Kicking up fun in Kingston!

Kingston, NY (Wednesday, 6/5):
Today we planned to leave Poughkeepsie Yacht Club, but since our next stop was only 8 miles away, we were in no hurry to get there.  Plus, the current was running against us, so the later we left the better.

Taking advantage of this delay, Denise went for a run; after all it was Global Running Day!  The yacht club is located in a fairly rural area and there is a gravel road about a half-mile long that takes you out to the two-lane highway with no shoulder. Not a good running area. Fortunately, one of the club members had told her about a neighboring townhouse development that you can get to from a side gravel road and that is the path she took.  The route out was pretty simple, but required going over the train tracks and up a huge hill where she spooked two deer who took off before a picture could be taken.  From there she ran up the hill to the highway, then back down to the side road and on to run through the very hilly new development.  After two loops there and back down the hill she returned to the PYC to finish a short, but good workout.  Here are some pictures from the run:

While waiting for the current to change Mark was able to get some towels washed and dried while Denise published the last blog update.  We also had a chance to say hello to Loopers John & Susan (“Sunset Drifter”) who also stayed at PYC. We first met them in Beaufort, NC and initially didn’t realize they were on their boat at the club as it was on the north dock and we were on the south dock. In any case, we had a short conversation before we had to say goodbye as it was time to leave.

A note about PYC: we really liked our stay at this place. Even though it is somewhat remote, we had numerous offers by club members to take us into Hyde Park, or to take us anywhere. We received all kinds of suggestions on where to go in Kingston, along Lake Champlain and even in the neighboring town of Rhinebeck.  We really appreciate all this local knowledge and try to get wherever we can.  We also loved the wildlife we got to see while here, including the bald eagles that would perch on the deadwood tree near the club. But the people of this club are the best and made us feel so welcome.  We will not forget them and now consider them our friends.

Bald eagle at PYC

Bald eagle at PYC

Finally, it was time to head north.  We left the dock with Rob’s help and without issue, heading past Esopus Island, the boats at Norrie State Park on the eastern shore, and The Mount Bruderhof Community on the western shore.

Along the way we passed the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse and rounded Sturgeon point where a train was headed north.

As we approached the entrance to Rondout Creek and the famous lighthouse that marks its northern breakwater, the Rip Van Winkle tour boat was leaving the harbor.  As soon as it got out into the Hudson River, at least 10 law enforcement boats approached it from the North and proceeded to surround it. It was obvious there was some type of training exercise going on and the wakes of all the boats kicked up the waves a bit.

Rondout Lighthouse

Rondout Lighthouse

Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle

We passed the breakwater and began making our way passed the town of Kingston to our north.

Entering Kingston

Entering Kingston

Here there were Looper and other cruiser boats at the docks of various establishments, including the Hudson River Maritime Museum, a restaurant, and the city marina.  One boat we saw was “Salty” whom we knew from our Great Loop adventure in 2015. Also on the dock were our friends on “Balahula” and “Steadfast”.

We continued up the Rondout Creek to Rondout Yacht Basin on the side, and pulled up to a face dock with a side-tie. This was perfect because it enabled us to easily launch the dinghy to take it back across the creek to go into town. The biggest disadvantage to this marina is it is not in walking distance to Kingston, but it is protected and nicer than the downtown docks.

Approaching RYB

Approaching RYB

As we were settling the boat we were approached by a Looper, Mike (“Blue Sky”) who came over to introduce himself. He and his wife had just moved to Orlando- area from Texas and immediately started their Loop adventure. We agreed to stop by later and talk with them if time permits. Since we are planning on being here two nights, that should not be an issue.

We then checked in with the marina office, met the people from the boat behind us on the dock, and then launched the dinghy; we wanted to get to see some of the town of Kingston before the forecasted rain comes in the evening.  We were not sure where we could tie up the dinghy without having to pay the $10 dock fee at the city docks, but while seeking out friends on “Balahula” we were invited to tie to the stern of “Magic”, a couple we met in Atlantic City in 2017.  At first we could not remember where we had initially met, but later we reviewed the notes on their boat card to confirm.  Terry (aka “Captain Crusty”) and his wife Dorothy are also doing the Down East Loop. We thanked them for the tie-up and agreed that all us DE Loopers should get together at Shady Harbor marina next week and compare itineraries and notes.

We found Joe & Barbara (“Balahula”) who were with Brian & Michelle (“Kitumba”) at a nearby patio bar having a drink. They were making plans to go up the Rondout creek in their dinghy, but we wanted to go see the town so we passed on the offer to join them. We made plans to connect up for dinner later in the evening, and then headed down the Riverwalk.  We walked down past the Hudson River Maritime Museum and up to the Ole Savannah restaurant where some Looper stay to take advantage of their “free dock with meal” program.  Our goal was to meet up with Jonathan and Rosa (“Salty”) as well as other Loopers.

We first met Jonathan in Apalachicola in 2015, and then saw them when we were at anchorage in Cumberland Island, GA in 2017 on our way to Maine. We have followed their adventures as they are on their 4th Great Loop and were originally going to do the DE Loop like us this year. However their boat is a C-Dory and not really geared for the big water of the St. Lawrence and so they have abandoned this plan.  We talked with them for a little while as well as other Loopers Janice & Steve (“Nomadic Spirit”) and Kelly & Pam (“Bahama Voyager”) and then continued with our walk around town.

"Salty" at Ole Savannah dock

“Salty” at Ole Savannah dock

Catching up with Loopers at Ole Savannah - "Salty", "Nomadic Spirit" & "Bahama Voyager"

Catching up with Loopers at Ole Savannah – “Salty”, “Nomadic Spirit” & “Bahama Voyager”

Looper boats at Kingston city marina

Looper boats at Kingston city marina

The town of Kingston is mostly a dead town. There are several good restaurants and a few shops, but most were closed, even at 4:00 in the afternoon. There is evidence of plans for revitalization, but there is also evidence of businesses that tried to make it here and were not successful.  Here are some pictures from this adventure.

We decided to return back to our boat to get showers and tuck in before the threatening rain started.  We knew we could take an Uber cab to get to dinner, once location and time was known.  Once back at the boat, we spent some time talking to our dock mates behind us. Adrian & Stephanie (“Royal Winds”) have a home near the NY shores of Lake Champlain, and a second home in Titusville, FL. We spent time discussing membership in MTOA and cruising up to Quebec and along the St. Lawrence River. Their information was most helpful and we agree to call them if we make it near where they live.

The rain never did come in the evening, but we still took an Uber to meet Barbara & Joe (“Balahula”) and Brian & Michelle (“Kitumba”) for outside dining at Savona Trattoria in Kingston. We had a lot of fun laughing and sharing stories of our travels and enjoying a delicious meal.  After dinner Brian and Michelle gave us a ride back in their dinghy as their boat was also at RYB. We thanked them and wished them safe travels as they were headed north tomorrow.  We will most likely see them this weekend at Shady Harbor Marina along with all the other Loopers who will be there for the weekend festivities and Sunday’s pig roast.

Stay tuned for more of our adventures on Island Office.

Advertisements

Happy on the Hudson!

Croton-on-Hudson, NY (Friday, 5/31):
The day started with Denise going for a run along the path that follows the Hudson River north for about 1.25 miles. She then turned around and ran past the marina and along the path in front of the condominiums that align the shore until she ran out of path. She turned around and headed back to the marina only logging a little more than 3 miles; something is better than nothing.

We spent the rest of the day working on cataloging pictures, writing the last blog, handling work items, and helping clients. Denise prepared some notes for our Looper friends heading up the Hudson and into Canada and published it to them.  We also had to deal with some financial decisions related to Denise’s retirement funds, and finally got them resolved this afternoon. However, one of the items required us to have a document notarized and mailed into them with a short deadline.  So, tomorrow we will have to add this to our list of “errands” to run.

In the meantime our friends Jackie & Jim (“Dona Pacem”) came into the marina, as well as several Looper boats whom we did not know. As we encountered each one, we introduced ourselves to them, swapped boat cards and discussed our mutual itineraries.  In the afternoon we were invited aboard one of these boats; “At Ease” – a boat we had heard of and had not yet met, but for whom we have mutual friends. Ben & Chantale were great hosts and on their boat we had a chance to meet other Loopers.  However, everyone we met today were first-time Loopers and all heading up the Hudson to take the Erie Canal like we did 4 years ago. None were doing the Down East Loop like us and all were anxious to make their way north and into the Erie Canal.

We however, were not in any hurry because the route we are taking through the Champlain Canal is still closed. The rains north of us have caused high water levels on the lake and the Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE) won’t open the canals if it is not safe for boaters. The Erie and Oswego Canals are ok, but not the Champlain Canal. Fortunately, we have 2 weeks before we will be trying to get up to Lake Champlain, and we agreed we would take it slow to see a few new places as we make our way north.

We finished the day with a quiet dinner on the boat and watched another episode of Game of Thrones.

Croton-on-Hudson, NY (Saturday, 6/1):
In the morning we took care of a few boat chores, then Mark went and picked up the rental car from Enterprise; just a ½ mile away. He was able to get a van which enabled us to take more than just another couple to dinner. We had already made plans with San & Lisa (“Panacea”) and invited Jackie & Jim (“Dona Pacem”) to join us.

But first we had some errands to run.  We drove to the nearest Walmart Supercenter (not just any Walmart) which was 25 miles away.  Mark had a few things he wanted that only a Supercenter would likely carry, and this gave us options for other shopping. The UPS store near our marina did not have a notary available on Saturday, but we were able to find a Credit Union right near the Walmart and they were able to help us out.

On the way back to Croton on the Hudson, we took a different road that enabled us to stop at a Macy’s in Yorktown Heights.  Mark needed an extra dress shirt to take on his business trip in a few weeks as it will be a longer trip than what he had packed.  This adventure took us on the Taconic State Parkway and past the Donald J. Trump State Park. It was a beautiful drive and allowed us to see a part of New York we otherwise would have missed.

On the way back to the marina, we stopped and visited Croton Gorge Park and the New Croton Dam; a place we had put on our “must see” list while visiting here.  The dam is very tall and is fed by the reservoir that is a source of water for NYC.  This is a very cool place and you can learn more about it here.

 

After a full day out and about, we returned to our boat and stowed our purchases.  As we were getting our things put up, Loopers and other cruisers started to gather on the dock behind us for an impromptu “docktails” event.  Here we got to meet some new people who came into the marina while we were out.  The event didn’t last long as people had dinner plans, including us.  Jackie & Jim decided not to dine out with us, but San and Lisa (“Panacea”) were still up for it. So the 4 of us drove to Croton Grill, located in the village up the hill from the marina.  Although more of a pub then restaurant, we had good food and a fun time getting to know in this couple from California a little bit better.

