Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Trip up the Chesapeake

After recuperating from the drama of fog, wind, ships, no fuel etc, we contacted Joan Conover, a good friend from SSCA who took me grocery shopping in Hampton, Va.  As much as I love my husband, going to the grocery without him is wonderful.  The next day we had a fantastic sail from Monroe Harbor in the Hampton area up to the York River.  As many times as we have sailed the Chesapeake we never went up the York.  Since we have a few extra days to kill we sailed into the York, anchored across from Yorktown and really enjoyed the very small delightful historical town.  They have a free trolley that takes you around to all the historical sites.  So we set out to learn about the battle of Yorktown and the grand finale of the American Revolution.  Boy, did we learn.  We spent an hour and half reenacting the final battle between George Washington, Cornwallis and Rochambeau, the French general.  Robbie our guide and park ranger did a fantastic job of bringing the battle to life on the top of a hill where it actually took place.  We learned more about war tactics, cannons etc then we ever knew.  I am usually not real excited about that type of thing but she was so enthralling I was mesmerized over her talk. General Cornwallis had entrenched his troops in Yorktown and thought they were well protected with trenches and ravines but between the Continental army and the French troops they managed to strategically surround the British who then could not escape.  Cornwallis finally had to surrender.  Although the treaty was not signed for 2 years, this was the last decisive battle of the war. Now we know why the French played such a vital role in helping us gain our independence.  Without them we would have lost to the British.  Also, we learned what strategic genius Washington really was.    Although as a kid, I probably studied this in American history but it came to life in a whole new way after this talk.  If you are ever around the Yorktown area very close to Williamsburg and Jamestown, make sure you stop at the Yorktown Battlefield Visitors Center and have this experience. 
Tall ship from French touring the US was just leaving Yorktown.  The excursion ship behind him was local and full of tourists
We met a wonderful couple there in the Yorktown area (Boe and Joyce on Dream Catcher) and spent the afternoon on their boat. Then the next day we had a fantastic sail up the Chesapeake to Onancock.  It’s on the east coast of the Chesapeake and is also a small historical town with beautiful old but renovated homes from the 17 and 18 hundreds.  The town is small and a lot of the stores are closed but the houses are beautiful.  We stopped at the Ker Mansion which is now the Eastern Virginia Historical Society center.  We had a great tour of the mansion and the history of the town.
Kerr Mansion built in 1700's by John Ker, a very wealthy plantation owner. The Eastern shore of Virginia Historical Society took it over.
The next day we motor sailed back across the Chesapeake to St. Marys.  As you are entering the Potomac the St. Marys River branches of.  It is the home of the St. Mary’s College which is a 150 years old.  It is a beautiful small college on a lovely campus set out in a wooded area.  The town of St. Marys is not there anymore but the ruins of the town are.  It is the first settlement in Maryland and was the capital of Maryland until it was moved to Annapolis.  So the town that use to be there, had a lot of history.   It was alumni weekend so tons of folks there especially right on the water front where they have sailboats, kayaks, swimming on the beach etc.  They all looked so young and we had to step over bodies to get to our dinghy but it was a fun stop anyway.  We met 2 more cruising boats who are SSCA members, Seaquel, who are from Washington DC and Changes from Cleveland, Ohio.  It made it that much more fun.

View of St. Marys from our boat looking over the water front of the campus.  They teach sailing and have big time races there

Statue at the entance of the campus.  A bit scary if you ask me

Just a typical view of the coast line of the Potomac River as you go along.  Beautiful homes and scenery everywhere
We have found that we get internet and phone service great in the middle of the Chesapeake and the Potomac but when we pull into these small little towns we lose everything.  We had bought a T-mobile SIM card as a quick way to get phone service when I came back in October last year.  We thought we would continue with it until we get settled but now we realized, not such a good plan.  It basically sucks!!!  So we will go to Plan B when we get to Wash DC.
Then we motored up the Potomac to a small island called Cobb Island.  Very settled with 5 marinas and it even has a small grocery store.  I was so excited that I could actually buy some groceries.  The biggest benefit is full phone and internet service.  We were in heaven.  Then our next stop was Mattawoman Creek (where did that name come from).  Harry did is fair share of puns on that one.  Then we stopped at Mt Vernon the next day.  Wow, that was fun.  We spent the whole day there on the plantation.  I was there in the 60’s where you just went to the mansion and walked around the small buildings.  Now they have a fantastic learning center and a museum.  It is quite a place now.  Anyone visiting near there must go.  We learned so much not only about GW but the time and the people and the Am Revolutionary etc.  It was a great stop and we anchored right outside where the ferry comes in.

