The New York Rivers, Canals, Lakes and Locks!

June 17 – 23, 2019

June 17 – Waterford NY to Port Edwards City Dock (39 miles)

June 18 – Port Edwards to Whitehall free City Dock (22 miles)

June 19 – Whitehall entering Lake Champlain to Five Mile Point Anchorage (28 miles)

June 20 – 21  Five Mile Pointe Anchorage to Point Bay Marina, Charlotte, VT (28 miles)

June 22 & 23 – Point Bay Marina up Lake Champlain to Rouse’s Point/Gaines Marina (54 miles)

 Miles traveled this blog:  171

Total Miles traveled: 5,901

Add Vermont as our 18th and final Loop State.  VT runs the east shore of the length of Lake Champlain.

After a three day stay in Waterford with Looping boats everywhere, most of us pulled out on Monday morning after a long day of rain.   The majority of boats  headed across the Erie Canal but Melody in Sea and Namaste decided to take the “road less traveled” and headed up Lake Champlain. Our cyclist friends biking around the country took off for their next stop – Syracuse. (You can read Connie’s blog at

      Five of the six boats that would eventually fill this early morning lock on their way out the Erie Canal.

Now for a word about locking through.  Because we will be in narrow rivers and canals for awhile, this is where the man-made locks come in handy.   Locks are basically a large chamber that raises and lowers boats when the elevation of the land changes and where there would otherwise be a rapids – not an exciting sight for the average boater.

A spill dam next to the lock that indicates where the rapids would be if not for the lock.

All that separates us from the waterfall and rapids is a couple of rocks and an engine to keep us moving forward!

When we approach a lock , we wait for the lock master to prep the chamber which means to fill or empty it to the level where we currently sit.  She then opens the huge doors, we slowly maneuver on to one wall or the other and secure the boat with lines hanging down or with our own lines looped (no pun intended) around a pipe or cable.  Once all boats are secure, the water either rushes in or drains out depending upon which direction we are going.  The range for locks so far has been up or down 2 to 90 feet!  The current caused by the change in water levels  can bounce us around but by hanging on we usually manage to keep the boat parallel to the wall and out of the way of the other sometimes quite nearby boats.  When we reach the desired water level the doors open at the other end of the chamber, we push off the slimy, grimy walls and pull out in the order in which we entered.

We are secure – see me  in the green waving?!  Those are clothespins on Melody at the top of the picture.

Jim talking to one of the many friendly lock masters along the way.

That is how it goes on a perfect day.  However, any number of things can create chaos including wind, placement of boats in the chamber, inability to catch a line or cable, too much turbulence, inattention to hanging on, etc. so sometimes the picture is prettier than others.   While the locks can be difficult and not our favorite part, we surely couldn’t do this trip without them.

A word or two about the New York Canal System which is over two hundred years old and a national treasure.  This is a system consisting of four canals for a total of 524 miles:  Erie (338 miles), Champlain Canal (60 miles), Oswego Canal (24 miles), and the Cayuga-Seneca Canal (12 miles).  These mighty canals connect with rivers and lakes for over 800 miles of waterway within the state of New York requiring lots and lots of locks.  Vessels of all sizes and shapes utilize this amazing system for recreation and commerce.  In 1992 the system was reorganized, renamed, and given new life through the State’s commitment to it’s upkeep  and well-being.

Mr. Blue Heron standing inside a lock fishing for his dinner.

Thus, this blog entry is all about the canals and locks.  The beginning of the Champlain Canal was at Waterford and went to Whitehall or about 60 miles.  It was a narrow, rural, quiet passage with a total of 11 locks over two days.  As a part of  the canal system’s charm  and perhaps to encourage tourism, the little towns along the way (Waterford, Port Edwards, and Whitehall) offered a free dock which often included power and water with bathrooms and showers for a nominal fee.  We managed the locks reasonably well but were tired each night and very happy to be finished for awhile.

Reaching Whitehall and the end of the Champlain Canal.  Enjoyed a lovely day here with picnics and a delicious coffee shop lunch for $11.

Foreground is a war memorial.  Top of the picture is a castle nestled in the hills.  Unfortunately only open for tours on F, S, and S from 12-4.  We were there on a Tuesday.

Again, note the mansion above our heads and the Champlain canal where we will lock through in the morning.

Docked behind Melody in Sea at Port Edwards free dock, Sammy awaits our return from an early morning coffee planning meeting.

As we exited lock #12, we entered the beautiful Lake Champlain (109 miles long).  Sometimes resembling a river, then  widening to 9 miles and eventually narrowing back into what is called the Inland Sea with islands and beautiful anchorages.

Namaste following the faster Melody in Sea into Lake Champlain.

The first third we traveled in gorgeous weather anchoring at Five Mile Point, just past Fort Ticonderoga.  It was a good anchorage except that the shores looking like beaches were really mud sink holes.  Jim’s trips to shore with Sammy were both a physical and emotional endurance test.  Since the dinghy motor cannot be launched with the mast down the long row to shore and back became a serious chore.  But even worse was the mud that came back on Jim’s feet, legs, and shoes, Sammy’s feet and belly, the life jackets, cushions, and inside of the dinghy.  We hadn’t had this experience since the Mississippi River and it was a hot-mess.  Sammy’s usual three daily trips to shore became two very quickly.

Fort Ticonderoga protecting what was probably then a river (not a canal) in the war of 1812.

Dan rescued Jim and Sammy from the long row to shore but the mud was still sticking.

The Five Mile Point Anchorage treated us to this sunset. . .

. . .and moon-rise!

