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Plans Change

Waking early and going up top to put together a cup of coffee, I take a look out the window and see the winds have indeed stopped blowing. The cool weather and the warm waters are working together to fashion this nice image of a foggy morning inside Solomons Island Harbor.

Our last couple of days at Solomons, we put together a plan to run down to Deltaville then on to York River to hang for a couple of weeks. Eventually, we’d motor down to Atlantic Yacht Basin where we’d officially put an end to the Bay and have a bit of work done before starting our return to S Florida.

Following that plan, we left and made way out to the Bay. It was another nice soft day and the forecasts predicted the weather to hold for a week.

After quietly running for a few hours the radio crackled and a nice Kiwi accent was heard; it was Southern Star. We asked about their time at Trawlerfest and they asked about our plans then told us they were about to turn and head up the Potomac to spend a few a days in Washington, D.C.; I could see on AIS they were just a few miles in front us.
I told them our intentions and said hopefully we’d all meet up somewhere soon, wished them safe travels, and signed off.

I guess it was somewhere around Point No Point Light when Mel and I went back to being quiet… then at about the same time we both said, WTF. We’d actually thought about DC a few weeks ago, but scrapped the idea due to business in N Carolina. However, the Hilton Head project had been rescheduled, so.
Quickly looking at charts of The Potomac, we did some calculations, discussed things a bit, then decided to forego the current plan, (typical for us), and like Southern Star,  head to DC.

A right turn at The Potomac was made.

For the sake of the pups, we found a little marina that wasn’t too far up the Potomac and made arrangements to stay for a night.

White Point Marina

This little marina reminds us of some of “off the beaten path” marinas we loved to visit while running the Tennessee River. I’d forgotten the sound of quiet.
As the sun set and the moon rose, not much was resonating other than geese honking in the distance, an occasional fish breaking the surface, and the ringing in my ears.

The next day we caught up to Southern Star and it was decided we’d both stop and anchor just up river from Quantico, VA. We set the anchor at a little state park where we dropped the dink and took the boys to shore for their biz. Leesylvania State Park.

Another nice night and another fat moon.

Rising early, we both left and made way toward DC.

Mel and I have been cruising rivers for many years and, while we do find The Potomac to be a pretty river, we’re just not too excited about it until we get closer to Washington. Then, we start to see things along the shore like the above pic. George Washington’s digs, Mount Vernon.

As we get closer, the Capitol building and the Washington Monument appear on the horizon. Now, we’re interested.

So we finally pull into Washington Channel, tie up at Gang Plank Marina, and wait for Southern Star to arrive. After much confusion we end up moving slips where we tied up next to Jenny and Ted.

Here’s another story: Istaboa and brand new Bellingham docks don’t seem to get along. After tying up and attaching our power cord to the pedestal at Gangplank, we kill the electrical for whole dock. Needless to say we weren’t very popular with the other boaters. A bit of a discussion ensues with the dockmaster and eventually we’re moved to the older section of the marina and just next to Southern Star; no problem there with power. This has happened to us before with these new Bellingham Docks and their new RDC breakers. I find it interesting that we don’t have the same issue with new Technomarine docks we tie up to. I also find it interesting the Harbormasters at the marinas with these new Bellingham docks are highly sensitive and overly defensive when discussing them.

RDC explanation here> http://www.electricshockdrowningmn.com/Documents/Marina%20GFP%20Concerns%2001-03-2017.pdf

But I digress … We’ve had a nice time in DC but, Damn! It’s hard work being a tourist here. Averaging about 6 miles a day of walking amongst the swarms of sightseers has taken a toll on this old guy.
All in all, Washington is an amazing city and we’ve seen things that we always wanted to see. Maybe next time we’ll stay a month. DC’s worth a long stay.

 So we’re on the move again. The weather’s being weird so plans are in flux  — as they always are.

