Saturday, October 31, 2015

Camp Lejeune, Mile Hammock

Today we are out by 8:15 AM. Coolest morning we have had in a while, 56 F, when we wake up. We have a relatively short day to Mile Hammock, an anchorage by Camp Lejeune. About 10 miles of the ICW passes through Camp Lejeune and is often closed due to live firing exercises. The previous 3 days had scheduled closures for half the day. 

Entering Camp Lejuene
They usually don't schedule those kind of activities on the weekend, but normally at the anchorage there is a lot of activity, either marines on boats or aircraft buzzing over head.  We get in around 2:00 PM and have a quiet afternoon and evening. I guess the marines get the weekends off. There are 18 boats in Mile Hammock by sundown.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Spooner Creek Day 2

The feature that we really like about Spooner's is, it's about a 10 minute walk to, Lowes, Best Buy, Staples, Walmart and West Marine. We have lunch at Panera's. Linda finds a new store “Shore Decor” that she really likes, they do have some neat colorful furniture and decorations. Most of what they sell is made in the USA. I am surprised it is not a chain, but this is their only location, “one-of-kind coastal lifestyles superstore”. Next time we visit Linda's sister in Myrtle Beach, we better take an empty van.

Manana alone in Spooner Creek

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Spooner Creek

Up early at 6:00AM to get ready to leave. I have some business to take care of and have to wait until 8:30 to call and then spend more time trying to get some forms printed out and mailed. We get a late start, don't leave the docks until 10:00 AM. Current was against us all day, did not matter what body of water or creek we were motoring through. “Was up hill in both directions”, all day.

Very impressive bow wake for a sailboat, wonder if he has water-skis
We pull into one of our favorite anchorages, Spooner Creek. A small creek lined with homes, where most of them have boats out front on the bulkheads. There is a small marina that we have stayed at here, but we anchor today. Only room for a few boats to anchor, but it is very protected. It is what they call a “key hole” anchorage. A narrow entrance seems to discourage a lot of cruisers from coming in here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

River Dunes Day 3

Early morning at River Dunes
The previous day we signed up, first ones on the list today, to use the loaner car for a trip into Oriental. We refilled our propane and did some grocery shopping and bought a few items at the local hardware store. We get back early so Linda lets the next boaters on the list know the car is available. In the afternoon Linda does laundry. I wash the boat, fill the water tanks and put in a new fuel filter element. Again, I can't resist temptation and we go to tonight's Lasagna buffet dinner. We have dinner with Tina and Ed who own a Pacific Seacraft “Merlin” sailboat and are also headed south.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

River Dunes Day 2

Rained overnight, slept in until 7AM and had a leisurely breakfast. Another warm, high 70's, and humid day. Feels like summer, in Vermont, anyways. Went for a long walk to see the new homes in this planned community. The marina and development was started in 2007 or so, just before the 2009 crash, which curtailed sales. Someone said they sold one lot in 2009. Anyways there must be 50 or so houses, from small weekend cottages to a couple very large plantation style houses.
First floor lounge

One of two hot tubs by the pool
We head back to the boat as it starts to rain, to work on a few projects. We go to tonight's flank steak buffet dinner, again very good meal with probably 30 other cruisers.

Monday, October 26, 2015

River Dunes

We are underway by 8:00 AM and are in the protected confines of the ICW. We are heading out onto the Pamlico Sound. Lots of wind and we are booking along with just the head sail and engine off. The weather is not looking too good for the next couple days with wind, rain and thunderstorms predicted, so we decide to cut the day short and head into River Dunes Marina, Oriental, NC. They are the most highly rated marina on Active Captain (Trip Adviser for boats), so we had to give them a try. Lots of other cruisers had the same idea. We run into a number of familiar boats.

They have a very knowledgeable dockmaster. I learned a new method for gracefully parallel parking a boat to a face dock when the wind is pushing the boat from the dock. His instructions were spot on for a graceful docking.

This place has the fanciest bathrooms of any marina we have ever been in or hotel for that matter. Huge shower, can even use it as a steam shower. Not sure why anyone would want that in an area that is usually rather steamy outdoors much of the year. But some people love it.

