Thursday night, June 16th thru Saturday, June 18th
Arrived Thursday, and Saturday we're still at the original marina (Snead Island Boat Works - Palmetto, FL) took us a little longer to get our sh!t together than we thought. I believe we're pulling out in the morning and heading down to Fort Myers. Don't know if we'll go the whole way, or maybe stop somewhere on the way. Things are shaping up beautifully though - everything going on is still just falling to place! Life is good!
Sunday, June 19th
Finally pulled out this morning - had an absolutely delightful 4 hour cruise south! Enjoyed dolphins playing in our wake for a while.
Watch 'em for yourself!
in to fuel up about 1:30, then the fun began.
Didn't know which was the main tank vs the aux tank (which was full).
Well what were the chances?
Yep - we picked the aux fill, thankfully only spilled a little fuel on the boat - not in the water (Thank God!).
Started in the main fill, we had 80 gallons, were told it was a 300 gal tank.
Filled 50 gals, and the tank minder correctly read 130 gals.
Filled some more, got another correct read.
Decided to fill a total of 200 gals that should give us a tank full of 280 gals.
Well, we filled up to 250 gals, and slightly overflowed again!
Quickly mopped that up (again, thankfully, nothing in the water!).
Went to start the motors - port wouldn't start, then our bilge pump alarms began to sound.
Shut down everything and went to check in the engine room - the floorboards were floating!
Fired up all bilge pumps and managed to get all the water out, turned off the generator raw water intake and stopped the inflow.
One of the recommendations from the survey was to replace a certain hose.
We asked the marina to do that.
We're thinking that either they didn't, or they didn't do it correctly.
We'll see when we get someone to look at it.
Matt tried to figure it out, but can't get behind the piece he thinks he needs to to look. . . . .
Putted a couple miles south to the Crows Nest Marina (Venice, FL), tied up for the night, and called a mobile mechanic - hoping he'll be able to come here tomorrow. Whew! Time for a few cold ones!
Monday, June 20th
The mechanic from Neil Cameron Marine Services showed up, and ended up replacing a generator heat exchanger end cap. This wasn't mentioned in the survey, but obviously (from the looks at the cap) wasn't a new problem. Oh well, he replaced it - and we're good to go.
We left Venice Monday (6/20) late morning, and anchored at Gasparilla Island that night. Got to go for a swim (the water was about 84 degrees!) and relax for the night. Very pretty place!
Tuesday/Wednesday, June 21st & 22nd
Tuesday morning we continued south and pulled in to Cabbage Key to enjoy a Cheeseburger in Paradise for lunch at the Cabbage Key Inn. We were a little early getting in, so walked the nature trail before eating. Got back to the restaurant and couldn't help gaping as we walked in and thru the place to our table - everywhere you look is totally covered in currency! As in dollar bills (and fives, tens and whatever!). They say there's about sixty thousand dollars hanging, and about ten grand falls off per year - they donate that to charity. How cool is that??? We added our dollar before we left. Moving on south again, pulled into Marinatown at Fort Myers. Hooked up with Bill and Haroldine Scarpitta (friends from the Toms River Yacht Club who relocated down here a few years ago) Tuesday afternoon. Spent several wonderful hours with them - on our boat, at their beautiful condo, then they took us to dinner. Had a really great time! After dinner, we were walking down the (long) dock to return to our boat, and heard a call of "help!". Found the guy, probably in his late 60's or so, also probably a bit drunk, in the water hanging on to some electric lines and water hookups between his sailboat and the finger dock. Couldn't get him out by ourselves, so I ran back towards the restaurants to find more help. 2 restaurant patrons and a waiter came running to help - it took Matt and 2 guys to haul this guy's butt out. The woman who came with them mentioned to me that she and her other half were both nurses. The guy had some scrapes, but was otherwise ok. They got him on his boat and asked that he please just go below and be careful. Saw him this morning, one arm bandaged, and in between thanking us profusely said he was fine. . . (Found out later that he's a great guy, had a stroke a few years ago and is a bit unsteady even on a good day.)
