Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Old Lyme, CT to Tenants Harbor Maine

We had a great visit with the Robin, Rick, Kyle, and Eric in West Hartford. When Robin dropped us off in Old Lyme the sun came out for the first time in days. 

We set the alarm to get up bright and early.  The early part worked.  The fog was as thick as we have ever seen but we decided to leave anyway as the tide was with us.  Between the tide and the several inches of rain that were all trying to leave the river at the same time the current was very strong.  As soon as I uncleated the last line the boat was gone even though Bill had the engine in gear trying to hold it against the dock.  He had to circle around to get me.  The first time the boat was pushed off the dock again, the second time he was more aggresive and I was able to grab the shrouds and swing aboard.  All this before the first cup of coffee!  Our next obstacle was the Amtrak bridge.  The bridge tender was great and opened it before we were in sight.  If he had waited until we could see each other we would have been in trouble because the visibility was under 100 feet and current was pushing us, and all the trees and other debris in the river, at about 4 knots toward the bridge.  The rest of the day was thick fog all the way into Sakonnet Harbor.

The next morning we had a brief view of the harbor before the fog came in again.  In the afternoon the sun came out just as we were coming into Onset.

We left Onset midmorning to catch the tide through the Cape Cod Canal. The wind was on the nose as usual for the beginning of our trip across the Gulf of Maine so we spent some time tacking until the wind shifted. It was a very cold, dark, cloudy night.  The radar was a good investment.  The digital thermometer on deck reading 47 degrees was depressing, especially when the wind shifted so it was behind us making the dodger useless.  Brrrrrrrr.

We made a huge mistake my telling lots of people that RONDO never picks up lobster pots.  As soon as you say something like this outloud you are automatically doomed.  In case you couldn't guess where this story is going we picked up a lobster pot about 6 miles south of Monhegan.  Luckily it sheared the line so Bill didn't have to go for a swim.  Unfortunately the line was wrapped around the prop so the engine was out of commission.  On the plus side we had enough wind to slowly sail.  We called Stuart at Lyman Morse in Tenants Harbor and asked if he had a mooring and if he would stand by in case we needed help picking it up.  We sailed into the harbor and sailed onto the first mooring we came to then Stuart came out in the whaler and towed us to the correct mooring. 

My mother and Bailey met us at the dock and Bailey remembered us.  We are happy to be home.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Port Washington to Old Lyme, CT

Saturday was cloudy and fairly calm so we had an easy unexciting trip to The Thimbles, a group of island off the coast of Connecticut.  It feels like home to be anchored off beautiful granite islands.

Sunday morning was cold, rainy, cloudy and windy.  The weather forecast called for 5 - 10 knots of wind out of the SE.  The actual weather was ENE 20 - 25 knots, exactly our heading.  We sailed for about an hour and were making great time over ground but only about 1 knot per hour in the direction we were trying to go so we ended up motor sailing.  On a nice sunny warm day it would have been an enjoyable sail but the cold rain was unpleasant.

Our timing for entering the Connecticut River was not great as we were against the tide so we had to slog our way in at 3 knots then had to wait 15 minutes for the bridge to open before we could tie up to the dock at the Old Lyme Dock Company.  Robin came to the rescue and we are now enjoying ourselves in her nice warm house.

Barnegat to Port Washington

Friday morning the weather had calmed down so we left Barnegat just after sunrise and headed for Port Washington.  The winds were light so we motor sailed all day.  Our timing was good (for a change) and we had the tide with us as we came around Sandy Hook and it carried us all the way through New York.  At one point going through Hell Gate we were doing 11 knots which was pretty exciting.  We picked up a free mooring in Port Washington well before sunset so all in all in was a good day.

Cape May to Barnegat

Our plan on leaving Cape May was to head straight for Port Washington but the weather did not cooperate.  We ended up going into an anchorage at Atlantic City for the night.
The next morning the weather was still very windy from the north with 6 foot seas so we decided to head up the inland waterway to Barnegat.  The weather on Wednesday was not great so we ended up spending the whole day on the boat.  Thursday we inflated the dinghy and went ashore for a walk and climbed Barnegat Light. In the evening we had a nice visit with Tony and Garrett on PERSEPHONE from Spruce Head.

Wilmington, DE

We spent a fun weekend with Tom and Jerilyn in Wilmington. Saturday we went to a flower market and enjoyed the view after climbing 75 steps to the observatory on the Rockford Tower.

