"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

September 30, 2011

Sept. 30 – Great Bridge, VA

Day 196 – Work Day

Stan spent the day in the engine room trying to figure out where the leak was in our port fuel tank. We’ve had a small leak for the last month or two and he wanted to fix it before we left the boat for the winter. He pulled the wood away from the tank and moved what he could so he could inspect the tank…he found a small crack in the lower corner. He spoke with the marina and they pumped the diesel from the port tank into the starboard tank and they will fix the crack on Monday. At the moment we are listing to starboard, since all the fuel is on one side of the boat. I feel like I’m on a sailboat. While Stan was working on the boat, I was trying to find a way to get home. I knew we would have to pay an extra fee for renting a car and not returning it to the same city…but I didn’t know it would be so much! I should have done a little research earlier in the summer…flying would have been a lot more economical, especially if I had booked the flights early. We will plan better next year. On the positive side, we should have enough points on our credit card to pay for the rental. Our plan right now is to pick up the car on Monday afternoon, winterize the boat on Tuesday morning and start home Tuesday afternoon…but as we have learned, plans can change. One way or another we should be home by next weekend.

There isn't a lot of room to work in the engine room...can you find Stan? Hint: You can just see his hat
Looking south at Atlantic Yacht Basin
Looking north from the far end of the marina.

Sept. 29 - Great Bridge, VA

Day 195 - Last Day on the Water
Atlantic Yacht Basin

Today was our last day on the water. It was a beautiful day with plenty of sunshine. Hampton Roads was a little rough with white caps and lots of boat traffic, but for two experienced boaters it was just another wonderful day on the water. We came past the large Naval Station, the busy port of Norfolk and Portsmouth and entered the ICW. We had seven bridges and a lock to get through before we arrived in Great Bridge. Three were railroad bridges that stay open unless a train is coming...no trains, that was good, one is 65'...no problem there. That left us with three we needed to worry about...our timing was fantastic and only waited a few moments at each to open. It couldn’t have been better.

We are docked on the outside wall at Atlantic Yacht Basin for now. When we have the boat ready for storage we will move it to one of the covered sheds. Stan spent the afternoon changing the oil and checking a few other problem areas he is concerned about. We aren't certain when we will leave at this point, but we should have a better idea by tomorrow. Most of the things I need to do will have to wait till the last day. It's hard to believe it is almost October and we have traveled so far. Our final mileage count for this part of the adventure is 3991 miles. I’m excited to get home and spend time with family and friends, but I will truly miss the water and the boat.

Part of the video Pam took as we were leaving Hampton this morning.
Pam enjoying her coffee on Gallivant
Leaving Hampton
I love this sign
Waterman's dock in Hampton
A military tug (pusher)
Portsmouth, VA
Waterside Marina were we stayed in July
We found our next yacht...notice the helicopter?
Back to barges and bridges

September 29, 2011

Sept. 28 - Hampton, VA

Day 194 - Last Night on the Hook
Hampton River - Anchorage

We woke up to thunder, but luckily we only had a light shower. We checked the weather and knew it should be clear most of the day, so we pulled out around 8:00. We had another 50+ miles day and are now anchored in Hampton near the city dock. We passed familiar areas that we'd seen last July on our way up the Chesapeake. We had a great time exploring the Chesapeake Bay, it is a beautiful place. We were greeted by five dolphins as we got close to the opening of the Atlantic Ocean. It was wonderful to see them again...I really missed them. Pam and Don are also anchored here on their boat Gallivant.

The weather report called for rain around 3:30....and they were right. Just as we anchored the sky turned very dark...we dropped the hook and got everything off the flybridge just as it began to rain. We had a beautiful cruising day, with lots of sunshine so I guess I can't complain. We had to wait for the storms to pass before we could all go to town for dinner. We dinghied ashore and had dinner at the Taphouse Bar & Grill. Great food and company. If the weather cooperates we will have a short, but busy day tomorrow and be back in Great BridgeThe Pearl's home for the winter.

The dolphins welcomed us back
Old Point Comfort Lighthouse is located on the grounds of Fort Monroe in the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay. It is the second oldest light in the bay and the oldest still in use.
Fort Monroe guarded the navigational channel between the Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads—the natural roadstead at the confluence of the Elizabeth, the Nansemond and the James rivers.
Part of Hampton University located in Hampton, VA
Waterman dock in Hampton
Our view for the night
Stan and Don on the way to dinner
Tabhouse Bar & Grill...all our meals were wonderful

September 28, 2011

Sept. 27 - Kilmarnock, VA

Day 193 - Moving South
Indian Creek - Anchorage

We left early this morning since the forecast was for thunderstorms to move in this afternoon. We had a few showers this morning and clouds all day, but we didn't get too wet. We put our isinglass back on a few weeks ago, that gives us protection from the wind and rain. We left Maryland and are back in Virginia...if all goes well we'll be in Great Bridge by Thursday. We have a few things to do to prepare the boat for the winter and quite a bit of packing to do, so we don't know actually when we will head home. Sometime next week. We really enjoyed Maryland, especially the Eastern Shore. The people are extremely nice and the countryside is incredible. It’s definitely a place you could spend a lifetime exploring.