Our good friends Bill and Sandy Drechsler who live in New Bern, near by, came over for a visit. We first met them two years ago in Florida heading to the Bahamas. Bill who has sailed to the Bahamas numerous times is a wealth of knowledge, so we latched on to him, on the last trip south
Linda & Sandy
River Dunes this time of year, normally, only serves food on the weekends, but since they have so many cruisers here, they are serving a different small buffet each night. Bill and Sandy take us to dinner a short walk from the boat, instead of driving into Oriental for the evening. 

Upstairs dining area, River Dunes

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Campbell Creek

Most of the boats got an earlier start than us to start the trip down the 20 mile Alligator River – Pungo River Canal. Long mostly boring day, down the canal, down the Pungo River and across the Pamlico River. We drop anchor in Campbell Creek for the night. So boring, I didn't take any pictures.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Alligator River

Leaving Elizabeth City
We leave again before sunrise and head south down the Pasquotank river to the Albemarle Sound which we cross to the Alligator River. The winds pick up as we get near the Albermarle and we have a good sail south to the Alligator River. 

Alligator River Swing Bridge

Mast lights, anchored boats

We anchor for the night near the entrance to the Alligator River – Pungo River Canal a section of the ICW. This is the most remote section of the ICW. No cell coverage, no light pollution, far from civilization. I had hoped for a star filled night, forgetting we were coming up on the full moon. Between three different anchorages there must be 20 boats anchored out. The ICW buoys here have lights because commercial traffic can run through here any time of night. At three in the morning I wake up for a trip to the head and hear the rumbling of a tug boat in the distance. I stow a few loose items in anticipation of the wake we will be getting. As I watch the tug and barge in the distance I realize it is traveling away from us and had passed us over 20 minutes ago, without us noticing.

Early morning reflections

Friday, October 23, 2015

Elizabeth City Day 2

We visited the Museum of the Albemarle, toured the Elizabeth II and hiked to the supermarket in the afternoon. 

This says it all, they certain are !
Another wave of cruisers pass through the drawbridge

Busy docks
 Finall, after staying at Elizabeth City 4 times we get our Wine and cheese party. 

Cheesy Cruisers

There is a large crowd of cruisers there. We have dinner again at Cypress Creek grill with Tim and Karen Askew a couple local owners of a Catalina 36 and fellow members of the Catalina 36 association website. Had another enjoyable dinner with very interesting dinner companions.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Elizabeth City

The second lock down, South Mills lock, first operates at 8:30AM and 8 of the 9 boats shove off at 7:30. 
Foggy morning

Bridge before lock

Leaving South Mills Lock

A couple boats shoot out ahead of the group. I think they really thought the lock master would open the bridge and lock them down ahead of the rest of the group. Some people have a rich fantasy life. 8:30 is 8:30 and they do not deviate and if there are any northbound boats they go through first adding another ½ hour delay to the south bound boats. Well, the rest of the group apparently are math experts and figure, hmm, 4 miles to the Elizabeth City lock, one hour to get there, maybe a speed of 4 miles an hour will be sufficient. It is a pain to come to a complete standstill in a narrow canal and maintain control. Moving slowly you maintain steerage and control and save a lot of fuel. Anyways we all catch up to them and fortunately there are no northbound boats today. We fill the lock walls with 8 boats and one additional boat rafted to us for a total of nine boats.

Again we all exit the locks and the same boats take off again ahead of the group. The next draw bridge is about 18 miles ahead at Elizabeth City. Even though it is an “open on demand” bridge, the “open on demand” is when the bridge operator demands it, not the boats. He is more concerned with not pissing off the locals, where he lives with excessive bridge delays. And he is also experienced enough to know this time of year there is going to be a group off boats coming from the South Mills 8:30AM lock opening, so he delays the opening until most of us get there.

We all get slips or wall space at the Elizabeth City free docks. We have a gorgeous, summer like afternoon, relaxing on the boat and walking around. Big change from our last visit two years ago, about two weeks later in the season. It was cold and windy here and there were only 5 boats, the place was deserted. Today there are almost 25 boats. There is a Mainship 39 Trawler from Charlotte, Vermont, here.

Elizabeth City Free Docks

They are famous here for hosting a wine and cheese party for the cruisers. Last time here, one day there was not enough boats and the other was too cold to host the party. Tonight there was only one person in the office, so no go. Tomorrow they plan to have the wine and cheese party, so we just have to stay one more day.

