2003

 
Index
 
 
December 22, 2003, 9:49 AM
 

Top of Page

Hi All,

Once again we are underway. Tonight we are anchored in the North end of Lake Worth, North Palm Beach, FL. We will probably spend a few days here... we have a couple of things catching up with us here. Once we have everything, we will continue further down the Florida coast to get a more favorable angle from which to cross the Gulf Stream.

Our plan is to get over to the southern Bahama Islands, following the basic guidelines set forth in Bruce Van Sant's "Gentleman's Guide to Passages South", which is the "bible" on Caribbean Cruising. We plan on taking it slowly and enjoying the scenery...which may mean we don't make it to Trinidad the first year. We'll just have to see how it goes.

The weather has been cold here the past few days. It's certainly feeling a LOT like Christmas! We hope all of you a joyous holiday season and best wishes for the new year!

Life's a trip!

Claudia


December 20, 2003, 10:01 AM
 

Top of Page

Hi All,

Once again we are underway. Tonight we are anchored in the North end of Lake Worth, North Palm Beach, FL. We will probably spend a few days here... we have a couple of things, including mail, catching up with us here. Once we have everything, we will continue further down the Florida coast to get a more favorable angle from which to cross the Gulf Stream.

Our plan is to get over to the southern Bahama Islands, following the basic guidelines set forth in Bruce Van Sant's "Gentleman's Guide to Passages South", which is the "bible" on Caribbean Cruising. We plan on taking it slowly and enjoying the scenery...which may mean we don't make it to Trinidad the first year. We'll just have to see how it goes.

The weather has been cold here the past few days. It's certainly feeling a LOT like Christmas! We hope all of you a joyous holiday season and best wishes for the new year!

Life's a trip!

Claudia


December 8, 2003, 12:32 PM
 

Top of Page

Hi All,

We've been in the Daytona, FL area for the past couple of weeks. Roger's Mother lives near here in Port Orange so we have been visiting with her and working through her "honey-do" list. And we spent Thanksgiving with family, which was very nice!

Our sails are fine... we didn't need to have them replaced, just repaired a little. We had a sailmaker in St. Augustine work on them.

We hauled the boat out of the water for five days and did a "bottom job"... we slapped some antifouling paint on the bottom, replaced all of the zincs (zincs are an easily corroded metal, you put zincs on the bottom of your boat and THEY will get eaten away by any stray electrolysis rather than more important things like your propeller), and I painted a school of little fishies on our bottom. I had always wanted to do this, but never quite got around to it... which is just as well, in the murky water we have been in, they would never have been seen!

We bought a new full-sized computer for the boat.... one with a flat panel monitor which is much easier to find room for on a boat. We have been using laptop computers, but when a laptop breaks, in most cases you might just as well throw it out... they can only be repaired by factory authorized agents. But with a full sized computer components are easily swapped... got a bad hard-drive? Slap in a new one! Almost any one will do! The new full-sized computer only takes a little more electricity to run than the laptop did. I DID have to get up at 3:30 AM the morning after Thanksgiving to get the special early-bird shopper price, but it was worth it! They were practically GIVING them away!

We should be leaving here around Wednesday or Thursday... time to get moving South again! Hopefully we'll be in the Bahamas for Christmas!

Life's a trip!

Claudia


November 12, 2003, 2:06 PM
 

Top of Page

Hi All,

Roger and I are a full day-plus into our overnight passage from Winyah Bay, SC to St Mary's River Inlet, near Fernandina Beach, FL. We're traveling with 2 other boats we know, and 3 we don't. We heard that the weather was going to turn MIGHTY cold and nasty in SC within the next few days, and we all thought it would be better to get South faster than we were traveling on the ICW.

Besides, it was down-right CROWDED in the ICW! Saturday night a very large, heavy trawler anchored next to us in a full anchorage. He seemed alright at the time, but about 3AM the tides and currents started running contrary to one another and all of the boats were swinging erratically. The trawler came within a boathook's length of us, so I started tapping on their hull to wake them... my rule is "if I'm pushing your boat away from me, you should at LEAST be out there to help!" I started out tapping their hull at 3:30 AM, by 5:30 AM, with the occupants still sound asleep, I was being a little less polite. I'm told boats as far as a half mile away heard me banging and cussing! And believe me, I KNOW how to cuss!

Reluctantly, I finally broke out the air horn and let them have it! I had hoped to avoid using it and waking up the WHOLE anchorage... but you have to do what you have to do! I think Bev and Henry on WindQuest were the only people I didn't stir-up, but at least I finally woke up the trawler! Thankfully they picked up their anchor and left, giving us all a little more breathing room. They were good about it, and apologized profusely both at the time and later that day over the radio. These things happen, you can't get too upset about them!

