the Florida waters. They sail much faster than we do.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We found a good anchorage spot west of Mallory Square(for those of you who have visited here). We have observed many gorgeous sunsets from there and off of our boats The sunset cruise boats seem to be making a good living off the tourists anyway.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We have had lots of fun with our Michigan buddies (Steve and Sarah T) from many years ago. They had been very hospitable to us and have allowed us to share their beautiful old home as well as park our trusty bikes there instead of taking them back to the boat everyday.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Imagine us slow sailor going 30 mph over skinny water(anything less than 7 feet is skinny to us) and the thrill of it all. We went with Steve and Sarah for a daytrip on their “panga” fishing boat. We went to a deserted cay north and west of Key West some 15 miles or so. It was beautiful and fun.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Did I say relaxing too??
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA<
We saw manatee as well.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
It has not been all play as boat repairs and maintainence had to be done. Laundry, groceries and books that needed reading. Anyone feeling sorry for us? No it has been a good and relaxing stop.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Key West Race Week was the third week of January so we were able to watch several days of racing just south of the island. We did see many Michigan sailors participating including DeVos’s.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We made lots of friends of island residents too. Here are some of the more photogenic ones.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We made new people friends too but we forget to photograph them.
So I will now publish this and attempt to do another post for the Fort Myers Week with Johns family.

2014 Arrives with Maraki in Key West

So it has been a long time since last we made a blog post. We are now set up with our ipad and can put up posts from the boat. I will start with the final state of the ICW- Florida. The ICW continued to be full of challenges including lots of opening bridges, shallows and moving shoals, canal like areas as well as beautiful natural rivers and swamps. the sunrises and sunsets continue to amaze us with their beauty.

20140108-121602.jpg

20140108-121522.jpg

20140108-121535.jpg

We have found new friends that call Maraki their home as well. (although we did eventually have to kick this one out as it “fowled” the dinghy.

20140108-121511.jpg

We were able to find suitable anchorages along the way including the big cities of Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. There have been numerous times when we have found the bottom but none of these groundings have been hard on us or the boat. It just is a shallow area.

20140108-121421.jpg

Our short-term goal since leaving Michigan had been to make it to Miami so that the boys would have a place to spend Christmas vacation with us on Maraki. So we continued to push southward and arrived in Miami with a week to spare. That meant we had time to clear bunks of our extra stuff so that they would have a place to sleep.

20140108-124743.jpg
This is Charlie’s bunk that was full of extra sails.

20140108-124705.jpg
This is where Chris and Mike slept when they lived onboard as kids. The bunks seem much smaller for them now but everyone managed just fine.
Jim was not able to join us for Christmas as he is working at a resort in Puerto Rico and can not take any time off. We missed him a lot but his bunk was not cleared of the extra belongings we still carry. We will be ready for Jim when he can join us-this spring we hope.

We picked the boys up in Miami Beach-South Beach and spent a day or so there getting prepared for Christmas. Then headed to No Name Harbor which is in Bill Boggs State Park on Key Biscayne. Here we had a potluck dinner with other yachties we had been sailing with. It was a perfect way to spend the day. We were alongside a dock in the harbor so we could come and go. windsurfing, bike riding and rollerblading as well as game playing and looking at our new gifts.

20140108-121720.jpg

20140108-121841.jpg
Windsurfing, swimming and relaxing with plenty of books reads and games played were the mainstays onboard
Maraki.

20140108-121807.jpg

20140108-121744.jpg

20140108-121700.jpg

20140108-121816.jpg
We sailed down the Hawk Channel with a pleasant breeze from the north to east making it for good sailing. We did not have great anchorages because of Maraki’s depth and lack of good places to hide from the wind. However we lost little sleep and continued on for our goal of arriving in Key West in time to celebrate our oldest son Chris’s 28th birthday. We were also hoping to spend New Years Eve wandering Old Town Key West. Here you have the choice of watching a wench drop from the top of a tall ships mast, a conch shell drop from a post or a drag queen descend. CNN was there to document “Sushi”‘s descent. Just like the ball in Time Square. We elected to see the wench and the boys went to the drag queen. Sorry but i have no pictures of any of these!