Elizabeth II, a 16th century sailing vessel, visiting Elizabeth City

Tonight we go out to dinner at “Cypress Creek Grill” an excellent restaurant, top of the Trip Advisor list for Elizabeth City. We go a little early and the place is empty, we wonder if we made a good choice. Well, the place is full by the time we leave, for good reason, as we now know.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dismal Swamp

We get up early, but don't leave before 8:00 AM.

Aircraft Carriers entering Norfolk
We get up early, but don't leave before 8:00 AM. There is no rush because the Beltline Railroad Bridge between Norfolk and Plymouth is being worked on for the next two weeks. Normally railroad bridges stay up until a train actually needs to use it. This bridge is undergoing some maintenance like replacing railroad ties, so they must keep it lowered during the day. They only open at 9:00, 12:00 and 3:00 during daylight hours. We are planning on the 12:00 opening, so we can make the 1:30 lock to the Dismal Swamp. 4 miles south of the Beltline is an “open on demand” highway bridge and an adjacent railroad bridge. When we arrive at the Highway bridge the boats that raced ahead from the Beltline opening are waiting for the railroad bridge that was down for a train. By the time we all get through we have to go full tilt to make the 1:30PM lock. Fortunately, all the other boats are taking the Virginia Cut and not the Dismal Swamp route for their trip south, so it is just us heading for the lock.

Deep Creek Lock to the Dismal Swamp

We get to the lock and there is just one trawler waiting for the lock and we both quickly enter. The Dismal Swamp has two locks one up and one down. They both have draw bridges within ½ mile of the lock which the lock operators also run. Once you go through one, the operator hops into their car and drives to the other, to operate the second immediate road block to our travels.

Time lapse video of the Deep Creek Lock
click below

Tea colored bow wake from the tannin in the water
The Dismal Swamp is about 24 miles long, straight, with one bend in the middle. Boats disappear over the horizon, not around corners.

We arrive at the Dismal Swamp Visitor Center around 5:00 PM. We are the last boat to arrive, number nine. Three boats are tied to the dock and the rest are rafted three deep. After five o'clock the visitor center is closed, so we don't even bother getting off the boat. They are doing some construction and the 24 hour bathrooms are closed, just Porto-lets.

Raft up at the Visitor's Center

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Laundry Day

We get up and have a quick breakfast. I drop Linda off at the Laundromat and I return the car to Enterprise and walk back to the boat and then to the Laundromat. By the time I get there Linda is almost done. We load up the cart and walk back to the boat.

After lunch we walk to the town Library a couple blocks away to print out some files. They have a copier machine where you can plug in a USB stick with your files and print them without using a personal computer, very slick. Then we walk to a bank to get the forms we printed out, notarized.

Gregg and Vickie

Again Gregg and Vickie visit us in the late afternoon. They are planning on participating in the “Salty Dawg” Cruiser rally, sailing to the US Virgin Islands around November 1st from Hampton, VA. Linda and I have another enjoyable evening with the two of them and are looking forward to hearing about their trip.

Monday, October 19, 2015


We get up early, have breakfast and walk to Enterprise Rental Car. I know what you are thinking, don't they pick you up? We needed the exercise this being another cool morning in the high 40's.
Williamsburg is only about a 30 minute drive from Hampton. We spend the whole day at Williamsburg. It was fun going on the various tours and exhibits where the guides stayed in character most of the time, giving a perspective of the average people at the time. Many of the common trades people and workers were not as invested in the revolution as the upper class land and plantation owners and did not have financial benefit in the outcome. 

The Governors Palace

On the way back to Hampton we stop at Costco's and the Supermarket to replenish the food supply. We get back to the boat long after dark.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hampton Day 2

We sleep in and have a late breakfast. In the afternoon we walk over to the Municipal Pier and talk with a number of cruisers heading south. We go to the Air and Space Museum, which we missed last time we anchored in Hampton. Was somewhat disappointed. Surprisingly, many of the hands on exhibits were broken and non-functional, without any signs noting their condition. Some exhibits were quite interesting and others had little purpose. As usual Linda was bored, but geek that I am, I still found this museum a bit of a sleep inducer.

Saturday, October 17, 2015


We get up early and leave just before sunrise.

