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!