Adios,

Nordhavn 57-26 Istaboa

Deale, Maryland

Herrington Harbour North – Tracys Landing

Just a quick hop across the Bay, the run to Tracys Landing and Herrington Harbour North was an easy one. On our way, there was hardly a breath of wind, the Bay was flat and the sky was clear. We were in no hurry so we saved some fuel and took our time crossing … a good day.
Being here on marina business, the staff gave us a nice T-Head slip with a clear view of the harbor’s entrance. After tying up and shutting down we walked the boys and familiarized ourselves with this huge marina.
At first glance, Herrington Harbour North appeared to be a nice clean marina with old fixed docks and a boat yard; after spending some time there we soon realized the place is so much more than that.

This little clip was shot with my phone just off the back of the boat. Again, it was worth getting out of bed every morning to see this.

We really didn’t do much other than what we came to do, nevertheless HHN is certainly nice place to knock around. We’d been to the South marina before but never made it over to the North side. Big Mistake.
Herrington Harbour North is a definite do over marina. The grounds and the facilities are beautiful.

This Cheney family owned marina has a quality and personality you won’t find anywhere else on the Bay. They call it Central Maryland Charm; Mel and I tend to agree. Everyone’s pleasant, the staff, the contractors, and management team are hospitable, and the boaters all seem genuinely happy to be here. During our stay, not a negative comment was heard about the marina or the whole facility.
The yard is immaculate and has the ability to lift boats up to 80 tons; the many onsite contractors and vendors can do about anything needed. I’d been told there were depth issues getting in, but we saw nothing less than 10′ all the way to the docks.

The onsite restaurant is quite good and certainly convenient. A warm Sunday afternoon brought a pleasant walk to Dockside’s for a dozen Blue Crab; they gave us 20 and they were some of the best we’ve had on the Bay.
Pickin’ Crabs and watchin’ football — Mel was in heaven.

Local favorites, The Brothers Osborne, recorded a video just across the creek from our slip at Skipper’s Pier. Not being a big country fan, I’d never heard of these guys, but I’ve since been told they are more than just local favs.

Nice video —
Mmm mmm mm mm
Mix it with rum mmm mmm mm mm

So we stuck around for 4 days and really enjoyed ourselves while taking care of biz; we’ll be back again and stay longer next time,  just for the fun of it.

On this Sunday morning, we’re down the Bay at Solomons Island again. This place is really starting to feel familiar; the track lines on our charts have become thick with the frequent trips in and out.  The nice folks at Zahnizer’s have come to know us as well and they always seem find us a good spot to tie up.
Terri, the dockmaster, was just over tying on a fender for us. She didn’t think we were aboard and took it upon herself to protect us from the strong winds that were blowing Istaboa against a piling.
Like I said, nice folks.

Across the way, the Krogens are stacking up. There must be a rendezvous coming up.

Not sure where to next, I guess we’ll see when the wind quits blowing — it’s been blowing like hell for two days and the weather’s starting to cool off.

It’s October already… Fall has fell… The days are getting shorter… Time flies…

Adios,

Nordhavn 57-26 Istaboa

Saint Michaels, Maryland

It must be Sunday morning…

Leaving Annapolis and heading for Saint Michaels, the weather was beautiful. It wasn’t a sunny postcard day, instead a muted, desaturated depiction of a day that made for a few interesting photos. Mel and I always enjoy running the boat on misty rainy days while sitting nice and dry in the pilothouse; like cruising through an old black and white movie. On this day, the Bay was flat, the winds were light; sunless and foggy, but not uncomfortably so.

Relaxation was our only reason for visiting St Micheals and we certainly accomplished that.
No work, just a good time.
Our long time friends, Steve and Jane, have a beautiful home with views that frame the harbor entrance so they saw us coming in. There smartly renovated house truly looks like a page torn from a Chesapeake Bay Magazine; not big, Eastern Shore cool. It was good to hang with them again, they’re awfully nice folks, as are the other locals. We’re finding friendly to be the norm up here in Maryland.
That night, we all sat for dinner at the marina’s Crab and Steak House. Local Flounder BLT!

Hanging out at St Mikes is like stepping back into time, everything is as it should be. The harbor has the appearance of a 19th century fishing village. Walking the dogs through the neighborhoods is like stepping back into the 50s until you pass one of the old churches, then you realize just how old the town really is.