Soon it was time for the boys to return to their homes and back to work. they are not quite over the fact that we have retired but they must work!
The day they left the weather turned giving us a strong north gale. Here is the front as it approaches.

20140108-121828.jpg

20140108-121853.jpg
Our anchorage off of Key West was secure with 2 anchors out. It blew 30-40 knots for a day and now we are still waiting for the winds to die down so we can go ashore. But all is well here on the Maraki.
Our plan is to try to sail to the Dry Tortugas in the next settled period. Then we plan to sail up to Fort Myers Beach and spend some time with John’s parents and family who will be visiting there. The Bahamas should follow that.
We think of all our family and friends who are in the cold north and hoping that they are warm, healthy and happy. We wish you all a wonderful 2014 and maybe we will even see some of you in the coming year. Cheers to all. John and Lucy

20140108-131226.jpg

Intracoastal waterway (aka ICW) November 2013

I want to describe for you all what the ICW is really all about. It starts officially in Norfolk and goes all the way to Miami. That makes 1098 statue miles to “motor” through. The transiting of the ICW (also known as the Ditch) requires one to juggle the tide and current schedules, constantly changing weather reports, bridge opening/closing schedules and lots of people trying to use the same channels. The route goes through rivers, channels, sounds and man-made cuts.  Here is an example of the Boat Parade.

 

                       Image

 

Here you can also see the Red marker on the right side of the channel. The motor boats pass us slow sailboats sometimes leaving us with huge wakes to deal with. 

 

This is an example of the green markers that we needed to pay close attention to.

                      Image

 

                        Image

 

 

 We had an additional challenge with this portion of our trip as we have a 7 foot draft to put through all the shallow area.  These birds on standing on land that appears at low tide and we are going right along side it for miles!

                       Image

 

                       Image

 

This is an example of the salt marshes that are so extensive most of the way.

                        Image

 

                       Image

Long long docks are a must because of the shallow depths and it looks like they put more money into their wooden docks than their house. Not this house however.  Lots of pink  but very cute.

                       Image

Bird life abounded with pelicans, egrets, bald eagles,seagulls, terns. we also now have dolphins in many harbors. 

                       Image

We did make two “outside” passages. One was from Cape Fear near Wilmington, N.C. to Charleston S.C. It was 138 miles from port to port. We had a good weather forecast and expected it to only take about 24 hours. However the wind changed from SE to SW to NW to NE. The velocity also changed from 0 to 30 knots.  The other “outside” passage was from Beaufort S.C. to St Marys Georgia. Again about 130 miles of open ocean but we ended up with some rain, motoring about 6 hours and then sailing the last half with a sea that rolled us around. But both passages were warm and clear mostly. 

Here is John communing with the dolphins at sunset on the first passage.         

 

                       Image

 

We have had some good crab dinners courtesy of the local fisherman.  See the tools we used to crack the crabs??

                      Image

We are now in Fernandina Beach Florida and will be moving onward toward St Augustine tomorrow. Love being able to be in t-shirts and shorts with flip-flops again. We are still moving with lots of boats and will continue with the ICW for now. We are really looking forward to having the kids join us for Christmas. Happy Thanksgiving to you all! We have so much to be thankful for. 

 

Annapolis Maryland to Beaufort North Carolina October 27 to November 7, 2013

It is getting warmer and we are making steady progress. I am writing this in Beaufort NC during a rainy morning. We are taking a day off of travel and enjoying the little town of Beaufort North Carolina.  It is a salty town and the bikes show it.

                                                                                                                  IMGA0239

Annapolis was an interesting sailors treat which we enjoyed because the weather was warm, mostly sunny and lots to see. The pictures show why it is called the sailing capital of the USA. There are boats mostly sail everywhere crammed into 2 creeks called Back Creek where we anchored and Spa Creek where the Naval Academy is.      John Merritt, does this look at all familiar??   We put our bikes on shore and rode all around the town.

.Image

Image

They start kids early in Optimist Prams and grow them up into these racers.  This guy sailed right up behind us going very fast under full sail. the pic is blurry because he kinda scared me as i did not know he was there until the last minute.

                                                         Image

The Sailing Hall of Fame induction was occurring on Sunday for several notables like Runnie Collie of Barnegat Bay, Stewart Walker of Soling fame as well as seeing Gary Jobson in attendance. The Navy Band played and lots of blue blazers.

