Can You See Me Now?

Bye Polar was on the Town Dock on it's way south. Not too many boats going south these days, just the last few hold outs, and they're moving fast. We listen to a Net on the SSB in the mornings, called Cruiseheimers, (or Cruisetimers, or Cruisenheimers, or Cruiseheimtimers, depending on who's the Controller for the day). They have check-ins from boats underway and position reports from those of us staying in one place. We haven't heard anyone north of us for a week or so, but lots and lots of boats in Florida. Now that Christmas is over, the mass exodus for The Bahamas is in full swing.
We don't usually do any Christmas presents, but this year a couple of new hatches found their way under the tree. Well, not actually under the tree, they're bigger than our mini tree. We have been living with the original hatches, dark, crazed, really hard for me to open. Did I mention dark? To open one, I had to stand with one foot on the settee and one foot on the edge of the table, not easy when it's rough. These we can just push up and open! And we can see through! And they don't leak! And they open from the outside, too! We always say, it's the little things in life that are important.


Damn the Cold Showers!

Long on the list of “good idea’s” I finally got around to making this happen. Yes it may not look like much, but spending some time in a climate slightly cooler than we prefer does help the motivation. This inexpensive little valve and tee, four feet of line, and another tee below the sole make a nice creature comfort. Here’s what it does. Opening this valve for 8-10 seconds diverts water via the tee right below the hot water faucet to a tee into the feed line of the foot pump. The result: hot water right to the sink/shower without wasting a drop. While the hot water line fills with hot from the water heater the cold runs back into the storage tank by way of the foot pump feed.

It always amazes me just how little water is really necessary for a shower when conserving and just how much water the little bitty line from the water heater to the head holds. While I refuse to do the math for a explicit answer, whatever volume the two are, I assure you they are EQUAL! The first drops of “warm” always show up just in time for the second person. No more cold showers.


Twenty-seven degrees and frost on the dock this morning. The sun is out so it won't last long. No matter what, Adjima can always find a sunny spot, out of the wind. We're staying snug, working some long put-off projects, planning and cooking great meals, reading. Steve is working on a sourdough starter ( Yea!), my favorite kind of bread, so much for losing weight.

Soon after tying the dock lines, I woke up in a cold sweat one night, realizing that there is no library in Oriental. A very scary thought for me, my hands were shaking. I've been book rationing ever since. There is a small shelf in the laundry room for cruisers to leave and take books, so far most of them are mine. I may have to dig out my embroidery, if I could just remember where I stashed it.


Christmas: A Time To Keep Your Friends Close and Your Cookies and Fudge Closer

We got back from our whirlwind days in Florida, just in time for the lighting of the star and the singing of carols in downtown Oriental. It was a brisk 35 degrees and now I definitely know that I don't have enough clothes for this weather.

We went to St Pete last week to do all the medical stuff that we are required to do once a year, now that we're OLD. A colonoscopy for Steve, mamo for me, physicals and blood tests, teeth cleanings. We combined this with a stay at the North Dock, courtesy of our friend, Charlie, who let us stay on his boat. We saw many old friends and missed many others. Thanks to Charlie and Ellen for the boat swap, Wanda for the cookies, Dr P and everyone there for all their help, unfortunately, there just wasn't enough time in the days to see everyone we wanted to. Many thanks to all who offered their help and lodgings, food and friendship.
We did manage to get to the Commissary on MacDill, AFB, and stock up on all kinds of foodstuff and of course, wine and rum. We picked up materials for the projects we have planned: fabric for cushion covers, Plexiglas and wood for a new companionway door complete with cat door, guitar strings, shelving for the new storage room-that-used-to be-a-head. We drove back with the Kia stuffed full, not that that takes much. Steve was reading a new book on the way back, a scintillating tale called "DDDB: Drag Device Data Base, Using Parachutes, Sea Anchors and Drogues to Cope with Heavy Weather, Seventy Documented Case Histories". I'm not kidding here, he actually read it. I got to hear some of the really exciting parts, to keep me awake while I was driving.


A Change In The Weather

We were walking home from M&M's tavern last night, after Steak Night and Music Night (more about this in a moment) and the full moon was so bright and it was so still, the water was like glass. Armed with my new knowledge of camera ops, we set up the tripod and took some night shots. The ring around the moon was so big, I couldn't get it in one shot, even on the widest angle. This is 10PM (!) that's how bright it was and is taken through Celebrations' rigging. I always thought that a ring around the sun or moon meant that the weather was going to have a drastic change. Steve says it just means that there's a ring around the moon. Either way, the mild temps and sun of yesterday have turned into gale warnings and a cold, driving, rain today. Hmmm... seems drastic to me...
M&M's is a bar/restaurant a block away. They have a great Tues night steak special and then from 7 to 9 it's Music Night in the back bar. On Music night they take turns making CD's and hosting the evening. It's a very rowdy version of Name That Tune and this group is really good. A couple of them can hear the first part of the first note and shout out the song and artist. Last night's host was a Brit named Steve, who sang in a top 10 group, in England, in the 60's. All the songs were, at one time , hits in England, in the 60's. You can guess how well we scored. It was great fun anyway, a good meal and a good way to get to know our neighbors.