Looking over charts for today, thinking we'll probably depart here first thing tomorrow morning. Have some work to catch up on for our stupid unemployment claims, and Matt has his 1st unemployment interview scheduled between 11:40 and 1:40 today (they are calling him). Didn't want to be cruising during that call. So we'll just hang here today, it's really pretty and maybe I'll get in some pool time this afternoon! (Did get the pool time, then drinks with Bill & Haroldine, then dinner on the boat.)
Thursday, June 23, 2011 - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
The Good news is that at the Marina we stopped at today (Marco River Marina), I was checking in, and asked the guy if there was a local electronics place where I could try to get a printer cable. He said yeah - there's a Radio Shack, but wait, describe the cable. I did - he said just wait here a minute. He came back a few minutes later with exactly I needed and my printer's now up and operational. He said "consider it a present".
The Bad news is that we stopped this marina because now we need a new alternator - gonna limp it down to Marathon FL tomorrow and hopefully get one, as we couldn't here. There's a big Napa Auto Parts place down there, spoke with them and are pretty sure they have what we need. What a pain.
And the Ugly - Matt had to go down in the engine room, first to take off the alternator, then to reinstall it so that we can limp southward tomorrow. He did so with no shirt and a big butt crack. Need I elaborate?
Friday, June 24, 2011
Left Marco Island by about 10 a.m., pulled into Marathon Yacht Club about 4 in the afternoon. MYC was kind of empty - I guess it's their "off season" right now. (YC note - cost was $2/foot for the nite) Hung at the bar with a few locals, had a fish & chips dinner that was quite yummy.
Saturday, June 25th
In the a.m., I walked to West Marine (about a 3/4 mile walk) and bought a Chart Kit for "region 7" (east coast Fla) - thought we had one, but it didn't materialize when we needed it. Got kind of a late start - didn't really get out of Marathon Yacht Club 'till about 10:30, then stopped at the Marathon Marine to fuel up. I'm making great friends with my "Offshore Navigator" software - able to easily create routes to follow. Anchored about 6 p.m. between Rubicon Keys and Reid Key in Caesar Creek. Matt caught a wahoo while we were underway - so that made a great dinner! Swam some, checked the props and rudder.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Came up the inside today to gawk at all the beautiful real estate. Ended up in Lake Sylvia in Fort Lauderdale. Such a quiet hole - but apparently a favored anchorage by locals for weekends. Got another swim in - raft-ups and tubing going on around us, but dwindling since it is Sunday evening. Guess the poor suckers must have to work tomorrow. . . We're in the midst of grilling some ribs for dinner. Thinking of watching a movie upstairs tonight - it's thundering, and now raining a bit, but hopefully the most part of the storm is passing us by. If not we'll just lower the sides 'till it's does. Going to get moving early tomorrow, aiming for the Stuart area. It's about 80 to 90 miles, but we should be in by late afternoon. We're supposed to catch up with our friends Bobby & Sandy who live there - hoping to go to dinner w/ them.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Left Lake Sylvia just before 7 a.m. We went most of the day up the ICW, spent lots of time gawking at the real estate and boats, er - excuse me, I mean YACHTS, through Fort Lauderdale. Done it before, but it never fails to amaze!!! Got stuck waiting for several bridges to open, so about 2:00 or so we left the ICW via the Lake Worth inlet. Went into "hurry up" mode that brought us up to the St. Lucie inlet and let us pull into Pirates Cove in Port Salerno about 4:15. Bobby and Sandy came and met us, and treated us to dinner at Pirates Cove. Was much fun being able to spend some time with them!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Left Stuart/Port Salerno about 10:30 this morning under partly cloudy skies. Made a quick stop at Mariner Cay (right next door to Pirates Cove) to get the now almost full holding tank pumped out. Went out of St. Lucie inlet, then back into the ICW at Fort Pierce. Continued north, eventually anchoring in front of Capt. Hiram's Resort (about 15 miles north of Vero Beach) in Sebastian, FL. While we were out in the ocean, Matt caught his 2nd fish of the trip - a tuna this time! Sashimi for lunch was amazing. Then, of course, it had to start raining, eventually pouring on us, making for some very challenging navigation in quickly diminishing visibility and a VERY narrow channel! But the tuna steaks for dinner - marinated in teriyaki, fresh garlic and fresh ginger more than made up for that! Cruised about 50 miles today - gonna catch a Netflix move and some shut-eye. Will figure out where were aiming for tomorrow morning.