We had a beautiful anchorage...even had a little sun when we first arrived, by dinner the predicted storms had arrived. No wind but lots of thunder, lightning and rain. What a show. No TV again this evening, so we caught up on emails and read.

Early morning on the water
Our anchorage

September 27, 2011

Sept. 26 - Solomons, MD

Day 192 - Back on the Water
Mill Creek - Anchorage

We got a later than usual start this morning since we needed to get something back from another MTOA member...plus it was a bit foggy and everyone else seemed to be leaving at the same time. For anyone left at the marina today it was going to be a little lonesome. We headed back across the Chesapeake to Solomons . The weather cleared up before lunch and we even had bright sunshine by afternoon. We haven't seen the sun in the past ten days, so it was a welcomed sight. It turned out to be a great day to be on the water.

Our friends Pam and Don also left today and are anchored close by us on Mill Creek. They are on their way to Charleston, South Carolina where they'll spend the winter. They have been living on their boat full time for the past few years. We took the dinghy and went to their boat for happy hour. We've enjoyed getting to know them. We came back to the boat and fixed a steak for dinner...no TV receptions in this area so we worked on our computers. We had a beautiful swan come by for a visit. I fed him a little bread...hope it didn't hurt him. He seemed to like it and stayed very close to the boat for quite awhile.

Leaving Cambridge this morning
Cove Point Lighthouse...we've posted a picture of it in August when we pasted it the first time.
The Air Force was playing war games today...good thing we didn't get in their way!
Coming in to Solomons Island
Pam and Don on Gallivant
Our little visitor..it was so cool to see him so close.

September 26, 2011

Sept. 25 - Cambridge, MD

Day 191 - One Last Day in Cambridge
Cambridge Municipal Yacht Basin

We had one last breakfast with the group this morning. Everyone was welcome to take anything that was left over from past meals, so I took four crab cakes and crab dip...leftovers from dinner last night. I can never have enough crab...YUM!

I heard there were 70 boats here for the rendezvous and I think about a third of the boats left today. We enjoyed a lazy day catching up on things on the boat and wandering around an art show on historic High Street…lots of art and craft booths, food, music and kids activities. We spent the evening visiting with our new friends Pam and Don from Gallivant and saying good bye to a few others.

Booths along High Street
One of the pretty old homes on High Street
Coastie the Safety Boat entertaining kids
A sunset...our first in over ten days!

September 25, 2011

Sept. 24 - Cambridge, MD

Day 190 - Great Experience
Cambridge Municipal Yacht Basin

We had a great time at the MTOA Rendezvous...met great people, learned a little, ate too much and laughed a lot. We really enjoyed talking to other people who have cruised the same waters, experienced some of the same wonderful things we have and understand the way we feel about our adventure. When we talk about a special place we've been, a restaurant we've eaten at or a beautiful anchorage we've enjoyed...they know exactly what we're talking about. Kindred soles even though we are from so many different places. Except for the people who are originally from the Chesapeake area and still have jobs, most are heading south when they leave Cambridge. Some will leave their boats in ports further south and go home for the winter and others will spend the winter on their boats in a warmer port in Florida or the Bahamas. Most seem to have plans to head this way again in the spring. I'm sure we will look for a few of these people when we get back to the boat next year.

We had a wonderful dinner at the Yacht Club Friday night and they had a Sea Hag contest...this is one of the Sea Hags...very entertaining
Popeye the Sailor Man and another Sea Hag
Dinner Friday night at the Yacht Club
Jim receiving his lifetime achievement award at the awards dinner Saturday night.
Our two favorite MTOA members...Jim and Julie Bertch

September 23, 2011

Sept. 22 - Cambridge, MD

Day 188 - MTOA Rendezvous
Cambridge Municipal Yacht Basin

Today was the official start to the MTOA Rendezvous. We attended a welcoming meeting this morning, but skipped the Chesapeake Bay Foundation presentation. We had signed up to host lunch onboard for a couple who were attending the rendezvous by car. So after the opening meeting I went back to the boat to get lunch ready. It was fun having someone for lunch; we had Cheesy Corn Chowder, turkey sandwiches and a wonder crab dip that was provided by another MTOA member. Anna, Trapper and their cute little dog Gremlin were our guests for lunch and we had a great time.