Saturday Market

Finally, some sunshine in Oriental! We got up to a cold 50 degree but sunny day today. The gloomy weather was starting to get on my nerves, and in the proximity effect, on Steve's, too. It's hard for one person to be bored and listless on a 41' boat and not have the other one catch it. Even Adjima is missing her usual cushion in the sun. I actually read the book that came with my camera, 3 1/2 years ago, and found out all kinds of new things. It may not help my photography any, but now I know what all the buttons are supposed to do. As you can see, it has a black and white setting, I never knew.
Oriental has a Farmers Market on Saturdays, so we put on our extra layers and walked up, it's a block away. They were selling the usual good stuff: veggies, breads, spiced cider, jewelry, birdhouses. In the picture, Steve is checking out the boats at the town dock (the free one) which is up the street from the market and across the street from The Bean, the town coffee shop-hangout. The Seafood Market is 2 doors down from The Bean, so we stopped and got some shrimp for a little Surf and Turf for tomorrow. It's great to have all this in walking distance. It's also great to recognize a lot of the people we saw this morning, I think that by April, we'll know just about everyone.


Stop And Smell The Flour

The remnants of the Stromboli, fresh bread and buns

Another rainy day her in Oriental, where the sun shines, according to the brochures, "only 3% less than in San Diego". San Diego must be a gloomy place, indeed. The same brochure also said the population density here was "less than rural"(huh?). We went for a long walk, hit the grocery and bought our turkey and some fixings, in between the rains. Actually, we bought a 6 lb turkey breast to cook. Lots of good sandwich material for leftovers.

STEVE TOOK THE DAY OFF, and I'm delighted to say he spent his time playing the guitar and baking bread. The good part of making the bookshelf of the last post, is that we uncovered the Bread Book. It has great pictures of Stromboli. We happened to have pepperoni and mozzarella. It was a match made in Italy. He also made a loaf for breakfast and some hoagies for the brats in the freezer. I can see a lot of long walks in my future. I'm just now shaking off my SIL (Stromboli Induced Lethargy).


The Domino Effect

We've been working on a series of new projects, upgrades and additions. To all of you who know Steve, you know this is a non-ending list, actually it should be The List. I always think of it that way in my head, with capital letters. The List is Steve's way of staying focused on Work and Important Things. I give him a lot of grief about it, but it's really the only way the boat stays afloat. He is currently working on putting bookshelves behind our settees so we can unpack the last few boxes of things in the v-berth.
We've been exploring Oriental, there's quite a bit going on for a town of 900. The Old Theater has events 2-3 nights a week and we've been to most, so far. You can check it out here. Tomorrow is movie night, they're showing Home For The Holidays.
My latest list (small 'l') included scanning all the recipes I've collected over the last few years. Actually this wasn't on the list and I have to blame Anne Jackson for it even making the list at all. I was going through my pile of papers and came across the recipe for flour tortillas from Anne. I turned around to slide it into my recipe notebook on the shelf behind me. It wouldn't go in. I looked closer. I thought "Ohhh, @#*%, that looks....damp". A zillion thoughts ran through my head during those 3 dots, wet paper always being a bad thing. How did it get wet??? We have another leak??? Are all the books on the shelf wet?? It's full of all the good ones, including my Chris A Jackson autographed copies. One thing always leads to another in boat work, and now we have another leaking chain plate to re caulk, recipes to dry and scan, wood to dry. At one point I wanted to rename the boat The Domino Effect, for the way the things cascade into one another.


Small Town NC… Big Town Jazz

A beauty of staying put for a bit is the chance to get involved in local events. Last night was a real treat as a well known Jazz Quartet played at the Old Town Theater just three blocks from our temporary slip. This event provided an upbeat end to what was for us three full days of steady rain and wind, several books, and numerous games of solitaire below.
The theater, first built in 1945 has been restored to host local civic and cultural events as well as the performing home of the Oriental Repertory Company. The max capacity sign says 170…but that would have to be standing room only. With seats all the way to the rear being just 10-12 paces from the performers it is an intimate venue for the small group, in this case the Gregg Gelb Jazz Quartet.

The music was excellent. Pianist Steve Anderson displayed superb talent from the soft chord progressions supporting the group to fantastic solo improvisation. Gregg Gelb, quartet lead, is masterful on both tenor sax and the clarinet. It is the clarinet however, where true jazz soul came through as he shaped the tone and pitch to match the mood and interplay of the quartet. Gregg’s son Chris Gelb on drums was very impressive as he picked up key riffs and drove every transition forward in a style somewhat like what Buddy Rich did for the big band, but tailored perfectly to the quartet. He is an artist I expect to hear more of down the road. Paul Ingbretsen rounded out the quartet on bass moving so easily through progressions it belied the difficulty and technique required putting down the quartet foundation. Excellent night of Jazz…who’d of thought it would come right to our rail here in Oriental?