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Left Sebastian about 9:30 this morning. Weather doesn't sound very promising (actually, probably not for the next week!), so we didn't plan on a long day. Came up the ICW, made about 50 miles, and pulled into the Cocoa Village Marina (Cocoa, FL) at about 12:30 in a downpour. Went for a walk thru town in spite of the rain - they have a bunch of little but fun shops. The general store (grabbed a bite to eat there), a hardware store that is a "must see", went thru an antique shop and a couple other little touristy kind of shops, and a great used book store where Matt stocked up on reading material. Came back to the boat to discover that the inverter isn't inverting. We got A/C, a few 12 volt lites, and nothing else (no freezers or fridge, no outlets, no galley appliances). Hmmmm. This is probably not a good thing. Matt scours everything trying to figure it out. Eventually put a call into the marina who did the installation. Numerous phone calls back and forth, a bunch of trouble shooting, a lot of frustration. . . nothing worked. Matt finally had to by-pass the inverter and the marina will call us back tomorrow (we're assuming warranty work here. . . ). In the meantime, all our food is saved, and we're able to use our computer. Can't ask for more than that right now. Rain's slowing down for now - guess I'll take the opportunity to go do some laundry. Out for now. . . . .
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Left Cocoa a little after 11 this morning. Weather is again threatening for this afternoon, but we're not going too far - just up to Titusville (about 20 miles) with hopes to get something done about the inverter. Had some phone discussions, and found there's an authorized dealer/service place in Orlando. Plans include renting a car and running up there to have them test the unit and take it from there. Pulled into Titusville Municipal Marina at noon-thirty, had lunch, then started working on uninstalling the inverter (once the huge t-storm passed us by!). Thankfully, the job wasn't tooooo bad, only took about 20 minutes. Went over to Dixie Crossroads by cab later for a great rock shrimp dinner. Coming back to the boat later, we met Jim on the dock who knew something about inverters. He came back to the boat and gave a quick diagnosis - sounds like we must have had a bad inverter, causing our batteries to overcharge and eventually fry the inverter. Says they should definitely warranty a repair or replacement, but warned that it may take more than a week for that. If that's the case, we'll continue as we are and use the generator to get us thru 'till we get home, and take care of things then. Otherwise, things are still going fine, we're just lagging a bit behind where we thought we'd be by now. Oh well. We're retired - don't need to worry about a schedule!
Friday, July 1, 2011
Still in Titusville. . . Rented a car and drove the offending inverter to Orlando to Southeast Power Systems. Went and had lunch while they ran diagnostics. Results weren't the greatest, but they are what they are. They said the inverter cannot be repaired due to salt water incursion, likely due to the installation location. Sounds like water that comes in thru the transom (e.g., when you come down off plane) comes onto the aft deck, and while most runs back out, some gets thru the deck panels and drips down into the bilges, getting blown in thru the inverter in the process. SE Power Sys spoke with the manufacturer on our behalf, and they said they will sell us a re-manufactured inverter for $900 (plus shipping). We'll have to get some one at home to relocate and install the unit for us so that the problem won't recur. We let the original Marina that did the installation know what's up, and we're hoping they'll step up and offer something back from our original bill. We'll see. . . . So on that note, we're returning the rental car and trying to plan on a very early departure tomorrow and try to get some miles under our belts. We're hoping the daily severe T-Storms are finishing up with us today opening things up for clear weather over the weekend. Doing all boat checks tonight (engine check to the right!) to be sure we're in the best shape we can be to move north tomorrow. Am working on my boat log tonight - have made a mental note to get at least one daily picture to add! (For those who just look for the pics!)