After dinner, we went back to our boat where Denise worked very late into the evening to update our latest blog post.

 Croton-on-Hudson, NY (Sunday, 6/2):
Because we had the car we drove with Jackie & Jim (“Dona Pacem”) to mass at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church. It was nice to be able to share our faith with another fellow cruiser, especially ones from our home state.

After mass the four of us had breakfast at the Croton Colonial Diner and Restaurant where we had eaten on Father’s Day, 2015. The food was just as good, the price was reasonable and the company was terrific.

Instead of going directly back to the marina, we went to the Shop Rite grocery store. It is a large grocery store with a full bakery, and good-size deli, meat, and seafood counters.  They also had an amazing selection of cheeses, many from New York dairies.  We picked up a few items and then headed back to the boat to stow our items.

Later in the afternoon we walked into the Village of Croton on Hudson to celebrate their “Summerfest 2019”. It was a small town event and we enjoyed all that it had to offer. In addition to tents for food and drink offerings by the local restaurants and bars, there other businesses as well including: dance companies, insurance companies, real estate agencies, home building or remodeling firms, jewelry, and other such places.  A Cub Scout troop had a tent where they had a grown-up version of “Operation” – a project put together by the scouts.

Operation for grown ups

Operation for grown ups

There was even a travel agency specializing in Walt Disney World vacations offering a chance to win a free trip. We laughed with the owner and offered NOT to participate in the drawing.

WDW Travel company

WDW Travel company

And there was even a parade with a drum and fife group and the town EMS and Police force represented. We had arrived just as things were getting under way and stayed about 2 hours until it got crowded too hot.  We walked back to the boat to cool off and enjoy a relaxing afternoon.  Here are some pictures from this outing:

 

While we were gone new Looper and non-Looper boats had arrived at the marina. One such boat was “Osprey” from Barnstable – Cape Cod who were parked across the dock from us.  We had a chance to meet Sue and Pete and discuss cruising the New England waters. We also encountered Cate on “Steadfast”, (and husband Bill) whom we had met at the MTOA Rendezvous in Fort Pierce in April 2018.  It always amazes us how we run into other cruisers in faraway places.

In the early evening we invited Jackie & Jim (“Dona Pacem”) and Sue & Pete (“Osprey”) to come to our boat for docktails. A few other cruisers also stopped by but only briefly. It was a fun way to end our time at this spot. We had a quiet dinner aboard and tried to watch some tv, but the winds turned fierce and rocked all the boats in the marina. While there is a protective barrier, it is not a full breakwater and a large west wind creates a surge that builds as it moves across Haverstraw Bay.  Unable to go below without getting sick, Denise fell asleep on the settee in the main salon; it was just too bouncy in our stateroom.  Around 11:30 it settled down enough and she was able to move where she finally fell back asleep.

Here are some other pictures of the areas around our marina:

Half Moon Bay Marina

Half Moon Bay Marina

Marina Office - Condo facilities

Marina Office – Condo facilities

Condominiums

Condominiums

 Poughkeepsie Yacht Club – north of Poughkeepsie, NY (Monday, 6/3)
The high winds of last night brought in a drop in temperature and when we woke it was in the low 50’s.  We literally went from hot and wearing shorts to cold and wearing long pants in under 12 hours.

Denise wanted to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and went for a run following the path along the Hudson that she ran two days before. Here she separately encountered fellow cruisers Sue (“Osprey”) and Cate (“Steadfast”) who were also out for a run/race-walking, respectively.

Although calm initially, the wind picked up again as morning wore on. Everyone in the marina was complaining about the surge and how no one slept well the previous night. We were glad we were leaving and moving on to another destination. Half Moon Bay is a nice place to stay and convenient to many things. But if the wind is bad, or if there is a lot of boat traffic (jet skis, etc.) on the bay, it can be an uncomfortable place to stay.

In mid-morning Mark returned the rental car, but not before dropping Bill & Cate (“Steadfast”) to pick up one they had rented. Denise went with him to go back to Shop Rite for a few items, he then dropped her back at the marina and then went on to return the car. Enterprise gave him a ride back to the marina.

We then prepared our boat and left our slip at C Half Moon Bay marina. But first we went for a pump-out, where Mark had to deal with docking the boat in the ever increasing winds. Once done with this chore, we cruised 4 miles across Haverstraw Bay and stopped at Panco for a fuel stop. Because it was in a protected cove, it was easier to pull up to the dock.

We left Panco after filling the tank full and headed north, right into the cold North wind. We cruised past the Stony Point Lighthouse to our west and passed the Indian Point Energy Center (aka Nuclear Power plant) to our east.

We then headed up into the most beautiful parts of the Hudson River. It was very windy, but we knew eventually the high mountains of the Hudson Highlands would eventually block the wind.  Soon we rounded the bend at Jones Point and spotted the Bear Mountain Bridge ahead and passed by Bear Mountain; a beautiful mountain covered in granite rock and lush greenery.

Approaching Bear Mountain Bridge

Approaching Bear Mountain Bridge

Bear Mountain

Bear Mountain

Immediately afterward we came into the area of the US Military Academy at West Point. Its large buildings sitting high up on the western cliffs overlooking the Hudson should be enough to intimidate any enemy.  It is an impressive site and we were in awe of it, even though we have been here before.

After rounding West Point to our left and Constitution Island to our right, we continued up the Hudson.

Here there is beauty in the mountains on both sides and continued to block the cold wind. We passed the town of Cold Stream to our east and Storm King Mountain to our west. Here this mountain peak reaches 1355 feet above river and is at the northern end of the area known as Hudson River Highlands section.

Storm King Mountain

Storm King Mountain

From there the Hudson opens up to a large bay and the wind was once again cold and on our nose.  We rounded an island known as “Bannerman’s Island”. Frank Bannerman was a munitions dealer who built a replica of medieval castle in the early 1900s as a summer resort. In the 1960’s it became part of the NY Park system, but because of deteriorating conditions it has since been abandoned. Today all that remains are some remnants of the old building.

We continued north and cruised past the town of Newburgh (west side) and under the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge.

Newburgh-Beacon (I84) Bridge

Newburgh-Beacon (I84) Bridge

We then made our way to Poughkeepsie and under the Mid-Hudson Suspension Bridge and the now Pedestrian Bridge that was formerly a Conrail railroad bridge at 212 feet high. Too bad our nephew Ryan wasn’t in town, he attends Vassar College but has already gone home to Winter Park for the summer.

After leaving the town of Poughkeepsie, the hills on both sides of the river turn rural, containing religious retreat centers, small hamlets, and even some mansions; the most famous being the Roosevelt and the Vanderbilt estates on the eastern shore.  These appear shortly after the monstrous main building on the campus of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA).

Along the river’s shoreline we passed by a few boat clubs and small boat marinas, and eventually we came to the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club; our home for the next two days.

PYC

PYC

We had called several days ago and attempted to make reservations but they don’t take them; it is a first-come first-serve marina for transients. We were assured there would be room for us as most of the members boats were still waiting to be put in the water for the season. As we approached the club we contacted them on the phone and as luck would have it, we were able to actually pick our desired slip. We chose one that was several slips in from the river hoping the sailboats in the end slips would help to buffer from the passing boat traffic headed up and down the river.  As we approached the dock we were helped by several club members; it was welcomed assistance as the wind was really blowing.

After we got the boat settled and met a few of the members, we walked up to the PYC clubhouse to register. The people here were so inviting and friendly and not like your typical east-coast stuffy clubs. It is a very friendly place and their warmth and hospitality reminded us of the generosity of those at GKYC.

One of the benefits of this club is that they offer free laundry. After we got a tour of the place we put together two loads and managed to get them washed and dried before the weekly club meeting in the evening.

Like GKYC this club has no formal dining room and only hosts catered dinners for specific events.  It is also in a remote area and is not easy to walk to any of the Hyde Park or Rhinebeck restaurants; it would require a cab.  However, we were more than happy to eat dinner on the boat and just enjoy the scenery of the place.  The wind eventually died down and it became very calm. We were the only ones on our boat and the only ripple we felt was when a tow captain and barge went by ever so slowly.  It truly is a beautiful place and we got treated to a spectacular sunset…. and of course the horns from the passing trains

Sunset at PYC

Sunset at PYC

Poughkeepsie Yacht Club – north of Poughkeepsie, NY (Tuesday, 6/4)
Today we barely left the boat, and never left the marina. First of all it was really cold this morning; 44° at 5:30 am. Secondly, we got to do another load of laundry in the morning pretty much before anyone showed up.

But also because it is really a pretty place, and there are lots of friendly folks at the Yacht Club to talk with, which Denise spent a good amount of the day doing.

Our “host” yesterday and one of the friendliest club members is a guy named Rob. He helped us in yesterday and kind of acts as the manager of the place. He is a retired navy pilot who owns real estate here in NY, and has some property in FL.  We had a lot in common as we were in Jacksonville at the same time; as when he was stationed at Cecil Field.

Rob at PYC

Rob at PYC

Denise also met Frank, another member who was doing some welding on the club’s travel lift. He is a structural engineer and works in Manhattan usually, but was taking a “paperwork” day. Not only does he help design the skyscrapers in Manhattan, he loves climbing up on the steel to solve the problems they encounter. He also used to rock climb in his earlier years. (Sorry no picture).

Almost all the work at the club is done by the members, including grounds keeping and necessary repairs.  The docks are taken out of the water for the winter as the River ices here, and then they are put back in for the spring. Many of the members’ boats are still on the hard and we watched them put a few in the water yesterday.  They also use a small barge to remove the large pieces of debris that accumulate in the water around the marina during this time of year.  This year is especially heavy due to the large amount of rain and now the canals have opened and all this debris flows right into the PYC.

Working barge at PYC

Working barge at PYC

Around lunch time we started to see the “Looper” boats pass by us. Many had been at Half Moon Bay and were headed to Kingston or parts north of us for the night.  It was fun to see them all pass, and we took pictures of a few of them, including “Panacea” and “Dona Pacem”.

The rest of the day was spent working, cataloging the many pictures taken, doing office work, conference calls with clients and associates, and ordering s few boat spare parts.  Mark also ordered us another desktop server for the home office as the one we use as a backup is on its last leg and has shut down twice in the last week. We are grateful for our neighbor Mark M, who has gone into our house and restarted for us while we have been gone. This is a reminder to us that we could not do this if it wasn’t for the generosity of our family and friends, and for that we are truly grateful.

Tomorrow we will leave for Kingston and Rondout Yacht Basin, which is a short 8 miles away.  Therefore, we probably won’t leave until noon when the river current is in our favor and all the Loopers that are leaving have cleared out.