Image

This is an example of a screwpile lighthouse that dot the Chesapeake Bay keeping you off the many shoals.  I think it is the Thomas Point lighthouse but our lighthouses are all blending together.

We headed out south to Solomons Island 45 miles away. It was light wind and warm sun. We found our buddy boats from the Erie Canal and spent an evening in an anchorage with them. Here we heard that Jim of Chrome Heart from Houghton MI had given his boat away to a sailing program in Sandy Hook and returned home. What a guy he is! Best of luck to you Jim in your next adventure.

Entrance to Solomons Island just off the Patuxent River. It was quiet and peaceful and seemed to be a base for the Moran tugs. (added for you Will.)

Image

IMGA0152

And so the days pass with us up at first light! It is like a train of boats all going south and trying to beat the cold. Who said retirement is easy??

IMGA0167

IMGA0164

I do find ways to relax and enjoy the day too! Missing my  book club buddies and their books but i hope i soon will be ready to join the discussions remotely. Don’t give up on me ladies.

                                                                                 IMGA0168

John however is always ready to do hamburgers on the grill and Nina, we have enjoyed the M salt you gave us!  We still tend to make all our meals on the boat. It is a habit we acquired with the years of living on Maraki with 4 little boys to feed and now it is just what we prefer to do.

                                    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Reaching the southern end of the Chesapeake on October 30 and going around Thimble Shoals in flat calm.   However there is always lots of traffic as well as several knots of current to contend with.  We had a submarine coming in and a big cruise ship going out as well as other ships and lots of little tugs running all around.  A very fast commuter-style yacht from the early 1930s? And us little sailboats.  A very busy shipping channel.

IMGA0177

IMGA0174

IMGA0175

IMGA0179

We wanted to reach Charlie by Halloween in order to be anchored in front of his sailing team practice area just outside of the naval shipyard on the Lafayette River. We love watching our now adult children mentoring and guiding the next generation and think Charlie does a great job. Here are some pics of him in action.  Charlie’s team also participated in the Mid-Atlantic Team Racing Championships which their club hosted. There were a total of 10 schools that qualified from New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and Pennsylvania and his team came in 4th!!

IMGA0187

The Halloween practice was a “costume-only” and Bring a friend to sail practice as it was the last practice of the regular season. Even the coaches got into the action. Charlie and his friends had many hours into building this pirate ship costume. Yikes!

We were able to have Maraki at the NorfAolk Yacht and Country Club for 2 nights and for 2 nights we anchored out in front.  It is a very dignified and fancy yacht club. They keep the young sailors (and Charlie) off to the side.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After giving Charlie a haircut and then sending him back ashore, we needed to move on again and this time Mile Zero of the Intracoastal Waterway was calling us

IMGA0202

IMGA0199

IMGA0195

 John did visit the maritime museum in Norfolk called Nauticus and said it was very good.  He toured the Battleship Wisconsin which is now housed here. Norfolk is a big Navy town as well as ship-building place. We sailed along miles of waterfront involved in ship repair, aircraft carriers and other naval ships in huge drydocks along the river.

  The Intracoastal Waterway(ICW) begins at Norfolk on the Elizabeth River and ends in Florida.  With our 7 foot draft(how deep we are under the water) it will be a challenge to keep us going and not running aground.  It has only one lock thankfully(which broke down and closed a few day AFTER we passed through it), numerous bridges which lift or swing open thousands of buoys to help mark the deeper channels. 

IMGA0210

IMGA0214

                          OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 It runs through rivers, canals, swampland, just inside ocean sandbars. We seen lots of bald eagles, pelicans, few deer and frequent dolphins alongside us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA IMGA0216 IMGA0230 IMGA0226

                                                    IMGA0238

The traveling is stressful because one of us always needs to be looking for the next markers of the channel and always keeping an eye on the depth sounder. The tide now needs to be factored in as well as related current effects.  We have done some sailing on the wider rivers and sounds which is a pleasant relief from the engine noise.  There are fun-sounding names like the Alligator River, Pungo canal and river and Dismal Swamp.  The temperature is rising day by day and no more frost on our decks!  Have not gone swimming yet but John cleaned the mud off the hull in his swimsuit today.  The mud is unrelenting as each anchor pull brings up new specimens.