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Departed Titusville Municipal Marina at 7a.m. (BTW - what a great Marina! Stayed the 1st night, got a Boat US discount so we paid only $1.20 per foot, then the 2nd night was free we just had to pay for our electric hook up. Would definitely stay here again!) Went thru the "Haulover Canal" and stayed in the ICW 'till we found some fuel - took on 170 gallons at New Smyrna Beach. Right in front of the marina that we fueled at (North Causeway Marine) were two very small islands - each absolutely saturated with birds! Mostly pelicans and egrets, but some others were scattered about too. Made it to Ponce de Leon inlet by noon and headed outside. The ocean was very calm for the first hour or two, then started getting a little choppy (nothing crazy though!).
Headed in at Saint Augustine, and picked up a mooring at the Municipal Marina for only $20 for the night.
It's located next to the Bridge of Lions - noted to be one of the most attractive on the ICW.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Got up and at it early - need a long day today to make it out of Florida (otherwise have to buy an insurance extension). Went out the St Augustine inlet about 7a.m. Headed north, then pulled back into the ICW at Saint Mary's about 10:30 looking for a little go-go juice. Found fuel finally at Jekyll Harbor Marina (Jekyll Island) at 1:30. It's still early, so after fueling we went back out again at Saint Simons Sound at 2:30. 4:30, tried approaching Doboy Sound to come in again, but the inlet was NOT very user friendly! Not well marked, and shoaling was evidently pretty bad. Bumped once and that was enough - turned north again to find something better. Two inlets up and Saint Catherine's Sound was the place to go in - nice and wide and deep, marked (though not a lot - thankful for electronic charts!), we made it in fine at 6:15. Thought we'd anchor just inside the inlet, but suffered the attack of the biting flies. Decided to try to get away from them and headed north in the ICW. Thought we'd anchor by Raccoon Key, and tried it out a while. Great location, but waaaaay too much rocking! Moved north another mile or two and dropped the hook at Possum Point at 8:00. Very quiet and mostly empty - just 2 shrimp boats at anchor. One seems abandoned (anchor and part of the boat is stuffed in the marsh), and haven't seen signs of life on the other. Some boats came thru, apparently heading out to see the fireworks. After dinner (elk kabobs - yum! had to do some food pics in Rene`'s honor!) we had distant fireworks displays all around. Planning on a bit of a shorter day tomorrow, as we more than made up for that today - we put 180 miles behind us (please don't ask about fuel consumption!).
Monday, July 4, 2011
Left Possum Point and headed up the ICW at 9:30, aiming for Beaufort (that's "byew-fort") SC. Sometime overnight the aft A/C stopped working (naturally). Matt checked all over but couldn't come up with a reason. Mostly uneventful on the trip north, got another 60 miles taken care of. Met some nice folks at the Downtown Beaufort Marina - one guy came on board to help Matt troubleshoot the A/C problem. They finally realized the unit wasn't getting power and traced the problem to the wiring at the switches. It was corroded, and one wire had become unattached. Ship's store didn't have wire crimp connectors, and a couple of boat neighbors came up with some to help out. A little sanding, a little crimping, and the A/C is back in business - hooray!! Went for a walk downtown, and had dinner at a nice little bar overlooking the ICW. Fabulous shrimp and crab dip!!! Nice little town to walk thru - will probably have another walk in the morning before we depart. More fireworks after dinner - really long show!