Sunrise leaving Deltaville

Crabber sunrise
A number of other cruising boats leave behind us from the harbor. About an hour south we smell something burning. After checking the boat over we can not find anything amiss. The odor smells like burning garbage. Half an hour later, looking back north I see a plume of steam and smoke blowing across the Bay back where we were. I imagine every boat following us went through the same “what is burning drill”. We arrive at Hampton mid-afternoon after motor/sailing most of the day. We pull into the Sunset Boating Center and pay $1.20 foot and get the third day free since we are members of Active Captain. Active Captain is like Trip Adviser for boaters. We are at the end of the creek in a fairly quiet location. We pull up to the fuel dock first to fuel up and pump out. Could not believe the service, must have been 5 people helping us, the boat never touched the dock. We were gently pulled in. When we head to our slip, we get the same service. Either they are the friendliest marina going or the word has gotten out about me and docks!

That evening Gregg and Vickie who are anchored on the Hampton River came over late afternoon for wine and snacks. Gregg who just bought an iPad was looking for some tutoring on and downloading of sailing apps. This marina has very fast WiFi internet access without using our booster. Just like being at home.

The Barking Dog
After the sun sets we decide to have dinner at the “Barking Dog” a little local eatery at the end of the creek we are on. Nice variety of hot dogs and hamburgers and other things. A number of the workers at the Marina have told us what their favorite meals are there. Vickie, who has a splint on her foot, was able to slip back into the dinghy and motor down to the dock in front of the “Barking Dog” with minimal effort. Once the sun sets the evening quickly cooled off and three of us decided to have the Chili, which was very good.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Deltaville Day 2

We had planned to leave this morning, but we got up to a cold and rainy morning. Staying at the Fishing Bay Yacht Club, we are plugged in and have heat and thus little motivation to leave. I had non-boat work to do and a great internet connection, a good day to get caught up. Late in the afternoon the sky clears and we have a sunny late afternoon. We go for a long walk before dinner.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


We get up early to leave before sunrise. Making breakfast I look our the port and see Gregg and Vickie going by with their running lights on and mainsail up. We are never going to get the jump on those two early birds. They are planning on doing the Salty Dawg sailing rally around November 1st, Hampton, VA to the Virgin Islands. 

Sunrise sail

We have full sails up, but never enough speed to shut down the diesel if we want to make the 65 miles to Deltaville for tonight. By noontime the wind changes direction and further drops in speed, we are mainly motoring now. Quite a few cruising sail boats in front and behind us heading south, no one going north.

The dock at Fishing Bay Yacht Club
By 4:30 we pull up to the dock at Fishing Bay Yacht Club. Pretty quiet here this trip south, we are the only cruising boat here although there are lots of boats anchored out for the evening. FBYC allows a free overnight for members of other Yacht Clubs. Last time here, going south, we were with our new cruising friends Dan & Dawn and Roger & Chrisy who we sailed with off and on for the subsequent 7 months or so on the east coast and the Bahamas.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Solomons Island

We get up early, for us, to leave Spa Creek at the 9:00 AM bridge opening. It does not open between 7:30 and 9:00AM for commuter traffic. Our early to bed, early to rise friends Gregg and Vickie are out before 7:00 AM.

Leaving Spa Creek

We have a nice sunny day and are under full sail most of the day without any motoring, nice quiet day. We don't loose the wind until the last hour, so we motor in to anchor.

I email Vickie, since they reached Solomons Island creek hours ahead of us and inquire how crowded the anchorages are. She says there was not a lot of space in there. It is quite calm outside the creek so we anchor out with a few other boats and save a couple extra miles of motoring and to get a jump on the next day going south. Warmest evening we have had on the boat in weeks. We eat in the cockpit and stay out there long after sunset.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Rams Head again

We sleep in. Make waffles for breakfast, very leisurely morning. In the afternoon we go for a hike to Fawcetts Marine Store and Giant food store. It is a long walk, but we need the exercise. Just as we get back to the boat a quick thunderstorm rolls through the area. Quick check on the weather radar shows, that is it for rain for the rest of the evening. 


So of course we go back to Rams Head. I need to inquire if they have a meal plan! Tonight, Tuesday happy hour is raw oysters and steamed mussels. One $3.00 beer gets you 8 oysters and two plates of mussels. We split another very good dinner, coconut and panko covered chicken over rice with a curried sauce, fabulous.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Spa Creek

Wake up to another cool morning and run the heater. Heavy dew on the dodger. Have to wipe off both sides of the clear vinyl multiple times to see through. Very little wind.

