Friday, August 28, 2009

No Knives, No Forks, No Plates . Just Wooden Mallets!!

After our night at anchor in Chesapeake City, we moved over to the town dock first thing yesterday morning. We needed to fill the water tanks and let the kids do a bit of running around. The kids have been given chores around the boat, in addition to the typical ones like keeping their cabins clean or helping with the dishes. Mitchells job this morning was to properly stow the anchor rode.

We then moved on to more important things such as visiting the ice cream shop next to the dock! It was here that Lisa met a very helpful young girl who offered to drive her to a grocery store once she got off work. Catherine (sorry if I mispelled it) was a great help and we wish her the best of luck with her ambitions to open a bakery in New York City.

Lisa and Delaney then went for a walk around town while Mitch and I got on the bikes and visited the C&D Canal Museum (very cool).

The town of Chesapeake City was really neat, all the houses date back to the mid-1800's and have been restored and maintained. They all have names, typically of the original owners, as well as the date they were built.

Before heading out for dinner, we did a little survey of our 3 Most Favourite and Least Favourite things about living aboard/cruising.

Lisa Most Favourite: 1. Anchoring out 2. Swimming off the boat 3. Having a family supper every night

Least Favourite: 1. Running out of ice 2. Refrigeration issues 3. Mark always being busy

Mark Most Favourite: 1. Spending time with my family 2. Time on the water 3. Seeing new places and faces

Least Favourite: 1. Fixing things on the boat 2. Our smelly head 3. Lifting the outboard on and off the dinghy

Delaney Most Favourite: 1. Staying in nice anchorages 2. Having fun swimming 3. Exploring new places

Least Favourite: 1. Getting seasick 2. No TV 3. No ice cream

Mitchell Most Favourite: 1. I got to start the dinghy engine 2. Nice showers 3. Not getting seasick

Least Favourite: 1. No steak and asparagus 2. Can't wakeboard on mom's board 3. I can't think of a third thing.

While we were looking for a place to eat, we came across this fellow sitting in front of his house. I am terrible with names, but we stood and chatted with him for about 20 minutes. He has lived in Chesapeake City his whole life, but also has had a place on Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick for 50 years. I am sure he has seen alot of changes in the town over the years but he still had only good things to say about it. I spotted a print of the washed-out main deck on an old sailing ship that I bought for $10.00 (including the frame). It's jammed up in the main cabin on the boat waiting for our return home.

Looking for a place for supper we wound up at the Tap Room. We ordered a dozen crabs and had a feast!!

After a great meal we headed back to the boat, kids straight to bed, adults sharing a nice bottle of wine (No Box-o-Vino tonight, we actually had wine out of a bottle!!).

This morning we were off early, going south again as we entered the Chesapeake Bay. Right now we are anchored in Still Pond Creek, a nice little anchorage perfectly suited for our shallow draft catamaran (we are in 5' of water now, but saw 2.6' at one point).

If the weather co-operates we will be off for Annapolis in the morning.


The Crew of "Why Are we Getting Water in the Port Hull and Can't Get it out of the Starboard Galley Sink??"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Motorin' South and Sailing North???

So we wound up spending 4 nights anchored in Atlantic Highlands, NJ. Hurricane Bill didn't get too close (more of a hassle for my co-workers in Newfoundland), but he did produce a large swell that had to lay down before we could head off to Cape May.

Other than dealing with "domestic" issues such as laundry , groceries and boat projects, most of our time was spent swimming and exploring in the dinghy. We also spent an afternoon wakeboarding. Delaney has it nailed!!! Mitchell gave it a good shot but we really need to get him a properly sized wakeboard (He and Delaney have been riding Lisa's Jimmy Lewis kiteboard). Poor Mitchell's legs are already so spread apart on the board, it's not much help when I am telling him to straighten his front leg and bend his back.

Anyway, the search begins for a Liquid Force Nemesis 111 with Micro bindings!!

