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

May 31, 2012

May 31 - Baltimore, MD

Busy Day
Henderson's Wharf Marina

The sun comes up early here...VERY early. We've had wonderful weather the last few days and we've been able to sleep with the windows open, which means nothing to block the early arrival of daylight. We were both wide awake by 5:30...it starts to get light here before 5:00, that's pretty early for me. First thing on our list to do this morning was to return the rental car; we're back to our two wheel mode of transportation.

Stan spent the rest of the day in the engine room finishing his project of replacing the engine mounts. We've always had a lot of vibration when the engine is in idle; Stan hopes this will help fix that issue. It was a two day project and he has a lot of cuts and bruises to show what tight quarters he has been working in. The project wouldn't have taken so long if there was actually room for a full grown man to move in our engine room. The lack of space makes every job a challenge.

I made new seat covers for our canvas deck chairs while we were home, so this morning I put a coat of stain on the chairs and put the new covers on. They look great. The rest of the day I was Stan’s gopher…getting what ever he needed, so he didn't have to crawl in and out of the hole in our saloon floor. After a long shower to remove all the grease, a short nap, a cold beer and dinner we took the boat out for a sea trail...no more shaking while in idle. Everything seemed to run great. We cruised past Fort McHenry and then into the Inner Harbor just in time for sunset. It was a great evening on the water, the weather was perfect and the view was wonderful. We also got word today that our friends have fixed the issues with their engine and are about ready to head our way...we just might make it to New York after all. We're all anxious to get this cruising season started.

Replacing the engine mounts
Old (red) and new (green) engine mounts
Before the face lift
After the face lift
Sunset over Fort McHenry
Moon over Baltimore
Sunset in the Inner Harbor
Views of the Inner Harbor

May 30, 2012

May 29 - Baltimore, MD

Back Home on the Boat
Henderson's Wharf Marina

We had a great week at home...full of visits with family and friends. It's always nice to catch up with everyone. There wasn't a dull minute the whole week. We drove through some beautiful countryside on our round trip....we could have spent another week exploring historical places in Virginia and Tennessee. After 3500 miles we're back on the boat, ready to get started on our cruising season. We have a few projects that we will work on while we wait for our friends and the weather to improve...then we'll be on our way to New York.

A few pictures taken from the road

May 28, 2012

May 27 – San Antonio, TX

Graduation Day
Henderson’s Wharf Marina

Today was a day that both our son and daughter in-law have worked hard to achieve their whole life. Both have wanted nothing else and have talked of being doctors since they were very small. In Kyle’s case, since he was two…long before he can remember. He would spend hours playing doctor on his Daddy. Stan would come home from work and lay on the sofa and Kyle would listen to his heart, bandage arms, legs and head, take his temperature and diagnose illnesses…such wonderful memories. It’s hard to believe this life long goal is now a reality. They will make wonderful caring doctors. To say this was a proud day for us would be an understatement…to have one member of our family reach this great goal is one thing, but to have two is amazing. They have been blessed to have each other to lean on and love through this long path.

We spent a wonderful weekend enjoying family and celebrating their incredible achievement. Kyle and Bryt we are all very, very proud of you and we love you very much. You both bring joy to our lives and we look forward to seeing what the next chapter in your lives brings.

Introducing Drs. Bryt & Kyle Marshall
The Marshalls
Aunt Earline and Uncle Kenneth
The Pianas
Grandma & Grandpa Piana
Sisters - Macall and Cassandra
A friend of ours made a comment about this picture on Facebook...it really says it all! "It's like they are looking back at everything they have done saying, "We did it!"

May 27, 2012

May 26 - San Antonio, TX

Cruising Distraction
Henderson's Wharf Marina

I know this is a cruising blog and I know San Antonio isn't a cruising destination...but sometimes we have our course altered by more important things. Our oldest son, Kyle and his wonderful wife Brytanie have achieved their lifetime dream of becoming doctors and this weekend is a celebration of that dream.

We will also have our cruising course altered in July when our younger son, Eric, and his wonderful wife, Courtney, have their first child. There are just some things in life that are more important than cruising. We'll fly into Austin, which is close to Stan's sister's home, so we took our SUV there this morning so we would have a way to get home when we fly in. From Lockhart we drove to San Antonio...our first stop was the Blue Star Bicycle Company to get a new tire for Stan's bike. It's located in a neat little complex on the river with an art center and brewery. We had lunch at the Blue Star Brewery and spent a little time afterwards walking along the river. The art center was working on projects in the parking lot...I was told this type of art was woodcarvings printed with rollers. You'll see exactly what it is from the pictures below. It was pretty interesting to watch.

After lunch we met Kyle, Bryt and her family at their home. We spent the rest of the day visiting, eating, playing silly games and enjoying our time together. We had a great time celebrating...tomorrow they become Drs. Bryt and Kyle Marshall.

