A Fun and Full “Dirt” Home- Stay

October 21, 2018 – May 6, 2019

Miles traveled this blog:  0

Total Miles traveled:  5217

While this blog entry is not officially about nor on the Loop, I request editorial license to include these interim reports as continuity to our Looping story.

We arrived  back to 1563 just in time to prepare for and enjoy Halloween, all 8 Grand’s birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas with the family.  What a celebration each and every event turned out to be. 

fullsizeoutput_dcbbThanksgiving and Sixteen Strong


Christmas gift from the family – two folding bikes for doing the Loop with no car!

Mostly we spent the winter (the first one at home since 2014) watching children and teen sporting and music events including girls Raven hockey and Milford HS skiing;  mite Red Wing hockey and Hartland soccer; Steiner volley ball and basketball;  Tae Kwon Do and oboe competition; USA gymnastics; and finally mastering a two wheeled bike without training wheels which we missed because it happened on the day we left town!  What we learned you have to watch hours of beginning and learning to finally get to watch your granddaughter (Ashleigh) compete at the highest levels of hockey and skiing. the Ravens lost in the State semi-finals after 26 minutes of OT and that is a lot! The Milford Lady Mavericks were regional winners and finished fourth in the State.

State Semi-finals – size never a problem!

Regional Finals trophy 2019







How very proud we are of Lexi with her stellar performance in Engineering at MSU! 

Another highlight was just the right amount of downhill skiing for us –  ten days during Dec, Jan, and Feb with various family groups at Boyne and Crystal mountains.  Fun to be able to still keep up with some of them.

All bones intact for  winter 2018-19!

We spent two weeks in the Florida sun, Naples with Mike & Veta’s family and then Marathon on a VRBO boat while visiting friends onboard Sunset Delight and Daybreak.   The warm weather, family and friends provided a welcome reprieve from the Michigan winter.  Had we really forgotten?   Our local schools broke all records for ice/snow and cold days.

Fun family, lovely time, beautiful Naples Boardwalk

Boating friends, Ev, Clark, Jeanne and Kenny enjoying Key West.  Thanks for the hospitality!

During a particularly cold and wet week in Northern Michigan we shared a Boyne City get-away with boating friends Mike and Nancy of California Lady.   Dan and Jenny Lynn of Melody in Sea stopped by on their various trips back to Deltaville and we visited them in their gorgeous home in White Hall, Michigan.   Everyone reports missing the cruising lifestyle!

Spring brought our newest grandson, Felix James born on March 21st to Brooke and Curt.  He is a perfect baby, doing all that he is supposed to do and nothing he is not. 

First Family of five Photo

Brand new

Ready to go!

Mike and Veta recently announced that we are expecting Grandchild #10 around Thanksgiving.  Who would have thought?

Family of five, soon to be six!

After some hesitation, Marty (and Sally) took on completing the Victorian dollhouse that my brother, Bill, began years ago in Utah.  In all ways, it was an amazing project and a story only they can tell but the finished product is a treasure.  Her tentative name is “Popps Inn”, after my parent’s Sweezy and Mullett Lake cottages. She belongs to the extended family but will live with me and Jim for now.  My wish is that this exquisite lady becomes a family heirloom belonging to our Grands and their Grands for generations to come.  Or perhaps she eventually becomes every family’s white (or purple) elephant.

Thanks Bill

Thanks Marty

And last but not least, Judy our MSU college friend and my walking buddy of 30+ years married Jon on April 27th.  It was a fine and festive affair celebrating the hopefulness of two mid-seventy-somethings finding new love!

Congratulations Judy and Jon!!!

Pat, Heather, Lexi, Ash, and Nate all dressed up for Judy’s wedding

All of our very best wishes!

On May 5th (6 months and 15 days later) we pulled out heading for North Herrington Harbor and the Namaste patiently waiting for us in Deale, MD – about 20 miles south of Annapolis.  It was an uneventful trip unless you count the 5 hours driven in a torrential downpour on the PA turnpike.  As per plan, though, rain slowed to a drizzle as we celebrated with dinner at the Dockside.  In the cold and damp we made the required trips up and down the ladder unloading the car and finally climbing into bed among the chaos of everything piled around us that we just may need, or not, during the next five months.

Good Boat Name:  Pegasus (A Looper boat with whom we corresponded this winter now docked directly behind us – such a small Looping world)

Bad Boat Name:  Big Worm (on a chartreuse green, charter, rock fishing boat)

Quote of the Day:  “The reason life works at all is that not everyone in your tribe is nuts on the same day.”_Anne Lamott

Happy Birthday to: Beverly, Aunt Germaine (97!), Georgie, and Archie

Congratulations to:  Bastian (our  94-95 exchange student), Christine and Lisa Bilker on the birth of daughter and sister.


Rest in Peace: Juliett/Jidda Murad

Autumn Becomes Winter on the Chesapeake

October 16 – Annapolis, MD to Herrington Harbor Marina, MD – 22 miles

October 17-April, 2019 – Herrington Harbor Marina

Miles traveled this blog: 22

Total miles traveled:  5217


Well, our Fall Chesapeake cruise was cut short as the high temperatures went from the mid- eighties to the unseasonable low sixties, literally overnight.  We hoped to cross to the eastern shore at Annapolis and explore Mitchner’s Chesapeake setting of St. Michaels, Oxford, Cambridge, the Choptank River, and etc. but it wasn’t to be in 2018.  Stay tuned for that adventure in the Spring!


A candle, warm sweater, hot cup of coffee and Kathy Hall’s book to keep me warm on a cold morning.