Here are a few more pictures from PYC:

Investment Banker Home near PYC

Investment Banker Home near PYC

Train crossing near PYC

Train crossing near PYC

Stay tuned for more of our adventures on Island Office.

Enjoying the Empire State!

Staten Island, NY (Saturday, 5/25):
They say the worst thing cruising is having a schedule, and now we had a destination where we had to be by a certain date. So looking at a small weather window to get up the New Jersey coast, and knowing we needed to leave time up the Hudson River for bad weather, we left Cape May early in the morning. The wind was going to calm down throughout the day so we took a chance and headed offshore through the inlet.

Coast Guard Station - Cape May

Coast Guard Station – Leaving Cape May

Immediately coming out of the inlet, the wind tore loose our brand new AGLCA burgee and the new clips Mark had just installed.  We were happy we only ‘tried them out’ on the one burgee first.  We will take the other set back to West Marine for a full refund.

Once out of the inlet we expected the waves to settle down a bit, but they did not.  The seas were confused with the wind shift and the chop made things very miserable; we did not see ourselves spending 6 hours bouncing in 2 foot seas with an occasional 4-footer.  We adjusted course and headed into Absecon Inlet at Atlantic City. Once through the inlet we entered into the ICW and headed north.

Entering AICW at Atlantic City

Entering AICW at Atlantic City

We have done this part of New Jersey before and knew of the shallow spots.  We also had a rising tide, making it favorable for us to get through the shallower areas without too much trouble.  But it was a holiday weekend and there were tons of fishing boats, who love to hang out in the middle of the channel that required us to slow down.

We continued up the ICW for several hours, slowing when we had to pass fishing boats or slow trawlers.  By the time we got up to Barnegat Bay there were so many boats on the water that the waves from their wakes were almost as big as those offshore. It was a crazy, but we were still able to cruise along at 20 knots most of the time.  Periodically the temperature sensor would go off and Mark would check the engine temperature, only to find it in normal range.

Near Seaside Heights on AICW

Near Seaside Heights on AICW

As we were approaching Manasquan we had to go through the Point Pleasant Canal. Here the current was now against us and there were many small boats that were heading in an opposite direction causing the wave action to be like a washing machine.  It was a challenge to navigate the very narrow channel but Captain Mark did a fabulous job and before long we were in the Manasquan River.

Waves & Boat traffic in Point Pleasant Canal

Waves & Boat traffic in Point Pleasant Canal

We were not anxious to stop here as the weather forecast for the coming days would have us sit a few days, so we decided that we would go out the inlet and “poke our nose” out and see how it was. If it was too rough we would turn around and find dockage for the night, but if tolerable we would continue offshore for the last 20+ miles.  Exiting the inlet was quite bouncy but once out of the swells of an incoming tide, we settled into a fairly comfortable ride.  The seas and wind were mostly from behind so the boat did not get tossed around.  We knew we could make it around Sandy Hook and into Raritan Bay within 90 minutes so we continued on.

We cruised up the New Jersey shore passing Asbury Park and other familiar sites, including the NYC skyline. It still is amazing that you can see this more than 20 miles offshore.

NYC Skyline from 20 miles out

NYC Skyline from 20 miles out

We crossed Raritan Bay without issue and entered Great Kills Harbor and the Great Kills Yacht Club (GKYC) marina to a warm welcome by John Calascibetta, AGLCA Harbor Host and now our good friend. He assisted us with the tie-up along with Loopers Mike & Kathleen (“Apres Sail”) whom we then met.  We were glad we made the decision to continue on offshore and get that last large passage behind us, even though it was a very long and tedious day.

But it was worth it as the GKYC threw us a party! Hahahahaha!

GKYC Opening Day Party

GKYC Opening Day Party

Not really, it was “Opening Day” of the season for the yacht club and they had a huge barbecue.  It is a free event and we were invited by John C. to attend.  We had not yet had showers, but went to enjoy the friendship of many members, including John C, his wife Juliette and others who made us feel really welcome.  We also got to see John Scarcella, who is a Gold Looper and whom we met during our Great Loop adventure in 2015.

Julie and John C.

Julie and John C.

 

We stayed for a few free beers, food and dessert, and then went back to the boat for showers and then turned in for the night.

Staten Island, NY (Sunday, 5/26):
The sun woke us up early but we were still tired from yesterday. Nevertheless, we got up and walked to St. Clare’s Catholic Church for the 8:30 am mass, a church we had visited before. This church is beautiful and is a neighborhood gem, just under a mile and up the hill from the GKYC.

After mass we headed back towards the marina, passing the local fire station but took a detour to go to Frank & Sal’s; a local Italian market that has lots of fresh meats, cheeses, a bakery and many imported goods.  It has a small produce section as well.  So we picked up a few things for our lunches and walked back to the boat.

Pictures from the local fire station:

Mark was anxious to get all the salt off the boat from yesterday, so he proceeded to give the boat a good washing.  Periodically he would be interrupted by one of the locals who wanted to know about our good-looking boat. Meanwhile Denise was doing research on future destinations and cataloging photos from the day before.

After lunch the Harbor had their annual “Blessing of the Fleet” which included a boat parade and the ceremonial water salute by the USCG. We got to see all of this off the end of the dock at GKYC.

Later that day San & Lisa (“Panacea”) came into GKYC, despite the high winds. We helped them tie up to the dock and socialized with them a bit.  We spent the rest of the day hanging around the boat. We talked with family, worked on the blog updates and communicated with friends on “Dona Pacem” and “Balahula” who were both still in Cape May.

We also became enthralled with a family of swans we had been watching since we arrived.  Initially we had only seen the parents, but today we got to see the whole clan; mom, dad and their 5 cygnets. They were just learning to venture out with mom close at hand.  The dad made his way to near our dock and even right after the swim platform.  It was such a delight to see nature in its full glory.

Swans on the marina

Swans in the marina

Family of swans - GKYC

Family of swans – GKYC

We were not up for going out for dinner so we ate some leftovers from the freezer and Mark convinced Denise to begin watching the “Game of Thrones” as he wanted to watch it all over again. So now we had something to keep us occupied as there are 10 years’ worth of this show. Maybe by the time we get home in November we will be finished with it.

New York, NY (Monday, Memorial Day 5/27):
Today was a very fun day and we crossed a few things off our list of “must do in NYC” activities that we have never done.  The plan was to make it a “free” day, where the only thing we spent money on was food and transportation (subway/Metro fares).

We started early taking an Uber to the Staten Island Ferry dock. The Staten Island ferry is free and a “must do” item (√) and takes you to the eastern end of NYC, not far from the Financial District.

NYC from SI Ferry

NYC from SI Ferry

Here Mark had found a diner for us to have a big breakfast, NYC-style at Squires Diner.

Squires Diner for breakfast

Squires Diner for breakfast

From here we walked a few blocks north and picked up the staircase to walk up to the base of the Brooklyn Bridge.  We spent the next hour or so walking across the Brooklyn Bridge (√) and taking in all the sights. It was a beautiful sunny day and many people were out walking the bridge or on their boats in the waters below.

Stairs to the bridge

Stairs to the bridge

 

From the bridge we walked a few blocks in Brooklyn (another area we wish to explore more someday) and picked up the subway to take us back to Manhattan.

Next on the list was Chelsea Market (√). Had we not had a big breakfast, we would have found a place to eat here as there are lots of options.  We walked around through some of the shops, and eventually Mark got a rest break while Denise did some browsing.

Inside Chelsea Market

Inside Chelsea Market

From there we went a few blocks north and picked up the High Line (√). This is a pedestrian walk that was converted as such from the old raised railway line.  It is nicely landscaped and has art sculptures periodically scattered throughout.  We even saw a multi-language replica of Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture; the original we saw at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine.

Us on the High Line

Us on the High Line

The benefit of the High Line is that you can walk North and South through a large part of Manhattan without having to cross at street intersections. Normally this would have been a huge time saver, but with the warm and sunny weather, the High Line was packed with people.  We did take it for a long while, getting off near a subway station and taking it uptown towards the piers where the US Navy boats were supposed to be for Fleet Week.  However, Mark had miscalculated and we were much farther north than we needed to be.  As a reprieve from our tired feet we found Frank Mac’s Pub where we had a beer and ate a late lunch.

Lunch at Frank Mac's Pub

Lunch at Frank Mac’s Pub

Once refueled and ready to go, we headed back south to the Hudson River and the piers to see the boats in for Fleet Week.  We passed by the USS Intrepid and a Sub that are permanently docked here, and then on to see the USS New York.  We considered getting in the long line for the free viewing, but when we learned that closed-toe shoes were required to board the boat, we nixed the idea. We could still go to the pier, but decided to spend our now dwindling time in NYC to do other things.

We then took a subway (actually two – had to change lines) to get us to Grand Central Station (√). Denise had never been here and was so amazed at the scale of the place.  First of all, the main terminal is much larger (HUGE) than is revealed in any movie or tv shot.  But, it also consists of several levels below the main terminal, including a large “food court” type of area.  Here there are several bars, restaurants, and various other places where you can buy ice cream, smoothies, donuts, and health food. Off the main terminal are side corridors to take you to the various train and subway tracks, all of which are well laid out and easy to follow on a map, as well as stores to shop. The Apple Store here is like none other.

Main Terminal - Grand Central Station

Main Terminal – Grand Central Station

But the architecture and details are what makes this place so special. From the large chandeliers, to the rosettes in the stone, to the painted ceiling; it is a work of art into itself and is a national treasure. Everyone should see this very special place.

At Grand Central Station Main Terminal

At Grand Central Station Main Terminal

Finally, we were spent and done with NYC.  We took a subway back to the ferry terminal and took the ferry back to Staten Island.  But we had to get back to GKYC and opted for the “local” approach: we took a train from the Ferry terminal.  It actually took about the same amount of time as the Uber, but only cost $2.60 each instead of $36.  However, we still had to walk the mile back down the hill to GKYC.  When all was said and done, we had walked over 10 miles today.

Step Count for the day

When we arrived back at the boat we saw that our friends on Dona Pacem had come up from Cape May and were in the slip right next to us.   We had a chance to say hello, discuss plans for the upcoming days and then we got onboard Island Office in for the evening. We were spent but had time for a quick snack and an episode of “Game of Thrones” before sleep took over.