This afternoon we attended several more seminars, but the most interesting one was on cruising Maine. The information may come in handy next summer. It would certainly be a new experience for us. A lot different than the areas we have been in so far, but it would be a beautiful place to go. We will spend time this winter researching and planning where our adventure will take us next summer.

This evening we had a social hour and then a chip in dinner. Everyone brought a dish to share and the steaks were provided. We had enough food to feed at least a hundred more people. Everything was delicious. We are enjoying this group of people very much and they definitely know how to have a good time.

Some boaters have dogs...some have cats. This one really liked watching everyone walk by.
Anna, Trapper and Gremlin...our lunch guests.
The parking lot
Another boat pet...out for a walk

September 21, 2011

Sept. 20 – Cambridge, MD

Day 186 – Committee Work
Cambridge Municipal Yacht Basin

We spent the day getting involved with MTOA committees. Stan spent most of the day helping on the docking committee and I helped stuffed goodie bags. I will help tomorrow with registration and the bags will be given out when people check in. They have their t-shirts, name tags and a few miscellaneous little gifts.

Our nice weather has given way to rain, clouds and cooler temps. We're getting more rainy days lately than pretty sunny days. If the weather stays like this, we'll definitely be ready to come home when this rendezvous is over. We spent the evening with another couple eating at The High Spot and then visiting on their boat.

Looking from our dock at the tent that most of our activities will take place. I hope we don't get too much rain.
The marina is filling up

September 20, 2011

Sept. 19 – Cambridge, MD

Day 185 – Meeting New People
Cambridge Municipal Yacht Basin

Just a short update today…we are just hanging out at the marina, getting to know a few new people. Stan helped on the docking crew most of the day. I think we had 7 or 8 new boats come in today. There will be a lot more boats coming in on Tuesday and Wednesday. The group got together this evening for a Pub Crawl. We walked to three different establishments in the downtown area for drinks and appetizers. It gave us a chance to meet and visit with some new couples. Everyone we have met has been great…we’re having a lot of fun.

September 19, 2011

Sept. 18 - Cambridge, MD

Day 184 – Gray Skies
Cambridge Municipal Yacht Basin

Where did the sun go? It looks like winter outside today….good thing we aren’t moving on for another week. Our day was very slow…I mean real slow. Since it looked like winter, I decided to make home made bread and chili. We didn’t want to use up all our propane by using the large oven, so I made it in the toaster oven. The loaf took up the whole oven and didn’t brown on top…instead the part that touched the top burned a little, but it tasted pretty good.

More boats came in today for the rendezvous. Stan helped on the docking committee part of the morning and we visited with people most of the afternoon. We even had a chance to see another Monk. It’s going to be fun seeing other boats. Maybe we can pick up some good ideas that we can use on our boat.

Fresh bread in the oven
Fresh bread for dinner

September 18, 2011

Sept. 17 - Cambridge, MD

Day 183 - Blues, Brews & BBQ
Cambridge Municipal Yacht Basin

There's an old sailing adage that goes like this: Red sky at night sailor’s delight, red sky at morning sailors take warning. So when I saw the beautiful pink (reddish) sunrise I knew our day was going downhill from there. Today reminded us of a cold wintry day in Texas...drizzly, windy and cold. I had to add shoes, socks and a jacket to my jeans and I was still cold.

Most of our day was spent on the boat. We did take a short bike ride before lunch and then back to the boat. Cambridge holds a summer send-off celebration called Blues, Brews & BBQ...so we walked downtown to see what it was all about. Local restaurants have food booths selling BBQ and many other items, shops and galleries are opened late with sales, and bands play Blues music through out the evening. There were even a few crafts booths. The highlight of the event was the Wawa Main Street Mile, which has teams from local businesses and organizations doing a spoof of a triathlon: for the swim, they ran down the street wearing snorkel fins and mask; for the bike, they rode a kid-size tricycle, and for the run, they balanced an egg on a spoon. It was very entertaining. After the big race we had dinner at Jimmie & Sook’s Raw Bar & Grill again. We visited with quite a few other MTOA members while we waited for a table and invited another couple to have dinner with us so they didn’t have to wait for their own table. Dinner was great and we enjoyed the company.

I finally got my August pictures uploaded to Picasa...working on the September ones.

A picture from Julie Bertch of The Pearl coming out of Broad Creek on our way to Cambridge
Looks like we're going to get wet
A mural on Race Street
Blues, Brews & BBQ Summer Send-Off....doesn't look like summer to me.
Racers waiting for the Main Street Mile to begin
Bike potion of the triathlon
Swimming potion of the triathlon