30 September 2012

Macara's Birthday and Baltimore

Oops!  Has it been that long?

We have got our repairs done.  No more squeak.  No more leaky hatch.  And Canyon Club is behind us.  Maybe on the way home we will stop in again?  Maybe do some fishing this time?
Canyon Club Resort and Marina
Canon Club Resort and Marina
We got another great weather window and made the run up Delaware Bay.  Delaware Bay runs NW to SE and has a fair tidal current.  It is also relatively shallow.  Countering winds a waves can create miserable sea conditions.  Thankfully, not for us.

We like to anchor out.  We like to explore.  Marinas can be fun, but the reason for owning a boat is the freedom.  At this point we are over 800nm from home and have anchored out at only one location.  Bad timing with weather and few anchoring opportunities have kept us marina bound.  Not tonight, we are going to make it work.  We picked a place behind Reedy Island.  Good depth, conveniently located close to the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal.  All is good, save for a nagging tidal current.  Floods at 3.5 knots and then ebbs at 4.1knots!  It was like we were creating a wake while sitting still.  

We got there early because it was Macara’s birthday and we wanted a chance to make it fun for her.  We arrived on the rising tide and as the current built our anchor broke loose from the bottom.  That has never happened to me before!  Ummm, maybe there is more to this tide stuff than I gave credit.  We repositioned in a little shallower water, but with less protection and dug in again.  Then came the falling tide and even a stronger current.  We held this time, but now it is in the back of my mind.  For the rest of the day, we made snacks, we played games and we played music.  All fun stuff.  But, sleeping that night was a little tense.  When is the tide change?  When does the anchor reset?  When is peak current?  Is it going to hold?  I should have set two anchors, one for each direction.  Oh well, live and learn.  I will sleep better next time.

chocalate covered frozen bananas
The next ‘morning’, we transited the C&D canal to Chesapeake Bay, which has a smaller tidal range and thus, less tidal current.  Just around the corner was the Sassafras River and a couple of creeks with anchoring choices.  This is what we have been seeking.  
Sassafras River sunset
Too shallow here.  Blocking the channel there.  It’s not perfect, but this spot will have to do.  Well it did!  We stayed three nights.  Finally, we unloaded the dinghy.  We explored.  We travelled into town.  We met other boaters.  Even our age!!!  We exchanged email addresses and hope to meet up again.  But, they had their own boat maintenance to clear up before continuing on and we had pick up some stuff in Baltimore.  Away we go, our separate ways.

Next stop, Baltimore.  But first, let’s stop in Stoney Creek and anchor out just a little bit more before heading in to the marina.  Our original plan was one night and then head in.  Well, that turned into three more nights on the hook.  We found a neat little spot where a creek feeds into a creek.  No houses.  A little bit of privacy.  Sort of, apparently this creek is a favourite with the local crabbers.  These guys are still recreational (known locally as ‘Chicken Neckers’), but they are serious about their crabbing.  We bought a couple 2-ring traps, they put out about 30.  We wake up the next morning to see a full trap line right around the back of our boat.  Soon, they were back, bringing in crab after crab.  Hey, we like to catch crab!  Quick, check what we have in the freezer?  Chicken drumsticks will have to do.  After many unsuccessful hours, we got offered a hint.  Apparently, crab prefer skinless chicken.  Who knew?!?!  Unfortunately, by that point, we didn’t have time to catch enough for dinner and our biggest crab yet ended up getting tossed back.
The girls checking the crab trap
I was excited to come to Baltimore.  It has lived up to the hype and then some.  Restaurants, museums, aquariums and more.

Our original plan was 2 nights and then move on because we are going to be back later with my parents.  This is how plans start to go bad.  The marina that we are staying at offers, stay 2 nights and the third night is free.  Well, that is obvious.  Then there is the fourth night, it is 30% off.  Here comes our 4th straight night in Baltimore!

One of the joys of home schooling is the field trips.  We picked our marina based on its proximity to the Baltimore National Aquarium.  We needed a full day and didn’t see it all.  If you are in the area, I highly recommend it.

Be honest, who doesn’t love a good dolphin show.  We got there early and grabbed a seat.  We weren’t sitting long, when one of the aquarium employees approaches Macara and asks if she would like to participate in the presentation.  Lucky kid!  Even Mom and Dad are jealous.  It wasn’t a big part.  They were promoting the disposal bins that the state has put on many of the Maryland beaches.  Macara got to put some fishing line and fishing net in one of their garbage cans.  For her help, she got to stand right at the pools’ edge while a couple dolphins performed flips for her.
Macara's part in the dolphin presentation

Dolphin viewing
Baltimore has done a lot with their waterfront.  There are water taxis running all over the harbour.  There are walkways everywhere and pedestrian bridges from pier to pier.  You can see so much and never encounter a single car.  There are dinghy docks all around the inner harbour.  That is how we get our groceries.  We are quite a sight, the three of us with a weeks worth of groceries in a 10’ dinghy.  Of course, we had to make a separate trip just for the beer.  There wasn’t room.