Last night's passage was glorious! It was 70 degrees all night, we had a nearly full moon, the stars were out, we had dolphins playing in our bow wake leaving phosphorescent trails. The ocean had some good sized rollers, but very little chop. We were able to sleep for a few hours at a time while the other person watched. The only thing that would have made it better is if we had actually had some WIND, but hey, you can't have everything! We are pleased to have cut out four days of playing "follow the leader" on the ICW at any rate!

On the down side, we discovered a rip in our mainsail, which could be expensive and our radar has stopped working, which hopefully will only be time consuming. BUT! We might not have discovered either of these problems had we stayed inside, so these are also good things to be thankful for.

We plan on taking on some fuel once we get inside, then we will find an anchorage, sleep tonight and hopefully have good weather for an outside passage to St. Augustine tomorrow.

It's good to be in Florida!

Life's a trip!

Claudia


November 6, 2003, 8:36 AM
 

Top of Page

Hi All,

Well, our planned two weeks in Oriental only stretched into three-ish. We had a good time, dumped a lot of non-essential items from the boat and picked up a few more that we expect to need on our extended voyage.

Now we feel ready to continue our journey South. We'll leave tomorrow and head for Beaufort, NC. Not a great jump, but that's our style... we like to take life slowly and enjoy the view! Why rush?

Our tentative plans (all plans on a sailboat are tentative!) will be to stop a day or two in Savannah, GA to visit a friend and a week or so in the Daytona area to visit Roger's Mom... and then head for the Islands!

Keep an eye out for us!

Life's a trip!

Claudia


October 15, 2003, 6:46 PM
 

Top of Page

Hi All,

We've arrived back in Oriental. We of course enjoyed our week-long stay in NYC. We explored the city, ate Dim Sum in Chinatown a couple of times. I spent most of a day on the Bowery, looking for a good buy on good quality plastic plates and dishes for the boat. The Bowery is where all of the restaurant supply houses are. I finally found some dishes I like a lot and they are good and sturdy.

While waiting out weather in Cape May, NJ we met a couple on another Whitby. They were heading for the annual Whitby/Brewer owner's association near Annapolis. We decided to try to make it as well... and finally did for the last day. There was nasty weather in between and we didn't want to push ourselves to make it earlier. But we are glad we made it for at least one day. We enjoyed meeting other owners of boats like ours and made some good contacts with knowledgeable people.

From there it was the 'usual' stops. We had drinks on board Roger's niece's old boat with the new owners... a couple from Scotland... in Soloman's Island. We had some windy weather going across the Currituck and Albemarle Sounds, both shallow, choppy waters. And arrived at Boonedocks in Oriental Saturday evening. We were going to take it easy and arrive on Sunday, but then we remembered that Paul cooks breakfast for the dock people on Sundays, and we didn't want to miss one of his great breakfasts!

So, here we are! We plan on taking about two weeks to do some boat work, then we will head South again... hopefully for tropical blue waters!

Life's a trip!

Claudia


September 22, 2003, 3:35 PM
 

Top of Page

Hi All!

I have been an admirer of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama for a few years. His message of peace and compassion, happiness and empathy seems to be something the world needs to hear more of! So I was thrilled yesterday morning when the news carried the announcement that the Dalai Lama would be speaking in Central Park around Noon!

I loaded up my backpack and headed for the East Meadow! I arrived on the Upper East Side about 9AM... only to be told that I wouldn't be allowed in with my backpack! I wasn't daunted! I knew that there were museums all over that area and almost all had coat-check services... I headed for a museum. Ah! But it was only 9AM and the museums don't open until 10 AM. Bummer! However, there was this very kind woman walking a little one-eyed dog and when I told her my predicament, she very nicely suggested that I leave my backpack at the front desk of her building... a VERY upscale building! I will be forever grateful to that woman! Don't believe what they say about rude and uncaring New Yorkers! I haven't found ANYone that fits that bill in all of our visits!

Of course, being a free lecture, there was bound to be a long line, but the line was part of the wonderful experience! I made new friends and ended up spending the whole morning with a young actor-hopeful fresh off the bus from Michigan! Only in NY!

The Dalai Lama was just as I expected him to be... kind, compassionate, empathetic and above all else HAPPY with a GREAT sense of humor! He just sat and chatted with the audience like we were all old friends. And he started off with a message that I found very similar to one that we had discussed at Sunday Shaker Meeting just a few weeks ago... That there are two levels of happiness. One level is strictly physical. We share this level with animals. When we are comfortable and our immediate needs are met at the physical level, we can be happy. But as humans we have another possible level of happiness that is exclusively ours. We have a mental level of happiness with which can transcend the physical level. So, with our higher mental capacity, we can be happy in the face of physical pain and discomfort... OR, we can be UNhappy despite all the great physical comforts that money can buy. The choice is ours! And it IS a CHOICE!

