Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 21st - Cape Cod to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

Our trip up through Cape Cod Canal was uneventful but also exciting as we had the 4 knot current on our stern for the entire way. After leaving the canal, it was a slight turn to port and off we went up to Gloucester, Mass. Gloucester is a very historic fishing town and it's very full of boats of all sorts.
The trip up was relatively calm for the first 2/3rds and it was hot, so it was time for a long overdue shower. No boats around ..... off we go to the foredeck and hang up the sun shower .... Jan's turn....

We didn't take any pictures in Gloucester. We were too busy rounding everyone up and heading into town for supper.
The next morning it was up again early for the 60 mile run up to Cape Porpoise Harbor. We finally made it to Maine. Land of the lobster traps. Cape Porpoise Harbor is a small harbor that is absolutely full of boats. Most are fishing boats for, you guessed it .... lobster.

We managed to make our way in through the trap buoys and anchor in some prime real estate right beside this floating palace .... I mean outhouse! What a novel idea ... No showers though!

Next morning it was up and at'm again early. Boy are we making time or what? Not seeing much, just putting those miles under the keel. The next stop was Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Did I mention busy? Man, there were double the amount of boats in here, and TEN TIMES the amount of lobster traps. One guy at the fuel dock was boasting that he had 1600 traps set and the Fed's hadn't caught him yet. There were even traps all through the mooring field. This is nuts!
Try navigating your way through this main channel in the dark or in the fog!

We arrived in Boothbay Harbor just before supper, fueled up and headed out to our mooring. Stop the boat Jan ..... OK ..... what the hell is that?
THUMP, THUMP, THUMP! "I think the shaft broke or something!" Oh well, time for a dive with the knife. Yup ...... another lobster trap line, only this time wrapped around the shaft and the knots were making a thumping noise every time they hit the skeg. I'm glad the water is still relatively warm. Fifteen minutes later the line was cut away and all was well again. Time for supper and an early night.

These places are very pretty, as is the Maine coast. We have to stay longer and see the place next time.
Bzzzzzzzzzzzz!!! You guessed it. The alarm clock. Time to go again. Only one last stop in Maine before we make our crossing back to Nova Scotia on Sunday June 24th. The reason we've been hurrying is that a cold front is coming up the coast and the forecast is for bad weather for a week.
Off we go again through the myriad of brightly coloured lobster pots and further up the coast to Swan Island in Penobscot Bay where we found this lovely little harbor completely covered with ... you guessed it .... more brightly coloured lobster traps! They are everywhere .... and you can walk ashore by stepping on them.

..... and what would lobster traps be without lobster fishermen .... up at the crack of dawn to start harvesting the catch.

Time to get going again. The NOAA forcast is SW winds 5-10 knots diminishing to light and variable winds. We didn't know that NOAA really doesn't care what happens outside the 3 mile limit!
The run to Yarmouth, N.S. was only 114 nautical miles. Piece of cake as we've aready logged 5,240 nautical miles this trip since Aug 31st. Well, as we passed the 3 mile limit, the wind rose to 20 knots and the seas quickly built to 5-6 feet, but they were on our stern so it was just a bit uncomfortable. Nothing we couldn't easily handle.
"LAND HO" !!! There she was, dead ahead ..... Nova Scotia! Land of many rocks and few lobster trapss. Coast Guard voices that we could finally understand when making their broadcasts. Ahhhhh, Home Sweet Home!

We made it. We're docked in Yarmouth.

Yesterday, we received an email from Randy Sherman and Susan Brown inviting us to their home in Lake Annis, about 25 minutes outside of Yarmouth. They are friends from Dartmouth Yacht Club who made the trip to the Bahamas and down into the Caribbean for the past 7 years. They figured we could use a good meal, hot shower, and a warm bed for the night.
Thank you so much guys! We'll take you up on that one.

So, I guess this nearly closes the book on our trip to the Bahamas 2011-2012. We're back in NS and intend to cruise our local waters until we arrive back at Dartmouth Yacht Club on August 1st. It ain't over 'til it's over!
The totals: 5,350 nautical miles travelled in 248 days.
Yes Guys, we're back. You can go ashore now!! IT WAS FANTASTIC!!!