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Headed north out of Beaufort and reached Charleston via the ICW. Another uneventful day cruising, though we did see some pretty fantastic South Carolina estates along the waterfront. We got into the Charleston Harbor Marina (very nice facilities) and were directed to our assigned slip. As we're pulling in, Matt points out the boat next to us - it was Jerry and Karen, our boat neighbors from Beaufort (who had recommended Charleston Harbor Marina to us)! Sounds like we may be hooking up with them at our next couple of stops, too. Had a quick but yummy dinner at the Reel Bar at the Marina, then went back to the boat to continue our search for an old Army friend whose last know whereabouts was Charleston. After almost giving up on the internet, Colleen used three different web sites together to track down the right "Tony" and Matt tried to give him a call. Voila`! It worked! Tony and Karen came to the boat, and we sat around yakking 'till 1 a.m. - really great to see them again! Don't know how early we'll be pulling out in the morning after that, plus we're out of beer (yikes!!!). We'll set appropriate priorities in the morning and take it from there. . . . .
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Headed out of Charleston - didn't bother to fuel or pump out (were actually still good to go on that note!), and aimed for Georgetown. After such a late night on Tuesday, we didn't get exactly an early start, but got underway by a little after 10a.m. Jerry (the "boat next door") mentioned that the ocean was going to be behaving a bit uncomfortably today, so we followed his lead and went up the ditch. Worked out very well, had a lot a places where we could throttle up a bit and make some time. Did about 60 miles, and stayed at a little dive of a marina ("Boat Shed Marina"). The folks were wonderful (that good ol' southern hospitality goes on around these parts!), and we found a little seafood outlet a block away where we bought a pound of local shrimp for only $6. Went quite nicely with the steak on the grill for dinner! Walked the riverfront for a bit, and finally saw our first alligator of the trip - he was hanging out by a waterfront bar, and munching on french fries that a kid was dropping off the dock. Figuring that meant it must be a good bar, we stopped in for a beer. Yes - it was a cool bar! I realize that I've been slacking off a bit with photos, but there hasn't been much to document lately. Will try to pick back up again. . . . Out for now!!
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Took off at the semi-reasonable hour of 8:30 a.m., continued up the ICW, and pulled into Barefoot Landing at about 3:45 this afternoon. Last time we were here, it was free dockage - they assumed you'd hit all the stores and tourist stuff and spend money. Now it's "Barefoot Marina" - they built a marina on the west side of the ICW, where none of the stores or attractions are and they charge $1.25 per foot; the east side of the ICW, where the free dockage used to be, is now owned by the marina and they charge $1.50 per foot because you're in walking distance of everything. We have electric and water here, bathrooms are a bit of a walk, and there are no shower facilities. Oh well, we'll ruff it. Spent a few hours walking thru all the stores and such, picked up a couple of things here and there. The marina package included a $5 coupon if you ate at one of the 2 big restaurants, so we dined at the Flying Fish (another yummy meal - neither of us could finish!). Came back to the boat and are now going to scour the charts and cruising guides to try to figure out where tomorrow will take us. Before we got into this task, we met up with Art who lives here on his trawler. He and Matt had to spend a good 20 minutes or so over a beer exchanging jokes. They're a pretty good match! Now, I know you're just sitting on the edge of your seat and can't wait to find out what's in store for tomorrow, but you'll have to wait for tomorrow's paragraph to find out!!!!
