THANKS TO THE CHESAPEAKE BAY FOR BRINGING MICHENER TO LIFE

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.

http://aspergian.com/2019/05/04/its-a-spectrum-doesnt-mean-what-you-think/

THE SHAKE-DOWN HAS SHAKEN DOWN

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

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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

     Lee

Klava

Nate

Leonie

Cedar

Oscar

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.

Marlene

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!

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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.

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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!  

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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.

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Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the distance as we exit Annapolis

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

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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The last blue ski we saw before the storm.

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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.

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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..

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

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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!

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

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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!

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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.

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

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Naval Academy: Service, Patriotism and Tradition!

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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.

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

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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. . .

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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.

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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.

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If we are right, a female.

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

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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.

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Solomons Lighthouse

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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.

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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.

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Ahh, the Begonias

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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!

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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.

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One unusual hull

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Remember the top was yet to be installed

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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.

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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.

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

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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