Still many chores to be done on a boat.  We laugh with other boaters about when we talk with people that don’t understand what we are doing.  “What do you do all day?”, we have all been asked.  Are you kidding, where does the time go.  There is still cooking, laundry and cleaning to do.  Just today, I replaced the raw water washdown pump (chains and anchors come up very dirty around here), removed a toilet that has been leaving a bit of an odor in the boat and soldered a wire back on the fresh water tank level sender unit (life on the hook is a lot less stressful when you know how much water you have left for that next flush).  

Now that we are in better shape, it is time to back out on the hook and do some more exploring.  And catch some more crab.  Before my new toilet comes in and I am back doing chores.

18 September 2012

New Jersey Coast

We left NYC and took advantage of some particularly pleasant weather.  Our first days out on the ocean were as calm as could be.  So, we took advantage and put some miles behind us.  Next stop Atlantic City.

Atlantic City was one of my stops when I brought the boat home and I looked forward to bringing the girls.  We took Macara on a 'field trip' to the Atlantic City Aquarium were she got to feed Cow Nose rays and play in the 'touch tank'.  Then we went down to the Board Walk for a little sight seeing.  We walked on the beach.  We did a little shopping.  All good stuff.

The perfect weather continued, so we took full advantage.  We completed the Jersey Coast by travelling further down to Cape May.  Cape May is a natural stop before heading up Delaware Bay, but we plan to stay a little longer.  There is some real nasty weather in the long range forecast and our hatch is leaking. It also seems like a perfect opportunity to check that engine alignment.  Put an end to that squeak.  Ocean Yachts are built in New Jersey and a quick call to the manufacturer recommended that we stop at the Canyon Club Marina.  What a place!!!  We look like we belong here, but we don't.  This is a hard core off-shore fishing marina.  Almost exclusively filled with sport fish boats, mostly Vikings and Oceans.  The majority fitted with outriggers, it is quite a sight.  A typical fishing day for these guys is to depart at about 1am, run out some 70nm and begin fishing.  They fish all day and return sometime after dark.  A long day for sure.  The entire marina is fixed to fuel each boat in its slip.  There are fuel pumps about every fourth slip.  That's a nice touch for sure!

Service like that comes at a price.  We arrived on a Friday and wouldn't get service until Monday.  To save a few bucks, we went looking for an anchorage.  Unfortunately, we wandered out right at low tide.  There is a 5'-6' tide here.  Without that extra cushion, I did not have the courage to find a spot to anchor.  Off to Utsch's Marina for a couple nights.  I am glad we did.  We meet some more "cruisers" over there and got some advice on how and where to catch some Blue Crab.  On Sunday, that is what we did.

From what I was told, we were to go up in Jarvis Sound on the low tide and find a spot were the fresh water creeks feed in.  We bought a couple 2 ring traps and a couple Mackerel for bait.  We hoped in the dinghy and off we went.  We set the traps and waited about 10min.  The first trap empty, not really a big surprise.  The second trap had a crab in it!  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  Our laughter rang out over the marsh.

Now I am sure the locals would laugh at me, but I wasn't grabbing a hold of these guys without some protection.  Check out my deep frying gloves, they should do the trick.

We tossed a couple small ones back, a couple 'keepers' convinced me to let them go free.  At the end of our brief outing, we had 4 crabs to show for our efforts.  Now back to the boat and quick brush up on You Tube on how to prepare our bounty.

I ended up going with the Carolina method.  A little more preparation up front, but a more pleasing table presentation.  I steamed them in beer and Old Bay spice.  Our 'picking' skills could use a little work, but we definitely enjoyed the fruits of our labour.  What a mess!

We got our service completed on Monday.  Hatch resealed and the motor alignment is all good.  Tuesday was the start of the bad weather, so we rented a car for the day.  The cupboards are starting to get a little bare and Macara's birthday is coming.  The weatherman got today right, the Delaware Bay buoy at one time was showing 34kt (39mph), gusting to 41kt (47mph).  We didn't get the forecasted 1"-2" of rain, but I won't complain.

Hopefully in the next day or so, we will get a weather window to allow us to make our way North-West up Delaware Bay.

13 September 2012


What a rush!  I haven't felt this uncomfortable in a long time.  Not scared, just out of my comfort zone.  Let me explain.

Out in the Hudson River there are ferries running everywhere.  Lots of boat traffic, in a hurry, on a schedule.  No courtesy, just business.  I expected that.  I had the radar running and was adjusting speed and course to account for all the wake and chop.  What I wasn't ready for was when we entered the Morris Canal, where our marina was.  There was a ferry boat pulling out in front of me, so I gave him is space, when up on full plane, another ferry boat races right on by us.  I was at a standstill.  The boat rocked mercilessly.  Macara was down below and got knocked right off her feet.  Stuff got thrown everywhere.  Welcome to NYC?  I am a little put out.