Leaving Harness Creek

We motor to Spa Creek near downtown Annapolis, now that a lot of boats have left at the end of the weekend. In the afternoon I tackle working on the outboard motor. I take the carburetor off the outboard and notice some water in the fuel. The carburetor bowl is clogged with crud and will not drain. I strip down the carburetor and thoroughly clean it. After I put everything back together the engine still will not start. I pump out a pint of fuel from the bottom of the fuel tank. SOB! When I got two gallons of gas for the outboard at Atlantic Highlands I received a bonus pint of water and crud. Water does not burn, no matter how clean the carburetor is. Once I pump out two pints of liquid from the bottom of the tank, we are back to only gas in the tank. The engine starts right off and seems to run just fine now.

We head to Rams Head for Happy Hour, meat balls and 3 dollar draft beers. Linda and I split a dinner; shrimp, hot sausage, peppers, onions over grits. I don't know how one person could eat what we got with our split dinner. It was excellent.

We were going to visit Gregg and Vickie, on their boat, who we met at Hop-o-Nose, with dessert on the way back to our boat. Vickie sends me a note that Gregg is exhausted from working on a couple projects and is going to bed, so we head directly back to our boat.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Annapolis Boat Show

Wake up at 6:00 AM, Brrr the boat is cold, 48 degrees outside. I go fetch the Little Buddy heater again and turn it on. At 8:00 AM we catch a cab ride to Downtown Annapolis for breakfast at “Chic and Ruth's” a popular eatery in Annapolis.

Then walk to the boat show gate and meet up with John & Genie with Jay & Priscilla having coffee at an outside cafe. The boat Show is not particularly crowded in the vender tents and booths. Most of the people, are here to see the boats, not for equipment. We meet for lunch with the a fore mentioned people and Bob & Judy Chase. 

 Lunch with Genie, John, Judy, Bob, Jay & Priscilla (out of frame)

 Late in the afternoon we take a cab back to Quiet Waters Park on Harness Creek and to our boat. A little later we take another cab to Rich and Lynn Clough's for dinner with a number of friends. Rich and Lynn who live near Annapolis are finishing preparations to take their sailboat south in a couple weeks. They will probably catch up to us in Florida.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Harness Creek

The wind is blowing 15-20 out of the north so we sail 35 miles south on our jib, our first day of actual sailing, engine off.

Thomas Shoal Lighthouse, Annapolis

We anchor in Harness Creek on the south side of Annapolis. It is too crowded to get into our first choice close to downtown Annapolis, Spa Creek. We take a long walk to one of our favorite Marine stores, Fawcetts, to pick up a few items, including carburetor cleaning fluid. We meet up with our friends from Vermont John and Genie, who have our non-junk mail that Rose has been saving. We will see them again tomorrow at the Annapolis Boat Show.

I stop by a Verizon store so they can find out why I can't manage my iPad account online. I have a pay by month plan. In Burlington at the end of August I take this new iPad to Verizon and they put in the SIM card and set up the account. Our previous iPad's I had set up myself on line and managed them online without having to talk with anyone at Verizon. This one will not let me do that. The end of the first month I spent 45 minutes on the phone to get my account reactivated for the next month. They can not help me, but do connect me with Verizon technical support on their phone. They are not much help either. They tell me to go to “” and fill out the account information, but then tell me that the sight is down, but not sure when it will be back up. Another useless exchange with Verizon support. I slam down the phone and leave.

We walk back to Harness Creek for the evening.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Worton Creek Marina

We leave early and head down the C&D canal to the Chesapeake.

C&D Canal
We pass a constant stream of tug
boats pulling or pushing barges. Even pass a north bound tug boat that passed us going south the other night off the New Jersey coast. We only saw it's lights then, but our AIS radio, gave us the boats name, speed, direction, etc. Once we reach the upper Chesapeake we have the wind on our nose for the rest of the day. I decide to head into a very protected, Worton Creek to Worton Creek Marina to fuel up, pump out, take on water, change engine oil and transmission fluid and stay overnight. Before we can fully pull into our spot on the end of the dock I have to fish out a couple large tree branches, the benefits of living on a creek.

Hiding out from Thunderstorm
 There is a forecast for possible thunderstorms in the late afternoon so I thought this would be a good place to hide out. About two hours later after my chores are done some very dark clouds start to roll in. I make a quick walk to deposit my waste oil in the marina's collection tank. I almost make it back to the boat when it lets loose. I escape to a covered boat dock and stay fairly dry. It's over in 20 minutes. Washing the salt off the boat, check, another chore done.