  Our goal is still Miami for Christmas and the kids are buying their airplane tickets.  Only another 500 miles to go but we may make some of those outside of the ICW so it will be manageable.

IMGA0246

All is well with us tonight.

Not another canal problem! October 20 to October 29

I am almost caught up with real time!   it has been another eventful week and near disaster has been averted yet again. We are now in Annapolis in Back Creek and enjoying a day of sun and relative warmth.

The trip from Sandy Hook to Cape May New Jersey went very well and was wonderful to have wind and freedom for Maraki to play.  It started out windy,cold and boisterous. We dress for comfort not for style in case you wondered.

IMGA0035

but settled into a beautiful sail all the way down to Atlantic City. In fact it was so pleasant we made a last minute decision to keep going and do an overnighter to Cape May. The moon was full and the seas calm as we were not more than a mile off shore.

We passed Atlantic City just after dark and the neon lights and large Trump like hotels lit up the night for miles. Just at sunset we saw what we believed to be 2 right whales playing between us and shore.   Could not get a picture of them or the dolphins we saw earlier.  I went to sleep for a few hours and John stayed awake until midnight,   Then I got up and sailed until 0400 when i woke John up again.   Back onto the old watch schedule of 4 on and 4 off.   Feels good to be doing this again.

By early morning John was back on watch and motorsailed us around Cape May into Delaware Bay.  The sun was up and the wind mild but most important was that the current was pushing us(with a boost of 3 knots) north and west toward the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. So instead of stopping and resting like we had planned, we continued on.

IMGA0045

This is a car carrier ship that looks ridiculous on the seas but i am sure all the cars arrive salt-free.

The Delaware Bay is shallow meaning we stuck to the channel marked for ships going up towards Philadelphia and the C and D canal.  It was even warm enough to take showers on deck and get out of our winter dress.  No pictures of the deck showers however. Maybe next time. The distance from Cape May to Delaware City is about 50 miles.

IMGA0054

By mid afternoon we entered the Delaware end of the canal and still had the current pushing us so we kept going. Maybe we should have stopped but i think nothing would have changed what happened next.
Sailing and anchoring is forbidden in the C and D canal because of the amount of large boat traffic as well as being narrow. It opened originally in 1829 but has been improved upon until now it is 35 feet deep and 400 feet wide and runs for only 14 miles into the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay. We were planning on only going a few more miles and stopping at a place called Chesapeake City MD for the night. Suddenly I heard a noise down below. I yelled for John to put it in neutral as I believed we had hit something. John responded “I have no reverse” followed immediately that he had no forward either. Now this is not a good thing when we have a 3 knot current pushing us and sailing/anchoring are not permitted as well as having large ship traffic. There was also a bridge with large cement legs behind us.
IMGA0089
John threw open the engine compartment and stated that the shaft was turning inside the boat so we either had no shaft or no propeller or we had neither. So we tried sailing to keep us in place as we called into a marina we had passed. We made a little progress but the wind did not cooperate much. It was a scary situation. Finally the marina came out and towed us into their marina. The next morning we were hauled out to find our propeller gone but the shaft was there. This big marina named Summit North luckily was able to haul us and now we had to find a new propeller. Our cousin Bryan is a naval architect in Seattle and with his assistance we determined what prop we needed to buy. However the prop shop was in Baltimore 67 miles away. We could wait for the marina to have one freighted to us or rent a car and go get it ourselves. So next morning at 0500 we headed with our shaft to the prop shop.

 Here is the expensive beautiful new prop and shaft ready to be installed.

IMGA0073

A few days later we were ready to shove off again headed for the rest of the canal and then down the Chesapeake.
IMGA0091IMGA0099

IMGA0102

The morning we left Summit North we had heavy frost on the deck and the dock was slippery with frost as well. It is time to head south.
IMGA0093
We made a big day of motoring/sailing to Annapolis and ended up with 30 knots of wind on the nose in not very deep water with a million crab pots to avoid. We were happy to arrive in Back Creek and get the anchor down.
IMGA0106

This post was difficult to do and not sure why. Nothing wanted to cooperate. It may have been internet connection