Ron, Jan, Pancho, Timmy, Grumpy, Suzie and Val (the Bear) aboard s/v Wind Warrior I

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18th - Port Washington to Maine

Over the entire length of our trip we've seen some spectacular sunsets. I thought I'd try to balance this one into the scenario ... hehehe.

On the way to Cape Cod we stopped for a night in Port Jefferson, on Long Island. This port is very well protected from the elements by a huge breakwater at its entrance. We didn't get ashore here because we were late arriving and tomorrow will be a long 12 hour day up to Point Judith. We re-fueled and watered up before going to anchor in the harbour. We thought we might get a marina for the night but on hearing $4.50 per foot at one marina and $12.00 per hour for the night we decided that anchoring wouldn't break the bank.
Did I say protected? Yeah right ..... I forgot about the ferry that runs half the night with it's respective large wake. No sleep for Ron last night.
We had a nice run up to Point Judith. There is a port of refuge behind a large breakwater there, but a lot of the rocks have been washed away and the sea could penetrate it making for a rolly night so we decided to go inside the port and find a spot. You never know what you'll find until you arrive. The port is named Galilee and the town across the river is Jerusalem. We tied up on the end of an old stinky fishing dock loaded with old dead fish. You never know where we'll tie up until we get there.

The cruising guide says that a long time ago before the villages had a name, a fisherman was standing on the dock when a stranger asked him what the name of this place was. He paused, then said "Galilee". When asked what the name of the place across the river was he said "Jerusalem". The names have stuck to this day.
By the way, the guy I bought the lobster from tonight was named Joshua.
I think we'll be safe in here tonight!!

This morning we awoke to a beautiful sunny day. We decided to head to Onset at the southern entrance to the Cape Cod Canal and catch the 4 knot current through the canal in the morning enroute to Gloucester, Mass. Enroute, we pulled into New Bedford, Mass where we got our original new engine and I ran in to pick up some new fuel filters. It was nice to only pay $9.95 each (I bought 4) instead of the $45 that Liftow charges in Dartmouth. I also got to drop in on Marty who owns the yard that replaced our engine. It was good to see him again.

Today, June 20th is supposed to be very hot at 100 degrees F. We stayed at the Pt. Independence Yacht Club in Onset last night. While at the mooring, I was trying to find a young man who towed us in last September and helped us a great deal. His name was John Finney and he had a lot of family in Halifax. He even offered us his home where we could take showers.
I was very saddened when I learned that he'd been killed in a sailboat accident earlier this summer. His wife had just had a baby in September.
We've made the decision to make our way up into Maine before making the crossing to Nova Scotia on Friday because it cuts the distance to less than half that from Provincetown, on the tip of Cape Cod.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

June 16th - New York City

June 16th saw Jan & I taking the train back into NYC from Port Washington. Now that we understand the layout of the city and the streets this is really pretty easy.
What is a visit to New York without taking in a broadway musical. That's right, she finally got me to go to one, and not just any one. This had to be the longest running musical on Broadway .... THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA! I have to admit, it was extremely good ... the acting, the singing and all the backdrops were extremely professional.
Our show was at the Majestic Theater on W44th and Broadway.

Jan was in her glory. She finally got to make her life complete .... and I thought that meant just being married to me. All kidding aside, this show was definitely worth seeing

After the show we enjoyed a nice dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp ... hehehe, had a few drinks while looking out over Times Square then after one last photo op and it was time to leave.

We took the train back to Port Washington and got an early night in as we're headed off to Port Jefferson, Long Island, in the morning then up to Pt. Judith at the entrance to Newport, RI.

We had a great time visiting New York City. We only touched on the highlights but we got a flavour of the city. New York is not just a huge city, it is an experience that you quickly learn to love. It's nnot only about the lights and the traffic around Times Square, or the shows on Broadway. It's about the diversity of the people, the food and overall feeling you get while there. Like Jan says "It's a living, breathing entity with it's own heartbeat. You can feel it". Man, I wouldn't have thought of that.
While cruising we met a wonderful couple, Chuck & Maryanne, who live in Glen Cove, NY which is only a few miles from Port Washington. It's too bad they're still back in the Chesapeake Bay on their way home. It would have been fun doing all this with them on their own turf.
We'll have to do this again!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

June 15th - New York City

WOW! WOW! AND MORE WOW'S!! That's all we can say. We got off the train just south of Times Square and we've NEVER seen anything like this in our lives.
We're here in New York City!! We're going to see it all ... In one day!!