View of the front of Mt. Vernon
Buggy chair that George rode in.  He didn't want to be closed up in a carriage

View of the back of Mt Vernon

View from our boat.  The scenery is amazing.  The view George and Martha had over the river was fantastic
We finally made it to Wash DC with helicopters and planes hovering over us as we entered.  Harry even thought he saw a drone.  We are staying at the Capital Yacht Club where we happened to know a bunch of people all from SSCA.  Scott Berg and his wife Freddy were so nice about getting us a slip and introducing us to the people at the club.  We took advantage of being right downtown DC and went touring.  I went to school in DC and Harry has been here before so we could be selective about what we wanted to see.  I had told him for years that the most beautiful building in DC is the Library of Congress and after touring it, he agrees.  The building is Greek architecture and is magnificent.  Then we walked next door to the Supreme Court building which is very stately with Greek pillars and also magnificent.  It is just amazing the size and structure of the Wash DC building.  We took the metro (which of course didn’t exist when I was in school here).  Yes, I am an antique.  We went over to the Georgetown area and walk around as well.  Fun day.  If you get to DC, Library of Congress is a must see.

4 pictures of the Library of Congress   This is a hallway

Main entrance

Main reading room with the Greek statues all along the ceilings.  Back in 1960's you could just come in there and read.  Now it is all blocked off.  :You have to have special permission

Hallway outside the reading room.  See why I like this building so much
We took a train to Essex, Connecticut to a great 3 day SSCA Gam.  Great speakers, fun, food and comradery.  We saw friends we had not seen in years and of course they haven’t changed a bit.  We all still look so young. 

Left to right: Maureen and Bill on Kalunamoo and Brenda and Bob on Pandora.  We buddy boated with these guys through the Bahamas back in 2013.  Great fun.
After returning to DC, I met with 3 of my nursing school friends for a 3 day weekend.  We have been getting together every 2-3 years for 47 years.  It’s like the Big Chill but no dead bodies.  We had a great time and would have loved to have Kathy, one more of us there but she couldn’t make it.  The 4 of us on the park bench look like a 4 old ladies waiting for a bus or looking for a handsome man to come by.

Joanie in PA, Clarina in NJ, Me and Ruthie in VA where we were staying.  What great friends they are
Back in DC we had discovered our alternator had died.  I am sick of electrical problems but got it fixed quickly and let’s hope that is the end of the electrical nightmares. We walked 4 miles yesterday to see all the Memorials on the Tidal basin.  It was fantastic.  I have added some collage pictures of the Memorials.  If you have not been to DC and walked that area, it really is a must someday.  I was pleased to see many young people there as well, reading the famous words of generals, FDR and MLK.  I hope they were able to digest the meanings.  Sorry I was so long winded, we had a really busy month.

Pict on the left at the entrance.  Kids were just there.  Long view of the memorial and one of the many quotations etched in the walls

Another quotation and many sculptured pictures depicting scenes during the war.  This one was the fireside chat

2 more sculptures of men getting in their planes

Explanation of all the stars on the right. Each star represents 100 men killed
Top is the Atlantic side and the bottom right is the Pacific side and the pict on the right is a close up of the inside of those 2 towers

Martin Luther King and one of many of his quotations

2 more of his quotations.  Very meaningful.  There were lots more at the Memorial

FDR and one of his many quotes
Harry and I enjoying FDR's company and reading his quotes

Eleanor and her quote

Just a really pretty view of the Jefferson Memorial.

Thomas Jefferson and a very significant quote about accepting change.  I really liked this one

Friday, June 5, 2015

Issues in Florida

Well we had the opportunity to really get to know Lake Worth and Riveria Beach quite well.  We ended up there for 12 days not because we wanted to.  After we got our very expensive fix in Ft.
Lauderdale with our fuel hoses we decided we had not spent enough money so we went to Rybovich Boat yard and tried to get our alternator fixed.  After 12 days of pure frustration, 3 techs and Harry working beacoup hours our electrical problem was NOT fixed and we had no idea what to do next.  For those of you who are boat owners here it is in a nutshell.  We had not been able to put out enough amps to charge our batteries properly.  So the technician took the alternator to be fixed.  They did that and it works great, our batteries were tested and they are great.  So they decided it was the voltage regulator.  We bought a new one – so expensive and it did the same thing as the old one.   It reads 14.2 Volts so therefore it thinks the batteries are fully charge so we don’t get the charging we need.  They switched every wire possible but nothing changes.  Process of elimination tells us its in the regulator itself so Balmar asked us to send the new one in to be tested.  Of course it was fine and that cost us more money. 
Sorry to expound on this in a blog where non sailors are reading but it is such a perplexing problem I thought the boat owners would be interested. In the meantime we really got around Lake Worth and enjoyed a day on Peanut Island.  It’s a large island in the middle of the lake that has been remodeled for local folks to go for swimming, snorkeling, picnics etc.  It is really neat place but you can only get there by dinghy or small boat
We never got the problem resolved and are really frustrated so finally after much discussion we decided to go to Ft. Pierce inside on the ICW as the weather was horrible outside and we anchored to go into a marina in 2 days.  We rented a car and headed for Bradenton, Fl on Monday to visit folks and do the doctor appointment thing.  We had a great time in Bradenton.  Tuesday evening we met 10 cruising friends for dinner and had a fun evening getting caught up.  Then Wed Linda (my close friend that we always stay with) invited a few nurses over, that I use to work with and we had a great time getting caught up.  Then Thursday night we stayed all night with another friend who had 4 others over.  They are all friends from our old marina.  We had another great time and by Friday we had to recover our livers and quit eating. 