 Staten Island, NY (Tuesday, 5/28):
The morning was spent with Denise did some itinerary planning for the rest of the Hudson River, and Mark doing some work for a client.  We had made plans for a lunch date with our New Jersey Looper friends Evelyn & Clark (“Sunset Delight”) who came by around noon to pick us up.  We went to a place near GKYC called Andrew’s Diner and had a great lunch with plenty of leftovers to take back to the boat.  After lunch, they came to the boat as we wanted to get their knowledge about Lake Champlain and the canals to the St. Lawrence River. They were full of great insight and hints and we really appreciated the time they spent with us.

with Evelyn & Clark ("Sunset Delight")

with Evelyn & Clark (“Sunset Delight”)

When we had returned to the boat, we noticed that Panacea had left and Balahula had come into end dock where Panacea had been.  They had met Evelyn & Clark from their mutual time together at Faro Blanco Marina in Marathon, FL over the winter, so it was fun to see them reconnect.  Aw the cruising/Looper life!

Shortly after they left, the rain started, but only lightly and intermittently. The weather forecast called for severe thunderstorms later in the evening and we did not want to get caught in it by trying to go out for dinner. So, we ordered a pizza for delivery and had it delivered right before the hard rain set in.  And when it did start it was horrendous.  We had huge gusts of wind and drenching rain, followed by hail. Then we heard the weather alert alarms: we were under a tornado warnings. At one point Denise wondered if we shouldn’t leave the boat to the safety of the GKYC clubhouse, but it was too dangerous to go outside. Additionally, Mark was on the phone with tech support for a software company; his computer had taken a crash while in the process of updating software and it was not looking good – so we really couldn’t go anywhere anyway.

Eventually the most sever of the weather passed, Mark was able to restore his computer to a workable unit and we settled into another episode or two of “Game of Thrones” for the night.  However, it continued to rain off and on all night.

Staten Island, NY (Wednesday, 5/29):
When we woke up in the morning it did rain initially, but stopped early on. However, it remained overcast and foggy making it an ugly-looking day.

Morning fog in harbor

Morning fog in harbor

We also realized that sometime during the early morning hours the power had gone out at GKYC. We turned on the generator right away.  We were worried that the items in the freezer and fridge may have been compromised but learned it had not been off long before we discovered it, so all was ok.  And the power did come back on before we had a chance to finish breakfast.  We also learned that during the storm last night three funnel clouds were reported near the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, just a few miles from us. This is very scary when you are on a boat and we felt very lucky to have had no storm related issues.

As previously scheduled last Friday, “Gary” the Cummins Engine repair guy showed up at 8:00. He went to work troubleshooting and trying to determine the source of our temperature sensor issues with Mark watching everything he did. He was able to determine that the source of the problem was related to the connector the sensor plugs into and not the new sensor.  Gary replaced the connector and reassembled with the sensor that Zimmerman Marine had replaced.  He ran tests on this and also did an “in-warranty” upgrade to clamps on the fuel line holders, preventing a future issue from developing there.  Denise helped out by turning on and off the engine as requested, while the guys were in the engine room. It was a group effort.

Once all the testing and monitoring was satisfactory, we took the boat out for a sea trial. We untied from the dock and headed out onto Raritan Bay which was awash with choppy waves due to the wind.  Mark opened the throttle to its maximum (2900 RPM) and had us slamming the waves, which was not fun for Denise.  Gary hung out in the back of the boat watching all his monitoring equipment and holding on tightly.  The entire time the temperature did exactly as it was supposed to and indicated the problem had been fixed.  We were delighted he had actually found a problem and now it had been solved.

 

Once back at GKYC, we said goodbye to Gary and had lunch.  We felt pretty good about the repair and made plans for leaving and heading up the Hudson River.  We made plans for the weekend, including marina reservations at Half-moon Bay on the Hudson River, and a tentative schedule for follow-on days all the way to New Baltimore, NY.

Once again the evening weather forecast was for heavy rain and thunderstorms.  We had made plans for dinner with Barbara and Joe (“Balahula”), and two other Looper couples to go to Coles – a restaurant we had eaten at several other times and was about a ¼ mile from GKYC.  As the afternoon wore on the other two couples ended up cancelling for different reasons, and we opted to go early in order to prevent getting caught in the now approaching thunderstorms.  All throughout dinner it rained and stormed, but we were safely enjoying good food and good company.  We stretched out our time to as long as possible and finally when it let up we walked back to the boat, dodging the raindrops and the puddles pouring water down the street storm drains.

Barb & Joe dodging puddles and rain drops

Barb & Joe dodging puddles and rain drops

Once back on the boat we queued up another two episodes of “Game of Thrones” and watched while cataloging pictures and working on this blog.

Croton-on-Hudson, NY (Thursday, 5/30):
Woke up to a very cool morning with temperatures in the mid 50’s.  It was so calm in the harbor, and we looked for our swan family who were out again with the cygnets.

Denise wanted to go for a run, but her right foot was bothering her from the walking in NYC and decided that rest is what it required.  We watched as the boat “At Ease” left the mooring field in the harbor early, but we were not in a hurry and wanted to wait as late as possible to time the outgoing current of the Hudson.

In the meantime fog rolled in and so we waited a little longer for some of it to burn off.  After waiting a bit and none of it did, we finally left GKYC with the radar on.  It was foggy, but not near as bad as we have seen in Maine.  Before leaving we received a warm send off from our friends Joe & Barbara (“Balahula”) and Jim & a “virtual” Jackie (“Dona Pacem”).

Joe, Barb, Jim & Jackie (virtually) at the Goodbye

Joe, Barb, Jim & Jackie (virtually) at the Goodbye

Foggy Raritan Bay

Foggy Raritan Bay

Once out on Raritan Bay we were blocked by Staten Island so there was little waves and we were able to shoot across it in no time.  Before long we went under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, passing Fort Wadsworth and entering New York Harbor. Denise commented to Mark that it was just a short 6 months ago that she ran on the top of the bridge during the start of the NYC Marathon, albeit in much sunnier conditions. 

The New York Harbor was full of barges either underway or at anchor, and for the first time the cloud ceiling was so low we could barely see the top of the skyscrapers.  However, with such weather there were hardly any pleasure craft out to negotiate around, just the usual ferries and tows.

barges in NY Harbor

barges in NY Harbor

NYC in the clouds

NYC in the clouds

We turned around the battery area and made our way north up the Hudson River, taking in all the sights along the way. Included in this was some of the most interesting of architecture:

Briefly the fog burned off and we got to see some interesting sites along the Hudson River, as well as the beautiful places that is so underrated and unknown by so many. 

Paddle wheel scultpture on dock

Paddle wheel sculpture on dock

Floating advertising on the Hudson River

Floating advertising on the Hudson River

Riverside Church - Manhattan

Riverside Church – Manhattan

We passed under the George Washington Bridge and made our way north, leaving behind the state of New Jersey which had been along the port side of us.

Leaving GW Bridge

Leaving GW Bridge

We came up the Tappan Zee Bridge (I-275) and had to slow down considerably as they were still working on this project. Four years ago when we came through this way they were just starting construction on the new bridge; now they were taking down the old one. Your federal tax dollars at work!

 

Deconstructing Tappan Zee Bridge

Deconstructing Tappan Zee Bridge

Finishing touches on the new Tappan Zee Bridge

Finishing touches on the new Tappan Zee Bridge

New Tappan Zee Bridge

New Tappan Zee Bridge

We passed this work boat (the “Jeanne II”) as we left the Tappan Zee in our wake:

Workboat "Jeanne II"

Workboat “Jeanne II”

Just after the bridge we passed several Looper boats of whom we had heard about, including “At Ease”.  We knew they were most likely headed to the same place as us and thought we could connect with them after we arrived.  All of this took place as we passed Tarrytown and the community of Sleepy Hollow (made famous from the writings by Washington Irving).

Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse

Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse

And even though it was a bit foggy and we were far away, there was no mistaking Sing-Sing, the NY state penitentiary made famous in movies and tv that we cruised by shortly thereafter. Soon we approached Croton Point and contacted Dockmaster Steve at Half Moon Bay. He was excited that we were the first of many boats that would be coming in and met us at the dock to assist with tie up.

The marina sits behind a break wall of sorts, blocking some of the boat wakes, but not all.  So on a really windy day or if there is a lot of boat traffic, we were still going to rock. We were put into a slip that faced this wall and allowed the bow to take the brunt of the motion.

IO at Half Moon Bay

After settling the boat and getting all the marina information, we went for a walk. We wanted to check out a new market that had opened called “Apple Farm”. It is a regional chain grocery store with a big fresh produce section, a meat and deli counter and a seafood counter.  It is not large, but was perfect for the few items we needed to round out our lunches and dinner.

Apple Farm

Apple Farm

We also walked to the other shopping plaza to check out the Italian market “A&S fine foods” where we purchased a salad to have for dinner and a couple of meatballs for a later meal.  Here we were disappointed to see that the barbeque joint we really liked had closed and the unit was up for rent.

We returned to the boat in time for Mark to get in a few phone calls and for us to purchase our plane tickets home in June.  Mark also purchased a new notebook computer for delivery when we are home in June. After 7 years it was time for him to get a new one and not have to deal with a potential disaster again.

Once again afternoon & evening thunderstorms were forecasted and they arrived as schedule at 5 pm.  We had already made plans to eat on board, finishing off the leftover pizza and new salad from the Italian market.  And while cataloging pictures and completing a write-up of notes for other Loopers, we watched another two episodes of “Game of Thrones”.

Stay tuned for more of our adventures on Island Office.

Cape May Companions!

Cape May, NJ (Wednesday, 5/22):
It was early when we left the Rock Hall Landing Marina; only the commercial fishing boats were up and out before us. The sun had just come up and we made our way around the harbor, passing the bait shop, a restaurant and another marina where we saw the P.E. Pruitt “buyboat” (like the ones we saw in Poquoson, VA).

We left the harbor and breakwater wall, and turned towards the Chesapeake, for our last day on this great body of water until the fall.  There was a little bit of north wind, but it would soon be blocked by the high terrain of the shores on both sides of this part of Maryland.

Soon we entered the Elk River where the Chesapeake ends and it feeds into the Chesapeake & Delaware (C&D) Canal.  This is a very pretty area with homes, farms, a few small marinas on both sides of the water, and a state park on the western shore.

As we entered the C&D canal we passed our friends on “Dona Pacem”. They were headed to Delaware City to set up for making a Delaware River passage on Thursday, as we had originally planned.  We spoke with them on the VHF for a bit, then continued on our way.  We were also being followed by a beautiful Hinkley, which looks like a Sabre or Back Cove initially until they pass you.  It is a beautiful boat, but much more expensive than our floating home.

