Adventures of Adirondack

Adventures of Adirondack

Monday, June 24, 2013

Farewell Chesapeake!

We have had such a wonderful time exploring the Chesapeake. Adirondack spent his early years here before joining our family. There are so many places to see and things to do. It’s easy to see how a boat could spend years here and still have places to go.

After leaving Solomons, we crossed to the Eastern Shore and spent two great days in Cambridge, tying up at the free town wall. We bought groceries at a store that had been in the family for 76 years, very funky and full of interesting foods. The High Spot Pub had the best crab soup – it equaled the seafood chowder from Shediac New Brunswick, which is quite the compliment! The next day we toured the Visitor Center, the Richardson Maritime Museum, the Choptank River Lighthouse, the Harriet Tubman Museum and went back to the High Spot for a dessert glass of Smoking Wood beer.

We then moved on to Oxford, keeping our academic theme going. Oxford was a beautiful little town, hardly any traffic and great for walking. They have a good general store and the best ice cream on the Bay at the Scottish Highlands Creamery. We managed to get the materials we needed to fix the shower at Cutts and Case Yachts, which has a shed full of gorgeous old wooden boats. We got lots of boat jobs done with the shower repair and caulking the shower window (which was leaking into the boat) and caulking the back window over our bed (which was dripping on my head during heavy downpours).

Annapolis was the next stop to pick up friends who had bought time on the boat at our church service auction last fall. They had lived before on the Bay and have family here, so it was wonderful to explore some old and new places. We crossed to the Eastern Shore again to St Michaels, which is almost too cute. We had a delicious crab lunch at the Crab Claw restaurant and I got some time at the good yarn store in town.

We then went up the Chester River to Cacaway Farm where we tied up at the dock just before a huge downpour. What a lovely spot to spend a day; good food, great company and a TV for Kevin to watch game 6 of the NBA championship.

Rock Hall was the next destination. We had the free town wall almost all to ourselves and Jeff had multiple trips to the nearby West Marine store. We were able to connect up with one of our favorite fellow cruisers from the Exumas, Andy “Andante”. It was lovely to see him and catch up on life and talk about possible trips back South in the fall.

Finally we continued north in the Bay to Havre de Grace, another great town where Gina had lived and the kids were born and then on to Chesapeake City where we had to drop them off. What a great crew they were!

Now we are working our way through the skinny water of the Intracoastal Waterway of New Jersey, timing our days with high tide and watching the charts and buoys very carefully. We met up with Brent and Susan “Once Upon a Time” from St Paul at Annapolis and again at Chesapeake City and are traveling together through the ICW – very fun to share time together with great fellow cruisers. Soon we’ll be in NYC then on to Champlain!! Sally

Monday, June 17, 2013

Annapolis, what a town!

I would love to post some of the photos we have taken here, but this computer just doesn't do it.

We are working our way slowly up the Chesapeake. We have visited Chrisfield, Oxford (big wind at the anchorage; we really appreciated the big Rocna anchor), Smith Island, Cambridge and are now nestled in a terrific anchorage on Spa Creek, just around the corner from "downtown" Annapolis. This is the second boatiest town I believe I've ever been in, just a slight notch below Newport, RI. It seems like there are more boats than people, and there are a LOT of people here on the weekends.

One particularly interesting spot here is "Ego Alley," a narrow spot where all kinds of expensive boats tie up and refresh themselves (yes, boats refresh themselves) while their occupants watch all the action. Some of that action includes observing the boathandling skills, whether someone can spin their boat around in the basin at the end of the "alley." Of course with all the thrusters and automatic docking equipment available today, most of the drivers can do it in their sleep, so it really isn't quite the big deal it used to be.

Sally and I attended two museums at the Naval Academy, one just devoted to the War of 1812 and another just devoted to the glorification of the Navy and how skilled the defense industry has looted gazillions of dollars from the treasury. I am just amazed at what this industry can spend. I can't even imagine what it must cost to clean this place, much less build, maintain and staff it.

In a few minutes my free wifi will be up and we'll be off across the bay to St. Michael. Yesterday we picked up Gina and her kids Justine and Kevin, who will cruise with us to Chesapeake City on Friday. We hope to stop at Rock Hall on Tuesday and check in with Andy, our old friend from the Bahamas, but this is a boat, and no schedule is ever written in ink. The weather forecast is just about ideal, however.

Boat projects: Sally and I replaced the sealant around the end of the shower, which lead to two other window sealing jobs.(how does that happen?) And we varnished the cabin floor. So we are all done working on the boat. What a relief.  Capt. Jeff

I got some photos in the blog - one of Jeff in Ego Alley! Sally

Monday, June 10, 2013

Heading Up the Bay

Around here, the Bay = the Chesapeake. We are now in the central bay and are enjoying the gazillion bays, anchorages, cute towns and crabs to eat. We left Deltaville where the Monk Rendezvous was held and went up to the Great Wicomico River to the town of Reedville. The town is full of old Victorian houses and has a great Fishermen's Museum, documenting the fishing for menhaden along with crabbing and oystering. We had a snack at the Crazy Crab - trying out Sugar Toads (a North Atlantic pufferfish currently in season) and eating some of the best crab cakes we've had so far -
another of our culinary quests.