Settleing In

We've been back in Oriental for a whole week now and I'm back into my dockside habits. Things unstowed on the cabinets, jars and cans not clink-proofed in the lockers, shoes in the cockpit, lights on recklessly. It sure didn't take long.
We had the rental car for most of the week and did a lot of provisioning. I've had a little bit of panic, as if we're going to be snowed in here all winter and I had to have 4 months worth of food on hand. The beautiful sunny days this week are helping me to relax.
We also did some sight seeing, going back to Seymour-Johnson AFB, our first assignment 25 (!) years ago. Our daughter, Hannah, was born there. It's changed too much for me to recognize. The house we lived in is now a field. We also spent a day in Morehead City and took a walk on the beach. We rode on the car ferry, very odd to be sitting in the car on a boat.
The picture above is the Oriental Marina, where we're staying. We're in the bottom row, just about in the middle. The shrimp docks are on the top right. The boats come and go at all times, day and night. We made a stop at the shrimp store (below) today and got fixings for a shrimp and flounder chowder. This is a great town for walking and we've been walking a lot, no sidewalks but not really any traffic, either.


Home Again

We just returned to Celebration after almost a month and 4200 miles, on the road. We rented a car and went to Minnesota and North Dakota to see our families. It was GREAT to see everyone! All of our nieces and nephews are getting older and TALLER, pretty soon, my mom and I will be the shortest ones in the family. It was really wierd to be coming 'home' and need a map to get here though. Home has always been wherever we are and now home is wherever Celebration is, even if it's in the boonies of North Carolina.
We love road trips and had a good time taking the side and back roads across the country. Steve had never been to West Virginia, so we did a lot of meandering through the hollers. Beautiful country, the leaves are still changing color there.
We had a chance to stop at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH. Steve had been there years ago and always wanted to go back. It's a wonderful place and rivals the Smithsonian's Air and Space in DC. So much history, we could have spent 2 days there. The photo is from a nose of a B-29 and seemed appropriate, since we've been trying to decide if we should stay here in Oriental for the winter or go south for the winter.

We didn't actually flip a coin, but finally did decide to stay put. We really like it here and the marina is nice and the people are nice... lots of good reasons. We may have to buy another space heater, though.
Steve's Dad is doing well for now, his appetite seems to be getting better. He starts radiation today on some of the tumors in the bones in his back, a way to maybe get the pain under more control. Thanks to everyone for your concern and thoughts.


Fall in Minnesota. We stopped at the grocery store yesterday and found a wagon full of pumpkins outside. They were huge and shiny clean and $4.99 each. I almost bought one just because I could turn around and put it in our Hyundai. I almost bought one because I wouldn't have to drag it in a cart to the dinghy, hoist it over a side rail and then find somewhere to put it. I almost bought one because we wouldn't have to use it as extra seating. I almost bought one just because they were pretty.


On The Road Again

The view going through WV, no water in sight.

Our Daughter, Amanda and Steve cleaning shrimp in the milk house.

Some of the barn cats, enjoying the sun.

It was 30 degrees or so, this morning in Arlington, MN. About 40 degrees below my comfort zone. There's snow on the ground from yesterday, which is actually very pretty with the green leaves still on the trees. We've left Celebration in Oriental, NC and are road tripping for a month or so. The leaves are changing all across the country and it was a beautiful drive. Say what you will about West Virginia (you know: you can't see the players, but you can hear the banjo's) but it's spectacular in the fall. There were huge billboards there saying "Carbon Neutral: Coal", that left us a little confused. I understand coal IS carbon, not to mention the fuel used to mine and then transport it.... I suppose if you say it out loud often enough, someone might believe it. Heck, there may be some government grant to follow.
Steve's dad, Mike, has had prostate cancer for the last 14 years and has been doing chemo for the last 2 or so. It hasn't been working for the past few months and we went with Mike and Jean (Mom) to the Mayo Clinic on Monday to see what options are still available. Not many, as it turns out. So, a lot of discussion on pain management and staying comfortable. So, we will see.
One of Mike's enjoyments has always been good food. With his appetite waning lately, we took the opportunity to find some shrimp right off the boat in North Carolina, brought them here on ice and had a small feast for lunch Sunday. A hit I might say as one after the other was dipped in garlic butter and disappeared.
Next week: off to North Dakota, where it was a balmy 19 this morning, to see my parents. I'm hoping for an Indian Summer.


Good Friends, Great Times

Jason, John, Steve, Lynn, Roberta, Anne, Laura, Chris

The canal, just after sunrise.

There were 10 of us at dinner last night. Doing the ICW going south, we have ended up going as a pack. We are all aiming for the same anchorages and end up bunching up at the bridges. Last night we were at the free docks at the Great Bridge bridge, just past the lock. We all made trips to the grocery, some to the laundromat, some to the package store, the fabric store, the dollar store. We hosted a bread making session and Anne demo'd tortilla rolling. We ate the fresh bread and tortillas, had some wine and all went out for Mexican. We ate some more, some more than others (John), and had great margaritas. We raided the rosemary plant on the way back to the boats, had a dramatic reading by the one and only Chris A Jackson, had some more wine and of course, a lot of lively talk.