Linda and I decide to try the on-site restaurant. It had some positive and negative reviews. It started raining again just before we got there and there were only two other tables seated before us. Interesting menu. We decide to split the coconut shrimp. Linda orders a cup of shrimp chowder and I order a cup of crab vegetable soup. The waitress, brings me a beer, but not the one I asked for. And a minute later brings me the one I ordered. After 15 minutes our soup appears. Linda's is luke warm and I chuckle at mine. It is vegetable soup with a crab leg sticking out of it, kind of like a swizzle stick in a cocktail. A few minutes later she informs us they had a burglary the night before and the chef would not be able to make the coconut shrimp. Wasn't clear whether the coconut or the Fryolator was stolen, never did get much of a coherent explanation. The waitress, says the cook could do something with beer, we assumed beer batter. What we get is steamed shrimp with cocktail sauce in little plastic cups. I don't know how old the cocktail sauce was, but it was the consistency of jello. We just sit there laughing. When we finish our 27 dollar shrimp cocktail, Linda asked about the french fries. A few minutes later the waitress brings out some pathetic looking baked potato sticks. We decide we better pass on desert.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Delaware Bay

We have a long boring day motoring up the Delaware Bay.

Ship John Lighthouse, Delaware Bay
Against the current almost all day, with very little wind.

Salem Nuclear Power Plant cooling tower Steam

The steam column from the Salem Nuclear Power Plant makes for an excellent waypoint 30 miles south from Cape May, where all you can see is the top of the steam plume.

We stop just short of the C&D Canal and anchor behind Reedy Island with a number of other transients heading south. Very strong current here, but good holding, Still a little disconcerting because the fast current makes a fair amount of gurgling noise against the hull. I check our position many times through the night. With each tide shift we swing 180 degrees.

Two years ago we got lucky with the wind and currents and in one day covered 70 miles which got us all the way into the upper Chesapeake. Today the best we could do was 50 miles.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cape May

Before we rounded the point earlier at Sandy Hook, there were a lot of boats anchored there. Queuing up to head down the New Jersey coast the next day. I assume a lot of boats were held up like us waiting for good weather to move south. Surprisingly, we did not see or hear any other cruising boats heading down the coast overnight. Last time we did this two years ago there were quite a few boats doing an overnight run to Cape May. There were a lot of tug boats towing barrages going south and north all night. We stayed a little further in shore from them, especially since they were maintaining similar speeds to us. Atlantic City seems like it takes for ever to pass because the tall well lit Casino's can be seen at quite a distance. Once we approach AC the winds pick up from the west and we motor sail on the jib all the way to Cape May. We still have swells, but having a sail up steadies the boat for a smoother ride south.

Even though the temperature is 60 degrees the wind and dampness makes it feel much colder. We are wearing full foul weather gear, hats and gloves to stay warm. I have a full night of podcasts on an iPad (60 minutes, Fareed Zakaria and other shows) to play over the radio.. Linda and I take turns taking a couple one hour naps.


Just after sunrise I notice we have a hitch hiker on the leeward side of our mast, attached to our sail cover, trying to rest out of the wind.

Around 9:15 AM we drop anchor in front of the Coast Guard Station in Cape May. Two boats leave and we are the only boat anchored there. Strange, usually there are a lot of boats anchoring here early in the morning after coming down the Jersey coast. With in an hour a couple more boats come in, by evening there are 15 boats anchored. We have breakfast and go to bed for about 4 hours. A few hundred yards away the Coast Guard bucket loaders are building a seawall, the noise did not disturb us a bit. We wake to a nice sunny warm afternoon around 75 degrees. It has been a while since we have had such a sunny warm afternoon.