When the low temps dipped into the thirties and we learned that there weren’t grocery stores open on the eastern shore, we decided to eat up the food we had onboard and head home.  Another deciding factor was that our intended winter storage marina, Herrington Harbor (see previous posts), was starting to get busy  (1,000+ annual haul outs) and we didn’t wish to live aboard while on a non-predictable waiting list.  Thus, we signed a contract and hustled ourselves and the Namaste southward once again for a safe winter harborage.


The lovely Herrington Harbor Marina in Tracy’s Landing, MD.  Side note: at 5:45 on Friday afternoon a small army of workers armed with large black garbage bags covered every inch of this huge marina, boat works and storage yard collecting all traces of litter.  The place is immaculate and not something you find in many marinas.  We love this place!  


A sense of the peacefulness in this lovely spot!

It was a pretty trip out of Annapolis and down the western shore but cold at the helm with a high temp of 62.  I spent time down below out of the wind and enjoying the heat of the engine but Jim and Sammy reported bone chilling cold, reinforcing our homeward bound decision as we pulled into the welcoming slip.


Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the distance as we exit Annapolis


The sky on our trek out of Annapolis.  Time to go home!


Fish nets coming down the shore reminding us of why we never travel at night.

An issue with traveling by boat is always, where was it that we left the car?  This time we had left her at the Deltaville Marina which, although not that far by boat was a 180 mile retrieval trip.  We always look for other options but this time we used our Looper’s discount at Enterprise and rented a car for the six-hour round trip. Upon our arrival back at the marina, the Namaste was sitting pretty on the hard (meaning ground), as they say.


Rest well Namaste Too

Our final boat puzzle  for the 2018 season was figuring out her winterizing procedure.  After 17 years, Jim had mastered the process for our Namaste sailboat but this was a new animal: adding a generator, two heads, and a heating/air-conditioning system.  Crawling around on hands and knees in small spaces along with several trips to West Marine as well as consultation with Dan were involved.  The Captain worked through each system step-by-step with me taking copious notes turned check-list for years to come – hopefully we didn’t forget anything important.  Always nice to have an engineer-captain!


Twelve gallons of pink anti-freeze (sometimes erroneously tagged red-pop) was carried up the ladder and poured into the appropriate spots to protect the Namaste’s important systems.

On Saturday, October 20, exactly four weeks after we left Michigan, we turned the car around and headed northwest and home.  Always a bittersweet day.  We look forward to  catching up with family and friends as well as a slower/quieter/colder pace for the next few months until we return to complete our Chesapeake cruise and likely our Loop on Lake Charlevoix in 2019.  Have a great winter!


As we left, I snapped an early morning vista of the marina and beyond to the Chesapeake Bay.

Good Boat Name:  Tickey Tockey (credit to Ev)

Bad Boat Name:  Troubled Pirates

Quote of the Day:  “This fantastic journey called the Great Loop is a series of day trips.  Each day and each trip have their own story that will be remembered a life time.”  -Mike O’Malley, onboard My Sharona

Get Well Soon:  Delighted to report that Dwain is out of the woods and making good progress after 36 days in intensive care.

Happy Birthday to:  Kathy, Chris

Progress Report:  The young family sailing to the Bahamas that I mentioned two blogs ago is now in Oriental, NC.  After some challenging weather and skinny water they are happy and safe.

Thank You to:  Kenny for his helpful Chamber of Commerce Chesapeake info and to Ev and Clark for their generous invitation to join them on Sunset Delight this winter in Marathon!

Rest in Peace: Helen




Hurricane Michael Finds Us at the Annapolis Boat Show

October 9-16 – Annapolis, MD/Watergate Pointe Marina

Miles traveled this blog: 0

Total miles traveled:  5195

. . . continuing the Annapolis stay, we spent the day on Wednesday, October 10 playing around the Namaste, making small repairs, applying a 5th coat of teak oil to the deck, cleaning up and creating space for our expected guests to arrive the following day.

We had hoped to anchor or “catch a mooring ball” while in Annapolis but hurricane turned tropical storm Michael was screaming his way up from the panhandle toward us and company was coming.  While not anything like what others experienced from this horrific storm, we got gallons of rain (1.5 inches minimum in a few hours) followed by winds in the high 30s with gusts to 55.  We were secure at the dock except that our lines stretched and Jim continually checked and tightened them throughout the night.  The noises were loud, strange and we rolled around hours on end.  Sammy was not a happy puppy!


The last blue ski we saw before the storm.


The Namaste  sits in her Annapolis berth.  Note the many lines and bumpers keeping her secure!

  This, Watergate Point Marina, seems to have quite a history, right here on the west bank of Back Creek, Annapolis.  In addition to the 7 docks, along the waterfront, is a huge complex of 60s apartments.  The grounds are beautifully kept and it is clear that renovations are in progress to everything including the marina facilities.  Hence, the 100 or so boats in the marina are currently using a single bathroom/shower attached to an in-progress apartment reno.  It is a lovely bathroom but I cannot imagine the line when it was great boating weather.  At any rate it is a place for long walks and sweet boat envy.


Back Creek.  Annapolis is on the Severn River.

Our friends Jenny Lynn and Dan, Loopers and previous ,owners of Gypsy Spirit, now Namaste Too, met us for the Boat Show at the Annapolis city docks and stayed three days.  They have been more than helpful as we learned about trawlers – docking, engines, electronics, head systems, and all else powerboats.  It was a pleasure to have them occupy the V-birth and spend hours catching up in the salon of the Namaste Too when we weren’t looking at boats..


Water taxi ride.  We still scored 10,000 plus steps each day.