Ok, well this is a little tacky, but you get the point.
TIMES SQUARE!!!! This place never dies and never gets dark. There are more gigantic LCD screens here than in the rest of the USA.

More people than in Canada!

And what would NYC be without TAXI's. Those yellow machines that fly down Broadway Avenue at 50 mph and congest every street ... but this is New York.

I fugure that if you removed all the taxi's that the streets would be bare.

Fist thing on the agenda ....... What would a visit to NYC be without seeing that towering palace in the sky that for so many years reached far into the sky higher than any other building ... the EMPIRE STATE BUILDING!

It's up there so away we go. Up to the 86th floor. Man what a view!

How could all these tall buildings look so small to us up here?

The river you see in the picture is the East River that we had transited the day before on the way to Port Washington.
Looking south to lower Manhattan you can see the two new Freedom Towers and how they will soon dwarf the rest of the city.

Did I mention that I'm scared of heights? Well at least up here they have you caged in.

Back down at street level we continue our tour on Grey Lines Red double-decker bus. The architecture heading down into Lower Manhattan is very nice. Every building is different yet beautiful in its own way.

A walk around ground zero you look up to see just how immense the new Freedom Tower is.

We continued on our way past the dense housing in Chinatown.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

June 6th - Chesapeake Bay

This update takes us from Deltaville, Virginia, up through the Chesapeake Bay to our favourite hidden treasure, Chesapeake City, midway along the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. It's hidden from most of America down under this huge highway bridge and is the perfect layover spot on the way to the Chesapeake Bay.
On the trip home we've tried to go into different places so that we can experience more.
As I said, we couldn't go into Hampton, Va. because of the damage done by the tornado last night. So it was on to Deltaville and anchor in Jackson's Creek. We wanted to get back here as it's a potential place to store our boat for the fall on our way south again in two years.

The Deltaville Yachting Center (DYC) has excellent facilities and the staff is very friendly. This is where Pat & Ted Haight purchased their new boat this year.

One thing I really liked is the way the DON'T mess up the sides of your boat when hauling it. For only a few dollars a year they install heavy plastic covering over their travel lift slings that are easily washed off and don't transfer the last guys crap all over the side of your boat. I think it's a great idea and should be pursued at Dartmouth Yacht Club.

A little plastic held on at the top end by duct tape and it saves on wear and tear on the slings as well.
On a trip like this a lot of folks have asked what we used for charts and guidebooks. Here's a couple pics of some of the items we used.

Once in the Bahamas, the Explorer Chartbooks are the bible. It doesn't matter what electronic or paper charts you have on board. These things are very accurate and provide write-ups with lots of info on all the places you want to go to.

The next thing you need is a person on board who can read and make sense of all thesse guide books. We have our own personal guide ... hahaha ... and she did a fantastic job.

From Deltaville it was north to our old stomping grounds at Solomon's Island on the Pautuxant River. This is the second largest sailing community on the Chesapeake Bay right behind Annapolis.
You know, it doesn't matter where in the world you get to, it all comes down to this. "If mama ain't happy, then nobody's happy" as the saying goes.

The next day took us further up towards the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to Mill Creek, just south of the bridges. Our anchorage provided us great protection. That evening we decided to try out the local food favourite .... blue crab!

Funny, but they don't look blue to me.

I was astonished at how packed this place was and everyone had a pile of crabs in front of them. This wasn't about eating, it was all about socializing. At a mere $95 per dozen I could only arfford two crabs in case I didn't like them. WISE DECISION!!! I thought they would be more like lobster but the work involved in tearing this thing apart and extracting what amounts to about one tablespoon of meat sure didn't appeal to me .... But at least I tried them.