Yesterday we crossed to the east side of the bay and went to Smith Island. This is a low lying island in the lower bay, settled for the past 300+ years by watermen and their families. It had the same somewhat ramshackle feel of towns in the Bahamas. The people were friendly but the deer flies were friendlier. Jeff must produce the pheromones of a female deer fly in heat because they just love him. We biked around the island and had to ride very fast to out run them. We had lunch at Juke's Deck - good food with a lovely view of the water and decrepit bikes in one corner. After sharing a piece of 10 layer cake, the official cake of Maryland, we took off further east and anchored in the bay at Crisfield.

Now we're back on the west side at Solomons for a trip to West Marine and two loads of laundry. We will keep working our way up the Bay toward Annapolis, exploring as we go. Sally

Friday, June 7, 2013

Monk Rendezvous, Tropical storm Andrea

A very interesting week, actually, as Sally and I worked our way north towards Annapolis and our next group. Long ago we heard of the Monk Rendezvous, an annual gathering of the Monk Owners Group, a collection of some of the owners of these boats who try to communicate, brag and confess about some of the things they have done, plan to do or are looking for reasons not to do. These projects include but are not limited to things like enclosures, refinishing teak, extra window treatments, lighting, dinghy handling, galley arrangement, seating, electronics, anodes, oil selection, fuel filter choices, anchor selection and deployment, thrusters, waxing, spice racks, fender selection, route planning, chart selection,. This list goes on to just about every topic involving boats and often has discussion fueled by adult beverages that carry on well into the night. I don't know why they just don't listen to me as the definitive source of all boat-related knowledge, but they don't always. I think I was crowned King of Running Aground when they saw my photos of the big event by Bobcaygeon last spring.

The group was lots of fun and I learned a lot from folks I had just emailed for all these years. It was fun to see them and their boats! Almost everyone's was tricked out nicer that ours, but we have the excuse that we're living on it and it tends to be a bit more cluttered for that reason. We had some special items, though: my bike rack was a very well inspected addition; most liked our dinghy arrangement, flybridge seating, our AlpenGlo Lights, split forestay and storage under the settee. We hope to put in new hatch screens, a new dockbox over the aft cabin, polyurethane the floors, redo the teak, change our anodes to aluminum,

Sally and I did a presentation to the group on our DownEast Circle Loop, with lots of slides, a handout and advice about a trip a little more advanced than the Great Loop. We sold a bunch of equipment we would never use again and the boat is running a little lighter.

Big new (for us anyway)! Our stereo has been failing, at least the speakers on the port side. We tried gentle persuasion, harsh language, a bit of the physical stuff and downright threats, but it seemed to be getting worse. Now this is the device that couples with our Sirius radio, AM/FM, iPad and iPhones for Pandora, NPR and all sorts of communication, a serious partner on the boat. Oh, and the damn thing buzzed every time the fridge went on, an annoying habit we have sort of lived with.

Well today while the tropical storm, Andrea, went right over us, I replaced it with a new and improved model that does Bluetooth, SiriusXM, flashdrives, SD chips, AM/FM, weather radio, Pandora, iPod, iPad, computer, makes toast, changes the oil, waxes the boat and does minor surgery. WOW. And it works. A great day on Adirondack, I can tell you. We had a party right afterwards. Others in the group thought the party was for some other special occasion, but Sally and I knew better. I'd take a photo, but they don't work on this machine. Capt. Jeff

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Back on the Trail!

Today we're in Yorktown, VA, enjoying another big history location. We did Jamestown two days ago and plan on Williamsburg tomorrow. Last night we happened on the a Blackbeard Pirate Festival and I happened to note a guy walking by on a folding bike. Because I'm somewhat familiar with this mode of transportation, I said, "Where's your boat?" he aid that it was parked nearby, and asked where ours was.

As it happened, "Adirondack" was anchored out a ways in front of us and I pointed to it. He said, "It's a Monk, isn't it?" As it turns out, they had one just a year older than ours. They invited us to a party celebrating ten years on that boat and we met other cruisers, sold our inflatable kayaks and had just one hell of a great time, capped by a great fireworks display. Capt. Jeff

Well, we're back on the boat with all the good things (water, scenery, people, sleeping) and some of the more difficult (dropping a new flashlight in the water and jamming up the windlass). The good definitely outweigh the bad. It was great to be home for a bit - we saw the boys, friends, worked a bit to pay for more diesel fuel and got a number of health tune-ups (dentist, doctor visits and hernia repairs!). Now we are exploring American history on our way to a Monk Rendezvous in a few days. We'll continue North to spend the summer on Lake Champlain - what a lucky pair we are. Sally