Friday, July 8, 2011
Had ya wondering, huh? Just waiting in suspense for what's next?! Here we are on Friday! Pulled out of Barefoot Landing in the rain, and it rained almost all day. Oh Joy. Wasn't too bad though, I didn't think I liked the Eisenglass enclosure too much 'till today. (For the non-boat savvy - Eisenglass is a very thick, clear vinyl that looks like glass. They make boat enclosure windows out of it - it zips into place to form windows, but then unzips and can be rolled up and secured to be out of the way to leave the opening, well, open!) What a blessing! Kept us dry and comfy the whole ride north today. Passed some very nice real estate again today, but the wonderful place that caught our eye for something different to document was the wonderful waterfront Trailer Park at Brantley Island. Quite the place for those who may be financially challenged but are pulled by the love of the water. . . . Pulled into an anchorage we've been to before between Harbor Island and Wrightsville Beach in NC for the night. Saw the vessel "Rod Shop" tied up at Marine Max on our way in - assuming they must have stopped in for some work or something and went to a local hotel for the night. It sounded like Karen likes to get away from the boat now and then anyway. . . . Went for a dip in the water - air temp is about 84 and water temp about 77, so it felt pretty good. Rain has finally let up and the sun's trying to peep out a bit. This is a great anchorage - with the exception of the locals who seem to have zero respect for anchorages. They're zooming thru here at high speed - jet skis, small craft, and small craft doing circles towing tubes or wakeboards around boats anchored. They're all rocking the shit out of everybody! Think we'll post this info out on the cruisers' info net. Some re-con over our charts showed that we're in reach of Beaufort, NC (that's "Bow-fort", like a Christmas bow, unlike the "Byew-fort" in SC - wondering if I'll ever remember this. . .). Called up the Beaufort Dock and made a reservation for tomorrow night (gotta love the southern hospitality - they are so great to deal with on the phone, over the radio or in person.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Managed to get up and get moving just before 7 this morning under cloudy skies. Got a few pics on the way up the ICW - gotta say, we've seen some great wildlife (real and imitation) on our way up and down the coast over the years, but I think this is probably the very first time I've seen a giraffe.
And the "Pink House".
I've taken a photo of this one before, but just could NOT resist snapping it again.
What a great place!!!!
Tied up at Beaufort, NC (Beaufort Docks) at about 1:45 this afternoon - just in time to close the windows and covers before the skies opened up and dumped on us!
Thankfully, for a change, we didn't dock in it instead!!!
The locals are very thankful for the rain, though - they haven't had much at all recently.
The Marina has courtesy cars, so we borrowed one and drove up to the local grocery, "Food Lion", to do some minor provisioning (especially some fresh berries for some more homemade sorbet!).
Hit an Ace Hardware/Home Center on the way back for a couple of other things.
Back at the docks, walked thru town, enjoyed the shops, had a beer and crab dip at the local dock bar (while the laundry ran it's cycles across the street at the General Store).
Gonna do some dinner somewhere (many
restaurants here!) and see what tomorrow brings.
Maybe another week-ish or so before home?
Author's prologue: this is by far the longest week's log done on this trip, but those of you who prefer pictures over words will be quite happy. Another awesome week underway aboard the Gemini Dream!!!!!
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Headed out of Beaufort, NC about 9:45 in the morning, and stayed in the ICW. Had some great, wide-open high-cruise runs and got 100 miles behind us today! Kind of a boring canal passage, but Matt saw a bear in a tree and called down to me (of course, I was in the galley) to come see it. I tore upstairs to grab my camera, but the little stinker scrambled down the tree so fast into the underbrush that I didn't get him. Damn! Soon thereafter though, we spotted a bird in a tree - I got a picture of it, think it may have been an eagle (maybe my eagle-expert friend, Suzanne, could confirm this for me when she sees the pic, but I couldn't zoom in any further). We popped out of the dang canal, and anchored at the bottom of the Alligator River - conveniently, our paper chart was marked from our last trip thru here and showed a "great anchorage", so we dropped the hook for the night. Discovered this isn't a phone coverage area, nor can my MiFi (internet) get a signal. I think this is the 1st time on this trip that this has occurred. Had some bar-b-que ribs on the grill for dinner, then (only 'cause we were so isolated - not a boat or dwelling in sight) went skinny dipping (or "chunky dunking" in Matt's case. . . .) in absolutely GORGEOUS water!!! Water temp was about 82, and getting out in the light breeze was wonderful! Then caught a great sunset on film. Great way to wrap up the day! Time for a beer, then early to bed and early to rise - aiming for Elizabeth City tomorrow. Only 50 miles north, but free dockage and a fun place. Hope to get in early to enjoy a walk thru town. . . .