He also talked at length about the hatred that underlies terrorist attacks such as 9/11 and showed compassion and empathy for all those who have been touched by this and other tragedies. It was a wonderful afternoon! I'm so glad I happened to be here for it!

Life's a trip!

Claudia


September 20, 2003, 5:50PM
 

Top of Page

Hi All,

We have made it through hurricane Isabel with no damage at all. We hope you have all faired as well. We've called home, and we are told that our house did just fine, although much of the rest of North Carolina did not. We hope that everyone one our list has faired well and our best wishes are for those who did not.

We ended up anchoring near Peekskill, NY, directly across the river from the nuclear power plant. It was a nice little cove in a bend in the river, protected on most sides by mountains. We were very comfortable there for the main part of the storm, but the next day the wind shifted and was still strong and we had a less than comfortable day... but we were safe!

We're now in NYC. We'll probably stay here about a week. Our very tentative schedule is to try to be at a get-together of cruisers put on by the Seven Seas Cruising Association in Annapolis, MD on October 11th. From there we will head back to Oriental to "offload" some STUFF!

Its amazing how we have gathered things and loaded up the boat. A LOT of stuff came from yard sales in Connecticut. CT is a virtual yard sale Mecca! And Roger's brother Bob a true enthusiast! We have a GREAT time going to yard sales with him. The first time through CT Roger picked up a very large, bulky and heavy chain-fall "thingy". Which, of course I had to needle him about... Hey! He complains about finding space whenever I buy something! But this time through I certainly broke his record for picking up things with less-than-obvious usefulness on a sailboat. We found a 28 inch diameter cast (heavy) steel sea chest flange made for nuclear submarines. It must weigh 85 pounds and is so bulky the only place it fits is right-smack-dab in the middle of our living room floor. But it's GREAT! It has a real sculptural quality to it... its going to end up in my future garden plans. I'm going to put it up on a pedestal and it will look like some artsy thing costing THOUS! ANDS of dollars when I am done with it. And best of all... it didn't cost me a PENNY! It was FREE! Roger is being a real trooper about it and not complaining. But I think it is because he really, secretly liked the flange... it turns out his brother Bob had something to do with the design of the sea chest, so it will be a real conversation piece when it ends up in the garden. We are sure to be the only people on our block with one!

While in Stonington we got to visit with two of Roger's Grand-nieces! Both are cute as buttons! And it was great to see their mothers and the rest of that side of Roger's family.

From Oriental we head South and keep going!

Life's a trip!

Claudia


September 16, 2003, 2:59 PM
 

Top of Page

Hi All,

We are currently getting fuel about 45 miles up the Hudson from the Statue of Liberty. We'll anchor a little further up tonight. Maybe go further tomorrow. Looks like the hurricane is going to hit somewhere else this time... wishing THOSE people lots of luck. We may go a little further up tomorrow (Wednesday) but generally I think we are going to be spared the worst of it.

Best wishes to all in the path. Stay safe out there!

Claudia


September 14, 2003, 9:20AM
 

Top of Page

Hi All!

Some of you may have noticed that there is a big hurricane out there. Rest assured that we have noticed it too and have contingency plans for avoiding it. We are currently in Stonington, CT. All plans are fluid, but we will most likely leave Monday or Tuesday heading for NYC. If Isabel aims for the NYC area we will run up the Hudson River as far inland as it takes to feel safe... hurricanes tend to fall apart pretty quickly once they hit land. Don't worry about us!

Claudia


September 8, 2003, 12:36 PM
 

Top of Page

Hi All!

Well, when last heard from we were heading for Provincetown, MA... THAT was a fun place! We spent a couple of days there and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly... but decided to cross Cape Cod Bay to Portsmouth Harbor. We still had about a week to go before we were to pick up our good friend Colleen for her visit, and we thought we just might get a little more 'boat work' done if we were to distance ourselves from all the excitement of Provincetown. It was a noble plan at any rate!

We anchored off of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard... which is technically Maine, not Portsmouth, NH, as one might guess. So we can honestly say we made it all the way to Maine this year! We spent a few days TRYING to get some work done, but found Portsmouth and surrounding area a little more interesting than we had thought it would be.

Then we tied the boat up to a mooring for a few days and rented a car. I drove up to New Gloucester, ME on Sunday to join my Shaker friends for Sunday Meeting. It was SO good to see Sisters Francis and June and Brothers Arnold and Wayne! I had forgotten how much I missed these four remaining keepers of the Shaker faith, and their wonderful form of worship! I wish I had had more time to spend with them!