Passing Dona Pacem on C&D - Hinkley following

Passing Dona Pacem – Hinkley following

As we made our way up the C&D canal we passed the Dann Marine Towing docks (a now-familiar site) and approached the bridge at Chesapeake City.  There were a few Looper boats there at the yacht basin docks, but they were too far away to see if we knew any of them. At this point we also crossed the state line, leaving Maryland behind and entering into Delaware.

Approaching bridge near Chesapeake City

Approaching bridge near Chesapeake City

The C&D canal is only about 12 miles and it took no time for us to make our way to the end and the entrance onto the Delaware River.  It was a beautiful day on the water so we called Delaware City and canceled our reservations for the night there, and pressed on as planned to Cape May.  We first confirmed with South Jersey Marina (SJM) that we could arrive a day earlier than planned.

We cruised past the Hope Creek Nuclear Power Facility and the Ship John (also called Jack) Light that marks a shoal area mid-channel. And now we had entered the state of New Jersey; our 7th state since leaving on 4/8. We were on a straight shot to the Cape May Canal entrance and it was calm enough to sit back and enjoy a pleasant day on the Delaware.  We even saw a whole school of dolphins swimming in with the incoming tide, which we were now fighting a bit.

Everything would have been perfect except the heat sensor alarm continued to plague us, going off about every 30 minutes or so. Mark would go into the engine room, check the actual temperature with a heat gun and confirm it was acceptable.  He also started proactively adding coolant to the system. Our plan was to get to Cape May where we will have days to work on the issue.

Just before noon we entered the Cape May Canal and were relieved that we had successfully crossed the Delaware without any rough water. We passed the ferry terminal to our port, and Looper boat “Corkscrew” to our starboard and came up on the research vessel “Shakari”.  Due to oncoming boat traffic and the upcoming railway bridge, we decided not to try and pass them. It had been reported that this past weekend the railway bridge fender had broken off and fallen in the water, blocking the canal.  But we inquired about it at the SJ M ahead of time and it was reported that all was ok to pass on the north-side opening.

Meanwhile we had been calculating our fuel consumption and trying to determine where it would be best to purchase.  Everything in NJ was going to get expensive and we did not have enough to get us up the Jersey coast and to Atlantic Highlands or Sandy Hook.  Denise had been calling around all the Cape May and NYC fuel stops to get pricing.  It takes some low-level math to determine the best price as most offer discounts for volume, cash, club affiliations (BoatUS, MTOA, Loopers, etc.) and some include sales tax, while others do not.  After doing all the calculations, we decided to stop at Miss Chris Marina on the Spicer Creek Canal, just before the Cape May Harbor. We had stopped here before and knew that it can shallow in this creek, but it was near high tide and we had plenty of depth.  We pulled in, took on some fuel and headed back out in under 30 minutes.

Mark took us through the Cape May Harbor and into SJM where the assistant dockmaster and dockhands assisted us with a tie up. The current was running fast, and their instructions on how to approach for a starboard side-tie was excellent.  We were now parked directly behind Loopers on “Corkscrew”, who made it to the marina before us as we stopped for fuel.  Tom, the assistant dockmaster told us they were going to move us to the other side of the berth once the tide changed, as “Corkscrew” would be leaving in the morning. With the current running so fast, there was no way we would be able to dock the boat on the other side. Plus they were still doing minor repairs on the dock that needed to be completed before we could berth there.

IO in first slip - SJ Marina

IO in first slip – SJ Marina

We tied up the boat, ate a late lunch and then checked in at the marina office.  Shortly thereafter the crew who helped us dock pulled our boat to the other side of the berth and now gave us a port-side tie up.

IO in second slip - SJ Marina

IO in second slip – SJ Marina

In the meantime our friends on “Dona Pacem” pulled into the marina. They too decided to take advantage of a great weather day and ditched their Delaware City plans as well.  They informed us that “Balahula” had also come into Cape May, but they were staying at Utsch’s Marina right around the corner.

About that time Barbara on “Balahula” sent us a text message for a dinner invite along with “Dona Pacem”.  We gleefully accepted, offering to bring an appetizer, even though it meant walking over to Utsch’s.

During this time, Mark did some troubleshooting on the temperature sensor. He had received some inputs from the Cummins Owners tech support site, and had spoken with Max from Zimmerman Marine.  A couple of the electrical tests he could not do because he did not have connectors that were small enough. But with Amazon Prime, all things are possible and he ordered these for delivery Friday morning. There was nothing more that he could do today and since we were not going anywhere for a few days, it was ok for now.

Soon it was time to walk over to “Balahula” for dinner.  Barbara and Joe had cooked a delicious meal of pork tenderloin, baked stuffed potatoes and bread. Jackie and Jim brought a salad and we had an appetizer.  We talked and laughed through dinner, then watched Jeopardy as the reigning champ (James) won another big day and on his way to a total winnings of $2 million.

Before long it was time to say good night and head back to the boat. Upon returning Denise did a quick check of email and received notice that a business associate she knew from a professional association had passed away earlier in the month. Over the years “Jim” and his wife had become friends of ours, sharing plants, a love of cooking, and even recipes. Although he was in his 80’s and in pretty good health, his death was sudden and unexpected.  Denise will surely miss him, and is grateful for the last sushi lunch they shared together.

Cape May, NJ (Thursday, 5/23):
As usual, Denise was up as soon as the sun came up and she went for a run down through the town of Cape May.  She ran past the church we have visited before (Our Lady Star of the Sea) and through the Washington pedestrian mall to the shore.  Here she jumped on the pathway leading all the way down to the point, but stopped just short of it to take the requisite picture of the “Cape May Boat”.

Beach sign

Cape May Boat

It was a bit windy and the seas on the Atlantic Ocean were choppy.  It’s a good thing we were not planning to go anywhere again today and the forecast was for them to increase and be from the north. That would not be conducive to smooth passage to Staten Island, 120 miles to our north.

The weather all day was fluky, with clouds for the morning, then clearing skies, and storms expected in the afternoon/evening.  It was a good day to hunker down on the boat and get some things done. First was to take advantage of the great facilities here and do laundry.  Mark even helped fold clothes and carry them back to the boat.

Laundry day

Laundry day

In the afternoon Denise called her friend Jim’s wife to express condolences and see how she was doing.  They talked for a while and she promised to go see her when they return to Winter Park in the fall. She also notified several past and present associates from their professional association over the last 20 years.

Denise also began reading a cruising book about Lake Champlain and the canals leading to the St. Lawrence.  We were trying to decide where would be the best place for her to stay while Mark was gone, and where to leave the boat for the weekend in June (6/22) when we would be home for 4 days.  We bounced around several options and finally decided to leave the boat in Burlington, VT.  We secured a slip at the marina right downtown that got good reviews and is 4 miles from the airport.  Mark was also able to finalized his travel schedule for the Palm Springs client; now going to Palm Springs and Chicago the week of 6/9. He will fly out of Albany, and it means we will miss the Pig Roast at Shady Harbor, after all. However, Denise will be spending the whole week there and will more than make up for it. She might actually get a (non-cruising guide) book read while he is gone.

Last night while having dinner, we learned from Jackie & Jim that a place right near the marina (C-View Inn) had weeknight happy hour specials in their pub, and that tonight they were having $2 sliders.  We made plans to walk over with Jackie and Jim, and rendezvous with Barbara, Joe and friends of theirs who were visiting. We arrived early as it ends at 6:00 and were grateful for Barbara & Joe who had already secured a large table for all of us. This let us get our order in before the 6:00 cut off. It didn’t take long for the place to get crowded and people hovering for seats even when the happy hour was over.  But most probably this was because it had started to storm outside. We really enjoyed the food and the company was lots of fun.

About the time we were finishing dinner, the skies cleared up and on our walk back to the marina we were treated to a double-rainbow.

Double rainbow

Double rainbow

Then later, we got to see the reflection of the sunset as it painted a spectacular sky over the eastern end of the marina.

Sunset sky over marina

Sunset sky over marina

Sunset sky over marina

Sunset sky over marina

We finished off the evening with some tv watching and picture cataloging, hoping desperately to get the blog published. Unfortunately, the internet was too slow, and we were too tired so it would have to wait until morning.

Cape May, NJ (Friday, 5/24):
Our day started with Denise getting the last blog update published, and Mark anxiously awaiting delivery of the necessary tools to continue troubleshooting the heat sensor. In the meantime he did a few other boat chores like installing new flag holders for our burgees and replacing the old windshield wiper blades with new ones.

New flag pendants

New flag pendants

After lunch the tools came and Mark was able to go to work testing with Denise helping out by turning on and off the engine. His first test was on the sensor and he was able to determine that in fact it was not working. What is unknown is if this was working initially when replaced by Zimmerman Marine, (ZM) or if something else (main wire harness) had since shorted it out.  Mark talked with Max at ZM and he was going to see if he could get us more answers. Max did agree to refund the fees for the parts and the labor portion of this issue and provided some suggestions on what else could be done. However, at this point we needed an experienced Cummins mechanic to come to the boat and do this.  Mark did the best he could to try to determine, but this is not his forte.

Mark then contacted a yacht broker whom we know from this area (Hank from Sandy Hook) to see if he knew of a Cummins mechanic in the New Jersey and Staten Island areas. He contacted one and scheduled them to be at Great Kills Yacht Club next Wednesday; after all it is a holiday weekend and they are all booked for Tuesday.  This issue should not prohibit us from moving the boat to Staten Island tomorrow as planned, we will just have to be vigilant on checking the engine temperature like we did on Wednesday crossing the Delaware.  Should any issues develop that prevent this, we can turn into one of several inlets (Atlantic City, Manasquan, etc.), and even call TowBoatUS – we have been there, done that before too!  But tomorrow the weather is going to be the only day in the next week for us to head north and into the Empire State.

After 4:00 we checked the latest weather forecast and were encouraged that tomorrow was still holding for an early departure out of Cape May.  With this information, we went to the marina office to pay the bill and say good-bye to the great staff.

Between yesterday and today a few more boats came into the marina, all waiting for the weather to break in order to head north. These included a sailboat from Florida, a Sabre (“Deplorable”), and a Marlow yacht. It also included Looper friends on “Panacea” we met at Alligator River Marina, who also intend to head north tomorrow.

After two nights of full socialization, we opted for a quiet dinner just the two of us. Even though the marina will take you anywhere in Cape May, we decided on dinner at “Lucky Bones” which is located across the street.  We ate there in 2015 and knew it was good and wanted to go back.  Since it was before 6:00 pm we were seated right away. We felt “lucky” as with the holiday weekend everything was getting busy and when we finished there was a line outside.

When we returned to the marina we noticed a lot more people had come down to their boats for the weekend. The summer was starting and people were looking forward to the boating season here.  As we were walking to our boat we ran into Jackie, Jim, Barbara & Joe.   We ended up hanging out on the marina patio in the comfortable outdoor furniture and talking for a long time.