The well used Annapolis Water Taxi. For $5 it takes you anywhere you want to go.  Jim and Dan both thought that would be a great captain’s job!

Speaking of boat envy, as we entered the 69th annual Annapolis Boat Show on a sunny and warm morning we came first upon the Hinkley exhibit where $4M bought a picnic model which isn’t really meant to live aboard.  Nothing in the show was affordable but everything was to envy.  In fact, the new boats confirmed that our choice of a classic old boat made sense to us over and over again.  No sour grapes here!  For fun we studied the interior décor, fabrics, carpets and decorative nautical “chotskies” to gradually upgrade the Namaste.  The following day we perused the brokerage docks (affordable and not so affordable used boats) with a quick trip through the vendor isles in big white tents.  A boat show tee shirt and nautical earrings were all that was purchased – half of what it cost for Show tickets!


No I didn’t take the picture and yes, we looked at every boat.


The Dog House – 40′ Hinckley

We enjoyed two lunches at the historic Middleton Tavern (est. 1750) where negotiations were held between the Army and Navy for the land where the naval academy now stands.  In paying our Am Ex bill today, I found that we had been charged for three lunches instead of two over the two days.  Apparently the swipe of a credit card can inadvertently pick up the charge immediately before or after yours and we had been charged $28 dollars for two drinks which they thankfully and easily refunded.  Note to self:  always check statements for double restaurant billings of different amounts on the same day!


Middleton Tavern.  While for good reason dogs weren’t allowed into the show, the town is dog friendly.  Note the two blue water dishes.

Our final day together we hopped on a 75 minute walking tour of the impressive Naval Academy, about a hundred yards from the Boat Show.  It is almost as classic a campus as MSU and with their acceptance rate of 1:17, their retention rates at the end of the first year of 96% and at graduation of 89%, the academy has an incredible history and fascinating story.    Everyone graduates with a Bachelor of Science degree even though there are a variety of non-science majors available.  The core curriculum is all about math and science preparing these mid-ship men and women for naval or marine careers.  Perhaps most impressive are the physicality requirements for graduation. You don’t have to be fit when you arrive but will be when you leave.  While tuition, housing and spending money are all provided, there is a five year commitment as a commissioned officer after graduation.


The Protestant and Catholic Chapel you see from almost anywhere in Annapolis


Naval Academy: Service, Patriotism and Tradition!


The Cheerleaders ready for the Navy/Temple football game.  This building originally housed basketball games  but is now the Student Center.  Note the flags of every state and US Territory along the walls – in alphabetical order.


Inside the campus chapel – imagine the weddings!  Ever been to one here?  


David, our enthusiastic, knowledgeable and high energy guide.  Follow me!

It was sad to see Jenny Lynn and Dan depart early on Sunday morning.  Wishing them well in their 12 hour drive back to West Michigan, we set our plans to buddy boat with Melody in Sea northward in the Spring of 2019.  The remainder of this day we spent recuperating, talking to family and friends while planning our next steps.  Stay tuned. . .


The Girvans heading home to Michigan until Spring!

Sammy Sayz:  Jenny Lynn and Dan didn’t bring Mac along so I had three long days on the boat by myself while they did whatever they do when they walk down that dock.  Today I had to have a bath but otherwise I am fine and am having a good time with long walks, dinghy boat rides, and equally long naps.  In case you are wondering, my leg is much better thanks!

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Crabs, Courtesy Cars, and Canvass

October 4-6  – St. Mary River to Patuxant River/Solomons/Calvert Marina – 35 miles

October 7-8 – Calvert Marina to Herring Bay, MD/Herrington Harbor Marina & Resort – 39 Miles

October 9-10 – Herington Marina to Annapolis/Watergate Pointe Marina – 21 Miles

Miles traveled this blog: 95

Total miles traveled:  5195

Another beautiful travel day from our anchorage on the St. Mary River to Solomons/Calvert Marina.  (Calvert was the original governor of Maryland).  This marina is built on an old naval base that extends along much of the waterway in this part of rural Maryland where military exercises, both air and sea, are frequent. Additionally, the nation’s first amphibious training base was built here in the early 1940’s.    There are huge off-shore docking stations for unloading petroleum destined for government use – no self-serve available.   It all looks like a city-scape from the water.  Clearly and happily we couldn’t get close enough for great pictures but it was an interesting ride as we had never seen anything like it.


Naval base stuff

When calling in for a slip at Calvert’s the lady said she had nothing available as the Kady Krogans were hosting a rendezvous and about 40 of the boats had taken all of their floating docks.  When I suggested that we were OK on a stationary dock she was willing to put us “out near the fuel dock,” at least a quarter-mile walk to the office and the laundry, and the pool was closed.  On the up side of things, our dock hosted mostly weekend live-a-boards and was alive with crabbing activity.  We saw and learned more about crabs that ever before:  they release the females :), crabs migrate (not sure when or where), and they are feisty little buggers.


If we are right, a female.


An official crab trap/pot at the bottom of a floating marker.


We do everything we can to miss these babies out on the water.

We dinghied to the Calvert Museum and light house where a large festival was in progress.  We perused the many docks and hundreds of boats before returning to our quiet T slip on L dock but not before finding three boats that we have met along the way – Allison Leigh, Lauryl Anne, and Day Break.


Solomons Lighthouse


The Kady Krogans in Rendezvous

It was time to provision so we borrowed the one hour marina courtesy car –  a 31 year old Mercedes Benz!  The seatbelts didn’t work and it was a noisy diesel but it got us there and back in rambling style.  I spent $100 on food and Jim spent an equal amount at the hardware store – a fact of boating life!  Among other things like varnish, he purchased a fire extinguisher for the fly bridge – seems like a good idea since that is where we spend most of our time.  Laundry wasn’t going to be easy here so I decided to wait until the next stop.  Bad idea, see Herrington Harbor marina.