The next day Roger and I drove up to our old stomping grounds in NH. We visited with a few friends and introduced ourselves to the people who currently own our old house. They were gracious enough to give us a tour... and we really like what they have done to the place! It looks great and they are very obviously enjoying the house, so it was heartening to know that the house is in good hands.

On August 27th our friend Colleen was dropped off at our boat early in the morning and we whisked her away before she even got her gear stowed! She spent 11 days with us and I think she really had a great time... I know we really enjoyed seeing her again! We took her to Boston Harbor for a few days where we moored the boat off of Peddocks Island in the outer harbor. Not much to do there but relax, so we did just that! Then we crossed Cape Cod Bay back over to Provincetown for a few more days and watched the 'show' as the season wound down in this summer resort town! From P-town we sailed over to Salem, MA. We saw whales on the crossing... and what we think was a message-in-a-bottle that Colleen and I had set adrift on our trip from Portsmouth to Boston. We had prepared a very special message and we were touched to have it re-visit us before continuing its voyage to places unknown!

Salem, MA is VERY interesting... much more so than I would have thought! I expected, and found, lots of silly shops selling "witch" accessories along with "witch" wax museums and other commercial "witch" nonsense... none of which interests me. But I was touched by the very tasteful memorial about the injustice done to the accused Salem 'witches' back in 1692... a reminder of how good religious intentions can turn very bad in the wrong hands. We must be on guard against intolerance and zealotry in all forms, lest we repeat the same mistakes!

But I am also REALLY impressed by the Maritime history that has been so carefully preserved in Salem. The Peabody Essex Museum, founded in the early 1800's by rich sea Captains is today a premier museum with unparalleled exhibits! We have spent two days exploring exhibits of Asian, Native American, Maritime and American arts as well as four complete house restorations... one a 200 year old residence from the late Qing dynasty of Southeastern China! It was transported lock, stock and furnishings to the Peabody Essex Museum and reassembled with painstaking care! Very, very interesting!

Heading South!

Claudia


August 15, 2005, 1:40 PM
 

Top of Page

Hi All!

Well, one nice thing about being on the boat is that we are independent of the power-grid and unaffected by the power outage that happened throughout the East Coast last night. We hope that everything turns out well and that as few people as possible are seriously effected by this problem. There are going to be many questions to be answered about this screw-up, I'm sure!

We spent a few days in Block Island, RI. Block's a quiet place even with the hoards of boats in the Great Salt Pond anchorage, there always seems to be room for more. We had a good time with Bob and Jan... and another couple that they know who have the same kind of boat as theirs. We enjoyed our stay.

In contrast, we were at Cuttyhunk Island last night... the very tip of the small archipelago jutting South from the elbow of Cape Cod, MA. What a ZOO that place was! It had a tiny little inner harbor which was literally crammed with boats on moorings so closely packed that a sardine can would look roomy by comparison! We chose to pick up a mooring in the outer harbor and it had only slightly more swing room. At least there was not so much of the carnival-like atmosphere out there as there was inside. Cuttyhunk seems to be more of a weekender / 2-week-a-year-vacationer place than a "cruiser's" spot. Almost all the boats were from the surrounding areas of MA, CT, or RI. There were only a couple of boats from further away.

We were NOT impressed by that island! But it was a place to stop... and we'll know to pass it up next time!

Today we are in Onset, MA at the Southern end of the Cape Cod Canal. We will probably spend the weekend in Onset doing laundry and having a few "boat days" before heading up through the canal and over to Provincetown, MA on Monday. P-town is the outermost tip of Cape Cod. It is billed as having a thriving Gay and Artist's communities. Not to mention the usual amount of tourist shops. I'll have fun poking around the shops... I just hope they have an adequate supply of "man-benches" for Roger. He doesn't mind my looking through shops as long as he has a comfortable place outside to "park". I always like to explore gift shops because I get such wonderful ideas for my own craft projects. So I usually come away with lots of digital photos of things I'd like to adapt in the future.

And we are not bothered by "a thriving gay community". We rather enjoy diversity in lifestyles, ideas and attitudes. Wouldn't this world be boring if everyone were exactly like us?

We hope to meet our good friend Colleen in Provincetown and have her spend a week or so. We haven't seen her since we left New Hampshire and it will be really good to catch up.

Life's a trip!

Claudia


August 8, 2003, 2:47 PM
 

Top of Page

Hi All!

Well, we had an exciting night last night! After more than a week of the weather promising us thunderstorms, it finally delivered! Actually, it really wasn't a severe storm, but we had a bunch of boats anchored around us, and we always worry as much about the OTHER guy, as we do about ourselves. And not entirely for altruistic motives... when the other guy's anchor drags, we become a sitting duck target! As soon as the wind started blowing hard last night I went up into the cockpit... just in time to see a 33' sailboat drag between us and the boat next to us. I blew our horn to alert the rest of the anchor field and hopefully wake up the boat that was dragging, but apparently there was no one on board. They dragged to the shore and ended up pinned against someone's dock. Eventually the Coast Guard came and took them off to a mooring ball. So much for our excitement!