Monday, July 11, 2011
Oh my, got up in the morning to find our boat pretty much covered in mosquitos! Yuck, big time! Kept things closed up below, but had to go up to get outta the lower Alligator River. Ran up to Elizabeth City, and found the town to be much hyped-up in the cruising guides and such. . . Maybe we're just here on the "off season", but we didn't find much in town, so all we got was a free (albeit bumpy) slip for the night. No electricity hookup, no water hookup, no bathrooms or showers. We did find an ice-cream store however - which was appreciated because the temps were in the 90's. They claim to have the "Rose Buddies", who deliver a rose and a newspaper to each transient boat coming thru. They also claim to host a wine and cheese party if there are five or more boats that come in. We saw the
Rose Buddy park, but were the only boat in here (again, must be off season), so no greetings, other than the policewoman who takes your name and home town, and "Sam", the self-appointed dockmaster, an octagenarion who what no clue as to what he's doing (note to anyone who may come here in the future - just ignore Sam). Later on, the "past mayor", Steve Atkinson (who we met at the American Great Loop Cruisers Association Rendevouz meeting in May of this year at Norfolk, VA), came to greet us to let us know how great this town is. Better than that (which just didn't do much for us) he gave us a little insight as to the Dismal Swamp journey that we will be embarking upon tomorrow. This is an alternative route up the Intra-Coastal Waterway (ICW) that we have not taken in the past. Supposedly a wonderful, slow-going, but scenic route to take, not to be missed. Had dinner at the local dockside bar/restaurant - got stuffed and chatted with the bartender and a couple of locals. A very pleasant evening, overall - gonna get up early to make the first lock opening at 8:30 a.m. (they're timed, you have to be there or wait for the next opening - in this case it's either 8:30 or 11:00, or the afternoon). So we're gonna try to pull outta here by 5:30 to be sure we make the 1st lock in time. Planning to be in Norfolk/Portsmouth tomorrow evening.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
There are two locks to go thru today - for those who are not familiar with locks, they are passages in a waterway where the sealevel changes quite a bit. One of the locks we're going thru will be an 8 foot difference. They have a spot where they block the water in the river/passegeway on two sides (the "lock), then either let water into or out of the lock to either raise or lower the waterway. For example, your boat is entering from the lower waterway. They open your side of the lock and you enter and tie your boat up. They then close the gate/door/lock behind you. They then flood the lock that you're in with water from the other side. That raises the water you're in to the level of the "high side" on the other side of the lock. They then open the gate on the other side and you can continue on your journey. They reverse the process to go the other way, releasing water out of the lock to lower you to the other waterway's level.
Sorry to bore those who know about locks, but there's a lot of our family & friends who have no idea! Also, the Swamp was rather fascinating, so I took a bunch of pictures - will have to dedicate several pages just for them!
Continuing north of the infamous Dismal Swamp, we pulled into Portsmouth/Norfolk.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Got underway about 9am. Traveling thru Portsmouth/Norfolk is rather interesting - you need to remember to keep away from the Naval vessels, or they "may use force" . . . . Don't think we want to mess with that! Very peacful day, took some pictures of the various lights along our route. Pulled into Solomons just in time for it to storm on us. Barely got a little fuel while watching some major lightning strikes not too far off, and it poured on us. Found a dock and dine place and had some dinner. As we were walking back to the boat a couple walked by with their Portuguese Water Dog - so I was able to get a good puppy-fix in! Left the dock, planning to go and anchor for the night. Spoke briefly with a couple of guys on a nearby sailboat and went and anchored. A few minutes later, the 2 guys buzzed over in their dingy - came on board to yak and have a couple of beers. We ended up sitting around 'till 11:00 - had a blast! They were Dan and Tad, both with great senses of humor. We laughed 'till we ached - Matt and Tad going back and forth performing the battle of the jokes. I was absolutely crying!!!!