Next,  our slip assignment, D22.  They want us to go where?  I nose my way in towards the guy in the 'red shirt'.  There is no place to turn around in here.  The wind is howling.  No way!  I can't do it.  I almost clip a dock as I back my way out of there.  "Can I have another slip assignment"? I call out of the VHF.  "Sure, no problem.  Let's try D21", he says.  Well, D21 is the same as D22 except from the other direction.  It's only saving grace was that there wasn't another 48' Ocean Super Sport in the slip right across from it like D22 had.  At D21, that slip is empty.  But, to get to D21 I must back off the main channel down a row of slips, with the wind blowing me sideways, then back into the wind all the way up another row of slips to the very end.  Where finally, I have to bring her broadside to the wind and tie up.  I am proud to say that I aced it, but my knees were shaking the entire way.  I need a beer!

Unwittingly, we found ourselves in NYC on September, 11th.  Between our ferry terminal and the closest subway station was Ground Zero.  Nobody would plan it this way, but that is the way it was.  I expected total chaos, surprisingly it was not that bad.

Living in Kincardine, there are not a whole lot of public transit choices.  Bus routes and subway schedules are not my forte.  But, we found our way up to Time Square just the same.  I'd still rather navigate a 100nm of open water, but that is just me.

New York City is a very large place with plenty to offer.  I am not sure how many days it would take to do it justice.  For me, one day.  That's all I needed.  Sorry mom!

Here is New York City according to the Brooks' (mostly me).  Toys R Us... the Naked Cowboy... and and a 'by chance' viewing of the President (if anybody calls him a celebrity look alike, I am coming through the screen at you.  It was the President!).  Oh ya, and the Statue of Liberty.  Which I have never seen before in my life.  I was making a sandwich the last time I went by.  Honest.  And for those that don't know, she is actually in New Jersey.  Just saying.

Toys R Us in Times Square
The Naked Cowboy
President Obama
The Statue of Liberty
A tighter crop, if you prefer.

One more.  Just a happy girl in New York.

11 September 2012

The Hudson River

Finally moving again.

The Hudson River is a pretty place.  I don't know why I struggle with that.  I always had an impression that it was just a dirty river that flows through New York City.  Not so.  North of Yonkers it has beautiful mountain scenery.  Down at water level it has many interesting lighthouses.  Cameras at the ready!

Saugerties lighthouse
Kingston lighthouse

One particularly scenic portion of the river is the area around West Point Military Academy.  Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate.  Just as we approached the Academy, the skies opened up.  We could hardly see anything for a short period of time.  Fortunately, the rain stopped before West Point was out of sight.

Breakneck Point
West Point Military Academy
The Hudson River also has commerce.  Passenger trains run the east side.  Commercial trains run the west side.  We are getting a little weary of train whistles through the night.  The tracks run right up the river valley and thus, right behind a couple of the marinas that we stayed at.

We broke the river into short 30nm pieces.  Catskill, Marlboro, Haverstraw and then on to NYC.  We are now 680nm from Wiarton.  We finally had to breakdown and took on some fuel.  I was hoping to make New Jersey, their fuel was a lot cheaper on my delivery trip home from Fort Lauderdale.  A day or so later, I also decided to perform an oil change.  Not bad, 580nm without fuel.

George Washington Bridge
This was not planned, but we arrived in NYC on the eve of the anniversary of 9/11.  We are currently tied up at Liberty Landing Marina.  Right across the river from Ground Zero.  To do anything, we will have to walk right by the site of the old World Trade Center.  But, NYC will have to wait for another post.

Freedom Tower off our stern
Financial District at night

05 September 2012

Knot Yet, where have you been?

It's been pretty quiet, hasn't it?  Not for us!

We made it to Albany, NY and took up a slip at the Albany Yacht Club.  I rented a suit and a car and  off to Providence, Rhode Island we went.

The occasion?  A wedding.  We have been quite remiss in our wedding duties this year.  Apologies to all.  Getting ready for this trip has been our focus.  Now that we are on our trip, and we were heading in the right direction anyway, let's have some fun.

Fun it was!  So much so, that we changed our plans by a couple days.  We grew roots at "Club Gateman" and just couldn't leave.  Many thanks to Marty and Anne for their hospitality!

It was great to have so much family around.  Kerri and I haven't been out that late in a long time.  Oh boy, does it hurt?  Friday night the post rehearsal party was at this rocking little Irish pub.  Late night.  Saturday was the wedding, reception, off to the pub for an after party and then back to the motel for an after-after party.  3:15am came quickly and so did Sunday morning brunch.

We planned for all that.  What we didn't plan for was the Sunday afternoon BBQ back at Kerri's aunt and uncle's (parents of the groom) place.  Which turned into the Monday afternoon BBQ at Club Gateman.  Tuesday morning departure.  Oops!  We were all having too much fun.  Macara spent all day Monday in their pool, literally.

Congratulations Chris and Kim!

Back on the water.  Off to Catskill.