We're in Stonington, CT. Roger's brother lives here. We've been here for about a week. Tomorrow we'll take off, in the company of Bob and Jan in their boat 'Gabrielle' to Block Island, RI, just about 20 miles away. Sunday Bob and Jan will go home and we'll continue North.

We have heard good things about Cuttyhunk, at the mouth of the Cape Cod Canal, we'll probably stop there and then do a circuit of the Cape Cod Bay before heading back South. We don't want to make the same mistake we did last year and head South too late. It turned cold VERY quickly last year!

Life's a trip!

Claudia


July 29, 2003, 3:43 PM
 

Top of Page

Hi All,

Annapolis was a good place to stop and slow down a little bit. We had already seen the majority of the historic sites, so we didn't feel compelled to do a lot of sightseeing. We made some shopping runs while we waited for a package of parts to arrive. When it finally did, we left town.

From Annapolis we went up the Chesapeake Bay and then down the Delaware Bay, then went "outside" along the New Jersey coast. Finally making the last 22 mile jump up the Hudson River from Sandy Hook, NJ to the 79th Street Boat Basin a week ago, last Sunday.

We were SHOCKED to find the price of a mooring had gone up from $15 a night last year to $25 this year! That's a bit of a hike! But it's still worth it, I suppose. NYC is a fun town to visit by boat!

But after the first couple of days, we were almost ready to leave! The mooring buoys, which are taken up each fall and reset in the spring, were poorly placed this year. We ended up one of three boats that kept swinging into one another at slack tide, when the tide is neither coming in, or going out. At slack tide the boats, unconstrained by the tug of tide, tend to wander around aimlessly. We were playing bumper-cars with the sailboat South of us and the trawler East of us. We were having to be at the boat, and awake every six hours for slack tide. Not very enjoyable! But, I decided to ask, and found the manager of the Boat Basin more than willing to get in his little tug boat and drag our mooring, and the one South of us deeper into the Hudson River and further from the other boats. We now are swinging freely and feel much more comfortable here.

So, we have been having fun. We 'did' Shakespeare in the Park again. You may recall from last year that this involves getting on line in Central Park at an uncivilized hour in the morning (6 AM) and waiting until 1 PM when the "free" tickets are handed out for that evening's performance. Then you have to be back in the park at 7:30 PM for the show. So, basically it's a full day's commitment.

But its FUN! The people on line are always friendly and you get to know the others around you rather well by the end of the day. We were on line next to a very young Russian doctor, who looked like Prince William... very nice!

Today Roger is tearing apart the boat to make some repairs to the refrigeration system. We seem to have sprung a coolant leak and our 'fridge stopped getting cold yesterday. Of course Roger is qualified to work on the system, so that's what he is doing today. With a little luck he has found and repaired the one (and hopefully only) leak and we will be all set and ready to leave to head North again tomorrow morning. If not, we may end up heading back home for some more extensive repairs. We'll keep you posted!

Life's a trip!

Claudia


July 11, 2003, 4:45 PM
 

Top of Page

Hi All,

We had another wonderful time in Washington, DC over the 4th of July. As we had last year we signed on as guests of the Capitol Yacht Club... a wonderful old yacht club with great facilities and friendly members and staff. We anchored out in Washington Channel, near the Washington Monument and were welcomed to keep our dinghy behind a securely locked gate and use ALL of the facilities at the CYC for only $10 a day. A real bargain for such a great place!

So, we "did" museums! Lots and lots of museums! DC is a cheap cruiser's paradise because virtually all the museums are free! We LIKE free! We spent two weeks there and just about wore our feet out.

On the 4th of July itself, we walked over to Constitution Ave to watch the parade in the morning, and then had to wait for the crowd to thin so that we could get back through the security zone to head back to the boat, we did this by ducking into a Barnes and Noble bookstore to browse. I am happy to report that security this year on the Capitol mall was both better and more user friendly than last year. In the afternoon we enjoyed a typical American BBQ of hamburgers, chicken and hotdogs at the yacht club. And for the fireworks we joined Benny and Marie on "Silent Joy" for drinks. The anchorage in Washington Channel is one of the better spots for viewing the fireworks, so we were happy not to try to fight the crowds on the mall to view them. The channel got quite full with boats that just came to anchor out for the evening, but by the next morning the channel was back to being comfortably roomy.

So, we're heading down the Potomac River again, just about to make the turn into the Chesapeake Bay. Tonight we'll stop at Solomon's Island and tomorrow we should be at Annapolis, MD.