Next stop? ..... another favourite.....Chesapeake City on the C & D Canal.
Like I've said before we could stay here forever.
It was pretty busy at the Chesapeake Inn and the music was great.

I sure hope these guys aren't planning on coming in.

The town dock here is free but it's only so big. A couple nights here could easily last a week and we have to get going. Cape May is still a long day away.

Jan was ready to stay for a few more days.

....... and so was I.

OK ..... We HAVE to get a move on tomorrow! I placed a lot of pics of this town in my September update so I won't post them again.

Our run down the Delaware Bay was uneventful .... actually quite boring.
No wind, no waves, just putt putt putt.
Cape May is a city at the bottom end of New Jersey. It offers a great stopover spot where you can get fuel, water, limited supplies and some rest ..... Did I say rest? .... it's always windy on here .... all night long.
NOAA predicted a nice next couple of days for the run north to New York City so we decided to leave in the morning. Man were they wrong! 15-20 knots from the south ... great sailing weather, rapidly turned into 25 and gusting to 30 knots from the east .... with high seas .... and we had 120 miles to run. Things were a little uncomfortable but the boat was handling things just fine until off Atlantic City we took a big wave on the beam and got knocked down. Everything in the boat landed on the deck. Not fun anymore. We couldn't anchor inside Atlantic City this time because the USA passed a law recently that said you couldn't.
On we pressed until we rounded Sandy Hook at 10pm and made the run down to Atlantic Highlands by midnight. We still had a lot of cleaning up to do before we could get something to eat and get to bed.
Well, we got a good sleep last night and it's no wonder, we were exhausted.
This morning we headed over to Great Kills Harbor, about 5 miles south of New York City. It was supposed to provide excellent protection from all winds if you could find an anchorage .... and that was the kicker .... the entire harbour contained some 6 marinas and yacht clubs and was literally wall to wall moorings. We've never seen so many. Fortunately after a quick run through the boats we were able to find an area with no balls so we dropped the hook and went to sleep.

Tomorrow it's off to New York Harbour, the Statue of Liberty, and Lower Manhattan before thrusting ourselves into the East River, passing Hell Gate and finally arriving in Port Washington, on Long Island.
We were back in the thick of it again as soon as we passed under the Verrazano Bridge. Ships were everywhere and the weather was rotten, but we pressed on without getting run over.

The Staten Island Ferry even backed off and slowed down for a photo op.

The Grand Old Lady was standing proudly on Liberty Island looking down over her new arrivals.

Looking north to Lower Manhattan, the void where the two World Trade Center towers stood majestically before that fateful day, the new Freedom Tower reveals its enormity. It dwarfs the city. As of three weeks ago, it is now the tallest building in NYC.

Transitting the East River you see the new trend in New York. land is at a premium and there is no place else to build, so you are seeing more and more homes being built ON TOP OF existing mass housing complexes. These are actual houses up there. US$15 MILLION, AND NO LAND!

FINALLY, we made it through to Port Washington. We'll be staying here for a few days of R & R (yeah right!) and some sight-seeing in the Big Apple. Our mooring is among one of the best deals around. They are owned by the Town of Port Washington and are FREE for the first two nights. A very nice water taxi vessel will transport you anywhere you need to go for $4.00 each way during those two days. All days after that cost $25 per day for the mooring and unlimited water taxi rides. You sure can't beat that deal.

Right across the street from the dingy dock is a great Shop & Stop grocery store, liquor stores, West Marine and laundry facilities where they'll do your wash for $1.00 per pound and just up on Main Street is the Long Island Rail Road train station where for $5.00 you can ride right into the heart of New York City at Penn Station.
Look out New York, we're coming for a visit !!

Friday, June 1, 2012

June 1st - Oriental, SC to Norfolk, VA

Here's the quiz for the day .....
In Oriental we saw plenty of these hanging around. Does anyone know the purpose of them? I sure didn't, so I had to ask.

Our daughter Kelly's first question was "Why the heck are you hanging goldfish up in the boat"? Well, that's not what it is. I'll let you know later. As we continue our trip north up the Pungo River on the ICW, we've passed all kinds of vessels. A lot of tug boats with multiple tows use this waterway, so you have to be careful. This one had a full load of phosphate on board the barges. The channel is narrow and these guys need room to pass.