This morning we left for another day of motoring down the ditch, although at the moment, we do have the genoa out. We are all in a row: Jason and Laura on Blue Blaze, John and Roberta on Freedom, Celebration, Anne and Chris on Mr Mac, and Sam and Carolyn on Malaka II. It's a nice looking row of boats: a Panda, a CSY, an HR, a Bruce Roberts, and an Island Packet. We're keeping some very good company these days!



It was exactly 3 months ago today that we first came into Norfolk. As we were sitting sipping a small glass of wine last night, it felt like we never left (except for the 30 degree temp difference). The tugs are still going through constantly, pushing barges, pulling barges, tooting to each other. I love watching them. We are making our way south pretty quickly, a dock awaits and a land cruise to MN and ND. Time to go see the families, it's been too long.

N 36 deg 50.743
W 76 deg 17.929


Going South

The Gam was a success and even with a rainy Sunday morning for the flea market, the dinghy dock was 3 deep, more than 60 in all. I think this is the most I've ever seen in one place. We saw a lot of familiar faces and boats in our week on the Rhode River and met a lot of people we hope to see again along the way again. It was very hard to watch the mass exodus Sunday and Monday.

Lynn, John, Roberta, Steve
We fetched Solomons today, (Tristen Jones says that sailors don't arrive, they fetch) and who should we find but John and Roberta on Freedom! More old friends from St Pete. We missed them on the way north, but they couldn't get away this time. We had a Herr-Adura tequila toast to absent friends and a wonderful dinner aboard Freedom. I don't know how Roberta did it on such short notice. We're all leaving in the morning for parts south so it was an early evening. So good to see them again.

N 38 deg 19.948
W 76 deg 27.469


Gam Time

Steve, Kim, George, Anne, Chris

The boats have been arriving in a steady stream. We got to the anchorage in the Rhode River on Monday and were one of four boats, this morning there are upwards of 60 masts around us. Last night there was a dinghy raft-up on the little island in the middle of it all. A BYOB and appetizer get together. We had a great time with old friends Anne and Chris of Mr Mac and new friends Kim and George of Adagio, which happens to be an HR 41, just like ours. Sorry: to the non sailors, that means we have the same boat. We had them over for a tour and got one of Adagio, too. It's like having twins who married and moved apart. The hair and clothes are different but underneath the bones are the same.
It's wonderful to see Anne and Chris again. We haven't seen them since May in Key West. They left St Pete just before we did and made it to Massachusetts, where they got to spend the summer with Anne's family. Chris has had another book published and brought us a copy. Chris is author Chris A. Jackson, a Fantasy/Science Fiction writer extraordinaire. Actually they both are, Anne is in cahoots, I mean, collaborates on some of the books, too. The new one is Scimitar Moon, a pirate tale, and yes, I was up until 4 this morning reading it. Two thumbs up. You can find all his/their books at their site. You can also follow their sailing fun from the link on the right. Now, if I could just get him to sign the darn book.


Time To Make Like The Birds

Our morning coffee is getting later and later as Fall progresses. Now instead of getting up very early to beat the heat, one of us usually stays in bed until the coffee is brewed and the sun is starting to warm things up. The nights have been getting into the 50's, wonderful sleeping weather. The water temp is warmer than the air, so the mornings are lovely and misty. Steve is freezing his little tush, so it's finally time to leave our nice anchorage and trundle south.

We left Weems Creek in Annapolis this morning and did the "Trifecta" on our way out of town. According to Bob and Kitty, this is where you fill with diesel, fill the water tank and empty the holding tank. We also filled the dingy gas cans and have clean laundry! For a day or so, we are ahead of the game. We put down anchor in the Rhodes River where we'll spend the week at the SSCA Gam. It'll be great to watch the other boats come in and see who we recognize. A lot of people we've just heard in the radio, so nice to put a face with the voice.

Last weekend, my friend Kathy came from Alexandria, VA. She was our first overnight guest since we left Florida. Kathy and I worked together, once upon a time. We broke out the Captain, the good stuff, the Private Stock, and proceeded to catch up. As you can see, the Captain and I got along very well. It was great to see you again, Kathy, come back any time!


Oysters, Crab Legs and Shrimp, Oh My

We're still in Annapolis, mostly because of the Sunday Brunch at Buddy's Crabs and Ribs. All kinds of seafood, the usual breakfast stuff (all you can eat bacon), fresh fruits, omelet bar, desserts. We are making it a habit to go for our (only) Sunday meal. It helps if we also walk there, about a 4-5 mile round trip.
We borrowed our friend Louise's car today and did some major resupplying at the Naval Commissary. There was barely room in the dingy for us. What you can't see is the first layer of wine under all the groceries. Then 2 hours to put it all away. One of our daughters (Amanda? Hannah?) once said that we live in a puzzle, after watching the grocery-putting-away-fun. Open this, but first move that, take off those cushions and open the settee, stack things here but not there, because we need to open that, too. Then, the hardest part of all, remembering where it all went. Such is the life of a live aboard sailor.
We've been very busy this week. The cooler weather is wonderful! We varnished, took the wind generator down and put it back up, finished the new sail and roller furling and installed it all. The wind gen is still not behaving right, so we're awaiting parts. Cool again today, a little rainy, just my kind of weather.