After a couple of days, we moved over to the Harbour Inn Marina and it was good that we did.
The distant Hurricane Jose passed by and pushed the tide up so high that St Michaels Marina was underwater. No danger but we couldn’t have hopped off the boat without boots. (we have no stinking boots, we’re from Florida)

Steve and Jane loaned us their car and we drove over to Oxford to check out Campbell’s Boat Yard. Scott Kinney at DeMillo’s Yacht Sales actually let us test drive a 41 Back Cove downeast style boat. An interesting boat that would make a good little Bay cruiser. Pretty too.

Dinner for our last night in town was at 208 Talbot. The food was excellent and the atmosphere was even casual enough for us in all our boatiness. (we’ve been out for 5 months and we’re quite boaty) The restaurant’s an old house on the main drag that’s a local favorite and understandably so.

St Mikes is a great old fishing village and we always leave here not wanting to. The Lindemanns showed us a really nice time and we’ll always stop here when on the Bay.

As I write this… We’re tied up in Deale, Maryland at Herrington Harbour North Marina — another great stop on the Chesapeake.

More about HHN later.

Adios,

Nordhavn 57-26 Istaboa

Annapolis

The Hurricane is over, Florida is busy rebuilding itself and quickly coming back to life, our home in Jupiter has returned to 100%, and now, we’re back to doing what it is we do.  Currently, that’s exploring Annapolis.

Here, The weather’s perfect.

We’ve spent quite a bit of time in Annapolis and we always find it interesting. The Annapolitans are  friendly folk. They seem to go out of their way to be kind to strangers. They love their city, boats, good food, and they don’t seem to mind sharing all those things. We’re grateful, we love all those things as well.

Everywhere you look is a photo that needs to be taken and I’ve taken quite a few.
The photo to the left is Back Creek. We were tied up at Port Annapolis before moving closer to town and Annapolis Yacht Basin. The Yacht Basin’s pricey but worth spending a few bucks for a couple of days in the middle of all things Annapolis

Speaking of Hurricanes, before I forget — this link is to Southeast Cruisers’ Net’s list of marinas that have been affected by Hurricane Irma. Pretty useful. http://cruisersnet.net/marina-conditions-and-updates/

A beautiful weekend with perfect weather brought out all kinds of vessels and their toys. The harbor was crazy busy.

So to better enjoy the day, we dropped the dink, loaded up the boys, and went out to join all those boaters doing the same.

Dinkabout Spa Creek

The end of another great day, the sun goes down.

This is truly a cool town, our kinda place. We always fantasize about picking up stakes and moving here to enjoy the city, it’s culture, and the convenient cruising lifestyle that living on The Chesapeake Bay allows. The weather is a disagreement, Mel likes the idea of seasons, I do too — if we could exclude winter.

We’ll stick around another day to watch some football and probably do another dingy ride; tomorrow we’re booked into St Micheals. Just a short ride over to the Eastern Shore, it’s an altogether different experience. There are old friends at St Michaels and it’ll be fun seeing them again, been a few years.

After a week of stress and worry brought about by Hurricane Irma, it’s nice and relaxing to kick back and absorb Annapolis and life aboard here.

Unfortunately, we’re remaining mindful to the other storms currently spinning out in the Atlantic. Right now there are 3 different disturbances that could become something to pay attention to.

As Peter Benchley, the author of Jaws, once said.

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…”

 

Adios,

Nordhavn 57-26 Istaboa

Irma’s Gone

Day after day of staring at images like the one above, we had moved on, we’d resigned ourselves to and accepted the outcome of the overwhelming probabilities. Pretty much everything we owned in Jupiter, FL would be relentlessly swept away by this massive hurricane. Normally, we don’t pay much attention to the weather-heads, but this time — just the size of the damn thing was undeniable.
We kept saying things to each other like, “it’s just stuff”, and “all that really matters is on the boat right now”, nonetheless in our hearts and minds, we were controlling the sad fact that much of the business we’d worked hard to build, our little bungalow by the beach, and our little world in Jupiter was about to be blown away. Life was about to change.