Since we are still in Swampland, USA there is a large amount of debris and trees floating around. The US Army Corps of Engineers does a fine job at keeping the ICW clear and when they get a deck full they pile it on the shores. Great until a storm comes through. Actually, the ICW is quite wide.

More bridges and more shipping to pass until we arrive at the Alligator River Marina. We stopped here for a night on the way south. Some of these bridges are very low so in your most polite voice you have to call the bridge tender and request an opening ..... or they just won't open them for you.

This bridge tender refused to answer our call but at the allocated time the bridge opened and we passed through.
Finally only one bridge left to pass and we were done for the day.

We still had 35 miles to go and it was looking like it would be dark before arriving at Alligator River. However, the warm breeze and beautiful sunset made for a most enjoyable evening as we motored up the Alligator River.

Tonight we don't have to worry about our anchor dragging. We're at a dock.
Now, the answer to today's trivia question. They hang bags of water around down here to get rid of these HUGE flesh-eating deer flies. They are all over and they measure up to 1.5 inches long .... and boy do they bite!

When you hit them with a fly swatter, they grab it from you and hit you back ..... just kidding!
Our route so far has taken us up from Beaufort, SC at mile 203 north to the Alligator River at mile 85. Now we have to cross the Albemarle Sound and decide whether to go left up the Dismal Swamp Canal or to the right and pass through the Virginia Cut.We had already made our decision to take the Virginia Cut to Norfolk. See the red line near the top in the photo below.

The Coinjock route through the Virginia Cut was nice but not nearly as scenic as the Dismal Swamp Canal Route. Coinjock is very small and has a couple marinas where you can stop, but it was still early in the day and we had a long way to go so we by-passed this little community.
Just to the north of Coinjock lies the North River then Currituck Sound, a ten mile long stretch of water that averages 2-3 feet deep except in the dredged main channel. Can you please tell me how you can get 5 foot waves in an area that is only 3 feet deep? The wind was on our stern and the waves were cresting and breaking near four feet high and it was very choppy.
That was a sleigh ride, now back into tranquility of the ICW and we continue on up to Great Bridge at Chesapeake, VA, about 12 miles south of Norfolk. We stopped for a couple days at the Atlantic Yacht Basin, where they had just dropped their transient fee from $1.75 to $1.00 per foot for a nights stay. This was a great deal. The guide books stated that this facility had 300 marinas. They were well hidden, because we couldn't find them! Along the ICW was a very long transient dock to accommodate some 50 transient boats. A walk that evening found the rest.
Behind the transient dock there were a number of old metal sheds that looked like old workshops. A look inside revealed a huge marina system that could easily store over 200 boats inside and under cover while still in the water. What a great hurricane hideout.

Inside shed 4 was a real shocker. This boat just barely made it in under the roof.

Most of the storage sheds were full of boats in wet storage.

In the winter you cannot find a spare berth inside these old sheds.
After a couple days here in Chesapeake, Virginia it was time to head further north to Norfolk and the land of the US Navy.

The next morning we were up early to make the 7a.m. opening of the Great Bridge bascule bridge.

This was soon followed by a transit of the Great Bridge Lock where they locked us through quickly and easily. It was now onward to Norfolk.

About 5 miles into this leg we finally crossed paths with the north entrance to the Dismal Swamp Canal that we had passed in late September of last year. It's marked by these two small signs where you turn off the ICW.

Ok Sirs, Thanks for opening the doors to US navyland at the south end of Norfolk.

Man, this place is busy and noisy!

On towards Norfolk and we pass all the navy shipyards. What's this? A new aircraft carrier. I believe it's the USS Ronald Regan that they were building last fall.

In the US Navy they drydock a whole fleet at a time while in Canada we do one ship every 2-3 years.

Today, it was our intension to run from Atlantic Yacht Basin to Hampton, Va. Just north of Norfolk but last night they were hit by a tornado and the reports today are that there are boats all over the place and the yacht club had it's windows blown out ..... so I guess it's on the Deltaville.