We've been back in Annapolis for a week now and are finishing some of the projects we set for ourselves. The nice weather means only one thing: varnish. Ours has been neglected for about a year now and with a gathering of sailors coming up, we need to be spit polished! Steve stripped and we sanded. Two coats of cetol, so far. Today the weather is too blustery and rainy, darn. So out came the sail. We're changing a sail from hank-on to roller furling. If you sail, you know what I mean, if you don't sail, you should. Anyway, lots of sewing on a very crispy 43' x 20' x 39' sail, in a room that's 10 x 12. We have a Sears Kenmore machine, that my mom bought in about 1965. It needs a little help every now and then, as you can tell by the specialised "sewing tools" on the table. It's definately a two person job: tape a few feet, feed it through while holding down the presser foot with the large screw driver, wrestle some more into place, tape a few more feet. I like to think of it as quality time with my spouse.


Your Money or Your Life

A book authored by Joe Dominguez, published 1992. Read by me late in life, and recommended to all who shared thoughts of early retirement since. My input here trails from a comment made by Lynn one day that she hated doing laundry by hand as cruisers are sometimes relegated to doing.

Joe’s approach was all encompassing in earning, spending, and saving for the good life. His concept was that all things earned were done so by trading “life units”, not an hourly wage or salary. His position for calculating earnings is that we must also include all the intangible costs or life units invested, like the time and frustration of the commute, the social events, the special clothes required for success and stature, the right neighborhood, car, social clubs, missed ball games, where we had to be while trading our units, etc. He emphasized that if we truly want to succeed and be happy we must decide first what is most important to us, then how many life units we are willing to trade for it, where we want to be and what we’d prefer to be doing while trading away (forever) those units. As I retired from the USAF out of the Pentagon, there were many opportunities in the Virginia and Washington DC area. Many would have been challenging positions and a continuation of the path, education, and experience I’d received during 24+ Air Force years. We thought hard, but not for long. We chose to go sailing instead. Yes, retiring early means we will have less “stuff”.

We sat at an anchorage at Still Pond on the northern Chesapeake last weekend waiting for Tropical Storm/Hurricane Danny to choose a path. We knew we’d see some wind so found a protected place we like, buried a couple large anchors with lots of chain, and waited. The storm fizzled, the weekend rolled into Monday and the anchorage cleared out as people returned to their investment of “life units”. The water at Still Pond is clean and fresh…so fresh the watermaker turns a mere 210 psi before clean fresh water is filling the tank. We swam every day. As I crouched on the back deck agitating a tub of laundry by hand I contemplated the life units I was trading and the return on that investment. Last laundry we did was around $11 and not without some of our time involved, so roughly my return would be around $5/hr. Yup, I‘d earn a lot more than that in DC, or on some consulting circuit. On the other hand this was a workday Monday and we were the only boat in the anchorage. Probably would be tomorrow too…and we’d still be here. In the end, I’d be earning a lot more pretty much so we could come out here and enjoy this on a few weekends a year. I looked at the large tree 300 meters to my side and watched Bald Eagles spread their wings while leaving then returning to their perch. I thought about the dozen plus deer we watched grazing on the slope to our other side the evening prior. I considered the last time we purchased fuel, two months ago, and the hours of run time still in the tank. Cool weather, sun shining, wind generator gently whirring overhead, I went back to agitating the tub. The return might just be a lot more than the $5/hr. Joe had it right, still does.


Two shots of the same view, from the boat while we were in Atlantic Highlands. The sunset was so many colors of red, yellow, gold, purple, blue, it was amazing. The next morning, after a rain shower, the only color was the rainbow. The sky and water were exactly the same shade of blue-gray.

We got back into the Chesapeake this week. Great weather now, much cooler and MUCH less humidity. I can actually wear a piece of clothing twice! We will stay in this part of the Bay for most of the month. We have a Seven Seas Cruising Association Gam from the 25-27th, just south of here. A 'gam' is what the old sailors used to call the flurry of talking and trading that took place when boats met out on the ocean. So we'll get together with a bunch of other sailors for a few days and do a lot of gamming. There is also a pretty good flea market on the last day, a chance to find some treasures.
We're looking forward to Labor Day and doing some sightseeing around Annapolis, looking up some friends, doing a little BBQing. It's so nice to be able to sit out in the sun and have it feel good!



I looked down this morning, as I was petting the cat, and I saw my mothers hands. It was kind of startling, but it's happened before, this little jolt of recognition of my connection to my family. Where does it come from, this recognition? I haven't ever studied my mom's hands, I couldn't pick them out of a line up, but I knew they were hers. I am constantly saying things and thinking,"Ooo, that was Dad!". I like it, this glimpse into my genetics. Or is it learned behavior? (It also proves my brothers wrong: no, I was NOT adopted.) I wonder if this will happen more and more as I age. My parents don't seem to age at all. The hand thing is definitely genetic, while Dad's thought process and insight are more things I've tried to emulate, sometimes consciously, sometimes not. Is that genetics? Are we destined to become our parents, no matter what? In my case, it's a very good thing. Thanks Mom and Dad.