During this time the owners of the Sabre (“Deplorable”) came by and we chatted with them. They are headed home to Plymouth, MA after a winter in Florida.  They brazenly came up the coast of Delaware (offshore) on Thursday when seas were rough.  They are also leaving tomorrow to head north and we intend to follow them, as long as we can keep up; they cruise faster than us at 24 knots.

Finally, we said good night and promised to see our new friends on “Dona Pacem” and “Balahula” at Great Kills Yacht Club in a few days.

Here are some other pictures of the South Jersey Marina:

South Jersey Marina

South Jersey Marina

A tiny cruise line boat

A tiny cruise line boat

South Jersey Marina

South Jersey Marina

South Jersey Marina

South Jersey Marina

Stay tuned for more of our adventures on Island Office.

Reunion in Annapolis!

Annapolis/Eastport, MD (Saturday, 5/18):
We left Olverson’s Marina as planned and headed out onto the Potomac River in absolutely ideal conditions. It was very flat and all the fishing boats were out.  It was going to be a beautiful day on the water and all sorts of boaters were out, including the solar-powered trimaran we saw in Daytona Beach on 4/8.

We had the current running in our favor, so in now time we entered the Chesapeake Bay and turned north.  It was flat and calm, but we were now fighting a small, current.  We were also now going to be in the state of Maryland, our 5th state on this wonderful adventure.

Wolf Trap Lighthouse

Wolf Trap Lighthouse on the Chesapeake

We cruised past the beaches and coastline of the western shore, and soon past the mouth of the Patuxent River.  Normally we would turn in here to spend time in Solomons, but we were bypassing this location on this trip.

Pax River Entrance

Pax River Entrance

Cove Point Lighthouse & Calvert Cliffs

Cove Point Lighthouse & Calvert Cliffs

We continued north running close to the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal at Cove Point, and near Calvert Cliffs State Park; a 30 mile-long stretch of fossil-laden clay strata and beach.

LNG Facility

LNG Facility

Just north of this area is a place called Herring Bay.  At the south end of the bay is a resort area called Herrington Harbor South, where we headed as an intermediary stop to get some fuel. Mark had been shopping prices and this was the best offer around, even though it meant a short diversion from the straight shot up the coast.  As we entered the channel there were numerous sailboats out to enjoy the beautiful day, even though there was very light wind.  We pulled into the fuel dock, filled our tanks, got a pump out and were on our way in no time.  We did notice the marina here was a very nice place and have put it on our list of “places to visit” again.

We cruised back out into the Bay and made our way north. There were many fishing boats out now and dodging them with their lines in tow was challenging. Captain Mark did a great job, as usual. We passed the Thomas Point Lighthouse; one of the most famous of all those on the Chesapeake.

Thomas Point LIghthouse

Thomas Point LIghthouse

We then approached the Severn River and Annapolis area. Here the boating traffic is so crazy and there are so many different type of boats going in every direction.  The wakes from all the boats kick up the waves and so we bounced our way from the Severn River, through the breakwater and into Back Creek where it was finally calm again.

Back Creek has numerous marinas and a few yacht clubs that line the perimeter. On the north side is the neighborhood of Eastport, which acts as a buffer from the craziness of Spa Creek (Annapolis Harbor). We pulled into a slip at the Watergate Marina which is part of a large apartment complex (Watergate Point Apartments) that leases out its marina slips. We were met by Chuck the dockmaster whom we had been in contact with and he helped to tie our lines.  Since there is no real marina office, he is the source of all the information for transient slip space, including giving us keys to the facilities.  This includes access to restrooms, showers, and lounge area with kitchen, internet café, pool and gym.  However, we had to go to the leasing office in order to get the Wi-Fi password as he did not know it.

Once we settled the boat we walked up the hill to the leasing office and met the women who worked there. They were very welcoming and told us they don’t know the password, but we could get it from the management company on Monday.  We thanked them and walked around the newly renovated facility as the office is in the same building as the facilities mentioned above. Denise really liked the decorating done here so she took a few pictures:

During our trip up the Chesapeake today, the temperature sensor started acting up again.  It would fluctuate more than 100 degrees (not supposed to do that), indicating there was a problem.  At one point Mark went into the engine room to check the temperature with his heat monitor and it was running at the expected temperature. We knew the engine was fine, but the something was still wrong with the electronic sensor. So, Mark sent an email to Mac, the yard manager at Zimmerman Marine.  We knew not to expect any reply until Monday, but we wanted to let them know we still had an issue.

In the late afternoon, we met up with Chuck and Victoria (“Argento”) whom we first met at Constitution Marina in Boston in 2017. They have since gotten married and took their Back Cove 37 down to Florida this past winter. We had hoped to connect with them while they were there, but were never able to do so. They were also planning to meet up with an old roommate of Victoria’s for dinner, so we agreed to just get together for drinks. Well, we soon learned we all had plans to eat at the same place and decided to just meet there together.  Davis Pub in Eastport is a very small local place we discovered in 2015, and wanted to go back.  Unfortunately it has also been discovered by the likes of Guy Fieri (Food Network’s -DDD) and now the whole world wants to eat there. They have great food that is reasonably priced and delicious.

Davis Pub

Davis Pub

We ended up getting a big table outside which gave us a chance to catch up and meet their friend Molly, and her daughter Anna.  They were planning to leave tomorrow and go to Chesapeake City, setting up for a Delaware Bay crossing on Monday. However, once we showed them the weather forecast they began rethinking their plans too.  We had a nice time and then bid farewell and walked back to the boat for the night.

IO at Watergate

IO at Watergate


Annapolis/Eastport, MD (Sunday, 5/19):
The morning began with a short walk across the bridge to Annapolis and to St. Mary’s Catholic Church for 8:30 am mass. It was a beautiful church and it reminded Denise of the Basilica at the University of Notre Dame.  We had wanted to go to the Naval Academy chapel where we went once before, but with it being graduation week, they had a special Baccalaureate mass scheduled.

St Mary's and Spa Creek Moorings

St Mary’s and Spa Creek Moorings

Just as we were leaving the church, we ran into Jim & Jackie (“Dona Pacem”) whom we met in Beaufort, NC. They were going to attend a later mass and they had their boat at the Annapolis Yacht Basin (AYB) where we stayed in 2015.  We wanted to see what other (Looper) boats were at AYB and to see the crowded mooring field.  The Blue Angels would be flying right over this area on Tuesday and Wednesday and moorings are on a first-come, first-serve basis and therefore fill up fast.

Annapolis Yacht Basin and Moorings

Annapolis Yacht Basin and Moorings

We then walked back to the boat where Denise did some cooking/food prep for the week, and Mark did some troubleshooting on the engine sensor issue.  The wind was picking up and we were happy to stay put on the boat.

In the afternoon Chuck and Victoria came by to see what improvements we had made on our boat, and to compare notes on things they had on theirs.  We also discussed places to stay along our routes north and what other fun places to cruise to.  We bid them farewell and agreed to stay in touch until the fall, when hopefully we will see them in Boston.

Once they left, we walked the half mile up the road to the Eastport shopping Center to eat dinner at a bar-b-que place “Adams East Taphouse & Grille” (aka Adams East). It is a local chain with several other locations, but our waitress told us Eastport was the best. It certainly was the closest for us.  The food was good and Mark was delightful to get some barbeque.  We also did reconnaissance on what else was in the shopping plaza and discovered a Rite-Aid, a nail salon, and two other restaurants.  We then walked back to the boat in time for Mark to catch the final episode of Game of Thrones.

Adams Ribs Eats

Adams Ribs Eats

Annapolis/Eastport, MD (Monday, 5/20):
In the morning Denise went for a run through Eastport, but is still being plagued with pain in her right leg/butt that seems to act up around 2.5 miles.  Here was a place where she could have run many miles through the streets of Eastport and Annapolis, but her body just will not let her. But she did snap a few pictures along the run:

Once back on the boat, Denise got her shower while Mark went and got a rental car from Avis; cashing in some rewards points so we could have a day on land.  We used the car to do many errands throughout the day including stops at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, West Marine and a Giant grocery store.  Along the way we encountered a Panera Bread and stopped there for lunch as it was in the neighborhood where we were.  We came back to the boat to work on the last blog and to catalog the pictures. When we have many things to do, and there are many interruptions, it is easy to get behind with this activity, and it takes a long time to catch up.

Because it was to be our last night in Annapolis and Mark’s birthday is on Tuesday we wanted to go to a nice restaurant for dinner.  As it was his choice of location, we used the rental car to drive the 1 mile to Ruth’s Chris’ Steakhouse in Eastport.  We were slightly dressed up and didn’t want to get caught in the forthcoming rain, and it was too far for Denise to walk in heeled shoes.  We arrived a little early and enjoyed a fine meal of soups, steaks, vegetables and even a dessert.  While we were eating it did rain, but it was short-lived and stopped by the time we were finished.  The wind was clocking around to the Northwest and with it came some cooler air.  It was time to turn off the air conditioner and put the heat back on.

Mark's Birthday Ribeye dinner

Mark’s Birthday Ribeye dinner

After dinner we drove around Eastport to look at all the quaint houses, but as it is a small community, it didn’t take long. We arrived back at the boat to watch a little TV, re-check the weather and call it a day.

Here are a few more pictures of the area around the Watergate apartments and marina:

Clouds over Back Creek and Watergate Marina

Clouds over Back Creek and Watergate Marina

Rock Hall, MD (Tuesday, 5/21):
Today we would be leaving the Annapolis area, but first we had a few things to do. The wind was supposed to die down later in the morning and we wanted to wait as long as possible before we left.  First, however, we needed to return the rental car, and we wanted to publish an update on our blog – and we did.

Once back from returning the rental car, we readied the boat for leaving. This includes taking down the water softening/filtration system, putting up the hailing port sign on the dinghy (since the dinghy covers the one on the transom), disconnecting the shore power electricity as well as other items.  It doesn’t take long, but all are steps in the process. In the meantime the dockmaster came by to help us off the docks and to retrieve the facilities keys.  During all this prep, the harbor in Back Creek was getting quite congested with boats. It is a prime viewing location for seeing the Blue Angels, and today was their practice day.  Since the wind was still blowing a bit and the Annapolis Harbor was more exposed and really crowded, this was a great location for private and party boats alike.

It was just after 11:00 am and about the time we pulled out of our slip and negotiated around all the boats, the Blue Angels started to fly. It was thrilling to see them as they roared overhead.  Denise tried to take some pictures, but was also trying to clean up the deck lines and fenders before we got on the Severn River.