Blue Star Bicycling Company
Blue Star Brewery Company
Bike trail along the river
First the wood carving is inked and laid on the ground in a wooden frame
A large piece of paper is laid over it and then carpet padding is laid on top of that and then a think sheet of plastic
The roller drives over the whole thing
The finished product

May 20, 2012

May 19 - Somewhere Between Boat & Home

Chesapeake Facts
Henderson's Wharf Marina

We spent twelve hours today heading south and west...only 1585 miles between our Pearl and our great state of Texas. All that time in the car gave me a chance to learn a little more about the Chesapeake Bay. We've spent over 80 days so far exploring this great body of water. We've anchored in 18 areas and have visited 16 cities and towns, and there are so many more we'd like to see. I can definitely see how people can spend a lifetime boating and never leave this area. It is truly my favorite place we have visited in our 4000 miles of cruising.
  • The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary: a body of water where fresh and salt water mix. It is the largest of more than 100 estuaries in the United States.
  • The Bay is about 200 miles long, stretching from Havre de Grace, Maryland, to Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  • The Bay's width ranges from 4 miles near Aberdeen, Maryland, to 30 miles near Cape Charles, Virginia.
  • The average depth of the Bay is about 21 feet, but is 174 feet at it’s deepest.
  • The Bay and its tidal tributaries have 11,684 miles of shoreline – more than the entire U.S. west coast.
  • The surface area of the Bay and its tidal tributaries is approximately 4,480 square miles.
Water and Watershed:
  • The Chesapeake Bay holds more than 18 trillion gallons of water.
  • The Chesapeake Bay watershed covers 64,000 square miles.
  • The Chesapeake Bay watershed includes parts of six states – Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia – and the entire District of Columbia.
  • Approximately 51 billion gallons of water flow into the Bay each day from its freshwater tributaries.
  • The Susquehanna River is the Bay’s largest river. It provides nearly 50 percent of the fresh water coming into the Bay – an average of 19 million gallons of water per minute.
  • The Chesapeake Bay watershed is home to more than 17 million people. About 150,000 new people move into the Bay watershed each year.
  • More than 100,000 streams, creeks and rivers flow into the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Approximately 7.3 million acres of land in the Bay watershed portions of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia are permanently preserved from development.
  • There are more than 700 public access points on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
Flora and Fauna:
  • The Bay supports more than 2,700 species of plants and animals, including 348 species of finfish and 173 species of shellfish.
  • The Bay produces about 500 million pounds of seafood per year.
  • The Chesapeake region is home to at least 29 species of waterfowl.
  • Nearly 80,000 acres of bay grasses grow in the shallows of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Young and molting blue crabs rely on bay grass beds for protection from predators.
  • Approximately 284,000 acres of tidal wetlands grow in the Chesapeake Bay region. Wetlands provide critical habitat for fish, birds, crabs and many other species.
  • Forests cover 58 percent of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The region loses about 100 acres of forest each day to development.

May 19, 2012

May 18 – Baltimore, MD

Inner Harbor
Henderson’s Wharf Marina

We spent the morning getting things ready for our trip home.We decided this afternoon we would walk to the Inner Harbor and spend a little time watching people and seeing the sights one more time. We will be sitting in the car the next few days and figured we needed the exercise. I have an app on my phone I use to track how far we walk or bike…we did over 6 miles this afternoon. On our way back to the boat we stopped at the Dead End Saloon for a beer and dinner…I think we earned it! We had fun visiting with other people in the bar and the food was pretty good. Henderson’s Marina is in the perfect location…close to the Inner Harbor, Little Italy and Fell’s Point; all full of great places to explore and wonderful restaurants to try.

Rams Head Live! music venue with Baltimore skyline in the background. 
USCGC Cutter Taney is the last surviving warship of Pearl Harbor
The old power plant...now used by Barnes & Nobles and The Hard Rock Cafe
S.S. John W. Brown – is one of only two Liberty Ships thatremain in existence. It was built in Baltimore in 41 days. It was launchedSeptember 7, 1942,  it made seventrans-oceanic voyages during World war II, made six post-war voyages, served asthe nation’s only maritime high school and operates as a historic vessel nowmaking “Living History Cruises” in the Chesapeake Bay, East Coast ports and theGreat Lakes. 
Pride of Baltimore II– the world’s only authentic sailing reproduction of an 1812-era BaltimoreClipper…it’s a living, working symbol of Baltimore’s maritime heritage. Theoriginal Baltimore Clipper ships were the life blood of the fledgling AmericanNavy during the War of 1812. 
Pictures of the Inter Harbor from Federal Hill Park
Panoramic picture of the Inter Harbor from Federal Hill
Looking up to Federal Hill Park
Memorial to the Captain & crew of the Pride of Baltimore that went down nearPuerto Rico on May 14, 1986. The original Pridewas built in 1977 and was the first Baltimore Clipper built in 150 years. 

May 18, 2012

May 17 - Baltimore, MD

Horse Racing
Henderson's Wharf Marina

We rented a car this morning for two weeks. We will leave Saturday and spend about a week at home. Since we had the car we decided to drive out to Pimlico Race Course. Pimlico is the second oldest racetrack in the nation behind Saratoga; it was opened on October 25, 1870 and is home to the Preakness Stakes. The Preakness is the middle jewel of America’s premier sporting event, The Triple Crown. It’s traditionally held on the third Saturday in May, it’s a mile and three sixteenths in length, with a purse of $500,000. Saturday will be the 137th running of the race. I was less than impressed with the outside of the racetrack. It seems a little run down for such a famous place. The track and infield are fixed up for this week’s activities, but the rest of the facility seems to need a little work. We only placed a bet on the first race...the rest of the races we just picked horses between ourselves. We didn't do very well, although we each picked a winner once...unfortunately not when we had placed our bet. The weather was perfect today, it felt wonderful sitting in the stands, we even enjoyed sitting in the sun. We had fun getting away from the water and doing something a little different for the day.

Pictures of the races
The winner I picked in the winner circle