Waiting For Bill

Steve, the slacker, started and finished a new teak floor for the head (bathroom) yesterday. We're anchored in Atlantic Highlands NJ, waiting for the sea to calm down in the Atlantic so we can continue south. Hurricane Bill isn't looking like he'll do much here, knock wood, but we'll wait it out anyway.

This is a nice city to be in, a grocery and laundromat, two essentials, within walking distance. If only there were a newspaper delivery boy coming by in his dinghy in the morning, it would be perfect.

So as you can see, Steve put his time to good use. I, on the other hand, read The Improbable Voyage, by Tristan Jones and spent a lot of time petting Adjima.


Being Touristy

We're back aboard tonight after another day of touring around New York. We've spent hours walking through Central Park and have barely seen a third of it. I can't think of a better place to be on a summer Sunday afternoon. There were people of every size, color and nationality. And they were everywhere. We sat on a big rock and watched the softball games, listened to some really good jazz, walked the Ramble and got a little lost. It was wonderful.

We sat for a long time on the middle of Times Square, eating ice cream. There were thousands and thousands of people there, all taking pictures and shopping, eating.
It's an incredible place to just sit and watch. I met the Naked Cowboy! He was playing his guitar and singing, having his picture taken with all of us tourists. He was very interested when I said we came in by sailboat. As he leaned in for the photo, he said huskily, "Does that mean you know Bob Bennett? I didn't think I had any competition out there but now I've seen his blog photo, I'm a little worried".
One of the really great things we did here was have lunch with my cousin Jeff and his girlfriend, Erica. I haven't seen Jeff for about 20 years and had never met Erica, so we had a lot to talk about. We met in Chinatown for some seriously good food. They live in Jersey City and it was great of them to come and meet us. Jeff, thanks again for lunch. I hope you two come to the Keys this winter. Next time, lunch is on us.


Another Beautiful Day

Yesterday was a memorable day, and not just for the incredible amount of traffic on the Hudson River. We came into New York Harbour, under the Verazano Bridge, past Staten Island, around Brooklyn, and right up to the foot of the Statue of Liberty. It was amazing.
We checked into the marina and headed for Central Park for a walk. We ended the evening with pollo parmigiana and linguini pescatore (delicioso!) at Copola's, then came back to Celebration to watch the lights come on.
We're staying at the 79th Street Boat Basin, on the west side of Manhattan. At $30 a night, it's the best thing going. A quick walk to the Park and subway stops, we can go anywhere from here. The view of the Upper West Side is great and the people watching, as ever, fascinating.
Looking to the east from the marina.


Happy Birthday

What to do on a cool, rainy, blustery afternoon? Have a Birthday Party! Adjima turned 18 this week. She's been our wonderful little companion since she was 5 weeks old and the girls rescued her from the pound in Anchorage, AK. She's been around the world by plane and car and now by sail. We sang and had treats (tarter control, of course). She was so happy!! You can tell by the look on her face.


New York

Hi Everyone, just a quickie... we got into Atlantic Highlands, NJ, this afternoon. We're currently sitting at anchor, sipping cocktails and checking out the lights of Manhattan. We'll head into NYC tomorrow, or the next day. We have no schedule and we're sticking to it.

N 40 deg 24.989
W 74 deg 01.393


More Days in Cape May????

Why, YES. Leaving yesterday, er today, er well, don't really know.

The plan: leave yesterday with southerlies rolling to westerlies and head up the coast toward Sandy Hook then off straight to Block Island if the weather held. Dinghy up, sail covers off, Mr Mac called since it would be a two night off shore and well, someone should know where we're expected to show. Last minute weather check showed 25+ knots predicted south of Long Island right about when we'd be passing through. Why do that?

So leaving today: South-westerlies predicted are blowing right at 10 knots, beautiful sailing weather but...they're blowing out of 355 degrees. (NOAA still repeating southwest over the radio) Could we sail that? Maybe but again, OK anchorage here and no schedule so why do that?

Leaving tomorrow: I confess, I haven't yet bothered to look at the forecast for tomorrow ...

38 deg 56.964 N
74 deg 53.279 W


Days in Cape May

Steve found a small tear in the jib last week and took advantage of the nice weather here in Cape May to effect repairs up on the bow. We're anchored right in front of the Coast Guard station here, that's the Vigorous in the back. We've heard some complaining from fellow cruisers, but we LIKE hearing reveille and the national anthem in the morning and retreat in the evening. Just like the good old days. Of course, if I could sleep in past 6:00, I might feel differently.