Eventually, we made our way out into the river, while being tossed around by the wakes of the numerous boats rushing into Annapolis to catch the show.  It was amazing to see so many boats at the anchorages around town; and it was only the practice day.

Boats at outer anchorage to watch Blue Angels

Boats at outer anchorage to watch Blue Angels

It didn’t take long to make our way out of the Severn River and head into the Chesapeake Bay. Here we faced a north wind and outgoing current; both working to slow our pace.  There were also several large container or freight vessels in the shipping channel trying to make their way north into Baltimore.  It was a bumpy and unpleasant ride, but knowing we were only going up the river 12 miles made it tolerable. Still we slowed the boat when the sensor alarm would go off, and Mark would check the engine temperature with the heat gun just to make sure it was not overheating.

Finally we cruised through the breakwater and into the harbor at Rock Hall.  We circled past a marina and restaurant, then made our way to the Rock Hall Landing Marina where we had a one-night’s reservation.

Approaching Rock Hall Harbor

Approaching Rock Hall Harbor

Our slip was a side-tie making it easy for us to get in and out and we were helped by the dockmaster, Joe. It took no time to set the boat up for our short stay, and then we walked up to the marina office to check in.  This is one of our favorite stops on this part of the Chesapeake and we were happy to be back.

Shortly after lunch we were visited by our friend Bob (“New Horizon”), whom we met at Alligator River Marina and helped us when we were also together at Coinjock. He lives in Rock Hall and is the primary reason to stop here on this trip.  We made plans for him to come pick us up later for dinner.

We spent the rest of the afternoon doing work and trying to plan the next few weeks of our adventure. Mark has a client that needs him in Palm Springs, CA for a week and we have a trip home planned for late June.  We also want to be in New Baltimore, NY for a pig roast at Shady Harbor Marina (See Wednesday, 6/24/15 entry from our 2015 Loop trip here for back story) on 6/9, which will situate us perfectly for entering the Lake Champlain area and the openings of the locks.

Of course the unknown in all of this is the weather.  When we are in the ICW we don’t worry too much about the wind, except for crossing a handful of sounds (Albemarle, Pamlico, etc.). But now we have several long days on large bodies of water and we have to make sure we can be out on them without getting ourselves into uncomfortable situations. We have been there and wish not to repeat these times.  We adjusted our plans for tomorrow to not stop in Delaware City and decided to make a straight shot to Cape May, NJ as the weather looked great for a calm passage. We modified our reservations at South Jersey Marina (one of our favorites), and decided to wait until tomorrow to cancel Delaware City; just in case.

Then Bob came to collect us and take us out for dinner. We drove about 15 miles inland to the outskirts of Chestertown, MD to a place that used to be an old mill (Radcliffe Mill).  Café Sado is an Asian-inspired new restaurant and Bob recommended it highly.

Denise ordered the sushi special, while Mark got the nightly pork belly and bacon-wrapped scallops.  It was delicious and we liked having something besides pub or marina food for a change. The service could have been better, but we didn’t care as we got to know Bob a little better. We were sorry his wife Laurie was unable to join us as she was away caring for her ill mother in PA.

After dinner, we were given a guided tour of the town of Chestertown and the surrounding area.  We had considered taking our boat the 38 miles up this river to see the town, but opted for moving ahead to Rock Hall instead. So it was a real treat to have him drive us here, and we were so glad that he did. It is really a great little town and has a brand new marina that has just opened.  It is also the home of Washington College, a liberal arts college founded in 1783.  There are numerous restaurants and shops, as well as parks and ongoing events.  The town is not really a touristy place, but offers a lot for those who want to visit.  It is somewhere that we would like to come back to; maybe in the fall on the way home.

Bob returned us back to our boat in time to prep it for an early morning departure. We could see the wind would be very favorable most of the day, and we wanted all the assurance of a calm passage to NJ.

Stay tuned for more of our adventures on Island Office.

It’s a Small World After All!

Zimmerman Marine (ZM) – Mobjack Bay, VA (Wednesday, 5/15):
It is amazing how bright the sky is at 5:45 am here, and with it how loud all the birds are.  Denise was trying to sleep in a little bit longer, but gave up and put on her running shoes for the first time in a week. Despite fighting a cold and not knowing the area, she ventured past the entrance to Zimmerman Marine and onto the 2 lane road. It is very rural in these parts and houses are usually far apart, some are even horse farms.  Heading towards the water, it didn’t take long to run out of road and there was nowhere else to go. Turning around and heading in the opposite direction, she ran out to the two-lane highway and was forced to turn around and head back to the marina. It is too dangerous to run on the highway with speeds of 55 or more and no shoulder, sidewalk, etc. Finally, at nearly 3 miles she ended the run and went back to the boat. But some run is better than no run.  Here are some pictures from this running adventure:

In the morning and early afternoon it was work, cataloging pictures, and reading.  We anxiously awaiting word of the arrival of the package containing the sensor, but soon learned that it did not shop as planned. We would have to wait another day for its arrival and installation.

Seeking refuge from 3 days on the boat, we signed up for use of the loaner car to drive into the nearby town of Mathews for dinner.  It is 9 miles to drive there from ZM, but if we would have used the dinghy from our anchorage at Put in Creek earlier in the week, it was less than 2 miles. Of course we would have had to go at near high tide and returned before low tide as the creek dries up.  So now we had to drive away from the water, to the big highway (still 2 lane) and then back towards the water to get to Mathews.

First stop in Mathews was dinner. There were only two restaurants open on Wednesdays and we chose to eat at “Southwinds Cafe” – a place known for their fresh ingredients in pizza and their seafood.  It is a country diner in an old renovated house with tables on the front porch and tables inside.  There is also a bar area and they have several local microbrewery beers on tap.  It is eclectically decorated with all things “waterman” and antique-like.  We each got individual pizzas and a Mediterranean salad to split, and had leftovers to bring back to the boat.

After dinner we walked around looking at the historical markers, the old buildings and all that make up the character of this quaint little town.  Here are some pictures from this outing:

When we returned back to the boat, we parked the car in the lot and left the keys right where we found them: in the cup holder.  Life in these little towns reminds us of what it used to be like when everyone was trusting and when you always felt safe.

Zimmerman Marine (ZM) – Mobjack Bay, VA (Thursday, 5/16):
We woke up with anticipation of receiving the part, getting it installed and being able to leave for an evening somewhere else.  The weather was beautiful and sitting at a dock for two days when we could be enjoying beautiful cruising weather was frustrating.  But if the boat isn’t right, we can’t move it as we need dependability.

So we waited, but we didn’t sit still.  Mark gave the boat a good washing while Denise cleaned the inside windows. When he was done, we cleaned and applied “Rain-ex” to the outside windows and hatch covers. This helps the water to bead up and allows for much better visibility when trying to drive the boat in the rain or when sea spray hits the windshield.

Cleaning the sun roof on IO

Cleaning the sun roof on IO

We were not alone in our chores; we watched Albert on the sailboat (“Magus”) next to us work feverishly over the last few days to get his engine repaired, and his boat ready to take back up to Maine where he is from. We also watched the crew in the yard splash 2 other boats and put them in slips, as well as haul out another boat that was going into the yard for short-term storage.

"Sisyphus" at work hauling out

“Sisyphus” at work hauling out

Here they use a tractor and some wheeled supports to haul boats in and out of the water, instead of a travel lift like we are used to.  It is really a sight to see, and the guys who do this are extremely thorough and talented.

In the morning we had received notice that the package was in transit, but not certain as to what time UPS would deliver. As the day wore on we resigned ourselves to the fact that we would most likely have to stay another night.  Once the package was received, it still had to be installed and it was probably going to be too late to leave and get up the Rappahannock as originally planned.  So we once again went into “re-plan” mode and decided that if we could leave in the morning, we would go all the way to the Potomac River and Olverson’s marina. We were going there to pick up some large fenders that would be of use to us in the locks on the St. Lawrence. Our MTOA (Marine Trawlers Owners Association) friends Jonathan and Lynn (“Zendo”) were giving them to us as they did not need them.  We already have a set, but it will be helpful to have a second set.  John and Lynn are not at Olverson’s, but their boat is and they made arrangements for us to get them off their boat.

Another reason to going to Olverson’s is that it is the headquarters for MTOA and we get a free night’s dockage if we stay there.  Although we could make it from ZM to the Potomac, and then back out and further up the Chesapeake so Solomons, it would make for a very long day. With long days comes the risk of getting caught in rough seas if the wind unexpectedly picks up, which the Chesapeake is known for. So we try to plan for shorter trips if possible.

Finally, in mid-afternoon Bob told us that our part had arrived and he would be down to install the sensor as soon as possible. Shortly thereafter he came to the boat, did the installation and check out, and all appeared to be fine.  Mark went up and settled the bill with the office before they closed so we could leave at any time in the morning that was convenient for us.

Meanwhile, Rose (from the boat “Catherine”) came by to invite us over for watermelon with her and her wife Janni.  Even though Mark does not eat the stuff, we still went over to be sociable.  As we arrived, so did Albert (“Magus”) and we all had a chance to get to know each other a little bit.  What was remarkable was learning the Rose had attended Carson Newman College in Tennessee, and graduated with a degree in Physical Education in 1970; a year before Denise’s sister (Jeanne). Even though it was a small program in those days, Rose did not remember Jeanne. However, it is possible they knew each other but the years have clouded such a recollection. When Denise told Jeanne about this, she said she was going to go to her yearbooks and look her up.  It is such a small world after all!

Janni and Rose ("Catherine")

Janni and Rose (“Catherine”)

The conversations could have gone on for a long time, but it was getting late. We thanked our hosts for their hospitality and returned to our boat for dinner and to prepare for tomorrow’s journey to Olverson’s.

Olverson’s Lodge Creek Marina near Callao, VA (Friday, 5/17):
Not knowing when she would get a chance over the next few days, Denise went for a run in the morning. This time she headed toward the main highway, and in doing so discovered another road to run on.  On the way back from the main road she took this other road for the ½ mile of pavement and came upon a small farm with a horse in the paddock.  After taking a few pictures, she returned to the run and finished up as she entered into the marina parking lot. Not a long run, but a rejuvenating one.

Horse Farm near ZM

Horse Farm near ZM

We left ZM shortly before 9:00 a.m., bidding farewell to our few marina neighbors and the wonderful crew we had come to know in a few short days.

We made our way past the Williams Wharf Landing and down the East River into Mobjack Bay. We wanted to run the engine hard and fast to discover and issues, but everything ran great and in no time we were back on the Chesapeake heading north.  The water had been a bit bumpy when we were on Mobjack Bay, but tolerable.