The second third of the Lake we traveled in fog and rain.  Visibility remained good enough and it was calm but we sure did get wet!  We stayed for two days at the Bay Point Marina, a lovely little marina on the VT side of the lake where we got mail delivered and where Captain Jim utilized his automotive prototype skills to reinforce a fiberglass tank.  Yay, success!  We resolved a few other important but non-essential issues like a head (toilet) switch before heading out.

The early morning was beautiful.

Then the fog moved in – can you see the layers hanging over the lake?


And finally it rained and rained and rained!

Fiberglass work!

One of the evenings treated us to this beautiful scene of the mooring field behind the Namaste in Point Bay marina.

The final third of our way up Lake Champlain began as a calm and beautiful Saturday morning but eventually a northern wind picked up and blew in our faces all the way up the lake.  It was bumpy enough to make Sammy unhappy but the sailboats were having the time of their lives running downwind.  At one point we counted at least 50 but there were probably close to 100 out there playing all day long.  By the time we reached Rouse’s Point it was blowing 15 with gusts to 30 and our usual docking maneuvers required the assistance of two strong and smart dock hands.

Here’s blogging to ya. . .  You can also see our mast and radar lowered over the aft deck to keep it safe from low bridges.

Remembering the original Namaste with nostalgia.

At times Lake Champlain reminds us of our Lake Charlevoix (long and narrow) but with beautiful mountains off in the distance on each shore. This is the first time we have been in clean/fresh water since we left Lake Michigan almost four years ago.  We may have a short season up here in the north but we sure have the prettiest water.

Goals on Sunday were to massively provision, meaning buying everything we can store before going into Quebec, Canada.  However, liquor quantities are limited and fresh fruits and vegetables are not allowed.  We shall see how this goes.  Once again, the laundry situation is in dire need so on one of the hottest days yet of the summer so far, we will be sitting in the laundromat watching the clothes dry!  We also need to obtain a Canadian Flag as ours was ruined in the Namaste flood. Jim is whipping lines – repairing the chafe on the outer casing of some mooring lines – and all is well.

As we go through customs tomorrow morning (about a mile from here) and enter French speaking Quebec, Canada we are excited and a little anxious as there are 9 locks to manage on the Chambly.  From there it is to Montreal for Canada Day weekend and on to Ottawa.  I am not sure how the cell and wifi coverage will be so communication may be delayed but hoping for the best with Verizon!

Good boat name:  Summer Sleden

Bad Boat name:  As we approach Quebec most of the boat names are in French so who knows?

Happy birthday to:  Marty, Jenny Lynn



It’s a Big World, Small World Rainy Day – Shady Harbor to Waterford on the Hudson

June 13 – 16, 2019

June 10-13 – Shady Harbor Marina, Ravena, NY

June 14 – Shady Harbor to Waterford, NY (24 miles)

June 15 & 16 – Father’s Day in Waterford, NY

Miles traveled this blog:  24

Total Miles traveled: 5,784

Well, we stayed in Shady Harbor four days with up to 23 Looping boats and lots of new and old friends around.  It was a continuous party with two group pot luck dinners, put together dinners with Jenny Lynn and Dan as well as dock-tales on Herb’s Phantom.

Screenshot from the Nebo App showing all the Loopers at the Shady Harbor Pig Roast.  Namaste is in the mess of boats-center picture.


Herb, single handling Phantom (45’+) and knows everything anyone ever needs to know and with a great southern accent as added entertainment.  In Tarpen Springs FL he found me a dental appointment in just a few hours. I have his phone number and email!

In addition we rented a car for the purpose of seeing some of the sights on the east Hudson including Hyde Park (the Eleanor Roosevelt home), the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) for an extraordinary lunch and then the Vanderbilt mansion of Fred and Louise, the only one of eight children of the ship and railroad baron, Cornelius Vanderbilt, who didn’t squander but rather increased their wealth and philanthropy.


Eleanor Roosevelt’s desk at Hyde Park where she wrote 7 books! (Zoom in on the name plate in this so not pretentious room)


The amazing Culinary Institute of America (CIA).  Students run all aspects of the restaurants where visitors may sample the incredible cuisine.

CIA from the Namaste cruising the Hudson River.


Jim and Dan walking the grounds of the Vanderbilt Mansion at Hyde Park.  The 54 room home and many gardens are an impressive national historical site. Our National Park pass got us free entrance.

Of course, there are always maintenance of life activities requiring attention so while we still had the rental car ($40/day shared with Girvans), I got my “toes done” and we provisioned at a wonderful market chain here called the Price Chopper.

Most of this stay we spent organizing the information and our thoughts for our next leg of the trip.  There are three options out of Waterford, NY and we really needed to figure this out quickly as Waterford is only a lock away.  After pouring over charts, books, waterway guides, websites and local information we eventually settled on the Lake Champlain or northern route (see map below).

We go north from Waterford to Burlington to Sorel, South to Montreal, west to Ottawa, south to Kingston, and west along the Trent Severn to the Georgian Bay

The issues with this route are two.  First, the boat must be under 17’ air draft to get under all the bridges and we are 22 with everything (mast, radar, and antennae) up.  Jim created a “crotch” and lowered the mast onto it making our new air draft 15’.  It sure wasn’t easy but now it is doable.


Jim and Dan creating the “mast crotch.”

Second, there is considerable current in the St. Lawrence Seaway and since water levels are way up, this route requires that we traverse about 60 miles From Sorel to Montreal with a 2-3 knot current which could take our speed from 7 knots maximum down to about 4 or 5.  This will be a long, slow, slog for us but after consulting others who have done it and the Canadian Government websites, we decided it was a go.  Everything says it is the prettiest but also the longest and perhaps most difficult route but we are definitely up for Canada!