Irma finally arrives.
Because we had access to the many surveillance cams onSpot has installed along the coasts, we were glued to our computers watching the increasing blow at the marinas that were in the path of Irma, .
Key West was the first to go dark, but before losing video I watched a large fellow, (wearing a child’s life preserver?), standing in front of the Southernmost Point Buoy. He seemed to enjoy the massive breakers that violently smashed him head on – then hurled him backwards. He’d get knocked down and sweeped back to the street only to get up and do it over and over again. That’s Key West.

North Palm Beach Marina lasted much longer, but eventually marina management was forced to cut power and it too went dark; the surge had pushed water over the fixed dock landings where the electrical power was located. Danger.
The Bluffs Marina stayed live till late but went offline after a large yacht broke a line and smashed into a power pedestal – completely knocking out power and water for the whole marina.
Then, other than the little Drop Cams, taped to the windows of our house, we were without eyes on the storm. A bit disconcerting, but…

As the storm moved North and the winds subsided, we starting feeling better about the house and the area in general. Though there wasn’t much to see in the darkness, just knowing electricity and internet was still working gave us hope that everything was pretty good.

Then at 11:03, video died at the house, which means lost power.

Luckily, the next morning, other than no power or air conditioning, we discovered there was comparatively little damage, everyone’s good, and all is okay other than a mess to clean up.

Thankfully, we seem to have dodged another bullet. There’s still a life in Jupiter.
For us on Istaboa, if there’s anything good that came outta the storm, it’s the realization of what really matters to us.
IT IS just stuff and all that really matters is on the boat right now.   (although there is a guitar at home I would have missed.) Realizing that everything in Jupiter was about to just go away had been fairly easy to accept; kinda liberating actually. We’d envisioned our old life as our new life — again.

Simple = (insert what you want here)

Our next door neighbor posted a video of Irma’s blow on Instagram. Doesn’t look too dangerous, but I bet the anticipation is killer.

A post shared by Glenda Green (@glendagreenart) on Sep 10, 2017 at 1:16pm PDT

Now, for the clean up.

I spoke with a couple of friends yesterday and both said they were amazed how quickly the area was being brought back to life. All agree that the South Florida’s East Coast escaped disaster.

Old Port Cove Marina.
Mark Lavery told me that they are having electrical problems. The docks are okay, but so far power is not on. He hopes to have power back to the inner docks today.
North Palm Beach Marina.
Serious electrical issues. “It may be a while.” was all Mark would say.
Ft Pierce City Marina
No power at this time.
The Harborage at Stuart
Fixed docks are seriously damaged. No power to the floating dock either.
Bahia Mar Marina
The marina is back up and running, per Megan Legasse, the GM
Soverel Harbour Marina.
The marina is okay, but no power for now.

Suprisingly, the marina around the Tampa Bay area are reporting little to no damage.

That’s all we’ve got for now.

Will an Carl, are assessing the damages and onSpot has already started rebuilding. Yesterday they went to Ft Pierce City Marina then worked down to Stuart to bring back 3 marinas there.
Of that group, The fixed docks at The Harborage in Stuart was hit hardest. Pics below


The guys have plenty more work to do, but as they did after last year’s Matthew, they’ll have them all back as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Key West? We’ve yet to see anything there. It may be a while.

All in all, the storm wasn’t as bad for those in South Florida as we had feared.

This crew is happy with the decision to keep on going North after leaving the Bahamas. The Chesapeake Bay is very pleasant… so far.

However, no one is exempt from Hurricanes on the East Coast. We just hope our luck continues.

Adios

Nordhavn 57-26 Istaboa

Solomons Island and Irma

Yep, another beautiful Sunday morning after a somewhat sleepless night.

There’s a loss for words when trying to describe the feeling while looking out the salon window. Out there, the reality is the beginning of another beautiful day within the protected shores of Solomons tranquil little harbor. Meanwhile, at home, in Jupiter, our house is being pounded and our friends, who have stayed put, are confronting Hurricane Irma that’s forecast to be bearing down on South Florida. (See live video of the effects of Irma here: NPBM)

Below, in the video that’s streaming from a front window at Spearfish, as I write this, not much is happening. It looks just like last year’s Hurricane Mathew that passed by without doing much damage.