1987 Mercedes Benz

Saturday night we decided to visit the local dining establishment named Hidden Harbor which they also called The Bistro and that it was – a small and unpretentious place with good food, great service, friendly folks, and a huge map on the wall with the option to pin your home port which, of course, we did.  Also found Vicki and Ron’s pin in Washington State from two years ago and likely hundreds of other Loopers!

The trip from Solomons to Herring Bay/Herrington Harbor Marina was another gorgeous cruise.  Lots of boats out from Naval minesweepers and container ships, to work boats, cruisers, sailboats and run-abouts.  It was a summer Sunday.  Herrington Harbor Marina was not a disappointment.  The flowers are still in full bloom, the dock hands are cute (no pics) and there are huffy bikes to ride to the laundry.  It is a resort area with beautiful pool (again closed on Labor day), work out room, great boaters lounges and even better wifi!  Yea, the pictures all downloaded.


Ahh, the Begonias


The seat was a bit wobbly but bikes were complimentary.

Shortly after our arrival a sailboat pulled into the slip next to us.  We assumed they were regulars but not so.  A late 30 something couple and their 2 ½ year old daughter, Hazel, had departed that day from Annapolis heading south to the Bahamas.  Together they own a fitness machine repair business which they plan to maintain while cruising but, they report,  if it doesn’t work, oh well!  They seemed confident in both sailing and life, not something you see every day!  We wished them well, even though we worried a little about the fact that they had no bimini in the cockpit as we are grateful every day for the Namaste’s sun protection.  He reported that he is good at canvass and I’ll bet he is!


Chris, Caty and Hazel

Another noteworthy event was watching a 100’, custom, pleasure craft splash for the very first time.  The “18 Reeler” took 28 months to build and is reportedly valued at 12M.  A hundred or so folks attended the launch where after taking tide and current into account, they had 3” per side to lower her from the travel lift into the slip using huge foam pads along the hull for protection.  The top half of the boat would be put into place by crane the next day which we didn’t stay to see.  Oh yes, the name “18 Reeler” was selected by the owner who also owns the award-winning family business, Old Dominion Trucking Company.  They really did seem like pretty ordinary folks with two tiny dogs in tow.


One unusual hull


Remember the top was yet to be installed


Heritage Harbor North – likely where we will put the Namaste on the hard when we finish this Chesapeake Cruise.

Heritage Harbor Marina boasted a laundry with three washers and three dryers – all new.  I was excited as I had three large loads of very dirty clothes that needed attention.  When I arrived another boating lady was madly changing loads but stopped to explain that only one dryer was working.  She had three more loads to dry and then it would be my turn.  Needless to say, about five hours later I had completed the task and decided that perhaps my home washer and dryer are what I miss most?

The following morning we woke to clouds that quickly vanished into another perfect day on the Chesapeake as we headed to Annapolis and the famous Power Boat Show.  Coming into Annapolis, besides the lighthouse we could see the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the Naval Academy.


Thomas Pointe Shoal and Lighthouse at the entrance to the Severn River and Annapolis

I had luckily secured a slip on Back Creek, but very close to Severn River where downtown Annapolis is located.  We continually comment that we have never seen so many boats anywhere in our lives.  They are everywhere including anchored in the middle of the somewhat narrow river here.  Upon arrival we secured the Namaste at Watergate Point Marina and took the water taxi to downtown Annapolis where we ate ice cream and supervised preparations for the boat show that begins on Thursday along with the Schooner Race Down the Bay and the arrival of Hurricane Michael.  Should be a big day so stay tuned.


Maybe 1% of the boats on Back Creek.  Note: Namaste is in the picture center with the navy canvass


Play-time for the five children and two labs on the sailboat anchored just off our stern.  Fun to watch!

Good Boat Name:  Costal Crush

Bad Boat Name:  On the Rocs

Quote of the Day:  “Be as good as your dog thinks you are.”  unknown

Happy Birthday to:  Veta, Diane

Get well soon to:  Dwain Dumas (Looper)

Thoughts going out: all the folks in Hurricane Michael’s path








Autumn is Summer on the Chesapeake

September 21 – October 3, 2018

September 21 – Detroit River Boat Cruise aboard Diamond Jack’s

September 22 – Bentley High School Class of ’63 Reunion

September 23 – Highland to Somerset PA by car

September 24 – Somerset PA to Deltaville by car

September 25-29 – Outfit the Namaste and Splash

September 30 – Doziers in Deltaville to Urbanna Town Marina/ VA- 17 miles

October 1 – Urbanna to Parks Marina on Tangier Island – 38 miles

October 3 – Tangier Island to St. Mary’s Maryland – 37 miles

Miles traveled this blog – 92

Total miles traveled – 5100

The last post described our home stay which was about as perfect as a summer gets.  We hung out the first three weeks of September to watch competitive hockey, gymnastics, and Taekwondo, get caught up with the camp family, attend a few once in a lifetime events including Mike’s keynote address at Kalamazoo College’s Convocation and my 55th class reunion.  A word about reunions:  lots of people don’t attend and I understand why but having grown up in one community, attending the same school district K-12, and marrying the most handsome, smart, and fun guy from the class of ’62,  I enjoyed reconnecting with and celebrating people I have known literally all of my life.  It was both a grounding and an exhilarating experience.  A big shout-out to Gwen for organizing the fun cruise up the Detroit River and to the Reunion Committee for their hard work in throwing a grand party!  We were up later and danced more than we had in years.


