Monday, September 25, 2017

Cruising the Chesapeake: June - September 2017

 One of our favorite areas along the Chesapeake is the Eastern Shore of Maryland where the Choptank River and Tred Avon slip into the Chesapeake Bay.  Up the Tred Avon turning toward Town Creek sits the little town of Oxford, Maryland.

Running north coming from Norfolk, Virginia, we stopped over at Solomon Island at Zahniser's Marina which is on the western shore.  There are so many things to do and see.  The restaurant at Zahnisers is pretty outstanding.

We bought a new bed spread for the master stateroom on The Last Hurrah.   We just love those whales!  Now if we can keep from messing up the "white" background.

I guess you can say that this is the local Walmart here in Oxford.  But in reality, this is the only market in Oxford.  And it is just "keen".  I love this place.

Oxford is simply the prettiest town on the Eastern Shore.  There are 7 boatyards and 700 boat slips and therefore, more boats than people.  One market, one shop, one museum, and that's it folks!

Here is a little house at Cutts and Case Shipyard.  They specialize in yacht restoration and everyone is invited to take a walk through.

The Oxford-Bellevue Ferry is the oldest privately operated ferry in the U.S.  It crosses the Tred Avon at Oxford taking the traveler on a short cut to St. Michaels.  St. Michaels is the town that fooled the British and it retains the look and feel of a 19th century seaport.

Hunter and Rylan made a surprise visit flying all the way from San Antonio.  Rylan wanted to see-for-himself that Grandad and Nonnie really did live on a BOAT.  I mean, "who really lives on a boat"?

Today, we got to see a log canoe sailboat race.  Originally made of 3 to 9 logs by the Powhatan indian tribe, the early English settlers, of course, propped up a sail.  Now there is no keel and no ballast, so yea crew members best hop merrily out on those hiking planks with finesse or "over she rolls". 

Look at these great anchorages that are all around here.  This little jewel is in Goldsborough Creek.  That crab boat is the kind that runs a crab trotline, which is somewhat unique to the Eastern Shore.  You run the trotline by pulling it in over the propstick (board attached midship) and dip your crabs from the red sack attached to the snood which are filled with razor clams.

Maryland crabs are very sweet and clean.  They are distinctively different from blue crabs from other regions of the U.S.  We made some crab cakes on board and they were "soooo" rich that we couldn't eat them all.  

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cruising thru Charleston, S.C-July 8-9, 2016

As far back as the 1600's, English royalty figured out how convenient the rivers and creeks of the sprawling Charleston Harbor would be.  This remains true today and especially for visiting yachtsmen looking for a great marina with lots of fun activities

This is the South - cotton, homemade cider, grits, pimento cheese burgers, blue crabs~ yes!

The first-class Charleston City Marina offers a free shuttle to downtown.  However, nearby and within easy walking distance is Salty Mike's Bar, Variety Store Restaurant, and The Wine Shop (with the best selection of red zins that you will ever find-it's hard to believe ).

Originally called Charles Town, the city is filled with charming historic homes.

The Charleston City Marina is simply huge.  But there is tidal "current" here.  Best plan your approach at slack current and/or have your spring lines & fenders ready to deploy.

While we were walking along the beautiful shoreline near Battery Park, a small squal blew in from the south.  You can see that it surprised this rented pontoon boat.  That's NOT his flag flying.  That's his Bimini top flying off~torn to rags.  Melissa & I had to hide in a nearby carport.

Plenty of great eateries in Charleston, like the Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar, featuring low country, southern inspired cuisine.  According to legend, the name was given because "amens" could often be heard from the nearby two churches.

And here's "Miss Melissa".  She likes those little shrimps just like her namesake.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Cartagena, Columbia - Feb. 14-19, 2016

We were on the boat in Fort Pierce, but the weather was less than desirable.  So why not catch an easy flight to the beaches of Columbia!

Let's begin with some basic mojitos and a map of the beaches and sites

The focal point of Cartagena is the Old City known as the centro historico where the main entrance is Torre del Roloj.  An original Spanish settlement enclosed by a massive stone wall.

The poorer district of Getsemani is just nearby and is filled with murals and and other items of interest.

Melissa makes time for a little relaxing at one of the street cafes!

Cafe Havana famously got the endorsement of the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton on her trip to Columbia in 2012.  Popular place for rum drinks and dancing.

Rumba in Chiva-wooden buses painted with tropical colors with musical bands and "open bars" drive around the city partying "all night!"

But also time to relax with a ride thru the mangroves of LaBoquilla.

Wandering thru the mangroves.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cruising the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway & beyond ! July - December 2015

Knew it would happen like that !
We had "chartered" a trawler on the trip through British Columbia to Alaska in May and we were "hooked".   In July, we purchased our own vessel which happened to be located at Wentworth by the Sea Marina in New Hampshire. When you left the harbor, on your starboard was New Hampshire and on your port side was Maine.

"The Last Hurrah" was a Grand Banks Classic trawler, just the kind that I had always wanted. 
The previous owners, Art & Nancy, had kept her in pristine condition and were willing assist us in learning all about her.  And there was lots to learn!