On a pretty Friday morning we cast off with Melody in Sea for the town of Waterford, only 24 miles away passing through Albany, Troy and the Federal Lock to the free dock at Waterford NY where the water road splits and you to left to the Erie Canal or straight ahead to the Champlain Canal.

Leaving Shady Harbor Marina toward Waterford.

Now it has truly been awhile – since the Okeechobee Canal in January 2018 – since we have traversed a lock.  At one point we were process confident but by now we had forgotten everything important.  It was a 19’ drop and the wind was howling with gusts of 25-30 mph.  We did OK by entering on the windward side, placing a line around a slimy pipe on the lock wall and letting it slide up as the water rushed into the lock chamber.  At moments it was difficult to keep the Namaste against the wall but we had a plan, stuck to it and came out the other side.  Eleven more to go in the Champlain Canal – more on that later!

Waterford is a quaint little town, friendly people and lots of Loopers there.  Yesterday we got the bikes out and rode to see the local Maritime Museum which turned out to be closed on Saturday, really?  So we turned around, went across another bridge and visited the Pebbles Island State Park for a bit of quiet and nature.  Lovely!

Boats at the Waterford NY town dock.  Namaste is about fourth from the rear of the line.  After this picture it rained for about 24 hours.

On the first night here we came back to Namaste after dinner to find two other Albins we had met briefly at Shady Harbor (Summer Salt and Selah Way) rafted together just ahead of us on the long dock.  We told them we had been saving their space!  OK, now for a fun coffee story – Selah Way was 12 hours into their Loop, had inadvertently forgotten to bring coffee and were quite miserable.  Jim ran back to the Namaste to grab one of the 24 pounds from our Biggby stash gift of Mike.   Amy’s eyes lit up asking, “can I get my Biggby card stamped?”  Well, they are from Burlington VT but their daughter lives in Algonac, MI where the family are regular Biggby customers.  If you listened carefully, you could probably hear the hoots as we made the connections!

Three Albins all in a row!  Namaste in the upper left corner.  Also Summer Salt and and Selah Way.

Biggby fans from VT

Another small world story!  In the rain this morning everyone was commiserating about their plans for the day.  Rose on Summer Rose noticed that we were both from Michigan and not only that from Milford. Coincidence, but in addition, Jim had shown them a trawler two years ago when they were boat shopping, we exchanged a few emails afterwards, unsuccessfully tried to set up a dinner at the Highland House, and now here we are on the wall in Waterford, NY together.

Again, in the rain this morning, Jenny Lynn invited a couple onboard for a  hot breakfast.  They are camping in the park next to our dock while two weeks into biking from New Hampshire around the USA or about 7,000 miles in the next year.  What an inspiration and they are probably about our age!  OK, everyone, off the couch!

There is even a fiddle in those packs somewhere.

Our plan had been to begin the Champlain Canal locking system today but with 6 locks to do, our locking anxiety up and about 37 miles to the next reasonable stop, we decided the pouring rain was an unnecessary, undesirable element.  Wind yesterday, rain today but tomorrow looks perfect.  Stay tuned.

Best Boat Name: Private Party  (BTW, we met the fun folks on Cat and Dogs.  She is a catamaran with two dogs onboard.)

Quote:  “I want to congratulate all the men out there who are working diligently to be good fathers whether they are stepfathers or biological fathers or spiritual fathers.”  T. D. Jakes

Happy 46th Anniversary to Jenny Lynn and Dan Girvan of Melody in Sea.

Congratulations to Lauren and Tait on the birth of Anderson G. Chamberlain.

Happy Grandbaby Felix James McFall at 3 months:


The Great Lady Liberty of New York Harbor “. . .Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. . .”

A gift of France and a quote from,  “The New Colossus”, a sonnet that American poet Emma Lazarus (1849–1887) wrote in 1883 to raise money for the construction of a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World).[2] In 1903, the poem was cast onto a bronze plaque and mounted inside the pedestal’s lower level. -Wikipedia

June 7 – 12, 2019

June 7 – GKYC to Haverstraw Marina including the NY Harbor (55 miles)

June 8 – Haverstraw Marina to Poughkeepsie Yacht Club (44 miles)

June 9 – Poughkeepsie Yacht Club to Shady Harbor near New Baltimore NY (46 miles)

Miles traveled this blog:  145

Total Miles traveled: 5,760

We cast off the lines at GKYC early as we needed a holding tank pump out and were the slower of three boats headed to the Statue of Liberty for a once in a lifetime photo shoot.  As we rounded the corner from Staten Island the Verrazano Bridge loomed large as the entrance into New York Harbor with Brooklyn on one side and New Jersey on the other and Manhattan straight ahead.

 Verrazano or VZ Bridge into NY Harbor

To say that local boat traffic was intimidating would be the understatement of the year. After the VZ bridge a large area to the left was purposed for freighter and barge anchorage with many freighters and barges resting there.  Hey, wait, is that anchored boat moving?  Indeed, it is!  Next came the Circle Ferries, Staten Island Ferries along with a host of smaller tour and private boats.  It’s a moving circus.  Just as we approached the statue standing serenely on her pedestal, a NYFD fire boat motored up letting loose her millions of gallons of water as an enormous fountain.  We still have no idea if that was a drill or some real emergency as helicopters buzzed overhead for another 20 minutes adding to our chaos.

Ferries circling Lady Liberty

Fire Boat putting on a show for us!