The weather has been HOT, HOT, HOT! But I've equipped all of our hatch windows with custom made four sided windscoops, which really help to keep it bearable below deck. I'm always surprised that I haven't seen ANY of these 'out here'. Our original came with the boat and was so well used that it finally tore itself apart last fall. I have since made new ones for all the deck hatches (forward, main and aft cabins) and don't think we could live without them! As you might expect from the name, they catch virtually any wind, from any direction and funnel it down into the cabin. I don't mind the heat so much as long as I have a little breeze on me. We have seen some forward (only) facing windscoops in use along the way, but we find that a good third to half of the winds at anchor come from some other direction than right on the bow... which is different than when we are trying to sail, then the winds never seem to FAIL to be on the bow!

When not sightseeing, we of course keep busy with boat work. I know living on a boat sounds so romantic, but believe me, there's always work to be done! And nothing is ever EASY to do on a boat! For one thing, NOTHING on a boat is 'square', so you can't just cut a piece of wood or fabric to fit a particular space and expect it to work. Each piece has to be meticulously measured, then a pattern made, then cut and finally adjusted in place. That's why my cockpit enclosure STILL isn't 100% complete... it's pretty close, but I still need a few more special marine fittings for fastening it in place.

And there's ANOTHER thing about boats and boat work! Add the word "marine" to any item and the price increases 10 fold and the availability of the item shrinks in direct proportion to how badly you need it.

But, hey! Isn't living on a boat wonderful?

Life's a trip!

Claudia


June 20, 2003, 9:51 AM
 

Top of Page

Hi All,

We're still hanging out in Chesapeake, VA, just over the VA border and 12 miles shy of Norfolk. There is a swing bridge followed closely by a lock here. The Army Corp of Engineers owns the bridge/lock system and the land in between. They have kindly (our tax dollars at work!) set up some FREE mooring space on the canal walls between the bridge and lock. It is very close to a small shopping area, and yet a nice park setting. We landed here a few days ago and decided to wait out some rain.

There's a really nice library just a few blocks away. They won't let me borrow any books, but I can use their internet and browse the stacks to my hearts content. So that's where I have spent many of the rainy afternoons.

We had an uneventful crossing of the Albamarle and Currituck Sounds. These are shallow bodies of water which can get stirred up into a virtual froth under some conditions. We stopped early one day at a marina between the two sounds and were eating lunch when a good squall came through. We talked to a small sailboat that had had to drop an anchor in the Currituck during the storm because their visibility had gone to nothing and they were in three foot chop (in a channel that only sports six and a half feet in spots). They turned out to be from Oriental and we have some mutual friends. Roger helped them out with a mechanical problem.

The weather looks better today, so we will head for Norfolk. We've been through Norfolk a few times but have never gone ashore. We hope to do that this time. There is supposed to be a really nice maritime museum and waterfront mall in Norfolk, which we would like to visit.

From Norfolk, we think we will head up to Washington, DC again. We had a great time there last year and think we might as well spend another 4th of July. We really enjoy the museums... and they are all free (our tax dollars at work again!). And last year we were able to pay a small daily fee to use the very nice facilities at the Capitol Yacht Club.

Life's a trip!

Claudia


June 15, 2003, 2:17 PM
 

Top of Page

Hi All,

Well, we once again enjoyed our stay at Boonedocks. Paul and Mitzi are excellent hosts! We joke that we had to stay through a second Sunday just to get another shot at their excellent Sunday breakfast. They invite everyone who is at their boats Sunday mornings to join them for a breakfast of bacon and eggs and fresh baked breads. Really, really good!

Anyway... after leaving Charleston, we spent two weeks waiting for good weather in Beaufort, NC. We had planned to spend most of that two weeks at Cape Lookout, but the weather had turned colder and rainy, so there really wasn't much incentive to go to Cape Lookout, where the main attraction is walking on the beach. We finally did end up spending a few days there, but the weather wasn't very good.

Hanging out in Beaufort was fun, though. We met a couple with a boat like ours. We saw another couple that we had gotten to know in Washington, DC last summer. And we met various other good people along the way. Beaufort is a good town for boaters.

We came back to Oriental for a meeting of the landowners of our little subdivision. Its the first time we have actually 'met' as an association... it was about time! We got a few things done at the meeting. It was a good start at any rate.

Once back in Oriental we decided to do a few things around the boat. The weather was cold anyway... no sense heading up North too quickly! So we stayed for that second Sunday breakfast at Boonedocks and headed out of town on Tuesday, June 10th.