In the afternoon we visited the Hagley Museum. We toured the Du Pont family home and gardens and the powder mill. At the end of the guided tour at the house we had time to wander around on our own. I spent my time admiring the gardens and am now itching to get home and play in the dirt. Everyone else went to look at the antique cars. The machine shop with belt driven tools that were originally powered by the river was interesting, especially since there is very little difference (except in power source) from some of the machines Bill still uses. We only had time to go on part of the tour which was too bad because this is a really interesting museum in a gorgeous setting on the Brandywine. We would like to come back and spend a whole day, or more, here.

In the evening Jennifer and her kids came over for dinner. It was great seeing them - Olivia and Chloe are growing fast. Sunday we went to the river walk and had dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack then drove back to Cape May and had dinner with Doug and Jackie and their kids before they dropped us off at the boat. Unfortunately my camera battery died and I did not get a chance to take a picture of Nick in his sailor hat on RONDO.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hampton, VA to Cape May, NJ

We had a fantastic time in Hampton.  A local yacht club was having a get together at the dock we were staying on and invited us to their wine tasting on Saturday night.  What a great group of people!  They made us feel like a part of the group - southern hospitality at its best.  We had a lot of fun at the wine tasting then spent the evening visiting people on their boats. 

We planned to spend Sunday night in Hampton before exploring the Cheseapeake.  Sunday morning we checked the weather and it turned out that Sunday and Monday would be a good weather window to head outside to Cape May, followed by lots of wind and possible rain midweek so we changed our plans.  Midmorning we called Doug and Jackie in Cape May and Tom and Jerilyn in Wilmington, Delaware and invited ourselves for the next weekend.  It was a hard decision to give up the Cheseapeake and to skip Washington, DC as we had been hoping to catch up with Ammie and Landon, and meet Brynn their amazingly cute new baby.

The153 mile trip to Cape May was completely uneventful which is the way I prefer them.  The tide was slack as we came into the Cape May inlet so even that part of the trip was ho-hum.  Finding a place to anchor at low tide was tricky and we went aground a couple of times but the bottom is so soft it is like running aground on a marshmallow so even that was no big deal.  We finally found a place to anchor and then moved in the morning just before high tide across the harbor near the Fisherman's Memorial which is a convenient place to land the dinghy.

Doug and Jackie lent us their Explorer and also fed us dinner on Tuesday night then Tom and Jerilyn drove down on Wednesday. Thursday we ran some errands and went to see my brother's boat that he has been ever so slowly bringing home from Florida whenever he has a week's vacation.  JUNIPER looks like she is going to be a lot of fun. Friday morning we brought the boat into a little marina for the weekend. Jackie lent us her amazingly cool truck to drive to Wilmington to see Tom and Jerilyn.  Her four door pick up truck had every possible bell and whistle you can think of including not only heated seats but air conditioned seats.  We have serious truck envy.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Elizabeth City, NC to Hampton, VA

Wednesday morning we left Elizabeth City at 7:15 because of a restricted bridge that opened at 7:30.  We had a beautiful trip up tree lined Pasquotank River to Turners Cut and the South Bridge Lock.
We spent the night at the Great Dismal Swamp Visitors Center with seven other boats.  After listening to the weather we all decided to stay the next day which turned out to be a good choice.  Thursday was the day with the violent storms that sadly killed so many people.  We were lucky in that the worst of the storms did not hit this area.  We had a couple of thunderstorms but we were in such a protected place that we could see the top of the trees whipping in the wind but the water was flat calm with barely a ripple.  The staff at the visitors center were great - they offered to drive people to the nearest store or to order pizzas for us.  Across the canal from the visitors center is a interpretive center and miles of trails accessed by a pontoon bridge.

Friday morning we left the visitors center along with the other seven boats and had a nice calm relaxing trip through the scenic swamp.  This is one of our favorite parts of the trip.  The scenery is not dramatic but it is beautiful.  Because there were so many of us in the lock at the same time we ended up on the side away from the lock tender's house which was unfortunate because Robert, the lock tender, handed out doughnuts to everyone on that side of the lock.

When we left the lock we had 45 minutes to get to the Glimerton Bridge 5 miles away for the once per hour opening.  We had the tide with us and made it with minutes to spare.  It is a culture shock to go from the serenity of the swamp to the hustle and bustle of Norfolk.  Between the pleasure boats, tour boats, barges, and Navy ships it requires constant vigilance to avoid being run over.  We were able to sail across Hampden Roads which was a nice treat.  We pulled into Hampden public docks and received a warm greeting from Kate the dock master who remembered us from the fall.