The traffic cleared momentarily and we (B-Side, Golden Daze -a beautiful 55’ Fleming-  and Namaste) saw this as our opportunity to move in for the shoot.  Within 10 minutes, all captains navigating the boats and all admirals taking as many pictures of one another as quickly as shutter speeds could manage, the mission was accomplished.  The thrill of looking into the soft eyes of the Lady, the sense of peace and gratefulness was overwhelming.  My wish is for all to be right with the world!

Namaste passing in front of The Statue of Liberty on June 7, 2019

Soon the three boats dispersed (texting pictures and thoughts to one another) and we were on our way past Manhattan, and up the lower, midtown, then upper west side identifying as many landmarks as possible along the way.  The stunning newness of the financial district compares drastically with the historical feel to the remainder of the city.  The Empire State Building, while clearly identifiable, is minimized and yet stately by comparison.

The financial district from the water.  Wish I could offer Mrs. Seagull’s eye view!

The contrast in architecture and ambiance of Manhattan as we moved up the Hudson.

As we continued north, we passed under the George Washington Bridge, by Englewood Cliffs, NJ where Jim regularly traveled to Volkswagen Sales and Marketing headquarters years ago, and finally under the Tappan Zee Bridge, some 25 miles north of Midtown Manhattan.  We were relieved that the boat traffic on a Friday morning gradually diminished so that we could focus on the skyline of this great city.  So many thoughts, so little time!

The George Washington Bridge!  Note the tiny red lighthouse that in it’s day was the stately navigational aid, now overwhelmed by the bridge.

The Tappan Zee Bridge

It was a long day but we eventually decided to pull into the Haverstraw Marina where we learned that fuel was $2.99 a gallon and probably the best value before entering Canada so we filled up, pulled to our slip, had a swim and a lovely dinner at their outdoor restaurant.  What a day!

Haverstraw Marina Pool.  Not too crowded by we did get in the water.  Note the Hudson River in the top center of the picture.

Sunset at the Haverstraw Marina in a beautiful and peaceful cove just miles from NYC.

Acutely aware that laundry hadn’t been done in more than two weeks and one of the two filled bags inadvertently got wet in the aft cabin shower, we delayed our departure to throw in three loads, drink our fill of Biggby coffee and eventually got on our way up the majestic Hudson River.  I had been looking forward to this section of the trip but really had no idea.  From the palisades and lush river valley to the small towns and the jaw dropping mansions and famous institutions, the Hudson is glorious and yet purposeful for commerce and fishing as well as recreation.  How much of our livelihood depends upon the rivers of the world!

Englewood Cliffs NJ and home to Volkswagen of the early 80’s

U. S. Army West Point Academy

This night we pulled into the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club.  They were advertised to be a friendly group and charged only $1/ft/night as compared to “the” city where the dock fee was $5.50/ft/night.  The tiny yacht club lived up to the friendly and value descriptions.  However, upon arrival, at the very last minute we discovered large bolts protruding from the dock at about mid-hull which would have done major damage to the gel-coat if we hadn’t gotten fenders (large white air-filled bumpers) and boards in place instantly.  Whew, that was a close one!  On the other hand thankfully it was a peaceful night except for the AMTRAK trains that run passenger cars up the east side of the Hudson and the more upscale side to NYC and freight cars on the west side to Jersey City where the religious and private institutions abound.

Poughkeepsie Yacht Club

Sunset on the Mooring Field

80 mph into the City

The following day was more of the same beauty with the Catskill Mountains and multiple lighthouses as our landmarks.  All along the way we dodged debris such as tree branches and “dead heads” meaning the larger part of the log is underwater and not visible.  If hit, these do major damage to expensive props hanging below the boat.  So far so good!

Maid of the Meadows lighthouse near Hyde Park, NY,  note the Catskill Mountains in the distance.

Lighthouse in the Kingston, NY area

New York Open Water Swimmers, each accompanied by a kayac on an early Sunday morning.  Police boats required that we come to a complete stop and allow the ten or so swimmers to pass.  Water temperature was 70.6 degrees!  What an inspiration!

In the late afternoon we pulled into the Shady Harbor Marina to a welcoming committee of friends who, like us, showed up for a pig roast beginning within the hour.  Thankfully, Jenny Lynn had made an extra dish-to-pass so that we could attend without guilt.  It was sunny and hot with tasty food choices (like a Lutheran pot-luck, I am told) and a good band.   Boater appreciation day at the SH Marina.  With NYC behind us we will stay put for a few days to regroup and figure out where next.

Shady Harbor Pig Roast

Good Boat Name:   Summer Salt – recently purchased Albin ’36 (just like ours) by a couple over 90 who have sailed around the world X2!  They are starting the Loop!

Bad Boat Name:  Schmitt House (now, I get it but really???)

Happy Father’s Day to all those who have Dads or who are Dads!

Quote:  “Every single illegal alien who is employed, got hired by a law-breaking American.   Instead of cracking down on those poor sods who seek a better life, go after those who get rich on the backs of the most vulnerable people.”  -Uncle Uwe’s, World of Wonder

The Not So Scary North Atlantic

May 31 – June 6, 2019

May 31 – Atlantic City lay day

June 1 – Atlantic City to Manasquan River, Hoffman’s Marina (61 miles)

June 2-3 – Hoffman’s Marina to Shrewsbury River, Rumson N.J on Ev and Clark’s dock (42 mi)

June 4-5 The Woodworth free dock to GKYC on Staten Island, NY (20)

June 6 Lay day at GLYC

Miles traveled this blog:  123    

Total Miles traveled: 5,609

Add New York as our 17th Loop State

We lived in Atlantic City two days longer than planned, one due to fog and the other for the captain and crew to renegotiate our planned route.  You see, from Atlantic City it is possible to take the inside route (inter-coastal waterway) or go outside again into the coastal waters of the North Atlantic, something that gets the average Looper’s anxiety attention.   At the last minute several boats in our flotilla that day impulsively changed their plans to take the inside route as the waters outside were rough with a north wind.  The Namaste captain had previously and clearly communicated that he would not take the much too shallow inside route which turned out to be the decision of the day!