Late afternoon we motor over in the dinghy to the Lobster House for dinner. Half way there the outboard stops and will not start. In the 6 years that we have had this 6hp Tohatsu outboard it has always started. So now, I have a long row back to the mother ship. After thinking it over, I am pretty sure I know what the problem is. I always use non-ethanol gas in Vermont and before we left Atlantic Highlands I filled up the outboard motor fuel tank. Apparently you can't get non-ethanol gas in NJ. Anyways, the distance we went before the engine died would of used the non-ethanol gas that was still in the carburetor bowl. The engine died when the new gas started running through the system. Ethanol is a solvent and probably loosened up deposits in the carburetor and clogged the fuel jets. When I get the chance I will have to take off, strip down and clean the carburetor.
Sunset at Cape May

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The overnight to Cape May

We wake up to a sunny morning with very calm waters. Haven't experienced that for about10 days. We head to town for a trip to the grocery store and breakfast. Pack up the boat and leave around noontime for Cape May overnight. Plan to arrive at Cape May around 9:00 AM. Forecast is for almost no wind, but swells, with declining heights through the night. As we round Sandy Hook we are heading southeast directly into the swells. Some are up to 9-10 feet, but are spaced far enough apart to not be a problem. Later in the afternoon as we turn south, we get a fair amount of rock and roll since there is not enough wind to steady the boat. Fortunately, not enough roll to keep Linda from taking a snooze in the cockpit or sliding onto the cockpit floor.

Reminds me of sailing with our friends John and Genie a few years ago on their Island Packet in the Grenadines. There we had some memorable swells that were very close together or a short wave period, as they say. I got airborne at the peak of one wave and landed on my butt on the cockpit floor. My seat on the boat was moving forward and it was not there when I came back down.

The swells should lessen as we motor through the night. Well, my shift behind the wheel is coming up and I have to go spell my wife.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Atlantic Highland, We're back !

Around 8:30 we leave our protected little cove. Wind and waves are pretty moderate on the Hudson. We immediately put out the head sail and motor sail halfway to the Tappan Zee Bridge. Once we get beyond the Bridge the wind dies and the water is almost flat to the George Washington Bridge. With all the rain and wind we had expected to be dodging a lot of debris, but apparently the wind and waves had pushed it all to shore by now. We saw absolutely nothing floating in the water, except birds. We caught the current all the way to lower Manhattan before it started to turn against us. Fortunately, by then the wind picked up and we put out the jib and were able to maintain a good speed all the way to Atlantic Highlands.

Now our third time by the Statue of Liberty in less than a week, Linda doesn't even look up from her book. I hardly look at the chart plotter since I am now more familiar with these waters than I had planned to be.

Our friend Dawn meets us for dinner. She was there to check up on her and Dan's boat. Dan was away on a family emergency, his son just had an appendectomy. Apparently we missed an exciting time at Atlantic Highlands. Thursday and Friday they were hauling boats at a fast clip, no bottom washing.

By Friday afternoon and Saturday and into Sunday the launch stopped running. At high tide the waves were washing over the breakwater. Talked with the two Vermont power boaters. They said they were bounced pretty hard on the docks. A couple other boats that were anchored behind the break water were boat bound for two days because it was too rough to get ashore. I am sure glad we missed all that. Would of been fun to watch from ashore, as long as our boat wasn't out there. All in all there was not much damage, a couple Bimini's that owners had left up.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunshine !

Woke up to sunshine and much lower humidity. Opened up a couple cabinets that had condensation due to them being directly under the cold deck. Wiped off surface moisture and removed some contents and left doors open to thoroughly dry. Finished a few more small projects. Still windy, but nice and warm in the cockpit, behind the dodger, Bimini connector and new side panels I made before we left.

In the afternoon we decide to get off the boat and walk into Town, Haverstraw. This is a great little cove, but there are no docks for dinghy use. We find one place were we can get ashore without getting wet. Interesting walking through downtown Haverstraw, a very Hispanic population. Most store fronts have signs mostly in Spanish. There was at least one barber shop on every block and they were all busy.

Since most males around here seem to have short cropped hair, they must get their hair cut frequently. They would go broke with me, I get it cut short and then let it grow long before it gets cut again. We pass a bunch of different ethnic Hispanic restaurants. Had we known, we would of planned dinner in town. We do stop at one shop featuring empanadas and get a couple to go, which we immediately eat as we are walking down the street. We stop at a couple small markets to look for plantain chips, (like potato chips) one of my favorite snacks. Not exactly a hot item in Vermont. When we left Miami for the Bahamas last time I had quite a stash in the aft cabin to last me three months, to my wife’s amusement. We head back towards the dinghy after we walk through a gorgeous town park on the Hudson with pools, water slides, covered picnic areas and play areas for kids.

Our calm cove

Plans are to get up early and head back down the Hudson to Atlantic Highlands to plan on a Tuesday over night sail to Cape May. I imagine there will be a lot of boats who have been waiting out the poor weather to move south and will do so before the window closes.