Monday, October 27, 2008

Waiting it out at 38°48.666'N 076°10.975'W

We are back in Leeds Creek.  We left St. Michael's this morning to attempt the slog against the wind.  It was rough and cold and I just didn't feel up to the task.  A little dejected, I turned Aly Cat around to settle in a good little anchorage and wait out better weather.  The forecast says we may be waiting here through Wednesday but I hope it has let up enough to leave Wednesday morning and make Soloman's Island.  In the meantime, Alyson has taught me to play Backgammon.  So far, we are all square in the win/loss columns.  When something exciting happens, I'll take a picture - but don't hold your breath!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

St Michael's Island

Here we are enjoying a wonderful festival at St. Michael's Island at 38°47.133'N  076°13.253'W
We had a visit from Kathryn, my sister and her boyfriend, John.  They stayed Friday night on the boat with us.  Caroline taught them how to play "spoons".  Saturday, we saw a Pumpkin carving contest, ate at a gourmet Pizza and Wine bar, shopped in lots of cool little stores, and visited the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.  St. Michael's is steeped in a rich history.  It is known as the town that tricked the British in the War of 1812 and was first established as a shipbuilding community.
Sunday was race day here on the Island.  Coconut entered in the Dachshund Dash taking first place in her preliminary heat.  In the final round she clearly outpaced the field but entered the rabbit hole only after sitting by and watching two others go in first and second.  Still, we were awfully proud of our little Coconut!  She even brought her own cheering section from another boat here in the harbour.  After the races, it was clear she had won the hearts of more fans as she walked down the street - many calling her by name!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The middle of Mecca

Here we are in the middle of the sailing mecca of the east coast.  Yes, I know, there are squids (AKA Midshipmen - yack!) all around but I just popped a few Benadryl and I'm fine.  We are moored right in the middle of the harbor at:
38°58.517'N  076°29.026'W
Check it out on Google earth and you will see we are in the middle of everything!  Too bad we are only staying here overnight.  We are heading to St. Michael's tomorrow for yet another festival.  After that, we head south until it gets warm!  Sunny skies and warm blue water, here we come!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lots of Photos

Here is what you all have been waiting for! Photos, photos and more photos! These were taken over the last few weeks and include: Oktoberfest, fishing, hanging out, Tilghman Island and more!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Return to the Severn River

It's Sunday and all the festivities on Tilghman Island have come to a close. We departed around 9:30 bound for Severna Park. The good news; the coffee this morning was simply divine. The bad news; the forecasters were right about their wind and temperature predictions. It was COLD! That aside, it wasn't too bad of a day for a cruise. It was especially scenic sailing into Annapolis and watching the fleet of sailboats with a myriad of rainbow colored sails, rounding the marks in a race at the mouth of the harbor. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge lay just behind and formed a picture frame backdrop as they turned downwind to pop their spinnakers. Upriver, fleets of dingy sailboats, with their blazon white sails, skittered to and fro like moths around a light. Tonight we tied up at the dock in Burt and Nancy's neighborhood. I look forward to having some Ludo's pizza tomorrow for lunch - I'm told its famous!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tilghman Island

Life on Tilghman Island is good.  The island hosts an annual festival, complete with rowboat races, anchor throwing contests, boat docking contests, boat races, and an assortment of locally caught and prepared seafood.  We enjoyed watching most of the events and sampling everything the vendors offered!  Yes, it was a little on the cool side, but it did little to cool the spirits of all the folks gathered to celebrate Tilghman Island Day.
We are currently docked at the Tilghman Island Marina at: 38°43.230'N  076°20.283'W.  Check out the island on Google Earth.
Tomorrow we will cross the Chesapeake, back to Yantz Creek.  We hope the winds will be gentle, but the forecast doesn't look good.  Expected winds will be brisk and right in the direction of travel.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Still here...

Well we are still here in Yantz creek taking it easy. I thought some of you back home might like to know what kind of a view we have been enjoying.

Some things just don't get old!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Google Earth

For those of you using Google Earth, try this Lat/Long format.  You should be able to cut and paste the coordinates and "fly to" our exact reported position.  Here are the coordinates in the correct format:  39°03.999'N  076°33.913'W
Let us know if it works for you!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

We made it

Well we finally made it to Annapolis last Friday. We found a cool little anchorage called Weems Creek which was away from all the "goings on" at the boat show but within walking distance from a grocery store, laundromat, and a handful of great little restaurants. We spent Saturday with Burt and Nancy Jackson, who live here in Severna Park. Their neighborhood had a great Oktoberfest party complete with bratwurst, home - brewed beer, and an Ohm Pa band! Fun was had by all! Caroline took third place in the pie eating contest!

Monday, Alyson, Caroline and I went to the boatshow to check out all the new gadgets. It was pretty much same as last year. Later that evening we went out to eat for Caroline's Birthday. Burt and his son, Ben, joined us at the Macaronni Grill. Yum Yum!

Today, we moved the boat down to Burt and Nancy's neighborhood to a little cove called Yantz Creek. It's located at 39.04.002N 076.33.923W. Look us up on google earth and you will see the exact cove we are in!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I Didn't Fall Overboard!