YOU wanna go to this beach? You wanna go to THIS beach? You wanna go to this BEACH? It seems you have to pay to access the beaches here in New Jersey. We met William, the mafia, er,access guard, on our walk yesterday. We had thought to take an early morning walk in the sand, but no. We politely declined to pay $10 for the privilege and walked the promenade instead. The view is great on both sides of the walkway, a distant view of the water on the left and the beautiful houses on the right. We had a nice lunch outside and made it home before the rain. I was feeling strange last night, and then realized I was COLD (sorry Bob and Kitty). I had to put on a jacket and actually slept under the covers. WOW was that nice.

In regard to the last blog entry, the provisioning we did before we left St Pete was extensive. This accounts for the large grocery $$$. The grocery category includes everything edible and personal. I set a level of stores I thought we should keep, about 6 months worth, and stocked up. For example, we carry 12 cans of tomatoes. When we use a can or two, we replace them, that way I always know what we have on board. And in case we get a wild hair and decide to set out across the Atlantic, we're prepared.


Some More Stuff

We made it to Cape May, NJ, on Saturday, late evening. It's a long way from Chesapeake City to Cape May, with few places to stop along the way. We did it in 78 miles in 14 hours. Actually, a lot faster than I thought we'd make it. We were in well before dark.

Cape May is a really pretty beach town, old Victorian houses all over, quite a few of them for sale, if you're looking. Most of them are huge, which makes them easier to see through all the tourists. Yes, we're on the South Jersey Shore, in August. The streets are packed with people, in cars, who don't really want to spend any time outside in the heat and humidity, they just want to look. They try to run us over as we hike around and they drive madly from one place to another. I want to yell "What's the matter with you? Are you not comfortable enough, sitting there in your air conditoning, eating and drinking?". And then I remember that 84 days ago, I was them. And I think "Oh, those poor people."
We have a leak in a seawater pump seal, and are waiting for one to be sent from St Petersburg, of all places, so will be spending a few more days touring around.

We just finished our third month of full time cruising! Actually 83 days, since we didn't leave on the 1st of May. I like to keep track of a lot of stuff, I'm kind of compulsive that way. So I have what I consider to be some interesting stats. Steve said "You're killing me here". Of our 83 nights out, we spent 47 at anchor, 10 on mooring balls, 14 at docks that charge a fee, 5 at free docks and 7 underway. We've spent $1286.35 on groceries (a $15.35 daily average or $7.67/per person/per day), $507.83 on liquor (or $6.11 per day or $5.99 for Steve and .12 for me per day), and $451.19 for fuel (or $5.43 per day) fuel includes gas and diesel and the propane for the BBQ and stove. As you can see, we eat and drink well.

And to poke a few more pins in the Steve doll, we've seen 21 cities in 6 states, spent $42 dollars doing laundry. We also have eaten out 20 times, for a total of $581.70 or an average of $29 per meal, including drinks. That's only $14.50 per person. If anyone has any questions on any other useless trivia, jus let me know. I have other lists.


Still Pond and Artillery

The Guide to Cruising Chesapeake Bay says about this part of the upper bay, "warm sunny days and comfortable nights for sleeping, with only the occasional shower and thunderstorm" . It also says that after said 'occasional thunderstorm' : "The best part of these experiences is the grand finale-a scarlet blaze of sunset and cool air that promises a pleasant nights sleep". I think these writers also write romance novels, gag. Anyway, so far, we've had daily thunderstorms that end early enough for the sun to come back out and steam it up again and then the wind dies so it stays nice and steamy when we go to bed.
We anchored last night at Still Pond, a beautiful cove off the main channel, just before the daily storm. We had just enough time to run up to the beach, in the picture above and collect a few shells and rocks. It then rained off and on until after dark. We awoke to the sound of machine guns and grenades, courtesy of the Aberdeen Proving Ground, across the Bay. This is where the Army tests EVERYTHING. Of course it's all restricted, so we can't go over and accidentally blow our selves up.
Tonight we're in Chesapeake City, just inside of the canal that goes between the north ends of the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. The canal is 13 miles long and was built in 1829. We'll go from there down the Delaware and on to Cape May, NJ. Lots of ducks here, they came out to say Hi to Adjima. She wasn't sure what to think of them, she just stared for a long time. Maybe remembering some long ago meal of pate.


Just Some Stuff

Annapolis has been great. Our friends, Alison and Mike, came for dinner, they drove all the way from Alexandria, VA, on a weeknight! If you've ever driven in DC, you know how amazing that is. It was wonderful to see them again and catch up and eat a lot and drink some wine.

We also made it to the weekly SSCA breakfast where we had a chance to meet some other cruisers. A BIG THANK YOU to Al and Marianne for their help in getting our propane tank filled.

This photo is just for Hannah. We saw Les Miserables on Broadway for my 40th birthday and have been singing the songs ever since.
This has nothing to do with Annapolis, but we came by this no longer used lighthouse on the way up the Chesapeake. I just was really impressed by anyone brave enough to use the bathroom, the little precariously balanced port-a-potty 20 feet above the water.

This also has nothing to do with where we are now, but we got waked by a sub on our way out of Norfolk. It was VERY cool.