One of my most favorite places in the Universe.  Not the Chesapeake but leaving this beautiful place overlooking Dunham Lake


Mike’s keynote speech at K College’s Convocation


And his two proud parents!


Reunion Boat Trip down the Detroit River and under the Ambassador Bridge


The Class of ’63 cruising the Detroit River


Contemplating our 56 years as a couple since BHS!

The following morning we finished packing, mopped the floor on the way out the door and headed back to the Namaste Too waiting for us in Deltaville, VA.  We were tired so took two days to cover about 600+ miles using back-in-the-day conversations to keep us awake and happy.  Day two of the drive was cool and misty but we pushed ourselves to tour the memorial for Flight 93.  Not sure what I was expecting but suffice it to say it is a National Park and Memorial that is a must-see if ever you are in central Pennsylvania.


The entrance to the Memorial for Flight 93 and National Park on an misty morning


The crash site is between the white pillars.  There is a 3 mile circle walk from the visitors center above, past the site and through an awesome park.


Also, on our way out the door, Jim sliced his finger while trimming some documents to fit into his notebook.  He adds, while waiting for me.  The cut was as bad as the dressing indicates!

We arrived at Stingray Boat Works in sunshine and warmer temperatures.  Warmer turned into very hot as we cleaned, unpacked, and prepared the Namaste Too for our Fall Cruise of the Chesapeake.  We found her in great shape having run a portable dehumidifier in the kitchen sink and set out tubs of moisture eating stuff to fight the mold as well as having plugged the through-hulls with screening and placed bug traps around to discourage the ants and roaches.  It kept getting hotter but until we were in the water there was no air conditioning as both our heat and air function by way of a heat pump utilizing seawater. The four electric fans made life tolerable along with meals in cool local restaurants.


On the hard!

After launch, we lived for a couple of days on the rickety dock at Stingray, then we moved to Dozier’s, a full resort marina.  This is a favorite place complete with tiled individual bathrooms, an outdoor pool, laundry room and rocking chairs across the porch.  The heat continued so we also swam and enjoyed what may be out last outdoor pool days of 2018, who knows?




Sitting pretty.


Can Sammy come out to play?


Moving to the lovely Doziers Marina


The only pool open after Labor Day so far.

Before leaving we visited Deltaville’s impressive Maritime Museum which also serves as their community center and wedding venue.  We saw Skip Jacks (sailboats) and Buy Boats (working boats for crabbing, fishing and oystering across the Chesapeake) both as museum models and commercial working boats which visually express the nautical history of more than three centuries of Watermen.


Deltaville Maritime Museum – a very special place!


Skip Jack in the foreground and Buy Boats behind.  These are all over the waters of the Chesapeake but we never see them on the Great Lakes.


Sunset off our bow in Dozier’s Marina – no editing!

Sidebar:  several excruciating days here were spent listening to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings – hard but important.  All of this is going on less than 100 miles up the river as the Heron flies.

Some McFall history is in order.  During the early 2000s Curt, as a new MTU college graduate, taught sailing at a Boy Scout Camp just across the River from Deltaville on the Kilmarnock River.  For two summers, he weekly captained a 40’ boat taking 5 or 6 boys and their scout master out onto the Chesapeake for a learn-to-sail.  They went to Urbanna and Tangier Island, but mostly anchored out in the many nearby tributaries.  I remember watching the weather daily and calling him from East Lansing with any scary weather reports.  How could he have so quickly grown into this responsible teacher/captain/adult?  These days were undoubtedly the roots for Camps Lookout and Carvela as well as Camp Gig!

In Curt’s path, we cast off for our shake-down cruise to Urbanna, VA, just 17 miles up the Rappahannock River.  The boat ran well as we shared the river with more than 65 sailboats racing in what appeared to be several different directions.  We managed to stay out of their way reaching the Urbanna Town Dock at high tide and also swift current.  Thanks to Carol, the dock-master, we got the Namaste into a slip – crosswise for a little minute but safe and unscathed.  What a quaint little place with lots of marinas and friendly people.  Our 3 pm Sunday breakfast at Something Different may be one of our best breakfasts ever.  I had a crab-cake and Virginia ham omelet.


Nine of the 65 or more boats we managed to miss going up the Rappahannock River to Urbanna.  They were sure having fun – some days we miss the sailing!


The Something Different Restaurant in Urbanna.  Perhaps some of the best service and food on the Loop!

The following morning we left for Tangier Island, about 40 miles back down the Rappahannock River and directly east into the middle of the Chesapeake Bay.  I don’t know where to begin, or perhaps more accurately where to end but this place demands description.  Tangier Island’s 400 year history began when John Smith visited and named Tangier in 1608 (he charted much of the Chesapeake Bay) and later was the headquarters of a British Fleet ravaging the Chesapeake in 1814.  Tangier is a crabbing community of a constant 470 inhabitants on 1 X 2.5 miles of quickly eroding/sinking earth.  The SW end of the island consists of a ½ mile pristine sandy beach.  Milton Parks, the 87 year-old dock-master and native of the island, was here greeting boats when Curt visited and still as sharp as a tack, has many stories to tell.



Milton Parks, owner and dock-master of Park’s Marina on Tangier Island.  What a life legacy.  His two daughters are doctors – one on the island!



Paying the bill was a challenge as Milton never seemed to want to take our money!


Pristine Beach in the middle of the Chesapeake



Ooops, tide is up!