One of our traveling buddy-boats went hard aground for many hours, leaking fuel as they listed until the tow boat arrived with enough water under their keel to get them off.  Additionally and gratefully it was reported to be uncomfortably rough on the outside.  Discussion over! We enjoyed a “screwed-up plan” day with nothing to do but read and sleep while sitting by the pool.

 The Golden Nugget Casino Pool – much more lovely than expected.  The colors and decor were said to have been selected by Trump’s wife at the time (not Melania).

Joe Farley State Marina at the Golden Nugget.  Atlantic City in the background.

The following morning we were antsy to get underway for a variety of reasons not the least of which because someone explained that the casino at our marina, the Golden Nugget, had originally been the Trump Casino that reportedly “ruined Atlantic City.”  Another story for another day.

The seas were calm and the 61 mile/8 hour open ocean trip was lovely from Atlantic city to the Manasquan River.  Even with our best laid plans to arrive at slack tide, there turned out to be quite a current and lots of boat traffic on a Saturday. Manasquan is a fishing village and after we viewed the catches of a Thrasher Shark and four Blue Fin Tuna, we had cocktails on Aquaman and went to bed.  The tide was so high and the dock didn’t float so I couldn’t even get off the boat! 

A very dead (shot) Thrasher Shark

\Four Blue Fin Tuna – endangered until recently.

Cocktails on Aquaman

Trying to outrun some nasty weather that never materialized, we left at daybreak for Sandy Hook or the entrance into the lower NY Bay and on into Ev and Clark Woodworth’s home off Shewsbury River in Rumson, N.J.  The Florida waterway homes have nothing on this beautiful stretch of rivers in northern NJ. 

This is a shot of Sandy Hook (spit of land in the foreground) and NYC in the background.  Obviously not taken from the Namaste.  The entrance to NY Harbor is to the left of the skyline.

Just one of many in the Rumson area of NJ

Clark came out to greet us in the Sunset Delight Dink guiding us to their home.

The Namaste rushing to keep up.

We wound around until we came to their creek, a true hurricane hole where the Namaste rafted with the Sunset Delight for two days of talking, laughing, eating, shopping, seeing the local sights and generally enjoying great company.  Sammy loved the extra attention and  even got a needed grooming.

The Namaste nestled up to the Sunset Delight for two nights

Great stir-fry dinner

Captains Clark and Jim sharing boating and boat maintenance stories.

Ev and a picture/gift of the original Namaste she painted from a photo taken in Faro Blanco, Marathon two years ago!

$200 of provisioning in one tiny refrigerator/freezer. 

The entrance to Asbury Park, NJ where the 1960’s riots impacted the city much like Detroit.  Note the rainbow flag flying high.

The Asbury Park Boardwalk. . .

. . .and beach!


The above two pictures shows off a local art project.  Seen from different ends of the enclosure and all made of yarn strings.

Rag-a-muffin Sammy

Shaved-and-cold Sammy -cuddled on a blanket on Ev and Clark’s deck. 

All too soon it was time to leave and of course, there were way more options than we needed but finally settled on staying at The Great Kills Yacht Club on Staten Island (not quite as fancy as it sounds but friendly and easy).  We took the Staten Island Ferry into the City seeing the Statue of Liberty on the way;  the completed 9/11 memorial and museum as well as the new World Trade Center built just across the street.  It was a haunting and yet educational experience that we decided was a must. 

Our iconic Staten Island Ferry trip into the city.  It runs 24/7 for free!

A trip down memory lane – Evie and I took this tour ship around the Statue of Liberty 9 years ago while visiting the city for our birthdays.

Trinity Church

The Memory Wall in the 9/11 Museum.  The blue tiles depict the colors of the sky on that horrifying day.

The memorial fountain – one of two at the footprint of the Twin Towers

On their birthday a white rose is placed on the name of each person memorialized

The current World Trade Center – new, modern, bright, and full of life.

We also saw Trinity Church, the Wall Street Bull, and spent time relaxing in Battery Park.  17,000 steps and almost 7 miles later, we were ready to be back onboard with a glass of wine and leftovers.

We had planned to leave this morning but because we wanted to get our boat picture passing in front of the Statue of Liberty (a Looper right of passage) we are waiting for two Looper boats leaving tomorrow to share the photo shoot.  Meanwhile, Jim is addressing two, hopefully minor, plumbing issues – don’t ask!   Then we are go to pass NYC proper and up the Hudson River.

Good Boat Name:  Late Harvest (on a boat with a lovely Canadian couple)

Bad Boat Name:   Either there aren’t any or I haven’t been paying attention 

Happy Birthday to: Pat, Evie and Joe (Jim’s Dad) and Judy

Quote of the Day:  “When you finally learn that a person’s behavior has more to do with their own internal struggle than it ever did with you. . . you learn Grace.”  unknown   



May 23-30, 2019

May 24 – East Harbor Marina, Baltimore to Chesapeake City Free Dock (58 miles)

May 25 – Chesapeake City lay day

May 26 – Chesapeake City down the Delaware River/Bay to Cape May (77 miles)

May 27-28 – Cape May lay days

May 29 – Cape May to Atlantic City (45 miles)

May 30 – Atlantic City lay day

Miles traveled this blog:  180

Total Miles traveled: 5,492

Add Delaware as our 15th and New Jersey as our 16th Loop State

I don’t think I reported quite enough about Baltimore but since the marina had really good wifi, I decided that posting the last blog was my priority.  At any rate, we loved Baltimore.  It has an amazing waterfront harbor, and we have reviewed a few waterfront harbors by now!