Hope it stays that way.

Guilty is certainly not the descriptor that comes to mind, though anxious is definitely in the mix. Conflicted doesn’t seem to fit either.
Is there a word that combines fortunate and grateful? If so, that’s it.

And then I turn and look out the salon window again —

Yes, anxious, fortunate, and grateful applies.

Our thoughts are with everyone in the path of Irma. For those who stayed, please be safe. For those of us with property in Florida — it’s just stuff.

Adios,

Nordhavn 57-26 Istaboa

Live Video -S Florida- North Palm Beach Marina

onSpot wifi Live Video Feed:North Palm Beach MarinaWe’ll keep these online as long as possible.  Nordhavn 57-26 Istaboa

The Bay

It’s another one of those peaceful Sunday mornings… My favorite way to start a day — quiet, overcast, the view from the salon window is like an old photograph, and so far, other than a few gulls, there’s not a soul stirring around the harbor.
We’re now tied up in Solomons Island, MD at Spring Cove Marina where we’re spending a soggy Labor Day Weekend. Though the sun may make an appearance today, it’s probably too little too late and has been a disappointment for those deserving a sunny respite from work. Especially for the marina operators; all prepped to handle the large crowd of boaters, who for the most part have canceled reservations due to weather.

So far, we’re enjoying the bay, we always do. I like motoring to all our favorite towns and marinas while mostly running in deep-ish water — very comfortable cruising — unlike the attention demanding shallow windings of the ICW. Mel likes the local restaurants serving good Blue Crab and local fish…  and the little shops. We both enjoy bumping into old acquaintances and making new ones, this seems to happen a lot on the Chesapeake.

Lady M, Marty and Amy, we’ve known them for years.  Now 88, Marty and his girlfriend Amy — have been running up and down the east coast for so many years. Marty is a wealth of knowledge and experience, he’s our personal cruising guide. If we have doubts about an inlet or a marina, we call Marty. Been there done that, many times. We always enjoy their company and did for the few days while repairing our lightning damage at Atlantic Yacht Basin. (Which, by the way, seems all good)


Leaving AYB and heading out into the Chesapeake, we found the Bay to be a bit sloppy, but soon the tide changed direction and all settled down.

Around Thimble Shoals Light, we made way toward the York River, Gloucester Point, VA and York River Yacht Haven. We’ve done this many times so with the comfort of previous track lines on our charts, we easily skirted the shoal and eased into the marina.

We were surprised to see Southern Star on the same T-head. Istaboa was briefly tied next to N-47 Southern Star while at Old Port Cove. Later we got together with Ted and Jenny and we’ve enjoyed their company several times since.
Nice folks.

They gave us a great tie at YRYH, out on a T-head with a killer view from our stern. Waking early every morning and having my coffee with the sun rising above Sarah Creek was always a pleasure and certainly worth the effort of getting out of bed.

While at YRYH we endured a tropical disturbance that could have been much worse. With wind constantly blowing hard, gusts to 40mph, and hard rain all day, we discovered a couple of good leaks. Nothing that we couldn’t quickly stop, although they did require some creativity to overcome. Wind and rain found the weak spots, duct tape and a plastic bag stemmed the leaks until a proper fix was done the following dry day.

 The next morning brought an end to bad weather and we started that day with sunny skies and pleasant temps. It’s been a long time since we’ve experienced mid 70º temps, we’re actually wearing pants. Nice.

So after a few days of weather, both good and bad, we untied and pulled out of York River.

We like YRYH and they’ve made many changes for the better. As we did a few years ago, we’ve decided to book our slip there on a monthly so we’ll return from time to time, making this our base on the Bay. It’s a nicely tucked away marina that will make for a decent hiding hole in a blow. (we hope)

Our 90 mile run from YRYH to Solomons was nice and smooth. On the way up we passed through the fleet of commercial fishing boats from Reedville. We assume the Menhaden must be schooling up.

Now, everyone’s attention is on Hurricane Irma. Our intentions are to hang here for a few more days and take care of some biz. Then move on to Herrington Harbour and Annapolis, if we don’t have to head back to York River to hide out.
We’d like to visit old friends over at St Micheal’s and stop at a few more little port towns along the Eastern Shore before heading back, but we’ll see.