The population is mainly a Methodist, Republican group of Watermen (who crab six days a week) and their families.  Much of the history we learned from the only policeman’s wife who works in one of the handful of gift/ice cream stores and as a substitute teacher.  There is an impressive medical center with three doctors but no  dentists.   The school serves 65 students with proud teachers and parents reporting that their students are as well prepared as any in Virginia.  High school seniors are all volunteers on the fire department. There is a grocery store, post office, sewage treatment plant, electric power plant, water tower and junk yard complete with friendly dog.  We rode rental bikes around the island where everyone is either waving from golf carts, bikes or on foot.  The roads are not wide enough for golf carts to pass and while there are cemeteries, some of the houses have family graves in their backyard.  There is sometimes wifi, cable and phone service but our devises required us to be directly across from the Verizon office to get even slow LTE reception.  A mail boat arrives from MD and a tour boat from VA once a day which requires a 45 minute trip in good weather but there are no other options for arrival and departure except private boats or small airplanes.


The houses of Tangier many sporting Halloween decorations.


Mr. Goat cooling himself in the “rescue kitty” pen.  The kitties were all outside the pen but chickens kept the goat company.  That may be an egg in the lower right corner.


Tangier Combined School (not sure combined with what)


We watched as a helicopter landed ¼ mile from the Namaste to take a patient off-island to either Salisbury, MD or Norfolk VA for treatment.


One stained glass window in the local Methodist Church.  A cherished building on the island with the second being the medical center.


Parks Marina showing the fishing community in the background.  Next to each of those white buildings is a Buy Boat that leaves out the channel (left of the picture) each morning between 3 am and daybreak.  Lovely neighbor boat, Peter and Pat!

The last night on Tangier we went to Lorraine’s for soft shell crab with some interesting dock-mates and a real live tug boat captain who hauls petroleum products between Maine and Texas on the open ocean.  Bigger than life interesting guy!


Sunrise over the Tangier docks the morning we departed for St. Marys

I suspect this is a different place than it was in the early 2000s but it still resembles the life-style and charm of the 1950s.  It is a community where everyone knows and cares for everyone else and where we, to quote an islander, ”make up for what we lack in our own way.”

As much as we loved Tangier Island we decided to move on.  After a long dock meeting and good byes around, we left this morning and headed back across The Bay (Chesapeake) and up the Potomac River to a smaller river off the eastern bank called the St. Mary’s River.  We anchored after a little trouble with the windless (the electric mechanism that releases the anchor) because the high amperage connections had corroded.  A little scraping and some corrosion-be-gone and all was well again.  Thankfully we have a brand new back-up anchor (Jim’s birthday gift from the Pat McFall’s) which held us until we figured out the issue.


Namaste anchored off St. Mary’s College


Pre-daybreak view


Pre-daybreak sounds of the St. Mary’s rowing team.

We then dinghied into shore to St. Mary’s.  Half the town is a walking museum explaining the history of this location as the first Capitol of Maryland until 1695 when the government was moved to Annapolis.  St. Marys continued to be an important port because of its deep water allowing large cargo ships to transport tobacco back to England and bring in necessary goods to the residents.  There are active archeological digs and explanatory placards to explain the rich heritage. Blended into the museum is the picturesque and highly acclaimed St. Mary’s College.  It is a public liberal arts college of about 1600 students where all buildings on campus represent the architecture of early colonial times.  It reminds us of Kalamazoo College.  We anchored here one night and enjoyed the scenery and quiet.


The college dock just down the hill from St. Marys.  I didn’t get pictures of the campus as my phone was out of juice but trust me, along with Flagler in St. Augustine, St. Mary’s would be great choices if I were 18 again.

It remains hot – we swam off the boat in 83 degrees at 5:30 this afternoon – St. Marys River!


Also note Jim’s newly refinished swim platform.

Good Boat Name:  A Frayed Knot

Bad Boat Name:  The Chesapeake seems to be a “more refined” boating arena than many we have encountered so far.  No Bad Boat names to report today.

Quote of the Day:  “Sometimes the greatest gift you can give another person is to simply include them.”  unknown

Happy Birthday to:  Bryan, Tom, Nick, and Patty, John, Kim

Congratulations to:  Ashleigh and the Raven’s for winning the West Michigan Hockey Classic last weekend.


Ashleigh is second row, far right!

and to Lee for obtaining a higher level in Taekwondo.


Get well soon to:  Dwain Dumas (Looper)

WELCOME TO THE WORLD:  Marlene Iwa Bilker





The Great American Loop: Season #4 Conclusion and Home Stay

May 20 – Washington DC to Colonial Beach Marina (68 miles)

May 21 – Colonial Beach Marina to Dozier’s Marina, Deltaville VA (73 miles)

May 22-24 Dozier’s Marina

May 25 – Haul out at Stingray Pointe Boat Works, Deltaville VA

May 26 – Deltaville to Highland, MI and home for the summer

Boat miles traveled this blog entry: 141

Total miles traveled:  5,007

Prologue:  When the Looping season ends and we get close to returning home, I find that I am uninterested in blogging and hence the long silence.  However, in less than a month we will return to the Namaste to explore the Chesapeake and thus I add the following for the sake of continuity. . .

As reported in the previous entry, we loved our week in Washington DC even with all of the rain and resulting debris floating in the Potomac River as we worked our way back down to Colonial Beach Marina where we celebrated Kathy’s (onboard Carisma) birthday and ultimately Dozier’s Marina where we crashed the Monk Rendezvous, hung out once again with Jo and Ken onboard Friar Tuck, and readied the Namaste for a hot and steamy haul-out on May 25th.