As we turned out onto the Chesapeake it got more comfortable as the wind was behind us and it made for a smoother ride.

Wolf Trap Lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay

Wolf Trap Lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay

Eventually we turned west and entered the Potomac River, dodging crab pots the whole way. Here we technically entered the state of Maryland, as the state border here with Virginia is on the southern shore of the river.  The land helped to block the southern wind so it was not a bad ride at all, even though it had started to pick up a bit.It took us about an hour to cruise up the Potomac until we came to the Yeocomico River. We turned left and continued up the river bypassing a crab processor as well as some beautiful homes on the banks.

We made contact with the dockmaster and were assigned our slip.  When we pulled in we were helped by a couple we met at the MTO Rendezvous in Fort Pierce in April 2018; Liz and Steve Kemper (“Shingebiss”).  They were incredibly helpful and we were surprised they remembered us.  Plus, we were grateful for the extra set of arms as was Fred Olverson the owner, who was on the dock to meet us but didn’t have to get up from his chair the whole time.  Instead he handed us our packet containing wifi passcodes, and the usual marina information and trinkets.

We went for a walk to get to know the area, including the Lodge Creek Yacht Club and marina clubhouse as well as the area where the fishing boat captains hang out (called “Liars Corner”).  We also inquired about the loaner car (there are 3) and were not surprised to learn the key were in the vehicle and we could take it whenever and wherever we liked. There are no rules here.

On the way back to the boat we stopped by “Zendo” and retrieved the large fender balls; the purpose of our Olverson’s visit. They were across the dock from our friends on “Shingebiss”.

We went back to the boat and looked at the weather forecast and our future plans.  Saturday was going to be a great day to be on the water, but Sunday things were going to get windy and Monday looked awful. Since we didn’t have any compelling reason to go to Solomons, we decided to bypass it altogether this time.  Instead, we decided to go to Annapolis, more specifically to Back Creek and the area known as Eastport.  We knew it was Commissioning week and we knew what that meant; crazy crowds everywhere, but a lot of fun nonetheless. Mark made marina reservations for a place we had learned about at the Watergate Marina, which is really the marina associated with the Watergate apartments. It is on the Eastport side of Back Creek, and everything we would want to do should be in walking distance.

Meanwhile, Denise cleaned the fenders and when Mark was done with the reservations, he washed the salt water off the boat.  We then took our showers and joined some of the local boaters who had congregated for docktails right near our slip. They were very friendly and made us feel very welcome. We socialized for a little while and asked for recommendations for diner, but didn’t stay too long. We knew it would mean getting in the car and driving to the nearest town and back and it was already getting late.

So off we went down the rural roads to the town of Callao (pronounced Cal-ee-o), and then continued on about 5 miles to “Backdraft”, a bar & restaurant that everyone on the docks recommended. The owner is a former firefighter and the place has a fireman’s theme to it.  However, the building and furnishings are old and need some updating.  But the food was good and the place was pretty quiet for a Friday night so we had great service.

About Olverson’s Lodge Creek Marina:  The marina is a large and is in the middle of nowhere except for rural houses and some farmland. But it is in a great location to jump off into the Potomac and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. It is directly across the Potomac from St. Mary’s, where we anchored and visited St. Mary’s college in 2017. In addition to the marina/yacht club clubhouse and picnic area, it has a heated swimming pool and is also an RV park. It has some covered and uncovered slips, but all of the walkways are covered so you can stay out of inclement weather or keep the sun off of you.  The facilities are old and showing their wear, but they are clean and the hospitality of everyone is very welcoming.  The only thing we didn’t like was the bugs (wood bees and spiders) but we have learned over our travels that it is normal for covered slips to have such creatures. We prefer open slips for that reason.

It is also a great hurricane hole and many people from Virginia and Maryland (primarily) keep their boats here, then come and spend weekends on them.  People all know each other and have for over 20 years, and now their kids are having families and joining them on weekends as well. We even got invited to a few parties for Saturday night should we decide to stay here longer.  Truly, the people make this place what it is and we really appreciated their warm hospitality and friendliness. We didn’t have the heart to tell them we had already made up our mind to leave the next day for Annapolis.

You can learn more about Olverson’s here.

Here are some more pictures of the place:

Olverson's marina from the road

Olverson’s marina from the road

Doggie bar at Olverson's

Doggie bar at Olverson’s

IO at Olverson's

IO at Olverson’s

Stay tuned for more adventures on Island Office.

Mayhem in Mobjack Bay!

Mobjack Bay, VA (Monday 5/13):
At some point in our crazy lives we all want a day where we do nothing but sit around and read, watch tv or movies, and don’t do much of anything.  No phone calls, work, errands, carting people places, no going anywhere or talking to anyone else (mostly). Today was THAT day for us.  The anchorage area (“Put In Creek” – up the East River off Mobjack Bay) has a few sparsely dispersed houses lining both sides of it.  We only saw lights and activity in one of the houses last night, and given the rain and overcast skies we saw no stars.  But there was lots of birds (blue herons and osprey) and some jumping fish to keep us amused.

Drizzly morning at Put In Creek

Drizzly morning at Put In Creek

In the early morning one boat of watermen (term used for fisherman of all types on the Chesapeake) came to check on their crab pots.  Later in the day, another would come by and set out a new pot right near our boat.  Pulling up the anchor and not hitting it is going to be fun!

As soon as we got up we put on the generator to power the coffee pot, computers, phones, tablets and the heat. Yes, it was in the low 60’s and it was cold on the boat.  We kept it on for a few hours; enough time to warm up the place and prepare a hot breakfast.

After 8:00, Mark called Zimmerman Marine to advise that we were in the Mobjack Bay area, and to see the status of availability for the Cummins mechanic.  Although we had a firm appointment for Wednesday, they had previously told us to call and they would let us know if they could take us earlier. We were told that there was a slight chance they would have an opening on their docks during the day, and that the mechanic may be able to take us.  Based on this, and the fact that it rained off and on all morning, we did not venture out on the dinghy.  We wanted to explore up the creek a few miles to the nearby town of Matthews, but we were not up for getting caught in a downpour.  We also figured that with the weather, no one on the dock would be leaving anytime soon. Most likely we were stuck at the anchorage for another night, but it was not a bad place to be stuck at all.

And so that is how we got the “do nothing” day. We hung out doing a little reading, emails, a few minor boat chores, brief conversations with family, and napping.

Soon it was time to start preparing dinner and that meant turning on the generator to power the stove and oven.  And by this time we again needed to charge computers, cell phones, camera, tablets, etc. again.  Denise made enchiladas and Mark made drinks, and we had a peaceful dinner.  The rain had stopped, the sun actually came out, and the anchorage was as calm as can be.  We got to witness a beautiful sunset over the tops of the trees and then went back to reading until bedtime.

Here are some pictures of the surrounding houses:


Mobjack Bay, VA (Tuesday, 5/14):
Every day the sun is setting later and rising earlier and with it comes the chirping birds.  Denise’s natural body clock is set to get up with the chirping birds and so she was up with the first hint of daylight.  It had rained during the night and it got colder, but with long pants and a fleece jacket Denise was comfortable and didn’t want to disturb Mark’s sleeping by running the generator. Instead she went outside and took some pictures.

When she came back inside Mark was awake and insisted on putting on the generator to heat up the place; it was 64° inside and 54° outside.

Shortly after breakfast, Zimmerman Marine called and said they had space on their dock and the mechanic was available. So we pulled up the anchor and motored less than 2 miles back down the creek to their place.  We were met by a couple of dockhands who were professional and helped to tie up our boat; they knew what they were doing.  We checked in at the office where Gail gave us all the information we needed and said she would contact the mechanic, “Bob” who would be down to our boat in a little while.

Zimmerman Marine is strictly a repair and storage yard. It is not a marina per se, but they do have docks for boats coming in for repair, or for temporary stay during a haul out or splash after storage. Therefore, accommodations are limited and not geared to “cruisers”.

It didn’t take long for Bob to show up.  He has been with Zimmerman Marine for 17 years and has attended Cummins Engine training in Indiana, so we felt very comfortable with him doing the work.  Mark explained all the issues we had been having with the intermittent temperature on the engine, and what troubleshooting we had done so far.  Then they went into the engine room and did all kinds of computerized diagnostics while Denise stayed at the helm to turn on/off the engine as required.

Mechanic "Bob"

Mechanic “Bob”

Roughly an hour later, Bob and Mark deduced they should replace the impeller, and in the process discovered our issue; the inner part of the impeller had come apart from the outer ring. So when Mark looked at it in Poquoson but didn’t remove it, it appeared ok, but it wasn’t.  Bob said he had only seen this 2 other times and so he took it back to the shop to take pictures and to check inventory for a replacement.  We have a spare impeller on board, but Bob suggested we not use it as it was from 2013 and if we wanted reliability we should use a new one. At $50 a part, it would not be prudent to put one in that is 6 years old. Bob also checked on the engine coolant temperature sensor which appeared to be in good working order, but again wanting reliability, we opted to replace that too.

When he returned we learned both parts were not available on site, but he should be able to have them here tomorrow. We would have to stay the night which was ok by us as we had shore power (no more generator to heat the boat), internet access and a few chores to do. Since we are in a very rural part of Virginia and there is nothing around us except houses and this repair facility, we stayed on the boat.  Plus, it had started to rain again so we weren’t anxious to go anywhere. Denise put shelf liners in the refrigerator drawers and Mark took care of a few business related items.

Other boats in for repair

Other boats in for repair

In the late afternoon the rain stopped and the skies were clear. Denise went for a walk and met Rose, one of the women on a boat three slips away (”Catherine”). She and her wife are from Seattle, but she is originally from Eustis. After taking their sailboat from Seattle down the west coast, through the Panama Canal and western Caribbean, they decided to sell it and buy their current boat; a trawler.  Coincidentally, they took delivery of it at Harbortown Marina in Merritt Island (our home port marina). It really is a small world!  They chatted for a while but it was time to get dinner going, so Denise headed back to the boat.

After preparing and eating dinner, we settled in for an evening of reading, completing this blog, and watching a little TV before going to bed. And once the sun went down we had to put the heaters on – the low tonight will be 50°.

If all goes well tomorrow we will be able to have the repair completed and we can move on to an anchorage on the Rappahannock River. If not, we will spend another night here.

Here are some pictures of the Zimmerman Marine facilities:

Office at Zimmerman Marine

Office at Zimmerman Marine

Repair yard and dry storage

Repair yard and dry storage

Trailer for haul out

Trailer for haul out

 

PIcnic area at Zimmerman Marine

PIcnic area at Zimmerman Marine

 

Stay tuned for more of our adventures on Island Office.