We went to Ocracoke Island, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Ocracoke is your typical "tourist island town". There are dozens of gift stores selling the usual amount of 'unique' home and gift items. I enjoy looking at the art and pottery items and getting 'ideas' for future projects. Roger found the "man-bench" conveniently located outside the door of each of these tourist stores and made himself comfortable while I browsed. Nothing jumped out and demanded I make room for it on the boat, however. And we did the other mandatory Ocracoke Island things... we ate a picnic lunch under a tree at the lighthouse, walked to the British Cemetery (where some WWII navy Brits are buried) and visited the small, but very interesting museum. So much for Ocracoke!

We left yesterday and crossed the Pamlico Sound and Pamlico River, in less than favorable conditions. There were 30-40mph winds, but of course they weren't from a great direction to sail (they almost never are!). We put a jib up and got some help from it. Then at one point our GPS jammed and just stopped working...that's never happened before! We didn't realize that the image we were looking at wasn't changing until we were almost onto a shoal. Luckily the depth sounder was in fine form and warned us that something was amiss. THEN we got dumped on by a thunder squall! There's nothing we hate worse than being in an electrical storm with that 56' aluminum 'lightning rod' sticking above our heads! But we did just fine. Who ever said it was unlucky to leave port on a Friday the 13th, anyway!

Today we are spending a rather hot, and humid day in the unexciting business of navigating a man-made ditch between the Pamlico River and Albamarle Sound. The banks on either side are wilderness... no houses to critique! But there are a wealth of Dragon Flies that have decided to accompany us. They fly in one window of the cockpit and out the other, sometimes resting on the wheel or instruments on their way through. Thankfully there are no biting insects to harass us today!

Life's a trip!

Claudia


May 9, 2003, 8:34 AM
 

Top of Page

Hi All,

Charleston was great! We really enjoyed our visit. The weather was nice and warm... beginning to be too hot. We anchored in front of the city marina and paid $5 a day to use their dinghy dock, necessary as the city's free public dinghy dock is high and dry for about half the day. Timing our shore excursions to the tide would have been too difficult.

We've been here before, so we knew our way around. The new Aquarium had not yet been opened the last time we came through, so that was high on our list of things to do. But almost immediately off the boat someone collared us to take a timeshare tour.

Hey! We know that we're not in the market for a timeshare, but these people always insist that they're not REALLY trying to sell you anything... they just want you to see their beautiful facility and are willing to PAY us to do so! We were given $125 worth of gift certificates for tours and restaurants for two hours of our time. Frankly it has been a LONG time since we earned THAT kind of hourly wage! Oh, and it really WAS a beautiful facility!

So, we enjoyed ourselves... largely on the timeshare company. We received 2 free tickets to both the aquarium and a horse drawn carriage tour. And in addition we were given three $25 gift certificates to our choice of about a dozen downtown restaurants. Twenty-five dollars buys a nice lunch and we were home most evenings in time to watch the sundown from the cockpit. One evening they even had a fireworks show in the harbor! That was nice of the city to do just for us!

We are heading back North again today. Our plans are to get back up to Beaufort, NC. In Beaufort the local Maritime Museum has "courtesy cars" which they keep available for transient boaters to use free of charge (a donation is always welcomed) for up to two hours a day. This makes it very convenient to do grocery and other shopping. We'll restock the pantry and then head for Cape Lookout!

Cape Lookout is a short 6 mile jaunt out into the ocean from Beaufort. Cape Lookout Bight is a lovely, natural anchorage surrounded by National Parks land. Beach combing along the ocean side always yields large whelk shells and other treasures. We plan to "hang-out" at Cape Lookout until around May 29th. We need to be back in Oriental for a May 31st meeting of the landowners of our little subdivision. After all these years we are finally going to start up a landowners association!

Cape Lookout will be a 'vacation' for us... no schedules, no "must see" list... just time to relax! And do some boat work!

Life's a trip!

Claudia


April 29, 2003, 9:11 AM
 

Top of Page

Hi All,

Well, we've made it to Georgetown, SC. We have had a wonderful trip down the Intra Coastal Waterway so far.

Now, I know that most of our "sailing" friends are sniggering right now... "The ICW? You might as well have bought a trawler! Why bother to have sails?" With an undercurrent of "chickens!" thrown in for good measure. But I assure you... we aren't more than the 'prudent' amount of chicken-hearted.

No siree! We're LAZY! We like to get a good night's sleep each night and enjoy a good dose of caffeine in the morning before setting out. Around this section of the East coast, you need to go SO FAR out to get around the shoals, and come SO FAR back in, that you really need to stay out at least a day and a half. I like my sleep too much to do this AS LONG AS THERE IS AN EASIER WAY. We've done over night ocean trips when necessary, and we'll do lots more when we get to the Islands, so I can't see doing any more than necessary right now.