We will be running in wide sounds like Long Island Sound; land cuts like New York State Barge Canal; rivers like the Hudson and St. Clair; bays like the Chesapeake.  And moving from a temperate climatic zone to the subtropics filled with holly, sweet gum, magnolia, cypress trees, oak trees, palms, and mangroves.  Click on the above mileage chart, located at the Great Bridge Lock just south of Norfolk.  At this point, we are 452 miles from New York or 717 miles from Boston. But we're still 575 miles from Savannah.

Enjoy tying up to a dock near the New York financial district and having early morning coffee with Lady Liberty while the great city wakes up.  A person sometimes forgets that New York is situated on one of the world's largest natural harbors. 

Passing under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Annapolis, Maryland, Melissa is enjoying reading another waterway cruising guide.  A little planning is certainly necessary.  We stayed in Annapolis for a few weeks where we also enjoyed the big October boat shows.

Running through Norfolk where parts of the U.S. Navy stand in the background with Melissa.   The famous naval battle between the ironclad "Monitor" and "Merrimac" also occurred also near Norfolk.

The R.E. Mayo Company is a colorful commercial facility in North Carolina where we were able to re-fuel and also fill-up on some fresh shrimp, oysters, and scallops.

We were returning to the dock, when we met some locals with a fresh catch of nice lobsters at South Harbour Village Marina near Oak Island, North Carolina.

Local fishermen running their crab traps.

Picking up on local color and happenings.  The sites along the Waterway are constantly changing.

Ladies Island Marina near Beaufort, South Carolina - home also to a "biker bar" -Fillin' Station-where 5 bucks put in a pickle jar (no tax, no receipt) will get you a big plate of pork chops with all the trimmings.  It seems you never meet a stranger!

People make their living on these waterways as well.

The scenery is always changing.

Seagulls behind our wake.

Steve, onboard "The Last Hurrah" at Bucksport Plantation Marina in South Carolina-actually famous for their pork link sausage-a recipe dating back 75 years.  

A shrimper is finding time to re-fuel and getting ready to head back out.

The sunrise at our last anchorage at Cattle Pen Creek, just prior to arriving in Brunswick, Georgia.  We anchored some and we also stayed at local marinas.

A shrimper moves across St. Simons Sound as we arrive in Brunswick.  We will be staying a few weeks in Brunswick before continuing on south.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Cruising to Alaska - Outside Vancouver Pacific Passage - May 18-June 11, 2015

While sailing the San Juan Islands in August, we met Brian Pemberton while wandering about the piers in Bellingham.  Why not try an outside passage going around the Pacific side of Vancouver Island and then up inside to Alaska? Crazy idea!  Big waves?

Departing from Bellingham, we headed to Victoria on Vancouver Island.  Then headed out into the Pacific making a rounding of Cape Scott and then into Charlotte Sound and into the inland passage of British Columbia.  We will be logging over 935 miles in about 25 days!

Our first day’s run was from Bellingham to Greater Victoria Harbour.  Steve calls the Canadian Customs on their special telephone to obtain clearance for the vessel, her crew, and the provisions.

The coast of British Columbia is a magnificent maze of islands, snow-capped mountains, waterfalls, lush green forests, and an abundance of wildlife.  Melissa is on-the-bow after completing her anchoring duties and putting on the snubber.

Thousands of miles of islands and coastline have changed little since the glaciers rolled back some 15,000 years ago.  Bald Eagles that nest in the interior of British Columbia migrate south into the United States for the winter each year.

A stunningly beautiful waterfall tumbles from Lessom Creek on the north shore of Kynoch Inlet (off of Mathieson Channel).  High snow-covered peaks & ridges with vertical granite ramparts rise 3500 feet-where low clouds break up to reveal rock cliffs rising to the sky!
  You can get the boat so close as to almost take a shower while standing on-the- bow.

Entering very carefully through Spitfire Passage (between Hurricane Island & Hunter Island near Kildidt Sound) is NARROW, challenging, and beautiful.  This is indeed "remote" country - remote because not too many boaters venture on the outside Pacific side of Northern British Columbia. 
 (Underwater rocks on each side are only a foot or two away from the hull. The boat was surfing thru the current like an inner tube on white water.  Plan to come thru here ONLY on slack water!)

At the helm-navigating the enchanting cruising grounds of the North Coast.  

Melissa has the fenders overboard and down-low preparing to pull to the dock in Tahsis.  Tahsis means “gateway” in the language of the Mowachaht First Nations people who lived in this region for hundreds of years.  We were met with enthusiasm at the dock by Cathy & John Falavolito-proprietors of the Westview Lodge.

The easy-to-launch dinghy was used almost daily to get a close-up look at the local anchorages.

Cape Scott’s seas have capsized & sunk many substantial vessels!  Cape Scott (the remote far northern tip of Vancouver) is the most significant landmark in the circumnavigation of Vancouver Island.  It is one-of-those-events that marks a “compleat” Northwest boatsman.

The distant barks of sea lion bulls & and the sharp cries of bald eagles drift through the air - rounding Solander Island off of Cape Cook.  Solander Island is packed full of sea lions but the heavy seas make careful photography a bit tricky.  This shot was taken while standing in the galley sink.

Anchored here in Patterson Inlet (Pitt Island) where we saw our first bear while having cocktails onboard the trawler “AJAX”.   Saw also our first hump-back whale this same day. 

“Take only your photographs and leave only a small wake!”