Just one of the many huge logs floating after days of rain.  Note Monticello onshore.


Chugging our way back down the Potomac to Deltaville, VA and home to Michigan


Our view the evening before haul-out. Always a bittersweet time.


End of another wonderful season!


By May 26th we were home on Dunham Lake enjoying:



Lexi 19 and Ashleigh 16


Liam 12 and Klava 11


Nate 6 and Leonie 5


Cedar 2 and Oscar 1













































A great summer all around.  Stay tuned for a Fall on the Chesapeake.


Side Trip: The Potomac and a Week in DC

May 9-19

May 9 – Norfolk to Deltaville/Doziers Marina (58 miles)

May 11 – Deltaville to Lower Machodoc Creek/Ragged Point Anchorage (61 miles)

May 12 – Rugged Point Anchorage to Belmont Bay Harbor (66 miles)

May 13 – Belmont Bay Harbor to Washington, DC (30 miles)

May 14-19 Gangplank Marina in downtown Washington DC

Miles Traveled this Blog Entry: 215

Total Miles Traveled:  4,866

Add Maryland as the 14th State.  The VA/MD State line runs along the Virginia Shore of the Potomac

Happily pulling out of Norfolk – it is time to go – we passed one huge naval ship after another – aircraft carriers to Red Cross Hospital ships being thankful that they were tied up and wouldn’t get in our way.  However, as we entered the Hampton Crossing (where the ICW, the inlet from the Atlantic and the Chesapeake Bay meet) we noted a huge carrier on the horizon.  Over time we realized that we were headed for one another in the channel but it seemed we would pass without incident.  Just then a calm but stern voice came over the VHF radio on channel 16, “calling the white trawler near G19.”  Quickly looking up our location, we realized that she was talking to us and discovered that we were almost within the ship’s 500 yard (it is 100 yards when docked) safety zone as indicated by two patrol boats moving at top speed up and down the ships length. As requested we made an immediate left turn out of the channel for a quick get-away changing course up the Chesapeake closer to shore than the Captain’s charted route but enjoying a smooth and uneventful voyage up to Dozier’s Marina in Deltaville, VA where we spent two beautiful days.



See the aircraft on the deck?!


Was this is the ship we sent to Puerto Rico following the last hurricane?


Immediate left turn to let this big guy pass keeping his 500 yard safety zone.


Dozier Marina.  The pool is just out back. 

Some words about Deltaville:  First, this is where we moved the car, the area where Curt taught sailing at Chase, a Boy Scout Camp, back in 2003 & 4 and where we once visited him – could have fooled me!  Second, you know you are in a boating town when the hardware store is bigger and better stocked than the grocery and a complete set of Waterway Guides is available in the local cafe.


Sweet Cafe in Deltaville!


Sending our Love!

I enjoyed a relaxed birthday celebration here exploring the town in the morning and sitting by the pool in the afternoon.  Diane, onboard the Boatel, gave me a lovely, handmade sea glass necklace.  It is amazing how new friends make your birthday special when you are away from home.  A severe storm kept us from visiting the surrounding area that evening but it eventually abated and we got away to savor a tasty dinner and unique ambiance at the White Dog Bistro in Matthews.  Thanks everyone for the birthday and mothers day well wishes.  We will return to Deltaville in two weeks to put the Namaste to bed for the summer but more on that later, first on to DC.

Memorably quiet birthday with the love of my life!  We never run out of things to talk about.

The mouth of the Potomac (off the Chesapeake) is wide and one of those places where an opposing wind and current can make for a rough ride through the entrance.  We had no such thing.  Our two and a half-day run up the Potomac was absolutely spectacular for weather and scenery.  We anchored out the first night in the Little Machodoc River off Ragged Pointe.  The weather was perfect, even though I couldn’t get the various weather resources to agree on a remotely similar forecast.  The second night we stopped at the Belmont Bay Harbor Marina on the Occoquan River.  Not much here and it was 90 degrees so we just turned on the a/c and collapsed.


Sunset at anchor on the Potomac

On our final leg into DC we hoped to stop at Mt. Vernon where a free dock allows boaters to tie up while you enjoy the historic venue.  Unfortunately for us a barge was already there, two tour boats were unloading passengers and the weather was turning cloudy/rainy so we opted to save the stop for our way back down the Potomac.  From here the sights of the National Harbor, Alexandria and finally Washington were welcoming.


Mt. Vernon from the water


Old Town Alexandria from the water

As we entered the Washington Channel, a mile-long dredged cut along the newly renovated DC waterfront, we called the Gangplank Marina for directions and assistance.  As the most expensive marina of the season thus far ($3/ft/night), we were expecting amenities which were not to be.  The dockhand attempted to help both us and another boat arriving at the same time.  Although Eric is a really nice kid, he gave us incorrect and then incomplete directions followed by no clue as to how to manage lines in a cross wind.  Both the Namaste and Ole Girl were eventually secured to what are new floating docks but there is no WiFi, no laundry, two showers located in a movable trailer, and a very long walk to anything resembling dirt/grass for Sammy.  The offset is that we are a short walk to the monuments, the Mall, and the Metro.


Revitalized DC waterfront.  Gangplank marina is just to the left of the picture.  Yellow boats are the water taxis that buzz the harbor day and night!

We have been here seven days and have walked a total of 85,000 steps or about 35 miles, and minus the foot blisters, have loved every minute.  The DC Warf waterfront is far from complete but workers are everywhere trying to get things ready for summer.  Currently there are many nice restaurants, shops, a theater, and even a CVS where you catch the free SW neighborhood shuttle to the Mall.  From there the metro is available to go anywhere in the city.  However, we found that the 1 mile walk to the Mall was often easier at least until the rain began.