We left downtown Annapolis and anchored in Weems Creek, just on the west side of town, off the Severn River. It's only a 15 minute dinghy ride to the city center, but a world away. There are huge homes up on the riverbanks, with big yards, docks. It's pretty, with lots of Osprey and ducks. Today we hiked to Bacons, a legendary marine store. Some of their stuff is new, some used, some consigned. We spent a lot of time browsing and discussing. It was a good walk combined with boat stuff, it doesn't get any better.


Annapolis by Water

Lynn and I had visited Annapolis many times and every time we had we walked along the waterfront and wondered just what it would be like....someday...to sail into here. Well, today is the day and here is the view of that same downtown waterfront from the mooring field.

Indicative of our late trust in the weather/wind forecasts of the Chesapeake, we went to bed last night expecting the forecast to change. We left the dinghy in the water and the rest of Celebration pretty unprepared for sailing out with the easterlies forecast. Getting up this morning to find easterlies, we hoisted the dink and the anchor, preparing the rest as we motored out of Solomons sipping the first coffee. Turned into an excellent morning sail up the bay, 5 1/2 knots against a 9/10ths knot current. Like all things, it couldn't last and the last few hours turned into a gentle motor-sail as the breeze laid down, then turned slightly enough from the north to make a straight sail untenable. At that point the current was well with us so an idle of Nanni was all it took to pick up a mooring before 1730 and sit back to evening cocktails.

N 38 deg 58.424 min
W 76 deg 28.833 min


Small World, Big SSCA

We arrived Solomons MD late on Thursday 16 July, checked the mail and saw that our cruising friends and fellow SSCA members John and Roberta, S/V Freedom, had just been here....looked up in the morning from our coffee to see the image posted here...yes the stern of their beautiful boat. Unfortunately we learned they are away for a few days and we'll miss them... this time.

Next was a dingy visit from Frank and Joanne, S/V Fantasy Island, SSCA members who on noticing our SSCA burgee stopped by to say hi. For us new-bees it was a welcome visit. They provided a couple tips and local knowledge from their experience cruising that have proven very helpful in our short stay here. Tomorrow, we'll hit the Tiki Bar, one of our all time favorite people watching spots. Then if the weather actually develops into something sailable, we'll head north toward Annapolis. Meanwhile we are enjoying the festivities of the Screwpile Lighthouse Regatta as we relax.

N 38 deg 20.309 min
W 76 deg 27.578 min


Like the Neighborhood

A week plus in Norfolk. I'd love to say we were "waiting for a weather window" but it's just not true. Like cruisers everywhere, we must do some boat repairs in exotic ports. In this case a little less than exotic, but pretty cool sitting next to the aircraft carriers and all the other USN vessels. While the photo here is from the outside, the little Naval marina we are in is right behind the ships births. Having come through the Great Dismal Swamp with a non-functioning depth sounder, leaky head, and a tear in the mainsail, we wanted to get a couple things fixed. So we ordered parts while enjoying the Independence weekend, had them sent to the marina at Norfolk, moseyed in for a great deal on a transient slip and went to work. Here is the end of week score: We took the main down, patched her and got it back up; disassembled cleaned and lubed one of the reefing winches; built a bracket and moved our Fortress anchor to the bow relegating the small CQR somewhere else yet to be determined; got in the head parts but decided to put them in the spares and sent the second head directly to the dumpster...it's all about the weight and the space; installed a new shoot through the hull transducer that is IN FRONT of the keel (neat concept in my view, and it WORKS!); replaced a broken LP solenoid; finally split the settee bases which we've planned for years and installed a piano hinge so we can get to the food (another good quality of life issue); installed a deck pump-out fitting for the forward holding tank since we've now eliminated the aft head; Repaired a small leak and recharged the engine driven refrigeration; installed new navigation software as my old is very outdated and the new (almost) free stuff is getting pretty good; and finally, I made some neat facings (photo here) and installed the LED galley lighting we've been carrying around for months, BTW the old lights haven't worked for much longer that that. All in all a good week, met many new friends and now time to head north. Weather...once we're actually looking...will probably keep us in the Chesapeake. Tomorrow will tell. We'll update again soon!

N 36 deg 57.311
W 76 deg 18.610


Welcome To The Jungle

We got into Norfolk just ahead of the crowd. This was Harbourfest weekend here. Three days of fun in the sun. A new Waterfront Park to dedicate, a Tall Ship show and Parade Of Sail, tug boat salutes and muster, an Anything That Floats But A Boat Race, music and food of all kinds, ship tours and fireworks every night.
We anchored in what was an empty anchorage across from the waterfront. By dark on the 4th there were more than 200 boats in less that 1 square mile. Every kind of boat and every size, from kayaks to cruisers. The fireworks on Fri were spectacular. A barge down the middle of the harbour close enough that there was no lag between the boom and the light. We thought they were great, until last night. TWO barges, launching simultaneously, fireworks wider than my field of vision. The concussions rocked the boat. It lasted for 40 minutes. We've seen some amazing fireworks, but these were the best. The cat slept through it all.
N 36 50.635
W 76 17.968