Namaste at Baltimore docks.

View out our dock.  Finding grass for Sammy wasn’t easy!

Nice Neighborhood

Photo shoot early one morning on the dock.  See the model in the orange dress?  There were at least a dozen people involved.

The Baltimore skyline is spectacular by day or night and the East Harbor marina was a good one with excellent showers, laundry facilities, a lovely boater’s lounge, and just steps to the water taxi.  The only problem was that this was the only place our insta-pot wouldn’t work – something about low voltage and high-tech smart appliances.

By winter a teacher and by summer an entertainer of the Inner Harbor crowd. 

A little more about Fort McHenry.  We managed the three water-taxi ride to this beautiful National Park, Guardian of Baltimore’s harbor, National Monument and an Historic Shrine.  As an introduction at the visitor center, a video honored the significance of this fort to the war of 1812 and the life of our country.  In addition, the video memorialized the patriotic spirit of the Star Spangled Banner’s birth, written by Francis Scott Key after watching this monumental battle against the British in Baltimore Harbor.   In that day of slow communication the popularity of this song went word-of-mouth viral.  Hearing and singing Key’s creation has taken on whole new meaning for us.

Fort McHenry where the battle occurred.

We had lunch at Fells Pointe – a several block area of historic buildings wit reportedly 150 bar/restaurants.  Buba Gumps was also on the list to stop for a beer but the rude service lived up to its reputation, we had a water taxi to catch and a bud-light was $13 so that was a no go!

One of the many restaurants in Fells Pointe.

We walked to Camden Yard where the Baltimore Orioles play.  It is a striking ball park.  Yankee and Bruins fans come to Baltimore where they can watch a three-game series and stay in a hotel for the same cost as going to a home game in NYC or Boston.  Much of the park is open to the public so we enjoyed wandering through.

Still wish we had gotten to a game!

Our friends Jenny Lynn and Dan caught up with us in Baltimore and we celebrated with yet another birthday dinner (Dan and me)!  I got a pair of Namaste socks and Dan got a hand-made shell necklace, a pony swing bandanna, and a sponge paint brush.  Birthday shopping on the boat can be tricky!

Yet another birthday celebration and dessert!

On a beautiful, and sparkling clear morning we left Baltimore heading up to the top of the Chesapeake Bay and across the C & D Canal stopping at Chesapeake City.  It was as choppy a ride as we had anticipated, taking the waves on our rear port quarter and then broadside for several hours but once we entered the 450’ wide by 15 mile long C & D canal the water settled right down.

Note the red, white and blue marker just below the blue water tower.  This marks the spot where Francis Scott Key was said to have written the Star Spangled Banner while aboard a British Prisoner Ship during the battle at Fort McHenry.

Another historic story here.  The canal was dug by the hands of 2600 men with picks, shovels and wheel barrels between 1824-1829.  It shortens the water travel between Baltimore and Philadelphia by more than 300 miles and remains one of the world’s busiest canals with ships carrying millions of tons of cargo annually.

We stopped in Chesapeake City as they offered a free dock and luckily for us there was a small space between two larger boats where we barely squeaked in.  Our friends Jeanne and Kenny on Daybreak who live locally offered to pick us up for a little provisioning and a lovely dinner together.  The town itself was as quaint as they come with lots of holiday festivities in 80 degree weather.

The Namaste literally squeezed between two boats on the Chesapeake City Dock.

With Jeanne and Kenny at Schaffer’s for dinner on the C & D Canal

The Marina at Chesapeake City – Party Place but not as noisy as it looks.

The other face of Chesapeake City.  Ice cream was 25 paces from the Namaste!

We have seen at least four weddings but this dress was surely notable.

On Sunday morning we cast off early as the boat traffic in the middle of Memorial Day weekend promised to be heavy.  It was one of those perfectly gorgeous mornings where we didn’t see another boat but kept company with bikers and runners on the trail that runs along both sides of the length of the C&D Canal.  We were bucking the current the whole way out but when we reached the Delaware River and turned right we caught the ebb current (outbound) and experienced speeds up to 12.8 mph or a 4 mph push.

The sunbeam guiding our way down the C & D

One of the many bridges to pass under on the C & D

As we approached the Delaware River this is what greeted us.  Two ships passing at daybreak!

Now, the Delaware River dumps into Delaware Bay, a huge body of water.  Because it was calm we had a great ride all the way to Cape May arriving by mid-afternoon to docktales with 12 other Looping couples.  We met up again with At Ease and United 771 with whom we had shared time way back in Herrington Harbor and also met many new friends.

Our stay in Cape May was a highlight.  As I posted on FB, we literally “biked into” a memorial day ceremony on the Jersey shore.  I will let the pictures tell this amazing story.

Coast Guard wreath of flowers

Jersey shore life guards pulling the tow line in from the Coast Guard Boat

Memorial Day Ceremony by the active duty Coast Guard.  

Gun salute as the dory is pulled out to sea.

After we recovered from the intense emotions of the ceremony,  we spent the whole day riding the busy streets of Cape May with lots of other tourists in beautiful weather.

Congress Hall, now a resort similar to The Grand in Michigan

Beautiful historic district of Cape May.