Thursday, July 14, 2011
7:45 a.m. - anchor up and heading up the Chesapeake Bay. The first couple hours of the morning were not very comfortable. Suffice it to say "IT SUCKED"! It was so choppy our backs were absolutely killing us. It finally flattened out somewhat and became really not so bad. Although it did force us to keep the throttles up a bit to power thru the crap, which ate a bit of fuel. We pulled in at Annapolis to take on some diesel, and got into Baltimore Inner Harbor by 2:45. Glad it was a somewhat short day, 'cause the morning really kicked some butt! Had some company for the evening - Colleen's ex-boss, Ray Wood, and an old Army friend, Cindi Palinski, both came to visit. We all went to dinner and had a really fun night. Ray headed out after dinner, and Cindi spent the night with us. Sooo. . . another late night (had to stay up reminiscing about the good ol' days, of course!).
Friday, July 15, 2011
Decided to hang out in Baltimore for another day. Cindi went home to take care of some stuff there, but planned to return and join us for dinner. We hoofed it thru the local town - it's really great here, you can walk to just about anything you need. We went to a local Whole Foods store for a few groceries, then found a great discount bakery for some bagels and english muffins, and then on (of course!) to a liquor store to restock some beer. Well after all, Cindi's coming back tonight, and another Army buddy, Jon Peterson, is due in tonight too! Can't chance running out now! We got all our goods back to the boat, then decided to play the official tourist role - we bought tickets to tour the 4 ships docked in the Inner Harbor. It started out with my wanting to go aboard the submarine, then Matt figured we may as just do them all! Fascinating tours - very happy we chose to include all 4! Jon and his personal driver (his daughter Lauren - sheesh, where has the time gone? She just graduated high school and is driving!!) showed up late afternoon, and Cindi returned about 6-ish. Lauren headed home, and the rest of us went to dinner. And what a dinner it was - at Dick's Last Resort. All I can say is OMG! Hysterical!!! It was one of those places where the wait-staff are all rude and pick on the customers at every possible moment. They make these silly paper hats that stick up almost 2 feet high, and write sayings on them - Matt got stuck with one that said "I Beat Anorexia", and Colleen with "Fake Blond Real Dumb". Cindi got a blow job (a guy with a huge hair dryer came up behind her and blasted the back of her head!). The place had us cracking up the whole time we were there. So it was a great night - Jon brought out his "travel" guitar (he IS quite the complished guitarist!!), and among other tunes played one of his original songs. He wrote the "Gemini Dream" song and presented it to us at Matt's retirement gala when he retired from the Army Reserves 2004. Except this time, I took the opportunity to record it!! Check it out:
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Had breakfast on board, then Cindi sadly had to leave for home, and the rest of us got underway about 9:30 or so to head north. Made it into Chesapeake City on the C&D (Chesapeake & Delaware) Canal about 2:30. Colleen & Jon roamed thru the little town and checked out the little shops - all kinds of knick-knacks, art, antiques and touristy stuff abound in shops in what used to be houses, built in the early to mid eighteen hundreds. Many houses have plaques out front which give a little history on the homes and the people who originally built them - very interesting town to walk thru, I would say this is a "don't miss" kind of place. We were lucky to find an open spot on the town dock, literally steps away from the town and all its shops. The town dock is free, but you have to pay for electricity and/or water if you want to hook up. We'll just use our generator for power tonight, and the water tanks were filled up yesterday - so we're good to go! Walked up to the "Tap Room" for dinner - Jon & Colleen walked by when they went thru town earlier in the afternoon, and the menu outside sounded pretty good. It also had a really good write-up in our cruising guide, so we aimed for there. As they are known for their local blue claw crabs, we ordered a pitcher of beer and a tray of crabs. We were NOT disappointed - they were spectacular! Easily the largest blue claws I've ever had! Stuffed now - we're back on the boat. I'm finishing up my boat log to get it sent out, and "the boyz" are fishing off the boat. Like we really need more food on board - still have 2 freezers full of stuff (oh - our antique freezer carried in the aft cockpit for the past month gave up yesterday morning. Thank God I consolidated the food to the two inside freezers a few days ago. . . . We were just using the antique as a beer cooler since then.) We plan to be in Cape May tomorrow, then Atlantic City on Monday and home on Tuesday. I'll do a final log then so that I don't leave anyone hanging before the "grand finale". . . .