Ula Hewitt, a very long term sailing friend from Crown Pt where she and her late husband, Alan sailed and raced with us for years.

Ray, Debbie and Nimo back in Bradenton when we went to visit.  We had great times with them at TDM

Nursing buddies from Manatee Memorial where I worked.  It was great seeing all of them

 Back to Ft. Pierce and off we went on Sunday up the ICW which we said we would not do.  We planned to go outside and sail but because of this stupid electrical problem inside we stayed and went to Cocoa Village Marina.  We knew an electrician there that we had used 13 years ago and really trusted from Marine Pro.  So Mark came and spent 8 hours but finally found 2 problems which we think has solved the problem.  Yea!!!.  So at last we feel better.  Cocoa is such a cute little town that anyone traveling the east side of Florida should definitely stop there.  It is quaint with cute little shops including an old fashion ice cream shop and a cute bakery/cafĂ© where all the locals go for breakfast.  All the old retired mean gather there each AM for coffee and talk.  It was fun to watch and the food was delicious.  We left the next day and on the road again.  The best part was getting to see an atlas 5 rocket take off from Cape Canaveral launching a satellite.  The coast guard announced it would go off at 11:05 and we happened to be motoring up the ICW just as the rocket went off.  It was exciting and very unexpected.

Not real impressive but the rocket going off

Goodyear blimp which we have not seen in years

As we were motoring the next 50 miles up to Daytona we saw a most amazing ocean going rowboat with a man from Africa rowing away with music going.  He had rowed 5000 miles from west Africa with a destination of the Brooklyn Bridge.  He is raising money for HIV in Africa.  Below is a picture and you can go to goreechallenge.com .  

This is the boat he built and rowed 5000 miles across the Atlantic and up the east coast  It is amazing.

  Just about 4 miles from our planned anchorage in Daytona we received a call from Harry’s sister to tell us their Mother is very sick and may not live long.  She is 90 in a nursing home and the phone call was not a surprise but once again we had to divert from our plans, pull into a marina and fly to NY the next day.
We ended up spending a week at Pat’s outside of Utica. Mildred died about 30 hours after our arrival.  I thinks she knew Harry was there but not sure.  It was a lovely Memorial service and we had the opportunity to see family and friends, had  a great visit with Pat and Buz and delightly we had a 2 day visit with our youngest daughter who was able to drive up from Pittsburgh.  Unfortunately our oldest daughter lives in Arizona and could not come as much as she really wanted to be with the family.

Pat and I put up a display of pictures with Harry's Mom in them through the years.  The 2 tablecloths she made which you can't really appreciate in this.  She was a true artist and could easily have been professional.

We flew back after a week and started moving up the ICW once more.  We made it to Fernandina Beach in 2 days and got a short visit with Colleen (our old sailing buddy) and her Mom.  Unfortunately John was out to sea so we missed him
We spent a day hiking Cumberland Island.  It is a national park and quite beautiful.  We saw deer and birds and the highlight was all the wild horses for which the island is famous. The history of the island is quite interesting with a lot of families taking possession and then leaving.  The famous Carnegie family once owned 90% of the island but shut down their mansion in 1920 when the last daughter got married.  It is now ruins but very interesting.

Walking through Cumberland Island, so pretty with tons of wild life

A few of the famous wild horses 

Plaque about  Thomas Carnegie

Carnagie ruins of their famous mansion

An old picture of the Carnegie mansion when it was full of life and parties back in the turn of the century.

Last Monday we left St. Mary’s River to go outside and sail to Norfolk.  It ended up being 4 days and 4 nights and 550 NM.  Unfortunately we ended up motoring almost all the time except for about 10 hours but all went very well all the way up including going around Cape Hatteras which can sometimes be a big problem.  We had one squall with 25 KN winds and torrential rains but otherwise great until we started coming through the entrance at Cape Henry into the Norfolk area.  It was 10pm dark, thick fog, winds at 24 KN, rough waves and about 20 huge ships coming at us.  Quite frankly after 13 years of cruising it was my scariest moment.  Thank heavens for chart plotters and radar –would not be with out!!!  Then after about 3 hours of terrifying motoring thru this thick fog where we could not visually see the ships that were only a mile from us we got to an area where it was safer, winds died down, fog started lifting and just as we felt like we could relax which now was 4 or 5 AM the engine suddenly stopped in the middle of a shipping channel.  Clogged fuel filter which Harry changed in record time then on we went and when we got 1 mile from our long awaited anchorage the engine stopped again.  Funniest think, we ran out of fuel after motoring for 550 miles.  So Harry made a very rapid fuel filling event with the extra fuel we carry on board.  Now we know why we carry extra fuel.  It is the first time we needed to use it in an emergency after all these years of carrying it.  So at 6AM we dropped the hook in Ft. Monroe anchorage and had a celebration drink.  It was my crazy idea to come up to the Chesapeake for the summer and do this long passage.  I told Harry to ignore me the next time I come up with these wild ideas.
Our little visitor while we were on passage.  He really didn't want to leave.