New York City to Sandy Hook- October 14 to October 20

 So I pick up in New York where we left off. Touring NYC by boat from a mooring at 79th st was ideal in many ways. The boat basin itself shows much sign of aging but it has looked this way for years. However the price of $30/night can not be beat and the location is perfect for visiting mid and lower Manhattan. Here is John rowing into the Basin and the moorings are just north of this.  The current really rips during ebb tide(current flowing back to ocean) so timing of our departures and returns to boat were necessary. But we managed to snag the closest mooring ball luckily.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe New Jersey shore is seen in the background here.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the view from the Hudson and the boat basin is under those stone arches in the middle.   Central Park is a 15 minute walk directly in and the bike path runs right along the river here for miles.  The amenities are spartan- one shower and one toilet, a broken washer and dryer but safe dinghy dock and friendly people. What more does one need?

IMGA0977

So our bikes rides took us to all the tourist places like Intrepid (aircraft carrier that is now a museum). You too can rent bikes and do this.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There are parks  with sculptures along the bike/walking paths.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMGA0920

IMGA0943

Views of One World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty across the Hudson.

Another mooring area in lower Manhattan.        Farmers markets .

IMGA0937                                   IMGA0965

IMGA0964

Kids soccer under the Brooklyn Bridge.

South Street Seaport has fallen on hard times and hopefully will make a comeback.

IMGA0953

IMGA0921

Beach volleyball. You get the idea though-anything and everything can be seen and done along the route.

Central Park was established in 1853 and provides 800 plus acres of green space, ponds, reservoirs, running /walking/biking trails.

IMGA0976

IMGA0969

Remote control sailboats sailing in the park. They were filming a movie here and luckily were warned ahead of time(by a few seconds) that a chase scene was coming complete with drawn guns and a police action.  would have been scary if we had not heard and saw this happening.!

Pete Seger’s old boat called the Clearwater sails around up and down the Hudson with school kids on board giving lessons on the health of the river.

IMGA0986

We took a day to visit my brother Will and his wife  Elizabeth in Queens which has a very different feel. much quieter and settled. Here is Will and his baby Nigel (a 30 year old Green parrot he has had for many many years).

IMGA0932

IMGA0933

But despite really enjoying our stay in NYC we needed to keep going south so on October 17th we sailed out for Sandy Hook New Jersey. Again we went with the ebb tide and sped down past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

IMGA0999

IMGA0005

IMGA0007

IMGA0998

Under the Verrazano Narrows bridge headed south. Lots of shipping goes through here so a sharp watch must be kept.

IMGA0011

For the first time in over 13 years we are sailing Maraki on the Atlantic Ocean again even if it was only about 20 miles .   Sandy Hook was hard hit in Hurricane Sandy and we were not sure what would all be available but we found the place largely rebuilt. We anchored inside the breakwall  at Atlantic Highlands New Jersey to prepare for going out and around the Jersey coast headed for Cape May.

IMGA0018

IMGA0021

We waited around here for a day because Charlie was coming up to Shrewsbury Sailing and Yacht Club (just 10 miles south of Sandy Hook)  with his school sailing team to compete in the Mid-Atlantic Scholastic Sailing Assoc. regatta for the weekend.  So we met up with him and watched him do his coaching job. Same old pink hat and fuzzy face.

IMGA0030

IMGA0028

 IMGA0029

 IMGA0027

They compete in 420′s and his team consisted of five 10th graders(Homecoming was the same weekend and stole his upperclassmen). There were a total of 18 teams from New York, Maryland , Virginia, New Jersey and Charlie’s team finished 7th. It was fun to watch him and the kids obviously love him.  He was hoping for better but doesn’t every coach?? How about that, Joe O’Brien? Is that true?

Charlie’s schoolbus driver came to pick us up and took this picture on the highest natural point on the seashore from southern Maine to the Yucatan in Mexico. Hard to believe because it is not very tall-only 266 feet! Mt. Mitchell

IMGA0025

Early the next morning we were underway at first light to sail out headed for Atantic City and south. The wind and current were  strong  and threw us out of the bay and into  ocean.

IMGA0032

So I am getting much faster at this blogging thing and hopefully will catch up to real time soon. We are yet again stuck in a canal (but in a marina with wifi ) as we speak but that is for the next post.  Thanks for all the positive feedback we have received!