Day one: We decided to take Sammy and walked the length of the Mall.  Highlights included coming upon a national Police Drum and Bugle Core competition and, along with thousands of our fellow citizens, soaking in the ambiance of our nation’s capital on a business day. While Sammy really needed the walk, we were unable to take her inside any buildings and the afternoon turned blistering hot so we all hiked back to the Namaste and the a/c just before one heck of a storm!  One thing I wish to comment upon is the more than pleasant nature of all security and guide people around the city.  Everyone was more than happy to chat.


The castle:  Smithsonian Welcome and Information Center



Look – whose skate???  Exhibits in the Castle are selected from popular exhibits throughout the entire Smithsonian. 


Several evenings in a row we experienced these sever storms.  We are the blue dot, just waiting for things to begin!

Day two:  The weather continued to be beautiful so we decided on another day of walking, this time to the monuments but sans Sammy.  The Jefferson Monument surrounded by famous cherry trees was less than a mile from the boat. I truly cannot imagine the beauty when in bloom the end of April.  Moving on we saw the Lincoln, MLK, and FDR (my personal fav) memorials –  which I have seen before but remain awe inspiring!

Ultimately, we landed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts which is a living memorial to JFK.  This was surely a highlight of our visit to DC.  Nancy, a volunteer friend of the center, took just the two of us on a free 1.5 hour tour including all but one of the theaters, the presidential boxes, the lounges and an explanation of the gifts of 60 different countries who honored his memory.  There are State and a National Halls with flags flying!  Jim’s sister Erin performed here for two years before moving to California.



Main lobby of the JFK Center for the Performing Arts.  Entrances to the Opera and Orchestra Halls are off this lobby along with the two millennial stages at either end where a wide variety of free performances are held each evening at 6 pm, seven days a week!  There are three additional theater venues within the building



Orchestra Hall


One of the many lounges (sponsored by Russia I believe) used for a variety of purposes including available for rental to the public.  I can just imagine hosting a field instructor training here!


Presidential box of the Opera Theater, rally quite simple.  (Not frequented by our current president I was told in response to my question.)  



Me standing under the skirt of a fashion designer as part of the Cuban Exhibit.  The black strips are actually long plastic ties.

Day Three:  We woke to cloudy skies and drizzle.  What to do?  Well, we hiked back to the Mall to take in some of the venues we had not seen in past visits.  This included the Capital Building where we ended up spending our entire day.  After a rather perfunctory but still impressive and efficient mass tour we passed a desk labeled Senate Tours.  Since we hadn’t contacted ahead for tickets we were directed across the street to the Hart Building and Debbie Stabenow’s, (LMSW and grad of MSU) office.  Debbie was there but “in a meeting”.  Otherwise I am certain she would have greeted us.  The impressive suite of offices and friendly receptionist sufficed and we got our tickets to the Senate gallery and passed through three security stations just in time to view the net neutrality debate and vote.  No kidding, we saw all 100 senators (except of course John McCain) including Bernie who was first to vote and Elizabeth Warren who stood just a few feet away.  The resolution passed which is supported by 86% of the population.  Now on to the House where it is apparently less popular.  Keep your fingers crossed!





One of the many pictures hanging in Debbie’s Office – yes, 16 out of 100 and no women of color!  Other photos included Holland Tulips and the Mackinaw Bridge.

Day Four:  Raining again and our toes were squealing so we decided to take the day off.  Sammy was happy for our company and we enjoyed a quiet day on the boat – reading, writing, and napping! There are a few other Looper boats here but today we met Low Profile, shared happy hour and found we had much in common.  Great, fun people!

Day Five:  RAINING again!  Had a long lunch with our new friends Debbie and Tim and then went back to their boat for more conversation.  We had tickets for “Capitol Steps” at a theater in the Ronald Reagan Bldg. that evening. This group has been performing political satire for more than 30 years and was mostly funny, if at moments I found it hard to laugh.

Day Six:  RAINING AGAIN!  We had hoped to take the water taxi to Georgetown today but because of the quantity of rain (someone said 15”) the river level was high and the taxi/boat couldn’t get under the bridges.  Thus, we headed back to the Mall and toured the Hirshorn Museum of Modern Art.


Sculpture garden behind the Hirshorn Museum – see the rain?

and the Museum of the American Indian, neither of which we had seen before and neither disappointed.  We rounded out the day saying good-by to folks and planning our exit from DC, heading back down the Potomac to Deltaville.



Museum of the American Indian.  A beautifully done educational tribute!  Patty, thanks for your professional devotion.


DC Fish Market next door to our marina and something unchanged for decades on the waterfront.

Sammy Sayz:  Hi everyone, having a great time here.  I specially like the calm days when I can wander the boat and help Captain Jim on the helm.


Hey, what’s to eat down here.  Got treats???


Hey, I need a good book?  Any recommendations?  Jo Ann is reading Mitchner’s Chesapeake and won’t share!


I’m good at watching for crab pots!!

Even though we have each been to DC more than a dozen times and it is a side-trip on the Loop, we are so glad that we made the effort and took the time!  Imagine, two kids from Livonia sailing their own boat into Washington DC!

Good Boat Name of the Day:  Living Water

Bad Boat Name of the Day:  Wasted Sea-Men (really?)

Quote of the Day:  “Everything will be OK in the end.  If it is not OK, then it is not the end.” – unknown

Happy Belated birthday to: Donna and Theresa

Happy Birthday to: Kathy (on Carisma with whom we are celebrating with dinner tonight in Colonial Beach)