And besides, we like to sightsee. My whole purpose of being on the boat is to SEE places. We've spent YEARS out in the ocean (on commercial vessels) watching the waves go by. If you ask me, one stretch of ocean looks pretty much the same as the next. The interesting part to me is seeing new places and meeting new people.

So... that's where we stand! I'm sure glad we got THAT straightened out!

We had a really pleasant motor down the ICW. Roger and I like to watch the "dream homes" go by. Through most of North Carolina and Northern South Carolina the ICW shores are rather densely populated with single family homes and condos. Each house is someone's idea of what their "dream house" should be. A lime green geodesic dome? Not MY dream home, but obviously it was SOMEONE'S. A lot of the homes are expensive, massive mansions. We like to play a game called "If we had all the money required to build this house in this location... would we?" Invariably the answer is "No", but to each their own.

South Carolina is predominantly undeveloped shores, at least so far. We've seen dozens of nesting ospreys, countless herons and egrets, and get a real kick out of seeing logs piled high with basking turtles of all sizes.

We feel like we are bucking the tide, though. Everyone else seems to be heading North, we are the only cruising boat heading South. But it is still just a little too cold for the Northern migration in my book! When we are anchored with others we have overheard complaints about the cold, and anyone passing us who did not have the benefit of an enclosed cockpit was looking MIGHTY cold! The wind on the water can really chill you to the bone.

We are thrilled that we managed to finally enclose the cockpit. It's like having a whole extra room on the boat. We were able to sit comfortably dry through two days of rain and stay out of the wind-chill throughout the trip. We wish we had done it sooner!

We expect to arrive in Charleston late tomorrow or early Wednesday. We'll see what she has in store for us this time around... but we'll keep you posted!

Life's a trip!

Claudia


April 23, 2003, 9:02 AM
 

Top of Page

Hi All,

We're finally ready to leave! The new dock masters at Boonedocks have invited us for a good hearty send-off breakfast (read this "high in fat and cholesterol") this morning. We're really looking forward to this, as we know how good their breakfasts can be! They cooked breakfast for the whole dock last Sunday. It was delicious and a great way to get to know the other boaters. They have plans to cook breakfast for their little community every sunny Sunday this summer. We were tempted to stay until next Sunday just for another plate of yummy forbidden stuff like whole eggs and bacon! Thankfully they invited us for our own private breakfast this morning!

Paul and Mitzi have also said that they plan on taking pictures of our departure from Boonedocks later this morning to post on their website "boonedocksmarina.com", so look for them to appear sometime in the future. They're in the middle of a publishing project though, so the web mistress may not get them posted RIGHT away. Just keep checking in at the website.

So we're OFF! The house is all put away and the phone disconnected! Stay tuned for more adventures on the high seas or Intercostals Waterway as the case may be!

Life's a trip!

Claudia


April 17, 2003, 9:02 AM
 

Top of Page

Hi All,

Did it seem like we had fallen off the face of the earth? When last heard from by most of you, we had left SummerThor in Oriental, NC and driven down to Florida to help care for Roger's mother for a month while she recovered from an illness.

We arrived back in NC in early December... to some of the coldest weather we have seen in NC. There was NO WAY we were going to move back onto the boat in THAT weather! So we have remained pretty much in a holding pattern, waiting for warm weather.

It seems to be finally close to time to get back to the business of cruising. We have, of course, kept ourselves quite busy. I have made clear plastic cockpit curtains to keep us out of the wind and rain, as well as other sewing projects.

Roger has done his usual amount of taking things apart and putting them back together. We are in the middle of switching out the anemometer... you may recall the last one was 'done in' by an encounter with a tree branch going through the Dismal Swamp Canal. Roger had to make two trips up to the top of the mast. There are some wonderful pictures of his trip up to the top and the view from there which can be seen at boonedocksmarina.com. The new owners of the docks are web-whizzes and have posted the pictures. If you find the picture of me, please note that the wind was blowing... while I admit to having a large belly, It's not as large as it appears in that picture!

The web mistress also promises to add our "trip reports" to the website, so if you miss a report, you should be able to catch up there!

Anyway, we should be underway by the beginning of next week. We think that we will head South for a few weeks... probably hang out in Charleston for a while, then head North with the weather. We'll spend a week or two in Oriental again on the way through to take care of some doctors appointments.

Actually we're not really too concerned about WHERE we go, we just want to get ourselves away from the dock! The hardest part is always leaving the dock! But we do plan to head North for hurricane season and then will head South again in the fall. Hopefully we'll reach our goal of a full tour of the Caribbean Islands down to Venezuela this time around!

We'll keep you posted!

Life's a trip!

Claudia

   

 

 

All portions Copyright 2004 Claudia Sundman
Web Design Copyright 2004 BEKI Services LLC
Question, Comments?
Contact webmaster@bekiservices.com