One of best parts about cruising is the sense of community you have with others cruisers. Not sure if it's a commonality (boats, travelling) or maybe we all have the same loose screws, but getting to meet other boaters is one of the best parts of cruising. Some you will never meet again, others become lifelong friends. There wound up being 5 boats in the anchorage , all waiting on weather to head down the coast. Sometimes it seems like a scene from an old Andy Griffith movie from back in the 40's and 50's , people sitting on their porch, the neighbours walking by, stopping for a chat. You don't see that very much these days, but you see it all the time in anchorages . The only difference is the porch has been traded for a cockpit and instead of walking, people are coming around in their dinghies.

We pulled the anchor at 0600hrs on Monday morning and left Atlantic Highlands in time to catch the outgoing tide at Sandy Hook. A couple of our neighbours left at 0400hrs, and another was planning to leave after us.

Once on the ocean we settled into what would be a 24-30 hour overnight run down the New Jersey coast. We would pass Atlantic City sometime around midnight, staying 2-3 miles offshore. The winds were fickle, so we motorsailed most of the trip. Unfortunately there was a residual swell from Hurricane Bill, long and slow, about 2m high. This was Delaneys introduction to Mal de Mer (seasickness). She was a trooper, handling it all quite well. She wasn't able to stay in her cabin, so she spent the night sleeping in the cockpit. Below is a pic of her bundled up with the (blurry) lights of Atlantic City in the background.

Lisa took the wheel from midnight to 0300hrs. I think she really enjoyed the quiet, no kids, just a sky full of stars (and the occasional 300' barge to dodge around)!!

We arrived at our destination, Cape May, at around 0900hrs. This is a very busy little spot just at the bottom of Delaware Bay. The preferred anchorage is small and subject to wakes from passing boats, so we decided to check out another spot recommended in our anchoring Bible, Skipper Bob's ICW Guide. We went north through a bascule bridge, and I swear as soon as we got past it they hit!!! They being horseflies! So we put our new cabins screens to good use as Lisa and the kids ducked inside and I was left to the ravenous swarm("Be brave dad! And don't run us aground either!!). I was really hoping that they would disappear once we got to the anchorage, but halfway down the channel I realized it wasn't going to happen. After turning us around in the 60' wide channel (7' of water), we hightailed it back to the bridge. We motored alongside a local, armed with a huge flyswatter in his cockpit, who informed us there is an informal understanding with the horseflies that they do not go south of the bridge. Ha, ha, Funny Local Guy, but I swear the moment we cleared that bridge every last flie left the boat (with the exception of a few dead carcasses). I think I lost about 5 lbs between the energy expended swatting them and the flesh they actually bit off of me!

Anyway, back to the original anchorage, crack open a beer and relax.

We had a family movie night (Eragon) but I only lasted through the first 15 minutes. Three hours sleep the previous day finally caught up with me.

Yesterday (Wednesday) morning was another early start, leaving Cape May to head up Delaware Bay. Again, you want to play the tides so you can run with the current up the Bay (I think it was 56 miles we had to go). We left with the same group of boats from Atlantic Highlands. You can go through the Cape May Canal, which shortens the trip by about 3 hours, but you have to pass under a bridge that provided 55ft. of cleareance (Charlotte-Ann needs 45ft.). One of the boats in our group was very close to that limit. Steve figured he should be able to get under it if he got there right at low tide. We all held our breath as he approached, but it all worked out in the end, he made it just fine.

So after all this motoring south, here we were on the Delaware doing what we really wanted to do (sail), but we were going North!! If you look at Google maps (I am trying to get the map function working on the Blog) you will see Delaware Bay to the east and Chesapeake Bay to the west). At the north end they are joined by the C&D canal, our destination.

We had a terrific sail, running with the tide we were seeing 9.2-9.6 knots!!! The wind slowly started to come straight at us (always seems the way), but later we made a slight turn to starboard, shut the engines down, and had a terrific sail once again.
We got to the canal and 2 hours later arrived in Chesapeake City. Last night we anchored in the basin, and first thing this morning we moved to the town dock. We need water and the kids have been bugging to go for a bike ride. We haven`t checked it out yet, but it looks very nice, a nautical version of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Well, as usual, I have some projects to deal with.

Tomorrow we are off to a highly recommended anchorage on the Chesapeake, with plans to arrive at Olversons Marina (where Lisa and the kids will stay while I return to work) in about a weeks time.

The crew of ``Why Does the Head Still Smell ``