Yes, I am on the boat with my family! I have been very busy and haven't had made time to write until now. The planning for this trip took some time to work out. If you have ever planned to leave on a vacation for a week and gone through all the preparations, you know just a taste of what I have been up to these last couple of months. We had to plan for being way for ten months . . .taxes, absentee voting, Dr. and Dentist visits for all, establishing automatic bill payments, working with the pharmacy and BCBS to get our meds in advance, finding a house sitter and the list goes on.

So our first day out, I was exhausted and I must admit, I had a tug of sadness as we left our home port. It was not a sadness for the material things left behind but for my family and friends. Along, with my melancholy came excitement that the day had finally arrived. We were on our way on a journey of a lifetime! I prayed for safe travel, for happiness for my family and for our eyes to be opened to all of the new things God wanted us to experience. Oh, and I prayed to see Dolphins on the first day.

The ride down the ICW to Wrightsville Beach was a couple of hours but as we left the inlet, the sun broke through the haze. It was a gorgeous day! I felt true joy as I sat on the trampolines with Caroline watching the boats go by.

The seas were calm and I felt no fear being out in the ocean. I took my turn at the helm and off the Starboard side came our first of many Dolphins we would see that day. Caroline and I were like little kids with such excitement to see them. There were other sightings that day of large schools of fish, sharks (2 of them feeding on said fish), Jellyfish as big as Caroline's head (as she said). At one point, a beautiful little brown and yellow bird flew as hard as she could to catch up with us so she could rest a while. Coco did try to chase her off one time and in doing so almost went overboard.

Speaking of Coco, she is doing well so far. She has found her favorite warm, sunny spots and loves to sit in my lap while I'm at the helm. She is still apprehensive about doing her business on the AstroTurf but is doing much better.

Oh, Lew and Caroline caught their first (of many, I hope) fish today. It was small and Lew decided to throw it back. Truth be told, I don't think he wanted to clean it.

We anchored off of Beaufort that night. We had dinner, watched a movie and went to bed early. This was a great day!

The next two days traveling down the ICW were pretty uneventful. The second night we anchored off of Belhaven and third night we docked at Alligator River Marina. In our travel books, it claimed to have ultra modern facilities. Caroline said they were "ultra ancient." It was really windy that night so I knew the next day would be rough. It was. We cruised across the Alligator River and into the Albemarle Sound straight into the wind and waves. I was like riding a bucking bronco. School was called on account of rough seas. It calmed down later but it was tough getting Caroline back on task. We finally docked at the Coinjock Marina. A nice marina with good seafood. Now, I have asked several people if they have ever heard of Coinjock, NC. No person has at this point. All I know, is we are in the Outer Banks.

We leave early tomorrow so we can make to Norfolk so I better get to bed! Love you and goodnight!

Closing in on Annapolis

We have had a great few days making our way north toward Annapolis.

We began Saturday morning leaving Carolina Beach. We motored up the ICW to Wrightsville Beach and went outside, straight to Beaufort. It was a gloriously clear day with smooth water. Although we had the engine running the entire time, we did get to put up the sails for the last 4 hours. We saw tons of wildlife. Pods of dolphin frolicking all around, bait balls being hemmed at the surface, a brief glimpse of a sea turtle, two sharks and Caroline caught her first fish by trolling are just a sampling of our encounters. We got in to Beaufort that night and anchored out in Town Creek just to the north of the drawbridge.

With an early start on the day, we had a pretty uneventful motor to Bellhaven. That evening, Alyson cooked an awesome dinner - sesame chicken with a wasabi salad. I awoke early the next morning and I couldn't see a thing! OH NO, I'M BLIND!!! NO, Wait, I can see the boat. I just can't see anything beyond the boat. As we slept, a thick fog had rolled in, enveloping our peaceful little anchorage. So, plan #2 went into effect. Sleep a little longer and hope the fog burns off soon. The weather radio said the fog would be gone by 8:30, but we still could only see about 100 yards. But, within 30 minutes , the fog began to dissipate and we could get underway. We made Alligator creek Marina that night and had one of their "world renowned" cheeseburgers. I must admit they were pretty darn good!

This morning, we were the only ones choosing to head north against the wind. Forecasts had the wind at 25 knots gusting to 30. I believe it was every bit of that. Our first leg we went straight across the Albemarle. I was rough!!! I began to wonder if I had made the wrong decision to go that morning. We had to fight to get off the windward shore. Once we had made it about 1/3 of the way across, the waves began to mellow but the breeze remained stiff. Did I mention it was unseasonable cool? I nearly froze at the helm. To make matters worse, the sun seemed to hide behind thick white clouds until we had nearly made our stopping point. At 1:30 we pulled up to the docks at Coinjock Marina.

We are currently 50 miles south of Norfolk and just below the NC / VA border. Tomorrow we hope to make Norfolk and visit with Chip, my brother.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Making Progress

Well we have certianly been busy these last few weeks. Caroline has learned to throw the cast net, ride in the dingy and climb the mast. The following link shows some pics of the highlights. Alyson took the picture from way up the mast looking straight down at the boat. You will know it when you see it!

If all goes as planned, we'll head back toward Beaufort on Saturday morning. I doubt if we'll hardly stop since we are running pretty tight for making Annapolis for the Sailboat Show. I expect to spend a good 5 days getting there. Updates to this blog may be light since we'll be concentrating on making miles and not finding an internet connection. Winds should shift to the east by Monday so we can do some sailing. Unfortunately, Saturday and Sunday promise to be motor days, or rather, motor daze.