Damn, it seems every hurricane update brings even worse news for everyone on the East Coast, time will tell.

Fake News? Don’t bet on that.

Fingers crossed for now.

Adios,

Nordhavn 57-26 Istaboa

Laying Up at AYB

Sunrise – Atlantic Yacht Basin

Yes, we finally escaped the current at Morehead City Yacht Basin and made a short day’s run to River Dunes Marina in Oriental, NC — though not without incident. A storm followed us almost all the way and finally caught up just before we pulled into River Dunes. Running from inside a protected pilot house heavy rain is never a problem, however lightning is a different story. Waiting out the blinding rain storm before easing into the skinny little creek that leads to the marina, thunder and lightning soon became the issues to deal with.

In all the years and all the miles of doing this, we’ve never had any problems with lightning; been in plenty of storms, but suffered nothing worse than the anxiety it brings.
Then,  finally,  a loud bang, a flash, and we realized we’d been hit or almost anyway.

Sonar, chartplotter, and radar screens blinked then rebooted, I turned to head back out to the Neuse River and deeper water, then started working to bring back some electronics. Luckily, we’ve redundant nav systems on-board and our computer driven system was not affected. Charts and AIS were still running, but we had no depth info.

After a few minutes I had depth coming from sonar, but oddly enough no sonar screen – just the numbers. That was enough to get into the marina so we turned back to the entry point and headed in.
Things could have definitely been worse and we’ve heard many stories that were. We slowly motored into River Dunes basin and saw a beautiful marina with Rich, the harbormaster, waving at us from our dock.
The rain had stopped and the storm had moved on. The rest of the night was quiet as I went about going through all the affected systems.

With all the redundancies aboard I was able to put together a working nav system and we pulled out the next morning, heading for Belhaven, NC and River Forest Marina.

Another cool little town. The docks at River Forest are old, but the electricity is stable and the depths are good. The dockmaster’s name is Henry Boyd III. He and a group of Belhaven citizens bought the marina out of bankruptcy. They’re slowly rebuilding the docks, but the lovely old southern manor next door was brought back to mint condition. Henry and his crew are very proud of the project and love to talk about it. They also loaned us a golf cart and gave us directions to town for dinner. Spoon River Art Works and Market is a fine restaurant. The local Black Drum was killer. The place was crowded.

That evening we went through another storm, but other than rolling us around for a few minutes there were no problems. We ended the day with a peaceful sunset

The next morning we made way to Coinjock to spend the night. Coinjock is Coinjock. No, we didn’t get the steak, but the soft shell craps were very good.

Then, AYB. We always stop here and throw a bit of money at James Taylor’s crew. They do good work and this time we may need to take advantage of that.

All in all, we did okay, as far as storm damage goes.
Our main GPS was acting up, but after a reset it came back for the most part. It now shows us running at .05 knots while at the dock, but it’s position seems to be okay. We have several ways to get GPS info so that doesn’t stop the show.
One of our depth sounder transducers is dead.
Both Raymarine displays are blinky.
Ironically, the Sirius Weather Receiver was fried and has yet to return.
By far the most expensive damage is the KVH Satellite TV dish. It’s toast.

I called our insurance company, and inquired about making a claim. They’ve since sent out a surveyor who thinks the damages are worse than I do. He explained how lightning causes crazy intermittent problems that usually show up at critical times. He’s probably correct.

So, here we are, laying up at AYB, waiting to hear back from several folks.

There’s good friends tied up just behind us and it’s nice catching up with them.

For some reason we’ve always liked it here. Always little projects to do and AYB has the essential supplies to get them done.

We’re thinking The Chesapeake Bay will be our next leg, but news of Sea Nettles (Jelly Fish) may change that. The Bay full of Nettles is not uncommon this time of year. They clog sea strainers and stop air conditioning; not good in 90º heat .

And, as they so often are, our plans are still peculating.

Life’s good ~

Cheers,

Nordhavn 57-26 Istaboa

Eclipse 2017

Nordhavn 57-26 Istaboa