A side story:  When she was 18 and he was just a couple of months old, Jim’s mom (Carolyn)  moved by military transport train from Detroit to Wildwood, N.J. where his Dad (Joe) was stationed in the Navy.  Story has it that he slept in a dresser drawer in a boarding house just north of Cape May and perhaps like the one below.  Having heard the stories about this adventure, he reports it feels somewhat like coming full circle.

The next leg of this trip was a unique one in that it demanded an “outside” or open ocean route up to Atlantic city.  We waited for a good window and left with Steadfast  and several other faster boats at 6:30 a.m.  It was a gorgeous day and the ride was fine but instead of waves we experienced swells pushing us from behind as well as broadside.  These were a new and inexplicable  sensation for Sammy so they caught her by surprise more than once.  It was a short 4 hour trip pulling into Atlantic City where neither Jim nor I had ever been before. 

Atlantic City skyline

Strolling the Atlantic City boardwalk on a beautiful afternoon.

Not sure of the story but this statue honoring “Miss America” adorns the boardwalk.

Four Navy Seal’s Interdiction boats tied up on our dock.  These are “used to destroy, damage or intercept something such as an enemy line of supply by firepower;  used to stop or hamper bad-guy boats.”

And you should have seen the dudes who man these boats.  Nothing to mess with – I didn’t take their picture!

The following morning was a good weather window for another “outside” leg up to Manasquan, NJ.  However, just as we were untying the lines and backing out of the slip, a dense fog rolled in off the Atlantic and visibility dropped to almost nothing.  We were following Steadfast out the channel and when I could no longer see them ahead, I quite firmly said, “this is not OK with me.”  Captain Jim, thinking the same, began the turn-about for a return to our slip on H dock at the Golden Nugget Marina and here we sit, probably for the day as currents and tides will keep us here until tomorrow.  It is now 9:30 and the fog has not lifted.   Someday I’ll talk about the impact of tide and currents on Great Lakes boaters schedules and nerves!  One thing is for sure, every day is different!!

Fog was actually worse than it looked in this picture.  Less than 1/4 mile and didn’t lift until after 2 p.m.


Good Boat Name:  No Name (or markings of any kind)  on the Navy Seal’s stealth boats pictured above

Bad Boat Name:  24th hour

Happy Birthday to: Elena

Congratulations to:  John Bolea on his graduation from Grand Rapids East High School!  Yay, Skier John!

Also Congratulations to Samuel L. Stanley, the new president of MSU. 

Mend quickly Nate who broke his arm in a scooter crash going really fast!

Quote of the day: I want to be political today but resist the temptation as it only seems to divide us more!  Thus, here is a lovely quote,

“I want to age like sea glass. Smoothed by tides but not broken.  I want my hard edges to soften.  I want to ride the waves and go with the flow.  I want to catch a wave and let it carry me to where I belong.  I want to be picked up and held gently by those who delight in my well-earned patina and appreciate the changes I went through to achieve that beauty.  I want to enjoy the journey and always remember that if you give the ocean something breakable it will turn it into something beautiful.  I want to age like sea glass.” -unknown

Perhaps of interest: Autism is something I have been reading about, post retirement.  This article has the most interesting and helpful information I have seen yet.  Thanks to Amanda for posting.


May 7, 2019 – May 22, 2019

Total Miles traveled: 5,312

Miles traveled this blog:  95     

Getting ready to launch is one of the hardest parts of boating because of all the work that needs to be done and by way of a 10’ ladder up to the boat.  This means carrying everything up that you want, carrying everything down that you don’t want, and lifting Sammy up and down at her whim.  Things that must be done before the Namaste gets wet are: clean and wax the hull, install new zincs, modify the a/c pump brackets and install new water pump. . .Caution cannot be over emphasized!

It is a looong way down.  Let’s get her into the water!

Preparation and launch went perfectly thanks to the four-person marina team who picked her up and dropped her in and then the next four who hip-towed and fastened her to the slip on F dock.  These are often seasonal jobs most of the world never considers but these guys are full-time proud, knowledgeable and highly skilled.  A big thank you to all those quiet heroes out there.

Namaste greets us “on the hard”

  Travel-lift operator – He probably launches 8-10 boats a day.

Namaste going in. . .

Happily in the water

. . . and one more guy on the dock.

Next, some of the real work begins: get and install propane, flush and fill water tanks, figure out redundancy behind hydraulic steering, change fuel filters, service the 8 batteries onboard all while cleaning, organizing, reorganizing and re-cleaning everything.

Finally, all systems must be tested: the electronics, generator, refrigerator, stove, heads, bikes and remember this is coming from my perspective.  The captain and chief engineer would add detail ad nauseum.  

We celebrated my birthday with a car trip across the Annapolis Bay Bridge and along the north eastern shore of the Chesapeake visiting the historic Wye, MD and  having lunch in Chestertown on a sunny/80 degree day. 

Two days later was Mother’s day and I sadly missed a family brunch at Mike and Veta’s.  Praises to my wonderful daughters-in-law and all mothers and grandmothers for their love, patience and persistence.   

“They might be in your living room driving you bonkers. . .

But one day they’ll be out in the world making you proud.

Remember that!”– Scary Mommy

Mike, Curt, Pat making me proud every day!

So I wouldn’t feel sad about being away from home we assembled our bikes and took off on an exploratory ride.

On lease expiration day we returned Jim’s car to the local Ford dealer who then drove us the 15 miles back to the Namaste.  We couldn’t have planned it better if we had tried.  We are now car-less and while unsettling at first, we love the freedom of Looping without a car.  

Four other Looper boats arrived celebrating with drinks at the Dockside restaurant one night and dock-tales on the Namaste the evening before we left.  At Ease, Peggasus, United 771, and Patriot.  “Til we meet again!”

Two of the four boats represented here are just beginning their Loops!

Sammy (above) and Jo Ann (below) waiting to greet our company

On Thursday, May 16 we departed the lovely Herrington Harbor North marina heading across the Bay for St. Michaels as our shakedown cruise.  This is a wonderful small Chesapeake town in the heart of Mitchener writing country.  Remember the Choptank River?  The recommendations to visit SM were commanding and it did not disappoint.  We traveled and docked (literally) just ahead of United 771.

Capatin Jim at the helm.

The St. Michaels town itself and their 18 acre waterfront campus Maritime Museum are the focal points of interest.  It is unlike any other Maritime Museum I have ever seen I’ve seen more than a few!  It was huge but limited its scope to the Chesapeake watermen, an active boat building yard, skip jacks and buy boats, crabbing and oystering, lighthouses, waterfowl, and their hunting dogs.  One impressive visual for me was a large wall map of the waterfowl flyway between northern Canada and Florida – where the various birds get on and get off.  Of the twenty or so species listed, I recognized only a handful and I thought I knew something about birds!  On another note, a 1992 hydroplane was on special exhibit.  Since when is 1992 boat a museum relic?  The Namaste Too was built in 1983.

Lighthouse at the St. Michaels Maritime Museum


A boat similar to one Jim and my Dad almost bought back in the ’70s    

During our tour, an absolute highlight for Jim was meeting the captain of Elf, Rick Carrion, founder of the Classic Yacht Restoration Guild.  Elf is the oldest continuously active racing boat in the US with a glorious racing and cruising history.  Rick purchased her in 1971 when he was 19 and has been racing, cruising and restoring her ever since.  If you are interested google “yacht Elf”.  Jim and Rick became fast friends and would have talked for a week had I not nudged them along so that we could finish the remainder of this great indoor/outdoor, living museum.

Rick and “Elf”

The small town has lots to offer in the way of beautiful really old homes, shops and restaurants.  We had crab stuffed flounder on Friday night with Cathy and Steve of United 771 celebrating my birthday again, complete with a huge piece of chocolate cake.  Bet you are wondering about the United 771 boat name – well, she was a flight attendant and they met on United flight 771 thirty two years ago.

The Crab House restaurant on our way into the Marina

One of the many quaint and meticulous homes in St. Michaels

My birthday, again with Steve and Cahy!  Note the large piece of chocolate cake in the lower right of the picture.

We left Saturday morning heading for Rock Hall, MD (about 30 miles).  Word had it that they have a free town dock and since it is early in the season we decided to try for it.  After a spectacular day on the water we pulled into the harbor finding the free dock completely empty with easy access to power!  What a find but then there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.  Problem was that the winds had begun to pick up, the town dock was directly across from the opening to the harbor which faced south and the origin of the winds.  Add to this lots of boat traffic in the harbor on Saturday and the Namaste was pinned to the wall, rock and rolling as the wind gradually increased over two days.  Sleeping was a problem the first night and impossible for Jim the second night as he was constantly alert to the sounds of trouble – deflated fenders, broken fender boards or even worse, scraping of the boat rails against the dock and posts.  Time to cast off!

Namaste on the “Free Wall” in Rock Hall

Kite day at the City Park

A full and beautiful moon at sunset, before the wind picked up.

Our new fender boards made by Captain Jim at home.  We wouldn’t have made it without them!  Note the board across the fenders holding us off the post.

On Monday we decided to again cross the bay for Baltimore (25 miles).  This is the largest working harbor on the Chesapeake but we found it to be a quiet Monday morning – one ferryboat, one tug not pulling or pushing anything and a couple of small sailboats.  Once under the Francis Scott Key Bridge we could see Fort McHenry and the Baltimore waterfront.  We headed for the highly recommended inner harbor which again lives up to its billing.  East Harbor Marina is still pre-season so we opted for a great location, water taxi access, floating docks (the best), laundry and great wifi so perhaps I can get this posted.

Baltimore skyline from under the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Fort McHenry, the guardian of Baltimore’s Harbor.  This is the site of the successful defense of the city by American forces during the British attack on September 13-14, 1814 which inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner.”  Francis watched the battle as a prisoner on a British ship just behind the battle lines in the Harbor and Baltimore residents watched from their rooftops.  Had America not won this battle, our history could well have been a very different story.

 A junk and a sloop playing in the Baltimore Harbor on a Monday morning.

Spring has sprung here on the Chesapeake and nature is at her finest.

As an aside, my experience says that Verizon’s unlimited cellular data is truly not unlimited.  Now they have the “beyond unlimited” plan which doesn’t seem to be working any better but costs even more.  Nothing like good old wifi.  If anyone understands this please call me!

Good Boat Name:  Kissed some Frogs – On a fellow Looper boat here in the harbor.

Bad Boat Name:  I have an observation:  while I will continue to look, the boat names in this part of the country seem slightly less original but also more sophisticated.  It is rare to see a “bad” boat name. 

Congratulations to:  Dr. Brooke McFall on her promotion from Assistant to Associate Research Scientist in Economics within the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.  In academia this is HUGE – especially with three small children, especially in economics, and although I hate to say it, especially at the University of Michigan!!  We are so proud of her!

Happy Birthday to: me, Bastian, Cynthia, Missy, Donna, Theresa, and Dan

Quote of the Day:  “Time is like a river.  You can’t touch the same water twice, because the flow that has been passed will never pass again.  Enjoy every moment”. -LifeLearnedFeelings

Rest In Peace:  Paul R.





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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